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The Sunless Citadel (3e)


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Evil Grows beneath the Earth

Why should anyone travel the cracked cobblestones of the Old Road? The fortress that once cast its shadow across the road does so no longer - some whisper that the earth swallowed the fortress whole in an age long past. Four brave adventurers resolved to discover the truth and set off down the Old Road, but they never returned.

"The Sunless Citadel" is the first in a series of eight stand-alone adventures for the Dungeons & Dragons game. This carefully crafted adventure, designed to challenge 1st-level D&D heroes, follows a path to a mysterious dungeon where evil has taken root, and a terrible tree and its dark shepherd plot in darkness.

To use this adventure, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual.

Product History

"The Sunless Citadel" by Bruce R. Cordell was the first official adventure published by Wizards of the Coast for 3e Dungeons & Dragons. The introductory installment in a series of eight loosely linked stand-alone adventures, "Sunless Citadel" was designed to showcase and establish the new edition as fun for new and old players alike. By many accounts, it succeeded wildly.

A Shared Experience. It's not surprising that this adventure has become something of a modern classic. After all, it was a dungeon crawl played by a vast number of new players and old gamers alike, many of whom had just returned to the fold and who were curious to see how the new edition of the game would run. What surprised some gamers is that the module was just plain good. Interesting NPCs, political negotiation with monsters, and multiple paths and solutions to the adventure all resulted in fun play experiences. While the adventure was still a bit linear for some gamers, the general consensus was that it was an excellent example of 3e's "back to the dungeon" philosophy of adventure design.

Meepo Lives! One of the surprise folk heroes of "The Sunless Citadel" was the hapless and pitiful kobold Meepo. Stories began to surface on internet message boards of parties who had adopted Meepo as their mascot and/or disposable trap finder. Gamers began to recount whether they had slain him or helped him, and gradually the name Meepo became recognizeable in D&D canon.

Sure, he's no Tenser or Mordenkainen, but he's done pretty well for a lowly kobold.

Memorable Monsters. This adventure introduced "twig blights" and underscored the new rules for non-neutral druids by using an atypically evil druid as the villain. Most memorable, however, are interactions with the goblin and kobold tribes with whom characters are forced to deal, whether by force or guile. This adventure introduced concepts, themes, and monsters that would reappear throughout the eight-adventure series.

First of Eight. This is an introductory adventure for 1st-level characters. The further adventures in this series are, in order by level, as follows:

  1. The Forge of Fury
  2. The Speaker in Dreams
  3. The Standing Stone
  4. Heart of Nightfang Spire
  5. Deep Horizon
  6. Lord of the Iron Fortress
  7. Bastion of Broken Souls

About the Creators. Bruce R. Cordell initially made his mark with the superb 2nd edition adventure "Gates of Firestorm Peak," and has remained one of the more talented and prolific designers and adventure writers at Wizards of the Coast. 

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. 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.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (4)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Michael M January 31, 2021 7:54 pm UTC
Is this version a computer-readable OCR copy? Or is it just a scan?
Customer avatar
John S November 30, 2021 1:16 am UTC
It's an original digital file so you can ctrl+f and highlight etc. Though if you're wanting to have it read the page out loud it'll just read the watermark from your purchase.
To the right of the page under "Product Information" it tells whether a file is an original PDF or a scanned image. Hope this helps!
Customer avatar
Chris B May 15, 2020 4:09 pm UTC
Can anyone tell me how the maps look in this module? Are they blurry or clear?
Customer avatar
Robert L December 31, 2023 6:02 am UTC
slightly blurry - biggest problem is no player version of the maps
Customer avatar
Sebastian A December 02, 2019 2:23 am UTC
Make this POD please
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File Last Updated:
February 08, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.