Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Campaign - B2 Keep on the Borderlands

A while back I was playing an AD&D 1ed game online set in Greyhawk. My favorite game and setting, in case that isn't obvious yet. Unfortunately that game dissolved after a short while along with a couple other online games I had been playing in. After a short stint looking for something suitable I decided to bite the bullet and just DM it myself. This was in part because the FtF campaign I've been DMing is starting to wind down after ~7 years of play.

So now I'm DMing a Google Hangouts game starting off in the Keep. Naturally I've set it in Greyhawk and will be taking the folks through B2 Keep on the Borderlands to start off. Believe it or not, except for a short foray into the Caves of Chaos just recently, I had never played or DMed this module.
Looking around on the web there is a metric ton of info, game reports, maps, conversions and the like for this module. So naturally I decided to add some more junk to the pile. If someone finds it useful, great, but really I'm just putting it up here as a sort of work in progress, for my own benefit primarily.

My first steps in setting up any new campaign is, and has always been, the maps. Looking around for maps of the wilderness and Keep I found a few that I liked but just weren't 'perfect', for me anyways. So, naturally I took the ones I liked and adjusted them to suit my own tastes and style.

The Hexographer map over on was the closest to what I had in mind, so that's the one I adjusted to my liking.
As you can see I've borrowed things from all over the place on this map.
The scale 'debate' I just sidestepped by making the caves ~2.5 hours to get to by an unencumbered man on foot and left it at that. You'll notice some farmhouses and fields located just outside the Keep. These I placed there because it seemed like a perfect place for the start of a new town, with some protection nearby. The farmers scamper into the Keep at nightfall when the raiding gets to be extreme. After all, they're brave not stupid.

Since this is situated in Greyhawk the next question was where was I going to place it, besides the suggested Yeomanry.
Since I'm planning on tying this in with The Temple of Elemental Evil later I decided to place it not too far away on the Wild Coast along the Jewel River. If you click on the environs map you'll see a spot towards the bottom in the middle of the Welkwood labelled Baridel Castle, the name for the Keep I adopted in my version of Greyhawk.

The next step was the keep itself. The Castellan Keep map over at caught my eye, so that was the next to get incorporated into my milieu. As you can see I just adjusted it slightly to conform to my view of the Keep. You'll notice I've added some storage towers to the inner gatehouse, as well as switching the location of the stables and warehouse. I just figured the Smith would need direct access to the horses and putting it next to the Smithy/Armorer would make more sense. You'll also note that I added some barracks to the inner bailey since the 250+ inhabitants (mostly soldiers) of this castle needed someplace to sleep, too.

Next time is some old school blue maps of the different buildings inside the Keep itself.


  1. +Anthony Hargis had this to say;
    My thoughts about your placement of Baridel Castle is that, as I remember it, part of the purpose of B2 is to reopen the trade route . . . to the east.

    However, opening the trade route to east or west brings up the issue that Celene has basically cut off contact with the outside world, so there wouldn't really be a trade route anyway.

    So how do you plan on running this, so as to tie it in with your players eventually reaching Hommlet?

    My reply;
    I'm not too worried about it. The Uleks could be exploring different routes up alongside the Jewel River for whatever reason, or Celene could be exploring opening trade because of some internal intrigues. I'm not really too worried about it at the moment. Once the party gets past the first few levels and the campaign looks like it'll actually last for a while I'll worry about the exact trade routes if needed to justify this and retcon it if I have to. Most times the party doesn't even worry about such niggling details, although now that I've said that, watch they'll be all over it asking for specific details.
    As far as tying in with Hommlet, the evil cult/shrine is recruiting the humanoids here for the ToEE. A few clues/papers scattered in the temple area and the Cave of the Unknown and off they go[hopefully].

    BTW I'm posting this since Anthony had a minor glitch accessing comments on blogger.

  2. I'm in the process of compiling a new Hommlet campaign of my own, for Millennials who have never known the joy. I was wistful in that they don't know the joys of B2 either and stumbled across your blog. Definitely borrowing some ideas now. :)

    1. Glad you like it. This blog is mostly a storehouse for my own thoughts and ideas. Good to see someone found it useful. Borrow away. You'll also find some stuff for Hommlett and the ToEE here as well, just click on the labels at right for that.

  3. Love your update of The Keep! If you do not mind, I'd like to use it with my campaign ( as you cleverly corrected some oversights to the original.

    1. Don't mind at all. Hope you have as much fun with it as our group did.


  4. Exactly what I was looking for. I'm planning on running the same two adventures tied in. Gonna take your idea for locations.

  5. Im loving all these maps, I just wish I had a version of the keep without names.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post, I always appreciate topics like this being discussed to us. Information very nice. I will follow post Thanks for sharing.
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