grodog's Greyhawk Castle Archive -
Sources Details (Chronological)
(Before the rules for D&D were published '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.
third featured a torture chamber and many small cells and prison rooms.
The fourth 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 inconvenient spots, naturally
up by appropriate numbers of Wereboars. The seventh was centered around
a circular labyrinth and a street of masses of ogres. The eight 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 corridors which was full of poisonous creatures with no treasure.
welve was filled with Dragons. The bottom level, number thirteen, contained
an inescapable slide which took the players clear through to China, from
where they had to return via 'Outdoor Adventure'. It was quite possible
to journey downward to the bottom level by an insidious series of slanting
passages which began on the second level, but the likelihood of following
such a route unknowingly didn't become too great until the seventh or
eight level. Of the dozen or so who played on a fairly regular basis,
the lowest level and took the trip: Rob Kuntz, now a co-referee in the
campaign went alone; and three of his fiends managed to trace part of
his route and
blunder along the rest, so they followed him quickly to the land of China.
- Side levels included a barracks with Orcs, Hobgoblins anf Gnolls continually
warring with each other, a museum, a huge arena, an underground lake,
a Giant's home, and a garden of fungi.)
Those who have explored the countryside between the bustling city of Greyhawk
and the castle ruins of the same name which lie on the hill not a league
to the east of the city will testify to the fact that there are a number
of strange tunnels and wells about. Wise folks avoid them, for they know
that these are but entrances to the fiendish maze of dungeons, pits, labyrinths,
crypts, catacombs, and caverns which honeycomb the hill and the rock
far beneath it. There are those, however, who eagerly seek these ways,
is likewise well-known that incalculable treasure also rests within these
Lessnard chose one of the outside entrances to the lower levels of the dungeons, knowing it would save both time and the risk of unwished for encounters with wandering monsters....
The whole of this special fantasy milieu will
be published by New Infinities in stages. Eventually details will be
revealed in novels as well, but the
main information will come to you in various accessory and game scenario
products. We hope to have the first installment ready by late summer
or early fall . Two collaborators are
working along with me to create an up-to-date version of the campaign I
began in 1972. That's right, Perceptive Peruser, the fantasy milieu
from which the D&D and AD&D
game systems sprang will be revealed to you, beginning then. My two (extremely
able) co-workers will help me get together full details of the original
Castle and Dungeon
setting used in those halcyon days, the original City setting ditto, and
Atlas/Gazatteer books detailing the complete world.
It might interest you to note new material regarding rules and mechanics
in these works, for I will include appropriate new concepts drawn from
the system that I am designing now.
Scenarios which are not directly connected to the immediate vicinity of
the castle and city will be done occasionally, too. These will be identified
as belonging to the
campaign, and as with all of the products, will be offered to you under
MASTER logo. Now underway is one called NECROPOLIS.
If you liked the module I wrote called TOMB
OF HORRORS, you'll love this one!
The same is true of works of general or generic fantasy sort. I have one
or two such books in mind, even roughly outlined. Time constraints are
such that they'll not be done soon,
unless I find a co-author (the right one!). The work I am most anxious
to do would cover the planes of negative/evil existence. Even though there
is a work of such nature
available, what I plan is something with a lot more blood and thunder --
and new ideas, including magical powers and items, of course. Coupled with
new thoughts on the subject of
magic, and a more extensive statistics treatment, I am convinced fantasy
game buffs will find it worthwhile.
Games. I am working on a new game, as well as doing some preliminary development
in the fantasy genre too, as I mentioned above. What is the genre of the
new game? What is it called? That I must keep quiet about
for now. As all Wise Readers are aware, this is a competitive field, and
somehow I have a sneaking feeling that what I am doing is watched. Anyway,
between that and the FRP game,
my current work in design is pretty well covered. [Gary Gyagx, "Sanctum
of the Savant" column in Realms of Adventure newsletter
(Volume 1, Number 1; Summer 1988), from New Infinities Productions]
Greyhawk Castle Details
A Note About Sources
I've compiled the sources for all of the details on this page on
my Greyhawk Castle Sources page.
- the castle ruins (as go up into towers, etc., level of difficulty
- an old dry cistern
- under a pool of quicksand
- a simple hole in the ground---all from Joe
"Hints for D&D Judges - Part 3 The Dungeons" in The Dragon 2 (August
judges of D & D,
new and old alike, think of an entrance
to the dungeons, the greater percentage think of an old
ruined castle somewhere outside their town. And many of this
same group have the mistaken impression that there is only one
entrance to every dungeon. Both these ideas are wrong. True, the
famous game of Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz is built around and
under Greyhawk Castle, but this is far from being the only entrance.
Besides the castle, I have discovered an entrance through
an old dry cistern and another entrance that is under a pool of
quicksand, and even an entrance in a simple hole in the ground.
- Greyhawk city sewers, via an underground stream (connects to the
Temple of the Elder Gods, which may connect to the Castle [the Temple is half-way between
the City and Castle], and a hollow stump with a hole downward also connects to the Temple
(all from RJK's stuff)
- I added a large cave in the side of the hill (lair of a black
dragon, with direct or indirect ties to dungeon levels 1-4);
- Exits: as above, plus the chute to China, cursed scrolls
(to Starship Warden [TD17], Mars, Wonderland [EX1, EX2], King Kong [WG6], etc.)
- from EX1 Dungeonland
- Introductory comments (page 2): "This module, while
originally conceived for and used in the Greyhawk Castle dungeon complex, is such that it
can be added to virtually any campaign. It has an "EX" designation to
indicate that it is an extension of a regular dungeon level. In the case of this
module, it is a far-removed extension level where all adventuring takes place on another
plane of existence that is quite unusual, even for a typical AD&D Universe.
This particular scenario has been a consistent favorite with Adventurers new to the
overall GREYHAWK CAMPAIGN, and it is presented here for the amusement and
delight of jaded players everywhere!"
- Dungeon Master's Preface (page 2): "At a convenient
point---for you, not for the party---have them fall info a pit or have a passageway
suddenly become a perpendicular shaft. Then have them descend, ever so slowly, into
the 'front door' of Dungeonland."
- Afterword (page 27): "A similar
scenario was an early part of Castle Greyhawk. The
adventurers came upon it quite by accident after about a year
of play. They were ready for it: not only did they
thoroughly enjoy the change of mood, but they were very much
tested by the encounters in the place. (I DMed this strictly
and in a very touch manner.) They came back
time and again for more adventures, going from Dungeonland to The
Land Beyond the Magic Mirror and back again quite a
number of times.
Eventually the original players---Ernie Gygax, Rob Kuntz, Terry
Kuntz, Don Kaye, Mike Mornard, Don Arndt, Chip Mornard, Skip
Williams, Brian Blume, and quite a few
others---began to slip away to other campaigns and other pursuits
(I was running the campaign only sporadically then, for business
demanded most of my time)."
- Allan's comment: this dates these levels to c. 1974-1975??
[check timeline from Dragon Annual and Jolly Roger book]
- from EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror
- Introductory comments (page 2): "This module is the
companion to Dungeonland and was originally part of the Greyhawk Castle
dungeon complex. It is designated so that it can be added to Dungeonland,
used alone, or made part of virtually any campaign. It has an "EX"
designation to indicate that it is an extension of a regular dungeon level---in the case
of this module, a far-removed extension level where all adventuring takes place on another
plane of existence that is quite unusual, even for a typical AD&D universe.
This particular scenario has been a consistent favorite with adventurers new to the
overall Greyhawk Campaign, and it is presented here for the amusement and delight of jaded
- Dungeon Master's Preface (page 2): "The entry point
for The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror" will be shown on the proper
level of the Greyhawk Castle Dungeon sereis when it is finally done.
As that is likely to be years from now, it is probable that you will be inserting
this module into your existing campaign."
- Afterword (page 26): "Years ago this particular area
was a part of a special level of the Castle Greyhawk dungeon. When the players
finally came upon the place, they were ready for a change and came away refreshed"
- from S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
- Preface comments (page 2): "This module was begun
early in 1976 when TSR was contemplating publication of a science fantasy role playing
game. Jim Ward had already shown us some rough notes on METAMORPOSIS ALPHA; I
thought it would be a splendid idea to introduce Jim's game at Origins II, and introduce
the concept to D&D players by means of the tournament scenario. I laid out the
tournament from old "Greyhawk Castle" campaign material involving a spaceship,
and Rob Kuntz helped me to populate the ruined vessel. Both this scenario and
METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA proved successful, but whlie the latter has been continually available
since mid-1976, only a few copies of the tournament dungeon used for Origins II have been
- from Dungeon Masters Guide
- The Ongoing Campaign comments (page 112): "But if
serious purpose is integral to a successfully ongoing campaign, there must be moments of
relief as well. Such counterplots can be lesser and different themes within the
whole, whether some side dungeon or quest, a minor altercation between petty nobles, or
whatever. Occasional "pure fun" scenarios can be conducted also.
That is, moments of silliness and humor help to contrast with the grinding
seriousness of a titantic struggle and relieve participants at the same time. After
all, ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is first and foremost a game, a pastime for fun and
enjoyment. At times the fun aspect must be stressed. Thus, in my
"Greyhawk Campaign" I included an "Alice in Wonderland" level, and
while it is a deadly place, those who have adventured through it have uniformly proclaimed
it as great fun because it is the antithesis of the campaign as a whole. Similarly,
there are places where adventurers can journey to a land of pure Greek mythology, into the
future where the island of King Kong awaits their pleasure, or through the multiverse to
different planets, including Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure", where they hunt
sequins in the Carabas while Dirdir and Dirdirmen hunt them."
- Mutants & Magic (page 113): "Readers of THE DRAGON
might already be familiar with the concept of mixing science fantasy and heroic fantasy
from reading my previous article about the adventures of a group of AD&D characters
transported to via a curse scroll to another continuum and ending up admist the
androids and mutants aboard the Starship Warden of METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA."
This refers to the Gygax article from The Dragon #17 (date), "Faceless Men and
Clockwork Monsters" (pages ), and Jim Ward's follow-up article in The Dragon # ,
- level 2 has a magic pool that continuously emits snakes
- At least 12 levels down with at least 12 sub-levels; caverns
under all of the levels (one with a gate to WG6)
- Living Room
- Machine Level (see Jim Wards description
in TD 17 and S3 intro): "The Future or Machine Age: While some steady
think that I harp on this topic too much, the first time I came in
with a level of this type was in the “mighty” castle of
by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz. Imagine conveyor belts that force players
to travel in one direction or another, a cellophane machine that
wraps you up no matter how big or small you are and puts you in a
Vol. III No. 3
holding area for as long as it takes to rip yourself out, how about
press that shapes anything in its path into a bottle top (Boy, can
hurt!), or a row of blades that cut in a pattern on the belt with a
chance that any given blade will cut you? Try a slot machine that takes
only large sums of gold and with the flip of the handle takes a random
magic item from the party, and how about a lever that turns on something
way off in another part of the level (like a robot or level clean up
machine) that you can’t know about until you travel to that part
level? The treasures of this level could easily be more fun than the
imagine bottle tops made out of mithril on wine bottles; how about
guns and pistols that work; a set of chain mail made out of a super
and light alloy that acts like plus 5 armor and shows no magical traits;
how about a huge pile of gold dust in a large plastic bubble that isn’t
small enough to get out the door and can’t be cut by anything
a plus 5 sword?
- Garden of the Plant Master
- Bottle City (created by Kuntz, see auction/bibliography)
- museum from another age
- underground lake (this is quite likely the Black Reservoir: http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/gh_castle_black_reservoir1.html)
(note: adits to/fro the Nyr Dyv via the Black Reservoir? may link to
- caverns with giant fungi
- bowling alley for 20 tall giants
- area of evil
- central shaft
- Vancian Dir Dir level
- Greek mythology level
- modern age ("From the Sorcerer's Scroll" in
The Dragon #30 (October 1979):
Mugger” points out that
there is also a battleground out on the dark metropolitan streets.
If the criminals are combined with the police, the
challenge to the safety of a group of hapless adventurers thrown
such a setting would be interesting indeed — especially when
of speeding traffic, high-voltage wires, machinery, and the rest
technology we take for granted is considered.
With these thoughts in mind, I have prepared a special scenario
which will put the adventurers through a short “routine” adventure
in a “
World of Greyhawk” city. This will lead them to a cellar
and a tunnel
which in turn brings them to a sewer and up to a subway tunnel.
The power which brings the party to this place will probably cause
in the city, so for a time the players will be uncertain where
they are. If it
all works as well as I think it will, the report of the game will
for publication in a future issue.
In the city setting, magic will work, although cleric spells above
level will not. Of course, firearms also work. The perils of the
street gangs, muggers, criminals of other sorts, citizens with karate
training or able to box, those with guard dogs, etc. — will
numerous and different. Weapons aren’t difficult to rate according
damage. Electricity will be interesting — low-tension AC
giving but 1d6 damage (4d6 if the party is well grounded), low-tension
each segment until the victim is freed, and high-tension DC doing
1d20 in the same manner. Cars will inflict 1d4 damage for each
10 mph of
speed. Small trucks will get a d6, large ones a d8, and trains
a d10 for
each 10 mph.
Each special character (guard, policeman, street tough, mugger,
etc.) will be given a level roughly corresponding to those of AD&D
characters, although the type of dice used will be non-standard. If
adventurers survive and manage to return to their own place in the
multiverse, they will have little in the way of treasure — at
least in all
Gunpowder and explosives will not function on the World of Greyhawk.
Lighters and flashlights must be garnered. Perhaps things such
as aluminum arrows, metal bottles (canteens) and plastic containers
prove useful. There will be a jewelry store or two, and an art
trying to loot them will certainly bring police and possibly a
What should prove the real fun of this whole scenario is discovering
the perils of the modem world as DM and seeing how the players
handle them in their roles as fantasy world adventurers. If you
played settings of this type, by all means tell me about the experience,
I can pass it along to the other readers!
- Dungeon Level names:
- from Dragon Annual #2 (1997): The first
version of Castle Greyhawk had dungeon levels enumerated "something
like this" (according to Gygax): Barracks, Storerooms,
Cells, Torture Chambers, Maze, Labyrinth, Catacombs,
Crypts, Arena, "Invisible
Monster" bottom level.
- from Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2000): Ruins/Upper Works,
Vaults, Dungeons, Lower Dungeons, Crypts, (and so forth), Catacombs,
Caves, Greater Cavers, Caverns, Maze = level
13 where Zagyg was manifest and where Robilar/Terik/Tenser sent
- from Up on a
Soapbox Lesson #5 (January 2002): Dungeons,
Catacombs, Crypts, Lesser Caves, Greater Caves, Lesser Caverns,
Greater Caverns; the Labyrinth = level 6
- RJK levels:
- Rob's Temple of the Elder Gods/etc.
Miscellaneous Castle Greyhawk Notes
Entrances: the castle ruins, an old dry cistern, under a pool of quicksand,
a simple hole in the ground (all from Joe Fischers article in TD#2);
Greyhawk city sewers, via an underground stream (connects to the Temple
of the Elder Gods, which may connect to the
Castle [the Temple is half-way between the City and Castle], and a hollow
stump with a hole downward also connects to the Temple); I added a large
cave in the side of the hill
(lair of a black dragon, with direct or indirect ties to dungeon levels
Exits: as above, plus the chute to China, cursed scrolls (to Starship Warden [TD17], Mars,
Wonderland [EX1, EX2], King Kong [WG6], etc.)
level 2 has a magic pool that continuously emits snakes
At least 12 levels down with at least 12 sub-levels; caverns under all of the levels (one
with a gate to WG6)
Machine Level (see Jim Wards description in TD 17)
Garden of the Plant Master
museum from another age
underground lake (this is quite likely the Black Reservoir:
caverns with giant fungi
bowling alley for 20 tall giants
area of evil
Vancian Dir Dir level
Greek mythology level
See OD&D Vol 3 and 1e DMG for sample traps/tricks, as well as the separate
Dungeon Geomorphs Sets 1-3 (not the collected set), as well as the Outdoor
Geomorphs: Walled City
for some details about Greyhawk City; as does the Europa
Use the Unseelie Court as inspiration.
Gary recently mentioned on his EN World thread that there was a demi-plane
connected to the Greyhawk Dungeons he titled A Midsummer's Night's
Nightmare that was populated by dark faerie types.
Note: I havent mined the columns in Up on a Soapbox written
by EGG and RJK for additional materials yet.
So, how do you put all this Greyhawk Castle lore
to use, fleshed out, in an actual game? Continue on to grodog's
Version of Greyhawk Castle.
Return to grodog's
Castle Greyhawk Archive.
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Return to grodog's D&D.
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