Excerpts 08/12/2007

Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

Return to Castle Greyhawk in a new adventure book that gives you the adventure tools you need to get started on a grand expedition. You can do a few preliminary explorations of your own by reading our excerpts from Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.

Chapter Five Wrath of Iuz

Zagig built the Tower of Magic for one purpose -- to teach others about his often controversial and always unorthodox theories of magic. But as his quest to become a god consumed greater and greater amounts of Zagig's energy, his apprentices -- many of whom were quite powerful in their own right -- shouldered more and more of the burden of managing the tower and the chambers below. Zagig took no notice of the rivalries that sprang up among his followers, or of the factions that formed within the student body. Each faction was loyal to its own eccentric master, and its members were willing to do anything to stay ahead of their rivals. Alliances arose and died with regularity in the Tower of Magic as the years wore on, and the leaders of the various factions expanded greatly upon the subterranean levels below the tower in their bids for supremacy.

When Zagig finally left the Material Plane, he did so without even saying good-bye to his apprentices. Some understood and remained loyal -- indeed, more than a few actually aided in establishing Zagyg's church. The majority, however, viewed Zagig's abandonment as the final insult. Open warfare tore through the Tower of Magic as the conflicts between the factions escalated and grew bloody. Some factions opened tunnels to the Underdark to forge allegiances with drow, kuo-toa, and other evil denizens. Others turned to necromancy or golemcraft to bolster their ranks, and at least one sought aid from the Lower Planes. It wasn't long before the battle for supremacy came to its inevitable end, with the majority of the apprentices slain and huge sections of the dungeons under the control of monstrous "warlords." A few of the apprentice leaders survived, but without armies, they had no choice but to retreat to smaller corners of the dungeons to continue their research alone. The wiser of their number used magic to seal off their tiny demesnes, ensuring both privacy and protection from the other dungeon residents. This arrangement has endured for nearly a century now.

In this part of the adventure, the PCs visit a small number of the chambers hidden below the ruined Tower of Magic. In particular, they navigate a handful of rooms claimed by the leaders of Iuz's army, plus a few rooms that Iuz's followers haven't yet been able to reclaim from the indigenous inhabitants. In several areas, the PCs have opportunities to stray from the path presented in this section. For example, collapsed tunnels can be excavated, malfunctioning portals can be repaired, and hidden tunnels to other parts of the dungeon can be explored. Consult page 40 for general notes on the Tower of Magic and advice on expanding this dungeon, should your players wish to experience more of what this dangerous region has to offer.


Perhaps the most important feature of the dungeons below the Tower of Magic is the great Obelisk located on its deepest level. This block of obsidian is a focal point for the world's magic, and those capable of harnessing its power can work truly legendary dweomers. In fact, it was Zagig's discovery of this Obelisk that motivated him to choose this site for Castle Greyhawk, and he combined its power with that of the nine captured demigods to ascend to divinity. The Obelisk's properties and the fantastic guardians that protect it from discovery are beyond the scope of this adventure, but its magical effects are not. Few souls know (or even suspect) that the Obelisk exists, so it truly is one of the greatest hidden secrets of Castle Greyhawk.

One of the primary reasons that the priesthood of Zagyg views the Tower of Magic and its dungeons as holy is that arcane magic functions with increased potency there. This effect permeates the entire dungeon complex, and although it is most potent on the lowest level (where the Obelisk remains hidden), it can be harnessed from anywhere within the dungeon.

Any character capable of using arcane spells feels a strange sense of power immediately upon entering either the ruins of the Tower of Magic or the dungeons below them. A successful DC 20 Spellcraft check made while observing magical energy (using detect magic, arcane sight, true seeing, or any similar effect) reveals that arcane magic simply works better in this area. A spellcaster who makes this discovery can harness the magic in the following three ways.

  • He automatically gains a +2 bonus on caster level checks made to penetrate spell resistance.

  • He can draw upon the ambient energy to enhance his arcane spells while casting them. Doing so requires a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell cast). Success increases the spell's caster level by 1. Failure means the spell manifests normally, but the caster takes 1 point of Constitution damage because the magical backlash burns and scours his body with colorless fire. He cannot take 10 on this Spellcraft check.
  • If he creates a magic item in this region, the XP cost for creating it is reduced by 20% because the ambient magical energy infuses the object during the creation process.

    In this adventure, only Vayne, the barbed devil Avagozel, the efreeti Ajah-Kahar, and the half-fiend warlock Kalystys know about and can take advantage of these properties. Their statistics reflect this advantage as appropriate.


At the beginning of this chapter, the false Iggwilv has finally mastered the Godtrap in Zagig's Prison. But for all its power, the Godtrap's range is fairly limited -- in fact, it can snatch only targets within the dungeon. Thus, Iggwilv must wait for Iuz to reach Castle Greyhawk so that she can snare him.

But the false Iggwilv wanted to test the Godtrap before using it against Iuz. After all, if she tried to catch him and failed, the repercussions would be catastrophic for her. So she laid plans to lure the most powerful creature she could into the dungeon and give the trap a "dry run." As luck would have it, Riggby's funeral drew the greatest of the great to Greyhawk, so Iggwilv was able to pick and choose from among numerous potential victims. After evaluating her options, she chose Lord Robilar.

With Livashti's aid, Iggwilv lured Lord Robilar into Castle Greyhawk at about the time the PCs finished talking with Mordenkainen in the previous chapter. As soon as the doughty Robilar entered the dungeons, Iggwilv sprang her trap. It worked perfectly, and a few moments later, Zagig's Prison held one more trophy. Robilar's capture has convinced the false Iggwilv that her trap is perfect -- all she needs now is for Iuz to pay the dungeon a visit.

Robilar's sudden disappearance spawned some rumors in Greyhawk, but since he had been keeping his presence in the Free City reasonably quiet, the incident didn't raise as many eyebrows as it might have. Indeed, unless the PCs have made a point of getting to know Robilar, they might be surprised to find him trapped in the prison alongside Zuoken and Iuz at the end of this adventure.


During his time as a mortal, Zagig chipped off several fragments from the Obelisk under the Tower of Magic to use as portable links, so that he could harness its power from elsewhere if needed. The PCs must recover these four fragments to defeat Iggwilv's simulacrum. She has hidden three of them on strange and terrible planes accessible only through portals in the dungeons below the Tower of Magic, but Mordenkainen has already given the party the fourth fragment. Since it has been carved into the shape of a key, however, the PCs probably don't understand its true nature at this time.

The PCs must present the obsidian key to the priests of Zagyg who dwell in the strange pyramid in the shadow of the ruined Tower of Magic. The priests consider possession of this key proof that the bearers are favored by Zagyg and should be granted access to his Tower of Magic.


Once they have gained access to the Tower of Magic, the PCs must make their way to a section of chambers known as the Vaults of Creation on the fifth dungeon level below. Iuz's subcommanders have claimed a portion of this section as their own, leaving the indigenous monsters in other parts of this level to serve as guardians for their chambers.

In the chambers of Bailak Trostian, third in command of Iuz's forces, the PCs learn what Iuz's troops are doing under Castle Greyhawk -- they're preparing to invade the city! The Old One's army marches through the Underdark even now, and in only a few days, the first of his troops should arrive at an immense staging cavern under the Tower of War. This chamber can be reached by traversing a long tunnel that connects to the Vaults of Creation.

Following up on the information they have gained about the invasion, the PCs must make their way to the cavern below the Tower of War, to a level known as Nerull's Gate. After defeating the giants and other monsters that guard this place -- including General At-Ur Rehmat -- the PCs can delay the advance of Iuz's army by collapsing the Underdark tunnel. But to stop the threat completely, they must return to the Tower of Magic dungeons. On the ninth level, in a complex called The Halls of Beckoning, the PCs finally confront the wizard Vayne, supreme commander of Iuz's forces in the region. By defeating him, they can prevent the invasion of Greyhawk by robbing the army of its leader.

Vayne's defeat does not negate the true danger facing the city of Greyhawk -- in fact, it exacerbates the problem. With the death of Vayne, Iggwilv's simulacrum becomes free-willed. Worse still, when Iuz realizes that Vayne has failed him, he teleports to the site of his general's death in a fit of rage, intending to take matters into his own divine hands. But before he can destroy the PCs, the false Iggwilv activates her trap, which draws Iuz through the walls and confines him under the Tower of Zagig. At that point, the PCs have only a short time to prevent the false Iggwilv from transforming into a true, living soul and gaining terrible powers.

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