Keep on the Borderlands - your experiences?


First Post
When 3.5 came out I decided to get back into D&D and bought the books and arranged for a series of all night "hack and slash" games with pizza and Mountain Dew for all of us 30+ year olds to relive high school and college. I picked Keep ont eh Borderlands to run.

They all almost got killed the first encounter because they wandered into the ogre. I pulled some of his damage and they survived.

They did pretty well but took the exact same path going back and forth to the caves. They got ambushed by some orcs and goblins while walking down the road. Goblins fired bows while orcs fended off everybody with reach weapons.

The spetacularly memorable death was the 1st level monk who rushed to fight the owlbear while everybody else backed up. Full round attack, claw, claw, bite(crit). The description I used for the damage was it basically picking him up by the sholders and biting off his head.

Most of the battles happened in the evil temple. They'd killed everything and were trying to destroy the tapestries while one player decided that the halfling rogue was too attached to the 40 pounds of pewter dishes he'd picked up in the evil temple several weeks earlier and insisted on carrying around everywhere with him. They started to attempt to burn the tapestries while chasing the halfling around and the gong started sounding. Since there was nobody else in that part of the complex to summon, I decided the temple was what had caused all the mosnters to gather there and it summoned everything left in the rest of the caves. They continued with their futile efforts grumbling aobut how they're going to get caught in this cave by all the monsters, which they were. Big, final battle with the minotaur and orcs in the lead that the PCs only survived because the monsters morale failed when a fear spell caused one of the orc leaders to flee. They gave up on trying to burn the tapestries or getting the halfling's treasure away from him.

I decided the halfling thief would return later with the cursed pewter items to become the new evil cleric for when I run it again.

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my original copy of this got used so often, it pretty much disintigrated. I ran it a jillion times as a DM and played it 2-3 times. I often changed the layout around some, added new rooms, put in different critters, and sent the PCs back in for more.
So far as playing in it, I can only really remember the last time I did so... I was the fighter/thief half elf modeled after Indiana Jones (whip and pistol crossbow proficiencies), so naturally, I was in the back of the party with the other thief. So, when the rest of the party fell in the pit trap in the kobold cave entrance, it was just me and my thief buddy all alone. Our options were to go back to town empty handed and leave the rest of the party to be eaten by the kobolds, or try to rescue them. Not sure just why we did try to rescue them, but we got it done. Our terrified duo made liberal use of the move silently and backstab abilities to take out all the kobolds, and we even managed to smack down the kobold king in a stand up fight. When we found the lever and rescued the others, we greeted them with a big chest full of copper coins, and even a few silver coins.. naturally, they didn't know we had most of the silver pieces already hidden in our belt pouches...


First Post
We played the heck out of this thing!
As a DM, I was always having the monsters move around, or I would re-populate areas that the PCs had already cleared, so they would run into "safe" caves to rest or re-group and find something waiting for them. :D

As a player, I used it as a base for my evil fighter, who recruited various monsters after killing most of the rest for his attack on the keep, which was wildly successful. He actually went on to sack several other small towns in the area, and became a pretty serious bandit-villian until I turned him into a an NPC and used him for years as bogey-man figure-"Longstrider is coming to town! Hide the women and children!"

Love that thing. :cool:
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Wormwood said:
First module I ever played or ran.

Bree Yark means, "Hey Rube" (ie. "All Goblins within earshot please report to serve a beat-down on the non-Goblins")

Damn fine module. I've placed it in the Stonelands, Vaasa, and the Storm Horns, and also in at least three separate homebrews.

Most creepy moment: running a Vampire Drow Fighter-Magic User, his Alu-Demon wife [modeled after Joan Jett], and their half-ogre Barbarian (all 1e) as they killed every living thing in the Keep and the Caves (turning the humans into half-strength vampires).

1986 has never seemed so remote.
:confused: :confused: :confused:

Vague Jayhawk

First Post
In 5th grade I sat down with a couple of the neighborhood boys and rolled up a character. I seem to remember his name was Goldfinger the fighter. Then a group of us walked into the Chaves of Chaos.

"You see an Owlbear. He attacks"

"Let's see. A hit, a hit and another hit."

"How many hit points do you have? Not anymore."

Damn Owlbear"

My character got killed during the first battle as a D&D player. It is a wonder I went to the trouble of rolling and creating a second one.

My Favorite Adventure

It's the first I played. I remember being worried about scruvy from eating nothing but dried rations for so long, so paying 1 gp for an imported orange from the Keep.

It was the inspiration for the first adventure in new campaign (1996), with some modifications (homebrew Keep and new inhabitants). And one of the first (with Return) in my second group of people in the same campaign setting (starting in 1999).

For me, the Keep is in the foothills of the Yatil mountains, along the borders of Veluna and near Highfolk, but technically a minor manor of Bissel.

In my Return version, the bad guys got organized and attacked the Keep with an army of undead, bandits, evil little halflings, and NPC's. The PC's and the NPC 0-level defenders were driven back to the dunjeon (the main tower) and had zombies coming in two different barricaded doors before it was all over. They used up pretty much all the healing in the Keep, and lots of oil and holy water too. Perhaps the most memorable parts were the PC's main fighter squaring off against the Black Knight on the walls, and the PC's running a gauntlet of zombies to make it to the dunjeon from the middle gates. Best fight ever -- all 147 rounds of it!

painandgreed said:
Big, final battle with the minotaur and orcs in the lead that the PCs only survived because the monsters morale failed when a fear spell caused one of the orc leaders to flee. They gave up on trying to burn the tapestries or getting the halfling's treasure away from him.

I decided the halfling thief would return later with the cursed pewter items to become the new evil cleric for when I run it again.

Ranovir had no fear of that fell host. Ha!

Actually it wasn't a halfling, it was "Harr" the dwarven thief. He was trying indirectly to have him killed since Ranovir figured something was up.




I've (attempted to) run through it solo a couple times and have DM'ed it...two, maybe three times? I know that doesn't sound like a lot but B2 is a whole campaign-in-a-module.

The very first time I ran it, I had little grasp of what DUNGEONS & DRAGONS was. Providence guided me to choosing that particular module, as about 65% of what you need to know to play D&D is contained in those pages. What's missing is a real rundown on how combat works, spell explanations and XP charts. That's really all else you need!

Anyway, my sister and my neighbor were the first two to brave the CAVES OF CHAOS and they did swimmingly well - considering that I was reading everything in the encounter area descriptions ("There's a pit trap...") :D.

The next time I played it was many, many years later when I restarted with ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS following advice I'd gotten from Gary, I put the Keep in the Pomarj and started a campaign that would have taken the party from B2 to a gotterdamrung conclusion with S1 THE TOMB OF HORRORS with every classic module in between, including a run through the Giants series!

Alas that wasn't to be. Fortunes changed and people drifted away...but I digress.

The second run through the module was lots of fun. I distinctly recall the party's paladin being head-butted by the Minotaur into unconciousness; my wife who was running the party thief attacked the sleeping owlbear in its lair and by using a backstab attack on a prone or held opponent, coupled with arrows from two other party members, managed to finish the beast off without it so much as getting a single claw in!

Of course she later made the mistake of disturbing the infamous bowl and pitcher in the Temple of Evil Chaos and had to be...persuaded to come back into the light.

I've played in the module as a party member a few times as well. Memorable journeys include a fight against Thouls (who replaced the ogre, courtesy of the DM wanting to mix things up a bit) and actually negotiating with the Hobgoblins and convincing them to seek their fortunes elsewhere.


That's all I've got, sorry its not more exciting! :)



new guy's question:

wheres the keep located (set)?
wiki say that its on mystara, but also say in greyhawk

blackmoor discution apart, i always thought that mystara and the know world were different things from greyhawk

is blackmoor, greyhawk and mystara all in the same soup?

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