Advanced Search >

I10: Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill (1e)
Quick Preview
/gs_flipbook/flip.php?xml=/demo_xml/178605.xml&w=600&h=400
Full‑size Preview
Waiting for previous preview regen.

I10: Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill (1e)

ADD TO WISHLIST >
Selected Option:
Multiple File Formats
$4.99
Softcover Color Book (Standard Heavyweight)
$9.99
Multiple File Formats + Softcover Color Book (Standard Heavyweight)
$14.98
$11.99

"I AM THE ANCIENT ... I AM THE LAND ..."

Your screams still echo in your room. Cold sweat soaks the bedsheets and trickles down your back.

It seemed so real! The great towers of a darksome place called Ravenloft ... it's misty vales and the terrible tragedy of a man who had sold his soul to unlife. Now the sunlight streams through the window with the promise of a new day. The dread nightmare at last is over.

In the cold sunlight of a dying autumn, you step from your room at the inn and stroll along the friendly streets of Mordentshire. But, from the back of your mind the dream creeps forward to haunt you. Why do the faces of those who have befriended you now seem those of strangers? Why do those who called you here in terror, now seem to dismiss your task as a folly?

More .. why are you advised so strongly, to forget about the House on Gryphon Hill ... the domain of the fair haired Count Von Zarovich, a name that cries out from your dark nightmare?

You halt, as the swirl of events grow more confusing with every passing minute. Which is the dream ... and which the reality?

Product History

I10: "Ravenloft II: House on Gryphon Hill" (1986), by Tracy and Laura Hickman, is the tenth module in the long-running Intermediate series of adventures for AD&D and the second Ravenloft adventure. It was released in September 1986.

Origins: It's Alive!. After his success coauthoring the Dragonlance Chronicles (1984-1985) and Dragonlance Legends (1986) novels, Tracy Hickman decided to leave TSR and try his hand as a professional freelance writer. His last month at TSR was April 1985, a short three years after his arrival there.

However, before his departure Hickman put together an outline for a sequel to his classic adventure, I6: "Ravenloft" (1983). A team of four writers then actually wrote the book: David Cook, Jeff Grubb, Harold Johnson, and Douglas Niles. Hickman says that not much of his original outline survived, but nonetheless a sequel to "Ravenloft" was born.

Genre Tropes: Going Gothic. The original Ravenloft's mixture of D&D adventuring with the gothic genre was groundbreaking. "Gryphon Hill" repeats that classic blend by including alchemists, mesmerists, warped dreams, and dark moors. In fact, many tropes from Dracula (1897) itself repeat in "Gryphon Hill". However, "Gryphon Hill" also features strange experiments and stranger machines, leading to the question: is "Gryphon Hill" a true gothic or is it instead a delicious "Hammer horror" (1955-1974) movie?

Adventure Tropes. "Gryphon Hill" also duplicates many of the adventure tropes of the original adventure, starting with a random setup of NPC goals and item locations that is revealed by an oracular reading. This was a Hickman favorite, appearing in both "Ravenloft" and some of his "Dragonlance" adventures (1984-1986).

"Gryphon Hill" also include some events, but the adventure is largely focused on three locales, each probably the creation of a different author: the village of Mordentshire; the Moors including the eponymous House on Gryphon Hill; and Heather House and the Mausoleum below. So consider it a village crawl and two house crawls, but as with the original "Ravenloft" the adventure focuses on creating living environments, not just places to plunder. A scripted final battle of the sort that would become more popular in the '90s closes out the adventure.

Exploring Ravenloft. Strahd from "Ravenloft" is back, but he's now a recent arrival to the new setting of Mordentshire. So how does that fit with his original adventure? As it turns out, the answer is "not well". "Gryphon Hill" suggests that the original "Ravenloft" could be a dream. Or maybe this one is. Or maybe they're alternate realities. Combining them into one chronology doesn't seem possible. (The original "Ravenloft" has been the favored background for Strahd in more recent appearances.)

Despite that, "Gryphon Hill" is a critical historical link between the original I6: "Ravenloft" (1983) and the later Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990) and Ravenloft Campaign Setting (1994). It introduces Mordent, the second of the demiplane's domains — and in fact remains the best source of information on the domain thanks to its extensive maps and background for Mordentshire. It also introduces numerous NPCs that were important not just to the Mordent domain, but also to the larger demiplane of Ravenloft.

Monsters of Note. "Gryphon Hill" features a rather motley crew of monsters. There's a vampire of course and his skeletons and zombies. Other horrific monsters include werewolves, spectres, and even a lich. But there are also orcs, ogres, stirges, and a harpy. Later Ravenloft books would be a bit more selective in spotlighting specific horrors (and would leave out the more fantastic critters).

The real monster of the adventure isn't a monster at all. It's an "Apparatus" that allows the "transpossession" of souls. In other words, body snatching, a classic trope of the horror genre.

NPCs of Note. Count Strahd of course reappears in "Gryphon Hill", albeit in a bifurcated form as the Alchemist and the Creature. The other notable NPC is the lich Azalin, who makes his debut here. He would become a major character in the Ravenloft line, occasionally eclipsing Strahd himself. One other future Ravenloft lord makes his debut: Lord Wilfred Godefroy, here a haunt on Grypon Hill, but later the ruler of the Mordent domain.

"Gryphon Hill" is otherwise filled with characters who would be incorporated into Ravenloft — or at least filled with the families of those characters, as the Ravenloft campaign setting seems to be set sometime in the future of "Gryphon Hill". These characters includes Germain d’Honaire, Nathan Timothy, and the Weathermays — all of whom would see descendants appear in Ravenloft: Realm of Terror.

About the Creators. Tracy and Laura Hickman are of course the married couple who created Ravenloft in the first place, back in their self-publication days at DayStar West Media, when the unpublished adventure was called "Vampyr".

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (0)
Narrow Results
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!









Product Information
Silver seller
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
48
File Size:
29.02 MB
Format
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
March 29, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on March 29, 2016.