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DSQ2 Arcane Shadows (2e)


Tyr has been freed, and the mighty army of Urik has been turned back. These are new and strange times, indeed. Now Urik has become home - at least for a while - and there are new markets to shop, new streets to explore, and, oh yes, preservers to meet.

Preservers, the keepers of good magic, have sent a mysterious summons. They are ready to embark on a new and dangerous plot to thwart sorcerer-kings and bring new life to Athas. To associate with preservers is dangerous to say the least, but when the king's templars uncover the schemes, a death mark falls upon all involved

Will a desperate journey across the wastelands, with the templars in hot pursuit, end in victory or chaos? The answers lie in the hearts of mighty heroes and the resources of Arcane Shadows.

Product History

DSQ2: "Arcane Shadows" (1992), by Bill Slavicsek, is the third Dark Sun adventure and the second in the "DSQ" series of "Dark Sun Quests". It was released in July 1992.

Continuing the Dark Sun Series. After releasing the Dark Sun Boxed Set (1991), TSR decided to rapidly advance the setting'smetaplot with a series of linked novels and adventures. The adventure path began with DS1: "Freedom" (1991) and DSQ1: "Road to Urik" (1992). "Arcane Shadows" continued the sequence.

Like its predecessors, "Arcane Shadows" is a unique adventure that pairs together: a player's Flip Book, full of drawings and other player aids; a GM's Flip Book, containing the actual adventure, divided up into bite-sized encounters; and a small booklet containing a short story. It was an unusual format that was unprecedented at the time.

Adventuring Tropes. The adventure itself is somewhat more typical. It's an escort mission where the players take a comatose preserver from Urik back toward Tyr. Much of the adventure involves survival in the harsh deserts of Athas — which would become a popular trope in Dark Sun adventures.

The most unusual adventuring element in "Arcane Shadows" is the use of the Flip Book itself, since it divides the adventure up into distinct, carefully detailed encounters.

The Novel Connection. "Arcane Shadows" follows on the events of the second Prism Pentad novel, The Crimson Legion (1992). That novel revealed how a sorcerer-king could drain life energy to become a dragon king. This adventure offers the flipside by showing how preservers can use life energy to become Avangions.

Beyond this thematic connection, "Arcane Shadows" diverges from the novels, as would the later adventures in the "Freedom" sequence of modules.

Expanding Athas. "Arcane Shadows" offers some details on the city of Urik and allows the Veiled Alliance to come center stage for the first time. It also provides a nice connection to DSR1: "Slave Tribes" (1992), also by Slavicsek, by using the Free tribe — and thereby creating a more cohesive world of Athas.

However, "Arcane Shadows"' biggest contribution to the world of Athas is probably its introduction of the Avangion, which suggests that there might be hope for the bleak world. TSR would immediately follow up on this revelation just a month later, in Dragon Kings (1992).

About the Creators. Slavicsek was just starting work at TSR in 1992, following a tenure at West End Games. "Arcane Shadows" was his third book for the company, following DSR1: "Slave Tribes" and RQ1: "Night of the Walking Dead" (1992).

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. He see Arcane Shadows every where he goes. Thanks to Robert Adducci for Dark Sun advice. 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 (4)
Customer avatar
Robert P October 09, 2021 4:31 pm UTC
Why isn't this addressed yet? Looks like problems were reported as early as 2014 and it is 2021.... What is going on?!
Customer avatar
Jonathan E August 29, 2021 3:48 pm UTC
As of end of August 2021 scan is still completely hosed with missing and duplicated pages as laid out below by Heath in 2017 and even James B in 2014 with the cover folder missing. Not sure why they can’t fix this after 7 years (?!). Anyway I’d like my $10 back and they can at least provide summary info on how this scan is currently a mess.
Customer avatar
Heath B December 16, 2017 6:13 pm UTC
There are problems in the DM Book. It appears that a page is missing after p. 12, "Part One: B-Preservers' Meeting"? Also, p 14 "Part One: C-Surprise Attack (Cont.)" is exactly duplicated on p 15. The duplication issue happens again on p 34 and p 35 of the DM Book, "Part Four: A-Rescue". There then appears to be a missing page before p. 22 which is titled "Part Three: The Wilderness (Cont.)" but isn't actually continued from a page of that title. This happens again on p 38, "Part Four: C-Acts of Trust (Cont.)". Page 47 "Part Six: C-The Great One" appears to be out of order with p 46 "Part Six: C-The Great One (Cont.)". Page 49 "Part Three: Across the Wastes" is probably intended to appear after p 24, "Part Three: By the Roads"

Were these issues with the original publication, or errors in generating the pdf?
Customer avatar
Heath B December 25, 2017 7:28 pm UTC
In my restless drive to collect things, I went ahead and ordered the hard copy from another website/store that specializes in out-of-print RPGs. I can confirm that the problems I listed above are errors in the scan. It looks like they are probably due to the nature of the flipbook - it's really easy to lose your place in scanning, particularly if you unbind the booklet to make it flat for the scan bed. As it stands, there is some absolutely key information and supplementary rules simply not present in the scan that exist in the hard copy, and so I can't recommend this .pdf at this time, although an experienced Dark Sun DM can probably cover the holes with their own material. James B is correct, the cover/folder is missing from the pdf as well, which is especially problematic because that's where the monster/NPC stats are printed. These are referred to throughout the module, although I'm sure it's possible to flag similar stats from other Dark Sun products to make things fly. The key named NPCs are fully statted...See more
Customer avatar
James B October 22, 2014 3:09 am UTC
Cover/folder missing as of July 16, 2014.
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