Review: Raging Swan Press – Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (Pathfinder)

Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is an epic fantasy adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game written by Creighton Broadhurst and published by Raging Swan Press.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands here.
Purchase Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands here.
Download Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands here.

Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is a location-based adventure module for Pathfinder. It is designed for 1st Level characters to be brought to 3rd Level if the entire keep is purged of threats within. The adventure has an old-school appeal with a romp through the entire keep, above and below ground, similar to a dungeon delve. The biggest difference here is that the encounters are defined from room to room, although random encounters are possible.


As Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is an adventure module, there is little to share here without spoiling the adventure. I will note that the Shadowed Keep is a very detailed adventure location with plenty of twists and turns to keep your players guessing. Additionally, there are essentially different levels to the adventure that vary greatly in flavor, although their purpose is essentially the same. This style of design keeps the adventure from getting repetitious and feeling mundane. Once the characters have cleared the keep, they can even keep it as their future base of operations.


Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is an excellent location-based adventure; not only in design but also in flavor and layout (layout of the adventure, not the publication.) It’s an excellent introduction to a lengthy campaign for those who enjoy this style of game-play. It creates the ultimate campaign starting point and launchpad, with campaign hooks included in the publication.


Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Raging Swan Press is known for their simple yet extremely effective and efficient layout and format. Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is one of their best products yet, if not the best. The flow of the publication is incredibly smooth and any GM will find it extremely easy to run the adventure. One of the factors that make it so easy is how detailed each encounter is in terms of tactics, environment, and scaling. Additionally, there are some beautiful illustrations that create a lot of visual appeal for important locations. Topping it all off is an old-school style cartography showing off every room and area of the adventure module.

Storyline: 8 out of 10
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands has very little storyline involved while at the same time it has three different mini-storylines framing the different aspects of the keep. The three storylines frame the keep’s original purpose (along with its downfall) and its current residents. These mini-storylines are not designed to develop throughout the adventure as they are simply given purpose in the beginning and their outcomes will be decided by the actions of the PCs. The keep’s ultimate storyline is that of the PCs and how they view the keep. If they clear it and walk away, then the keep’s storyline ends there.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
As far as playing a location-based adventure, Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is an excellent choice and filled with details and possibilities. The GM can incorporate the keep in a number of ways, gauging the response of the PCs and how they view the keep’s future use. As far as using it as a launching point for a lengthy campaign, it’s a fantastic way for the PCs to get their feet wet while providing a base of operations should they deem it worthy. Essentially, Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands can serve a number of purposes besides just being a location-based romp through this broken down keep.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands is an excellent adventure in terms of quality of design and possibilities for use. Every single room within the keep is extensively described and detailed, making the GMs job much easier, and the flavor of which change or grow as the PCs get deeper and deeper into the adventure, which avoids the feeling of repetitious or mundane. Don’t expect the same old thing when you enter a new room, because you will possibly be very surprised at what you find.

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