This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zenopus map redux

A few days back I posted a picture of Greyhawk's Green Dragon Inn from the AD&D Coloring Album written by Gary Gygax (published by Troubadour Press, 1979 under license from TSR). This reminded me of a connection to the Blue Book: the map in the Coloring Album (by Greg Irons) is a redrawn version of the map in the Blue Book (possibly by David Sutherland based on a design from Holmes). This was originally brought to my attention in a review of the Album by Kent Kelly on the Acaeum. I've posted about this before on the DF and OD&D74 forums, so to justify revisiting the topic again I've made an improved visual (see above). I scanned the entire oversized map from the Coloring Album, which took three scans that then had to be stitched back together (if you look closely you can see the staples where the map overlaps the center of the book). I then juxtaposed this with the Blue Book map for a side-by-side comparison (click on the map above for a larger view).

The Coloring Album is a strange chimera of two different activities. The first is the coloring book: an illustrated story of adventurers who meet at the Green Dragon Inn in Greyhawk City and begin a quest in "search of a fabulous treasure". The pages alternate telling the story with fantastic full-page scenes of the party encountering various AD&D monsters. The other activity is a board game entitled Adventures in the Dungeon, also by Gygax [2020 Update: Lawrence Schick wrote the game text, per a post he made on FB]. This game is somewhat like Dungeon!, features different characters from the coloring book story, and uses the map pictured above (found in the center of the coloring book). Some of the monsters in each are the same, some are different. The rules for the game are explained in short paragraphs at the bottom of each page that tells the coloring book story.

As you can see above, while the Coloring Album map changes a few features, overall the two maps are very similar in layout. A few of the encounters even have the same monster in the same location:
Room G / 3 - Giant Rats
Room J / 11 - Giant Spider
Room M / 7 - Giant Octopus (but no pirates in the coloring book)

All of other monsters are replaced in the Album:
Room A / 1 - Goblins -> Remorhaz
Room B / 2 - Skeletons -> Demon
Room C / 8 - Corridor (empty) -> Carrion Crawler
Room D / 9 - Statue (non-living) -> Otyugh
Room E - Empty -> empty, unnumbered
Room F / 4 - Thaumaturgist -> Ogre Mage
Room H - river -> river, unnumbered
Room I - brazen head -> Gorgon
Room K - Giant Crab -> empty, unnumbered
Room L - Phosophorescent Fungus -> empty, unnumbered
Room N / 13 - Crypt with non-standard Skeleton & flying dagger -> Crypt with Iron Skeletons of Grusyin
Room P / 1 - Ghouls -> Beholder
Room RT - Giants Rats -> empty, unnumbered
Room S - Giant Snake -> Ochre Jelly
Room S1/S2 - Ape -> no equivalent

Thus, a low level Basic dungeon is transformed into a high level dungeon for a simplified AD&D game. In a future post I'll review the rules for the board game (update: this is here).


  1. This would be a nice update. I think I'll use it.
    I had that coloring book too and loved to look at that 'updated' Zenopus map.

  2. Wow, had no idea the coloring book map-- which I always loved the style of-- was the Holmes map. Thanks for posting here.

  3. If you analyze the story part of the book, you'll realize that it doesn't represent the game part of the book. The game map is the Zenopus map re-done. The story reflects an adventure to Castle Greyhawk. So it seems to me that if you want to build your own Castle Greyhawk Gygax-style, then you may want to use Gygax maps that fit. There's an unfinished tower that can be used for the ruins in T1. S4 has an underground lake (and the Kuntz version at one time was Castle Greyhawk level 7). S4 also has stats for a demi-lich. There's no wood bridge in S4, but you can place one at area 14 to access area 10. S4 has an umber hulk. Area 1 in S4 can have exits to the North, East, South, and West. I figure the wizard encounter can be found south off the map. In my notes, I made the teleportation to a treasure room of The Dungeons of Pasha Cada in Blackmoor based on the Dungeon! map.

    I had been thinking of how B2 might be re-used for a Castle Greyhawk map, but elements of T1 and S4 seem like better fits after I started because of the illustrations.