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Greyhawk Deity
Zagyg, as depicted in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007).
Title(s) The Mad Arch-Mage
Home Plane Concordant Opposition
Power Level Demigod
Gender Male
Class(es) Fighter 8/Magic-User 18/Illusionist 10
Alignment Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio Humor, Eccentricity, Occult Lore, Unpredictability
Domains Chaos, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Spell
Alias(es) Zagig Yragerne
Superior Boccob

Zagyg (formerly known as Zagig Yragerne) is the god of Humor, Eccentricity, Occult Lore, and Unpredictability. His symbol is the rune of insanity, which is two parallel zig-zag shapes.


Zagyg's appearance varies, though he is usually garbed in blue and silver. He is likely to appear with a vorpal sword in one hand and a wand of wonder in the other. Cursed items that he wears tend to affect his opponents rather than himself. As a mortal, Zagyg was a short, heavyset human with round, often flushed, face.

Somehow, despite his seeming madness, Zagyg completes every assignment that Boccob gives him.


Zagyg is a servant of Boccob. The feelings that those he imprisoned (including Fraz-Urb'luu, Merikka, Iuz, Rudd, Wastri, and Zuoken) have for him generally ranges from opposition to utter hatred, although Olidammara retains no hard feelings over the episode, appreciating the wit the Mad Arch-Mage showed in their duel.

As the founder of the Company of Seven, Zagyg is a former adventuring comrade of Heward, Keoghtom, Murlynd, Nolzur, Quaal, and Tasha. He was, for a time, apprenticed to Lyzandred. He is kin to Heward and Mordenkainen and the adoptive father of Yrag the Lord. He is also on good terms with Celestian.

Zagyg is also the founder of the Ring of Five, though this alliance seems to have broken up in recent years.

Zagyg can be found visiting or exploring with Keoghtom and Murlynd, with Keoghtom, Murlynd, and Mordenkainen, with Keoghtom and Mordenkainen, with Keoghtom and Heward, or with Celestian and Keoghtom.


Zagyg can travel all planes, but he divides the majority of his time between the Plane of Concordant Opposition and the Prime Material Plane. He also has a number of demiplanes that he has created, including the Isle of the Ape and Zagyg's Maze.


Zagyg promotes "enlightened neutrality and uncertain humor" everywhere. He believes it incumbent to afflict his jokes on all he meets, preferably in a way that leaves them wondering for some time afterwards. He never creates a puzzle unless it has some solution. He continually searches for odd bits of arcane knowledge and occult lore, and his followers do the same. He frequently changes his habits, believing that predictability is the bane of creativity and wit.


A number of wizards revere Zagyg for his magical prowess. Bigby and Riggby revere both Boccob and Zagyg. Yrag the Lord and Warnes Starcoat both revere Zagyg exclusively.


Zagyg has very few priests. They enjoy bringing humor and strangeness into the lives of others, and can often be found working as bards. They also seek to uncover lost magical knowledge.


One of Zagyg's few temples, the House of Zagyg, is a bizarre edifice with slanted, windowless walls, a skewed door, and an eccentric color scheme - purple, yellow, red, and pink. The floor is angled as well, the legs of the furniture cut to compensate. The temple is run by Abbot Kormath Burrsten; there were two other abbots, but they are "on sabbatical."


Zagyg was born Zagig Yragerne in Hardby in 277 CY. The son of Despotrix Eileme Yragerne, Zagyg is a descendant of Ganz Yragerne, second Lord Mayor of the Free City of Greyhawk, and Maro Yragerne, a former Despotrix of Hardby.

Zagyg, as depicted in Dragon #70 (1983). Art by Jeff Easley.

In the late 3rd century CY, with a young Murlynd and Keoghtom, Zagig joined or formed a group of adventurers known as the Company of Seven. In 305 CY, they ventured into the Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, navigating the old lich's riddles and defeating many of his guardians. They reached the outer chamber of Lyzandred's inner sanctum, where the lich dismissed everyone but Zagig. Zagig stayed with the lich for a time, learning much, before asking to leave and put what he learned into practice.

Sometime around 310 CY, Zagyg made his way to Greyhawk, where he bribed the members of the city's Directing Oligarchy for a seat on their board, then somehow convinced them to elect him Lord Mayor of the city. Leaving Greyhawk, the Company of Seven set out to find and explore the lost Flan city of Veralos. They returned to Greyhawk almost a year later, having found Veralos, with a great deal of rare and unusual treasure from its ruins.

In 339 CY, Zagig's mother died. As her sole heir, Zagig became the first (and only) Despot of Hardby, as well as inheriting the title of Landgraf of Selintan, an old Great Kingdom provincial title applied to the ruler of the area now known as the Domain of Greyhawk. In 351, Zagig renounced the title of Despot, leaving the Gynarchy of Hardby to choose another Despotrix to rule the city.

Regarded by many as Greyhawk's greatest Lord Mayor and citizen, Zagig is in many ways responsible for making Greyhawk what it is today. He reformed Greyhawk's legal code, established a currency for the city, founded the Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry, brought scholars to the city to found colleges, oversaw the creation of the mining towns of Diamond Lake and Steaming Springs in the Cairn Hills, and organized the city's first Desportium of Magick. He also oversaw the construction of the city's sewers, the Free City Arena, and Castle Greyhawk. It was Zagig who named Greyhawk the "Gem of the Flanaess," in a speech voicing his wish that Greyhawk become the "keystone of civilization."

However, for all the good Zagig brought to the city, he also brought much peril. Always eccentric, Zagig's sanity began to gradually decline after 370 CY, and many of Greyhawk's citizens lived in fear of his outbursts of humor and rage. In 395, Zagig voiced his plans to enclose Greyhawk's New City in walls made of elemental forces, such as fire and water. Though most citizens felt this would endanger their lives, Zagig seemed not to care. In the minutes of a typical meeting of the city Directors in Growfest, 400 CY, it is noted that Zagig was attended by a black dragon he had brought from the Mistmarsh, several homonculi, and a flesh golem clothed as the Overking of the Great Kingdom. It was at this time that one of the oligarchs, asked what possibly the affluent city could have lacked, said in a guarded moment: "sanity."

It was during this time when Zagig was once again contacted by Lyzandred, who told him of his own descent into madness and urged the Mad Archmage to do as he had done - to leave the Prime Material Plane behind for the sake of the safety of those he came in contact with. Just as Lyzandred's had done so long before, Zagig's mind clarified and he saw what he was becoming. That day, he decided he would leave the city behind, to dedicate himself to experiments in his castle and exploring the planes.

On Coldeven 8, 421 CY, Zagig failed to show up for a meeting of the Directing Oligarchy. Though he had given no sign of his intentions, Zagig was not seen by mortals on Oerth again. Every year on this anniversary, the Lord Mayor and Directing Oligarchy share a meal of bread and water, in commemoration of the return to normalcy occassioned by Zagig's disappearance.

Sometime during his reign as mayor, Zagig is said to have used powerful magic to capture and imprison the demon prince Fraz-Urb'luu, who only recently escaped his confinement. Zagig collaborated in this scheme with his fellow archmage, Iggwilv, who would later on use what she had learned to imprison her own demon lord, Graz'zt, and conquer Perrenland.

In 505 CY, Zagyg succeeded in capturing nine demigods of opposing alignments and imprisoning them beneath Castle Greyhawk in an artifact known as the Godtrap. It was later learned that the capture of these deities was required as part of Zagyg's apotheosis. Those known to have been captured include Iuz (oddly enough, the son of Iggwilv and Graz'zt), Zuoken, Wastri, Merikka and Rudd. Olidammara attempted to free Rudd, but was himself captured and transformed for a time into a small, carapaced animal. Most of Zagyg's captives did manage to eventually escape (including Iuz, who was freed in 570 CY by Lord Robilar), although Zuoken remained a prisoner for more than two more decades, finally being freed after the events of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.

By the time of Iuz's escape, it was revealed by Mordenkainen that Zagig Yragerne was alive and well, and had become a demigod in the service of Boccob, god of magic. Zagig is now known as "Zagyg", a variant spelling of his name which he sometimes used when signing documents as Lord Mayor. A number of members of the Circle of Eight began honoring Zagyg, most likely for his magical prowess (it is said that no greater mortal mage has ever lived, except perhaps Iggwilv and Vecna). The Mad Arch-Mage's cult has since that time achieved a minor following, though it has yet to gain any strength in Greyhawk City.


Zagyg has developed the following spells:

  • Zagig's Amusing Alteration
  • Zagig's Canned Laughter
  • Zagig's Gender Shift

Magic items


  • Runic Mysteries Revealed is a book describing the various symbols and glyphs common in the Flanaess. It is thought to be somewhat unreliable. [From the Ashes Cyclopedia, page 17]
  • Zagig's Comedicon is a spellbook enspelled so that the pages appear in random order, occasionally replacing themselves with entirely new pages as old pages vanish into the ether. Besides spells, the book is also filled with puns, limericks, and jokes, and occasionally accurate prophesies. Drawmij owned the Comedicon for a time, but was so frustrated by it he returned it to the sage he got it from, Ansalor of Westkeep. The cover is made from adamant-hard blue crystal and adorned with a platinum image of Zagig's plump, laughing face. The book eventually teleports itself beneath Castle Greyhawk to be discovered again.

Creative origins

Zagyg's name is a near reverse anagram of his creator's name, "Erne(st) Gary Gygax."


Zagyg03.jpg Zagyg holy symbol.JPG Zagyg04.jpg


  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online:[1]
  • Mobley, Blake, and Timothy B. Brown. Greyhawk Ruins. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.