The Keep on the Borderlands
Code B2
Rules required D&D Basic Set
Character levels 1 - 3
Campaign setting Generic D&D
Authors Gary Gygax
First published 1979

The Keep on the Borderlands (B2) is a Dungeons & Dragons module first printed in December 1979. It is designed for use with Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. Although also available for separate sale, it was included in the 6th to 11th printings (1979-1982) of the Basic Set.[1] The cover of the first printing included the notation, With minor modifications, it is also suitable for use with ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS; this was removed from later printings. A novelized version of the adventure was published in 1999.

The module's cover features Jim Roslof artwork and notes it is a special introductory module with many aspects making it helpful for beginning players and Dungeon Masters (DMs). Tips for running encounters appear throughout the text to help beginning DMs.[2] The module also provides basic rules for wilderness adventures as these were not included in the Basic D&D set. The structure of the "dungeon" as a series of separate caves also allows for simple segmented playing sessions for new players and new DMs alike.

The Keep on the Borderlands was ranked the 7th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.[3]


Player characters are expected to arrive at the Keep on the Borderlands, where they base themselves before investigating the Caves of Chaos, a series of nearby caverns full of humanoid tribes uniting to destroy the keep. Plot twists include a treacherous priest within the keep walls, hungry lizardmen in a nearby swamp, and a mad hermit in the wilderness. It typifies the dungeon crawls associated with beginning D&D players, while permitting some limited outdoor adventures.

The pit trap at the entrance of the Kobold lair was likely responsible for more PC deaths than any other encounter in the module considering that almost all 1st level characters started by entering that section of the complex. This trap is special in that the pit lid will close after a victim has fallen in, so a second adventurer has a chance of falling in as well, and victims cannot escape without help from an outside person.

When the Grand Duchy of Karameikos edition of the Gazetteer series was published, the location of the Keep in this module could be placed in a specific location in the Known World of Mystara. It was placed in the Atlan Tepe Mountain region in northern Karameikos and listed as “Castellan Keep”.

Printing History[]

Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
Code 11327
Rules required 2nd Edition AD&D
Character levels 1 - 3
Campaign setting Generic AD&D; Greyhawk
Authors John D. Rateliff
First published 1999

The Keep on the Borderlands went out of print in the mid 1980's. However the module was partially reprinted in the supermodule compilation B1-9 In Search of Adventure (1985), which included the Caves of Chaos only but not the keep or surrounding wilderness. The original module was available again in the Silver Anniversary Collector's Edition set (1999).

The module was remade as Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999) for 2nd Edition AD&D, set twenty years after the events of the original module: evil has returned to the Caves of Chaos.[4] Although the original B2 publication was generic in terms of setting, the 1999 "Return" publication retroactively placed the Keep in the World of Greyhawk. The decision to place the Keep in Greyhawk generated several inconsistencies, as many of the deities, nations, and peoples mentioned in the module have no precedent in that campaign setting, and at least two of the NPC descriptions refer to other adventures that are specific to the Mystara setting. Andrew Byers, in his review of the adventure, stated "If you're not nostalgic about the early days of D&D ... don't buy this book. But if you're interested in reliving (or experiencing for the first time) those first few roleplaying adventures ... I don't think you'll be disappointed."[4] A "hacked" version of the module was published for the HackMaster RPG and entitled Little Keep on the Borderlands in 2005.



Novelization Keep on the Borderlands (Wizards of the Coast, 1999)

In 1999, Wizards of the Coast published Keep on the Borderlands, a novelized version of the adventure by Ru Emerson for the Greyhawk Classics series.


  1. Lawrence Schick (1991). Heroic Worlds. Prometheus Books. 
  2. Harms, Daniel (1999-01-29). "B2 - The Keep in the Borderlands". RPGnet. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  3. Mona, Erik; James Jacobs (2004). "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time". Dungeon 116. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Byers, Andrew (2000-01-07). "Pyramid Review: Return to the Keep on the Borderlands". Pyramid (online). Retrieved 2008-02-15. 

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