Black Blade to Publish the Castle of the Mad Archmage™

Press Release

02 APRIL 2011

Black Blade Publishing is proud to announce that it has reached an agreement in principle with Joseph Bloch to publish his Castle of the Mad Archmage™ for old school fantasy campaign gaming. While the essential terms of the publishing agreement have been settled for some time, the formal agreement between Black Blade Publishing and Mr. Bloch will likely be signed later this week. Black Blade hopes to have the finished product available in time for Christmas, 2011

Jon Hershberger, President of Black Blade, said, “It is an honor and privilege for Black Blade to publish The Castle of the Mad Archmage in partnership with Joe Bloch. This mega-dungeon is one of the really great old school projects to come out of the old school gaming community in the past five years. It is a mega-dungeon in the grand tradition of the early days of our hobby. I’ve been running scenarios using Joe’s Castle of the Mad Archmage at gaming conventions for the past couple of years. Being a mega-dungeon, the Castle of the Mad Archmage fosters a style of play that differs from gaming scenarios based on traditional adventure ‘modules’ or tournament-style adventures where the objectives and scope are more rigidly defined. With the release of the free pdf version of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, Joe demonstrated his ability to create a setting that serves as both an educational experience for introducing the hobby to new gamers and a challenging adventure locale for veteran gamers.”

The agreement includes the publication and distribution of all twelve of the Castle of the Mad Archmage dungeon levels included in the previously released pdf of the same title, plus two additional levels that Joseph wrote exclusively for inclusion in the Black Blade Publishing release of the Castle of the Mad Archmage. These two additional levels will be

— Surface Level – The Upper Ruins, and

— Level One – The Storage Rooms

The Black Blade release of the Castle of the Mad Archmage will be published with several other design features that will make this a truly stand-out print product, including:

— A 220-240 page hardcover containing the encounter keys and level by level detail for all 14 levels;

— Full-color poster maps on heavyweight stock for all 14 levels;

— A folio or folder to organize and store the poster maps when they’re not in use;

— A deluxe box or slipcase for storing both the level key hardcover and the map folio with all of the poster maps;

— The addition of a number of original black & white interior art pieces to highlight specific set piece encounters or unique features of the Castle levels;

In addition, Black Blade Publishing and Joseph Bloch have discussed plans to release further expansions of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, including several sub-levels and level-expansions for the twelve primary dungeon levels beneath the ruins of the Mad Archmage’s Castle.

Black Blade Publishing launched publicly in June, 2009, with its first adventure module for First Edition gaming. Since that launch, Black Blade Publishing published Swords & Wizardry: Core Rules and Knockspell magazine in partnership with Matt Finch. More recently, Black Blade Publishing partnered with Usherwood Publications to release an imprint of the OSRIC™ rulebook in hardback print format. For additional information, please visit

Black Blade Publishing and the Black Blade sword logo are trademarks of Black Blade Publishing, LLC. “Castle of the Mad Archmage” is a trademark of Joseph Bloch. All other trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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.

30 thoughts on “Black Blade to Publish the Castle of the Mad Archmage™

  1. Congratulations indeed! The CotMA is top notch, and I'm glad Black Blade will make it available for more gamers to enjoy. Very good news.

  2. Gobsmackingly fantastic!

    I am going to buy two of them just so I can retire from the resale value 30 years from now when it is an even more sought after classic.

  3. This is fantastic news. I think this is one of the best dungeons to come out of the OSR and now it's getting a proper release it deserves!

  4. Wow! The perseverance to finish your free WG13 did open the door for future products you can sell. That's awesome. …And you were going to give up. 🙂

  5. Awesome news. Congrats. You can definitely count me in for a copy!

    With the other previously unreleased content, will this also include the fabled Black Reservoir? 😉

  6. Wow, great news. I'm very sorry I missed CZ when it was out but having read through the Castle of the Mad Archmage I can say that it will be the a fantastic product!

Comments are closed.