Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Castle of the Mad Archmage February Release Now Available!

And here we go with the second installment of my Castle of the Mad Archmage. The new level, "The Dungeons", comes in at 200 encounters, four (hand-drawn) maps, and of course more new monsters and magic items. The format is the same as before, but I changed the color of the cover, so you can easily distinguish between them without having to read. It's 12 MB or so, and 40 pages. As before, the download is in the upper-right corner of this very page.

I took the opportunity to make a few changes to level 2 "The Deep Cellars", including planting the fountain of endless snakes there, and adding a couple of staircases that I had missed the first time out (all those changes are incorporated in the new download). The Greyhawk Construction Company has been busy...

The maps are still the same hand-drawn format they were the first time, but I'm hoping to have the old-fashioned blue maps ready by the time level 4 comes out in March. The excellent cartographer Joe Bardales has volunteered to undertake the task, and I'm thrilled at the final product. My thought at this point is that the maps will be moved into their own map booklet, to make things easier to handle in terms of file size.

The reaction to level 3 was (almost) universally positive and I cannot thank you all enough. The response to this project has been beyond my expectations, and I am glad beyond the telling that you are finding it useful or at least fun to read.

I'm going to take a day or two off, and then it's on to the Lower Dungeons! (And get ready for some gear-shifting on that level. Gotta keep mixing things up!)

17 comments:

Will said...

Obmi!

Again, excells beyond all expectation. It's like you're channeling a certain late, great designer's spirit.

David Macauley said...

I took the opportunity to make a few changes to level 2 "The Deep Cellars"

Do you have a direct link to the original download, so we can get hold of a copy with the changes? For the life of me I can't find it anywhere on this blog. Thanks and great work again with the second instalment.

Joseph said...

The current download has both levels in it (including the updated level 2), so there's no need to download the changes separately. The idea is to keep adding on to the file every time a new level is added.

Zachary The First said...

Huzzah! I have been waiting for this! Thank you, and a double thank you on top!

David Macauley said...

The current download has both levels in it (including the updated level 2), so there's no need to download the changes separately.

How embarrassing, I read the blog and downloaded the file in a hurry this morning, just before I left the house. It was only when I came home later on and actually opened the pdf that I noticed my mistake.

The idea is to keep adding on to the file every time a new level is added.

The file is currently 40 pages long, if you continue to keep updating the one file as you complete levels, it has the potential to become bigger than Ben Hur, both in page count and download size. How big do you envisage the finished project to be? I would like to print this out, but don't want to do so until it has been completed.

Thanks
Dave :)

grodog said...

I'm printing it now, Joe, and can't wait to read the new level (and new additions to level 2) :D

Allan.

The Badger King said...

I look forward to being close enough to a high-speed connection to download this, as 12 megs on dial-up means no phone for the better part of 4-5 hours.

Amityville Mike said...

Joseph,

Excellent stuff yet again. You're doing an incredible job of getting the tone of the dungeon in synch with what I'd imagine Gary's was.

Two questions for you:

#1: Have you thought about what you might do once Pied Piper releases Rob Kuntz's levels? I know you don't say so directly in the module but we can pretty much assume that Castle Zagyg is intended to be plopped atop your homebrew for ease of use. Still to early to consider how Kuntz's levels might affect CotMA?

#2: What font are you using on this? It's not exactly the one used in the old modules but it's close enough. Properties of the .pdf has it listed as a custom font with no name given.

Joseph said...

How big do you envisage the finished project to be? I would like to print this out, but don't want to do so until it has been completed.

Well, it could theoretically go on for forty levels or more, but I'm pretty sure I don't have that in me. The goal for now is to come out with a sold dozen levels this year, and then I might assay a few side-levels afterwards (although one side-level is just demanding to be done sooner than that, and I might try to double-up one month to get it in this year).

As far as it being completed, that might never happen; you might want to print 'em out as they come. (Hint: the retcons of older levels will drop dramatically once I'm two levels past. So, now that I'm working on level 4, level 2 is pretty stable at this point.)

Most of the file size is due to the maps, and I'm hoping switching over to the blue maps will help with that.

Have you thought about what you might do once Pied Piper releases Rob Kuntz's levels?

My plan is to work around Rob's levels, and provide explicit places to plug them in (much like I included a hook for Bottle City on level 2). I will most definitely *not* be creating my own versions of levels he will be releasing, like the Machine Level.

What font are you using on this?

Decker (9 pt). It's as close as I could find, after consulting the TSR/WotC Font FAQ page.

rredmond said...

Happy, happy, joy, joy!
Thanks Rath at DF for the heads up!

James Mishler said...

Sheer awesomeness.

Rath said...

Joe, the sublevel/sidelevel you refer to as demanding to be done... are you talking about the black reservoir?

I have read Gary's article where he describes a group of PCs entering that area (the monster in the water, the descending columns, the wizard they encounter, etc... all great stuff).

BTW, you've done an fantastic job with level 3! With just a few more levels like that you'll become part of greyhawk history yourself. Well done!!

Joseph said...

Joe, the sublevel/sidelevel you refer to as demanding to be done... are you talking about the black reservoir?

Now, now... none of that. Maybe it's the Black Reservoir, and maybe it's something else from the lore. You'll find out eventually.

Rath said...

Hmmmm... I suppose a little mystery is a good thing. I'm intrigued.

Once again Joe, your work is top notch. The "dentist" on level 3 has just the right amount of craziness and deadliness. Can't wait to see more of what you come up with.

Rachel said...

Bravo, Grog. We just completed the first 6 hour session of a 1E Zagyg slog and hope to keep it going, old school style. Dont lose your momentum!

R. Lawrence Blake said...

As a newbie to this dungeon, I have to say that I'm impressed! Very, very cool. I'm showing it off to my co-workers now and everyone is grinning ear-to-ear.

I love this stuff!

Benoist said...

This is some good stuff. Thank you for the download, and good luck on further development of the Castle!