Dungeon 176 - Chaos Scar: The Keep on the Chaos Scar

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DnDi_Large.png     Dungeon 176
The Keep on the Chaos Scar
A Chaos Scar Home Base

By Mike Mearls

Today in Dungeon, we get a location detail article – a fortress left over from the ancient days, ready to be your home base in your exploration of the Chaos Scar.

For several years, Restwell Keep served as the base of operations for a band of evil adventurers known as the Six Blades of Fortune. While the Blades fought monsters in the Chaos Scar, they also preyed on other, weaker adventuring bands, and even raided a few caravans. As they were content to keep their depredations far from their base of operations, in time the keep became a small outpost of civilization. Wanderers, refugees, and other folk in search of a safe harbor settled within the keep.

For details on the Chaos Scar and its environs, read the Chaos Scar introduction and check out the map of the entire valley. Then check out and join the Chaos Scar group on the D&D Community pages.  And talk about this article here.




Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?


A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Wow, I must have missed where someone said the Chaos Scar material was inspired by Keep on the Borderlands. I remember thinking they were similar before but once I saw the picture of that keep there was no mistaking it. KotB is one of my favorite adventure modules of all time.

"Keep" up the good work!


I've been enjoying this series, and this article is what was missing for me.
A center point for the adventurers to start and return to. A place to gather them, get them information, hire them, and give them a great place for social interactions. Love it!
Agreed, I wish this article (and the Crossroads one) came out a bit sooner. Both really flesh the area out but feels awkward when you say "oh, you didn't notice the huge keep over there on all your trips to and from the Scar?" :D
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387

There is so much plagiarism in this article that the by-line should read Gary Gygax and Mike Mearls.  The numbering of structures have been changed, but the structures and NPCs (now with names) remain.  The stylized map is a 3d rendering of the original keep, so for those who like the top down view use the map in the earlier post.

It could use a better name than Restwell, it sounds like a sleazy motel.

Peridin Drysdale, a paladin of Erathis appears to be a self-appointed “Lord” and ruler of the Keep.  He took the keep by force from the previous holders.  It is not entirely clear if he has the backing of the church or the local nobility in his rulership.  He appears to be unmarried [no family mentioned] and is 50, meaning his rule will probably be short and heirless.

  • In the original B2 module this was the role of the Castellan [a 6th level fighter, with no age given] a caretaker of the keep. Usually, a castellan is appointed with the combined duties of both a majordomo (responsible for a castle's domestic staff) and a military administrator (responsible for maintaining defenses and protecting the castle's lands). This was particularly the case if there was no lord [noble] resident at the castle, or if the resident lord was frequently absent.

I love the politics of the keep; for those into urban role-playing there are quite a few plots here.  I would have like to seen an agent of the Brotherhood of the Scar, although it seems their tie to the Zehir rumor mentioned in background has again been made.  Yet again, this person does have a separate reason for being here and that hasn’t been tied to the Chaos Scar.

The inclusion of the mages of Saruun from H2 is a great linking tool to the “distant” Nentir Vale.  Additionally, it can also serve as a hook to move characters to that higher-level setting [Levels 4-6].  I hate the vagueness of the word “distant” and would perfer something along the lines of “x# of days by horse”.  This is important, as the mages have quick means of travel, they may eventually hire out an expedition to return to the Seven-Pillared Hall who must travel by more mundane means

The keep was also the home of dwarven bandits in the [again vague] past, presumable before the war with the demonic gnoll horde, as the Nerath Empire was willing and able to send a small army to lay seige to it.  I do not know if the “famed dwarf bandit” [name omitted to prevent spoilers] mentioned as a scourge to Nerath’s borders comes from Hammerfast that would also be a nice tie-in.  It also works nice with my previously mentioned location for the setting on the northern fringe of the Nentir Vale.

Is there an updated 4th ed version of the Caves of Chaos (from Keep on the Borderlands) anywhere?  Someone in these postings had the neat idea that everytime a new edition of D&d came out, the first adventure they played was an updated version of Keep.  What a cool concept.  I know the rewrote the Keep for 2nd ed (Return to Keep on the Borderlands), but is there a 4ed version?

I liked the article but was hoping for some adventure notes other than the hooks planted with the NPCs.

The Chaos Scar as a whole would appear to be an expansion of the original Caves of Chaos concept.
I've been using the Keep in my campaign and my players are loving it. Perhaps in a future Dungeon article you could expand on the keep in some way. Perhaps write about the lands immediately surrounding it, or maybe an ancient dungeon discovered in its basement. Regardless what the article is, I'd like to see connections between the characters and plots mentioned in the Keep article and the new location. Hooks, hooks, and more hooks please!
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