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RR2 Book of Crypts (2e)


Enter the world of the unknown? the land of dark mysteries, the realm of inexplicable terror. Adventure in a land where nothing is as it seems, where the innocent are evil in disguise. And watch your back ? no one can be trusted in Ravenloft!

Book of Crypts is 96 pages of the finest in twisted horror. Nine short adventures await you, promising new, hideous villains and spine-chilling stories do dark minds and lost souls. Be warned? these tales are not for the weak of heart!

Product History

RR2: "Book of Crypts" (1991), by Dale "Slade" Henson with J. Robert King, is the second Ravenloft Resource. It was published in September 1991.

Origins (I): Another RR. The first Ravenloft Resource, RR1: "Darklords" 1991), was a book of NPCs. So what do you do for a second hoorah? The answer, it turns out, is a book of adventures. RR2: "Book of Crypts" (1991) is an adventure anthology, full of brief adventures at about 10 pages each.

Origins (II): Another Lair? TSR had been labeling adventure anthologies as references (or resources) ever since REF3: The Book of Lairs (1986). And, this book calls back to the Books of Lairs with its title, "Book of Crypts". But, it isn't really the same thing. The adventures in "Book of Crypts" are longer, they're not as singularly focused on single monsters, and they tend to be set in towns or villages, not lairs (nor even crypts).

Adventure Tropes: Fear and Terror. As a very early Ravenloft publication, "Book of Crypts" defines how Ravenloft adventures should be run. It does so in two words: "horror and terror". It also carefully defines the two: "Horror is the revulsion, dread, and anguish that results when a character confronts something that shouldn't be" while "Terror … is the extreme fear that arises when creatures or events immediately threaten one’s life". Horror was of course the new emotion for the Ravenloft game, but the setting was also trying to amp up its terror by putting players in genuine fear for their characters' lives.

Adventure Tropes: Ravenloft Tropes. "Book of Crypts" also does a good job of building its adventures up from Ravenloft tropes, not more typical D&D tropes. Thus, most of the adventures focus on villains, not monsters. There are also a number of tropes that might be considered unfair in traditional D&D games, such as possession and heavy use of illusions.

Exploring Ravenloft. The first adventure in "Book of Crypts" is strongly set in Lamordia, one of the core domains from Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990). The rest of the adventures are generic, though some appear in named locations that would later be added to Ravenloft domains. Thus, Armeikos, Claviera, and Moondale would all be placed on the island of Liffe in the Nocturnal Sea in Domains of Dread (1997), but Aferdale and Risibilos would never be heard from again.

NPCs of Note. Doctor Victor Mordenheim is unsurprisingly at the heart of the Lamordia adventure while lvana Boritsi of Borca lies in the background of "Corrupted Innocents". Both had previously appeared in Ravenloft: Realm of Terror.

About the Creators. Henson wrote extensively for TSR in the early '90s. Other major projects at the time included a series of supplements for both Lankhmar and Buck Rogers XXVc.

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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