1. Only one mirror/portal works at a time, each mini-dungeon is a quest to find the ring/ amulet/ gem / puzzle piece / Door-knocker of Ineffable Wisdom (take your pick 🙂 ) that unlocks the next portal and which must be placed in the correct position on the table.
2. Optionally, make a full size version of the object on the table and hand them puzzle pieces when they complete a mini-quest.
3. Each quest should give prominence to a different character but involve all the rest.
3.1 – Initial quest involves the group fighting low level monsters (rats are the traditional enemy here) that any of the group can tackle to introduce the game mechanics.
3.2 – Perhaps a cavern or room that’s pitch dark and filled with traps. One character needs to provide light (light spell / lantern / vial of glowing stuff provided by an Elf queen) while the thief/ rogue disarms the traps. Occasional rats/ spiders appear that the rest of the party need to dispose of.
3.3 – Lair of the Beast – a major monster must be defeated. The beast has a deadly attack of some sort (fire breathing say) which will damage party members badly but fortunately the fighter type has a defence (The Asbestos Underpants of the Dark God or some such Mcguffin). While the fighter slays the beast the rest of the party must deal with the beasts numerous, but much less deadly offspring lest they overwhelm the fighter. Search the beast’s corpse for the puzzle piece.
3.4 – It’s a kind of Magic – an elemental/ daemonic/undead entity that can only be damaged by magic (spells/ enchanted weapons/ divine intervention) must be defeated. Time for the mage to step up to the plate. From time to time the entity raises some of the skeletons of those who have perished here before to assist it. Cue rest of party. The banished entity leaves the puzzle piece in it’s ashes.
3.5 – Get Off My Land! – Stalactites fall from the ceiling, gouts of flame spurt from the floor, the ground shakes, the very air is poisonous. Random party members take damage and the party healer must keep them alive (or sacrifice some for the good of the party? Decisions, decisions!) The puzzle piece is at the far side, next to a mirror that leads back to the centre.
3.6 – The Heart Of Darkness – The giant, beating heart of the Great Daemon Zzargle’flahrn is here and must be destroyed to save the world itself from destruction! Daemon hearts are not easily destroyed and the party must beat off waves of opponents while steadily destroying the heart.
Make a D6 roll every turn
1 – Heart may not be damaged this turn
2 – Heart recovers minor amounts of damage this turn
3 – Heart is immune to magic this turn
4 – Heart is immune to non-magical attacks this turn
5 – Heart takes 50% (round up) extra damage from attacks this turn
6 – Heart takes double damage from attacks this turn
Each mini-quest should reward the party with things they’ll find useful in the next.
Any of that of any use at all?
Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!