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    The Final Word on Iuz and Company
    Posted on Sat, September 08, 2001 by Toran
    iquander writes "Who were the Nine Demigods imprisoned by Zagig Yragrene beneath Castle Greyhawk?
    Long a question that has plagued and confounded fans of the World of Greyhawk. Presented here is one scholar's answer to this thorny question. Resurrected from the archives, here is what Savant Iquander had to say on the subject before the setting was republished. Even today, it still remains a sound response to the often-asked question.

    Author: Erik "Iquander" Mona

    The Ultimate, Definitive Listing of Iuz's Fellow Prisoners

    by Erik Mona (
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Along with, "how did Iuz help with the Temple of Elemental Evil when he was imprisoned?" and "when did the short war happen?" this question should be bronzed and inducted to the Greyhawk Hall of Fame.

    The exact same topic has come up on Usenet and on the mailing lists countless times already. In short, "officially," the only other prisoner with Iuz in Castle Greyhawk was Wastri. This information comes from "Bathtime for the Hopping Prophet," an adventure card from the City of Greyhawk boxed set.

    Given the fact that there were nine prisoners, and that nearly everything Gygax has ever written has included, in some way the number nine, it's safe to say that there is a pattern here. The basis of this pattern, of course, are the nine celestial alignments. These alignments played a huge role in Gygax's game, and unless I'm mistaken, there's evidence to prove that everyday people perceived alignment as "fact." Anyone else remember "alignment languages"?

    So, it would seem to make sense that Zagig Yragrene, in order to steal a portion of the Obelisk's power, needed to capture nine demigods; one of each alignment. This raises a very real concern. Not counting Mayahaine (because she wasn't on Oerth yet) or Gaknulak (because his ties to Oerth are tenuous, and he rarely visits), Oerth has but two other demigods. If we assume Rudd and Zuoken were brought along for the ride, we're still five demigods short.

    Or are we? I combed through all of the Greyhawk material I could, searching for "forgotten gods." I found quite a few, such as Dalt, Om and Landron, but none of these seemed to be of the "demi" extraction. A few others, however, did. Against the Cult of the Reptile God introduced us to Merikka, the goddess of agriculture (most likely of Oeridian heritage). Likewise, the Forgotten Shrine of Tamoachan introduced us to almost a dozen divine beings once worshipped by the now dormant Olman empire. Of these, Tlatzoteotl and Chitza-Atlan make excellent candidates. Xilonen, the Hairy Mother Goddess of Corn is a slightly less successful match, though I have chosen to retain her as one of Zagig's captives. Finally, one of the pregenerated characters from that module worshipped Stern Alia, patron of Pontylver and most assuredly an Oeridian demigoddess. In fact, I've incorporated her into Oeridian myth as a sort of Virgin-Mary figure, a once-mortal imbued with the seed that begat Hextor and Heironeous (just who's seed it was, I have yet to determine...).

    So, broken down by alignment, let's take a look at the contenders (it should be noted that I've played fast and loose with some of these alignments, as they were not given in the original material).

    The Nine Imprisoned Demigods




    Worshipper's Alignment






    Any Good



    Stern Alia

    Law, Truth





    Amphibians, Bigotry

    LN, LE









    True Neutral


    Physical and Mental Mastry

    N, LN





    Underworld (Mictlan)





    Mother of the Earth






    Chance, Skill

    CN, CG, N




    Deceit, Pain

    Any Evil, CN

    [1] This assumes Wastri's LE "tendencies" were enough to satisfy the conditions of the casting.
    [2] Psyclops mentioned some good reservations about this being's placement on the list last time around, and I don't have much in the way of support for it at the moment. Off hand, I'd say that the Xilonen of Tamoachan was merely an avatar of the thing cut off from the god itself either with the decline in worshippers or the capture of the true deity by Zagig Yragerne. At any rate, another "official" placement in this slot would be much appreciated.
    [3] Another concern last time around is why Zagig, a neutral fellow, would capture a neutral god. My guess is that the formula warranted it, and Zagig wanted divinity so badly that matters of personal ethos were of little concern at the time. In my campaign, Zuoken is still down there. When his followers discover the location of their patron, it is likely some real religious fervor will break out between followers of the servant of the Uncaring One and the servant of the Lady of Perfection.
    [4] Tlazoteotl, the Mother Goddess of the Earth, was probably at one time a lesser goddess. With the fall of the Olman Empire, however, worship of this being waned, and she became of demigod status. She did not take the failure of her people well, and the great ameoboid workbeasts she once bequeathed to the people of Tamoachan de-evolved into hideous creatures called "gibbering mouthers" by Sea Princes explorers.

    Final Note: In the process of composing this, I changed Merikka's alignment from CG to LG, to reflect the much more lawful aspect of agriculture. Those players wishing to keep their information in line with canon will note that Tlazoteotl has no "official" alignment, and that she can easily be moved to the LG spot, allowing Merikka to take up her original CG. The version presented above, in my opinion, is far more satisfying.

    Note: Castle Greyhawk , Zagig Yragrene "
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    Re: The Final Word on Iuz and Company (Score: 1)
    by MerricB on Sun, September 09, 2001
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    The Final Word? Surely not. :)

    If this is ever settled, what do we have left to argue about? (I know, Iuz and the Short War)

    Of course, there's always Rob Kuntz's list, lovingly compiled and printed in Oerth Journal #7, which I'm sure the Savant Iquander is aware of. I certainly hope so, because he edited that issue!

    Of course, I do wonder what version of the World of Greyhawk we're discussing here - given there are infinite variations of Oerth, just as there are of Aerth and Earth...

    In any case, I will just close by thanking Savant Iquander for (once more) a scholarly article, and to note that if one takes this list as correct, Zagyg has in the past captured other deities than those listed by Iquander, as Olidammara was once trapped by Zagyg (per the 1983 Guide to the World of Greyhawk, page 73).

    One wonders in this case, whether Zagyg may be left free to act on Oerth for long in the future. Surely he has enraged most of the powers by now!

    Merric, the Dreamer-Minstrel

    9's and why not Fraz? (Score: 1)
    by grodog on Sun, September 09, 2001
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    What other instances of nines are there in EGG works? We have the nine alignments, of course, but what other nines does EGG regularly use?

    We all know that Fraz was captured by Zagig, I'd like to know why the general tendency is NOT to count him among the nine imprisoned demigods?

    Discuss :-)


    Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Update (Score: 1)
    by Taras on Mon, September 10, 2001
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    The ever-popular LGG alters this thesis slightly. Merikka and Rudd were canonized as having been prisoners of Zagig Yragrene, and it is implied that Zuoken is still a prisoner, based on the date of his disappearance (505 CY), which coincides perfectly with the time of Iuz's imprisonment.

    This brings us to Iuz, Wastri, Rudd, and Merikka as official victims of Zagig's Imprisoning Madness, and Zuoken as a possible fifth.

    I wonder how long it'll take before the remaining four demigods are officially named somewhere...

    Re: The Final Word on Iuz and Company (Score: 1)
    by Man-of-the-Cranes on Thu, March 21, 2002
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    Am I missing something? Where is Cuthbert?

    Man of the Cranes

    Re: The Final Word on Iuz and Company (Score: 1)
    by Iggwilv on Sun, July 27, 2003
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    In response to the above comments... a demon lord is a potent force, but for the most part not a demi-power. Also, I don't believe Cuthbert was imprisoned, hence his absence on the chart. Plus EGG has a tendency to prefer imprisonment of EVIL (though I like the 9s theory proposed above), so any good deity would likely be relatively obscure. I think it has something to do with his love of "pulsing purple rune covered altars which induce madness" and that sort of thing.

    Re: The Final Word on Iuz and Company (Score: 1)
    by SirXaris on Thu, April 21, 2011
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    I think most of the concerns can be satisfactorily answered by simply assuming that those who originally discovered that several divine powers had been imprisoned by Zagyg used the term 'demi-god' interchangeably with 'avatar'.

    Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that even greater gods could have been imprisoned - that is, one of their many avatars, being of demi-god power, were what Zagyg managed to imprison within the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.


    Re: The Final Word on Iuz and Company (Score: 1)
    by coach008 on Fri, October 10, 2014
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