The Grounds is an outdoor area that lies between the Inner Ward of the main castle and the Forest Perilous. The near portion consists of well-manicured lawns and a hedge maze. Farther on, there is a small lake and numerous buildings in a lightly wooded landscape extending to the forest line. The Grounds is under heavy cloud cover 40% of the time, because a Magic Cloud Castle hovers over it. If the characters have means to fly it is possible for them to reach the Cloud Castle.
The Hedge Maze: This is the maze marked in light gray on Map 1. It includes Areas 3 to 14 and 17 to 19. The hedges are extremely dense and twelve feet tall. If adventurers want to try to go through the hedges, their movement rate will be ½”. The hedges are attended by the keepers (see Area 14), are very hard, and fast-growing, and are repaired at an extremely accelerated rate. If they are damaged, they will have returned to their previous state within 6 hours.
There are numerous competing factions in The Grounds. Each is at the others throats and they each seek to do away with their rivals.
Wandra Triskelion: At Area 5, there is a tiny castle that is the home of Wandra Triskelion, a powerful sorceress and leader of a band of vegetable people. Wandra is determined to turn strangers into vegetable people.
Ghost Spiders: A colony of ghost spiders inhabits the tunnels at Area 9. They seek to bring delicious morsels to their queen.
Giant Shoe House: Area 15. Saddled with so many mouths to feed, the old woman who lives in the shoe is at a loss as to how to provide for her dependents. The halflings who prey upon the affections of the old woman have been known to ambush Wandra's vegetable men for food.
Gingerbread House: A candy mansion can be found at Area 23. Here a witch and her sugar goblin servants conduct raids on the surrounding groups for they adore freshly baked meat pies.
Tree Gnomes: At Area 26, a clan of tree gnomes can be found. They would love to be rid of the other predatory groups in The Grounds and have an appetite for worked objects that are beyond the craft they can attain with their arboreal lifestyle.
The Grounds directly connects to the First Floor of the Inner Ward, Level 1 of the Upper Dungeons, the Magic Cloud Castle, and the Forest Perilous.