Ever since the early 80’s I’ve been fascinated with the Keep on the Borderlands. To me it’s almost the perfect module. With its generic setting, base from which to operate with and a cave system with just enough verisimilitude to reward the use of a host different tactics and strategies.
It’s quite a difficult module too and in playing it over time we’ve experienced numerous TPK’s but that challenge has kept the game fresh and rewarding. Even with the increased power of characters now found in the modern D&D game The Keep on the Borderlands is still interesting.
I’ve recently been playing more solo games. New innovations, like the systems put out by Two Hour Wargames have really enlightened me to the fun to be had with just a bit of forethought. There are many advantages to solo games, too many to go into here (that’s for another post), and it is with that experience that I decided to play Keep on the Borderlands as a solo adventure.
I decided to use the Pathfinder rules as I really like the D&D feel to them (4th and 5th edition don’t seem like D&D to me anymore), the character creation system and there are enough rules to support solo play (for example the Diplomacy rules can be used to manage a lot of player interaction outcomes between my character and NPC’s).
Of course I would need to develop a number of house rules to support the game and I’ll be writing about some of those in forth coming session notes.
But for this one let’s just focus on the main protagonist.
Whilst I’ve played D&D on and off for some 35 odd years I’d never played an evil campaign. So I thought I’d start there.
And with that I started to develop my main character.
His name would be Azazel von Kronin, a lawful evil cleric of Asmodeus (fire and trickery domains).
Azazel had enjoyed a privileged life coming from a rich family who used slave labour to intensely farm their lands. They had grown rich off the backs of their slaves but when Azazel had turned of age there was no role for him on the lands and he was sent to study at The Aekoshara under the tutelage of Klark Heliot. Whilst there he found the journal of Emmit Razor who had previously ventured to the northern province of Eskain. Eskain was in the wild lands between Cheliax and Isger. Here there are deep forests that harbor all kinds of monstrous creatures and hordes and humanoids. Reading Klark’s journal he saw a future. A future where he could gather his own lands to himself and bring the order and prosperity of Asmodeus to a lawless land. He would go to Eskain and take the Keep on the Borderlands for himself. He would become Count Azazel von Kronin, master of the eastern lands.
Ok, nothing like having a character with a little ambition. I figured that in order for Azazel to be successful and despite being evil he would need the help of others.
I figured I’d really put a lot of effort into his diplomacy skills. He would save up his money and on his way to Eskain he would recruit and equip a levy to go on this holy crusade with him.
So with the points buy system and max hit points at first level the summary of Azazel’s character sheet is as follows:
Hit Points: 9
Armour Class: 17
Feats: Skill Focus Diplomacy, Scribe Scroll
Skills: Diplomacy +9 (1+4+1+3), Bluff +6 (1+4+1), Linguistics (Goblin) +5 (1+4)
Equipment: Mace +3, 1d8+3 (x2), Hide Armour (+4), Large Wooden Shield (+2), 106gp
I felt that as it was a solo campaign I had to give Azazel a little something extra so I made it that he had a fair idea of what was in the caves of chaos from his studies. With that in mind I took linguistics goblin because it covers so many races and it would be part of the plan to parley with the goblinoid races.
And so one evening, when everyone had retired for the night, Azazel donned his armour, hefted his shield and placed his mace in his belt and left Aekoshara. Looking back at the monastery for the last time he felt no regret. He hadn’t enjoyed his time there, they were too conservative in their ways and were not ambitious enough in spreading the word of Asmodeus. He would show them the true glory of Asmodeus.