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Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Free Version) $0.00
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Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Free Version)
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Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Free Version)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2016 13:04:42

This is intended as a 'teaser' for the full Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands adventure, but contains quite a lot in its own right. There's certainly enough there to let you decide if this adventure is for you and your group of players... reading through it certainly makes me want for more!


As is common to Raging Swan Press product, there's a very logical and ordered approach, starting with an extensive analysis of how encounters are designed and presented as well as their customary page on how to read a stat block correctly. This advice dispensed, on to the adventure background - and this is the background to the WHOLE adventure, not this cut-down version. It tells the history of Ironwolf Keep, known these days as the Shadowed Keep and why it now stands ruined. Although of itself very detailed, its surroundings and location are left vague so that you can put it somewhere convenient within your own campaign world. You just need a handy hilltop surrounded by dense woodlands to put it on.


Next come some hooks to get the party interested - choose whichever seems best to you - and some rumours and information that they can pick up if they ask around before diving in to the adventure proper. The next part deals with the approach to the Keep, which is somewhat off the beaten path. This provides opportunity for some woodland travel, enlivened with the presence of a bear, some wolves and other potential dangers.


Once the Keep is reached, there's an overview description along with a nice sketch (which is repeated in the handouts section so you can show it to the players easily). Likewise there's a sketched plan with both marked and unmarked versions. Before launching into detailed descriptions of locations there is another nice touch: a timeline of what is going on in the Keep and vicinity. It's intended that this should run irrespective of what the party are doing, a neat reminder that life goes on no matter what they might do, even when they are not there at all!


There are notes on how to use the timeline as well as ideas for further adventures (most of which assume you have played the full adventure, not just explored the surface ruins presented in this version). Then come the detailed descriptions of the above-ground part of the ruined keep, a section entitled Donjon of Ruin. There's a fair bit to explore... indeed, this could make an adventure in its own right! It's quite amazing to have this much detail in something intended as a free taster for an even bigger adventure. Each location is covered in considerable detail, all laid out clearly making it easy to describe the location to the players and administer whatever events take place there.


As an adventure, this would prove an interesting interlude, as the introduction to an even bigger scenario... well, it certainly makes you hungry for the rest of it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Free Version)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/22/2012 05:21:53

A well detailed and interesting scenario.
I would thoroughly recommend this scenario, not just because it's free, but it's very nicely detailed in such a way, as to bring the keep alive.
Definitely a 5/5 for the effort for this free scenario.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Free Version)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Zoltan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/28/2012 09:40:07

Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is a Pathfinder adventure for a team of four level 1 characters. If they clear every single corner from it’s current inhabitants (including goblins, bandits and monsters) they could go up to level 3 until the end.


In it’s basics it’s an old-style adventure with dungeon crawling and such, and while I’m not a big fan of the style it’s presented with a lots of merits. Obviously the author Creighton Broadhurst done a lot of work to turn the keep and it’s surrounding area to much more than an extensive battle-map – it’s a place with a history, and a dynamic “environment”, where NPC-s and monsters are really living their own life, instead of waiting for their turn in “room d4″ to be killed. And that’s great.


Design and layout


I think what we see here is a simple but really good layout and format. Thankfully there is a lot of information included for each encounter/area, and everything is clearly visible and easy to find. But I will be back on that later.


On the other hand there are relatively few artwork in the book, and while they are OK it’s not outstanding. I don’t consider this as a problem, since as a Game Master I’m mostly interested in the maps and they are good and clearly labeled.


The adventure


There are many things to love in this adventure. As I mentioned this is a really living setting, where different characters try to act pro-actively without (or even against) the players. It’s possible that the different factions partly kill each other without the adventurers “help”, or a group of bandits offer alliance, and one of the goblins want to betray the current leader to mention few possibilities.


As I already mentioned the different areas and encounters are nicely detailed, including tactical notes on the environment (cover, lighting, etc.), and tactics of the enemies involved. Also there are exact DC-s added for each possible “locate things”, “know things” and even “identify magic things” check, making the Game Master’s work much easier.


Thankfully the adventure also consist several possibilities to use it as a start for further adventures. The players may find several maps about an abandoned dwarf fortress, or they may claim the keep as they own and clearing the area, or enter the underworld under the buildings.


Final words


I think Creighton Broadhurst presented one of the best old-school adventures I’ve seen recently, so naturally I give it 5/5 points, and highly recommend it.


note : this review originally appeared on Rpg.Org (see link below)
htt-
p://rpg.org/review-shadowed-borderlands-pfrpg/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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