My copies of the Castle of the Mad Archmage books arrived today!
I’ve frequently talked about my fondness for megadungeons.
Well, more good news on that front! Joseph Bloch, the Greyhawk Grognard, has finally gotten his Castle of the Mad Archmage released!
The Castle of the Mad Archmage was originally released as a free series of downloads from his blog and was one of the early big names among the megadungeons of the OSR movement. Eventually Bloch took down the files with the intention of getting the Castle published through traditional methods, but various issues caused it to be delayed. Though thankfully, this is not another Kickstarter tale of woe and the only investment the fans have made in the product up to now has been our desire to buy it.
The Castle is a sprawling complex with a funhouse flair, as befits something built by a mad archmage. It is filled with personalities and has a very “living” feeling to it. The original release was designed with AD&D or OSRIC in mind and this new release is built using the Adventures Dark and Deep rules. It should be easily portable to any classic D&D rules set or retro-clone.
The Castle is available through RPGNow.com and comes in three parts; an adventure book, a map book, and an art book. All three are available in print and .pdf format and if you buy a physical copy you can get the .pdf for free. (This is a business practice that more than once has been a deciding factor in my purchases and I’m pleased to see it done here.)
Be aware that you need all three products to properly run the dungeon, but due to interface limitations you’ll have to select each product separately. The price is very reasonable and I ordered softcover copies of all three for a total of about $35.
The Castle of the Mad Archmage was one of the first things to fire my imagination after I discovered the OSR movement. I am delighted to be able to order this new release and delighted that the Greyhawk Grognard has finally been able to see it published. I look forward to reading it and putting the books alongside my copy of Stonehell Dungeon, and that open spot I keep on the shelf that may someday hold Dwimmermount.
Today has been a good day for my love of megadungeons.
First there has been an update on the upcoming publication of the Castle of the Mad Archmage. The Castle is a megadungeon that lives up to the name, stretching over 12 levels in depth. The dungeon is the brainchild of Joseph Bloch who writes The Greyhawk Grognard blog and was originally designed for use with Labyrinth Lord making it easily adaptable to any old school Dungeons & Dragons rules set. Bloch built and released the castle for free through his blog and it became one of the banner projects of the Old School Renaissance. Bloch eventually took down the files so he could renovate the Castle for a professional release using the Adventures Dark & Deep rules. It’s been a long road since then, but now it looks like we’ll be seeing the final product early next year via BRW Games.
I have the original release and it’s a fun read filled with the kind of traps, monsters, and magic we’d hope for from an OSR dungeon. The Castle of the Mad Archmage is a book that should be on the shelf of any dungeon master and I’m looking forward to adding it to mine.
The second event today was the arrival of my copy of Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls. This is the first volume of another celebrated OSR megadungeon, covering six levels of a vast underground complex.
Stonehell was created by Michael Curtis, who writes The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope blog and has released several products for Goodman Games, including The Dungeon Alphabet which has entertained my whole family. Stonehell is also designed using Labyrinth Lord and makes extensive use of the “one page dungeon” model, allowing for a lot of content to be put into the book. The dungeon features a modular design giving it an exceptional amount of flexibility, allowing the dungeon master to pull out pieces of the dungeon for individual use, replace them with his or her own creations, or expand on them easily. A second volume is in the works and there are two supplementary sections available in .pdf format, one for free. They can be found on Curtis’ Lulu site.
I’ve been looking forward to picking this book up for a while and the recent fall sale from Lulu.com was the perfect opportunity. I can’t wait to crack it open and see what secrets it holds.