|“||At Restwell Keep, you've heard that fortune and glory await those bold enough to brave the dangers of the Chaos Scar, a valley carved ages ago by a fallen star. The same tales warn that this Chaos Scar draws wickedness to it. Perhaps you can help stem this tide... and gain some treasure along the way.||”|
“Keep on the Borderlands: A Season of Serpents,” by Chris Sims, is the adventure series for Season 3 of D&D Encounters. It was released for play in Fall and Winter 2010.
“Season of Serpents” tied in with the launch of the D&D Essentials line for 4e. When the season started, the Red Box Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (2010), Heroes of the Fallen Lands (2010), and the Rules Compendium (2010) were all out. By the time the season ended, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms (2010) had also been released. To support the tie-in, players were encouraged to create Essentials characters, and were granted renown bonuses for doing so. In addition, the pregenerated characters for the scenario are all Essentials builds. “Season of Serpents” was also the first Encounters season to tie into the “Points of Light” setting for 4e.
“Season of Serpents” is obviously an homage to B2: “The Keep on the Borderlands” (1980). It’s probably no accident that this Encounters season went hand-in-hand with the introductory red box for D&D Essentials—just as the original “Keep” was packaged with D&D’s first red box (1981).
That said, “Season of Serpents” is not a return to the actual setting of the original “Keep on the Borderlands”; it’s more of a thematic homage. You get the story of a civilized keep and nearby monstrous lands: Here, the stronghold is the dwarven-built Restwell Keep, while the monstrous lairs are in the Chaos Scar, a location that was originally detailed in Dungeon #176 (March 2010). It appeared as part of “The Chaos Scar,” a very loosely connected sandbox adventure path that ran from Dungeon #171 (October 2009) to Dungeon #197 (December 2011). Although Restwell Keep and the Chaos Scar didn't appear in the earliest maps of Nentir Vale, later products like the Dungeon Master's Kit (2010) reveal that it’s to the southwest of the Vale, between the Witchlight Fens and the Ogrefist Hills.
“Season of Serpents” expands on the area, giving more attention to the keep (and what lies below). It also sets some encounters in the nearby Dragontooth Hill, and ultimately takes a short dive into the Chaos Scar itself.