The Keep on the Borderlands

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The Keep on the Borderlands
Keep on the Borderlands01.jpg
Type Adventure module
Code/ Abbreviation B2
Edition Original D&D
Author(s) Gary Gygax
First Published 1979
Series B1-12, Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
Classification Canon

The Keep on the Borderlands (B2) is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure module by Gary Gygax, first printed in December 1979. It is designed for use with the 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. 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 artwork by Jim Roslof and notes it is especially designed to help beginning players and Dungeon Masters (DMs). Tips for running encounters appear throughout the text to assist beginning DMs. The module also provides rudimentary 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 allows for segmented playing sessions for beginners.

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.


Player characters are expected to arrive at the titular Keep and base themselves there before investigating the nearby Caves of Chaos, a series of closely-placed caverns teeming with multiple species of vicious humanoids. Plot twists include a treacherous priest within the Keep, 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.


When the Grand Duchy of Karameikos edition of the Gazetteer series was published, the Keep was given a specific location in the Known World of Mystara, in the Atlan Tepe Mountain region in northern Karameikos.

A sequel, Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, placed the Keep in the Yeomanry, making it a canonical Greyhawk location as well. The novelization was also set in the World of Greyhawk.

Publishing history

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).

Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999) for 2nd Edition AD&D, was set twenty years after the events of the original module, and featured a fully re-stocked Caves of Chaos.

A "hacked" version of the module, entitled Little Keep on the Borderlands, was published for the HackMaster RPG in 2005.


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.


  • Allston, Aaron. The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • Emerson, Ru. Keep on the Borderlands. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999. ISBN 0-7869-1881-0.
  • Gygax, Gary The Keep on the Borderlands. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, Inc., 1979. ISBN 0-935696-47-4.

External links