B2 - The Keep on The Borderlands Retold
I have reworked this classic module for use with Necrotic Gnome’s Old School Essentials and Old School Essentials Advanced rulesets. The last time I ran this module, I was in Middle School. At that time, I did not appreciate all of the details that were buried in each of the description boxes. Did you know there were seven fireplaces throughout the complex and that the map insert actually shows where they are at (even if unkeyed)? (Rooms 9, 15, 19, 25, 30, 38, and 50) Now you do. The fact that I could build a coherent adventure from what Mr. Gygax left behind is testament to how hard he worked the soil.
This modified module is set in my own home-brew campaign. The Kingdom of Delthos is envisioned as a culture much like Celtic Ireland in the 10th-11th century without the influence of Rome and, consequently, Christianity. Perhaps the keep, and military, lead a bit in terms of technology. Culturally, there is a clash between feudal ideas imported from Northern Kingdoms. Druids are on the way out, while a clerical order worshipping the same pantheon is on the way in. Brehon Law is on the way out, while the Kings’ law is on the upswing even at the borderlands.
The Keep on the Borderlands as described below takes place 80 years after my original group of PCs cleared out the Caves of Chaos. The caves that were once sealed, however, now stir with a new evil serving the ends of Chaos. Meanwhile, Delthos’ southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Brockand may be on the move. A new King sits on the throne in Delthos and in Brockand. Even the borderlands cannot escape these intrigues as they ripple across the land.
SCENE 1 - Grinley Crossing
Porthos Rónan - Caravan Master
White, frizzy hair awkwardly hangs over a fine face now lined with age and tanned by the sun. Wide blue eyes, set low within their sockets, seize you with their gaze. Two scars run parallel across the bridge of his nose. His goatee is neatly trimmed. His hands look strong, like they are accustomed to holding a sword.
F4, AC 5  (chainmail under a robe and cloak), (hp 16), Att 1 × sword (1d8) or 1 × dagger (1d4), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 60’ (20’), D10 W11 P12 B13 S14, ML 12, AL Lawful, STR 16 INT 9 WIS 9 DEX 11 CON 12 CHA 13, XP 125. His wealth is elsewhere, but he always carries at least 150gp.
Porthos has 3 wagons (each pulled by 2 horses) and they are loaded with provisions to take to Last Fort (Déidenach Dún). Each wagon carries approximately 1350lbs of goods. Three more of his wagons containing the bulk of the grain were just diverted southward by the Duke Leon Mcinness of Lastfort. The Duke is marching south to Riverfort with all of his knights and about half of the men-at-arms from Lastfort.
Porthos has 3 caravan guards (one for each wagon) who are 1st level fighters equipped with an ill fitting helm, mail shirt AC 6, crossbow (with 5 bolts), and very nondescript sword. Assume average stats: AC 6  (chainmail shirt), hp 4, Att 1 × crossbow (1d6 every other round) or 1 x sword (1d8+1), THAC0 19 , MV 60' (20'), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, ML 6, AL Neutral, STR16 INT 8 WIS 14 DEX 11 CON 12 CHA 13.
Ward “Mo” McCracken - has straight black hair cropped evenly all around - close set black eyes that twinkle.
Finn “Lar” Llewellyn - oddly enough, this is the one of the three with naturally curly brown hair, balding on top, and amber eyes.
Camran “Curly” McNaught - has long chestnut-red hair and a handlebar mustache, though he occasionally shaves it all off and then grows it back.
These three guards once, on a lark, went to Brockand to enter (and win) the annual jester contest held at Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass.
The Duke hands Porthos a note in a sealed envelope to take to the Castellan Dermond McCoy of Lastfort. PCs may not know his name or that he is a duke, but note the quality of his armor, the deference (including some genuflecting) in his presence, and the fact that his dark black hair is cut in a mohawk.
Dermond, things sound worse than expected. I am taking our forces south to Riverfort. I am also diverting the weekly grain shipment there as well. Pay Porthos the full sum from the treasury. You will need to get by on turnips and potatoes I’m afraid. Will send word from Riverfort. Lastfort must be held intact. I cannot send you any men, the King has not authorized me to raise the militia. Make due with whatever manpower you can find to handle the situation outside the gates.
/s/ Leon - Guardian of High Pass - Lord of Lastfort
PCs will not be shown the note. Should they happen to access it somehow during the trip is worth some additional XP for the ‘thief.' The Duke is riding south with the force below, observant characters will get a general picture of the size of the force if they closely observe the activity in Grinley Crossing.
* 1 captains of infantry (F3)
* 1 captain of horse (F3)
* 30 cavalry
* 12 heavy horse (F1)
* 18 medium horse (F1)
* 95 men-at-arms (F1)
* 2 corporals
* 1 courier (F1)
The Fox’s Den Inn and Tavern
A two-storey stone-walled building, with a black tile roof and well-made wooden tables and chairs. Accomodations consist of several small rooms with wooden cots and wooden cots near the hearth.
AC 5  (chainmail + shield), HP 9, Att1 × mace (1d6) or 1 × spell, THAC0 19 , MV 60' (20'), SV D11 W12 P14 B16 S15, AL Neutral, STR 11 INT 10 WIS 14 DEX 6 CON 9 CHA 9, Spells cure light wounds, detect magic, snake charm [he keeps a pet snake in a basket and entertains with it].
1. Boiled Sausage and Onions, Tankard of Beer (10 cp)
2. Roasted Bass and Curd Cheese, Glass of Gin (3 sp)
3. Baked Partridge and Curd Cheese, Glass of Wine (1 sp)
4. Braised Chicken and Dried Apple, Glass of Mead (2 sp)
5. Steamed Hare with Pepper and Dried Grape, Glass of Rum (2 sp)
6. Braised Veal with Clove and Bitter Cheese, Glass of Mead (4 sp)
The Hook: There is considerable hubbub in the middle of town when the characters arrive. They may observe men genuflecting to the Duke, the note being passed by the Duke to Porthos, the wagons being diverted, and the Knights heading off down the road. The infantry company forms up and marches out not long afterward, but the town is in considerable turmoil after having hosted this force overnight in their homes and the inns. All but one establishment will close its doors, shutter its windows, and try to get some rest before putting things back in order. Some proprietors may head to The Fox’s Den to commiserate with one another.
Porthos needs men. He will meet the characters in the Inn and recruit them, paying any reasonable amount. Characters may note the general lack of experience and shoddy equipment of the other caravan guards. Greedy/reluctant characters will be reminded that it is only a matter of time before the King raises the militia and they’ll be getting a soldier’s wages and way of life unless they have a friend like Porthos to vouch for them.
Rumors (from the townsfolk) /roll 2d8-1. The townspeople are evenly split on any rumor. No sooner will someone tell it, and part of the tale to go with it, than someone else in earshot will heap scorn upon it and even tell the tale a different way. Feel free to mix in the old Delthan and Ontaucian names for places. Recognize that some of these rumors are side-quests or not pertinent to getting the players down the road to Lastfort.
It was just last winter that the King of Delthos, Ros Mackay, died unexpectedly and his wife, Queen Margot, wasted no time in marrying his brother Roland Mackay.
The new King of Brockand - Beithir MacTorren - claims to be the son of a king that lived more than two hundred years ago.
The Duke of Lastfort is a fair man but we don’t see him much this far eastward.
The Knights from Lastfort think a lot of themselves, always riding up and down the countryside and going to tournaments.
Them Druids are giving the people in Sawtown (Samthach Baile) an earful about how fast they’re cutting down the forest.
(F) Better stock up on anything you need here, I heard from those soldiers that Cairntown (D: Cairnbaile, On: Bhodsāpolis) is picked over.
The soldiers said there are strange things afoot outside Lastfort. Children have gone missing and they keep hearing war drums.
(F) The soldiers said there’s a dragon on the loose outside Lastfort. A captain and an entire patrol disappeared trying to hunt it down.
(Partially F) The Dwarves from the mountains don’t get along with the Dwarves from Eastport.
The soldiers from Lastfort said that the Fir Bolg (native/aboriginals) didn't come down out of the hills to hunt last summer.
The soldiers are marching down the Old Isha Road (Isha Kelus) today headed for Ypsilwood (Ey Fidrad). Tuatha De Dannan protect them.
(F) The Baron of Dread has his hands full with that lot at Sawtown - because the loggers are always fighting and stealing!
You can catch the biggest fish in a pond just inside the Deep Forest (D: Caill ó Domain Adúath “forest of deep dread”; On: Dhubús Namos). But you’ll always feel like you’re being watched there.
Haven’t seen a mage around here in a long time, most of them won’t travel the Isha Road, they stick to the Sundabar Road (Sundabar Kelus) instead.
The shepherds keep seeing strange lights in Greenwood (Úaine Caill). They think the fairy folk are coming back.
At the southern edge of town along the Isha Road there is a graveyard and a small chapel. The chapel is open and shows signs of being well maintained. From the signs and symbols inside PCs can tell it is dedicated to the worship of The Dagda
the father-God in the Delthan pantheon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dagda
The gravestones are marked with dates, but the most recent interment was 100 years ago. This is because a Royal Decree banning burials in favor of cremation was issued to help tamp down an unacceptable rise in undead from an outbreak of “Ghoul Fever.” https://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/ghoul.htm
SCENE 2 - Cairntown (D: Cairnbaile, On: Bhodsāpolis)
The Hook: Porthos wants to water the horses before the trip into High Pass. This gives players a little time to explore the town and the two cairns.
Refugees carting their belongings (without horses) or carrying them on their backs will pass by. If asked, they will describe the situation (children went missing, animals slaughtered or hauled away, crops trampled, escalating to a coordinated night-time raid when many farmhouses were burned. Some people have sought refuge inside the walls of the keep, but many have been turned away or turned out. Instead of camping outside the walls of the keep in a newly formed shanty community, these refuges are calling it quits, sensing worse could yet be coming.
The Creaking Soldier
At the very end of the paved Sundabar Road, shaded by large trees, this is a final Tavern and Inn for weary travelers before crossing the Wild River (On: Geiltsreb literally “Wild Man River”) and entering the Borderlands proper. In normal times, soldiers from Lastfort come here to enjoy a drink and a meal away from the keep. The tavern is a plaster and wood framed two-story building, with a gray shingled roof.
Exterior - west side - not visible as the PCs approach from the east is a rainbow colored sign pointing to Spectacular Medicines
Interior: Several battered shields hang on the walls. It contains low ceilings and messy tables covered in cutlery and leftover food.
Naomh Mulloyi (female)
Description: Ginger, short hair neatly coiffured to reveal a smooth skinned, pale face. Behind her green eyes and fluttering lashes, is a keen observer over the soldiers of Lastfort she has come to love. Her husband died digging a new well for the town and she has been left alone to run this business.
Beef Sandwich with a roasted apple and a Glass of Whiskey (5 sp)
Egg Burger with Crowberry Tart and a Tankard of Beer (5 sp)
Oxen on a steamed bun with a roasted apple (4 sp)
(Prices subject to fluctuation as Naomh’s supply and customer’s capacity to pay dictate)
Location: In a small alley behind the tavern there is a plaster single story building, with a heather-thatched roof and rainbow colored wooden sign by the door.
Interior: There is a meticulously organized drawers of herbs. Behind the counter, the proprietor smiles at you broadly. Herbs fit for medicines, components for enchantments, or even just cooking a great meal are available for coppers and silvers.
Flannagan O’Doylei - Alchemist (see pg. 130 OSE Rules Tome)
Description: A mop of black thick hair greased and pulled back into a ponytail. Flannagan has a chiseled, lived-in face. Clear amber eyes, set tightly within their sockets look gently on you.
Specials (in a locked, trapped drawer - poisoned needle effects as Sleep spell (pg. 80 OSE Rules Tome)
"Potion of Animal Friendship” as a Potion of Control Animal (pg. 247 OSE Rules Tome) (193 gp)
"Elixir of Health” as a Potion of Healing (pg. 248 OSE Rules Tome) (115 gp)
"Philter of Love” acts on imbiber like a specialized Charm Person spell (pg. 78 OSE Rules Tome) (86 gp). The person drinking it will “fall in love” with the person who gave it to him/her.
The Alchemist has the recipe to reproduce these, but as he may explain, no Orichalcum (this is somewhat of a fabrication as there are substitutes he can use - however, Orichalcum is a shortcut to the final result). The alchemist can also assist with an extra 1 HP of healing per day through his ministrations for a price. Behind his house is a well tended herb garden. He knows the location of some Killer Bees (pg. 171 OSE Rules Tome) and he cultivates their honey from time to time to distill into his Elixirs of Health (which happen to have a honey flavor).
The Hardroad Store
The general store is a timber framed cabin, with a green tile roof and shuttered windows. A dog serves as a mascot and greets customers.
In addition to Adventuring Gear (pg. 42 OSE Rules Tome) the owner — Gerald Axton, Male Human — sells shovels (2 gp each), picks, and tools for stone masonry, weaving, potting, and chiseling. No weapons or armor are for sale here. The owner speaks with a distinct accent, and comes from one of the northern kingdoms. He does not open the shop until later in the day, and is somewhat of a drunkard.
The owner, Jacoba Byron, Female Human, is known to entertain soldiers from Lastfort. She is a devotee of Medb the Fairy Queen.
The house is a timber framed cabin, with large windows and softly glowing red lantern by the door. The cabin contains a single, neat room with a bed and chest. In one corner is a hearth with a cauldron over the fire. Cured meats are hung in bundles from the rafters.
Two large stone cairns are at the north and south edge of the town, both overlooking the Wild River. Nothing of note (they were long since looted). Both date back to the times when the Ontaucians first came into contact with the Fir Bolg.
Church of the All Father
A priest of The Dagda provides pastoral advice to the village. He is, essentially, a level zero cleric and this is his first pastorate. Unfortunately, the church is locked and he has gone fishing at the pond in the Deep Forest, so there is no one to minister to the refugees who have paused by the front of the church.
The Wild River itself is moderately wide (60-90’), swiftly moving, with a rocky bottom stirring up some mild rapids, and a very rocky shoreline. The water is cold (as the headwaters are in the Apella Mountains). It would be dangerous to attempt a crossing alone when encumbered in armor. One could easily get swept away, strike a rock, or get their foot wedged and die.
Should the party start wandering far off beaten paths, they may first run into a villager who warns them. Should they persist, they will most certainly encounter one of these (singly at first, but on subsequent encounters the full number appearing for wilderness should be used):
Robber Fly pg. 186 OSE Rules Tome
Tiger Beetle pg. 143 OSE Rules Tome
Killer Bees pg. 171 OSE Rules Tome
SCENE 3 - High Pass
Five miles past the bridge over the wild river, the PCs pass through hills that quickly turn into a low range of mountains. At its widest, High Pass is about 50-70 yards wide. At its narrowest, it can be only 20 feet wide. Twenty miles west of Cairntown, the pass flattens and narrows again. The walls of the rock on either side are nearly vertical here.
Reminder, OSE Rules Tome pg. 49 gives the average distance of a wagon as 12 miles / day with a movement rate of 60’ (20’), so this encounter probably takes place in the morning to early afternoon.
Roll for surprise. If party surprised they are fully in the throat of the kill zone:
Up ahead, the lead horses suddenly balk. Ahead of the column, a set of spearman have suddenly appeared. They sport leather armor and shields. It looks like there is another man behind them. The Leader of the bandits will harangue Porthos if given a chance and squander their surprise attack.
If party is not surprised, one of the keener eyed players spots unnatural movement either up above or on the road to the front from the camouflaged bandits. Only reveal one location (left wall, right wall, or center ground) at random at this point.
These are the bandits from the #3 Raider Camp described in B2: The Keep on the Borderlands pg. 13. The Leader is a deserter from Lastfort and knows Porthos well. The bandits on the road were under a thatched camouflage cover, hidden from view.
To the front, stretching from wall to wall are the 8 spearmen. Behind them is their Leader.
Spearmen: F1, AC 6  (leather and shield), HP 5, Attacks 1 × spear (1d6), 1 x dagger (1d4), THAC0 19 , Movement Rate 90’ (30’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, ML 8, AL Chaotic, STR 13 INT 9 WIS 17 [wise in the ways of banditry and ambush], DEX 10 CON 7 CHA 11. 10 XP
Leader - Seamus McFinn - F2, AC 4  (chainmail + shield), HP 12, Attacks 1 × spear (1d6), 1 x sword (1d8), THAC0 19 , Movement Rate 60' (20’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, ML 10, AL Chaotic, STR 10 INT 9 WIS 11 DEX 13 CON 8 CHA 10. 20 XP
Up the left wall, behind partial cover of rocks (-2 to hit) and on a landing about 20’ up is the Lieutenant with a bowman.
Lieutenant: F1, AC 6  (leather and shield), HP 7, Attacks 1 × short bow (1d6), 1 x sword (1d8), THAC0 19 , Movement Rate 90’ (30’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, ML 9, AL Chaotic, STR 14 INT 10 WIS 8, DEX 11 CON 11 CHA 13, 15 XP
Up the right wall, again, behind partial cover of rocks (-2 to hit) and on another landing about 20’ is the other bowmen.
Bowmen: F1, AC 7  (leather), HP 4, Attacks 1 × short bow (1d6), 1 x dagger (1d4), THAC0 19 , Movement Rate 90’ (30’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, ML 8, AL Chaotic, STR 10 INT 4 WIS 11, DEX 16 CON 7 CHA 9, 12 XP
The bowmen have been instructed to avoid hitting the horses, but on a 1 there is always a possibility. They have at least 20 arrows each.
Porthos is a prime target for the bowmen.
The Leader and the Lieutenant will focus effort on anyone trying to rally the caravan.
The spearmen will move forward each round as a unit, seeking to secure each wagon in turn. They will only throw their spears if absolutely necessary because they know they need them to control the horses.
If the PCs try to run them down with the wagons the Leader will order the bandits in the path to set spears against charge. As the GM, how you adjudicate the bandits' courage in pulling this off and the result of a pair of horses moving at speed with a load of a laden wagon (1500lbs) pushing them along is up to you.
Don’t forget to check the caravan guards for morale after the first casualty on the PC’s side. Also, explain their fumbling with the crossbows [optional rule pg. 45 OSE Rules Tome] to fire every other round and lack of instincts to seek cover, etc. If a PC leads the other men-at-arms be sure to award XP and make the caravan guards more effective.
Porthos may be knocked unconscious, but will not be killed by this encounter. He will give an account to the Castellan of the adventurer’s performance.
Characters may spend 1 minute (10 rounds) climbing to a ledge of equal height with the bandit bowmen. For every minute spent they can get even higher. Of course their dexterity and shield advantages are negated. A thief may climb up to 100’ in 1 minute with a single check (OSE Rules Tome pg. 34) - thus a thief will be at or slightly above the position of the bandit archers in two to three combat rounds. Other players may make an attribute check against the average of their strength and dexterity (rounded down) for every 20’ climbed.
Ranges in short (+1), medium, and long (-1)
Crossbow - 1d6 - Missile (5’–80’ / 81’–160’ / 161’–240’), Reload, Slow, Two-handed
Short bow - 1d6 - Missile (5’–50’ / 51’–100’ / 101’–150’), Two-handed
Spear - 1d6 - Brace against charging opponents [see pg. 49 in Advanced OSE], Melee, Missile (5’–20’ / 21’–40’ / 41’–60’)
Treasure and Experience
They have 105sp split fairly evenly amongst themselves. The leader has 11gp.
If all are defeated the party earns 139 XP. Don’t forget the value of the equipment recovered too.
Draft Horse - Bred for great strength and endurance. Used to pull vehicles and ploughs or as beasts of burden.
AC 7 , HD 3, HP 13, Att None, THAC0 17 [+2], MV 90’ (30’), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (2), ML 6, AL Neutral, XP 35, NA 0 (0), TT None
SCENE 4 - Entering the Keep on the Borderlands
As you exit High Pass, the road winds its way down to a river valley below. Your descent takes you through stands of trees until at last, "up the winding road, atop a sheer-walled mount of stone looms the great keep.” (B2: Keep on the Borderlands, pg. 6 left column). Now read the second paragraph below START on pg. 6 in the right column.
As your wagons turn left at the fork in the road near the river, first one, and then several families emerge from a small set of shanties, lean toos, and tents set up along the river. They demand food and provisions. Porthos tells them to get back. They follow the wagons closely, the children run alongside.
At the MAIN GATE (#1 on pg. 8) the drawbridge is lowered (across an empty moat with jagged rocks and wooden stakes at the bottom - in wartime, covered in pitch). The portcullis raised. Several (6) men-at-arms run out with polearms that they use to push the crowd back. The Corporal of the Watch may have to beat one particularly aggressive townsperson back with a club. The men on the top of the FLANKING TOWERS (two on each tower) scan the crowd with their crossbows looking for signs of armed resistance. [Recall: the keep is now operating with less than half strength. These numbers reflect that.]
Bran Kavanaugh - Corporal of the Watch - has graying coily hair that frames his bony, frowing face. His round black eyes look on the world with disappointment. He is a first class, illiterate, grouch. He wears his well-maintained platemail, shield, sword and dagger with an air of confidence. His breath smells of onions and garlic.
As the wagons are ushered into the ENTRY YARD (#3, pg. 8) in front of the STABLES (#4, pg. 8) and WAREHOUSE (#5, pg. 8). More men-at-arms rush out of the flanking towers and push back a gathering crowd of displaced civilians — who now live within the walls — to the BAILIFF’S TOWER (#6, pg. 8). From atop the tower, the Bailiff - Conan Yorke - signals that an equal number of civilians need to be snatched from the crowd and ejected from the keep to make up for the added burden of taking in the players/caravan guards/Porthos.
Another man dressed in robes, Conall Donoghuei - is a scribe who records the names of the party.
Porthos will direct the PCs to unload the wagons into the warehouse after the Corporate unlocks the doors. Porthos says he will pay them later, after he reports to the Castellan and receives his own payment for the shipment. Lackeys from the stable take the horses. The scribe takes inventory of the wagons as they are unloaded. If the characters help unload, by the time they are finished, the keep is re-secured, and the crowds disbursed. If they do not, the Corporal of the Watch will curse them and order them to do it at pain of being expelled from the keep.
Porthos heads off to see the Castellan and set himself up in the GUILD HOUSE (#16, pg. 10). He can be found there later. This gives PCs some time to explore the keep.
Ignore section III’s RUMOR TABLE on pg. 7 as it is no longer relevant. Substitute the rumor table below.
A merchant and his wife, who have a private apartment (#7b pg. 8 instead of the Priest and acolyte), haven’t been seen since the night the farmhouses were burned down. The guild has offered a reward of 100gp (see pg 17-18). They were outside of the keep visiting one of the wealthy landowners at the northern edge of the keep’s patrolled land (80 farmsteads just two miles up the road past the Caves of Chaos, maybe 40 more farms in other directions, no humans or patrols ever went beyond 7 miles of the keep. See comments on this blog post https://breeyark.org/garrison-of-the-keep/
and this blog post http://awizardinabottle.blogspot.com/2010/08/nearest-villages-not-to-speak-about.html
(F) Some say a red dragon burned down all of the farmhouses - it’s the only explanation that makes sense for how all of them were burnt down in such a short time.
(F) “Bree York” is goblin-language for “we surrender” (as part of a tall tale told by a fake veteran/adventurer about raiding a goblin fortress northwest of Delving)
(F) Bugbears are afraid of Dwarves (another part of another tall tale).
The jewel merchant has a very mean dog, mauled a thief once.
The trader (#10 pg. 9) is thinking of leaving. Says he’s seen this kind of thing before. May be willing to sell his shop.
Strange women were seen wandering through the farmlands at night. Some say they are witches, Danu protect us!
Sometimes you can hear a bell ringing in the forest off in the distance. Another person contradicts this and says, no it’s drums! [actually it’s both]
SCENE 5 - Meeting the Castellan
See IV on pg. 7. Instead of feast and revel, it is more of a dinner and proposition. It takes place in the great hall on the first floor of THE KEEP FORTRESS (#24, pg 11)
These people could be present at the dinner. GM note: For ease of role play, only the Castellan, Scribe, and Advisor are essential participants.
The Caravan Master - Porthos Rònan - F4. Reports positively of the party, then sits quietly most of the meal. He once worked as a spymaster and soldier with the Castellan so his opinion is highly valued.
The Curate (#17 pp. 10-11) C5 - Maoilios Ó Cécht
“Servant of Cécht” the main healing God in their pantheon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dian_Cecht
Though all of the Tuatha Dé Danann are given honor by him, his acolytes, and the inhabitants of the keep. The keep’s smith (#8 on pg. 9), for example, is a devotee of the god Goibhniu
(pronounced "guiv-new") https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goibniu
Alternately, if OSE Advanced Rules are in use, The Curate (#17, pp. 10-11) can be replaced with a human female Druid 5, Muirne – (MEER-ne) Ó Cécht. Spells: Fairy Fire, Predict Weather, Cure Light Wounds x 2 (1d6+1), Growth of Nature, Cure Serious Wounds (2d6+2). She wears a silver torc around her neck and is highly respected for her wisdom. She is a female judge of the Brehon Law (now being supplanted by the King’s Law), and thus carries the title Brughaidh. She carries a Staff of Snakes and her torc acts as a Ring of Protection+1. Her followers are all first level Clerics. (Snake Staff is in the OSE Rules Tome on pg. 258)
The Advisor (#26, pg. 12) Elf3 - Thôn Caduon - jeweled pendant and ring. He is from Álfheimr, a veteran of the 2nd Elven Irregulars during the Great War in the northern kingdoms. He immigrated here about 70 years ago. He is neutral about the abilities of the party, more concerned with the significantly reduced manpower at the keep. He will engage in more conversation with any elf in the party, enjoying a chance to speak in his native language.
The Castellan - Dermond McCoy - F6 (#27, pg. 12). Wears a silver torc around his neck. Willing to let PCs “give it a go.” Very much a Wellington-type which aligns him well with the younger and more aggressive Duke.
The Bailiff of the outer bailey (#6, pg. 8) F3 - Conan Yorke - a no nonsense disciplinarian and “harsh measures must be taken” kind of man. He will suggest the 1gp/head, ear, etc. and this will be toned down by the Curate to the less harsh approach of having the PCs bring back some “evidence of defeat” of any monsters encountered. Conan does not believe in paying monies out of the treasury without proof because, as Bailiff, his job is to collect taxes from the people twice a year.
An empty place setting for Eadan Duffs - the Captain of the Watch (now F4) who went missing with a patrol very recently. (See WATCHTOWER #12 on pg. 10 and Scene 15, Cavern H below)
Normally, the Captain of Infantry, the Captain of Horse, and the Duke could also attend, but they are on the march to Riverfort. The Captain of the Guard remains on duty so he cannot attend. Toasts in their honor may still be given.
After pleasantries, a positive report from Porthos, and a recap of the truth of what the refugees passing through Cairntown said, the Castellan explains that the Caves of Chaos have been sealed for 80 years. After the farmhouses were burned, Captain Duffs and a "small patrol” (of ten men-at-arms) were sent on a search and destroy mission to the Caves of Chaos based on the fact that some of the missing children were going to go play there. Between the knights and troops who have departed with the Duke headed to Riverfort, and the losses from this failed patrol, there are only about 80 troops left to hold the keep against a major attack.
Outer Bailey - Bailiff, Corporal of the Watch [grouchy], 48 men-at-arms
Inner Bailey - Conn Macmathan - Captain of the Guard, Sergeant, 2 Corporals, 1 Courier, 27 men-at-arms
At any given time, due to the heightened conditions at the keep, 1/3 of the force is at their post ready for action, 1/3 are a “quick reaction force” available within 2-3 minutes (several combat rounds), and the remainder are resting/off duty and will turn out in 10 minutes.
The Castellan proposes that the party scout the Caves of Chaos - find out exactly what is out there and how many. He will give the party a guide who grew up in the area and knows the forest well. [Not revealed until they try to leave the keep, but it is the grouchy Corporal of the Watch].
Offer 1sp/day based on the going rate of a man-at-arms. Raise this to 1gp/party member/day.
If the party still balks, offer zero tax on any treasure recovered (the Duke normally charges 25%).
At most, if PCs return from the caves and say they need more forces this is the maximum they will get:
1 sergeant - Gairgeamhail Gilmer [valiant sword-bearer]
12 men-at-arms (at lest 3 in plate)
Captain Duffs (if rescued from #41 in the Bugbear’s Lair (H) on pg. 19) otherwise Captain Macmathan.
The Raider Camp is vacant because all of the bandits were encountered in High Pass.
The Mound of the Lizard Men and Mad Hermit are not necessary encounters and can be omitted.
The Spider’s Lair (#2 on pg. 13) is still appropriate in the stand of Tamarack trees between the river bends.
Do not roll for wilderness encounters unless the characters camp out overnight, in which case Bugbears or Goblins would be an appropriate random encounter.
SCENE 6 - Cave of the Unknown
The Cave of the Unknown is an alternate entrance to cavern K of the Caves of Chaos.
A hole in the earth wide enough for a PC to squeeze through leads down a vertical shaft at least 20’ long. There are no trees within a hundred feet to anchor a rope to (but the PCs will quickly figure a way around this).
The hole opens out into a domed roofed cavern which is at least 50’ high. The tunnel is directly over a large pool of slowly flowing water (an underground river with submerged entrance/exit). The pool of water gives off a bluish glow. To the side of this large domed cavern, there is a pathway.
Due to magnesium content - the water appears to be much shallower than it really is - seeming to be only 5 or 6 feet deep when in fact it is at least 20.
A giant albino freshwater crawfish makes its home here. If the characters dropped a big rock down the shaft first, the crawfish will not be subject to being surprised if something (or someone) else drops in the water. AC 2 , HD 3, HP 13, Attacks 2 × pincer (2d6), THAC0, 17 [+2], Movement 60’ (20’), Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (2), ML 7, AL Neutral, XP 35 [stats comparable to a Giant Crab]. If it fails its morale check it will escape downstream via the underwater exit hole. See the below section entitled “Winning" the Game.
There is a 50% chance upon a successful attack that the crawfish will grab with its claw instead of a standard attack. Once grabbed, it will not let go but will continue to rip at the character with the other claw. Save versus paralyzation. Of course, a character thus grabbed in the water has a chance of drowning (pg. 107 OSE Rules Tome leaves the chances and details up to the GM) and loses his/her dexterity advantage. The crawfish will not go ashore.
If the PCs defeat the crawfish, they notice a glint in the silt and pebbles at the bottom of the pool. Here the DM can place almost anything to aid the PCs, however, it is suggested that they find two flasks. One is a potion of invisibility and the other flask is befouled by the blue water of the pool (see below). A generous GM can allow a wisdom check to notice the seal is broken or coloration of the contents of the flask.
Attribute checks against Strength and Dexterity are useful for characters dangling from a wet rope. Attribute checks against Wisdom are useful before rapidly trying to pull such a character dangling on the end of a pendulum back up into a very narrow hole.
If characters drink the water in the pool, within 1d6 turns they will begin to suffer intense gusto-intesinal distress and be incapacitated for 24 hours. Technically this is not a disease, so not subject to a Cure Disease spell nor Paladin’s immunity.
The path at the side of the pool has been trod over by many feet. There is a passage sloping down (and could go on for miles) and one sloping upward (slick, fresh tracks).
The passage downward has a sign facing away from the dome-shaped cavern. The sign is in the language of the goblin races (Hobgoblin, Bugbear, Goblin) and says “Almost There Comrades! Do Not Drink the Water!”
If characters venture downward on this “Goblin Road," dwindling resources and wandering monsters will eventually force them to a halt. They will encounter some mule scat - mules being used to carry equipment and provisions from the deep Underworld to the Caves of Chaos. Eventually the caves level out. There is a major fork just past a dead cave complex. One branch to the underground Fortress of the Goblins. The other curves back northeastward, runs under the Apella Mountains, and ends in a camp of goblin miners and their forced laborers seeking to break into the Dwarven community of Delving’s lower galleries.
Up the pathway the characters will first encounter spall in the form of several small boulders (about the size of a bowling ball, recently cleaved by small tools). These are the rocks that have been cleared to open the entrance to the Caves of Chaos.
As the pathway upward levels off, PCs find a freshly shorn up cavern section. This section is just before the pathway emerges into the newly cleared passageway of Cavern K, #51 pg. 21 of the Caves of Chaos.
SCENE 7 - Caves of Chaos - Main Entrance
4500 yards (2.5 miles) up the road from the keep is the ravine in which the main entrances to this cavern complex are located.
If the Corporal of the Watch sees that the rock and mortar seal for Cavern K has been blown outward he will be temporarily overcome with fear. He will say a few fearful prayers (“Tuatha de Dannan protect us”) and then run off back up the road. Within 1d4 rounds, the party will hear him scream (as the 2 bugbear hunters easily zero in on him from his flapping sword and plate mail armor). If the party later comes upon the body of the corporal, they find that the straps of his plate mail have been cut and it looks like he was about to be gutted. Remind players that within Delthos there is a strong preference for cremation (by Royal Decree). Note: in our gameplay the party managed to avoid having the Corporal accompany them on the original trip (they ditched him with fast-talk). Thus Corporal Bran Kavanaugh avoided this grisly demise and had many interactions with the party. GMs should not be tied to a particular story-line or script.
Hidden in camouflaged tree stands in the trees around the ravine are 8 Goblins with bows, very difficult to spot or hear. If the party does not actively try to detect them (detect traps roll) then the GM should make a surprise roll as the party moves toward the first cave. If the party is not surprised, then one of the goblins is premature in springing the trap and an arrow lands harmlessly in the middle of the party. If the party is surprised, they will be shot in the back (no Dexterity or shield bonus to AC) by 8 arrows. Note: short-bow ranges are important here. For the first encounter, the goblins will be arrayed closer to cavern entrances D, F and J. If the party makes an expeditious retreat, they will likely survive. Nothing prevents the GM from altering placement of the goblins in different trees and different branches as the party makes additional forays into the ravine area and the inhabitants try to anticipate their routes and destinations.
Ranges in short (+1), medium, and long (-1)
Short bow - 1d6 - Missile (5’–50’ / 51’–100’ / 101’–150’), Two-handed
Any combat in the ravine area will alert the bugbear on watch at the entrance of Cavern H who will begin beating his war drums until he is answered by the 2 bugbears hunting in the woods with their own drum. They will immediately rush toward the ravine area and then stealthily stalk the party before getting close enough to initiate melee (unless the Corporal of the Watch has broken and run, in which case they will murder him first). Of course, every cavern in the complex will also be put on alert by the war drums, however, only the hobgoblins are predisposed to sally forth but it will take them several rounds to get organized. Meanwhile, they will keep their front door locked.
Inside sealed parts of the complex, check for stuck doors. Inside active parts of the complex, do not.
Because the caves are meant to be a temporary residence, the goblins in Caverns D and E have not spent any time placing their usual traps for the unwary. Should the PCs delay in clearing the Caves, the GM should feel free to start adding traps inside and outside of the complex.
Unless noted as in Cavern K, there are no wandering monsters in the inhabited portions of the complex because they are simply too small to make much impact on gameplay.
Should the party try to scout the ravine using stealth, each hour they may observe something. These activities go on night and day.
A pair of bugbears either leaving for, or returning from, a hunt. The bugbears hunt the woods in mixed male/female pairs. Up to 8 pairs at a time may be out hunting/scouting/stalking the woods.
Occasional foot traffic between the two goblin dens and the hobgoblin den - always a wandering goblin, never a hobgoblin.
Human screams, muffled, coming from the hobgoblin cave. One of the screamers sounds more like a pig being inexpertly slaughtered. After less than a half minute the screams stops and some crying/wailing can be heard. Perhaps an hour later cooking fires are smelled (perhaps leading to a discovery of one or more chimneys)
A rotation of one of the eight goblin archers overmatching the ravine. The goblins from Cavern D seem to have this overwatch duty.
An iron bell sounding from the temple area.
Bored drumming (at low volume) coming from the bugbear cave entrance.
A goblin in some kind of vestments (instead of armor) carrying something (a human heart) to the temple. The goblins in Cavern J seem to have closer ties to Cavern K than the ones in Cavern D.
A pair of bugbears stalking the PCs. Roll for surprise and initiative. Encounter distance is close - only 2d6x10 feet - despite being outdoors. Bugbears are sneaky.
Smoke from one of the active fireplace chimneys (above rooms #19, #23, #25, #30, and #38).
Goblin children chase a giant rat from their cave (either cavern D or cavern J) and kill it in or near the ravine with sharpened sticks.
11-20. Nothing Happens
SCENE 8 - Cavern A
Sealed. The pit trap 30’ inside the entrance is now spanned by planks from the guard room (that have long since rotted - but they look ok on casual inspection). Detect traps will reveal old tracks leading along the edges of the pit that can be safely followed by a PC who passes a Dexterity check. The entire cave reeks of the garbage and waste from room #2, the rotted food in room #3, and kobolds who were long ago reduced to just gnawed over bones that are now scattered throughout this warren.
SCENE 9 - Cavern B
Sealed. This complex interconnects with Cavern C via a secret door to room #13 that is now wedged open. Rats and insects come and go freely through the fireplace flue in room #9 (pg. 15). The entire complex has been picked over. Again, bones (of Goblinkind) are scattered throughout. But because of the ventilation there is no lingering smell of death or rotted goods or garbage. The bucket (now empty of water), the pouches with treasure, and the two giant centipedes in room #13 (pg. 16) are still there (at least their descendants).
AC 9 , HD ½*, HP 2, Attacks 1 × bite (poison), THAC0 19 , MV 60’ (20’), Saves D14 W15 P16 B17 S18 (NH), ML 7, AL Neutral, XP 6
* Poison: Causes victims to become horribly sick for ten days (save versus poison): no physical activity possible except half speed movement.
SCENE 10 - Cavern C
Sealed. No traps remain. The secret door in room #13 is wedged open on this side as well. All rooms are empty. There is a fireplace in room #15, but the flue is clogged.
SCENE 11 - Cavern D
Goblins - active. Play as written in the original module except 8 of the 10 males from room #19 on pg. 16 are deployed in the trees as described in scene 7 above.
There is a fireplace in room #19. Characters above ground may notice smoke coming from the flue at meal times.
SCENE 12 - Cavern E
Sealed. The goblins in cavern D are unaware of the secret door, or unconcerned with it. The cave is empty.
SCENE 13 - Cavern F
Hobgoblins - active. The entryway is as showing in the picture from the Hackmaster B2 parody module. Also, the heads of six of the ten men in the “small patrol" are prominently displayed on pikes. Four of the ten are now a prisoners with the merchant and his wife in room #24 which is an adjustment to the prison descriptions on pp. 17-18 in lieu of the orc, Gnoll, and two men-at-arms.
There is a fireplace to the left edge of room #25 (one of the two common rooms). There is also one to the north edge of room #23. Characters above ground may notice smoke coming from these flues at meal times.
The equipment in the armory (Room #31 pg. 18) is adjusted to be as follows:
1 suite of man-sized plate mail
3 suits of man-sized chainmail (bloody)
7 suits of man-sized leather armor (bloody)
10 blue tabards - blood stained
11 shields - well used
3 swords - bloody
2 bows (short)
11 score arrows (14 arrows with silver heads)
9 score bolts
51 spears (coincidentally this matches the total count of Hobgoblins in the lair - Gary Gygax was detail oriented)
19 pole arms [4 of these may have come from the Keep!]
10 man-sized helms (some dented, but the armorer can repair them)
32 helmets of goblin size (fine for gnomes and halflings to wear)
The “pimp belt” worn by the Hobgoblin Chief in room #30 pg. 18 could be adjusted down in value to 60gp if characters are advancing in level too quickly. There is a fireplace in a small alcove. Characters above ground may notice smoke coming from the flue during colder days/nights.
Room 31 pg. 18 - one of the four bodyguards is a Thoul.
AC 6 , HD 3**, HP 13, Attacks 2 × claw (1d3 + paralysis) or 1 × sword (1d8), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 120’ (40’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3), ML 10 , AL Chaotic, XP 65
Paralysis: Successful attacks cause paralysis for 2d4 turns (save versus paralysis negates). Elves and creatures larger than ogres are unaffected. After paralysing a target, thouls will attack others.
Regeneration: A damaged thoul gains 1 hit point at the start of each round, as long as it is alive.
SCENE 14 - Cavern G
Sealed. Empty except the blind fish and the 3 Gray Ooze in room #33 pg. 19.
AC 8 , HD 3*, HP 13, 1 × touch (2d8), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 10’ (3’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (2), ML 12, AL N, XP 50.
Blend in with stone: Difficult to tell apart from wet stone.
Acid: After a successful attack, sticks to the victim and exudes acid. The acid destroys normal armour immediately and inflicts 2d8 damage per round. (Magic armour is dissolved in one turn.)
Energy immunity: Unharmed by cold or fire.
SCENE 15 - Cavern H
Bugbears - active. The sign at the entrance of the cave should be omitted. The entry to the lair is covered by several large, leafy branches as a crude camouflage (but also makes it impossible to sneak inside). A few feet inside the entrance there is a set of war drums manned by one very bored adolescent bugbear. His job is to summon the hunting party home (see GM note on pg. 20)
Because one of the guards from room #35 is up front, there are only 2 bugbears in that room and they do not offer any food to anybody at all. Don’t forget about the GONG!
The chieftain, Fegafu, is a sneaky and murderous female with exceptional strength. She wears layered hides dyed green and red. She has not only the hand axe+1 that she hurls round 1, she also has the dagger+1 and the sword+2 she captured from Eadan Duffs - the Captain of the Watch. Her 2-handed sword is close at hand will be welded by her male companion. The chieftain and her male companion will escape through the secret passage into the maze of Cavern I (below) and stalk the PCs in there. They both know where the secret door is in room #45 and may hide there out of desperation (but it takes both of the bugbears to open the slab and probably 4 humans to do the same).
There is a fireplace in common room #38. Characters above ground may notice smoke coming from the flue during meal time.
Adjust the members of room #40 slave pen on pg. 19 to be simply 10 human farmers (all level 0, mix of 3 men, 2 women, and 5 children) who won’t be of much assistance to the PCs other than demanding help and thanking them profusely.
In room #41 pg. 19 the slaves in the pen are another 3 men, 2 women, the rebel bugbear (as described) and …
Eadan Duffs - the Captain of the Watch - Now a F4, AC 9 (because of no armor), HP 24, 1 × sword (1d8) [his preferred weapon], THAC0 17 [+2], Movement Rate 60' (20’), Saves D10 W11 P12 B13 S14, AL Neutral, STR 18 INT 7 WIS 9, DEX 11 CON 13 CHA 12, Morale 10. Should he be freed, he is single-minded in wanting to find his men and free them; kill the bugbear chieftain and every other bugbear; and, recover his magical sword and dagger. Most of his men’s heads are on pikes outside the Hobgoblin lair and their armor and weapons are in the hobgoblin armory. He won’t be happy about that.
SCENE 16 - Cavern I
Sealed. The secret door connecting this to the H cavern complex has been jammed shut by the Bugbears. The complex is empty of monsters and treasure, but the spell of direction confusion is still in operation.
SCENE 17 - Cavern J
Formerly gnolls - now active with goblins with similar statistics.
The fine ale in the locked room #48 on pg. 21 does not automatically entice characters to get drunk in the middle of a dungeon crawl.
The dead human thief and his treasure and equipment from room #50 on pg. 21 should be omitted as they were looted/recovered 80 years ago.
Note that the fireplace in #50 has a chimney that is large enough for a goblin to escape up. The goblin chieftain in this area may make use of this to try to rally more forces or run away depending on a morale check. On a cold enough day/night he may light a fire, but otherwise he prefers to leave this escape route open. Desperate enough, he may sweep even an active fire out of the way with his weapons and try to climb the hot chimney to escape with his life.
SCENE 18 - Cavern K (shrine)
Unlike the other caves, the bricks and mortar that had sealed this entrance look like they’ve been blown outward by some enormous force.
Wearing temple garb does not throw off the undead. Instead, the witches here are collectively in control of the undead through their magic.
When a witch is encountered, assuming a PC attempts to speak with her, check her reaction as described in the OSE Rules Tome on pg. 115.
The cavern is hewn out of rock that differs from the rest of the complex, see the original module section K heading on pg. 21.
As mentioned there is a +2 chance of PCs being surprised by the undead inhabitants is in effect throughout cavern K. Note, living inhabitants - just like the PCs - make more noise when walking the halls of cavern K - so the +2 could come into play as the defenders are whittled down.
Characters in cavern K, if they attempt it, can use their sense of smell and temperature to orient themselves to the exit (smells of spring, warmer / fresher air) compared to the foul stink of the undead.
None of the undead in this area wear an amulet that protects them from turning. However, be aware that the witches each can extend an aura to improve their ability to resist turning.
See “Turning Undead” in OSE Advanced Rules pg. 48. Undead are turned for 1 turn. One attempt to turn is permitted per “encounter.” If the party faces a group of mixed undead, divide them by HD and allow one attempt per combat round against each group.
Instead of zombies, 8 ghouls silently wander these halls and will be encountered in groups of 1d8 each time until they have all been met. Should the characters make enough noise to attract them, they will all converge - seemingly arriving all at once wherever the PCs are within 1d4 rounds. They seek the flesh of the living and their strong grip causes paralysis. To avoid a Total Party Kill (TPK), GMs may wish to tone down the challenge by only having each ghoul use only one or two attacks instead of all three. This can be rationalized as an effect of the ghouls having been recently “fed.”
Ghouls, AC 6 , HD 2*, HP 9, Attacks 2 × claw (1d3 + paralysis), 1 × bite (1d3 + paralysis), THAC0 18 [+1], MV 90’ (30’), Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (2). Morale 9, Alignment Chaotic, XP 25
Paralysis: For 2d4 turns (save versus paralysis). Elves and creatures larger than ogres are unaffected. After paralysing a target, ghouls will attack others.
Undead: Make no noise, until they attack. Immune to effects that affect living creatures (e.g. poison). Immune to mind-affecting or mind-reading spells (e.g. charm, hold, sleep).
#51 pg. 21 - As described in “Scene 6 - Cave of the Unknown," the boulders that once sealed off the passage to the Cave of the Unknown have been removed by goblin laborers from the deep Underworld. If characters enter from the direction of the Caves of the Unknown, be sure to read the description of the different style rock and vibe from the original module section K heading on pg. 21.
#52 is empty of skeletons and gems.
#53 Substitute ghouls for zombies.
#54 instead of 4 acolytes substitute four first-level female human witches. They have the same description and wealth (minus the armor and weapons) described as in the module and each wears an amulet of protection from good. They also each have a Spell Poppet.
These are all witches pursuing the grave walker path with a patron (described below under “Captive Monsters”) via an Infernal Contract. Such a contract provides these witches with considerable power even early in their “career” compared with other spell casters in OSE. They will pay for such power with their eternal souls, so do not let your players complain too much.
To keep it simple, each witch in #54 has these stats:
AC 9 (AC 8 against good), HP 5, Attacks 1 x dagger (1d4) or 1 × spell, THAC0 19 , MV, 120’ (40’), Saves D11 W12 P14 B16 S15, AL Chaotic, STR 14 INT 15 WIS 13, DEX 7 CON 12 CHA 6, ML 8, XP 35
A first level witch has three zero level spells and one first level spell. In addition, because of the grave walker path, at first level, these witches each have the ability to create an Aura of Desecration.
Zero level spells (each witch has the same three)
First level spell (one extra because of Intelligence bonus)
Aura of Desecration - At first level, a gravewalker can create a 20-foot-radius aura of evil power. This aura increases the DC of channeled negative energy by +1 and the turn resistance of undead by +1.
Spell Poppet - Each gravewalker carries around a gristly, inanimate poppet stitched from human skin and stuffed with shards of bone, fingernails, and grave dirt. A gravewalker’s spells come from the will of evil spirits residing in the poppet, and its ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch’s spells are granted by her familiar. The gravewalker must commune with her poppet each day to prepare her spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored in the poppet. The poppet replaces a familiar.
#55 the altar room is filled with buzzing flies and the coppery smell a blood. A pile of putrefying human hearts sits atop the alter in the bowl amongst the bloodstained vessels and goblets.
#56 instead of 4 adepts substitute four second-level female human witches. They have the same description and wealth (minus the armor and weapons) described as in the module and each wears an amulet of protection from good and again has a Spell Poppet.
A second level witch has four zero level spells and two first level spells, carries a poppet and emits an aura. The second level witch also has a hex (in this case the “evil eye”) and because of the patron theme of vengeance, a second level witch also gets the “burning hands” ability.
Zero level spells
First level spells (one extra because of Intelligence bonus)
Aura of Desecration - as above.
Spell Poppet - as above.
Burning Hands - A cone of searing flame shoots from her fingertips.. Any creature in the area of the flames takes 1d4 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 5d4). Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them. A character can extinguish burning items as a full-round action.
Evil Eye - The target takes a –2 penalty on one of the following (witch’s choice): AC, ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks. This hex lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the witch’s Intelligence modifier. A save versus magic reduces this to just 1 round.
AC 9 (AC 8 against good), HP 9, Attacks 1 × spell, THAC0 19 , MV, 120’ (40’), Saves D11 W12 P14 B16 S15, AL Chaotic, STR 14 INT 15 WIS 13, DEX 7 CON 12 CHA 6, ML 9, XP 75
#57 is empty of zombies and skeletons. Substitute another 8 ghouls. Until the bell in #58 rings, they shuffle aimlessly about the room.
#58 The signs and sigils are known to be used by the Demon Maphistal and the goblin-kind gawd Morc son of Dela (also known as "The Mighty One"). This can be ascertained if copied and investigated by a sage or a magic-user or cleric of greater than 6th level. Instead of 3 zombies arriving in 3 rounds, substitute ghouls from #59 instead.
#59 As mentioned above the three zombies mentioned at the top left of pg. 23 are ghouls. Instead of an “evil priest” substitute a fourth-level female human Evil Witch. She has an amulet of protection from good, a snake belt, ring of protection+2 [describe as a gold ring with black gem as in the module. Note, this improves the witch’s saving throws by 2] a potion of gaseous form, and a scroll with a hold person spell on it. She also has a purse as described in the module.
As in the module, she will try to escape through the secret doors or use the potion to escape to the Caves of the Unknown and thence to the underground Fortress of the Goblins. Unlike the module, the consequence of this escape will be that the 6 additional companies of goblin-folk will arrive and take up residence in the Caves of Chaos within 3 days [halving the time window]. If she uses the potion to escape, prior to drinking it she will command the snake belt to watch using a command word, since it will be left behind.
A fourth level witch has four zero level spells, three first level spells, and two second level spells. The fourth level witch can deliver touch spells via her poppet, bonethrall the undead as a function of her path and -- due to the favor of her patron -- a grave walker also gains the ability to command undead at fourth level. The witch can set the three ghouls in motion to come to her aid by yelling “protect me."
Zero level spells
First level spells (one extra because of intelligence bonus)
Second level spells (one extra because of intelligence bonus)
Aura of Desecration - as above.
Spell Poppet - as above.
Burning Hands - as above
Evil Eye - as above
Deliver Touch Spells - At 3rd level or higher, a gravewalker can use her poppet to deliver touch spells. After casting a touch spell, as a full-round action, the witch can designate a target and stab a pin into her poppet, delivering the spell as a ranged touch attack. The target must be within range of her aura of desecration ability.
Bonethrall - At 1st level, a gravewalker can take control of an undead creature within her aura of desecration by forcing her will upon it (Will negates, using her hex DC.) If it fails the save, the creature falls under her control as if she had used command undead (once control is established, the undead remain controlled even if outside the witch’s aura). Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist her command. The witch can control up to 1 HD of undead creatures per caster level. If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, the witch must make an opposed Charisma check whenever her orders conflict with that creature’s. This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 4th level.
Command Undead - A nonintelligent undead creature gets no saving throw against this spell. When you control a mindless being, you can communicate only basic commands, such as “come here,” “go there,” “fight,” “stand still,” and so on. Nonintelligent undead won’t resist suicidal or obviously harmful orders.
AC 7 (AC 6 against good), HP 15, Attacks 1 × spell, THAC0 19 , MV, 120’ (40’), Saves D11 [9 with ring] W12  P14  B16  S15 , AL Chaotic, STR 14 INT 15 WIS 13, DEX 7 CON 12 CHA 6, ML 10, XP 150
Snake Belt [from Best of The Dragon pg. 62] - Similar to a snake staff, this 3’ long belt is usable by anyone. It will silently crawl anywhere its owner mentally directs it (down halls, through cracks, and even up stone or wood walls) at speeds up to 60’/turn. The belt relays a visual impression of all it passes to its owner, akin to a “wizard eye” but with a range of 240 yards per owner level instead of 240.' It does 1d6+1 damage to any creature it strikes. It can be killed only by fire and lightening. The synthetic muscles are strong enough to strangle a wyvern, pin a man’s arms to his side, or hold shut or open a door. In game ruling: the snake can be driven off by magical attacks because the owner feels pain from such attacks (though neither actually suffer actual HP damage).
AC 5 , HD 3*, HP 20, 1 × bite (1d6+1), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 60’ (20’), Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (2), ML 12, AL N, XP 50.
There is no medusa in room #64. Instead, the cell is empty.
Further references on the Witch class
If one of the chieftains (goblin, hobgoblin, or bugbear) are captured, then players may be able to find out that six more companies are expected from the underground goblin fortress several miles down the pathway from the Cave of the Unknown. These six companies will take up residence in the sealed caverns, rest and resupply, and then they plan to seize Lastfort and await further orders (scuttlebutt is that they will drive down the Wild River to seize Riverfort as well). They do not know who or what is organizing or motivating this offensive on behalf of the powers of Chaos. GMs may want to set the expectation that these additional companies will arrive in no later than 5-6 days. Having such a “ticking time bomb” focuses player attention. The escape of the “Evil Witch” can foreshorten this outcome by three days due to her influence in the deep Underworld.
Other monsters only know that more goblins are coming from below ground, “you’ll see.”
The Evil Witch may reveal (in overly dramatic fashion) that the Demon Maphistal (Tome of Horrors pp. 82-83) from the Abyss is allying with Morc son of Dela the god of the Fomorians (worshiped by Goblinkind as “the Mighty One") to make war on the followers of the Tuatha Dé Danann to avenge the death of Balor of the baleful eye. This Evil witch is the granddaughter of the original leader of the coven (who was executed for her crimes). Her mother - Jeane Harvillier - is the current leader of the coven. Jeane used her necromantic powers to animate the ghouls in Cavern K who were formerly the farmers (and the brewer) who lived just north and east of Lastfort.
The Evil Witch and her followers have all given up using their real names, but if put to it, she will reveal that her name is Adrienne (Harvillier) d’Heur. She long ago murdered her husband (a goldsmith). Adrienne’s daughters are some of the other witches encountered in Cavern K.
The lower level witches claim only know that they have made a pact with an infernal power - a demon serving the ends of Chaos - and that more goblin-kind will be arriving at the Caves of Chaos soon.
All have a general knowledge of which groups inhabit which caves and an intimate knowledge of their own cave.
If any of the players are foolish enough to be captured, they will spend at least a day in Cavern K, Room #61 being worked over for information. The witches may work some magic on them as well (charms and seductions). If the PCs seem worth ransoming, they will be held in the cell in room #64. If not, they will be either taken to Cavern F room #24 to be tortured, butchered, and eaten within 1d4 days (50% chance) or else room #41 for use as a laborer to help with the upcoming siege of Lastfort. (50% chance).
“Winning" the Game
Sealing the Caves of the Unknown off from the Caves of Chaos, or (ideally) damming up the underground river in some way will thwart this immediate invasion plan and remove the danger from Lastfort.
“Losing" the Game
The “Goblin Road” running from Cavern K to the Cave of Unknown and thence to the Goblin Fortress in the deep Underworld is the route for invasion. The six companies of additional goblins will arrive from the Fortress of the Goblins and begin operating out of the caverns that had been sealed no later than 1 week of game time after the PCs start making trouble in the Caves of Chaos. At full strength, all of these humanoids are sufficient to besiege Lastfort. They will cut off the supply route from High Pass, put captured locals to work to dig a trench works, and starve out the garrison. In approximately 11 weeks the already under-manned garrison will be weakened enough for an assault on the keep to succeed, especially if ladders and manlets (and witchcraft) are used to seize towers 19 and 20 first.
SCENE 19 - Message from The Duke
A courier arrives from the Duke of Lastfort. He has heard of your deeds from the Castellan. You have many choices in front of you. Will you head down the “Goblin Road” beyond the Cave of the Unknown to seek out the Fortress of the Goblins? If that is not to your taste, the Duke proposes that you can join him near the southern border at Riverfort where he has a scouting mission in the neighboring Kingdom of Brockand (with a possible side adventure solving a bit of a counterfeit currency problem). Alternately, he is happy to have you go to Eastport where Lord Stryker seeks aid in stopping the scourge of the Brockandian pirates and privateers. Lastly, you can travel to Fort Delthan to undertake a delicate mission to get the Prince and heir apparent to take charge of his duties as war looms over the Kingdom Delthos.
Erin Smale, "Garrison of the KEEP," https://breeyark.org/garrison-of-the-keep/
provided a handy breakdown of the garrison. I liked that he added two captains (one of infantry and one of cavalry). However, I think his garrison breakdown is twelve men short. The number of men-at-arms in this count of the garrison is missing 8 more from The Keep Fortress (#24), 2 corporals (Corporal of the Guard from Tower (#20) and other Corporal from Great Tower (#23) and 2 men-at-arms from the cavalry stables (#22).
Roll Playing Aids
NPC and Character physical description generator
Monster stats from Old School Essentials
NPC generator from Old School Essentials
Delthan (Celtic) name generator
Elvish name generator
Town generator (includes interior maps)
Town map generator
This was most useful in confirming the demographics of the Kingdom of Delthos
3-d view of the Keep in color