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Item - Keep on the Borderlands

Series: Greyhawk Novels — no. 12
Author: Emerson, Ru
Kveto's Thoughts:

This novel is based on one of the most iconic and commonly-played D&D modules of all time. Keep on the Borderlands was included as a sample adventure in the original rules, so almost every D&D player has memories of it. I certainly do (my party got wiped out when I played).

The main character here is a female caravan guard fighter named Eddis. She and her companions return home to the Keep to find bandits are giving them trouble. This leads them to the Caves of Chaos, an infestation of Kobolds, Bugbears and other monsters. Like White Plume Mountain, the novel tries to give a more noble reason to quest (rescuing prisoners) than the treasure hunt of the module.

This one is played straight, unlike the irreverent humor and colourful characters of White Plume. I found it more of a slog as a result. Other than Eddis, the characters have little personality to distinguish themselves. Even after Eddis adopts a young girl she rescues, nothing really interesting happens.

I remembered the caverns and the dungeon crawl is authentic to the module. But it is basically nothing but combat and while fun to play as a game, it's not much fun to read. It would probably have been better as a gamebook, as I found no desperation in this format, at least compared to when I was a player.

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