"From Kuroth’s Quill" is grodog's regular design column covering the elements of adventure design (and more-specifically dungeon design, given my interest in that topic). I will also wander through the design of spells and magic items; monsters, traps, tricks, and treasures; PC and NPC classes; planes and pantheons; and likely other topics as well. In the blog, I hope to provide practical examples that will be useful in campaign play, to show theory in action.
In part 1 of this article series, I examined the Castle Greyhawk::El Raja Key relationships reveled in Rob Kuntz's El Raja Key Archive, released last fall.
In this article, I share an unpublished letter between Gary Gygax and Stephen Chenault of Troll Lord Games, concerning the initial development of the Castle Zagyg project.
from EGG to Stephen Chenault, 14 January 2004
Seems as if my email and yours is going to take up a considerable portion of
this day, eh? If this goes on much longer I'll phone you +_+
> Thanks for this. I thought that might be it but then
> looked at the color coded guide and confused myself.
Those colors were put in so as to lessen my own confusion...
> So to recap, does this look roughly online:
> Castle Zagyg
> Part I Yggsburgh - City and surrounding area
Right, and you have the extent of this super-module set.
> Part II Dark Chateau - Castle (?)
Well, I suppose a castle-like chateau, more of a cross between a mansion and a
fortified dwelling with many outside areas and buildings according to Rob.
> Part III Upper Works - Castle Ruins
> Part IV Beneath the Ground (first three levels)
Storerooms, Cellars, and Dungeon, plus one sublevel, the Arena.
> Part V The Laboratories, Menagier, Museum (five levels)
The two side levels being the Catacombs and the Upper Crypts.
> Part VI The Deeps (six levels)
These being the Lairs and a side level, the Lower Crypts accessed only from the
Upper Crypts above; the Labyrinth and a side level the Warrens that can be
accessed from the Labyrinth, the Warrens accessing the Lower Crypts above and
the Vaults below; and finally the Endless Rooms with a side level, the Grand
Mausoleum, but no entry to the Vaults.
> Part VII The Caverns - grotto, maze (six levels)
Proper order is Maze, Grottos (small caves) and the sublevel Pools of Chaos*,
Caves with the Burrows sublevel it connecting to the level below, and Caverns.
* I envision normal connections to the Burrows and Caverns, also transporter
pools on level and to various other dungeon level locations on a one-way basis.
> Part VIII Zagig's Way - Lightless Lake, Inferno (three
Again, proper order is the Lightless Lake, the Little Inferno, and then Zagyg's
Zone (or some such name).
> I've added some working title names that aren't written
> in stone, obviously.
The Levels of The Original Castle Greyhawk (as seen through the lens of Castle Zagyg)
The text from EGG's letter clarifies the original, intended scope for the
Castle Zagyg project, and the "Part" designations from
Stephen's initial note align to Troll Lord Games' original release schedule for the Castle Zagyg product line
(thankfully preserved by Joe Bloch on his Greyhawk
Grognard blog), for which Castle Zagyg: The Upper Worksmerely served as the introductory product in a far-grander vision. A
vision that was never realized, unfortunately.
Breaking out the levels from their CZ book groupings yields the following list:
The Arena (sub-level)
The Catacombs (sub-level)
The Upper Crypts (sub-level)
The Lower Crypts (side-level; accessible only from The Upper Crypts above, and The Warrens below)
The Warrens (side-level; accessible from the Labyrinth, while The Warrens also accesses The Lower Crypts above and The Vaults below)
The Endless Rooms
The Grand Mausoleum (side-level; no access to The Vaults)
The Vaults (side-/sub-level?; no access to The Endless Rooms or The Grand Mausoleum)
Pools of Chaos (sub-level; accessible to The Burrows and The Caverns, and with transporter pools within this level and to various other dungeon levels' locations on a one-way basis)
The Burrows (sub-level; also accessible to The Caverns below)
The Lightless Lake
The Little Inferno
Next up: slotting the above information into what we already know about Castle Greyhawk's levels.