Tuesday, October 7, 2008

All is Not Well in Yggsburgh

Yesterday, Jeffrey Talanian, lead developer of the Castle Zagyg series produced by Troll Lord Games under license from Gygax Games (formerly Trigee Enterprises), announced the termination of his association with the project and with Gygax Games. In his announcement, Talanian explained that Gygax Games has a "new vision and new interpretation of Gary's legacy." Precisely what this means is unclear, since Gygax Games has not, as yet, come forth with any explanations or clarifications. Indeed, Gygax Games hasn't been forthcoming with any information on its plans since they shut down production of the Lejendary Adventure line at the end of August.

At this stage, what the future holds is simply speculation, of which there's a lot flying around various forums these days. All I know is that Jeff Talanian had been, over the last few years, Gary's chosen protegé. Through his efforts, the Castle Zagyg line had finally begun to make good on the promise it held, after many years of delays. By all accounts -- I still have yet to see a copy -- Castle Zagyg: Upper Works is a supremely good product, one that drips with Gygaxian goodness, thanks in no small part to Jeff Talanian's ability to channel the creativity and cleverness of the Dungeon Master. The idea that anyone could take his place and remain true to Gary's vision for the product line is simply ludicrous. I simply cannot fathom any "new vision" that would benefit from dropping the man whose close work with Gary over the last few years has brought us a product that's as close to the definitive version of Castle Greyhawk as any we'll ever see.

In any case, I'd urge anyone who's interested in Castle Zagyg to snap up any copies they can find now, because there's no telling what the future might hold. I hate to think that Gygax Games might do to it what they did to Lejendary Adventure, but I'm not willing to count on that. I fear that, once again, gamers will be denied seeing the Holy Grail of megadungeons.


  1. This is horrible news. Over at the Troll Lord forum, people have been wondering about the fate of Castle Zagyg: The Dungeons.

    I have a copy of Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works. As a matter of fact, I accidentally bought two copies because I was so eager to get it. It's excellent. It really is wholesome Gygaxian goodness. I'm surprised you don't have a copy already. Also, the Yggsburgh hardback is an excellent sandbox setting.

    All is not lost. Creative DMs can use the store room dungeon level below The Upper Works as a starting point for their own dungeon levels. There are at least a half dozen "stairs leading down to the next level" that were meant to be connections to The Dungeons.

  2. I don't own a copy because I've not yet seen it in stores and my attempts at emailing TLG for information about the cost of shipping to Canada have been met with no response. I suppose I should just give them a call to order a copy, but there's a part of me that finds that unnecessarily inconvenient and so bristles at it.

  3. m.gunnerquist,

    Out of curiosity, how did you obtain the Upper Works box set? I've been looking all over the place and everywhere I check has "pre-order" as the only option.

    If I call Troll Lord Games and they can't get me a copy would you be willing to think about selling your second copy? I'd be more than happy to pay full market (plus shipping of course). ;-)

    If so, let's take this off line, you could reach me at:
    jeff dot faller at gmail dot com

  4. I purchased my copies online directly from TLG. I'm going to keep my extra copy as a collector's item.

    I really don't think it's hard to find. I'm certain that it could be found on eBay. I've had good luck with eBay 99% of the time. I picked up a copy of Rappan Athuk 3 just the other day on eBay.