The curse is finally lifting! Your party is among the first to learn that the dread fog that once enshrouded Castle Zagyg is dissipating. Revealed thus far are a multitude of caves that honeycomb the sheer bluff upon which the ancient edifice is built, these caves identified as the Mouths of Madness.
Evidence suggests that these caves are just the beginning! In nearly imperceptible degrees, the ruins emerge from the hazy gloom. One recent report tells of a fleeting glimpse caught of the castle fortress situated at the highest point of the rocky bluff overlooking the False Urt River “…rising from the center of the structure and piercing the very sky, a magnificent spire of stone…”
For many years Castle Zagyg was heralded as a place of grand adventure, abounding with gold, treasure, magic, and mystery – with not a few tricks and traps as well. Of course, it was also populated with a great many renegade rogue humans, humanoids, fell beasts, eldritch horrors and powers malign. Stalwart adventurers would brave the ruins of that most zany of archmagi, some returning with vast treasures and even stranger tales, others thwarted to lick their wounds, and a great many more seen neither hide nor hair of again. A place of derring-do told of in tale or verse, around the campfire or sung by tavern minstrel, the legend of Castle Zagyg was a thing of renown ever waxing. Great heroes flocked there: dragon slayers, wizards, thieves, and paladins of law to name a few. They cleared the castle’s precincts and paved the way for subsequent expeditions. Likewise attracted, however, were the most corrupt of villains, cultists, and humanoids, such nefarious beings often replacing those vanquished – and in greater number. Behind it all was Zagyg, the zany Mad Archmage, architect and puppet-master supreme of a lunatic’s game.
Then one day a curse was engendered. A vast mist rose up around the bluff on which the castle stands, engulfing the abandoned fortress and all its precincts, and those brave (or foolish) enough to approach it were either driven away by utter fear or transformed into frogs and transported far away. Sages of Yggsburgh termed it Zagyg’s Curse of Frogs & Fog, for even the most potent of spellbinders failed to penetrate that dread and omnipresent fog. Contemporaneous to this deific curse was the return of nefarious beings teeming about the castle’s wilderness environs, the Little Hillwood: human scum, monsters, humanoid tribes, and worse! And so it was that Castle Zagyg was thenceforth lost to its many seekers. Years passed and the place was scarcely sought – an enigma, a curiosity mentioned in passing if not plumb forgotten.
But now, most inexplicably, the curse lifts, or so the hushed whispers speak. The caves that dot the castle bluff are revealed, a series of gaping maws. The ruins of the castle precincts and the fortress itself peak through the dissipating mists.
The call of adventure issues anew! Once again, bold adventurers seek untold wealth and power, as well as access to the legendary dungeons of the Mad Archmage. Tales of their exploits have reached far and beyond. Their tales have reached you, seeker! Adventure and derring-do beckons, though discerning individuals will no doubt note that a horrible death is as probable as attaining both fame and vase treasure.
Beneath the shadows of the ancient, dreaded Castle Zagyg stands the fortified town of Yggsburgh. Its stout walls and cobbled ways give ample refuge to those bold and worthy adventurers who come to the East Mark to plunder the dungeon deeps of the Mad Mage. Beyond the protective covering of the town’s walls and the deep waters of the Urt and Nemo Rivers, lies a vast rolling countryside from the Glittering Knobs to the Lonely Valley.
Will you enter the environs of that most dread of magi, test your mettle and make ready for the heroes forge that is Castle Zagyg?