Dungeons & Dragons' Heist-Themed Anthology Features D&D Movie Location

Dungeons & Dragons' newest anthology book includes an adventure set in one of the locations seen in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Today, Wizards of the Coast revealed additional details about Keys From the Golden Vault, a new adventure anthology book focused on heist adventures. Like previous anthology books, Keys From the Golden Vault can be used as standalone adventures inserted into any campaign setting or strung together as a full-length campaign. Sending the players on adventures is the mysterious Golden Vault organization, which gives adventurers their missions through magical keys inserted into a music box. However – it will be up to the players to organize and implement the heist, with the help of in-world maps that provide some (but not all) details about the location they'll be trying to break into.

"A heist adventure is all about recreating the feel of the heist genre within the framework of a standard D&D adventure," Amanda Hamon, co-lead designer of Keys from the Golden Vault, told ComicBook.com via email when asked about the challenges of writing a heist adventure. "While a standard D&D adventure needs to make sure characters are challenged in combat and have agency in the overall story, a heist adventure primarily focuses on providing the characters with a straight-forward goal—obtaining a MacGuffin, for example—including multiple viable ways to achieve that goal, creating a level of suspense throughout the experience, and providing a sense of reward at the adventure's end. Because a heist adventure is all about the mission, combat is often de-emphasized in favor of stealth and characters' wiles, just like subterfuge and chicanery are more important in a heist film versus an action film. Writing a heist adventure is definitely hard mode, since writers need to be well versed in creating standard adventures as well as understand how to make the heist genre work in D&D."

Included in the 13 adventures featured in Keys From the Golden Vault is "Prisoner 13," a prison break-in adventure set primarily in Revel's End, a prison found in the Icewind Dale of the Forgotten Realms. While the other adventures are "setting neutral," Revel's End serves as a tie-in of sorts with the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie. Revel's End was created for the D&D movie but first appeared in the 2020 adventure Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. While "Prisoner 13" won't see the players break Chris Pine's Edgin out of prison, they will still have the chance to get into explore one of the locales from the movie. A representative from Wizards did note that Revel's End can easily relocate into any other campaign setting.

The desire for setting neutral adventures might explain why the new anthology uses the brand new Golden Vault organization (which is said to be affiliated with metallic dragons and headquartered in one of the Outer Planes) instead of an existing group like the Harpers or Force Grey. "I created the Golden Vault in the style of mysterious espionage agencies that have appeared in lots of popular heist-themed media," Hamon said. "There's a bit of the IMF from the "Mission: Impossible" franchise in the Golden Vault, especially in the organization's entirely hidden nature and the one-time briefings it dispatches to its agents (the characters!). Most importantly, though, the Golden Vault is a benevolent organization striving to help the downtrodden or vulnerable when the law has otherwise failed them. In that way, there's a lot of the Leverage television series in the Golden Vault. The Golden Vault's missions sometimes involve illegalities, but they always support a just cause."

Keys From the Golden Vault will be released on February 21st, although D&D Beyond subscribers will get early digital access on February 7th. The adventures were designed and written by Amanda Hamon, Christopher Perkins, Jeremy Crawford, Justice Ramin Arman, Kate Baker, Makenzie De Armas, Dan Dillon, Brooks Donohue, Tim Hitchcock, Sadie Lowry, Jeffrey Ludwig, Sarah Madsen, Mario Ortegón, Ben Petrisor, and T. Alexander Stangroom. As with other D&D books, Keys From the Golden Vault will have two covers – a standard cover by Anna Podedworna and an games store exclusive cover by Simen Meyer.

(Photo: Mike Schley)
(Photo: Alexandre Honoré)
(Photo: Kent Davis)