Greyhawk: City of Thieves
The old ruins of Castle Greyhawk are clearly visible from any point in North Hills Park, sitting on a narrow hilltop 6 miles away across the river. There is no ford or bridge north of the city allowing passage to the ruins: one must use Zagyg’s Bridge to cross the river safely. The passages below the ruins are commonly understood to be nightmarish and lethal, but no one in Greyhawk fears them. The old castle inspires great pride in citizens, as it reminds everyone of the city’s great past and innate potential. Most citizens are not stupid enough to actually visit this place, however.
The visible ruins consist of three large, ruined towers, each rising about three stories high. They were formerly much taller. The remains are known as the Tower of War (to the east), the Tower of Power (to the west, also called the Tower of Magic), and the Tower of Zagig (in the center as viewed from Greyhawk), surrounded by a low wall. Three towers rest on rock pinnacles about 75-100 feet above the floor of a grassy valley, surrounded by scattered groups of trees. The Tower of War and the Tower of Power are connected to the central tower by natural stone arches; the Tower of Zagig is connected by a stone arch to a nearby cliff. A stone-paved road leads from the cliff down the hilly slopes toward Greyhawk, but the stones farther than two miles from the castle have been pulled up and used as building material elsewhere.
The castle and its three towers were begun around 320 CY by Zagig Yragerne, the Mad Archmage, before he became Lord Mayor of Greyhawk. Legends say he conducted experiments, explored the outer planes, built up a huge force of soldiers and spellcasters, and stored vast treasures. The castle was abandoned after Zagig vanished in 421 CY. Rumors circulated that at least 10 dungeon levels lie below each tower, maybe more, with ancient caverns to boot and over a thousand rooms. The area is also said to be cursed, filled with monsters, inhabited by captive evil gods and fiends, and so on, all of which is generally believed to be true, and for good reason. The demigod Zagyg is widely said to have captured nine minor gods or major demons, one of whom is certain to have been Iuz, who was imprisoned until circa 570 CY. Indeed, there are so many conflicting stories told about the remaining members of the “Captive Nine” that the truth of who was caught, who escaped, and when these events occurred is impossible to discern. Other imprisoned beings might even remain.
The surface ruins are generally believed to be uninhabited, although a running joke in the city is that a fictional individual known as Herzog Akitrom the Merely Worried, a farcical character to whom many failings of the city are often attributed, rules over the surface ruins and a fictional population which is likewise considered inept.