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In the Phantom's Wake (Basic)


Not long age, a magical vortex released into the lands of Thunder Rift a strange and haunted ship from another time and place. A cursed ship, bad luck for those who see it.

The party never wanted to see the ship, much less board it. However, the mystical astrolabe they found must have had great power?at least enough to send them here. Too bad it's missing, now. Will the heroes find a way off the haunted ship, or are they doomed to sail strange seas forever?

  • Recommended for four to six characters of third to fifth levels.
  • Can be played with or without a Dungeon Master.
  • Includes: New magic, color poster map, monster stand-ups, and an easy-to-follow format.
  • This module can also be played with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition rules.

Product History

"In the Phantom's Wake" (1993), by Dale "Slade" Henson, is the sixth and final Thunder Rift adventure. It was published in June 1993.

Origins (I): The Prequels. "In the Phantom's Wake" (1993) was the sixth in a series of 16-page adventures intended to support The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (1991) and the Thunder Rift (1992) setting.

Origins (II): The Phantom Menace. "In the Phantom's Wake" is set aboard a ghost ship sailing through the Thunder Rift. Many players were surprised by this adventure idea; they'd presumed that the adventure would instead be about the Wizardspire, a known location in the Thunder Rift said to be filled with the undead.

Even Colin McComb, author of the Thunder Rift sourcebook was quite surprised. He said: "Our product roadmap was, I thought, fairly straightforward, and the appearance of the ship basically directly contravened that." Certainly, "In the Phantom's Wake" was the only adventure following the publication of Thunder Rift that wasn't directly foreshadowed in that sourcebook.

It's known that there was at least one major change made shortly before this adventure's release. Dragon #194 (June 1993) claimed that this adventure would take place aboard a "magical, haunted skyship", but any flying abilities were lost prior to publication.

Origins (III): The End. This was the final Thunder Rift supplement. The whole Basic D&D line would soon follow. Colin McComb thought there was lots more to explore in the Rift:

"I would have liked to see adventures in Wizardspire developed, some direct confrontations with the dragon, more explorations of the dwarven holdings, and perhaps some discovery of the grasslands - I imagined that there'd be a wealth of knowledge, treasure, and arcana to be picked up from the old battlefields - and who'se to say that there wouldn't be a dungeon hidden away in the barrows in those hills?"

The Thunder Rift did have one last hooray. Around the same time as this adventure was published, the Thunder Rift got its only coverage in Dungeon magazine, in issue #41 (May/June 1993). "A Way with Words" by Teeuwynn Woodruff and Tim Beach takes place near Edgewater and has a nice map of "The Black Swamp and Vicinity".

Graphic Tropes. Like all of the Thunder Rift adventures, this one contains a battle mat and cardstock figures for players and an easy-to-use adventure map for the GM. The map of course shows the multiple decks of the Hollandes, the ghost ship.

Adventure Tropes. Like the other later Thunder Rift supplements, this multiplayer adventure allows for GM-less play via a Caller who reads text and then asks players what they do. Beyond that it's a ship crawl, yet another variant of the basic dungeon crawl trope.

Exploring Thunder Rift. The Thunder Rift setting of "In the Phantom's Wake" is quite weak. The Hollandes phantom ship came from outside the Rift, but randomly roams it now. At least it's incorporated into the Rift's backstory of the historical war between fighters and wizards.

About the Creators. Henson did work for TSR throughout the early '90s. This was his second adventure for Thunder Rift, after "The Knight of Newts" (1993).

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.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (2)
Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
James S April 15, 2023 10:43 pm UTC
POD pretty please. But, you already know I was going to say that.
Customer avatar
Troy W March 23, 2022 12:07 am UTC
Map is missing from PDF.
Customer avatar
Dwight F June 18, 2021 3:05 am UTC
We need these Black Box adventures in POD eventually.
Customer avatar
Roy D June 20, 2019 4:37 am UTC
All in all the weakest of the published adventures for Thunder Rift (my all time favorite setting for D&D). Not a fun adventure to run or play in as written, a little work and it can be made into a fun start to a Wizards Spire expedition. With all that said I still recommend getting it, the map and miniatures are a great addition on their own.
Customer avatar
Mauno J January 24, 2017 6:07 pm UTC
The pdf doesn't seem to include the colour map, only a black and white one. :-/
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on December 20, 2016.