Sunday, January 25, 2009

Castle of the Mad Archmage January Release Now Available!

Well, this was an interesting experience, but I think my initial outing for this project has turned out pretty well. If you look over to the right, you'll see a link to the latest version of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, which conceit has led me to label as WG13, which would have been next in the WG series, had it been continued by TSR.

I'm hosting it through Rapidshare.com, which has the advantage of being free both for me and for those who are downloading the file, but which of course "encourages" users to upgrade to their premium service by imposing artificial wait times to download the file. If anyone knows of a better solution, please let me know and I'll consider it for the February release.

This initial release covers Level 2: The Deep Cellars. You'll find the whole shebang here; introductory material, the dungeon key itself, maps (hand drawn), new monsters, and new magic items. 183 rooms, four maps, 25 pages and clocking in at about 6.5 MB for the pdf (I tried zipping it, but the savings in size was negligible). I've tried to evoke the feel of the old TSR modules from the 1970's, which I know some readers will find atavistic, but to my mind it is a simple extension of the homage which the project as a whole entails. There's no interior art, which I've always found a bit weird, seeing as it is destined for the DM's eyes alone.

As far as the content goes, only time will tell if you, faithful readers, gel to it. I've tried to create something which will be fun in actual play, as well as being at least in the general direction of the spirit of the original. I make no pretense that my effort is anything even approaching the level of the original Gygax (and Kuntz) dungeons, but hopefully it'll serve. Plus, I might point out that some things that seem odd right now might seem better once more levels are published and some cohesion begins to be apparant. For those curious about the genesis of this project, please see this post.

And if anyone has a problem with the creative decisions I made, or notices that the stairs don't line up, or finds other great faults with it, I will gladly refund your share of every penny this module has put in my pocket. :-)

23 comments:

Jeff Rients said...

Awesome! I'm downloading as I type this!

Amityville Mike said...

Ditto to what Jeff said.

As for hosting options, you might want to look into Orbitfiles as an option. I've been using them since around Christmas time to distribute my own mad ramblings and other than one minor hiccup when they changed my free account to the paid one after the initial trial, I've not run into any problems so far. The change back to the free account was quickly done all on my end with no fee accrued. I'm still in my early experience with them, but it works for what I'm doing so far.

grodog said...

You just bumped my reading for the evening, Joe! :D

Allan.

Chris said...

You rock!

After Gygax Games pulled the Castle Greyhawk (Zagyg) license from Troll Lord Games, I was crestfallen... convinced that the great dungeon would never see the light of day.

Thanks to fans like you the spirit of Gary lives on.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Great! I look forward to seeing this develop!

digitalrust said...

Try drop.io for distribution. It doesn't require registration, lets you choose your own url, and up to 100MB is free for one year.

Dan of Earth said...

You could also go with Lulu and we could get this up on the OSR Lulu group page.

Thalmen Dahr said...

Looks great so far. Just a heads up for the next iteration, in the Recommended Reading appendix you have Garden of the Plantmaster listed as c. 2007 rather than 1987.

Chgowiz said...

I never played in Greyhawk (I never really have played in any of the published D&D settings aside from a module here and there) but I know it is a pillar of D&D. For you to publish something that is your love against a pillar takes some stones, and I can respect that. I'm really looking forward to reading this and I wish you much luck as you publish more adventures.

Will said...

I hope that you are able to finish this series. Perhaps I could then print the whole thing out and use it in conjunction with the Upper Works.

I take it that your version will include the Black Reservoir and other such published details on the Greyhawk dungeons?

Joseph said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words. They are most appreciated!

Delta said...

I think this is fantastic. I definitely love the format of the entries. Thanks for gifting us with this!

Akrasia said...

Thanks for making this available! I'm looking forward to reading it ...

Zachary The First said...

Just finished reading this. You sir, deserve a drink and perhaps a parade. Excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT work. Please, tell us WG14 isn't far behind!

(I use mediafire for my hosting, which is pretty nice).

Matt Finch said...

Phenomenal!
By the way, trying to get in touch with you - could you PM me at DF, or K&KA or S&W? I check those three daily.
Matt Finch (Mythmere)

Joseph said...

Just sent you a private message over at Dragonsfoot, Matt.

And if you (or anyone) need to get hold of me, my email is in the lower-right corner of the blog.

Will said...

I've finished reading now. What a brilliant product. A perfect format for this great dungeon.

I plan to pay you in gratitude if you finish the series in this kind of style. I'm not sure I could spare more than a few hundred dollars, but I hope you'll accept it. At the very least, I hope you'll let me donate it to the charity of your choice in your name. You deserve a reward for this calibur of work.

Scott said...

Great rough draft! Looking forward to you fleshing this out to two or three times this length.

Joe said...

Pure Old School Awesomeness! I've decided I'm going to old school map along at home - you can see what I'm doing over at EN World: http://www.enworld.org/forum/4652128-post5.html

Joseph said...

WOW!! Joe, that is incredible!!

What software did you use to make that map? It is perfect!

I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me off-line so I can pick your brain on the cartography (joseph at josephbloch dot com). If it's feasible, I would switch over to that style of map in a heartbeat.

Thanks!

Joe said...

Hi Joe,

Thanks! I dropped you an email.

In case anyone reading is interested, I used Campaign Cartographer 3 from Profantasy Software to do the dungeon map.

jaerdaph said...

Update: I've completed the second map of the southeast section of level two: http://www.enworld.org/forum/4672557-post7.html

I hope to have the last two sections done by Sunday.

Jim said...

Thank you for sharing such a cool module! I'm excited to take a closer look! Great work!