OD&D – Chainmail – The Keep on the Borderlands


At B/X Blackrazor there is a post with a “secret” about the Keep on the Borderlands. It’s kinda interesting.

What’s REALLY interesting is the comment from UWSGuy who says he drew up a Force List for Chainmail rules based on the forces at the Keep…

In the interest of preserving this info, which is about ten years old now, I’m going to copy-paste it in right here. It is presented as-is, spelling and grammar and all. Let me know if you actually play it!

(this is the G-docs link, but who knows… https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1wVLJVPsQmAt9SaDjuC-A1XbB5JlH4-y8eYbppTK3w-s )

Written in the style of Arneson’s First Fantasy Campaign

for use with CHAINMAIL and d&d.


clearing the hex

The castellan has been given the opportunity by that if they can clear this hex, he may become lord of this land and keep the keep.  He has enlisted the aid of his friend the curate and his advisor the elf.

The Keep: hex in clearing process by three heroes (fighter, cleric, and elf)

size: 1 hex

base budget: 67,000 gp (total gold the above adventurers have accumulated as 6th level fighter, 5th level cleric and 3/3 f/mu). plus an additional 12,000 from the curates church.

Fyrd: n/a

heroes: 8, super heroes n/a

a maximum of 10%  of funds can be spent on special forces (fantastical individuals such as heroes, ogres, dragons etc.)  Additional specials beyond this can be recruited from allies at double normal rates and also costs 1 magic item per week.

⅓ of losses return each month.

Keep on the Borderlands

cost: 18,000/year (about 244 men)

+8640 gp of wagon train until villages are established

60 light foot = 600 gp/year

100 heavy foot= 2,500 gp/year

40 armored foot = 1,280 gp

12 heavy horse = 660 gp/year

14 light horse = 490 gp/year

18 medium horse = 720 gp/year

6 light catapults 1,600 gp

6 ballista 1,600 gp

wagon train for 300 men = 720 gp/month


1 armorer 1000 gp

3 armorer apprentices

1 smith 250 gp

scribe 100 gp


one hero +1 castellan Kingdom tax: 1% xp and ½ fyrd. = 3,200gp

one curate (5th level priest)

one 3/3 fighter/mu elf


(as limited by charisma)

Five hero-1 (3rd level fighters) = 300 gp/month each

three 1st level clerics = 100 gp/month each

one 2nd level cleric = 200 gp

one 2nd level mu = 200 gp

two 2nd level fighters = 200 gp

three 1+1 veterans = 100 gp

⅓ of losses return each month.

cash on hand: 52,360 gp. Which means the trio can afford an 20 month campaign to clear new hexes (*coughcavesofchaoscough*) or other military excursions. If they can clear this hex, it brings the prospect of 2-8 hamlets of 100-400 villagers and more gold, fyrd and obviates the need for the wagon train.  All of the above numbers of troops come right out of the adventure.

ARMY OF the Keep



# and type

Total Force [1:10]


[1] fighter 6th level

40 armored foot

20 heavy foot

4 units

2 units


[1] 1 5th level cleric

40 heavy foot

4 units


[1] 3/3 f/mu

40 heavy foot

4 units


[1] hero-1

[1]hero -1

[1] veteran

20 armored foot

40 crossbow

20 longbow

2 units

4 units

2 units

1st cavalry

2nd cavalry

3rd cavalry

[1] warrior

[1] warrior


12 heavy horse

18 medium horse

14 light horse

12 units (1:1)

18 units (1:1)

14 units (1:1)

An evil village priest and his buddy–a sadistic swordsman whose previous work was a torturer  in the service of a minor baron in the kingdom of the demigod Iuz, have taken up shop in what is often called the “Caves of Chaos”.  The cleric and the fighter have amassed some 7,000gp together and another 3,000gp has mysteriously come to them by means and parties unknown (clerics btb get ½ more gold for castle construction for any gold they spend).  they have spent part of this money on 8 low level clerics (4 1st and 4 2nd) which cost them 1,200gp per year.  Part of the money came from the murder of two other swordsmen and a mercenary force of 70 men at arms they hired and then poisoned which now serves as the basis of their of undead skeletons and zombies.  The upkeep for these undead (repairing their chain armor and various body parts…) runs about 3,000gp per year for a total of 4,200gp.  They have about 2,800gp left and sadly undead don’t produce much, so they hope to conquer the surrounding orc, goblin tribes throughout the caves, perhaps hire that ogre…maybe convince that medusa they just captured or somehow rangle control of the wight that they have locked up down in the basement before their money starts running out…




# and type

units (1:10)


[1] evil village priest

[1] evil adept

[2] hero-1 undead

20 skeletons

12 skeletons

36 zombies

3 HF

4 HF

goblin 2+1

3 guards 1+1

28 goblins



kobold 2 HF

3 guards 1+1

rat leader 1-1  HF

59 kobolds

19 rats

6 LF

2 LF

uneasy alliance

orc leader hero -1

orc leader hero -1

22 orcs (tribe 1)

18 orcs (tribe 2)

4 AF


hob. chief hero-1

bug. chief hero

32 hobgoblins

12 bugbears


4 AF or

12×3+1 men (1:1)


chief hero-1

16 gnolls

3 HF

1 minotaur

6 men (1:1)

1 ogre

4 men+1 (1:1)

1 wight

3 men (1:1)

1 medusa

4 men (1:1)




# and type



level 2 warrior

1+1 veteran



10 men (1:1)

3 men (1:1)



3rd level thief


2 men (1:1)

3+3 men (1:1)


3 spiders

1+1 men(1:1)


7 males

6 female

2+1 men (1:1)

1+1 men (1:1)

Skirmishes would could be fought 1:1 scale in mass combat or with the alternate d20 system. All the above army of chaos comes right out of the adventure.


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