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I10: Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill (1e)

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Your screams still echo in your room. Cold sweat soaks the bedsheets and trickles down your back.

It seemed so real! The great towers of a darksome place called Ravenloft ... it's misty vales and the terrible tragedy of a man who had sold his soul to unlife. Now the sunlight streams through the window with the promise of a new day. The dread nightmare at last is over.

In the cold sunlight of a dying autumn, you step from your room at the inn and stroll along the friendly streets of Mordentshire. But, from the back of your mind the dream creeps forward to haunt you. Why do the faces of those who have befriended you now seem those of strangers? Why do those who called you here in terror, now seem to dismiss your task as a folly?

More .. why are you advised so strongly, to forget about the House on Gryphon Hill ... the domain of the fair haired Count Von Zarovich, a name that cries out from your dark nightmare?

You halt, as the swirl of events grow more confusing with every passing minute. Which is the dream ... and which the reality?

Product History

I10: "Ravenloft II: House on Gryphon Hill" (1986), by Tracy and Laura Hickman, is the tenth module in the long-running Intermediate series of adventures for AD&D and the second Ravenloft adventure. It was released in September 1986.

Origins: It's Alive!. After his success coauthoring the Dragonlance Chronicles (1984-1985) and Dragonlance Legends (1986) novels, Tracy Hickman decided to leave TSR and try his hand as a professional freelance writer. His last month at TSR was April 1985, a short three years after his arrival there.

However, before his departure Hickman put together an outline for a sequel to his classic adventure, I6: "Ravenloft" (1983). A team of four writers then actually wrote the book: David Cook, Jeff Grubb, Harold Johnson, and Douglas Niles. Hickman says that not much of his original outline survived, but nonetheless a sequel to "Ravenloft" was born.

Genre Tropes: Going Gothic. The original Ravenloft's mixture of D&D adventuring with the gothic genre was groundbreaking. "Gryphon Hill" repeats that classic blend by including alchemists, mesmerists, warped dreams, and dark moors. In fact, many tropes from Dracula (1897) itself repeat in "Gryphon Hill". However, "Gryphon Hill" also features strange experiments and stranger machines, leading to the question: is "Gryphon Hill" a true gothic or is it instead a delicious "Hammer horror" (1955-1974) movie?

Adventure Tropes. "Gryphon Hill" also duplicates many of the adventure tropes of the original adventure, starting with a random setup of NPC goals and item locations that is revealed by an oracular reading. This was a Hickman favorite, appearing in both "Ravenloft" and some of his "Dragonlance" adventures (1984-1986).

"Gryphon Hill" also include some events, but the adventure is largely focused on three locales, each probably the creation of a different author: the village of Mordentshire; the Moors including the eponymous House on Gryphon Hill; and Heather House and the Mausoleum below. So consider it a village crawl and two house crawls, but as with the original "Ravenloft" the adventure focuses on creating living environments, not just places to plunder. A scripted final battle of the sort that would become more popular in the '90s closes out the adventure.

Exploring Ravenloft. Strahd from "Ravenloft" is back, but he's now a recent arrival to the new setting of Mordentshire. So how does that fit with his original adventure? As it turns out, the answer is "not well". "Gryphon Hill" suggests that the original "Ravenloft" could be a dream. Or maybe this one is. Or maybe they're alternate realities. Combining them into one chronology doesn't seem possible. (The original "Ravenloft" has been the favored background for Strahd in more recent appearances.)

Despite that, "Gryphon Hill" is a critical historical link between the original I6: "Ravenloft" (1983) and the later Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990) and Ravenloft Campaign Setting (1994). It introduces Mordent, the second of the demiplane's domains — and in fact remains the best source of information on the domain thanks to its extensive maps and background for Mordentshire. It also introduces numerous NPCs that were important not just to the Mordent domain, but also to the larger demiplane of Ravenloft.

Monsters of Note. "Gryphon Hill" features a rather motley crew of monsters. There's a vampire of course and his skeletons and zombies. Other horrific monsters include werewolves, spectres, and even a lich. But there are also orcs, ogres, stirges, and a harpy. Later Ravenloft books would be a bit more selective in spotlighting specific horrors (and would leave out the more fantastic critters).

The real monster of the adventure isn't a monster at all. It's an "Apparatus" that allows the "transpossession" of souls. In other words, body snatching, a classic trope of the horror genre.

NPCs of Note. Count Strahd of course reappears in "Gryphon Hill", albeit in a bifurcated form as the Alchemist and the Creature. The other notable NPC is the lich Azalin, who makes his debut here. He would become a major character in the Ravenloft line, occasionally eclipsing Strahd himself. One other future Ravenloft lord makes his debut: Lord Wilfred Godefroy, here a haunt on Grypon Hill, but later the ruler of the Mordent domain.

"Gryphon Hill" is otherwise filled with characters who would be incorporated into Ravenloft — or at least filled with the families of those characters, as the Ravenloft campaign setting seems to be set sometime in the future of "Gryphon Hill". These characters includes Germain d’Honaire, Nathan Timothy, and the Weathermays — all of whom would see descendants appear in Ravenloft: Realm of Terror.

About the Creators. Tracy and Laura Hickman are of course the married couple who created Ravenloft in the first place, back in their self-publication days at DayStar West Media, when the unpublished adventure was called "Vampyr".

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 (5)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
Marc-Antoine G May 18, 2022 5:02 pm UTC
Where did I6 - Ravenloft go? Seems to have been taken down...
Customer avatar
RPGmodsFan R December 07, 2019 10:20 am UTC
I10 "The House on Gryphon Hill" falls very short of the iconic I6 Ravenloft Module. From a story/plot perspective, it is pretty good. However, there are too many things for the DM to keep track of, which makes it a difficult Module to run.
My review of this Module can be found on my YouTube Channel. Enjoy! :-)
Customer avatar
Jay G August 10, 2019 8:24 pm UTC
I still have my original copy of this adventure but I'm trying to find separate image files of the maps to run a game online. Does anybody know a good resource for that?
Otherwise I'm scanning my copy :)
Customer avatar
Brad M May 06, 2018 4:18 pm UTC
!!!Buyer Be Forwarned!!!
This is not, at all, an "original" scan. The PDF is none the less very high quality, and the print-on-demand version is a high quality, color-where-it-was-in-the-original paperback. No complaints there. However!!! The "print" copy is just that -a print on demand of the compiled PDF. And it's not done very well!!

1. The adventure module contains some cards with read-aloud text for the players. This serves as the randomization mechanic for the ending in the same fashion that the Tarokka reading served the original I6-Ravenloft. These cards are supposed to be double-sided: you cut them out, hand them to your players, and they read the responses to the question on the front of the card from the list of options on the back. These cards were printed out of order - the fronts come on the "backside" of the "monster and statistics" table, and the "backs" of the cards come on the "front side"...See more
Customer avatar
Emiliano M April 01, 2018 3:21 pm UTC
There's no OCR in the PDF. I hope that it can be updated.
Customer avatar
Matt B March 08, 2018 5:47 pm UTC
POD is an excellent copy.
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on March 29, 2016.