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"When hell breaks loose, it cannot be easily bound again."
— Common saying in Brindinford

The Speaker in Dreams (2001) is a 32-page adventure module written for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition by James Wyatt. It is intended for 5th-level characters.

It is the third 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.



In the Underdark deep beneath the earth, the mind flayer Ghaerleth Axom dreams of world domination. Outcast form his own underground city, he has fled to the surface and secretly gathered power in the unassuming human town of Brindinford.


The player characters arrive in Brindinford during a street fair when the festivities are disrupted by a pack of wererats. Investigation unravels a connection to the sorcerers of the town's West Hill district, whose subsequent defeat is celebrated with a great feast. When assassins seek revenge against the party and the town's baron declares martial law, it is discovered that the evil has not been quelled, and the player characters must seek out the enigmatic leader who commanded the sorcerers through their dreams—the mind flayer Ghaerleth Axom.

Development and release

The Speaker in Dreams was written by James Wyatt, with art by Jeff Easley and Dennis Cramer.

It was released as a 32-page paperback in January 2001, for the price of US$9.95.[1]

Wyatt considered the module to have accomplished its goal of providing a model for story-based city adventures. In a 2001 interview, he described The Speaker in Dreams as the work of which he was most proud to date, admitting that he "over-wrote that piece like crazy". His manuscript was over 50% over wordcount, and much of the excess detail was incorporated into a nine-page web enhancement, released on January, 2001, adding more detail on the town of Brindinford.[2][3][4]

By August 2001, the module was sanctioned for play in the Living Greyhawk organized play.[5]

On January 22, 2013, The Speaker in Dreams was given a digital re-release at DriveThruRPG, and as of November 2020 was rated an electrum best seller at the site.[6]

Reception and influence

Influence on other works

The Speaker in Dreams was the third 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.

In Dungeon Master's Guide 2 (4e) (2009), James Wyatt used the cabal of sorcerers in this module as an example of content which could be drawn upon to inspire a campaign element. Wyatt also mentioned this in his Dungeoncraft article series in the D&D 4e-era digital Dungeon magazine.

Critical reception

Kevin Kulp described that The Speaker in Dreams received mixed reception at the time due to its unorthodox event-based flow chart structure. It required preparation on the DM's part in order to be run well, and appealed more to players who enjoyed solving mysteries than those who enjoyed combat. [6]



  1. Speaker in Dreams, The. Wizards.com.
  2. Profile: James Wyatt: Keeping the Faith, Dragon #281 (Mar 2001), p.14.
  3. The Speaker In Dreams, Web Enhancement, Wizards.com, Jan 5, 2001.
  4. James' Work. Archived on Dec 16, 2002.
  5. Living Greyhawk Journal #8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Speaker in Dreams (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