Mordenkainen needs you. The good people of Greyhawk need you. What are you waiting for?
Twenty-seven years ago, a band of adventurers led by the great wizard Mordenkainen entered the dungeons below Castle Greyhawk and released the evil demigod Iuz, intending to slay him. Betrayal led to failure, Iuz escaped, and many lives were lost. Today, evil has returned to Castle Greyhawk, and Mordenkainen must place his trust in the hands of a new generation of heroes. Those who fail will be lost, and those who triumph will be legends.
Castle Greyhawk has become a grand fixture of the Cairn Hills, tempting the likes of Mordenkainen, Bigby, and Tenser with its dark mysteries. Today it lies in ruin, ravaged by years and countless assaults. However, many of its greatest treasures and secrets remain hidden in the sprawling dungeons beneath, where terrible monsters and fiendish traps defy new generations of heroes in search of fame and glory.
This campaign adventure revisits the legendary ruins of Castle Greyhawk and its dungeons, incorporating many new twists and surprises. It is designed for characters of levels 8-13 and features an easy-to-use combat encounter format. This book also presents several new monsters and magic items.
For use with these Dungeons & Dragons core books and products: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, D&D Miniatures.
Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007) is a rare joy. The adventure builds on the 2nd edition AD&D adventure "Greyhawk Ruins" as it takes heroes from 8th to 13th level in one of the grand-daddies of all dungeons. It has the reputation of being one of the best dungeon adventures published during the 3.x D&D era, and I think that reputation is deserved. Expedition takes the players into the city of Greyhawk, the surrounding environs, and the ruins of Greyhawk Castle itself.
More Than Just a Pretty Face. The ruins of Castle Greyhawk consist of three major towers: the Tower of Magic, the Tower of Zagyg, and the Tower of War. They're interconnected, of course, with miles of tunnels, caverns, passages and rooms throughout and around them. You can expect that those spaces are full of monsters, riddles, traps and the leftover magic of the archmage Zagyg himself. Portions of each of the three towers are detailed, with a mixture of old and new maps that nevertheless keep the themes for each tower intact. The dungeons are full of easter eggs and references for long-time fans of Greyhawk lore, without becoming tedious for new players who haven't previously encountered the campaign world.
Side Quests. I appreciate that this adventure seldom degrades into a dull dungeon crawl. The design includes numerous side quests and takes the heroes back and forth between the dungeons and the city several times, a pacing feature that I wish more mega-dungeons would use. There's always a risk in large adventures that encounters will fall into a pattern or become tedious. By nicely switching up combat encounters, traps, mysteries, and city encounters, this adventure goes a long way toward alleviating many common complaints about massive dungeon adventures.
Greyhawk's iconic characters such as Mordenkainen also make an appearance, although not in a heavy-handed way that ends up bailing the PCs out of trouble. It a nice nod to a world that's steeped in gamer tradition and history; alluding to larger happenings in the world while only embroiling the PCs in a few of them lets players feel connected without feeling overwhelmed.
Maps and Encounters. The book is attractive and easy to read, with good artwork in a traditional fantasy style. The map of Greyhawk is dense with buildings, and the encounter maps are clear. It's worth noting that this adventure uses the encounter format for encounters. Everything relevant (except for treasure) is listed on one or two pages, including maps, monster stats, and recommended tactics. The latter is particularly appreciated; you run through a lot of monsters in an adventure like this, and that short section saves a tremendous amount of DM prep time.
Level Up. Looking for a superbly designed, attractive, interesting dungeon adventure that also makes a good model for how to construct your own? This is the one to own. There are monsters and traps aplenty, and some of those encounters may have players cursing you and rolling up new PCs, but that's to be expected. After all, this is classic Greyhawk, and I expect Zygag wouldn't want it any other way.
About the Creators. Jason Bulmahn has won at least eleven well-deserved ENnies for his design work. First writing adventures for RPGA's Living Greyhawk organized play, he is now lead designer for Paizo and spearheads design for the Pathfinder RPG.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.