D&D General Luke Gygax Brings Back Gary Gygax's Castle Zagyg

Luke Gygax is bringing back his father's creations starting with the Castle Zagyg, Yggsburgh Campaign Setting. Written by Gary Gygax and first published by Troll Lord Games in 2005 and dropped from publication in 2008. It is available now in preorder. The intent is to ship in September/October.

Screenshot 2023-08-23 at 11.23.43 PM.png

For the near future this is the first of three planned products, the second being The Hermit followed up by the Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds series, probably via Kickstarter or other crowdfunder, maybe in January. The executor of the estate seems to have granted access to just these things so far. If they do well then more will be available and Luke intends to get the entirety of the Castle printed.

If you preorder the Yggsburgh book you will get a PDF and a docx with conversion notes to D&D 5E. The book is as it was in 2008 and they currently intend to leave it that way, other than updating the PDF via new software, and change the logo on the cover and the product number on the spine.

They intend to make the PDF available as a separate product, via their store and DriveThrRPG.

This book uses Castles & Crusades as its system--you can get the 7th edition Player's Handbook in PDF for free.

Other items mentioned:
  • They don't intend to print Gary's notes, as his wishes were they not to be published.
  • They will see about other creations of Gary's if they can show the executor of the estate they are good stewards. Good sales will absolutely work towards that goal.
  • Luke doesn't want to attach this to anything he's doing separately, like his own setting.
  • Gord the Rogue books are also on the list of things they'd like to bring back.

The transcript of the youtube video is in the spoiler block.
 
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timbannock

Adventurer
The NPCs of the book are NOT the highlight.
Prices are... badly wrong.
Mostly, I think the wilderness is stronger than the town.

A few thoughts from when I first got the book: Yggsburgh - Merric's Musings

Cheers,
Merric
Seconded.

Expanding on those thoughts for those that aren't familiar with this book:

The town is certainly serviceable, but very, very pedestrian. Gygax seemed to double down on his "Medieval simulationism" more and more by the time he came around to writing this stuff. And because the castle and its environs were worked on separately, there are very few cross-connections: just a few historical elements (like Zagyg himself), and one or two wilderness encounter areas referencing specific areas that appear in Upper Works.

But that said, the wilderness stuff in the Yggsburgh book are often really good. There's maybe 2-3 that are pretty barebones and specifically call out "you can design this your way," but the vast majority -- and there are a LOT of areas! -- are really fleshed out, often feature cross-connected pieces with other areas, and hold many fully formed dungeons, a bunch of secrets, and other cool features.

The benefit of all of this is that if you are only interested in the castle, it's a separate product and you don't need this book at all. Just toss it into Greyhawk and it fits seamlessly, or any other setting with about 5 minutes of thinking who Zagyg is to that campaign world, and you're good to go. No issues. On the flip side, if you want a fully featured large town/small city that feels really fleshed out, in a vein similar to the old Judge's Guild City-State style, you get that plus a ton of wilderness locations that will make a great, fully-developed hexcrawl campaign.

The cons are mostly that it just doesn't hold a candle to the personality you see in most modern OSR and D&D things: fantastic environs, really dialing up the weird or grim or hopeful or alien, and terse, easy-to-use organization. It is, however, about as "Gygaxian" as you can get, and quite a bit bigger than any single release of his for mainstream D&D in the past.

/review-rant ;-P
 

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darjr

I crit!
Seconded.

Expanding on those thoughts for those that aren't familiar with this book:

The town is certainly serviceable, but very, very pedestrian. Gygax seemed to double down on his "Medieval simulationism" more and more by the time he came around to writing this stuff. And because the castle and its environs were worked on separately, there are very few cross-connections: just a few historical elements (like Zagyg himself), and one or two wilderness encounter areas referencing specific areas that appear in Upper Works.

But that said, the wilderness stuff in the Yggsburgh book are often really good. There's maybe 2-3 that are pretty barebones and specifically call out "you can design this your way," but the vast majority -- and there are a LOT of areas! -- are really fleshed out, often feature cross-connected pieces with other areas, and hold many fully formed dungeons, a bunch of secrets, and other cool features.

The benefit of all of this is that if you are only interested in the castle, it's a separate product and you don't need this book at all. Just toss it into Greyhawk and it fits seamlessly, or any other setting with about 5 minutes of thinking who Zagyg is to that campaign world, and you're good to go. No issues. On the flip side, if you want a fully featured large town/small city that feels really fleshed out, in a vein similar to the old Judge's Guild City-State style, you get that plus a ton of wilderness locations that will make a great, fully-developed hexcrawl campaign.

The cons are mostly that it just doesn't hold a candle to the personality you see in most modern OSR and D&D things: fantastic environs, really dialing up the weird or grim or hopeful or alien, and terse, easy-to-use organization. It is, however, about as "Gygaxian" as you can get, and quite a bit bigger than any single release of his for mainstream D&D in the past.

/review-rant ;-P
I don't disagree. The value of this for me is that it's a Gygax flavor of normal at my finger tips. It sets a Harnlike base from which the weird subverts and is all the more weird for it.

I must admit that I'm getting less tolerant to long prose of things that don't get to the point with few exceptions, however this is one of those. Like the Manual of the Planes book.


Where I want that detail I really want it.
 


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