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S5 The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (2e)

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For characters level 7-20.

Beware of Baba Yaga and her infamous hut!

Baba Yaga is an ancient crone who is said to have power over day and night itself. Many seek her out for her wisdom, which she has gleaned from centuries of travel through numerous worlds. Others, bolder and more foolish, search out the hut to plunder its treasures, which Baba Yaga has gathered from every corner of the multiverse. None, thief or scholar, who enter the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga leave unscathed.

How will you fare now that the great Baba Yaga is in your neighborhood?


Product History

S5: "The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga" (1995), by Lisa Smedman, was a 2e-era adventure that had been intended for the old "S" (Special) series. It was published in March 1995.

Sources. Baba Yaga is a mythical witch drawn from the folklore of the Eastern Slavic people; she is best-known in Russia. In those old myths, she isn't always malevolent, but instead might help or hinder those who cross her path. She is often depicted as flying through the air on a mortar or else dwelling in a hut with chicken legs that dances to and fro as it moves.

The Saga of S5. It's unclear who originally decided that Lisa Smedman's "Dancing Hut" should be labeled "S5," a fifth module in the classic S series (1978-82), or when that decision was made. However, the fact is clearly denoted on the TSR Triviathalon product list: If the code doesn't appear on the cover of Smedman's "Dancing Hut," that's only because TSR had stopped using product codes the previous year.

There's some speculation that a "Dancing Hut" adventure supplement might have been planned back in the 80s. That's certainly possible, since that's when the S-series modules originally ran, but author Lisa Smedman only began writing for TSR in the mid-90s.

A D&D History of Baba Yaga & Her Hut. In D&D, Baba Yaga's hut first appeared as one of the primordial artifacts in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (1976). It thereafter reappeared as an artifact in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide (1979) and the AD&D 2e Book of Artifacts (1993), each time in a somewhat expanded form.

Baba Yaga herself was first featured in Dragon #53 (September 1981) in an article by David Nalle - who was also the author of the small-press Ysgarth FRPG (1979). In "The Bogatyrs of Old Kiev," Nalle provided stats for many personas of 10th century Russia, among them Baba Yaga. She's depicted therein as a 10th-level druid / 12th-level fighter / 20th-level magic-user / 15th-level illusionist (!).

However, none of these publications offered up the most famous depiction of Baba Yaga and her hut prior to the release of Lisa Smedman's "Dancing Hut." That honor instead goes to "The Dancing Hut," an adventure by Roger E. Moore that was published in Dragon #83 (March 1984). Moore's adventure offered a new take on Baba Yaga's hut, where it was treated as an extradimensional dungeon (in the form of a tesseract) rather than an artifact. Moore also offered new stats for Baba Yaga that made her even more dangerous than before.

Changing Times. The "Dancing Hut" adventures by Moore and Smedman offer distinct takes on Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut as an adventure space. To start with, the layouts of the huts are even quite different, with Smedman's hut being described as a pyramid of rooms. Amusingly, Smedman also gives a shout-out to Moore's version of the hut by saying that the hut's configuration changes every time it moves to a new world; she even mentions that one of its other configurations is a tesseract of 48 areas - which is how Moore had described it.

For the most part, Smedman's "Dancing Hut" is a tricky dungeon crawl - just the sort of thing that would have been appropriate for an S-series adventure. That said, Smedman's adventure also reflects the changing nature of D&D adventures from the 80s to the 90s, seen best in a major subplot that Smedman provides about Baba Yaga trying to capture Death; the forces of Light, Darkness, and Twilight all enter the adventure as a result. Though this was a pretty light plot for the 2e era of AD&D, its existence nonetheless shows how the game had changed over time. It's particularly notable when compared to Moore's largely plot-free adventure, which instead showed off its uniqueness via the bizarre and innovative architecture of the dungeon.

The Ravenloft Connection. Smedman wrote mostly Ravenloft supplements for TSR, thus it's no surprise that some Ravenloft critters make an appearance here - including doll golems and a living wall. To explain their presence, Smedman notes that Baba Yaga has visited Ravenloft at one time.

About the Creators. Lisa Smedman wrote for a few different RPG publishers in the mid-90s, though the majority of her publications were for TSR's Ravenloft. In 1995, she also wrote Star Wars and Indiana Jones supplements for West End Games.

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 (6)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
Roger M November 23, 2019 8:16 pm UTC
A Brief Review of Lisa Smedman's 1995 adventure “The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga”
by Roger E. Moore.

In the interest of openness and fairness, I worked with Ms. Smedman in the 1980s-1990s and found her to be brilliant and creative, a genius of the first water. This work is worthy of her talents. Bless her wherever she is today.

Ms. Smedman's DHoBY has more authentic Russian folktale background than my adventure in Dragon issue #83 did. For a background source I used the 1973 Pantheon book, "Russian Fairy Tales", by Aleksandr Afanas'ev, hauntingly illustrated by Alexander Alexeieff. It appears Ms. Smedman found better sources than that. She includes details of Baba Yaga's mythic life that I was not aware of. Well worth reading for the cool bits.

These are my favorite parts of the adventure, written so as not to give anything away that is critical.

1. Linking "dancing" to plane shifting is excellent.
2. The idea that Baba Yaga is...See more
Customer avatar
Dillon B April 17, 2020 12:39 am UTC
Hey Roger!

Just want to say I have very distinct memories of reading your adventure for the first time in Dragon. I ran it for my players and it was a blast. :-) We didn't have characters high enough to play it so I let them make some just for the adventure. We played a few sessions but then I had to move away.
Customer avatar
Roger M November 23, 2019 2:49 pm UTC
Tesseract comments: Not every room in the tesseract Hut is connected to those around it. When connections do exist, you can "prove" you are inside a tesseract by climbing directly up or down, walking forward or reverse through rooms in a straight line, or moving sideways through room straight. You can move through a maximum of 4 rooms before you find yourself starting over again at the first room.
Customer avatar
Roger M November 22, 2019 11:31 pm UTC
I was pleased and touched by your comments on my old article on “The Dancing Hut” from Dragon issue #83, in 1984. I had thought everything I’d done during my TSR years had been forgotten, except maybe the giant space hamster co-created with the most excellent Jeff Grubb.


1. I suspect the "S5" designation for Lisa Smedman's version of the Dancing Hut was thought of by the adventure's editor in the mid-1990s. I never heard of Baba Yaga's Hut being considered for the "S" series back in the 1980s. I began working for TSR in May 1983 at Dragon Magazine, and I would have heard about that.

2. The cover for Lisa Smedman's adventure was by most excellent fellow Kentuckian Jeff Easley. It was originally used for my AD&D Super Endless Quest gamebook, "The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga". The adventure does not convert to AD&D, D&D, or Pathfinder games, alas.

3. When I designed "The Dancing Hut" for Dragon Magazine,...See more
Customer avatar
Kenneth Ian V November 26, 2021 3:04 pm UTC
This is a bit late, but thank you Mr. Moore for your ideas! I can say without any hesitation that you were my favourite author in the Dragon magazine and your contribution has not been forgotten. Your version of Baba Yaga's hut was fantastic. I especially loved your Gods of ... articles (along with "The ...Point of View articles). Your Gods of the Orcs in Dragon 62 was fantastic. I will always have a fond spot in my heart for Luthic. You made my childhood/teen years very enjoyable and the wave of nostalgia I got from your reply here is wonderful. Sorry for the fanboy gushing, but I doubt that anyone my age has forgotten your contribution to AD&D. You, sir, are a treasure.
Customer avatar
Matt B September 11, 2018 6:04 pm UTC
The POD is a good copy.
Customer avatar
Jonathan S February 21, 2018 8:47 am UTC
This is a really fun and challenging 2E dungeon from TSR, I bought this module a couple of weeks ago and I am slowly going through the process of converting it over to 5E. This shouldn't be too difficult as most of the adventure is transferable so I am hoping I just need to update the spell and monster stats.

I have to say that at a cost of £3.57 this is an absolute bargain, so thank you for once again providing some quality, classic D&D content.

The Mind Flayers of East Sussex appreciate you and your soft, juicy brains......
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