Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
Castle Greyhawk is one of the central dungeon settings in the fictional World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. The Castle was originally developed by Gary Gygax for his own campaign and later detailed for publication. Castle Greyhawk is also the name of a 1988 Dungeons & Dragons adventure module that offered a tongue-in-cheek treatment of the Castle. In 2005, Gary Gygax announced the release of “Castle Zagyg,” his new treatment of the dungeon.
Castle Greyhawk lies north and slightly west of the Free City of Greyhawk, across the Selintan River. The Free City of Greyhawk is located centrally in the Flanaess, the eastern portion of the continent of Oerik, the greatest of Oerth’s four continents.
History of the Castle
The Castle was constructed CY c.320 by the wizard Zagig Yragerne. Known as “The Mad Archmage,” Zagig ruled over the Free City of Greyhawk from the Castle for approximately the next 100 years, after which he abandoned the Castle and mysteriously disappeared.
Over the centuries, the Castle’s three towers decayed into ruin. The main tower is called the “Tower of Zagig,” and the two lesser towers the “War Tower” and the “Tower of Magic” (alternately “The Power Tower”). An extensive dungeon complex lies below the towers.
In the initial years after the Castle was abandoned, few if any adventurers approached the Castle because of rumors that it lay under a powerful curse. Eventually, a group of Northern barbarians forayed into the area and pillaged a large amount of treasure. The story of their success attracted groups of Dwarves, Elves and other adventurers to the area, and over time the Castle’s dungeons became a major site for adventuring on the Flanaess. The influx of trade, travelers and treasure associated with this phenomenon has provided significant economic benefits to the nearby City of Greyhawk.
Sometime during this period, Zagig reappeared and managed to imprison the demon lord [[Fraz-Urb’luu]] in the dungeons beneath the castle. The fiend was imprisoned there for at least 200 years, but eventually freed by a wizard and a cleric (probably Erac’s Cousin and his adventuring companion Ayelerach).
In CY 505, Zagig then captured and imprisoned the evil demigod Iuz in the dungeons beneath the Castle. Iuz was one of nine demigods so trapped, and this accomplishment was instrumental in Zagig’s ascension to become the demigod now known as Zagyg. Other deities imprisoned in the dungeon included Merikka, Rudd and Wastri. The remaining five demigods have never been canonically identified, although the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer states that the nine were of “opposing alignments.”
Because Zuoken is known to be imprisoned somewhere on the central Flanaess, some believe he was one of the nine deities Zagig trapped at the Castle. Noncanonical lists of the other demigods have been offered by Gary Gygax himself, other early D&D notables such as Robert J Kuntz and in various works of fan fiction, although many of these lists cannot be reconciled with the (now canon) “opposing alignments” criteria noted above.
In Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk published in 2007, Zuoken was officially confirmed to be one of the canonical deities imprisoned. According to the module, when Iuz was freed, the other gods effected an escape except for Zuoken who remained imprisoned. By the end of the adventure,Zuoken has been freed, Robilar who had been replaced by an evil double is back to his old self and Castle Greyhawk is now some sort of multi-planar brigadoon.
In CY 570, the warrior Robilar freed Iuz from his prison, and subsequently most or all of the other eight demigods escaped as well.