5 THIS IS A CASTLE. This small court features in its center a very small castle (less than a foot high) surrounded by a tiny moat. Near the entrance to each pathway in the hedge maze there is a signpost that reads “This is a castle.”
This castle belongs to Wandra Triskelion. Years ago she used powerful magic to turn herself into a part-plant and now she wields unusual powers. Wandra is obsessed with her own appearance and very greedy. She is always eager to welcome new people into her castle … so she can turn them into vegetable people. While she has been telling her vegetable people that she is raising an army to conquer The Grounds, she has actually been using them to make delicious juices in the dungeon level of this castle. She believes that juices and soups made from vegetable men will prolong her life span and make her more beautiful.
If the party attempts to ally with Wandra Triskelion, her response will largely be based on her reaction roll. For her part, Wandra is trying to lure more humans, demi-humans, and humanoids to her castle so she can turn them into juice. An agreement with her would likely entail the characters luring new victims into her castle. Wandra is extremely narcissistic and will see herself as the superior partner in any agreement. She will be difficult and demand new concessions regularly.
If the adventurers assault the castle and then retire before defeating Wandra, there will be relatively little change between one encounter and the next. The chaotic nature of the inhabitants leads them to somewhat lax security. Nevertheless, Wandra is personally very intelligent and will respond to a real or perceived threat by posting pea head guards at the front gate and surrounding her self with more pea heads and vegetable men.
The pea heads are not a product of her magic, but a race of plant-humanoids indigenous to The Grounds. The serve Wandra because she supplies them with vegetable men for food and occasionally leads them into The Grounds on raids to satisfy the pea heads blood lust.
The vegetable men are ignorant of their role as food and drink to Wandra and the pea heads. They believe they are citizens of the castle with the same status as the pea heads. On being transformed into plant people, most succumb to Wandra's charm power. Those few that are not, such as Gratinati at Area 3, usually flee or are captured and dragged to the dungeons. The vegetable men who inhabit the castle are forbidden to enter the dungeon area unless escorted by pea heads. Those who are led into the dungeon emerge only later as food and drink.
If the party can convince the vegetable men that they are really being exploited and turned into food and drink, they will likely revolt against Wandra and the pea heads. If shown evidence of Wandra's perfidy, such as the book in Room 5Q or the presses in Room 5U, each vegetable man will get an immediate saving throw vs spells at +4. If they succeed then they will join the adventurers. If they fail then they remain loyal.
The castle and the items in the castle are decorated with messages written in paint or carved into the structure. Each label reads “This is a _______”, with the blank part being the name of the item in question, such as “This is a door”, “This is a chair”, or “This is a sword.” The reason for this is that the vegetable people are very stupid and need to be reminded frequently what things are so they can use them properly.
If any person approaches the castle, it will appear to grow larger and larger until it is a life-size two story building. What is really happening, however, is that the castle is not growing but the characters and their belongings are shrinking. A observant person will notice that the hedges surrounding the court are expanding to gargantuan proportions around them.
When inside the structure of the castle, size stays the same. A six foot tall person is about an inch tall at the castle. With the reduction in size there is an associated effect. Anyone who falls takes no falling damage because their mass is now so small that wind resistance is a factor. Also, because the surface area to volume ration of the characters has changed so markedly, they will now be much more sensitive to small changes in temperature. This is especially noticeable when entering the dungeon portion (Rooms 5R to 5U).