Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
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. 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.
The Tower of Magic
- Surface ruins: The surface ruins are mostly abandoned. They include a temple to Boccob, barracks, storerooms, mess halls, and guest quarters. A large band of kobolds currently dwells in the southern half of this ruin, and elves guard the entrance. During Castle Greyhawk’s heyday, the Regalia of Neutrality were evidently stored in the Temple of Boccob here, and were the goal of countless pilgrimages. They are now gone, but something of their power still remains.
- Zagig’s Gauntlet: This is a twisted maze designed by Zagig to vent his eccentricities, test the mettle of his apprentices, and guard the crypts below.
- The Ochre Crypts: This level contains the crypts of Zagig’s apprentices and family members. Living as he did for hundreds of years, he outlived a lot of people. The stonework is a distinctive ochre hue. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk removed the passageway that led to stairs from the surface ruins, connecting the crypts only to Zagig’s Gauntlet.
- Apprentice’s Walk: This level was originally built as dormitories for Zagig’s apprentices. For a time this and many other of the levels beneath the Tower of Magic were used for an experiment conducted by the Ring of Five on the impact of magic on the three philosophies of evil. Staircase 2 in the surface ruins has evidently been changed in Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk to lead here instead of to the Ochre Crypts, while staircase 4 on this level has evidently been changed to lead from either the surface ruins or Zagig’s Gauntlet instead of from the crypts.
- The Sanctum Arcanum: This level is a complex of classrooms and laboratories.
- The Vaults of Creation: This level was intended for golem creation and research, but never finished. The map was changed extensively between Greyhawk Ruins and Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, but a few of the rooms match up. P612 matches F12, P601 matches F11, and P602 matches F15, but the destinations of the staircases and tunnels leading from those rooms have been altered or blocked.
- Master’s Walk: These were Zagig’s personal workshops and libraries.