29 January 2024

Will Gygax’s Castle Greyhawk finally be published?

Almost two decades ago, Troll Lord Games ("TLG") began working with Gary Gygax to produce a version of his legendary “Castle Greyhawk” – renamed (for legal reasons) “Castle Zagyg” ("CZ"), after the mad wizard who created it. TLG began this grand endeavour by publishing a few new things concerning the surrounding (“not-Greyhawk”) territory, such as a regional folio and a large hardcover book describing the city of Yggsburgh. I purchased all the CZ products back in the day. Unfortunately, like most TLG products, they were quite poorly edited. Moreover, they weren’t directly based upon the original setting from the early 1970s, and were not especially noteworthy in my view (even ignoring the editing problems). Nonetheless, there was the promise that the famous dungeon would eventually appear, albeit in a modified “updated” form.

In 2008 Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works box set was published. It was co-authored by Jeffrey Talanian, as Gygax was in ill health at this point. My understanding (perhaps incorrect) is that Talanian was using Gygax’s notes and consulting regularly with him on the overall development of the dungeon, not just the initial box set. 

To my relief, Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works was reasonably well-done. I still own it and think that it’s a solid product. (For an informative and interesting PDF review by Greyhawk expert Grodog, go here.) But tragically, Gygax passed away in 2008, and the license for CZ subsequently was pulled from TLG. My understanding is that there was enough material completed by this time to produce further products in the line, but none of it would see the light of day.

Recently, though, TLG received permission to republish the Yggsburgh hardback, as well as some other things by Gygax. And now the green light has been given for them to develop and publish the rest of “Castle Zagyg”!

You can read the announcement from the TLG here.

Upon reading the announcement, two things stood out to me. 

First, it looks like the 2008 box set will not be republished, at least not in its original format. The Trolls write: “We’ve not yet settled on an organizational format but have settled on hardcover books with pockets in the back to hold the many maps that will come with this set.” Since the box set included the “Mouths of Madness” (it was one booklet among five), at least part of it will be published again. Perhaps the other five booklets will be part of the “Castle Ruins” volume (CZ Volume II)? (In any case, I’m [rather selfishly] pleased that the box set will not be republished, as it ensures that it will remain a rare “collector’s item” in the future.)

Second, while (I assume) it’s a good thing that Luke Gygax and James Ward are involved, as they have knowledge of the original dungeon, I did not see Jeffrey Talanian mentioned. Perhaps he was invited to take part in the resurrected project but declined, given that his focus these days presumably is on his own Hyperborea game. But if they are drawing upon the work that Talanian did with Gygax, I would think that he would get credit for that and be mentioned, no? It certainly would dampen my interest in this project if the team now working on it plans to ignore the work on the dungeon that had been completed up to 2008.

In any case, I’ll keep my eye on this. I’m curious to see what comes of it. 

(The picture of Zagyg above is by Jeff Easley and appeared in Dragon #70.)

Update (January 30th): It turns out that Jeffrey Talanian will be consulting on the project. From the TLG "Worlds of Gary Gygax" webpage: "we will be consulting with family members such as Ernie and Luke Gygax, and long time friends like James M. Ward and Jeffrery Talanian to make these works as close to Gary’s vision as we can."

My apologies for missing this in my initial post.


  1. I watched a bit of the live stream they did announcing it. The sense I got was that they are very keen on having Jeffrey involved and probably won't be able to get as much from them as they would like.

  2. Jeff has stated on his Discord and fora that he's essentially moved on: https://hyperborea.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=1740

  3. Thanks for this additional information!


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).