On Early Tropes, Castle Greyhawk

Mortellan's Greyhawk Art
It was a time long ago, when Old Greyhawk Castle was 13 levels deep.

"The first level was a simple maze of rooms and corridors, for none of the participants had ever played such a game before.
"The second level had two unusual items, a Nixie Pool and a fountain of snakes.
"The third featured a torture chamber and many small cells and prison rooms.
"The forth (sic) was a level of crypts and undead.
"The fifth was centered around a strange font of black fire and gargoyles.
"The sixth was a repeating maze with dozens of wild hogs (3 dice) in inconvinient (sic) spots, naturally backed up by appropriate numbers of Wereboars.
"The seventh was centered around a circular labyrinth and a  street of masses of ogres.
"The eighth through tenth levels were caves and caverns featuring Trolls, giant insects, and a transporter nexus with an evil wizard (with a number of tough associates guarding it.
"The eleventh level was the home of the most powerful wizard in the castle. He had Balrogs as servants. The remainder of the level was populated by Martian White Apes, except the sub-passage system underneath the corridores  (sic)which was full of poisonous critters with no treasure.
"Level twelve was filled with Dragons.
"The bottom level, number thirteen, contained an iescapable (sic) slide which took the players 'clear through to China', from whence they had to return via 'Outdoor Adventure'. It was quite possible to hourney (sic) downward to the bottom level by an insidious series of slanting passages which began on the second level, but the liklihood (sic) of following such a route unknowingly didn't become too great until the seventh or eighth level. Of the dozen or so who played on a fairly regular basis, four made the lowest level and took the trip. . .
"Side levels included a barracks with Orcs, Hobgoblins, and Gnolls continually warring with eachother,  (sic)a museum, a huge arena, an underground lake, a Giant's home, and a garden of fungi." - Gygax, April 1975

Level twelve was filled with dragons.

14 comments:

  1. We don't see many Wild Hogs in the dungeons anymore. Explains the "Giant Hogs" on the 3rd level Wandering Monster Table in OD&D, Vol 3.

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  2. Sounds really nonsensical and not at all like an example of Gygaxian Naturalism, but it does sound like it would be a ton of fun.

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  3. I've never been able to enjoy straight-up "maze" style areas.

    What's your source on the quote?

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  4. It's from an article Gary wrote in Europa, available @ http://www.whiningkentpigs.com/DW/oldzines/europa6-8.pdf

    Allan.

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    1. Giving away all of my secrets there Grodog.

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    2. Soon they'll all be mine, and then I'll inherit your power.

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    3. LOL, sorry about that -C: can't help myself when it comes to sharing Greyhawk info ;)

      Allan.

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  5. Very interesting stuff. Gygax himself of course evolved, along with everyone else. Over at CRPGAddict pretty much all the early computer RPGs involve the (unexplained) many-leveled dungeon with monsters and traps.

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  6. Just wait until Castle of the Mad Archmage comes out later this year. Lots of this sort of goodness therein.

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    Replies
    1. I recall you had some kind of agreement that would run out it May - does that still hold, so that we can expect it in a couple of months?

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    2. "May 2013 is the hard deadline, after which time they lose the right to publish."

      http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.be/2012/08/castle-of-mad-archmage-update.html

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    3. Here's the update that Jon posted over in G+ in response to a similar query:

      ==
      We are well along in the furthering development and editing of Joe's Castle of the Mad Archmage for publishing by Black Blade. Believe me when I tell you that we are very aware of how long this project has been 'in the works'. Painfully aware.

      The short-version of 'what's going on with Mad Archmage' is that the manuscript has been and is being reworked and refined to make it even better (which is to say, more challenging to PCs and more useful to DMs), and to scrub any Greyhawk IP references that might have creeped into Joe's writing. We're also re-rendering the Mad Archmage maps for commercial production. Our current target release is Summer, 2013 with the expectation that we'll have copies on hand for GenCon Indy 2013.

      The longer version explanation: A couple of things became apparent with Mad Archmage as we plunged into the project. One of those "ah-ha"s we had was that the maps that were made available for the free pdf version of Mad Archmage, while fine for home printing, were not suitable for commercial production which require a much higher resolution than do home or office printers. So, we had to have the maps - nearly 60 pages of them (at 8 1/2 x 11 inch) - re-rendered by our cartographer Andreas Claren. We also wanted to expand the location and symbol keys for the maps, so having the maps re-rendered allowed us to do that at the same time.

      Another thing that became apparent as we looked at the Mad Archmage project was that as cool as the free pdf version was - and it was/is a VERY COOL megadungeon - we needed to differentiate and distinguish OUR version from Joe's free version in order for there to be added incentive for folks to want our version, even if they might already have Joe's version. So the maps and manuscript have been tweaked, tricked-out, and the challenges presented have been ramped up from what Joe presented in the free version.

      Another thing that moving Joe's megadungeon from the free version format to the commercial production version format is going to require is the addition of artwork to enhance the presentation. There are quite a number of iconic locales and unique locations in Mad Archmage - close to a hundred by my count - that would be suitable or ideal for illustration. We hope to include many of those 'showcase' locales in illustrations in the finished work. Needless to say, the logistics of soliciting and obtaining even half that many pieces of new art is a significant undertaking.

      So at the risk of sounding like a broken record (sorry Joe, Robert, and others), I can only ask that you please be patient with us as we continue to bring this project along to the finish line. We are as committed to seeing this project through to the end as we ever have been. It's just taken us WAY longer than we ever expected it would.

      [editorial note: I've been a HUGE fan of Joe's Castle of the Mad Archmage project for a long, long time, having ran convention game sessions using it for a number of years. I cannot wait to see the poster maps and other 'add-ons' we have planned finally in production!]

      - Jon "tacojohn" Hershberger
      Black Blade Publishing 
      ==

      We've added another quarter to the deadline with Joe, as well, which should give us the time required to complete production.

      Allan.

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  7. I want a shirt that says, "Level twelve was filled with Dragons."

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  8. About the hogs, as a farmer I can assure you that hogs will eat pretty much anything organic up to their own size, bones and all, with the exception of the skulls and feet. I figure the pig level was a sewer-offal pit for the first several levels of the dungeon. Did gelatinous cubes exist yet?

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