Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 10:41:46 -0500
From: Joseph Bloch Josephus@CYBERNEX.NET
Subject: Greyhawk Ruins (long)
Here is the text of a letter I received from Blake Mobley and Timothy Brown (designers of the Greyhawk Ruins module) dated September 1990. I thought everyone on the list might find it interesting it adds a few details and touches on some of the topics we've been discussing here lately. It is an answer to a series of questions concerning the module I had asked (I don't think it's necessary to reprint my letter,
you can figure out what the questions were from their answers). Enjoy!
Greyhawk Ruins was designed at the request of Jim Ward who was one of the original players in Gary's "original" Greyhawk Castle module. Thus, it has been designed to match this original concept as close as
was feasible. The module "Castle Greyhawk" was a satire done on Gary's original castle and is not intended to be taken seriously (unlike the Ruins). In fact, many of us at TSR consider it to be more of a comic module (one to be read for laughs, but not to play in). Some of the elements you mention that we left out, were intentionally left out as they had no place in the original dungeon, but were added by other people or mentioned in conjunction with Greyhawk Castle just because it was a well known castle that had not been detailed. As you probably know, the original Castle Greyhawk was reported to have over 200 levels in it. It was also constantly changing due to cave-ins and magical factors. Therefore, some of the items you mention have changed location, are not now discernable, or have been sealed off in a section of the dungeon which we did not detail.
The golden man (who was originally a wandering monster illusion in Gary's campaign) was not placed specifically in the dungeon, we decided that the illusion had ceased to exist at this point. If you wish to keep it, have the diamond golem in Z402 control it. Do remember, that we are detailing the dungeon several hundred years after most of these details you are speaking of originally existed. If I remember correctly, the Great Enigma was a giant 3D head which would turn those who messed with it into warts upon its face. I do know that in Gary's castle, it was on an extremely deep level, and we decided not to include it. However, if you wish to use it, I would place it in room P715 and incorporate it into the gargoyle chair there. Of course the real enigma or puzzle about Greyhawk Ruins is that the obelisk at P813 is not the great secret, but rather the Stone in P715. Finally, the great Central Shaft has now been disrupted. It was once a great shaft which connected all of the open spiral stairways running from P300 to P800 together. However, this shaft is now fragmented and will not be apparent to anyone.
In Isle of the Ape, Tenser speaks of descending the shaft and finding natural caverns, then entering a tunnel which led to the isle. Once P800 was nothing but caverns, however, now it has been partially worked into smooth areas. In any event, the tunnel to the Isle of the Ape was once the hallway at P826. because that module is no longer in stock at TSR, we couldn’t refer to it directly. During play in the ruins, we decided that the tunnel was closed ad thus acted like a time tunnel. We had similar restrictions concerning Beyond the Magic Mirror and Dungeonland. However, we kept these portals open. The entrance to Beyond the Magic Mirror is at Z632. The entrance to Dungeonland is at P833. Of course the entrance to Zagig’s demi-plane (as well as the other ring of five members) is also on this level at P834. Finally, entrance to a realm of horror was once on this level (we have now made it Ravenloft), but it is at P824. Your reference to the Gord the Rogue books has me puzzled. I do not recall any mention of Greyhawk Castle other than the castle in Greyhawk City. However, I will take your word for it and must admit that we overlooked this tie-in.
You are correct about Z405 [that it was the place where the 9 demigods were captured]. Furthermore, note the elements of P900 for more information about the capturing process. As far as the rest of the nine trapped gods goes, that information has been strictly guarded so that we may use it in the future as need arises. Graz’zt has since escaped, and thus we didn’t put him in the castle. However, the relief face he was kept in was originally at P207 as a cruel joke and form of torture by Zagig (trapping a demon in a clown’s face is rather severe). The statue of Boccob at P209 was assigned to guard him. His evilness still influences much of the magic of this level (as you will note by reading it). However, we did not refer to Graz’zt himself due to TSR’s current policy on Demons.
Well, that’s it! Some interesting tidbits, I thought.