A New Kind of Ghost Story…
A group of scarred survivors look to the horizon, ready to escape the horrors of the Desolation. Bearing powerful magic and a terrible secret, they are the target of powerful enemies—including deadly servants of Chemosh and a distant, enigmatic threat. With luck and courage, they’ll survive to understand how their quest relates to the spectral image of a long-dead elven wizardess.
Spectre of Sorrows is a DRAGONLANCE® adventure for the d20 System set in the Age of Mortals. It can be played as the sequel to Key of Destiny, or become the launch-point of a new campaign. The adventure is designed for characters of 8th level and requires the use of the DRAGONLANCE Campaign Setting and d20 System core rulebooks from Wizards of the Coast.
The adventure contained within these pages will take the heroes across the lands of Ansalon and even below the sea. Locations both familiar and new are detailed, as well as new creatures and magical items.
Spectre of Sorrows is the second in a trilogy of epic DRAGONLANCE adventures published by Sovereign Press, Inc.
Spectre of Sorrows (2005), by Cam Banks, is volume two in the Dragonlance Age of Mortals campaign for D&D 3.5e. It was published in July 2005.
About the Cover. Another Jeff Easley cover graces Spectre of Sorrws. This one shows two major NPCs, Lothian and Kayleigh, in the Dragons' Graveyard. It's once again a scene related to the climax of the adventure.
Continuing the Age of Mortals Campaign. Spectre of Sorrows began life as an outline by Christopher Coyle, the author of Key of Destiny (2004), the first Age of Mortals adventure. However after Coyle departed Sovereign Press in 2003, Cam Banks was left to expand and revise the outline, and then to write the actual adventure.
Spectre of Sorrows followed straight on from Key of Destiny as the second part of a massive adventure path for Dragonlance, offering up a new saga in a new era of play. At 192 pages, it was a bit longer than its predecessor, and it took over a year to prepare … but that'd be nothing in the face of the third and final part of the campaign.
Adventuring Tropes: A New Saga. Like its predecessor, Spectre of Sorrows was written in the style of the original Dragonlance Saga (1984-1986). That meant that it was a wide-ranging adventure that let the adventurers rove across much of Ansalon. Wilderness travel, city exploration, and small-scale dungeon crawls all blended seamlessly together, punctuated with events which helped to keep the adventure's plot going. Spectre of Sorrows also included some of the same adventure elements that had made the original Saga popular: even more artifacts appeared, starting with the Tears of Mishakal, and there was of course a dragon: the dragonlord Mohrlex (Pitch).
Troubleshooting D&D. Of course, D&D had changed a lot since the days of the original Dragonlance Saga. Most notably, under D&D 3.5e spellcasters were more powerful than ever. This presented problems for a travel-oriented adventure like Spectre of Sorrows. In order to follow in the footsteps of the original Saga, the adventure needed to somehow prevent spellcasters from teleporting wherever they wanted, avoiding the wilderness encounters that fill the module. Banks managed this by burdening the Tears of Mishakal with a dimensional anchor. The players need to hold onto the Tear, to cleanse it, but they can't teleport while holding it … so wilderness travel it is!
Spectre of Sorrows also includes a section on Troubleshooting Divination Magic, highlighting the many challenges that GMs faced from mid-to-high-level spellcasters in 3e days (2000-2008).
Expanding Krynn. Spectre of Sorrows is clearly set in the Age of Mortals. It once more features the Knights of Neraka and even touches upon the draconians that settled the city of Teyr in Draconian Measures (2000). Further, a major plot thread is revealed to be the result of the return of the gods at the end of the War of Souls (2000-2002).
However, Spectre of Sorrows also spends more time that Key of Destiny in highlighting the unique races of Krynn who would be appropriate in any era, among them the dargonesti elves, the tinker gnomes, the nautical minotaurs, and the brutal ogres. Among the rarest races featured here are the Taladas disir, who premiered in Time of the Dragon (1989), and the flying phaethon, who appeared way back in MC4: "Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix" (1990) and the novel Wanderlust (1991) and were then promptly forgotten by the roleplaying line.
Spectre of Sorrows continues to detail the lands of northeastern Ansalon, some of them previously touched upon in the final adventures of the original Saga — from DL11: "Dragons of Glory" (1985) through DL14: "Dragons o Triumph" (1986) — but which didn't receive much attention in later years. The areas around the Blood Sea get particular focus, including the Desolation, the Rugged Coast, the ogre nation of Kern and the Horselands of Nordmaar. The adventure reaches its climax in the Dragons' Graveyard, a mythical area that debuted back in DLE1: "In Search of Dragons" (1989) and which had occasionally been touched upon since.
NPCs of Note. Spectre of Sorrows once more makes use of many notable NPCs from the past and future of the Dragonlance line.
- Caeldar, Lothian, and Kayleigh are a trio of NPCs central to this campaign, but not used elsewhere in the canon.
- Gilthanas is the last member of the original Companions, introduced in DL3: "Dragons of Hope" (1984). He once more might become a companion here.
- Mohrlex (Pitch), a black dragon, is one of the surviving lesser dragonlords of Krynn. He was introduced in SAGA books like Dragonlance Fifth Age (1996) and Wings of Fury (1998), and now players can determine his final fate.
- Silvara, the silver dragon from DL7: "Dragons of Light" (1985), is briefly mentioned and will play a more prominent role in the final adventure in the campaign.
- Lord Toede, a hobgoblin ruler, is Dragonlance's longest-running villain, having debuted way back in DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984) before rising up to unlikely heights during the War of the Lance. Nowadays he's ruling Flotsam, the days of fighting adventurers well behind him.
About the Creators. Banks had contributed to Key of Destiny (2004), and now his importance to the Age of Mortals Campaign was increasing. He'd also author the third part, Price of Courage (2006).
About the Product Historian
This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.