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(B/X) 100 Random Complications for THE KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS

Richard R.

Gargoyle Head
Roll 1d100 as many times as desired.

Some of the entries contradict each other. This is deliberate. Accept, reject, alter, and merge results as you see fit.

I've done the first 30. The rest are up to the fine contributors of this forum.

100 Random Complications for Module B2: THE KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS

1: The Castellan is a psychotic martinet who subjects the inhabitants of the Keep to brutal and humiliating abuses of military “Discipline”. The Bailiff is plotting a revolt.

2: The Castellan is dead, killed in a boar-hunting mishap a few weeks ago. The current “Castellan” is a 0-level soldier wearing his armor and posing as him. If the forces of Chaos discover this, they will immediately attack the Keep en mass. If the PC's discover this, the authorities of the Keep will stop at nothing to silence them

3: The Keep was seized by the forces of Law from a warlord loyal to Chaos a few years ago. It's riddled with secret rooms and passages, many yet to be discovered.

4: The Castellan has a hot young daughter who is desperate to escape the Keep and get back to civilization. She will attempt to seduce or otherwise manipulate a PC (s) if she thinks it might achevie her goal. Daddy is very protective and possessive.

5: The Castellan is a once-great war hero, banished to the Keep as punishment for supporting the wrong side in a palace intrigue. He plots and schemes for a way to return to court, and is always on the lookout for useful idiots to uses as catspaws towards this end.

6: The Sergeant of the Guard's daughter was once raped by a passing adventurer. He considers adventurers scum and will attempt to thwart the PCs at every turn (but he will stop short of violence or breaking the law).

7: The Evil Priest (Caves area 59) is not just some two-bit cultist, but the charismatic prophet of a new evil religion that seeks to unite the slaves of Chaos. He will gain 1d3 acolytes a week until he is stopped, and will gain an experience level for each 25 new acolytes. Rumors of his growing power will reach the Keep in 1d4 weeks even if the PCs never leave it.

8: The chieftain of the goblins is way smarter than the average bear. The goblins under him will fight with smart plans and solid tactics.

9: The Castellan is dying, and has no children. If any of the PCs is a lawful fighter who shows bravery and initiative, the Castellan will take a shine to him or her and begin to groom the warrior to be his replacement. This will drive some of his advisers and staff murderous with jealousy.

10: There is a top-secret dungeon under the Keep. It holds something terrible and very powerful.

11: There is a top-secret dungeon under the Keep. Someone very scandalous to the royal family is being held there.

12: Tension is building between the Keep's troops and the Guild's men-at-arms (Keep area 16), who get better pay for less danger. There have been a few brawls and the situation is getting worse.

13: The entire staff of the Tavern is made up of ex-adventurers who, in their youth, tried to best the Caves of Chaos and failed. Each bears a handicap or disfigurement for his troubles. Until the PCs prove themselves the Tavern staff will rebuff all requests for advice or information with a gruff “Find a woman and get a real job!”.

14: The Veteran, an elderly, alcoholic, and gay ex-fighter, is often found in the Tavern. If an attractive young man plies him with conversation and good drink (not the cheap stuff!) he will spin tales of his glory days challenging the Caves of Chaos. His tales are full of strange archaic slang terms (Troglodytes are “Razorheads”, orcs are “Snouties”, goblins are “Green Thomas”) and are about 60% accurate (Age and drink have not been kind to his memory, and the Caves have changed over the years). The Veteran's tales tend to be hallucinatory, dreamlike, and rambling- when role-playing him, find the most gonzo and bizarre “Actual play” reports you can online, print them out, and imitate William S. Burroughs as you read them aloud.

15: The Bailiff has two toy pomeranians, Cestus and Gladius, who he pampers and spoils like babies. He will go berserk if anything happens to them.

16: There is a tiny, ancient village at the base of the Keep's plateau. The heavily tattooed, dusky-skinned human inhabitants of the village belong to a vaguely kind-sorta Roma-like racial minority and are not from the same culture as the humans in the Keep- in fact, most don't even speak Common. The villagers somehow long ago worked out a mysterious pact that keeps the local chaotic humanoids from
attacking them.

The inhabitants of the Keep depend on the villagers for food, but do not fully trust or accept them. Racism and suspicion are the order of the day. If the PCs need a good or service not found in the Keep, there is a 1 in 6 chance they might find it here.

17: The Captain of the Watch is a woman passing as a man.

18: About 40% of the humans in the Keep are wanted criminals who have fled here, to the edge of human civilization, to start new lives far from the law. It is part of the “Unwritten Rules” of the Keep that nobody ever asks questions about a newcomer’s past or cooperates in any way with bounty hunters- out here, they need every man they can get.

19: About 25% of the humans in the Keep are members of an unpopular minority group (Druids, gays, Roma-analogues, Jew-analogues... whatever fits your campaign). They have it slightly better out here (where people tend to be judged more for their strength and actions than their background) than in the “Civilized” interior.

20: The troops in the Inner Gatehouse (Keep area 18) have a “Tame” goblin mascot. They dress him in child's clothes and consider him their unit's “Good luck charm”. The little terror runs freely about the Keep and is a constant nuisance to non-soldiers, shooting horses with his slingshot, throwing stinkbombs, stealing minor items, etc. The soldiers will be enraged if he is hurt, and will demand that the PCs be permanently ejected from the Keep if he is slain.

21: There is a massive techno-magical steampunk engine under the Keep. The machine heats water and keeps the Keep warm in winter, but these appear to be happy side-effects rather than it's true function, which remains unknown. The Advisor (Keep area 26) has studied the machine for years, and is convinced that something very bad will happen if the men of the Keep stop feeding it wood and coal.

22: The Castellan has very severe dyslexia and is completely illiterate. He depends entirely on the Scribe (Keep area 26) for all his written communications (making the Scribe effectively the second most powerful person in the Keep). Some insiders suspect this, but no one actually knows.

23: The Advisor (Keep area 26) has become convinced that the “Caves of Chaos” is actually a living thing, a vast and awesome Lovecraftian “Mineral intelligence”, and that they savage humanoids within it are actually a sort of immune system. He will breathlessly jabber this theory to anyone who will listen.

24: Castellan's Standing Order #1: The gates to the Keep are never to be opened after the sun sets. Never. NO EXCEPTIONS.

25: The Captain of the Watch is very handsome in a sleazy sort of way. A lover, not a fighter (½ normal morale), he is constantly on the lookout for a wealthy or powerful woman to seduce and marry so that he can escape the keep.

26: There is a huge temple of Chaos under the Keep... bloodstained alter, piles of skulls, big demon statue, etc. As a condition of the treaty that handed the Keep over to the forces of men, the inhabitants of the Keep are forbidden from desecrating or demolishing it. A single guardsman watches over it 24/7.

27: About 25% of the humans at the Keep are black sheep or bastard children from noble families, stashed out here at the Kingdom's farthest edge to avoid scandal or keep them out of the way. In the Keep, even a lowly maid or dishwasher might be a lord.

28: The Priest (Keep area 7) is a renegade former protege of the Evil Priest (Caves area 59). Although they share the same religion, they loath each other and are each utterly committed to the others destruction. They will even form temporary alliances with Lawful heroes if it will serve that goal.

29: The Provisoner (Keep area 9) is batshit insane and thinks that God (“The real one!”) lives in the center of the Minotaur's Cave in the Caves of Chaos. He will pay the PCs 250 GP to escort him there, but once outside the Keep's walls the bumbling milquetoast will prove to be worse than useless. The people of the Keep know of his madness and pity him, and will regard the PCs as little better than murderers if they indulge his obsession and he doesn't come back.

30: There is a narrow secret passage that snakes through the Keep, connecting 2d4+1 vital areas. No adults know of it, only a few children who recently discovered it while playing.

Old Gumphrey

Martial Controller Police
Validated User
31: The orc prisoner in the hobgoblin cave is Blood, the orc chief's son. He hates his father and will cooperate with PCs to slay him.


Validated User
32. If you climb down the well in the courtyard, you'll find an entrance to ancient forgotten tunnels beneath the keep. There are many secrets down there, including at least two tunnels into the keep fortress. One is an ancient backdoor exit, shown on an obscure blueprint and known only to the Castellan's scribe; the other is an escape tunnel dug by the only prisoner ever to escape the Castellan's dungeon.

33. The raiders (wilderness area #3) are planning a joint operation with the orcs from the caves. The goal is to overrun and loot the outer bailey of the keep in a daring night raid, assisted by spies on the inside. If successful, the orcs' fame will spread and their numbers will double within 1-4 weeks. The renegade priest will assist with the raid if he is around.

34. Southwest of the keep, along the river, are several farmsteads protected by the keep. Recently a farm was attacked and burned, and everyone was slaughtered. The castellan offers a reward for information.

35. Beneath the bailiff's tower is the bailiff's dungeon, and beneath his dungeon is a hidden torture chamber. The Bailiff's peculiar predilections are known only to a few close associates.

36. Living in a cluttered apartment in the keep is an old gypsy woman, who will tell anyone's fortune for a gold piece.

37. Beneath the chapel is a crypt, where the chaplain has his apartment. Also in the crypt are the tombs of past chaplains, and a small shrine. If a Lawful character kisses the statue in the shrine, it is 25% likely to bestow a Cureall spell, but only once per week.

38. An arrogant, high ranking cleric comes to the keep and "fires" the chaplain for alleged sloppy observance of obsure rites. He then installs the evil priest (7b) as the new chaplain, having been fooled by flattery and gifts.

39. A daring thief scales the walls of the keep fortress and steals a prized treasure from the Castellan himself. He escapes when the alarm is raised, but is believed to be hiding somewhere in the keep. The next day, the only guardsman who saw him alive is found dead with a knife in his throat. The day after that, the jewel merchant reports a theft...

40. A wandering wizard and his dwarf sidekick arrive in the keep on market day, driving a wagon full of curious and snake oil. They offer assorted remedies for sale at cheap prices (2-20 gp). 25% of these work as advertised, and another 5% are actually potions of randomly determined type (except poison). They also buy oddities and curios, but don't pay much. The door to the wagon is wizard-locked.

Old Gumphrey

Martial Controller Police
Validated User
41. The ogre from E. is actually a cursed Wokan. An arcane rune on his back has dulled his wits to nearly nothing; a simple Read Magic spell determines that the power of the curse lies in the word "Fatback", spoken in common, and the spell will unravel at its utterance. The rune can also be removed with dispel magic. After being freed of the curse, PCs learn that the ogre's name is Mulk. Determine Mulk's true alignment randomly (1-2 Lawful; 3-4 Neutral; 5-6 Chaotic) and spellcasting level randomly (casts as a 1d12th level magic-user).

42. Dragonstrike! A Green Dragon shows up at the Keep 2d4 weeks after the adventure begins and demands horse meat and treasure from the town in exchange for being alive.

43. The first night the PCs stay at the Inn, ghouls enter the Keep from a heretofore unknown tunnel and eat a random named NPC before retreating to their lair. The tunnel leads to a deadly dungeon of your creation.

44. The market square contains a fountain with a statue of a long-forgotten hero. The statue is actually a petrified NPC of random gender, alignment (1-2 Lawful, 3-4 Neutral, 5-6 Chaotic), Level (total roll on 2d4), and Class (1 Cleric, 2 Fighter, 3 Magic-User, 4 Thief, 5 Dwarf, 6 Elf, 7 Halfling, 8 DMs Choice). If rescued, he or she will act accordingly.

45. When the PCs get to the Keep, terrible storms rage for two solid weeks, making life miserable. During the 2nd week, the PCs are formally blamed for the storms by the Chaotic cleric in town.

Richard R.

Gargoyle Head
46: The previous Castellan (who died in an extremely suspicious fall from the Keep's walls) was utterly insane, and the men of the Keep are working day and night to undo his many bizarre alterations and strange policies: The bright pink walls are being painted over, children are no longer kept locked in dog cages in the Central Towers as insurance against their parent's disobedience, dwarves are no longer forcibly shaved, and a tarp now covers the massive guillotine, shoved into an unused corner of the Inner Bailey.

47: The weird radiation of the Caves of Chaos has begun to awaken the “Mindless” undead in the Shrine of Evil Chaos (Cave K). Little by little, their sentience and free will are returning. The Evil Priest has no idea.

48: The captive medusa (Caves #64) is a noblewoman of her kind, a princesses of the Sightless City of the Medusa Queen. In her homeland she has a great mansion with over a hundred blind human slaves in it's kennels and an order of gorgon-riding medusa knights sworn to her. While she and her kin are evil through and through, her family will be grateful if she is escorted safely home.

49: The Jewel Merchant (Keep #7) is a foreigner from a land found on no map: He looks like a curly-haired Asian with gray eyes, wields a katana, and has some funny ideas regarding commoner's rights, paper money, and polygamy. If the PCs start throwing a lot of money around he will quietly approach them and offer to sell them a treasure map for 200 GP (The map is the handout from the beginning of Module x1: The Isle of Dread)

50: The Jewel Merchant (Keep #7) is an undercover agent sent by the king to investigate rumors of corruption and sedition at the Keep. Nobody in the Keep knows.

51: The Curate (Keep #17) was, in his youth, part of a disastrous expedition that attempted to establish a leper colony on the Isle of Dread. He won't discuss it unless he's drunk, but once he starts talking he'll be an incredible font of information.

52: The Blacksmith (Keep #8) is a mad genius who can produce anachronistic technology. If your campaign assumes a Medieval tech level, he is functioning at about the early Renaissance. If your campaign assumes Renaissance, he's at about the early 19th Century. None of his creations are cheap or dependable.

53: The Blacksmith (Keep #8) is a holdover from when the Keep was held by the forces of Chaos. He is of a different nationality and ethnicity than the other humans in the Keep, and speaks Common with a strong accent. He (discretely) worships the dark gods of Chaos, but seems like a nice guy and is too useful to just kick out.

54: A rabies epidemic is currently raging in the woods outside the Keep. Dogs, wolves, etc. will not be allowed in under any circumstances. Assume 25% of all predatory wild carnivores encountered are rabid.

55: The Bailiff is a barely-functioning alcoholic.

56: The Corporal of the Guard is addicted to Stygian lotus. He can usually score from passing rouges but he's recently hit a dry patch and is beginning to get desperate.

57: The Keep is alive. If you shatter it's walls, the stone bleeds, it somehow eats rats, stray animals, and even lost children that wander alone into it's dark corners, and there is a giant beating heart at the center of the secret tunnels under the Keep Fortress. The Castellan and his inner circle know this, and the veteran soldiers suspect it. The Castellan thinks of the Keep as a woman, and has fallen in obssessive “Love” with it.

58: The Kobold Chieftain is having a crisis of faith: “What has the God of the Kobolds done for me lately?”, he ponders. If the kobolds suffer any major setbacks, he will convert to the religion of the Evil Priest (Caves #59). This will effectively merge the kobolds and the Evil Priest's cult into one powerful faction, with the Priest's acolytes accompanying kobold patrols and casting Bless spells when needed.

Slushie Mandrake

Iʼll always remain alien
Validated User
59. The Keep is built on ancient forgotten cemetery, dead buried there are from time humans did not worship gods of law. After major victory against forces of chaos in the caves and when players are patting eachother at back for finishing the module something happens. After their arrival back to keep sky will grow dark, sun will look like red splotch through dark clouds and there will be ominious flashes of light in the horizon. Animals grow restless and when sun is settling the mad hermit will stumble from the wilderness to keep gates and ramble and scream about "them" coming soon and will then if not stopped cut his throat from ear to ear. If player don't take the hint and flee at midnight horde of undead rises from the keep grounds and will start slaughtering anything that still breathes until morning sun rises and turns them to dust. Type and number of the undead is left for the DM to decide, but more is merrier.
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Richard R.

Gargoyle Head
60: The oozes, slimes, and jellies in the Caves of Chaos are sentient. In fact, they were the original native inhabitants of the Caves, displaced by waves of humanoid invaders. Communication with these creatures is possible, but very difficult, as their minds are quite alien.

61: One of the Evil Priest's adepts (Caves #56) is the wayward troubled son of a noble family. They will pay a discrete party very good money to make this potential scandal go away, either by capturing and deprograming the lad, or, if that isn't possible, killing him and anyone who knows of his dalliance with dark forces.

62: The Corporal of the Watch (Keep #3) is a spy for the Chaotic raiders in the forest (Wilderness #3). The Corporal isn't terribly evil, just stupid and greedy- he doesn't think the raiders are a real threat and excuses himself with “ Just about everyone in the Keep does something shady for a little extra money on the side. Why should I be left out? Times are tough!”.

63: The Corporal of the Watch (Keep #3) is a spy for the Chaotic raiders in the forest (Wilderness #3). The Corporal is a good man, and is only betraying the Keep because the raiders have his daughter. He believes the girl to an abducted, innocent hostage, but in fact she is with the raiders willingly and is the Leader's lover.

64: The Scribe (Keep # 26) has a secret, locked library with 666 volumes of forbidden pornography, sedition, and the occult, including an illustrated volume of Silk Discipline, Nacklemort's Crownbreaker Manifesto, Rustgrave's Basic Demon Theory: A Primer, and even a copy of the ultra-rare Book of Rust. If either the Priest (Keep #7) or Evil Priest (Caves # 59) learn of this, they will react like dogs before a raw steak.
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Counts by 5's
65: The catapults and ballistae of the Keep are poorly maintained and supplied - the keep itself is ripe for a beseiging army, as its supplies are inadequate for a prolonged seige. One can only hope that no one gets the monsters of the Caves of Chaos organized...

66: Forged currency has accidently been allowed into the loan bank - players may find themselves being lent money that has no real value - and try explaining this to the merchant who catches you.
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