Ragnar’s Keep – a mediaeval castle setting for fantasy RPGs

Ragnar's Keep module front page

Are you a GamesMaster for a fantasy role-playing game? Do you struggle to make your settings feel real?

Do you need a castle home base? Or a castle for the players to attack? Or a refuge from the dangers on the road? Maybe some NPCs in a wilderness stronghold?

Ragnar’s Keep is a detailed castle setting designed for any fantasy role-playing game, whether you play D&D, Pathfinder, Swords and Sorcery or any other rules suitable for the classic world based on mediaeval Europe with added magic.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the quick summary: you can buy it on DriveThruRPG, and it’s 60% off – only $2.95 – until the 15th October! And Heroic Maps have created corresponding battlemaps which are also for sale on DriveThruRPG. Or if you buy the module, you can get a discount on the maps.

Not convinced yet? Let me describe it in more detail.

It has three and a half floors – ground floor, basement, first floor and a half second floor, with split-level roof, each with floor map and detailed description of every room. The rooms include lots of little details to help make it feel real and make each room feel different, as in the head cook’s room here:

B4: Head cook’s room
Across from the wine racks is the room of the head cook and a dormitory for the female cooks and servants. The head cook is a rotund woman in her late forties, and her bedroom contains a bed, a press with her clothes and aprons and a dressing table with a mirror (not that she gets much chance to dress up). There is an extreme sense of frilliness – lace mats on the dressing table, frilly bedclothes, frilly dressing gown and night cap hanging on the back of the door. There is also a basic rectangular locked chest containing her valuables which doubles as a seat. A pair of goblets and a wash basin stand on the dressing table next to a lantern and a chamber pot sits under the bed.

And the Lord’s chamber:

F5: Lord’s chamber
These are the Lord’s private apartments. A stone fireplace in the south-west corner provides warmth on chilly winter days, and a couple of comfortable chairs face it where they can also be angled to take advantage of the evening sun through the window. His bed is against the eastern wall where he can sit and look out of the arrowslit when the weather is warm enough for the shutters to be open; a wardrobe with mirrors on the doors stands against the south wall at the foot of the bed. A low set of shelves against the west wall next to the window hold his personal gaming pieces, his pipe and tobacco canister, a wash basin, and a few books and other personal items.
In time of war, the chairs would be pushed into the corner by the fire and his bed would be quickly shunted over next to the window to provide easy access to the arrowslit.

Each floor has both a schematic map and a beautifully illustrated battle-map style map created by the artists at Heroic Maps (available to buy separately, with a discount for anyone who buys the module).

As well as the rooms, there is a full cast of NPCs, from Lord and Lady Vesner and their children, to the head Cleric Marcellus and his two acolytes Sextus and Marya, to the Castellan Zandra, the lady’s maid Anya (unfortunately aged by an encounter with the local ghost Nardya), the soldiers, and various staff members including bard, head cook, butler, smith and carpenter. They each have their interests, motivations, prejudices and conflicts which the characters can work with (or get caught out by), and are described in sufficient detail that you should be able to use them with any set of rules. For example:

Anastasius Torran (Bard)
Anastasius is 28, and has been here for about 3 years. He excels with the lute, shawm and viol and also plays various other instruments including the drums. He has olive skin, shoulder-length brown hair which he has to keep flicking out of his eyes and is slightly above average height.
He was recommended by a friend of Lady Vesner’s and prides himself on still knowing the latest music from the capital (he takes several trips a year to keep up with the latest). He finds the social life in the keep rather too quiet for his taste, but he stays because of Lady Vesner – he has hopes of attracting her attention and keeps finding opportunities to serenade her alone, playing for her while she works on her loom for example. He doesn’t understand what she sees in Lord Vesner, so can’t believe she would prefer the Lord to himself. So far he hasn’t quite crossed the border of propriety – largely due to Lady Vesner’s careful nudgings – but his infatuation is obvious to many of the staff and to Lady Vesner herself.
Under the Lord’s orders, he is rather grudgingly teaching some of the locals to play instruments and has built up a group who can play for larger events and dances, but he looks down on the indigenous people and is often heard to complain at their lack of style and finesse.
Ideal: I always have the latest tunes at my fingertips and on my tongue.
Bond: My lute is my life.
Flaw: Anastasius thinks a lot of himself and not so much of the locals. He is infatuated with Lady Vesner.
Catchphrase: Here’s a cool new song just in from the capital. Want to hear it?

As well as these detailed descriptions, there are 5th-edition stat blocks for all the significant characters, such as this one for Marya:

The characters and detailed rooms are accompanied by more general background of both the geography and society, as well as campaign ideas and some new magic items.

You can buy Ragnar’s Keep on DriveThruRPG, and it’s 60% off – only $2.95 – until the 15th October! And Heroic Maps have created corresponding battlemaps which are also for sale on DriveThruRPG. Or if you buy the module, you can get a discount on the maps.


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