Castle Zagyg
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:32 am 
 

Erac must have been an early Ernie Gygax character who became a permanent part of the dungeon.  ?


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:47 am 
 

Just curious, has Gary Gygax ever come onto this site before? Does he even know it exists? Im sure many members would like to know.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:54 am 
 

Gary knows the site exists, but he mostly hangs out on ENWorld and DF---both sites maintain permanent Q&A threads for him.  He also puts in occasional appearances on Rob Kuntz's boards, and the Troll Lords boards too.


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:35 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Erac must have been an early Ernie Gygax character who became a permanent part of the dungeon.  ?


Erac was Ernie's magic-user that couldn't figure out how to get out of the level that he was on. So, eventually, he perished due to starvation and dehydration.

Of course, the way out of the level will not be revealed!!  :twisted:   :D


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:02 pm 
 

But, of course, the way out has something to do with Erac's skeleton.  :?

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 4:55 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:But, of course, the way out has something to do with Erac's skeleton.  :?

Mark   8)


Who knows?!  When I talked with Ernie about it a couple of weeks ago, I got the impression that it was solely because he couldn't find the way out. I guess his bodily remains might have been an inadvertant clue. If he had never ventured in there, we would never have found it.  :D

I think we would have found the way out sooner or later. Ernie was down there by himself and didn't have the advantage of a whole group thinking of ideas. Ah, the perils of adventuring by one's self!


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:48 pm 
 

REVIEW OF CASTLE ZAGYG I: Yggsburgh Campaign Setting

 My copy of Castle Zagyg I: Yggsburgh has arrived by mail straight from Troll Lords Games.  The shipping was prompt and the item arrived safely despite a slightly flimsy envelope.  

Reading through the book, I give it the following scores (1-5 with five being highest):

PHYSICAL PRESENCE:  5

This book is firmly bound and its printing quality is very high.  The hardback cover is four-color gloss with white endpapers.  The interior is printed entirely in black and white, with grayscale maps and art.  There is a four-color, two-sided detachable map inside the back cover, printed on high quality stock.  The layout is professional and the type size is a readable eight point.  There are 255 densely packed pages.

ARTWORK:  3

The cover and interior art pieces are professional and support the medieval fantasy setting very well.  The artists are Peter Bradley and Davis Chenault, although most of the individual pieces are not credited to either artist.  A few of the better black and white drawings are specifically credited to Peter Bradley.  The publication could have used more artwork from more artists.  What is there is good, but has a "slick" feel that is not particularly "old school."  Individual tastes may vary.   The cover art, by Jeffry Jones, is entirely adequate and conveys a sense of the scope of the entire Castle Zagyg project as it is currently planned.

CONTENT:  5

If nothing else, Yggsburgh succeeds by sheer bulk.  There are detailed descriptions for many of the locations, people and points of interest in Yggsburgh, as well as details like laws, local customs and other city notes.  There is also a large section of encounters and details about the surrounding countryside, along with very sketchy descriptions of the nearby villages.  There are enough story hooks, scenarios and other useful details to make the book a good source for a game master.  Writer and game legend Gary Gygax has done some of his better work here.

MAPS:  2

The title character of this publication is the town of Yggsburgh.  Consequently, one might expect the town map to be of suitable quality and detail.  The nicest thing that can be said about the Yggsburgh town map is "inexplicable."    Many other (not as nice) words spring to mind.  

The town map is a disaster.  Instead of at least outlining the individual buildings, an unfortunate editorial decision leaves us with a color-coded mess that is of little use to gamers.  The town map is about as detailed as a free tourist walking map of Wampum, Mississippi.  The straight streets and colored blocks look about as medieval as a map of modern Kenosha, Wisconsin's industrial park.  

For some reason, one section just outside of the town walls is mapped in a useful manner.  "The Outs" is detailed building by building, showing what the city map could have been.  

The Yggsburgh map is reproduced inside the book in black and white.  We are asked to distinguish between various areas of the city based upon whether they are gray, light gray, slate gray, blurry gray or indistinguishably gray.  The whole effect is unintentionally funny.

It costs exactly the same to print a grand map as it does to print a four color mess.  Why not put just a bit more effort into it?  *pulls hair in frustration*  Publishers are encouraged to go look at the Necromancer Games version of City State of the Invincible Overlord.  Imagine that map in four colors and you have the standard of how a fantasy city map should look.  As it is, the single most important element of this publication is, at best, careless work.

The maps get a score of 2 because of a number of maps embedded in the text, including various buildings, underground steadings and thieves tunnels.  The large-scale campaign map is also very good.  It closely resembles the World of Greyhawk continent maps.  The usefulness of this map is limited slightly by the decision to locate the encounters with numbers...spoiling some of the mystery for the players.  Why couldn't the numbers have been included on the interior copy of the map but not on the large map?

PRICE:  5 or 3

If you buy this publication directly from Troll Lords Games, for $10 plus shipping, you will have a really great gaming value.  Get on it right away while the offer lasts.

If you buy this publication for the cover price of $39.95, you got a moderate deal for the work of a classic game designer.  

It is unfortunate that  Troll Lords introduced this important series with a $40 publication that automatically puts it into the "collector's interest" category.  With up to seven volumes planned for the whole series, the total copies sold for each successive installment can be expected to shrink.  With a $40 price tag sinking the sales of volume one, the following volumes can be expected to show even more diminished returns.  It is possible that the $10 online price is an acknowledgement of this problem.

Troll Lords might consider revising this installment in the series by omitting many of the encounters and story hooks that fill the second half of the book.  In the $20+ range, Castle Zagyg I would be an excellent value and many more customers would be likely to buy in on the whole series.

INTANGIBLES AND OTHER BULLHEADED OPINIONS:  4

The appearance of this material in print, after four decades of build-up, is a gaming event.  Long-time fans of the Greyhawk setting will want to get in on this series for nostalgic value, if nothing else.  Even without the gaming "event" status, this series also promises to brim full of good ideas and enjoyable gaming experiences.  If Yggsburgh is only the front door to the Castle Zagyg experience, then the coming products ought to be very good.  Troll Lords appears to be one of the strongest of the successor companies to TSR, and their other work bodes well for the Castle Zagyg series.  Only the chancey scope of the project (will it all actually happen?) keeps it from getting a 5 in this category.

COMBINED SCORE:  24 or 22 out of 30  

1-5      Demand your money back.  (Ironhoof Highlands)
6-10    Sucks...a lot, but someone might want it. (Mayfair City State)
11-15  Fixable, useful to gamers with certain interests. (Dragonlance)
16-20  Interesting to a general audience. (Arduin Grimoire)
21-25  Worth picking up and potentially great. (D1-3, Verbosh)
26-29  Really good stuff.  Very valuable. (G1-3, Dark Tower)
30       Buy it now while you still can. (?)


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:44 pm 
 

Excellent review Mark - Now I'll probably have to buy a copy if only  for interests sake. (Hold on - your review may have cost me money - Grrr!!)

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:22 am 
 

Gyg...and all others.....

To to  http://www.trolllord.com/newsite/  right now.  Order Yggsburgh for $10 plus 3.50 shipping.

Get over there right away.   8O

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:10 am 
 

The quality of the cartography in a product is very important to me. For that reason I won't but TLG stuff. Everything I've seen from TLG has been pretty crap. They won't invest in employing descent artists for the maps, and that tells me that they feel the product, as written, is not worth throwing any money at to do a good job publishing it. If the publisher thinks it's crap, why would I want to buy it?


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:13 am 
 

I would describe the map of Yggsburgh as "puzzling."

It is even more puzzling because part of the map is good.  The color coding was a really bad choice.

Still, there is a good campaign area map and some of the interior maps are good.


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:24 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Gyg...and all others.....

To to  http://www.trolllord.com/newsite/  right now.  Order Yggsburgh for $10 plus 3.50 shipping.

Get over there right away.   8O

Mark   8)


They told me sale already ended so I didn't order one...:(

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:34 pm 
 

The top news item on their webpage says that it ended June 27th.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:05 pm 
 

It says that the limited TLG URL sale is over.

I don't know what a URL is.

I ordered the book and paid via PayPal on 6/27.

They still list the book sale.  Ask them.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:33 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:It says that the limited TLG URL sale is over.

I don't know what a URL is.

I ordered the book and paid via PayPal on 6/27.

They still list the book sale.  Ask them.

Mark   8)


I did...they said no :( .

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:32 pm 
 

Hi:  

Who is interested in inquiring about a group rate on this project?  The $10 sale is over, but the following email arrived today:

<<Mark,

The sale ended last weekend. If you have enough people interested we can
give a group discount of course.

Thanks,
Steve >>

Who's interested?

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:49 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Hi:  

Who is interested in inquiring about a group rate on this project?  The $10 sale is over, but the following email arrived today:

<<Mark,

The sale ended last weekend. If you have enough people interested we can
give a group discount of course.

Thanks,
Steve >>

Who's interested?

Mark   8)


I would be. I was surprised they said no actually as they should remove it from the site to avoid confusion.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:33 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Hi:  

Who is interested in inquiring about a group rate on this project?  The $10 sale is over, but the following email arrived today:

<<Mark,

The sale ended last weekend. If you have enough people interested we can
give a group discount of course.

Thanks,
Steve >>

Who's interested?

Mark   8)


I'll take one. Didn't pull my head out of my ass earlier to see the cut off date.

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 7:51 pm 
 

count me in


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:08 pm 
 

Anyone else interested?  I am planning to make a proposal to Troll Lords Games.


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