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The Secret of Spiderhaunt (2e)

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The infamous Sword of the Dales has always held a certain fascination in the eyes and hearts of the citizens of the Dalelands. Thus, it was no surprise when Randal Morn, rebel leader of Daggerdale, led an expedition into the crypt of a long-dead wizard to recover the weapon.

Shaevyn the weapons-mage had created the Sword long ago, and it stood to reason that the blade would be waiting within his tomb. Perhaps the Sword of the Dales woulld allow Randal Morn to rule Daggerdale once again. But Randal Morn never returned from that fated party. Only tales of terror told by a lone survivor held any clues as to Randal's fate. A brave hand of heroes accomplished what Randal Morn's group failed to do in part one of this adventure trilogy, "The Sword of the Dales."

Battling through the tomb's undead inhabitants, those heroes reached the burial crypt of Shraevyn. There, resting in the center of the coffin, was the Sword of the Dales, its azure glow filling the chamber. However, there was no sign of Randal Morn.

Only a note signed by his hand held any clue as to his fate. "Seek me in Spiderhaunt," it proclaimed. "The fate of Daggerdale is in your hands."

This is the second part of a trilogy of modules that began with "The Sword of the Dales." The saga concludes with "The Return of Randal Morn."


Product History

"The Secret of Spiderhaunt," by Jim Butler, is the second adventure in the "Sword of the Dales" trilogy. It was published in August 1995.

Continuing the Randal Morn Trilogy. "Secret of Spiderhaunt" continues on from "The Sword of the Dales" (1995) as part of the fourth (somewhat) epic trilogy of adventures designed for the Forgotten Realms. 

Different Languages, Different Titles. In German, this adventure was published as "Der Turm der Traeume" ("The Tower of Dreams").

It's All about the NPCs. As is common in the Forgotten Realms, this adventure focuses on several NPCs. The players are searching for the missing Randal Morn and are opposed by the villainous Gothyl. Several other NPCs move in and out of the story, including the Zhent mage Ilthond, who had previously appeared in Ed Greenwood's novel Spellfire (1987).

Adventuring Tropes. This adventure is structured much like its predecessor, "The Sword of the Dales": There's a bit of backstory followed by an episodic trek through the wilderness and then an adventure into a dungeon. However, there's a bit more railroading in this adventure, as the PCs are first beset by dreams, and then forced onward toward the third adventure. The plotting, including the railroading, was pretty common in AD&D adventures of the 90s, while the episodic wilderness and the climatic dungeon adventure could have been from the 80s.

Expanding the Realms. This adventure is most notable for its depiction of the Spiderhaunt Woods between Shadowdale and Daggerdale. The first mention of the area was in Dragon #164 (December 1990) in Ed Greenwood's "Pages from the Mages VI." He described it as a "fell woodland" where "beholders continue to lurk." Later in Dragon #179 (March 1992), another writer detailed a magic item called Illag's Abominable Beacon that was said to be held by orcs who dwelt just northeast of the Spiderhaunt Woods. All around, it didn't seem like a nice place to visit in those earliest days.

The Woods more notably received a couple of page of description in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Revised Edition (1993) and FRS1: The Dalelands (1993), and they were featured as an adventure locale in "Marco Volo: Arrival" (1994). "The Secret of Spiderhaunt" expands and supplements the previous description, detailing many of the encounters that could be found within the woods, as well as the Forest Gnome village of Stormpemhauder.

Monsters of Note. This adventure introduced the Arch-Shadow, though it hasn't been notably used since.

The Adventure Continues. The Randal Morn trilogy concludes in "The Return of Randal Morn" (1995), which was published two months later.

About the Creators. The "Sword of Dales" trilogy was Butler's first published work for TSR. He would produce all three adventures for release in 1995 and then would continue with more Forgotten Realms books in 1996.

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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File Last Updated:
October 07, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on October 08, 2013.