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Masters of Eternal Night (2e)

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"Rock, and dark, and time not passing." I walk through darkness and a land frozen in the grip of winter.

Everywhere frigid gusts of wind send icy needles at my face. I do not even flinch anymore; the pain reminds me that I yet live. I can feel them - their alien thoughts twirling about my mind. They wish me to serve, but I will not . not yet.

In Masters of Eternal Night, adventurers travel across a frozen landscape to stop the deadly mind flayers in their quest to extinguish the sun. Deep in the secret heart of a snow-covered crater, the player characters must unearth an ancient alien object. Only with its powers can the PCs hope to end the illithids' bid for ultimate domination.

This module is the second in a trilogy (origination with A Darkness Gathering and concluding with Dawn of the Overmind). DMs can run this adventure by itself or link it with A Darkness Gathering and Dawn of the Overmind to form a seamless epic-length adventure spanning all three modules. The illithid trilogy supports The Illithiad, a MONSTROUS ARCANA supplement that provides invaluable information on illithids and their vile purposes.

Product History

"Masters of Eternal Night" (1998), by Bruce R. Cordell, is the second adventure in the illithid Monstrous Arcana adventure trilogy. It was published in August 1998.

About the Cover. There's no longer any disguising the fact that this adventure is all about mind flayers!

Origins: Continuing the Illithiad. Each Monstrous Arcana series featured one coffee-table sourcebook and a connected trilogy of adventures. "Masters of Eternal Night" (1998) is the second illithid adventure, following The Illithiad (1998) sourcebook and the first adventure, "A Darkness Gathering" (1998).

Adventure Tropes: Wilderness Adventures. "Masters of Eternal Night" starts with a wilderness journey of 7 to 27 days(!). So how do you run a wilderness adventure late in the 2e era? Remarkably, this adventure isn't just a string of set encounters. But there isn't a hex map either. Instead, there are a series of random encounters, one of which is a big pointer to the rest of the adventure.

Adventure Tropes: In the Cards. The second part of the adventure is a search of a big crater where everything is covered by snow. "Masters of Eternal Night" models this with a deck of 13 cards. Yes, this is another randomized set of encounters, but with a difference. The card draws result in no repetition and an ever-decreasing set of possibilities. It's a nice variation that allows for exploration but once more omits the need for a hex map.

Exploring Neverness. "Masters of Eternal Night" is set in Neverness, a "generic" world that runs through many of Cordell's works of the '90s. The "adventure map" on the inside cover is one of the three major maps of Neverness. The first was the treasure map of "Night of the Shark" (1997), which might depict nearby waters; while the second was published just months earlier in the "Dungeon Builder's Guidebook" (1998), where the "Underwater Founding Geomorph" might match this map if you rotate it one hundred and eighty degrees.

The world of Neverness isn't in very good shape in this adventure: it's rapidly freezing. The adventures travel across this frozen world from Stormport to the village of Fairmyr and eventually to an ancient crater.

Monsters of Note. The monsters of this adventure are once more the illithids, or mind flayers. They're shown at their most monstrous here, enslaving humanoids like cattle. However, there's also a connection to their Spelljammer past, and a pretty strong one: the adventure ends with the players discovering the mind flayers' spelljamming ship!

"Masters of Eternal Night" also introduces the forerunners, the race that "eventually splintered into the githzerai and githyanki". They would play a much larger role in the next adventure.

About the Creators. By 1998, Cordell had been writing D&D books for a few years. However, that was the year that his production really exploded. He authored a total of nine major releases in 1998, including all four mind flayer books and Return to the Tomb of Horrors (1998).

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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Michael M January 20, 2019 6:34 am UTC
Great adventure but take note five McGuffins are listed in the adventure when it should be four (McGuffin in question is the brainmate lobe). I am guessing it was added to area 11 inadvertently as it seems a bit out of place in that area.
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on June 20, 2017.