Thursday, 1 August 2013

Download: Cellars of the Castle Ruins

All right. I've dithered about this before but now have decided to make and distribute a couple of low-effort, not too fancy pdfs with the megadungeon level I wrote three years ago.

To recap, it was written at a time when Joe Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage was available for free download but lacked a level 1. I wrote one for my own use, trying to match the antic humor of the lower levels, and ran many an adventure on this and level 2. Now that the print release of the full Castle is in sight, but not too soon, I figured I would let everyone else know what I did with my replacement for the almost-impossible-to-get level 1 of Gary Gygax's "Castle Zagyg," from which COTMA follows.

I urge everyone to run out and get the full COTMA from BRW Games when it releases next year. In addition to the official completion of the upper works and level 1, Joe is promising us annotations of the sparsely keyed rooms. As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, COTMA as written has many hidden features that only really emerge in actual play. As a result, its area keys read as under-featured, when there's actually a lot of interaction and possibilities. It's great that the annotations will let the casual reader appreciate the subtleties of this design - one of the few complete megadungeons out there, a conscious attempt to recreate Gary's legendary pile while building a lot onto the scraps of information that remain.

In the meantime, not wanting to spend too much time on layout, I've released the Cellars as a level key and separate, large scale map because I couldn't get Acrobat to play nice and shrink the map to a single page. You should be able to print the map as a fairly legible single sheet, though, if you play around with the Adobe pdf settings. This is not ideal - I much prefer a format I'm using in my own slowly developing megadungeon, where each page of text has an inset of its map section and notes on all creatures encountered there. But it allows me to get this out there.

Anyway, enjoy! Download links are to the right under "Rules and Tools".