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H3 The Bloodstone Wars (1e)

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What strange role does Orcus, Prince of the Undead, play in the invasion of peace-loving Damara? And what interest does the Grandfather of Assassins have in the tiny barony of Bloodstone Pass?

With this adventure, your player characters inherit an entire barony - with a recently reopened mine that produces immense wealth. Wealth enough to attract the dangerous attention of their neighbors?wealth enough to attract the attention of the Witch-King of Vaasa?and Orcus himself!

Now, your tiny barony ias the pivotal point in a war that threatens to engulf the entire Forgotten Realms. Take command, and defend yourself against the encroachment of the evil, demonic forces of the nightmare realm of Vaasa.

Come learn why high-level AD&D game play can be much more than just monster bashing. The army of Bloodstone Pass wants you!

Product History

H3: "The Bloodstone Wars" (1987), by Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson with Ed Greenwood, is the third of the "High-Level" adventures for AD&D. It was published in July 1987.

About the Cover. Though "The Bloodstone Wars" doesn't use the Battlesystem logo on its cover, it does reuse the artwork from the Battlesystem Fantasy Combat Supplement (1985).

Origins (I): The H Series. "Bloodstone Wars" continues the "H" series, which had come to stand for the "High-Level Bloodstone Pass Saga!" The adventure levels in this new volume climb even higher (now running up to 20!), and there continues to be an undercurrent of warfare. In fact, the warfare quotient of this third adventure has increased considerably. It's more similar to H1: "Bloodstone Pass" (1985), where the warfare was required, then H2: "The Mines of Bloodstone" (1986), where it was an optional aside.

Origins (II): The Realms. Though the front cover of "The Bloodstone Wars" looks like a generic D&D adventure, the back cover reveals something more. The familiar "Forgotten Realms" logo is there, revealing that Bloodstone Pass had become part of a new campaign world that was being simultaneously released as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1987).

To solidify this connection, TSR brought in Realms creator Ed Greenwood to contribute to the new adventure. Sort of. What Niles and Dobson actually did was introduce a thread of attempted assassinations into the modules. This allowed them to also incorporate "The Assassin's Run", an adventure that Ed Greenwood wrote for Dragon #62 (August 1982). It's been said that the inclusion of the adventure was a "complete astonishment" when Greenwood later learned about it.

Adventure Tropes. "Bloodstone Wars" is a bit of a hodge-podge. There are a variety of episodic encounters, some battles, and a dungeon crawl. The result is an integration of roleplaying with miniatures warfare — and possibly a more meaningful integration than in the original "Bloodstone Pass".

Adventure Tropes: Battlesystem. The warfare in "Bloodstone Wars" begins with the troops get trained — continuing the trope of preparation before the war begins. The actual warfare is very nicely arranged, with a flowchart revealing how and when to move on to the various battles.

Exploring the Realms. As the first original adventure to bear the "Realms" logo, "Bloodstone Wars" represents one of the first chances to really explore the world. With that said, there's not a lot of new background material here … unless you consider that the use of that logo also incorporated all the background found in the two previous Bloodstone adventures.

The slight details on Arcata, a duchy of Damara, offer the biggest expansion for this part of the Realms. Vaasa also plays an active role for the first time. (Mostly, Damara and Vaasa send armies into Bloodstone, creating the main wars of the title.)

NPCs of Note. Orcus continues to work in the shadows of this adventure, but he's mainly working through a catspaw, the Witch-King of Vaasa.

About the Creators. Niles was the author of Battlesystem and Dobson was the editor. This would be one of several books that they'd produce in the waning days of AD&D 1e to support their game system.

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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Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Simon W April 05, 2021 3:51 pm UTC
Please make a Print On Demand option for this book. :)
Customer avatar
Leigh T March 14, 2019 3:11 am UTC
If anyone cares, the Dragon magazine that the original Assassin's Run appears in is actually issue #64, not #62 as it says in the description. You know, in case you wanted to see the original and spent time looking through back issues trying to find the adventure...not that I did that.
Customer avatar
Jonathan S September 01, 2017 8:42 pm UTC
If you played the first of the series this will be enjoyable too. This module gives definition to characters that has began this campaign. If you haven't played the first 2 modules then you're missing out on the backstory.
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