Future of the Castle of the Mad Archmage

With the change of direction my online gaming work has taken, a couple of folks have asked about my intentions vis-a-vis the Castle of the Mad Archmage, my extension/ continuation of “Castle Zagyg” as originally published by Troll Lord Games.

The way I see it, I’ve got three options. One, continue on with it as it is currently envisioned, detail the the remaining six levels, and then put it up for folks to use as they will. Two, retool (or cannibalize) it for whatever new system and setting I eventually come up with. Three, leave it as-is. Of the three options, I’m pretty much ruling out the first unless there’s a vast push-back and the prospect of actually making money on it. It does take an enormous amount of work.

I did mention that my new sandbox setting will have a tentpole. However, given that everything is in such an embryonic state, I can’t foresee whether the “classic random megadungeon” is going to be a good fit as that tentpole. I’ve got some other ideas which might, I think, be both fresher and more exciting, and yet quite in keeping with the structural function of the classic megadungeon.

So, for now, work on CotMA is officially halted, with one possible exception. Joe B. is in the process of working on the maps for level 7. What I might do is produce a final version with those maps included, but the whole being unkeyed, allowing the DM to develop the level and then move on to the deeper depths full-blown. Sort of a “soft take-off”. We shall see if that works out.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

8 thoughts on “Future of the Castle of the Mad Archmage

  1. What about taking donations like people do for free software developers make? A module today is about $20.00 right? I'd pay that to help see the Castle of the Mad Archmage completed.

  2. Joe,
    I admire your work. You don't owe the community anything (like George R.R. Martin, you're not our bitch) but there are a substantial number of people who were appreciating and using your work in Castle of the MadArchmage.

    Here in Seattle, we've got two DMs running a community of 15 players through an Yggsburgh/Zagyg sandbox set in Greyhawk. It's only all of three months old, and the players have only recently glimpsed the walls of Castle Zagyg. But we've already had to turn away players (mostly due to lack of table space).

    In fact I conned the other DM into this in part with your castle levels.

    I know we'd participate in either a donation (per level – I've seen web fiction authors do such a thing by chapters) or purchase.

    verification word: surer

  3. Joe,

    Count me in. I'd definitely pay for more levels of the Castle. I'm prepping a campaign right now in which it would see a lot of use, alongside its sister and spiritual comrade, Castle Zagyg.

    You don't owe us a thing, and I can't thank you enough for the wonderful legacy you continued, but I would be saddened and disappointed if this didn't continue. Whatever your decision, thank you so much for what you've done up to this point.

  4. Walking in another designer's shoes is never the same as making your own shoes (and road, and sky, and…). I've enjoyed the CotMA, and while I would love to see you continue it, I respect your decision one way or the other Joe, and you have already accomplished a great deal, and rendered a wonderful service to the Greyhawk fan community as a whole.

    So, on behalf of all of us still our here, Thank You! 😀


  5. Add me to the crew of people who actually love CoTMA and would pay for it if you continue it.
    Althought, as others said, I thank you because the current levels are a great inspiration and a very good work and respect your decission whatever it'd be.
    Even if it's discontinued, I'd point at it and say to everyone that's how a megadungeon is designed.

  6. I want this product very, very much!

    I consider it to be the single best "product" thing to come out if the old-school community so far, to include Kellri's Old-School Encounter Reference, Fight On! and Knockspell, etc.

    I'm not a rich man, so I couldn't promise you more than a few hundred bucks for it, but I will pay.

    After so many false starts and broken promises, to not see this project completed yet again… How terrible that would be!

    And, for what it's worth, I do consider your work to be the most "genuine" take on this project available, as per its great quality and the endorsement of the late EGG's own collaborator.

    Please keep going!

  7. No!!! You can't leave this unfinished! That's like the dating your dream woman, you get her shirt off, and then she abruptly gets up and leaves! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

    Seriously though, what do you need to finish this? Some technical help? I know you mentioned Joe B. is doing the maps, but if you need any more assistance with that I can help.

    If you want any help, PM me on Dragonsfoot (I'm Druvas there, too…)

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