D&D General WotC Reveals New Information and Covers for 'Keys from the Golden Vault'

Due in just a few weeks, Keys from the Golden Vault has receoved little fanfare so far. However, a cover and descrioption has appeared on the Wizards Play Network site. Wizards Play Network (WPN) is a network of WotC-approved stores.

DnD_KGV_TradCv_EN_0001.png


An anthology of 13 heist-themed adventures for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Some jobs require more than simply wielding a sword or slinging a spell. Whether it’s procuring a well-guarded item or obtaining crucial information from an imprisoned contact, these tasks require careful planning and flawless execution. The secretive organization called the Golden Vault specializes in hiring crews for such jobs, and for the most daunting assignments—pursuing fabulous treasures and stopping dire threats—that crew is your characters.
Keys from the Golden Vault™ is a collection of 13 short, standalone Dungeons & Dragons adventures designed for characters levels 1–11. These adventures can be placed in any setting and you can run them as one-shot games or link them together into a campaign. This book also includes in-world maps to help players plan their heists, plus advice for running nontraditional games with high risks and huge rewards.

Contents:
  • Book of 13 stand-alone adventures spanning levels 1–11, each focused on a single heist
  • Adventures can be set in any D&D or homebrew world and can be played individually or as part of a full campaign
  • Introduces the Golden Vault—a mysterious organization for which the player characters can work as heist operatives
  • Each adventure includes a map to guide Dungeon Masters and a map to help players plan their heists
  • Adventures emphasize player choice with each heist having multiple paths toward success
  • Includes advice and detailed information for Dungeon Masters running nontraditional adventures with high risks and huge rewards


There's also an alternate cover.

DnD_KGV_AltCv_EN_0000.png
 
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wellis

Explorer
Not a fan of the cover. The physics of the rope is all goofy for the character in the cloak. The other one looks great.

Plus the smile makes it look....juvenile? Silly?

Alt cover seems about right. I'm generally impervious to buying them. They look cool, but I'm not doing 'collectible' covers for D&D books.
Hasn't this kind of been a problem for a lot of WotC 5e art? Characters don't look like they're really interested in the task they're doing, or the viewpoints of the characters are really off, or spectators just look bored even when exciting magic is being thrown about, and so on?

I have to admit, the standard cover looks kind of goofy with the lead thief being so...smiley about it all. Just kind of bugbear to me.
 

nicolas.carrillos

Adventurer
I sincerely hope there is in-depth information on how to use the adventures in Eberron (although this is quite unlikely the case), the only 5e-covered setting without a published adventure (most are in the FR, even Wildemount has its own, and Strahd is in Ravenloft). For instance, finding out information about a prisoner in Dreadhold, retrieving an antidote from a house Jorasco medical enclave, deactivating a weapon that could trigger another Mourning, recovering a holy artifact of the Silver Flame that was stolen by Karrnath during the Last War, etc., would be fun plots. I think Eberron is particularly well suited for heists and 1-shot missions entrusted to agents of the different nations
 

WotC, according to the leak, knew the OGL thing was going to be controversial.
There's controversial, and then there's 'articles in the Washington Post marvelling about how comprehensively you've alienated your customer base' controversial. I think WotC were prepared for blowback, but that the scope took them completely by surprise. Had the OGL thing gone under the radar, or never happened at all, I reckon we probably would have seen Golden Vault promos and hype ramping up as soon as WotC staff came back to work in the new year.
 

Yes, that's precisely what I mean: those are the features away from which extensive playtesting seem to have moved WotC. Based particularly on what the designers have shared from stories about the 100+ table playtests each book goes through. I won't fault you or even disagree with thinking those features are "good design" per se, but vague and loose plots with thin descriptions seem to me to be the result of extensive playtesting rather than the other way around. Granted, this is counter-intuitive, but that's my conclusion from listening to discussions of their internal aytrsr process.

(As far as Drsgon Heist not having any Heist, though it has plenty of Dragon coins, do note that the names are chosen by marketing well after the book is finished)
Interesting. I still don't truly believe it, in my heart, but if it's true, then the problem lies at a higher level, I guess in how they're reacting to the playtesting, because it's leading to them producing a product that is just not very good. Like, I used to think it was unfair that WotC-era adventures almost never made into "top adventures for D&D"-lists, then I went back and read some of the 2E adventures and campaigns, and I hate to say it, but they're better written and more complete in most cases (with the odd aberration like Terrible Trouble in Tragidore lol - last played it when I was 12, still mad about it at 44 - I should have been born a D&D Dwarf). I'd assumed it was merely rose-tinted specs on my part, but apparently not (also of note - a lot of 2E adventures are pretty easy to convert to 5E, so there's that - they did not convert well to 3E or 4E lol).

Also to be fair to me, I think have logical reason to be skeptical, because this isn't a new thing, and there's no way stuff like early 3E or 4E adventures has "100+ table playtests", yet they share the same basic flaws. I would love to see a playtest version of an adventure/campaign next to the final version though.

There's no accounting for it, I guess. Either they'll shape up one day or they won't. At least WotC still tends to make the best "PHB"-type books in the business!

But for me, this is the reason I personally care a lot about 3PP stuff. Not sourcebooks. Setting books can often be systemless pretty well (or implied system). I don't use many 3PP splatbooks. But adventures? 3PPs do such a good job for my money. Even if WotC just "scare off" people from making 3PP stuff, and the nobody loses any jobs and so on, even if everything was fine (it won't be lol), it seems like there will probably be fewer 3PP adventures for the 1D&D era. Depressing (because even if I'm not running 5E/1D&D I'll probably at least play in a campaign or two).
 

Interesting. I still don't truly believe it, in my heart, but if it's true, then the problem lies at a higher level, I guess in how they're reacting to the playtesting, because it's leading to them producing a product that is just not very good. Like, I used to think it was unfair that WotC-era adventures almost never made into "top adventures for D&D"-lists, then I went back and read some of the 2E adventures and campaigns, and I hate to say it, but they're better written and more complete in most cases (with the odd aberration like Terrible Trouble in Tragidore lol - last played it when I was 12, still mad about it at 44 - I should have been born a D&D Dwarf). I'd assumed it was merely rose-tinted specs on my part, but apparently not (also of note - a lot of 2E adventures are pretty easy to convert to 5E, so there's that - they did not convert well to 3E or 4E lol).

Also to be fair to me, I think have logical reason to be skeptical, because this isn't a new thing, and there's no way stuff like early 3E or 4E adventures has "100+ table playtests", yet they share the same basic flaws. I would love to see a playtest version of an adventure/campaign next to the final version though.

There's no accounting for it, I guess. Either they'll shape up one day or they won't. At least WotC still tends to make the best "PHB"-type books in the business!

But for me, this is the reason I personally care a lot about 3PP stuff. Not sourcebooks. Setting books can often be systemless pretty well (or implied system). I don't use many 3PP splatbooks. But adventures? 3PPs do such a good job for my money. Even if WotC just "scare off" people from making 3PP stuff, and the nobody loses any jobs and so on, even if everything was fine (it won't be lol), it seems like there will probably be fewer 3PP adventures for the 1D&D era. Depressing (because even if I'm not running 5E/1D&D I'll probably at least play in a campaign or two).
I think the issue really is one of corporate era blandness, along with the good ideas having been used up over the years. And the economics-driven switch from novella-equivalent modules to epic hardback books.

As for testing, a lot of the issues are ones an experienced DM would barely notice, used as they would be to adapting everything to their group on the fly. How many tests are done with inexperienced DMs? But there have always been things in D&D adventures that make no sense if you stop to think about it. I mean, I noticed this kind of stuff running The Hidden Shine of Tamoachan in 1983.
 


GDGD

microscopic
I sincerely hope there is in-depth information on how to use the adventures in Eberron (although this is quite unlikely the case), the only 5e-covered setting without a published adventure (most are in the FR, even Wildemount has its own, and Strahd is in Ravenloft). For instance, finding out information about a prisoner in Dreadhold, retrieving an antidote from a house Jorasco medical enclave, deactivating a weapon that could trigger another Mourning, recovering a holy artifact of the Silver Flame that was stolen by Karrnath during the Last War, etc., would be fun plots. I think Eberron is particularly well suited for heists and 1-shot missions entrusted to agents of the different nations
And an entire dragonmark house dedicated to nothing but stopping people from stealing things. That could be your level 12 adventure right there.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
So, Amazon still hasn't out anything up for this book, the infonor even the cover, but it has jumped a couple thousand spots in all books #3482 this AM...PHB is #198 in all books, #1 in Puzzle & Game Reference books, and #17 in reference books juat behind the Princeton Review SAT prep.
 

So, Amazon still hasn't out anything up for this book, the info nor even the cover, but it has jumped a couple thousand spots in all books #3482 this AM...PHB is #198 in all books, #1 in Puzzle & Game Reference books, and #17 in reference books just behind the Princeton Review SAT prep.
The most negative time in WotC's care of D&D with no marketing and it's this strong. That's amazing
 

dave2008

Legend
Hasn't this kind of been a problem for a lot of WotC 5e art? Characters don't look like they're really interested in the task they're doing, or the viewpoints of the characters are really off, or spectators just look bored even when exciting magic is being thrown about, and so on?
No that has not been a problem with the vast majority of 5e art. There is, of course, always some art that just looks a bit off. However, 5e has some of the best art in any D&D edition IMO. Some of that has come from sharing art / artist with MtG which really prioritizes art.
 

As for testing, a lot of the issues are ones an experienced DM would barely notice, used as they would be to adapting everything to their group on the fly.
I think it's about 50/50.

I'd put the issues I commonly see with WotC stuff into 4 categories.

1) Bad presentation of information.

This hits all DMs pretty hard.

2) Poor understanding/use of rules/intentionally ignoring rules but failing to highlight it.

This hits more experienced DMs less for sure.

3) Intentionally missing parts of adventures you need to fill in.

This hits more experienced DMs less but it's still a hell of an imposition lol, because the PCs deviating will always make you need to make stuff up and this is just on top of that!

4) "Derail"-class plot holes.

I think these hit all DMs pretty hard if they're unforeseen.

But there have always been things in D&D adventures that make no sense if you stop to think about it. I mean, I noticed this kind of stuff running The Hidden Shine of Tamoachan in 1983.
Oh for sure! Always been a thing.

But 90% of that stuff is harmless. The other 10% tends to be the "derail"-class stuff. Also, importantly, the less plot an adventure has, the less it matters if it makes sense. The trouble modern adventures on tend to be story-heavy which makes plot holes matter vastly more.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
The most negative time in WotC's care of D&D with no marketing and it's this strong. That's amazing
It is pretty astonishing. Clearly the damage from recent events has been enought to alter WotC trajectory, and Mayne have significant impacts on internal office politics, but if they change course I don't see any reason to believe that the brand is harmed yet.
 

EpicureanDM

Explorer
As for testing, a lot of the issues are ones an experienced DM would barely notice, used as they would be to adapting everything to their group on the fly. How many tests are done with inexperienced DMs? But there have always been things in D&D adventures that make no sense if you stop to think about it. I mean, I noticed this kind of stuff running The Hidden Shine of Tamoachan in 1983. [emphasis added]
I am an experienced DM and I noticed right away.

More generally, though, I see this idea a lot and I always marvel at what a gift this attitude is for D&D designers. Your best customers expect that you will produce mediocre work that they will need to improve.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think they are supposed to be a gnome. D&D has never really managed a consistent look for gnomes.
Looking again, I think that's supposed to be Lidda and Neblin!

Anyways, the physics on the rope is all wrong. Whoever that is higher up on the rope they're about to lose their left shoulder when the "gnome's" rope goes taut.
 

dave2008

Legend
I am an experienced DM and I noticed right away.

More generally, though, I see this idea a lot and I always marvel at what a gift this attitude is for D&D designers. Your best customers expect that you will produce mediocre work that they will need to improve.
To be fair, these are not just issues for D&D designers. They exist to more or lesser degrees in all published adventures for all systems by all companies. I here people go on and on about Paizo adventures, but they just seem like a hot mess to me. But I pretty much hold that opinion of all adventures!
 
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