I remember discussing this before. I think for most areas he didn't have an room by room key. It was certain parts of the dungeons were controlled by certain monsters and the number indicated what monsters were there. He determined # appearing on the spot. So 2 could just mean Orcs.
Post by foster1941 on Apr 18, 2016 12:40:08 GMT -5
The original over-the-shoulder photo of that map showed a handwritten key on the facing page. It was even harder to decipher than the map, but we made a pretty decent effort of it a few years back. As near as we could tell there were about 15 entries, each of which listed a different type of monster with a range of numbers appearing (like, say "4-16 kobolds" or "2-8 zombies" or "1-3 giant beetles") and a range of treasures (200-700 SP, 1-3 gems, 1 potion), pretty much like the Monster & Treasure Assortments. I think there was also a key at the bottom noting traps, like "X = 10' pit", "T = transporter." Comparing that key to the map it looked like most of the numbers were repeated several times (there was a cluster of several adjacent rooms that all had the number that indicated kobolds on the key which we assumed must be the lair of the legendary Old Guard Kobolds).
What's unclear is whether because this was the first level it didn't have any real "special" areas so the monster, treasure, and trap listings were the entire key, if the special areas were noted on a separate sheet (when I later did my own dungeon levels inspired by this I had two keys - one with numbers that was "generic" monster & treasure listings like this, and another with letters that was all the unique stuff (puzzles, unique NPCs, etc.)), or if Gary just "knew" all the special areas well enough by sight that he didn't need/have any written notes describing them.
Its 18 entries that are written on fresh paper as if this is a transcribed current version and the grid is an antique. If those colors are/were real then there is no correlation with this key.
Rob confirmed some years ago that the key is original content from a level that he designed, but it's been rewritten (presumably by Gary). The level and the key were not paired up properly, which is what made me wonder before in the DF/K&K threads whether Gary was intentionally mixing and matching keys and maps.
You know I said to Gary, when we were out in the smoking lounge, about Bill's obsession with B2 KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS (1979) and how it became this insane routine of raiding the Caves of Chaos over and over and that I had to add so much because one time, and I gave the for instance, that Bill took every Cave of Chaos resident prisoner. He, Gary, made a a reference to having to reboot CG with every run from "town to dungeon".
I think the thing was that CG needed essence and all the TSR/Gygax problems pushed it farther and farther into non-existence. B2 had essence because, as I cited above about the ability to reestablish gameplay over and over with it, its straight forward and its easily adaptable. Thats what the CG product was aimed for and hence its constant delay. The CASTLE ZAGYG products are so far from that simple idea. They are user end mistakes not fit for ideal universal adventure products for sale.
To key this map it can't be contemporary like T1-4 it has to be "today's guardians and encounters are not as bad as yesterday but who know what tomorrow will bring?"
Post by foster1941 on Apr 20, 2016 12:36:39 GMT -5
A way to do it might have been to have a "T1-4-style" description of the "major landmark" areas on each level alongside sets of tables for populating everything else - more B1 than B2.
The disconnect Gary always seems to have had with published CG was that he had a fixed notion of what a published adventure "should be" - basically a fully-written module-style, ready-to-run adventure - that was at odds with the way CG was actually written and run (with much more on-the-fly improvisation and session-to-session changes and running things with bare notes and such). Gary seems to have always been determined to transform the latter into the former for publication, and wasn't able to satisfactorily do so, so the product floundered for 25 years and what we ultimately got was wholly unsatisfying (not least for being woefully incomplete - I know there were extrinsic factors to that as well, but I very strongly suspect that even if Gary had lived 5 years longer we'd never have actually gotten the "complete" Castle Zagyg). It's a shame no one was ever able to convince him that a different way to proceed would have been to find a way of simulating the latter style - to present CG as more of a toolset than a finished, complete, ready-to-play product. Focused more on essay-style advice for how to stock and run the dungeons and adapt to changing circumstances of play than detailed room descriptions with read-aloud boxed text and such. I understand that Rob Kuntz may have been trying to talk him into that approach at the end and that's part of why he got fired off the project and replaced by Jeff Talanian, who was willing to write it Gary's way.
It's a shame no one was ever able to convince him that a different way to proceed would have been to find a way of simulating the latter style - to present CG as more of a toolset than a finished, complete, ready-to-play product. Focused more on essay-style advice for how to stock and run the dungeons and adapt to changing circumstances of play than detailed room descriptions with read-aloud boxed text and such.
I tried twice: once with Tadashi, literally just weeks after Gary made his gentlemen's agreement with the Trolls to do publish the Castle for C&C :/
I understand that Rob Kuntz may have been trying to talk him into that approach at the end and that's part of why he got fired off the project and replaced by Jeff Talanian, who was willing to write it Gary's way.
And once again with Rob, trying to support the BC-like vision for CG. (And Rob left the project because he and Gary weren't able to come to terms on payments/schedules for the project, moreso than the final product vision, although they disagreed there too: basically Rob wasn't being paid enough to live during the 3+ years it would take to complete writing CZ, which Rob was on the hook to do most of the heavy lifting for).
Gary was right in the format he chose. We would have liked the more BC/framework version, but we are a very small subset of the gaming community. A BC format would have made an already niche product even more niche. A limited edition or downloadable extra might have been a good idea, but Gary made the right choice on the format. Actually, for a wider audience, he should have labeled it d20 and statted it like the G series whenever possible, but been truer to the source material in the special edition. Gary and I had a phone conversation about the format, the BC format was never an option for him, but he considered d20, but the stat work required, especially for higher level monsters, was a very big deterrent. I like Rob, and his style, but Gary would have been crazy to agree to Rob's terms. This was right after Rob had burned everybody he had worked with recently, and Gary knew Rob better than anybody. I think most interested parties were simultaneously thrilled and terrified about the prospect of Rob teaming up with Gary on the project.
Post by geneweigel on Apr 21, 2016 10:51:55 GMT -5
Basically, they both live/lived off design on some other manner than other old designers because they were instructing co-designers who by their standards were off base but market representative (not naming names but for Gary the usual suspects and for Rob the Brass is a good example.). They were both playing a game of how to utilize whats left. I told both of them its stupid but they didn't listen one iota. Always an excuse, "Well, the market, Gene, you don't quite....BLAH, BLAH, BLAH..." What the fuck were they talking about? That is what shocked the shit out of me that Rob was never going to design anything with me because he was more interested in what I could finish/instant publish than concept development/discussion. That is when I was thinking this is never going to happen. Can you imagine what I could have done with them if they had just listened to me and developed instead of made shit deals?
Look at D20 NECROPOLIS. It is painfully a thing without merit or cause. A written-off and skanked reprint for buck-making. Why? Because of a lack of a feeling of continuance and purpose.
I was part of this crocked system, I still have the notes from the ERK magical treasury when I was under the impression that Rob was going to have feedback. 6 months I waited for feedback that never came on a handful of ideas (3 or 4?). I like Rob's ideas (and personality) but he is hard to cooperate (and game) with.
I think the straight format you're referring to (Bottle City?) wouldn't work for Gary because frankly for one the TSR company stole all his personal belongings, personal library and endless files (30 years worth according to him) that were in his office. He must have told me that a thousand times that his notes were long gone. Gary would have had to do a lot of remembering as well as developing with designers and the most he was getting was cheap help from people with ulterior motives (means to another rpg niche types) present company excepted. While Rob had plenty of stuff in storage for that angle.
Honestly? Without blowing anyone's horns if it was just the people on this thread, with all this thought and consideration going on here, then Castle Greyhawk would have been bad ass. It all seems pointless without Gary but what else are we going to do?
Wait for some old Gygax confederate to publish some konky GREYHAWK RUINS type shit?
I think we should even expand to what the hell else exists besides GREYHAWK, BLACKMOOR, EL RAJA KEYE and DUNGEON HOBBY SHOP DUNGEON? Is there another ur-dungeon from that era?
Gary was disappointed Ernie and Luke had no interest in helping with the product, especially Ernie, who was there from go. Gary was still in possession of more material than he generally let on, but it's in Gygax Games Limbo. Right now, the contents of that binder scanned with commentary from original participants would be the best I could hope for.
Post by geneweigel on Apr 21, 2016 13:44:42 GMT -5
In my paranoid mind, I'm thinking that GT, in his absence, has been secretly drafted by Gail and he's pulling his hair out with Troy, Creffield & others misleading him down T$R style "dis-imaginary" roads as they do a current D&D friendly version of Castle Greyhawk/Zagyg.
Gary was still in possession of more material than he generally let on, but it's in Gygax Games Limbo.
Perhaps Frank Mentzer "liberated" some stuff from his office and passed it back to him on the sly, but he didn't want to let on he had it lest TSR claim it as stolen property (which there's no doubt they would have).
Right now, the contents of that binder scanned with commentary from original participants would be the best I could hope for.