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The Sunless Citadel (2000) is a 32-page adventure module for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition written by Bruce Cordell. It is intended for 1st-level characters.

It is the first 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), Bastion of Broken Souls (2002),

The Sunless Citadel received a reprint in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition adventure compendium Tales from the Yawning Portal (2017).

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

Plot

Background

Long ago, a great fortress built by a cult of the dragon Ashardalon sank into the earth in a forgotten cataclysm. Its ruins became known as the Sunless Citadel, and over the centuries numerous creatures made this place their home.

Twelve years ago, the druid Belak the Outcast discovered the Twilight Grove in the citadels depths. There he found the Gulthias Tree, grown from a wooden stake once used to slay an ancient vampire, and from which sprouts supernatural fruit known to cure any disease.

One month ago, four adventurers from the nearby town of Oakhurst ventured into the Sunken Citadel searching for the origin of the magical fruit. They never returned. It is up to you now, to find what is lost.

Synopsis

The player characters explore the Sunless Citadel, where they encounter a kobold named Meepo. His pet white dragon wyrmling was stolen by goblins who live deeper in the ruins. Meepo's tribe are eager to have their captured dragon returned.

The party battles or parleys their way through the kobolds before encountering the citadel's goblin inhabitants.

Deep in the citadel lies the Twilight Grove, wherein lives the Gulthias Tree, still tended by the druid Belak.

Development and release

The Sunless Citadel was written by Bruce Cordell, who had previously written adventure modules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition. It features art by Todd Lockwood and Dennis Cramer. It was the first official adventure module for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition.[1]

It was released as a 32-page paperback book for the price of $9.95.[2] On January 22, 2013, it was given a digital re-release at DriveThruRPG, and in November 2020 was rated a platinum best seller at the site.

Reception and influence

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.

This adventure module introduced the twig blight creature to D&D.

Meepo the Dragon Keeper, a kobold character appearing in this adventure, was popular with players. In Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), Meepo appeared as the first entry in the article 1d20 Villains: D&D's Monst Wanted; Preferably Dead, a list featuring such legendary D&D opponents as Artemis Entreri, Acererak, Demogorgon, and Tiamat.

The fan-made 2003 video game Defense of the Ancients, which featured many characters named for existing popular fictional characters, features a koboldlike character named Meepo the Geomancer.

In 2017, The Sunless Citadel received a 5th edition conversion in the adventure anthology Tales from the Yawning Portal.

Links

References

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
Supplements
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
Adventures
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
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