CotMA: Castle of the Mad Archmage
The ruins of the fabled fortress of Zagyg, tyrant of Greyhawk and lunatic warlock of unparalleled magick power. Commissioned by the Mad Archmage early in his reign, the castle was never completed — it only grew in complexity and opulence. When towers could be raised no higher, the wizard commanded that vaults be dug deep into the earth below.
Exactly 101 years after seizing power, Zagyg, his household, retainers, pets, and slaves, vanished without a trace. All that remained was his preposterously large manse; magnificent spires of metal, stone and crystal perched high upon a bluff surveying the river valley below. The reputation of the dread wizard was such that his successors quickly ordered the castle sealed off and left to rot. For decades it remained forgotten and unexplored.
Eventually, word spread that the seal had been breached — northern barbarians were spotted in Greyhawk bearing golden coins of the wizard’s own mint. Suddenly the castle was heralded as a place of grand adventure, abounding with the rich rewards of a century of despotism. A place of derring-do, where the common man might seize the means to a better life. Freebooters of all description flocked to the castle. They cleared the upper precincts and prepared for deeper expeditions.
The maze below was not uninhabited; it teemed with humanoids, fell beasts, eldritch horrors, and fiendish tricks and traps as well. Every monster slain was soon replaced — and in greater number than before. For every adventurer that returned with treasure, another returned maimed and raving mad, and a great many more returned not at all. Soon it became too dangerous to go below, and the flood of gold and Freebooters slowed to a crawl.
And so it was that Zagyg’s Castle was thenceforth lost to its many seekers. Years passed and the place was scarcely sought – an enigma, a curiosity mentioned in passing if not forgotten. But lately, most inexplicably, the castle is again the subject of hushed whispers. It is said that easy treasure has returned to the upper levels, that what was once empty is filled again.
The call of adventure issues anew! Will you brave to the terrors of the ancient castle, enter its hellish precincts and claim wealth and glory beyond reckoning?
Things you might overhear in a bar…
- There are many hidden entrances to Castle dungeons, scattered about the nearby environs
- The dungeon itself is sentient, and despises uncertainty and fear among those who enter
- Corpses left in the dungeon are rarely found again, and always with the skull missing
- Undead creatures cannot pass a line of salt
- All water found in the dungeon is either poisonous or magical; drink at your own risk
- Burning sage will keep a chamber clear of monsters for at least one year
- Compasses and maps are unreliable whilst in the dungeon
- During the last dungeon boom, a band of Dwarfs setup a toll in one of passages
- A Goblin’s feet are the most sensitive part of their body, not unlike a man’s testicles
- One of Zagyg’s treasures was Supreme Crown of Mederon, capable of vastly increasing intellect
- Many denizens of the dungeon recoil from bright light
- Angsaar, magic claymore of Kargoth the Destroyer, was once stored in Zagyg’s treasuries
- There are portals to many worlds within the dungeon. Some of these worlds only exist in fiction
- The deepest levels of the labyrinth are connected to Hell itself
- Any who dare sleep inside the dungeon may wake to find themselves trapped in the Dreamlands
- There is a fantastic machine within the dungeon that can permanently alter gender
- It is said that Zagyg once owned 2 of the fabled Swords of Balance; Elsenrail & Glomenthal
- Scarlet-clad monks have been seen asking about the castle, and poking about the ruins