Gary Gygax, Troll Lord Games

& The Road of Adventure

It is our wonderful pleasure and honor to begin publishing the works of Gary Gygax once again. Though this time around it will be without his steady hand and good guidance, we are confident that we can bring him and his works back to your table and community at large. Troll Lord Games is honored with this position and will hold the next few months up as a crowning jewel in our long publishing history. A kindly thank you to Luke Gygax, and all the Gygax family, the Court and Estate for entrusting TLG with Gary’s works once again.


In 1999 three youngish gents, Mac Golden, Davis Chenault and myself (Stephen Chenault), met at Vinos, a pizza place in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas to talk about starting a game company. Mac Golden and Steve had been bouncing the idea around for awhile and were at last taking it a little more than lightly. Not long after, we debuted our first line of products at Gen Con, three adventures, a setting, and a large fold out map.

The convention was a blast. Very different than our normal Dragon Con fare, which Mac and I had been attending for the better part of a decade. The number of games was stupefying, and the raw excitement of unfulfilled potential a little off the chart. This was the year that d20 debuted and the OGL was the talk of the town.


Joining the mad cap crowds there however were quite a few veteran gamers, publishers, and designers. Not the least of which was Gary Gygax. He spent most of his time in the Inner City Games booth, selling his Lejendary Adventures game. As soon as Mac learned of Gary’s attendance, he rounded up our books and map and brought them to him and gifted them as a huge thank you for all that Gary had started. I understand, and now have no doubt, that Gary was very gracious and talked to Mac for a few minutes.


That Gen Con was a watershed moment for TLG as James Mishler of ACD Distribution picked us up and the consolidator, Wizard’s Attic, agreed to carry and push our products deeper into distribution.

Not long after the show we sat down to discuss what we should do next. An expansion of the After Winter Dark Setting was a must and an adventure or two were proposed. We were not in a position to do much as we all had other jobs. As this percolated, Mac suggested I reach out to Gary and see if there might be a chance of getting him to write and adventure module for us. Using the pretext of the adventures Mac gave him I sent him an email thanking him again and asking him if he had a chance to read the adventures. He wrote back, much to my surprise, fairly quickly and we soon struck up a conversation.


It was not long before we were talking business. How that unfolded is a story for another time, suffice it to say, that we soon struck up a deal and he was sending us files for both The Canting Crew and the Lost City of Gaxmoor. 

These beginnings launched an 8-year journey of publishing, gaming, learning (for myself), good food, good drink, and all-around good times. Gary and I emailed almost daily as we managed the ever-increasing amount of material, he intended to bring to the gaming table. These included a small host of projects, from the Hall of Many Panes to The Hermit, Lejendary Adventures, Gord the Rogue, Castle Zagyg and a small host of other titles.


We worked together for the better part of 8 years. They were good years, both the ups and the downs, and Gary proved a pleasure to work with. He always hoped for more from TLG, but our size precluded that in the early days. But regardless he stuck with us, and we him.

All this ended quite suddenly when Gary took his final drink and crossed the bar in March of 2008. Some months later, the licenses for all his published work were pulled from Troll Lord Games. For the next fifteen years the status of these works languished, becoming a gift ungiven to those of us who loved him and his works. There are and were many amongst us who longed for the shadow draped corridors of Gary’s ever-active mind to play out on our tables.


The years have passed, like they do, and we all filled that time with life, as we do. Troll Lord Games’ own fantasy role playing game, Castles & Crusades (designed in no small measure to give Gary a home for his famed Castle project as well as giving tribute to Gary’s gaming group, the Castles & Crusades Society) thrived, expanding so much that we are now headed into our 10th printing. Gary’s children, Luke at the forefront, kept their father’s name alive with Gary Con and other ventures such as Gaxx Worx.


Despite his absence he remained with us all these years. His influence, his ideas, all hovered around the Troll Dens. In fact, hardly a week has passed in the past fifteen years that someone has not reached out to us and asked if it were possible that Gary’s works might be coming out again. As is our long-standing policy both personally and professionally, our door is always open and there is a seat at the table for anyone who wants to amble in play and game. As for Gary’s works, their fate was never in our hands, it lay in with others. But we have never given up hope. Not ever.

After years of turmoil, the Estate of Gary Gygax was taken over by a court assigned estate manager. As part of the agreement to raise money to secure the debts of the estate, Troll Lord Games was granted the right and privilege to reprint several of Gary Gygax’s works. To wit, The Gygaxian Fantasy World Series, Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, and The Hermit are each coming back into print. (click the image to the left to pre-order).


We hope to bring each of these to you table as soon as possible. Our current plan is to release a Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh retro print immediately. This is a reprint of the book as it was released in 2005. Following this, we will release The Hermit as a Kickstarter campaign. The Hermit will be updated for Castles and Crusades; the Fantasy Roleplaying Game, laid out in full color with new maps and illustrations, contain notes on its development and all original material as well. The Gygaxian Fantasy World Series will be launched on Kickstarter in the first quarter of 2024. The eight plus volume series of works is one of Gary’s prides and joys as well as a treasure trove of information for anyone wanting to create a comprehensive fantasy world setting.


As of this writing, Castles Zagyg Yggsburgh is on pre-order and selling far beyond expectations. We supplied the court with several projections. You helped us blow through our 90-day projection in the first day of pre-order sales, and our 120-day projection by the close of the third day and it continues to sale. We have made the first payment to the estate, a good faith payment, and will make another after end of this quarter. That means that the estate is already able to pay back some of the accumulated fees and penalties. Though we have a way to go, every adventure begins with the first step, and with you at his back, Gary cannot help but win in the end.


It is strange. On the one hand it seems as if time has stood still and we were only waiting for the word from Gary to get started again. On the other it seems like a river of time has passed between those days and now. But regardless of where we are in the flat circle, we are here now, and hope that this is just the beginning of the new age.

New Store

We continue to develop the new store. Adding products every day.

  • One stop shopping for print and pdf.
  • You make your own account when you make your first purchase!
  • Old Store remains open to access downloads!

Head over and give it a look see!

On Kickstarter NOW!

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