Keep on the Borderlands - Table of Contents

DM Notes About The Keep:
I . This whole place is well-organized for security and for defense. In time of need, many civilians will arm and help man the walls, while non-combatants bring ammunition, food, and water to the walls and help the wounded. Sentries are alert. A party of soldiers patrols the walls irregularly, and a commander checks every half hour to hour. It is very unlikely that persons can enter or leave without being seen, unless magic is used. (You can have magical traps placed in key areas to shout "ALARM" whenever an invisible creature passes within 10' or so!) Within the Keep itself, the townspeople are generally law-abiding and honest. Boorishness and ill manners will be frowned upon. If any member of a party should be caught in a criminal act, the alarm will be sounded instantly. Citizens will try to prevent the escape of any lawbreakers (without sacrificing their lives) until the soldier arrives in 1-2 turns. If met with resistance, the soldier will not hesitate to use force, even killing if they must.

Those offenders taken prisoner will be locked in the dungeons under the Keep and punished for their crimes. + indicates a ballista, a huge, heavy crossbow manned by two men. It fires like a crossbow, but has a range of 480 feet, hits as if it were fired by a fighter of Ist-3rd level, and does 2 six-sided dice of damage plus two points (4-14 points of damage per hit). Each ballista has 12 missiles. They may only be fired once every four rounds (requiring 3 rounds to load and 1 to fire). +El indicates a light catapult with a range of 241 to 480 feet which fires half as often as a ballista (once per 8 rounds). Each requires two crewmen to operate, hits as if fired by a normal man, but can hit 1-6 targets in any close group (or one large target) for 1 six-sided die of damage each (6 dice if one large target). There is ammunition for six catapult shots per machine.

II. Floor plans might be useful. Note that most areas have two or more stories, and there is furniture in the rooms not shown. Also left out are details of heating, light, and descriptive touches such as color, rafters, decoration, etc. If you have time, floor plans and detailing of each area might be very helpful, exceptionally so in places frequented by the adventurers. See the appendix covering this near the end of the module.

Ill. Information from inhabitants of the KEEP might be gained by player characters. You may give one rumor (at random, using d20) to each player as starting information Other rumors may be keyed to other persons in the KEEP. For example: "Talking with the Taverner (#15) might reveal either rumor #18 or #19; he will give the true rumor if his reaction is good." Do not give out all the rumors. You may add whatever false rumors you wish, but adding to the amount of true information is not recommended.
The false rumors are noted by an 'F' after the number, (insight DC) is noted at the end of each rumor.

D20True/FalseRumorInsight DC
1TA merchant, imprisoned in the caves, will reward his rescuers.DC10
2FA powerful magic-user will destroy all cave invaders.DC10
3TTribes of different creatures live in different caves.DC10
4TAn ogre sometimes helps the cave dwellers.DC15
5TA magic wand was lost in the caves' area.DC10
6FAll of the cave entrances are trapped.DC15
7TIf you get lost, beware the eater of men!DC15
8TAltars are very dangerous.DC15
9FA fair maiden is imprisoned within the caves.DC15
10F"Bree-yark" is Goblin language for "we surrender"!DC10
11TBeware of treachery from within the party.DC10
12TThe big dog-men live very high in the caves.DC10
13TThere are hordes of tiny dog-men in the lower caves.DC10
14FPiles of magic armor are hoarded in the southern caves.DC10
15FThe Bugbears in the caves are afraid of dwarves!DC15
16TLizardfolk live in the marshes.DC5
17TAn elf once disappeared across the marshes.DC5
18TBeware the mad hermit of the north lands.DC10
19FNobody has ever returned from an expedition to the caves.DC5
20TThere is more than one tribe of Orcs within the caves.DC10

IV. Entrance to the Inner Bailey (Bailey = The outer wall of a castle, or an area within such a wall.) can be gained if the adventurers perform a heroic act in behalf of the KEEP, if they bring back an exceptional trophy or valuable prisoners, or if they contribute a valuable magic item or 1,000 or more gold pieces to the place. They will be invited to a feast and revel, and then closely watched and carefully questioned. If the Castellan' likes the looks of the group, and his assistants agree, he will ask them to perform a special mission (suitable to their ability, but difficult - use the area map or the Caves of Chaos to find a suitable goal). On the other hand, if they are rude or behave badly, he will simply retire early, ending the revel, and they will never be aided or invited back. If they try to steal or are threatening, the group will be attacked and killed immediately [if this can be managed, of course). Groups sent on a mission will be blessed and given up to 100 g.p. each for any needed supplies. If they succeed, they will be given passes to the Inner Bailey and can ask the Castellan for aid if there is a major foe to overcome (in the Caves' area). He will send a minimum of one corporal and 3 archers in plate, or at maximum the sergeant, a corporal, and a dozen men-atarms.

V. After the normal possibilities of this module are exhausted, you might wish to continue to center the action of your campaign around the KEEP by making it the base for further adventures which you may devise. For example (assuming that the group has done good service for the Castellan), have a large force of bandits move into the area, and then appoint the group to command an expedition of KEEP troops, mercenaries, and so on to drive them away. Or the party might become "traders" operating out of the KEEP, hoping to find adventures as they travel in the surrounding area.