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Heart of Nightfang Spire (2001) is a 32-page adventure module written for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition by Bruce R. Cordell. It is intended for 10th-level characters.

It is the fifth work in a series of eight linked modules unofficially referred to as the Sunless Citadel adventure path. It consists of The Sunless Citadel (2000), The Forge of Fury (2000), The Speaker in Dreams (2001), The Standing Stone (2001), Heart of Nightfang Spire (2001), Deep Horizon (2001), Lord of the Iron Fortress (2002), and Bastion of Broken Souls (2002).

Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for a Dungeons & Dragons product.



The vampire Gulthias has returned to his historic crypt in Nightfang Spire, site of a cult to the ancient dragon Ashardalon. Now, he is awakening the cult who have waited centuries for Ashardalon's return.


The player characters seek out and explore Nightfang Spire, inhabited by cultists to the dragon Ashardalon who long ago transformed themselves into undead to await their draconic patron's eventual return. At the Spire's core lies the titular preserved heart of Ashardalon, drawn from his body in an ancient battle. There they must fight the cult's vampire leader, Gulthias.

Development and release

Heart of Nightfang Spire was written by Bruce R. Cordell, with art by Jeff Easley and Dennis Cramer. Cordell had previously written the first in the series, The Sunless Citadel (2000), and would write the final instalment, Bastion of Broken Souls (2002).

It was released as a 32-page paperback in August 2001, for the price of US$9.95,[1] or initially $13.95 Canadian. It appeared under two product codes: WTC11847, and 882390000.[2] It included a map insert.[3]

On January 22, 2013, Heart of Nightfang Spire was given a digital re-release at DriveThruRPG, and as of November 2020 was rated an electrum best seller at the site. It does not include the map insert which was included with the original print release.[3]

Reception and influence

Influence on other works

Heart of Nightfang Spire fifth in a series of eight adventure modules: The Sunless Citadel (2000), The Forge of Fury (2000), The Speaker in Dreams (2001), The Standing Stone (2001), Heart of Nightfang Spire (2001), Deep Horizon (2001), Lord of the Iron Fortress (2002), and Bastion of Broken Souls (2002). The concept of a series of linked adventure modules taking a character from level 1 to 20 would be come to be known as an "adventure path", a term first used by James Wyatt to describe this series in an interview in Dragon #281 (Mar 2001). Dungeon Magazine went on to publish its own adventure paths beginning in Dungeon #97 (Mar/Apr 2003). Following Dungeon's closure in 2007, adventure paths formed a core feature of Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder product line, which at one point surpassed Dungeons & Dragons in sales.

This module introduced the mooncalf to Dungeons & Dragons, which went on to appear in Monster Manual II (3e) (2002). It also introduced the ring of magic fang.

Nightfang Spire was mentioned under Ashardalon's entry in Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons (2008), p.232; and in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.31, describing Gulthias' connection to the creatures called blights.

Critical reception

Kevin Kulp praised Cordell's innovative monster design, using templated creatures and undead with class levels. He described this ability to put an innovative and unexpectd twist on known things as a hallmark of Cordell's design sensibility. He also praised the location for the module's final boss encounter. However, he noted that the dungeon was somewhat linear and deadly in innovative ways.[3]



  1. Heart of Nightfang Spire. Wizards.com.
  2. August Previews, Dragon #286 (Aug 2001), p.22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Heart of Nightfang Spire (3e). Dungeon Masters Guild.
Sunless Citadel series
The Sunless CitadelThe Forge of FuryThe Speaker in DreamsThe Standing StoneHeart of Nightfang SpireDeep HorizonLord of the Iron FortressBastion of Broken Souls
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0
Core rules
Player's HandbookDungeon Master's GuideMonster ManualDungeons & Dragons Adventure Game
Arms and Equipment GuideBook of ChallengesBook of Vile DarknessDefenders of the FaithDeities and DemigodsEnemies and AlliesEpic Level HandbookFiend FolioGhostwalkHero Builder's GuidebookLiving Greyhawk Gazetteer (Dungeons & Dragons Gazetteer) • Manual of the PlanesMasters of the WildMonster Manual IIOriental AdventuresPsionics HandbookSavage SpeciesSong and SilenceStronghold Builder's GuidebookSword and FistTome and Blood
The Sunless CitadelThe Forge of FuryThe Fright at TristorThe Speaker in DreamsThe Standing StoneReturn to the Temple of Elemental EvilHeart of Nightfang SpireDeep HorizonLord of the Iron FortressBastion of Broken SoulsCity of the Spider Queen