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    Canonfire :: View topic - Greyhawk Ruins or Castle Zagyg?
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    Greyhawk Ruins or Castle Zagyg?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:28 pm  
    Greyhawk Ruins or Castle Zagyg?

    I've been wanting to run Castle Greyhawk forever (2nd edition group). I guess the module 'Greyhawk Ruins' is the official Castle Greyhawk but it doesn't look the part IMHO (even though I don't own it or never read it, it looks kinda small and doesn't look very Gygax..could be wrong though).
    I'm hearing that Castle Zagyg vol.2:The Upper Works (for Castles and Crusades) is actually the real deal. I believe Castles and Crusades and AD&D are very compatible (again I could be mistaken). Any advise on this? What would be a better Castle Greyhawk campaign?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:38 am  

    I've combined them both.
    I use the CZ: Upper Works for the above ground portion and 1st dungeon level of the Tower of Zagyg. Things may change as more CZ material is released, but that's the set up for now.

    Scott
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:46 am  

    In my honest opinion, Castles & Crusades is the best pen and paper RPG ever. I love it to no end.

    You can run AD&D monsters in simply by converting them at a glance. Its really simple, use their Hit Die as their attack modifier, leave their HP as-is, and for the most part the damage of their attacks will remain the same.

    As for trap-related savings throws, you just figure out what the challenge level of the dungeon is, and then add that to the difficulty class of all of the traps.

    C&C really is spectacular, it's like the Max Von Sydow of RPGs.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:22 am  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    C&C really is spectacular, it's like the Max Von Sydow of RPGs.


    ::does his best Max Von Sydow voice impression::

    Kill them! Kill them all! Let GOD sort them out!

    (From the end of Needful Things.....LOVE that scene).

    Edit: Hehe, forgot to say, Castle Zagyg all the way!
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:52 pm  
    Re: Greyhawk Ruins or Castle Zagyg?

    dsdm23 wrote:
    I've been wanting to run Castle Greyhawk forever (2nd edition group). I guess the module 'Greyhawk Ruins' is the official Castle Greyhawk but it doesn't look the part IMHO (even though I don't own it or never read it, it looks kinda small and doesn't look very Gygax..could be wrong though).


    Like you, I was a little disappointed with Greyhawk Ruins. It may not be a Gygax creation, but the authors were better informed than I initially thought. This letter from Blake Mobley and Tim Brown should be required reading for anyone planning to run Greyhawk Ruins (scroll down): http://forums.gleemax.com/archive/index.php/t-743689.html
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:10 am  

    Castle Zagyg is not a Gygax creation either. It was ghostwritten based on notes he supplied. He clearly stated this in various places, I've linked to them before, look them up if you like.

    These endless threads from users with little or no posting history here proclaiming the greatness of TLG products are very tiresome.
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    GreySage

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    Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:49 am  

    Though to be fair, that seems to have been the way Gygax worked on most of the modules and manuals he's been associated with. The Monster Manual II and Temple of Elemental Evil were written by someone else based on Gygax's notes in the same way, for example.

    As for Greyhawk Ruins, it's actually pretty huge, but uninspired in parts.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:17 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:
    These endless threads from users with little or no posting history here proclaiming the greatness of TLG products are very tiresome.


    And the responses from people who use the criteria of post counts to invalidate opinions they disagree with is equally so. You might as well have said "Your hair is red. Therefore, your opinion is irrelevant and your argument fallacious."

    As far as I understood, stating an opinion, even if it is not endorsed by you, is not a crime on this board or this country. I do not stand in the way of your disagreement on the merits of the sentiments. Whether I share them is my own business. But I will not sit still and hear someone say that another's speech has less merit and value because they have a smaller post count than the disputer.

    Bah. I'm going back to bed.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:02 pm  

    If a post annoys somebody then they they should simply report it.

    How about everyone sticking to answering the orignal poster's question and give a reason *WHY* you would choose one over the other, or(shock!) use bits and pieces of both of them together. If you know both products and prefer one over the other(or like them both), explain why without giving away too many spoilers. You know, provide enough information for a person to actually be able to make a somewhat informed decision.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:31 am  

    Pat_Payne wrote:

    And the responses from people who use the criteria of post counts to invalidate opinions they disagree with is equally so.


    If a user with no, or few prior posts wants to talk about some aspect of greyhawk lore, no problem. If they have questions about greyhawk lore, or how to adapt greyhawk to whatever edition or game they use, no problem.

    If they want to troll by comparing established gh canon to some apocryphal material, it gets questionable. If their post reads as little more than a promotional piece for some other parties products, then, IMO, there's a problem. It's known in most places as spam, and TLG is well known to those who follow them objectively for encouraging such spamming of other sites.

    If a user with hundreds and hundreds of posts wants to promote some favored product, I'm less offended by it. They've earned their place here and can be forgiven for a bit of shameless advertising now and then.

    When users with less than 10 posts start pimping their (or other's) wares, we need to be suspicious of the motives.

    Is this really a discussion of the merits of GH Ruins and CZ, or a thinly veiled ad for CZ? That's the question that comes to my mind.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:37 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    Though to be fair, that seems to have been the way Gygax worked on most of the modules and manuals he's been associated with.


    That may be true, and saying that Gary himself didn't write every word of CZ doesn't mean that it is an inferior product, it simply means that it has no inherent quality that makes it better than GHR.

    CZ was/is written by TLG's staff writers based on EGG's notes.

    GHR was written by TSR's staff writers based on notes EGG left behind and the memories of folks still at the company who had played in EGG and RJK's original campaigns in the dungeon.

    I don't see one as inherently definitive or superior to the other, with one caveat.

    GHR is an official AD&D product, bearing a GH Adventures logo. It is canon, as evidenced by it being used by Mona & co. as the foundation for their Expedition to GH Ruins product recently.

    CZ is apocryphal EGG "gh". It may be a great product, and may work well for the home game replacing or augmenting GHR, but as far as the published campaign goes in the future (if there is a future for GH from wotc), CZ is just a side note.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:42 am  
    Re: Greyhawk Ruins or Castle Zagyg?

    dsdm23 wrote:
    Any advise on this? What would be a better Castle Greyhawk campaign?


    To be productive and answer the original question:

    I advise using WGR1 GH Ruins as the foundation of the campaign. It's a fully detailed dungeon that can provide months or years of adventure for a group.

    Then, add in bits of CZ that you like. Add in bits of other stuff like "World's Largest Dungeon" or "Undermountain". Add your own homebrew areas. Examine "WG7 Castle Greyhawk" in terms of the humor level in your campaign and use bits of it.

    The one complaint I have about GH Ruins is that it comes nowhere near the sheer size of the dungeons described by EGG, RJK and their players of old. Take GH Ruins and expand it to your heart's content.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:15 pm  

    Actually, I have never been a huge fan of many of the classic Gygax modules. Much of the time they are simply stupid.

    I call to reference this room description from the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun: "EMPTY ROOM: This 20 square chamber has evidently
    not been used for years. There is dust covering its floor
    -but wait! A set of footprints runs from the southeast
    corner to the west wall. The tracks are small, broad,
    human-like. They start about 1 from the wall and end
    against the west surface."

    I have had absolutely awesome times running a Gygax module, but I got the feeling that he was high or something when writing many of them.

    I believe that the UK series of modules, as well as U 1-3 as far superior.

    His Castle Zagyg stuff was pretty good, but I really have not been a fan of the almost nonsensical nature of his old material.

    Flame me if you must, but I will not retort.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:17 pm  

    Hey thanks Chatdemon for answering my question. I don't know where all this C&C vs. D&D stuff came from. I wasn't asking about systems (Me and my group are hardcore 2nd edition AD&D players and proud of it). I have no intention of switching to C&C. I was just wondering what would make a better Castle Greyhawk, the module Greyhawk Ruins or CZ the upper works box set. Either way it would still be for my Greyhawk campaign in D&D. So far, from the response, I'm leaning towards Greyhawk Ruins (plus I don't have to convert anything). It just looks small(I always pictured the dungeons under Castle Greyhawk to be MASSIVE more on the lines of Undermountain).
    Anyways, thanks Chatdemon, you were one of the few people to actually answer my question.
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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:54 pm  

    I'd like to offer a few corrections to some of the above remarks. First, I am not a ghost writer. My name is on the cover of Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works right next to Gary's. I was Gary's co-author, not his ghost writer. Perhaps this is a minor issue of semantics to some folks, but I feel it bears mentioning. Second, Gary and I worked together on the project almost every day. Gary was very hands-on during the creative process. While chatdemon is correct that I was supplied a huge amount of notes during the development of this project, I was never out of touch with Gary. Gary directly revised, expanded, deleted and directed me to alter the text of CZ:UW very regularly as we exchanged the working manuscripts. I also conducted extensive interviews with some original Greyhawk Castle players, including A. Mark Ratner, Ernie Gygax, and Jim Ward -- just to get their unique perspectives. Third, I was not a TLG staff writer, nor were there any TLG staff writers involved. It was just Gary and me. I worked for Trigee Enterprises, and my contract was with Trigee. Simply put, I worked for and with Gary Gygax. TLG published what we supplied them. They copy-edited the work, created the art and cartography, and laid it out for print. That was their job.

    As far as splicing GH Ruins and CZ together, I think there are some excellent ideas above, and I'd also encourage anyone to take from all these works what they wish to use and make it their own. That's what Gary would tell you: make it your own.

    As far as systems go, I think C&C is a fine game and I have used some of its rules and character classes mixed in with AD&D 1e rules -- along with a healthy dose of my own house rules. Rules are just guidelines, eh?

    If anyone has any further questions about my relationship with Gary and how we worked together on the project, I'll be happy to answer them. I think canonfire is a great site, and I don't visit it enough! :)

    Cheers,
    Jeff Talanian
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:18 pm  

    Glad to see dsdm23 got his happy ending, and thanks to Ghul for posting some insightful info regarding the writing of CZ: TUW.

    Happy
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:41 pm  

    Hey Ghul! Well lets have it! Since you were working with the MAN, how about some feedback on your CZ upper works project. I haven't seen it but I hear it is huge. You pretty satisfied with it? Do you believe it would make a defenitive Castle Greyhawk campaign for AD&D? What were G. Gygax's impression of it (not sure how much of the completed draft he actually saw b4 he passed). Thanks!
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:10 am  

    Heh... nice to see that letter I posted so long ago is still being useful for folks. Bit of trivia: I actually sold the original, along with my original copy of Greyhawk Ruins, on eBay. I wonder what ever happened to it...

    Anyhoo... my recommendation is unfortunately conflicted. While Greyhawk Ruins is a fine module in and of itself, it seems to me that it's not quite enough of a sandbox. There seems to be an effort to develop a plot, which I feel is somewhat counter to what any version of the famous Castle should be.

    However, Castle Zagyg is woefully incomplete. The Upper Works are extensive, but there is only a single underground level (although there are obviously entrances to lower levels marked). My own intention was to wait until the second boxed set came out, and I had a good half-dozen or so dungeon levels, before I set my players loose in it. However, that might not ever happen, given what little we know about what's going on between Gygax Games and Troll Lord Games.

    If TLG ends up coming out with a complete version of the Castle, I would definitely recommend that, based on what I've seen in Upper Works. If not, I would wait to see what GG intends to do; they could end up publishing their own version. If things are just... done... then I would personally use Upper Works as the launching point and build your own dungeon levels to match. There are a number of places on the web that you can mine for ideas and inspiration based on what was in the dungeon that Gary ran (Grodog's website being one of the best).

    I would not use Greyhawk Ruins; I would rename and relocate them someplace else in the Flanaess, making slight adjustments to take out or change the most overt Zagyg references. They're still a pretty nifty dungeon, and worth a lot of gaming time, but I think it would be better to set them up as a ruin outside of Niole Dra or Dyvers or something. (Actually, thinking about it, there's a certain amount of poetic justice in that notion, considering that Greyhawk and Dyvers are great rivals in the campaign, with Dyvers usually coming out worse in the comparison, that Dyvers should have its own set of ruins as well, which are slightly-not-as-nifty as those near Greyhawk).

    I would not try to mix-and-match Upper Works and Greyhawk Ruins. Personally, I find the design styles too dissimilar. I might very well do a bit of a comparison on my own blog, as an accompanying piece to my review of Upper Works.

    Hope that helps.

    Joe

    http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com
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    Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:37 pm  
    2nd Edtion Era

    Wasn't 2nd Edition the era of getting rid of anything that Gary Gygax had his name on it? I have that impression and always figured that the Greyhawk Ruins module didn't have any of Gary's actual castle in it (any one of the versions of his). From the posts I just read above it seems like TSR may have used Gary's notes to make Greyhawk Ruins. That would be news to me. But if they did, I would think that they would have had to credit him.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:48 pm  

    Not notes, but recollections from players that had adventured there.

    Scott
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    Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:35 am  

    Well, for those that haven't heard, Gygax Games pulled the license for Castle Zagyg. No reason was given and I'm not sure one would be accepted by a number of folks who are put out over the decision. Only time will tell if it is completed. I for one am not happy in the least.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:23 pm  

    Yep. It's already being discussed here(see the links in the first two posts):

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=3391&sid=9df555bcb3023b54d507f408cf5a1d97

    It looked like things were really starting to roll along with CZ, so hopefully there won't be a very big delay in continuing the series. Once again it's a wait and see thing.
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    Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:40 am  

    dsdm23 wrote:
    Hey Ghul! Well lets have it! Since you were working with the MAN, how about some feedback on your CZ upper works project. I haven't seen it but I hear it is huge. You pretty satisfied with it?


    Hello dsdm23, and thank you for the questions. I am very satisfied with CZ:UW. My largest regret is that Gary did not have to opportunity to see the printed project. Feedback appears to be positive thus far, and I've enjoyed reading some of the reviews and play-by-posts scattered across the net.

    Quote:

    Do you believe it would make a defenitive Castle Greyhawk campaign for AD&D?


    No. Perhaps it is antithetical to the intention of this site (or maybe I am wrong, and that "canonfire" is but a clever pun), but I scarcely subscribe to canon, particularly when it comes to Greyhawk. I have seen "official" products (canon) that I do not enjoy, and fan material (non-canon, right here at CF!) that is of superior quality. Hence, I am reluctant to state that any published version of Greyhawk Castle be classified as "definitive," per se. I would leave this in the hands of the individual DMs of the world, most of whom are very creative and imaginative folks. "Make it your own," is what Gary used to say.

    Quote:

    What were G. Gygax's impression of it (not sure how much of the completed draft he actually saw b4 he passed). Thanks!


    Gary was pleased with it. He was never effusive in his praise as I developed the work, and he mostly went directly after those components that I needed to correct, revise, scrap, or rewrite. But when he did offer praise, he would tell me, "Good show, Jeff!" and other like remarks, all of which I've preserved as personal mementos. Most of Gary's harshest criticisms came during the earliest months of the project, when I really did not have a grasp of what he wanted. These largely dealt with Zagyg's motivations, all of which Gary was adamantly opposed to. He directed me to attribute no convoluted motive to the Mad Archmage, and after a few verbal beatings, I started to "get it." Once this was firmly established in my own mindset, I actually felt liberated, and Gary and I went back and forth with many of the odd and whimsical encounters contained in Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works and many others that I would have continued developing had he not passed away.

    By the end of the project (before Gary passed away, obviously), we were working like a well-oiled machine, and he began to lean on me and trust me with the development of the present and future Castle Zagyg works. He'd by then provided me with many tools -- outlines, encounters, anecdotes, recollections, tables, charts, adventure springboards, and some new ideas as well. We had many conversations regarding the future works of Castle Zagyg, the grand scope of it all. We also discussed many of the legendary encounters that have been discussed in Dragon magazine over the years, and online by Gary at his various Q&A sessions. It was an honor and a pleasure to have worked for and with the greatest mind in FRPGs, and I will never forget the experience.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Best,
    Jeff T.
    GreySage

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    Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:19 am  

    Ghul wrote:
    No. Perhaps it is antithetical to the intention of this site (or maybe I am wrong, and that "canonfire" is but a clever pun)


    It's just a pun. The contributors to this site compile, elaborate on, undermine, gleefully rewrite, shoot out of guns, and incinerate canon as they please.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:01 pm  

    Ghul: From the Canonfire site FAQ-

    What does Canonfire! mean?

    Canonfire! is a term coined by Erik Mona (Iquander). Its a pun on so many levels, but think of it as taking pre-existing canon (all the books and adventures ever created for Greyhawk) and setting it on creative fire. Let a thousand Greyhawks bloom. This site was built by GH DMs, for GH DMs and we hope to be a great resource for them.

    Ready, aim, fire!


    Nothing is sacrosanct(unless it is meant to be). Wink
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