The Keep on the Borderlands is an adventure module for Basic Dungeons & Dragons for six to nine player characters of levels 1-3.

The module itself has no setting specific details, and unlike B1: In Search of the Unknown never had any specific link to Greyhawk, and is typically considered to be apart of the Mystara setting along with the rest of the B series. However, it's still connected to the Greyhawk setting through the Greyhawk Classic Novel of the same name and the 2nd Edition AD&D module 'Return to the Keep on the Borderlands' which is specifically set in Greyhawk, in the Yeomanry.

A 4th Edition D&D module based on this one was released in 2010 under The Dungeons & Dragons Encounters series: "Keep on the Borderlands: A Season of Serpents". It is set in the Nentir Vale setting, rather than Greyhawk or Mystara.

5th Edition D&D has a playtest module based on The Keep on the Borderlands, called Caves of Chaos. The module does not include the keep and focuses on the adventures outside it. It uses the wilderness map from the original Basic D&D module. The full document of Caves of Chaos is not available to those not included in the original playtesting, but an expansion for the module was shared on the Wizards of the Coast's website.

Goodman Game's also created a 5th Edition D&D conversion of B1: In Search of the Unknown and B2: The Keep on the Borderlands, called Into the Borderlands.

There is a Hackmaster version of the module called Little Keep on the Borderlands.

Blurb

"This module includes a cover folder with maps and a complete description booklet to form a ready-made scenario for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (R) Basic Set. It has been specially designed for use by beginning Dungeon Masters so that they may begin play with a minimum of preparations.   

Within are many features to aid novice players and Dungeon Masters: legends, history and background information, a list of adventuring characters, tips on how to be an effective Dungeon Master, plus an interesting area for characters to base themselves in (the Keep) before setting out to explore the Caves of Chaos!"

Index

Art

  • Jeff Dee: Shakedown (p.5)
  • David S. Laforce: Keep Drawbridge (p.7)
  • Erol Otus: The Mad Hermit(p.13), The Keep at Sunset(Backcover)
  • Jim Roslof: Adventurers vs Owlbear(p.1),
  • Bill Willingham: Minotaur(p.20)

Characters

No character are actually named in the module, but the Keep has a list of inhabitants, their roles and some personality traits. Notable NPCs are:

  • The Castellan(p.11-12)
  • The Curate(p.11)
  • Corporal of the Watch(p.8)
  • Captain of the Watch (p.10)
  • Captain of the Guard(p.11)
  • Sergeant of the Guard(p.11)
  • Bailiff(p.8)
  • A priest, who is in fact a spy.(p.9)
  • Guild Master(p.10)
  • Tavern Owner(p.10)
  • An Elven Advisor(p.12), the only confirmed demihuman in the keep.
  • Merchants:Jewel Merchant(p.8) , Smith(p.9), general provisions(p.9), Trader(p.9)

There are roughly 230+ inhabitants in the keep, 7 of which are clearly noted to be female; The Jeweller's wife, the Provisioner's wife, The Innkeeper's wife, daughter, serving wench, and scullion maid. There are also local farms(p.10) nearby. All except the Advisor are human, but it's possible demihuman wanderers can be spotted in the inn.

There are pregenerated characters but they are not given names or genders, and only have class/race, stats and personality traits. There are 7 Human fighters, 3 human thieves, 3 human clerics, 1 human magic user, 2 elves, 2 halflings, and 2 dwarves.

Creatures

  • Beetle, Fire (p.20, App.)
  • Beetle, Oil (App.)
  • Beetle, Tiger (App.)
  • Bugbear (p.19-20 App.)
  • Carrion Crawler (App.)
  • Centipede, Giant(p.16)
  • Dog (p.8)
  • Doppleganger (App.)
  • Dwarf (p.10,19, App.)
  • Elf (p.10,12,19, App.)
  • Gargoyle (App.)
  • Gelatinous Cube (p.23, App.)
  • Gnoll (p.18,19, 21, App.)
  • Ghoul (App.)
  • Gnome (App.)
  • Goblin (p.16-17,19, App.)
  • Gray Ooze (p.19, App.)
  • Green Slime (App.)
  • Halfling (p.10, App.)
  • Harpy (App.)
  • Hobgoblin (p.17-19, App.)
  • Horse (p.8,11)
  • Human (p.8-13,17,19-23, App.)
  • Killer Bee (App.)
  • Kobold (p.14-15,19,App.)
  • Lion, Mountain (p.13, App.)
  • Living Statue, Crystal (App.)
  • Lizard, Draco (App.)
  • Lizard, Gecko (App.)
  • Lizardmen (p.12-13)
  • Lycanthrope, Wererat (App)
  • Medusa (p.23, App.)
  • Minotaur (p.20)
  • Neanderthal (App.)
  • Ochre Jelly (App.)
  • Orc (p.15-16,18,19, App.)
  • Ogre (p.16-17, App.)
  • Owlbear (p.19)
  • Pixie (App.)
  • Rat, Giant (p.14,19)
  • Robber Fly (App.)
  • Rock Baboon (App.)
  • Shadow (App.)
  • Shrew, Giant (App.)
  • Skeleton (p.21-22, App.)
  • Snake, Cobra (App.)
  • Snake, Pit Viper (App.)
  • Spider, Black Widow (p.13 App.)
  • Spider, Crab (App.)
  • Spider, Tarantella (App.)
  • Sprite (App.)
  • Stirge (p.20)
  • Thoul (App.)
  • Troglodyte (App.)
  • White Ape (App.)
  • Wight (p.22, App.)
  • Wolf (App.)
  • Zombie (p.21-22, App.)

Locations

  • The Keep
  • The Caves of Chaos
  • Cave of the Unknown

Appendix

Trivia

The 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual, under Goblins, there's a note with "Bree-Yark! - goblin for surrender (or so they say)"([1]p.166) . This is a reference to a rumour given in this module "Bree-yark" is goblin-language for "we surrender"! which is marked 'F' for False(p.7) as it actually means 'Hey rube!'(p.16)

External Links

Articles: RPGGeek, RPG.net, Drivethrurpg, Acaeum, TSR Archive

  1. Monster Manual, Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, 2014, Wizards of the Coast, 5e
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