Troll Lord Games last year released the hardback Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, Vol 1. At the 2007 Gencon game fair in Indianapolis, they have released Castle Zagyg: The East Mark Gazetteer in a folio format that will be immediately familiar to long time fans of the World of Greyhawk. The two products are different but related in more than being both products in the Castle Zagyg line.
The Yggsburgh hardback included information, not on Castle Zagyg itself, but on the East Mark setting, wherein the Castle is located, and the nearby city of Yggsburgh, also located therein. The famed wizardís castle will be itself described in, as I understand it, two boxed sets (formerly to be hardbacks) - The Upper Works and The Dungeons.
The East Mark Gazetteer, as the name suggests, revisits the East Mark in 24 pages. It does so in one of two included booklets. In revisiting the East Mark, the first of the Gazetteer booklets reproduces material already available in the hardback but it is not simply a reprint. The information in the Gazetteer is reorganized and expanded upon. Given the extensive presentation in the hardback, this is hugely helpful as the Gazetteer booklet cuts directly to the chase, where the hardback meanders quite a bit. For DMs wanting to run the East Mark, the folio presentation is entirely useful. Together, the Gazetteer and the hardback work hand in glove. This is not a case of selling the same information twice.
The second booklet included with the East Mark Gazetteer is the entirely new The Mouths of Madness. Part sourcebook and part adventure, The Mouths of Madness in 48 pages describes for play the caves and diggings that border or skirt the plateau upon which Castle Zagyg proper is built. Several entryways from the Mouths of Madness into Castle Zagyg are described but all are presently blocked - at least until the Upper Works and Dungeons accessories are released. To this extent The Mouths of Madness is a teaser for Castle Zagyg, at the same time being the first look at the actual environs of the Castle.
Both the Gazetteer booklet and The Mouths of Madness are written by EGG, with Canonfireís own Ghul chipping in to lend a hand in the proceedings. It is safe to say that EGG has lost nothing for the years he has been away from Greyhawk. Both booklets are excellent reads and offer up adventure in the classic Gygaxian style. This is undisputably a very good thing. It is such a good thing that one can but wistfully reflect upon what might have been had EGG continued at Greyhawks helm. No one creates RPG material like EGG and it is great to see him back as close to Greyhawk as can be reasonably hoped. The booklets in The East Mark Gazetteer are top notch and will remind every Greyhawker who EGG brought to the setting why EGG was and still is The Man. For those who came to Greyhawk post-EGG, The East Mark Gazetteer is an opportunity to experience the particular brand of wonder that only EGGís presentation of a new world can provide.
But wait! Thereís more. The East Mark Gazetteer includes 4, count Ďem 4, poster maps! While not full sized poster maps of eight panels, they remain sizeable. All are on extremely heavy stock paper and all are in full color! As a map maven, this tickles me pink. We have:
1) A full color, single panel map of Yggsburgh. This is extremely handy because the Yggsburgh map in the hardback was printed on the reverse of the East Mark map. Now, DMs have a perfectly sized play map.
2) The largest of the remaining maps is one of The Mouths of Madness. This is very serviceable as a look at the precise geography immediately giving way to Castle Zagyg, even if it is an awful tease for the material to come.
3) Next is included a full color map of the area of the Castle Track, the road that leads to Castle Zagyg, and the immediate surrounds. This is like a Map Quest view pulled out from the Mouths of Madness Map. Very nice touch!
4) Finally, we have a new full color rendition of the East Mark itself - a view, pulled out once again, save from the Castle Track map. Two panels, and smaller than the hardback map of the East Mark, this new East Mark map is perfect for in game use as it is much more wieldy at the table.
There. These are the contents of The East Mark Gazetteer. All may be had for only $20. If I need to tell you this is a steal of a deal . . . well . . . I donít think I need to tell you that. Itís a steal of a deal!
When I first learned of Castle Zagyg: The East Mark Gazetteer, I had my doubts it would be worth the money. I have no further such doubts.
If you have not purchased the hardback Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh Vol. 1 at $40 because you have some doubts about what you will get (it is an excellent product in its own right, btw), Castle Zagyg: The East Mark Gazetteer gives you an opportunity for half the price to see what EGG is up to with the Castle Zagyg product. You will not be disappointed.
If you have purchased the hardback Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh Vol. 1, Castle Zagyg: The East Mark Gazetteer is, IMO, a must buy. It makes using the hardback easier while providing a wealth of new information. What is more, there is a charm to the Gazetteer that was not present in the hardback. Iím not sure why that should be but I picked up on it immediately. As an old Greyhawk fan, reading the Gazetteer was like meeting an old friend again and meeting a new one at the same time.
I find no flaws in this product. It is simply a joy. Even if you donít think Castle Zagyg is for you, just as a gamer you owe it to yourself to experience The East Mark Gazetteer. This is gaming as it once was updated for the current time. Come on; for $20? This is a no loose proposition.
I eagerly await the remainder of the Castle Zagyg products!!! _________________ GVD
First off, this post is excellent!!! Please review more products! I particularly like that you describe EXACTLY what you get, which is not something you always see even on the company site that is pushing their own product(I know, its bizarre!). Necromancer Games "City of Brass" comes to mind. I'd still like to know what exactly comes in that.
I've held off looking too much into the Yggsburg material, as the rest of the release seems so far off. Perhaps it is time I delved into it further. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Gotcha. And I take it that Yggsburgh is not unlike the Free City of Greyhawk, and that the Four Tors bear a shocking resemblence to the Cairn Hills.
The Free Town of Yggsburgh is certainly not unlike The Free City of Greyhawk, but this is in resemblance only; meaning, it is not intended to be a duplicate. Yggsburgh is a town (or small city, as it were) of about 25k population. While the tone and spirit of the work you will find quite familiar, there are distinct differences as well, such as its political structure, its history, etc. Yggsburgh is indeed ruled by a Lord Mayor that serves a period of 10 years, the Lord Mayor having been selected by a Council of Eight, these eight being comprised of notable knights, ecclesiastics, and scholars. Yggsburgh engages in trade with the distant Free City of "Dunfalcon," exports and imports of various resources.
Also note that Yggsburgh and its general environs, known as The East Mark comprise an area of approximately 1,500 square miles, which is to say it is about 50 miles east-west by 30 miles north-south. This allows the DM to plug it into any setting. Canonites that desire to make Yggsburgh part of their campaign may consider placing the Free Town at the confluence of the Eery and the Neen Rivers.
If it isn't heretical to the theme of this site, and if the mods are in agreement, I think it would be a fine idea to have a forum category for Castle Zagyg, Yggsburgh & The East Mark here at CF. I'd be happy to frequent it, answer questions, etc.
That's a good idea. Perhaps a *Sticky* thread in the "Heretic's Nest" is in order.
Also, maybe there should be a forum for "*Non*-1e/2e/3.x/D20/OGL Greyhawk" too, as there are a number of folks who use a game system other than any of these, but still play in the world of Greyhawk. That would round up what hasn't been covered in the forums for the most part. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
That's a good idea. Perhaps a *Sticky* thread in the "Heretic's Nest" is in order.
Also, maybe there should be a forum for "*Non*-1e/2e/3.x/D20/OGL Greyhawk" too, as there are a number of folks who use a game system other than any of these, but still play in the world of Greyhawk. That would round up what hasn't been covered in the forums for the most part.
I agree with this. There are a fair number of C&C players who use Greyhawk as well that don't have a place to discuss the setting in relation to the game. _________________ Agape,
This will likely be in the re-worked version of the site. Once the visual appearacne of the site is decided upon, the real work of organizing/categorizing/transfering the bazillion files will begin. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
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