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    Canonfire :: View topic - Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk
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    Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
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    Tue Sep 27, 2022 4:15 pm  
    Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    Long time no post.

    Anyway, I plan on running EttRoG soon, likely sometime next month, and was looking to see if there were any threads or campaign journals out there from others who've already ran it.

    Reading through it, EttRoG makes a better sourcebook than adventure, so I'd like to see how others have filled in the gaps.

    Some observations:

    The adventure seems to start shortly before Richfest, as an “annual market festival” is mentioned (EtRoG.13), for which the best fit may be the “Guild Days” of Richfest 5th & 6th (see tAB.47, 48).

    Lord Henway seems to have replaced Loris Raknian as director of the Free City Arena.

    The BBEG lacks any INT-enhancing magic items. I already ran my group through "Fiend's Embrace" (from Dungeon #121), so I plan on having the cloak make another appearance, much to the PC's chagrin.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
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    Tue Sep 27, 2022 6:25 pm  

    EttRoG is a streamlined version of Greyhawk Ruins. Several plots have been written into it, and areas not relating to those plots have largely been blocked off.

    It also shows clear signs other parties have been through the ruins between Greyhawk Ruins and EttRoG; features have been altered or destroyed and the encounters can be very different.

    EttRoG also has several bits involving people and places in the City of Greyhawk,

    Were I to run it, I'd use Greyhawk Ruins and EttRoG as companions to each other and back off on the plotlines.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3283
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    Wed Sep 28, 2022 7:26 am  

    Vulcan wrote:
    EttRoG is a streamlined version of Greyhawk Ruins. Several plots have been written into it, and areas not relating to those plots have largely been blocked off.


    I compared and contrasted the two sources takes on the various levels in the Castle Greyhawk wiki entry. Some of the levels have entirely different maps (i.e. they were retconned, not just changed by the passage of time), while in other cases there's clear continuity between the two. Notably, the location of Zagig's prison was moved several levels down in Expedition, and its former location was replaced with the Hall of Memory.

    Agreed that it makes sense to use the two sources in tandem.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 28, 2022 12:47 pm  

    I don't know if these are available anywhere, since the old Wizards site is no more, but when the adventure came out there were three web enhancements of a sort available:

    Errands and Excursions by Jason Bulmahn, which provided additional side quests and tactical encounters

    Greyhawk Ruins Sourcebook for incorporating the adventure into Living Greyhawk, with a lot of useful resources for the Free City found nowhere else

    A web enhancement featuring all of the side quests on cards to give the players
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 28, 2022 12:56 pm  

    I have several related questions, as I've contemplated running an all-Castle Greyhawk-all-the-time campaign whenever my Age of Worms campaign finishes up.

    1) People always say that WG7 Castle Greyhawk is terrible, but there are parts worth salvaging. However, nobody ever specifies what the salvageable parts actually are. I challenge you: What specifically could be yanked or used from that mess as part of a greater Castle Greyhawk campaign?

    2) Should all of the changes and retcons introduced in EttRoG mentioned by Rasgon above be accepted, or are there any locations or encounters better handled/depicted in the old WGR1 Ruins of Greyhawk i.e. that were superior before the retcon?

    3) Were one to create a super Castle Greyhawk, containing everything in WGR1, EttRoG, Castle Zagyg boxset and side-modules, and Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage (plus anything that could be intuited or eventually gleaned of Grodog's astonishing and still-unpublished levels)—how should this be accomplished?

    One way might be to create a larger above-ground fortress area that encompassed all three towers from WGR1 appended to the fortifications in the boxed set, which allows four sets of parallel dungeon levels to be descending from the same super-complex. Does anyone else have interesting ideas for this?
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Thu Sep 29, 2022 10:03 am  

    edmundscott wrote:
    1) People always say that WG7 Castle Greyhawk is terrible, but there are parts worth salvaging. However, nobody ever specifies what the salvageable parts actually are. I challenge you: What specifically could be yanked or used from that mess as part of a greater Castle Greyhawk campaign?


    I would probably ignore the surface buildings in WG7, unless the player characters are somehow transferred to an alternate version of the castle via a magic mirror or other portal. Perhaps Citadel Union, the Tower of Wizardry, and Herzog's Sanctum are part of Castle Greyhawk's equivalent on Uerth. Or, at least, a toned-down version.

    Level 1: Against the Little Guys
    The hook for "Against the Little Guys" involves an urchin in the Bazaar in Citadel Union in the WG7 version of Castle Greyhawk, but I think the whole adventure could be transferred from there to the Low Market in the City of Greyhawk itself, with the dungeon level made part of Greyhawk's Undercity. Did Voyeaux the Whimsical have his minions install a portal to the Random Monster Generator beneath the City of Greyhawk? Was it Zagig Yragerne instead, or another of the Ring of Five? Is Voyeaux the Whimsical a member of the Ring of Five? Or is there another explanation for the weird monsters appearing in Greyhawk's Undercity? Kyuss cultists? The Ebon Triad? A portal created by Heward?

    Level 2: It's My Party and I'll Die if I Want To
    In Greyhawk Ruins room P401 is a circle of runes that teleports characters to various parts of the fourth level of the Tower of Power. Besides the three alcoves representing Law, Chaos, and Neutrality, add a fourth alcove that teleports the PCs to level 2 of WG7.
    Entryway: Replace this room with a room similar to room P402 in WGR1, complete with a floating book identifying this as one of Zagig's mad experiments inquiring into the nature of evil.

    Level 3: Too Many Cooks
    I'd have this level be accessible through the trap door in the dining hall in WG7 level 2, as stated in the adventure itself. The three cooks were once employed by the Ring of Five, but banished here after their fare was found displeasing. If this is part of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, perhaps they served Iggwilv's simulacrum or Vayne.

    Level 4: There's No Place Like Up
    Either ignore the hook, or the random monsters are invading the City of Greyhawk itself (as in my adaptation of Level 1: Against the Little Guys), with Nerof Gasgal directing the adventurers to search Castle Greyhawk for the source of the problem, perhaps. The "entry from anywhere" could be in room P824 of WGR1, leading to the demiplane of Eternal Autumn instead of the suggested destination of Ravenloft. The Levitraitors serve the Ring of Five, or Iggwilv's simulacrum.

    If you don't care for the pun, Ye Secret Tom of Inestimable Knowledges can be replaced with a more standard magical tome, like a Libram of Silver Magic. There might be more keyholes than just the 12, offering clues to levels of the WGR1 version of Castle Greyhawk or Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.

    Level 5: The Name of the Game
    If you can stomach all the 1980s RPG parodies, I would combine this level with level 9 of the Tower of Power. The five apprentices of the Ring of Five who rule level P900 in WGR1 are the same wizards who end up summoning the stack of RPG books in Level 5 of WG7. Area 9 is the same arena as in P904 in WGR1. The "adult samurai mutated turtles" who emerge from the pool in area 21 emerge from the pool in P918 instead, controlled by the aboleth there. Professor Why from Area 17 materializes in P930 instead. You could replace the trapped creatures in P912 with the portals in area 13 of WG7, maybe.

    Your mileage may vary, but I've always loved the escalating horror of the "road to nowhere" mural. You could actually put the various murals pretty much anywhere, perhaps in the summoning room in P914.

    P901: There are two teleportation disks in this room; this would be a good place to add more, to link to levels from other versions of Castle Greyhawk that you wanted to use.
    P907: The library here corresponds to area 15, the study, in WG7's level 5.
    P909: The meeting hall corresponds to area 16, the office, in WG7. It's somewhat of a further walk for the warring groups of slaadi. Note that in WG7, some of the documents here refer to devices from AC11 The Book of Wondrous Inventions, truly the most ambitious crossover in history.

    And I think that even I've lost patience with level 5 of WG7 at this point. That is more than enough.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2001
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    Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:29 am  

    Rasgon, these are fascinating suggestions for how we COULD use the first five levels of WG7 in something approximating a normal Greyhawk campaign, but do these fascinating suggestions suggest your endorsement that we SHOULD use the first five levels of WG7 thus?

    Which is to say what parts of WG7 are actually WORTH the trouble of salvaging?

    If any.
    Sage of Canonfire

    Joined: Jun 28, 2001
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    Fri Sep 30, 2022 1:36 pm  

    Great to see you around, Rob.
    Sage of Canonfire

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    Fri Sep 30, 2022 1:40 pm  

    Also, I have felt for a long time and still feel, the truly great Castle Greyhawk Product has yet to be written and would probably draw inspiration from all these sources, plus the recollections of Gary's old players in interviews.

    It wouldn't be the real thing, in fact it can't be. The real thing probably doesn't match our own head canon for the place. Still, like the Holy Grail, it sits out there tantalizing us.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
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    From: Dantredun, MN

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    Sat Oct 22, 2022 8:47 pm  

    Rob, I agree Expedition is a better sourcebook. It's also a mixed bag whereas WGR1 is overall good. I would run WGR1 as a primary source, tailored to a party, and use parts of Expedition to flesh out areas and add plots as needed.

    I would ditch the 3e magic item shop in the Free City, the scripted encounter with Iuz, and generally make the epic NPC's less involved and have them act through agents.

    edmundscott wrote:

    Which is to say what parts of WG7 are actually WORTH the trouble of salvaging?

    I've ran parts of WG7 for two different campaigns over the years. Not a bad romp for the right group if you accelerate them up two levels for every dungeon they clear, but some players won't like it no matter what. In more serious campaigns, some levels are so silly they're dumb, while other levels are too high-level and monty-hauly.

    The best one to grab for a more serious campaign is definitely Vices 'N Virtues. Scott Bennie shows a true love for Greyhawk, including Graz'zt, a Suel shade, and the only son of Kord to ever appear in a GH publication.

    After that, I had a lot of fun mapping and fleshing out the Citadel Union. It could be a good extra-planner rest stop somewhere in the depths of a more serious castle. It's weird enough to be somewhat inconvenient and trouble players with side-track adventures, but can provide enough provisions, intel, memorable NPC's, and mayhem to keep them coming back.

    Finally, the upper dungeons (L1-4) aren't bad with a few tweaks and could be slipped in to give players a little XP. I wouldn't use more than one or two though. Better to give them adventures in the Free City or its sewers.

    Quote:

    3) Were one to create a super Castle Greyhawk, containing everything in WGR1, EttRoG, Castle Zagyg boxset and side-modules, and Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage (plus anything that could be intuited or eventually gleaned of Grodog's astonishing and still-unpublished levels)—how should this be accomplished?

    The thing is, both Greyhawk Ruins and Castle of the Mad Archmage are GOOD individually. Combining them doesn't really enhance either one and creates a mountain of work. Better to pick one and pour your DM TLC into tailoring it for your players and fleshing out intrigue in the nearby city.

    CotMA can be combined with CZ, Yggsburgh, and Kuntz' modules, if available. While WGR1 can be combined with Expedition. EX1-2 and WG6 work with either.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:16 am  

    edmundscott wrote:
    I have several related questions, as I've contemplated running an all-Castle Greyhawk-all-the-time campaign whenever my Age of Worms campaign finishes up.

    1) People always say that WG7 Castle Greyhawk is terrible, but there are parts worth salvaging. However, nobody ever specifies what the salvageable parts actually are. I challenge you: What specifically could be yanked or used from that mess as part of a greater Castle Greyhawk campaign?

    2) Should all of the changes and retcons introduced in EttRoG mentioned by Rasgon above be accepted, or are there any locations or encounters better handled/depicted in the old WGR1 Ruins of Greyhawk i.e. that were superior before the retcon?

    3) Were one to create a super Castle Greyhawk, containing everything in WGR1, EttRoG, Castle Zagyg boxset and side-modules, and Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage (plus anything that could be intuited or eventually gleaned of Grodog's astonishing and still-unpublished levels)—how should this be accomplished?

    One way might be to create a larger above-ground fortress area that encompassed all three towers from WGR1 appended to the fortifications in the boxed set, which allows four sets of parallel dungeon levels to be descending from the same super-complex. Does anyone else have interesting ideas for this?

    Zagyg being Zagyg, my campaign features three different castles and megadungeons:
    1. Castle Zagyg (CZ/CotMA), his “first draft”, near the Town of Yggsburgh (between Greyhawk and Hardby)
    2. Castle Greyhawk (WGR1/EttRoG), his masterpiece, in the Cairn Hills north of the Free City
    3. Greyhawk Castle (WG7), a knock-off (think MacDonald’s from Coming to America) between Greyhawk and Dyvers
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Thu Oct 27, 2022 6:10 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    I have several related questions, as I've contemplated running an all-Castle Greyhawk-all-the-time campaign whenever my Age of Worms campaign finishes up.

    1) People always say that WG7 Castle Greyhawk is terrible, but there are parts worth salvaging. However, nobody ever specifies what the salvageable parts actually are. I challenge you: What specifically could be yanked or used from that mess as part of a greater Castle Greyhawk campaign?


    I haven't looked at the actual WG7 module in decades, but Russel Bird's fabulous Castle Greyhawk fiction does leverage the WG7 version a bit, which has always stuck out to as the best usage of the module I'd ever seen: https://web.archive.org/web/20070214233354/http://hp3000.empireclassic.com/fiction/midwife.html

    edmundscott wrote:
    3) Were one to create a super Castle Greyhawk, containing everything in WGR1, EttRoG, Castle Zagyg boxset and side-modules, and Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage (plus anything that could be intuited or eventually gleaned of Grodog's astonishing and still-unpublished levels)—how should this be accomplished?


    That's awfully kind of you, JC! :D

    edmundscott wrote:
    One way might be to create a larger above-ground fortress area that encompassed all three towers from WGR1 appended to the fortifications in the boxed set, which allows four sets of parallel dungeon levels to be descending from the same super-complex. Does anyone else have interesting ideas for this?


    That's sort of what I've done in my "newest" version of the upper works, sketched out in 2007 at https://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/gh_castle_grodog_environs-draft_01_low.jpg

    In that design, I wanted to put more "castle" back into Castle Greyhawk, and to somewhat pull in elements from the other published and unpublished versions. including Rob's Castle El Raja Key.

    Rather than creating separate dungeon complexes under each original feature, however, I've instead interleaved the complexes for Castle Greyhawk and Maure Castle/Castle ERK, following the suggestions of Scott Casper and Mike Bridges' Castle Greyhawk web comic at https://castlegreyhawk.blogspot.com/2015/03/ch-3-page-13.html and https://castlegreyhawk.blogspot.com/2015/03/ch-3-page-14.html via gates and teleporters. I've loved this idea (as well as the idea of the cursed original village ruins near the Castle too!) since they first mentioned it. Whether similar magics lead to Castle Blackmoor, the Jakallan Underworld in EPT, the Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg, Undermountain, etc. remains undiscovered in play as yet ;)

    Allan.
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    Allan Grohe (grodog@gmail.com)
    http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html
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