The Shadowhaven Crypt

Real life responsibilities pulled me reluctantly away from tabletop role-playing games at some point in the late 1990s. It wasn’t until 2014 that I dusted myself off and started to participate in the hobby again. I wasn’t completely without an escape during this time. I started playing World of Warcraft about four months after launch and I played regularly until the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

While my WoW days are well behind me, something about working on my map for this week’s post kept bringing me back to the venerable video game that will be turning 20 next year. If you have fond memories of the Warcraft universe, enjoy this silly escape. If not, please allow me this indulgence and I’ll be back to regular posts soon enough.  

The Shadowhaven Crypt

In Duskwood, hidden away just south of the Tranquil Gardens Cemetery lies the entrance to the Shadowhaven Crypt. Barnabas Shadowhaven was a wealthy Stormwind merchant who had retired to this region back in the days when it was still known as Brightwood. Whispers had circulated about Shadowhaven being involved in questionable practices. Some claimed that he dabbled in forbidden magics, while others believed he had dealings with unsavory entities from the shadowy realms. The exact nature of these rumors remained nebulous, but they were enough to create an air of suspicion and mistrust around him.

Tranquil Garden Cemetery.

Such it was that there wasn’t a great deal of fanfare surrounding his passing. His estate in Grand Hamlet had been boarded up and razed some years later as the town expanded. By the time of Medivh’s passing and the change of the town’s name to Darkshire, Barnabas Shadowhaven was long since forgotten.

With the recall of the Stormwind army to other parts of the realm, the situation in Duskwood is turning grim. Their resources already stretched thin, the Night Watch has asked the party to investigate strange occurrences near the Shadowhaven Crypt and put to rest whatever dwells there.

Entrance – 1

The entrance to the crypt is marked by a massive, banded iron door embossed with the name Shadowhaven. Its aged surface bears signs of wear, hinting at the passage of time and the mysteries that lie beyond. While the door appears quite old and the surrounding area is overgrown, it pulls open easily.

Upon opening the door, the party will immediately be attacked by 3 Skeletal Warriors, and 2 Skeletal Ghouls. If defeated, these mobs will yield the following: 20 silver pieces, 10 wool cloth, 2 delicious cave mold, a brocade cloak, & 3 moonberry juice.

Oddly, a lit torch a placed in a sconce on either side of the entrance. Opposite the door, the hall leads south to a staircase going down.

Rickety Swing Bridge – 2

A rickety swing bridge spans a 10-foot chasm here. It stretches precariously between 4 wooden stakes. As the party steps onto the bridge, they can hear the distant rush of water echoing from about 30 feet below. The bridge sways with each step, testing their balance and nerve as they carefully make their way across the gap. While this looks dangerous, the party has nothing to fear here unless they do anything crazy.

Dining Room – 3

While certainly an odd thing to be found within a crypt, this large room appears to be a dining room. 2 Restless Spirits are busily setting the table when the party arrives. Upon entering the room, both will crossly scold the party and inform them that “supper is not ready yet!”


If the party closes the door and does not enter the room, the spirits will go back to their work. Otherwise, they will attack. If defeated, the spirits will drop the following: 12 silver pieces, 6 copper pieces, 4 Silk Cloth, 1 Healing Potion, & a bludgeoning cudgel.

The Larder – 4

This room is empty save for an assortment of crates and barrels. The contents of most of these has long since rotted away. However, a thorough search turns up some old herbs and spices, along with oil & vinegar in earthenware containers.

Bone Chamber – 5

Skeletal Raider

This small room is littered with bones and a cage toward the eastern edge of the room. If the part simply crosses through the room and exits via the door on the other side, nothing will happen. However, if the party disturbs any of the piles of bones or tampers with the cage, a chill wind will blow through the room and 3 Skeletal Raiders will form from the bones and attack.

If defeated, the following loot may be recovered from the room: 28 silver pieces, 8 pieces of Silk Cloth, & a broken mirror.

Natural Cavern – 6

This cave’s irregular walls bear the marks of untamed nature. Within this chamber, a natural spring emerges from a hole in the western wall, creating a small tranquil pool in the center of the room. The soothing sound of water echoes as it spills over a small waterfall and flows out through the eastern wall, lending an atmosphere of serenity amidst the crypt’s mysterious ambience.

While this cavern may seem calm, a nest of 4 Black Widow Hatchlings has made a nest in the opposite corner. Once any characters venture to the center of the room, they will scurry from their nest and attack! A thorough search of the nest will yield the following items: 1 Widow Venom Sac, 2 pieces of Spider’s Silk, and a pair of inscribed leather spaulders.

Burial Chamber – 7

This small, dimly lit cavern holds a stone sarcophagus at its heart. The stone surface is etched with intricate carvings and the room exudes an aura of reverence.

In death, Barnabas Shadowhaven has become a Rotted One. He will rise from his final rest to attack the party as soon as they enter the chamber. Joining in the attack will be d12 Plague Rats who scurry from the walls.

Following the fight, surviving party members will discover a small chest within the sarcophagus. Contained withing are papers indicating that Shadowhaven had dabbled in necromancy prior to his death. Apparently he fancied the idea of becoming a lich but must have met his end prior to mastering the art. Also located within the chest are 32 silver pieces, a moss agate, a jade, and a cobalt ring.

Final Thoughts

I’ve kicked around the idea of a Warcraft themed campaign from time to time. My players tend to be folks with very little gaming experience (tabletop or otherwise), so it would allow me with a lore-rich setting to run a West Marches style campaign. Love it or hate it, I know I could do a session zero with a group of friends and play them the original World of Warcraft cinematic trailer to generate a great deal of excitement.

Thanks for stopping by. What experience if any have you had with World of Warcraft? Have you ever dabbled with the setting along with your ttrpgs? Have you played Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game or World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game. I’d be curious to hear about either, as they each were released while I was away from the hobby.

Over the years I’ve stumbled across some folks who have put quite a bit of work into some Warcraft resources for 5e. I’m thinking of going in another direction but if this sort of thing interests you, check out:

The WC5e Project

Champions of Azeroth

That’s all for this week. Thanks again & have a great week. If you’d like to see some other maps with plot hooks, here you go.

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Revisiting the Isle of Dread

I have been running a group using the Rules Cyclopedia (with various tweaks) for about 6 months now. While it started as an experiment, it has become a fun endeavor. Up to this point, I’ve put them through their paces in “The Tower of Zenopus”, “Caves of Chaos”, and various homegrown one-shots.

Going into our holiday hiatus, the group consensus is that they would like to continue. I’ve spent the past week deciding where to take them next. Having enjoyed our previous romps through classic adventures I’ve decided to continue retracing the steps of my youth and chart a course for The Isle of Dread.

My stab at the classic Isle of Dread map. Made using the Campaign Cartographer annual Spectrum overland style.

If you are reading this, it’s quite likely that you are well-versed with the module already. Released in 1981, I received my first copy of the David “Zeb” Cook & Tom Moldvay adventure inside the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set.

D&D Expert Set rulebook from 1981.

As the adventure is largely a wilderness exploration, this will be a perfect opportunity to shift my game a bit. Some of our other friends have been eager to join, while a couple of my current players are going through a hectic period at work. Exploring The Isle of Dread will allow me to take more of an episodic approach to my game, with somewhat of a West Marches style.

After making contact with a group of islanders on the southeastern peninsula, the party will establish a base camp. My sessions will then start as one-shots, with different groups of PCs striking out each week to explore the mysteries of the island. This will hopefully keep us nimble and allow us to get through the winter without any cancelled sessions due to the lack of players. As we progress a bit, it’s likely that the group will find another location suitable for a forward base deeper within the island.

Hex version of my map. Click for full image.

These days I derive as much fun from making maps as I do from running the games themselves. This practice seems to fill the void created when I stopped painting minis years ago. While the original hex style map for The Isle of Dread will always be dear to my heart, I wanted to make my own version. I settled on the Annual Spectrum style for Campaign Cartographer and took a stab at it.

While I have a lot of fond memories of The Isle of Dread, the adventure as written does not really lend itself to the story I am looking to tell. I will still introduce the island as a location by allowing the party to discover a secret page from a ship’s log and partial map (I created a new version of this as well). However, aside from these details I’ll be changing quite a bit.

Ideally, I would like to hit my players with a number of stand-alone adventures, while also sprinkling some bread crumbs of an overarching story. To do this, I plan to steal liberally from a couple old guilty pleasures of mine.


The Lost World promo shot.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World was a syndicated television series, very loosely based on the 1912 novel. The book itself was likely an inspiration for The Isle of Dread in the first place. It premiered in 1999 and ran for three seasons. The show follows a diverse group of early 20th century adventurers after their hot air balloon crashes on an uncharted plateau where prehistoric creatures still exist.

It was a cheesy production; I suspect owing much to the previous successes of shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys & Xena: Warrior Princess. Like these predecessors, each episode loosely followed a “problem of the week” format, while also occasionally touching on the larger story of who the characters were and how they might get off the plateau.

I am not here to claim that this was great television. However, it crossed my path at a time in my life when I was about as far removed from the hobby as I had ever been. I suspect this is why it stuck with me. Something about turning on the TV and seeing these silly stories play out really stoked my imagination. It brought back memories of my youth and playing D&D with my friends. I started to daydream about a time in my life when I might have the time to start gaming again.

The entire 66-episode run is currently available for Amazon Prime subscribers. I have been binging it while I doodle on my maps and making notes. Despite the fluff and gratuitous cleavage shots, I am mining a number of good ideas for one-shot adventures.

The other source that I will be looting for ideas is The Land of the Lost. To be clear, I am not referring to the Will Ferrell movie but rather the 1974 children’s adventure television series by Sid and Marty Krofft.

Land of the Lost title card.

The show’s 3 seasons tell the tale of the Marshall family, who while on a river rafting trip, end up in an alternate universe. Rick Marshall and his children Will and Holly become trapped in a land that time forgot, a place inhabited by dinosaurs and other strange creatures.

The Land of the Lost was every bit as cheesy as the Lost World and was clearly aimed at young children. However, despite all of this there are some elements that I think would make compelling additions to my revised Isle of Dread.

The Sleestak were a race of reptilian bipedal humanoids native to the Land of the Lost. Covered mostly in green scales, they have claws on their feet and hands which can function as pincers. Typically armed with crossbows and nets these unique creatures captured my imagination as a child and will make for great reoccurring villains.

Scheming Sleestak

The remnants of a dying race, the Sleestak reside in a Lost City with subterranean tunnels built by their ancestors. All of this sounds like a great fit for the caldera location in the center of the Isle of Dread.

Finally, scattered about throughout the Land of the Lost are numerous pylons. These futuristic constructs contain matrix tables filled with crystals, each serving as the power source to control different aspects such as the weather or passage of time. The World of Warcraft paid homage to the pylons & crystals in the Un’Goro crater zone, and I think they will be a fun addition to my game as well.

Final Thoughts

That is my plan. Do you ever go in and add your own touches to classic adventures? If so, please share in the comments. I would love to hear what has inspired you and what sources you use for inspiration. I would also like to hear from anyone else who may have been inspired by either of these properties in the past.

Thank you for stopping by. Please take a minute to say hello and if you’d like to read some more, here are some convenient links

All of my posts detailing the locations in Cross Tree are located here.

For a list of all of my adventure hooks with maps, click here.

My random tables are collected here.

Finally, I’ve stuck everything else here.

Good Gaming!

My version of the incomplete map found by the characters.

The Isle of Dread is owned by Wizards of the Coast. All of my work on this post is strictly non-commercial, on a voluntary basis as unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.