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Anauroch: The Empire of Shade (3.5)

A Shadow Has Fallen over Faerun
As malign forces conspire to undo the Weave and replace it with the Shadow Weave, the Great Desert of Anauroch begins to change. Unless something is done, all of Faerun will soon feel the dark might of the greatest magical empire since Netheril.
This adventure is the climax of a three-part series set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It can also be played as a stand-alone adventure. In addition to encounters, this book contains detailed source material on the realm of Anauroch, home of ancient Netherese ruins and the Empire of Shade.
For use with these Dungeons & Dragons core products: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Monster Manual.

Product History

Anauroch: The Empire of Shade (2007) is a 3.5e Forgotten Realms campaign adventure for levels 9-13, written by Greg A. Vaughn, Thomas M. Reid, and Sean K. Reynolds. It is also the climax of the three-part mega-adventure that includes Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave and Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land, but you won't need them to play this one.
Deep in the Forgotten Realms. This adventure is a showcase for the Realms, taking the heroes from one famous, fascinating locale to another. Heroes at these levels have easy access to teleport, fly, and other spells that allow quick transportation. The adventure embraces this fact, making sure that players have plenty of time to explore different locations as they gather the essential clues they'll need to defeat their enemies.

The heart of the adventure is a trek through Anauroch itself, and this is a case where magic doesn't necessarily help. More likely, environmental survival skills and smart play will come to the fore. As you'd expect in a desert-focused adventure, preparation is needed to withstand the heat, sand dangers, and climate. While I'm not normally a fan of adventures that diminish the characters' magical capabilities in order to stress a particular style of play, this adventure does it perfectly; the reason for the altered magic is tied closely to the plot, and the experience ties together beautifully for the adventurers and DM.

The authors should also be commended for pulling together a wide range of monsters from a number of books. Desert-themed monsters seldom get enough play, and they are put front and center here alongside monsters from the Forgotten Realms books. There's a wide range of combat challenges, and they stay interesting in part due to their variety.

One thing is clear: This is an adventure that is so closely tied to the Forgotten Realms that it won't be easily ported to other campaigns without a lot of work on the part of the DM.

Epic Feel, Mid-Levels. The heroes are fighting for major stakes amid landscapes and ruins that evoke ancient and important history. This adventure does a far better job than most of making heroes feel that they are a part of something great and magnificent.

The locations and scenarios the heroes will encounter during their explorations include Windsong Tower in the ruins of ancient Myth Drannor, fighting a wizard multiple times; a crypt in the ruins of an ancient Netherese city, crawling through a classic dungeon with some truly remarkable monsters; the libraries of Candlekeep, where learned and sagely characters take the stage, front and center, due to the necessity of research; a journey to buried catacombs in a magic-dead desert, a well-paced adventure that catapults the heroes into the finale; and the final showdown against the villains, a deadly and exciting fight that takes place on the edge of an inland sea.

A Fitting Finale. Although it lacks an index or table of contents - an oversight that makes encounter planning trickier than it should be - this is the best module in the three-adventure series. It offers a variety of adventuring locations, an epic plot, background on physical locations, and fun foes to fight. If you play in the Realms, or if you want a good example of how to structure a far-ranging but focused adventure plot, this is one to own.

About the Creators. Greg A. Vaughan is steeped in dungeon-crawling experience, from Rappan Athuk to Pathfinder supplements, to multiple Forgotten Realms products for Wizards.
Thomas M. Reid is a designer and author who's been brand manager for D&D and director of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game line. He wrote the Scions of Arrabar trilogy, the Forgotten Realms novel Insurrection, and books such as Shining South.
Sean K Reynolds started as TSR's online coordinator in 1995 and has gone on to be a celebrated designer on dozens of superb products for TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and Paizo Publishing.

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.

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Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
James M March 14, 2023 1:18 pm UTC
Please make POD available for this title!
Customer avatar
Sean L February 10, 2023 4:12 am UTC
Agreed, POD would be much appreciated. This and the other 2 titles in the trilogy
Customer avatar
Johnathan D May 14, 2022 12:06 am UTC
POD please
Customer avatar
Edward W June 11, 2021 12:24 pm UTC
Any chance this and the other two parts of the series can be made Print on Demand?
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File Last Updated:
September 27, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on September 24, 2013.