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Castle Drachenfels (1992)

This is Castle Drachenfels (1992), which is maybe Flame Publications’ last Warhammer supplement. Or it is a weird interregnum publication by Games Workshop after Flame’s shuttering but before the Warhamer Fantasy Role Play license was handed off to Hogshead. Whatever the case, this is Carl Sargent’s adaptation of the castle as portrayed in the novel Drachenfels, by Kim Newman (using the pen name Jack Yeovil, 1989).

What you get is a history of the castle and its owner (the great enchanter Constant Drachenfels is a legendary, monstrous figure in the lore of the Old World), a detailed room-by-room description of the horrible place, scads of NPCs and several “adventure themes.” These last are interesting, in that they give motive to players to explore the castle while also acknowledging that the castle is largely unconquerable. No megadungeon is, but rarely are they so upfront about it.

Chatting to folks about this one has gotten some mixed opinions. It reminds me quite a bit of Jennell Jaquays Dark Tower or a less deserted version of Tomb of Horrors but with a sense of humor. That dark comedy seems to be the prime divider, as it is a bit zanier than what you find in the Old World up to this point — folks either love it or hate it. I fall in the love category. The castle is plenty horrible, it is nice to have what laughs you can squeeze out of the carnage. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a stone cold classic of the line, but it is nevertheless as fine an example of a large funhouse dungeon as you are likely to find.

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