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The Awakening (2e)

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Upon the horde plains of Nova Vaasa, the Koshka Bluffs rise from the earth like gigantic, misshapen tumors.

They give up stone to feed the sheer walls of Castle Faerhaaven, but lately they have yielded stranger objects: figurines, coins, and other odd artifacts, which curse those foolish enough to claim them.

Now the ancient priestess Sachmet has awakened from a timeless sleep to come and take them back...

Product History

"The Awakening" (1994), by Lisa Smedman, is the lucky thirteenth Ravenloft adventure. It was published in August 1994.

Continuing the Ravenloft Adventures. "The Awakening" followed a new trend for the Ravenloft line. Just as RR8: "Van Richten's Guide to the Created" (1994) was immediately followed by a Created adventure, "Adam's Wrath", so RR9: "Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead" (1994) was immediately followed by a Mummy adventure, "The Awakening".

"The Awakening" takes full advantage of the ideas from "The Ancient Dead", which can be used to hide what a mummy actually is; this prevents the players from knowing what they're confronting, which is a nice change from D&D's standardized monsters.

Adventure Tropes. "The Awakening" is largely an encounter-based adventure, of the sort that was common in the AD&D 2e (1989-2000) era. Even the Tombs and Chambers near the end of the adventure are written as sequential encounters (though small-scale maps allow a tiny bit of exploring). Many of these encounters center on the eponymous Awakenings of an Ancient Dead — with her return visits probably being the most innovative element of the adventure.

Expanding Ravenloft. The domain of Nova Vassa was introduced in Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990); there it was notable mainly for its Jekyll-and-Hyde like lord, Sir Hiregaard. "The Awakening" expands upon that in a nice two-page spread that offers much more detail than the short write-ups of the two Ravenloft boxed sets (1990, 1994). Then, it provides insights into the various regions of the domain through locales in the adventure; various encounters take place in the city of Kantora, in the Briarweed Forest, at Castle Faerhaaven, and on the Koskha Bluffs. The players even get to meet the domain's lord, Sir Hiregaard!

Some players found it odd that TSR opted to use such a classic Gothic realm as the setting of an Egyptian-influenced adventure … but such is Ravenloft.

"The Awakening" is the first adventure set clearly after the Grand Conjunction arc, as the spread on Nova Vaasa includes some off-handed references to its changed geography.

Monsters of Note. This is the mummy adventure for Ravenloft — or rather the second mummy adventure, as RA3: "Touch of Death" (1991) had focused on a mummy without all the bells and whistles allowed by the newer "Ancient Dead" book.

It's also a book about cats, and includes stats for new crypt cats and plains cats.

NPCs of Note. The Ravenloft line had terrible problems keeping the backstory of Sir Hiregaard consistent. This book is theoretically in tune with the background presented a few months earlier in Ravenloft Campaign Setting (1994).

About the Creators. This was Smedman's second Ravenloft adventure in a row, following her work on the Frankenstein-influenced "Adam's Wrath" (1994) earlier in the year.

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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