This question is slightly inspired by this one, in that it brings up the 4E module, Keep on the Shadowfell. It is common knowledge at this point that KOTSF is broken in many ways, the first combat (an ambush, go figure) alone is proof enough of that statement. Now, KOTSF has some merits to it, such as a well designed and thought-out base of operations, Winterhaven. I'd even assert the NPCs and story are pretty well done for a WOTC publication. That said, I am wanting to utilize this campaign when I drag some D&D-newb friends into RPGs but I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, ie. scrap the whole module because of some (very) poorly designed aspects.

What fixes are there for Keep on the Shadowfell? These fixes or mods or what-have-yous don't need to be official WOTC ones, though that would be preferred. Is it even worth it to try and fix the module or is it beyond fixing without a lot of time intensive DM-effort?

On a side note: I have linked the free pdf version of KOTSF from the WOTC site above for anyone unfamiliar with it or needing a refresher with it before they respond.

  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, Keep on the Shadowfell was the first module I went through as a player in 4e and out group didn't have any problems. As long as nobody is trying to break or game the system I think you'll be fine, but that's just my personal experience. And honestly, I had no idea it was considered "broken" before this question. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Jun 6, 2011 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ This was also the first module I went through as a 4E player and we had one hell of a time with it. TPKs happened left and right, but I blame that now in retrospect on thinking from a 3.5 mindset and assuming combats would be the same. Now that I have a strong foundation of 4E, I am wanting to give it another shot as a DM since the last time I played KOTSF was in 2008! This is actually the module that pushed me away from 4E until about a year ago, so go figure! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 6, 2011 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, no TPK's here but we also had a large-ish party (5 to start and a 6th joined us around level 3). I don't know if our DM increased the encounter difficulty to accommodate or not. We played this in 2009 so maybe the errata that had come out by then made things easier, but that's just speculation. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Jun 6, 2011 at 14:48

3 Answers 3


A few other KotS remixes I've found:

http://web.comhem.se/mwester/Shadowfell/Documents/H1-H3_Orcus_Conversion.pdf http://www.wizards.com/DnD/TOC.aspx?x=dnd/4new/dutoc/155

This thread at enworld talks about it. http://www.enworld.org/forum/4e-discussion/305851-best-version-keep-shadowfell.html

  • \$\begingroup\$ I ended up making use of the H1-H3 Orcus Conversion you listed, of all of the fixes I read about this one was the simplest to incorporate and most importantly it fixed a lot of the issues I had with the module. Great link! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 18, 2011 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also some maps and other discussion; be sure to read the thread at community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19921178/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Snowbody
    Jun 20, 2011 at 17:15

There are a few known fixes. The most important one, albeit unofficial, is the one at the Alexandrian website. It refocuses combats, removes encounters or shifts them in time, to make a more believable and enjoyable experience.

The folk at WotC also did a republication, and the fixed adventure is now downloadable for free at their TryDND website.

One example: the first encounter, as originally stated, has the enemies in front of the party, and not behind the stones, as they should (the text states that they're hidden from view).

I've read another set of fixes at elevenfootpole. If I remember correctly, they would be superseded by the material at the first link I mentioned.


Update the monsters

If you change only one thing, update the monsters based on the latest monster design. Low-level early-game monsters tend to be hideously over or under powered. A trivial change would be to grab the Monster Vault and just use monsters from it, reskinning where necessary.

Update the items

The magic items offered in keep are pre-PHB. Given the huge amount of items that have come out since then, either use wish-lists, the new random treasure-parcel method, or your own judgement to bring item rarity and power in line. When I played through the DM had to give our party (4 newbs and... me) a huge dump of items in the start to lower the death rates. I wouldn't recommend it in general, but system mastery is always a good thing to have.

Other discussion

Here is a thread talking about changes and edits. They suggest that the officially revised version is better. And this comment suggests that the treasure drop rates are just way too low.

  • \$\begingroup\$ on treasure, there's rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4474/… saying otherwise... \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2011 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adriano Good catch, However, my personal experience is that the treasure is severely lacking. Also, monetary value is not very useful when it comes to the odd dynamics of D&D treasure, especially with the new common/uncommon rules. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2011 at 12:35

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