The intention of this book, and others in the series, is to provide the DM with a ready-made map of a given location which he can drop into a suitable place in his campaign world to suit the story he has in mind. It's set up so that he can populate the buildings, and work out what's going on... and indeed be inspired by the layout to come up with a good story, perhaps a whole adventure based around the site.
Technically, the actual plans are clearly presented in a more simple form than other 0one Games maps. They are line maps, presented in both blue on white and black on white format - the blue version being a tribute to early TSR dungeons modules, which had the inside cover removeable and printed with a blue on white map of the dungeon for the DM's use. Both versions are done as 'vector graphics' which, if you're not technical, means that they can be enlarged or reduced without losing definition. Moreover, each page has a row of checkboxes which you can use to vary the presentation to suit your particular needs. They allow you to choose to have the walls solid colour or in outline (to save ink), as well as whether or not to display the scale grid, room furniture or room numbers.
The mountain keep has 10 levels from ground floor to the rooftops, as well as a couple of underground levels. Unsurprisingly, the underground levels are fitted out as a gaol, while the ground floor is guardrooms and barracks with a well-defended entrance way. Of course, it's left to you who lives - or lived - here, and where and why the place was built in the first place. Think narrow mountain pass, perhaps, where anyone travelling by will have to be identified and maybe taxed by the occupants of the keep before they are allowed to pass. But is it an official guard post on the outskirts of empire, or a bandit stronghold on a trade route?
Higher levels provide accommodation for the inhabitants, including some 'state apartments' and an 'audience hall' for whoever the big shot around here might happen to be - and even a couple of high-level terraces where people can take the air undisturbed by anyone outside the keep.
Finally, there's a reference sheet you can use to write in descriptions and other details of each room. All in all, it's a worthwhile addition to a DM's collection of resources, leaving you free to concentrate on the creative and descriptive parts of your craft.
Return to Keep on Mountain Pass page.
Reviewed: 16 January 2005