D&D 5E Keys from the Golden Vault play reports

I'm not going to run this after all, but when I was considering it I was totally planning a story on why there were
so many freakin' mimics
in these adventures.
 

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pukunui

Legend
I've been doing some Eberron conversion prep for the next Golden Vault adventure, "The Stygian Gambit". The trouble I'm having is figuring out how 2nd level PCs are supposed to succeed. Without access to 2nd level spells like invisibility or even 3rd level spells like dispel magic, they might have trouble getting past all the guards and security measures. I'm wondering if I should hold off on running this until the PCs are at least 3rd level, if not later. It's not a combat adventure at all, so I'm not sure it entirely matters what level it is run ... but obviously the higher level the PCs get, and the more abilities and spells they get, the easier it will be for them to steal the goods. Anyone got any thoughts?
 

Problem with stealth missions is when they go pear shaped the party can find themselves seriously overmatched. That happened this week running the Murkmire Malevolence. Why they would think a character running out shouting and attacking the exhibits was a good way to distract the guards I don't know! I don't think my players are cut out for a life of crime.

Next week: Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass GO, do not collect 200gp.

I can't comment much on Stygian Gambit, I'm not planning on running that one so I've only glanced at it. Quick impression, the expectation seems to be the party will disguise themselves as employees and blag their way past security.
 

pukunui

Legend
Problem with stealth missions is when they go pear shaped the party can find themselves seriously overmatched. That happened this week running the Murkmire Malevolence. Why they would think a character running out shouting and attacking the exhibits was a good way to distract the guards I don't know! I don't think my players are cut out for a life of crime.
LOL!

I can't comment much on Stygian Gambit, I'm not planning on running that one so I've only glanced at it. Quick impression, the expectation seems to be the party will disguise themselves as employees and blag their way past security.
Yeah, but that only gets them so far. I think part of the issue is that, as far as I can tell, the casino never closes, and the tournament is like a marathon thing with just a few minor breaks. There's nothing like "they only play from 10am until 10pm and in between those times, the room is empty". So I just don't see how the PCs are supposed to steal the trophy when it's placed in a trapped box that paralyzes you if you damage it, is (as far as I can tell) under 24/7 guard, and is in full view in a room that is never unoccupied. Also, the gold is in a vault that requires you to get past numerous security cameras, and pretty much as soon as you steal it, the casino goes on alert (because the cashiers discover they can't withdraw any cash), so the PCs have to try and run the gauntlet to get out. I can only presume that the adventure author expects most parties will jump down the waterfall (never mind that it's 100 feet tall).

I don't necessarily want to make things too easy for my players, but I think waiting until they have the option of being able to cast spells like invisibility, misty step, alter self, and the like may give them more of a fighting chance.

Now, I am going to be altering it so the staff are not all tieflings -- partly since I'm theming the casino on Dolurrh rather than the Nine Hells but also partly because only one PC in my group is Medium. The rest are Small, and therefore would not be able to pose as tieflings.

But yeah I think the main thing this adventure lacks is some suggestions on timing. It's not like with the museum, where you can hide somewhere and wait for the museum to close, then sneak around after hours. As I said above, the casino doesn't seem to close, and the tournament seems to be a constant thing, so there are no "after hours". The PCs have to try and pull off this heist in front of everyone.

Maybe some sort of "changing of the guard" roster would have been helpful too. The staff can't all be on duty for 48 hours straight. They must take shifts and come and go at certain points throughout a 24 hour period. Having the PCs infiltrate the casino as new staff would be easier if they're, say, taking over the shift of the three guys in the security room. I might just have to make some of that stuff up myself, I guess.
 

Okay, I've had a read through the adventure, I don't think it would be too difficult to lure the tournament participants out of the room. For example, there are fierce wild animals in area A12. Freeing these, especially in conjunction with Speak with Animals, would be an effective diversion. Alternatively, luring everyone close to the statue by suggesting its a fake, then deliberately triggering the paralysis trap could create an opportunity to grab it.

Since the object is to humiliate the villain, the party do not actually have to escape with the trophy. Making it vanish or convincing everyone it's a fake would be sufficient.

Or, in true Mission Impossible style, they could don a rubber mask and win the tournament using marked cards and special glasses.
 

From what I can see, if the party decide to march into the casino, kill the guards, and take everything, they will be fighting six CR 1/2 thugs. Probably quite easy for a level 3 party, and a cakewalk for level 4 and above. So if you want to run it at a higher level you will need to buff the guards.

Replacing the thugs with veterans would make it about right for level 5. The vault guardian would need beefing up too.
 
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pukunui

Legend
From what I can see, if the party decide to march into the casino, kill the guards, and take everything, they will be fighting six CR 1/2 thugs. Probably quite easy for a level 3 party, and a cakewalk for level 4 and above. So if you want to run it at a higher level you will need to buff the guards.

Replacing the thugs with veterans would make it about right for level 5. The vault guardian would need beefing up too.
Yeah, that's fine. I was going to change up the casino staff anyway to better fit with the Dolurrhi theme (which has more of a spirits, ghosts and shadar-kai theme ~ the realm is ruled by the Queen of the Dead, who is KB's Raven Queen analogue).
 


pukunui

Legend
Yup, making the Golden Vault a front for the Chamber was what I immediately thought when I started reading this book...the Draconic Prophecy is a pretty handy plot device.
I feel it actually makes it work better because some of the adventures don't really feel like missions that fit the Golden Vault prospectus all that well (the Stygian Gambit, for instance, is just about helping a gambler get revenge against another gambler). However, if you add in the whole Draconic Prophecy thing, then pretty much anything goes. You're not just helping a gambler get revenge, you're (potentially unwittingly) helping prevent an Overlord from escaping its bonds.
 

FR would pretty much have to be Waterdeep, as the most modern city outside Lantan, which has not been described in 5e. But Eberron is basically "any city".

I could make some suggestions, but they are more obscure settings:

Ravnica (anywhere)
Strixhaven
Spelljammer (Rock of Braal)
Ravenloft (Ludendorf, Lamordia)
Exandria (Ank'harel)


The second one gets complicated. Technically Three Dragon Ante is a Forgotten Realms game, and there are certainly casinos in the Baldur's Gate computer games, but some players might get antsy about that level of ahistory. Did the Romans have casinos? Anyone know? It would fit well into Ank'harel (Exandria), described in CotN, which already has a casino heist as a roughly sketched sidequest.
Ravenloft (at least how it was pre-5e) has plenty of options, because it was always at a higher tech/cultural level than standard d&D. Lamordia, Dementileu, Paridon are all options. Even Darkon has a university. (though its probably more like medieval Oxford than a modern school)
 

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