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.

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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.

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
In the hands of a designer I have more confidence in, I can see past this sort of thing. But this entire encounter's a bit of a wreck, top to bottom. Once I lose a little of that confidence, it's hard to get it back. Some of the possible missteps, like the modifications to the complications, are closer to judgment calls. But the stuff about the different speeds of carpets of flying, the environment when the chase starts, ignoring the spells available to the expert wizards performing this theft, those are more basic mistakes. If the designer can't get the basic stuff right, I can't help but withhold the benefit of the doubt for the judgment calls.
Honestly, I think your approach is wrong - or at least not having the same understanding as the writer about the whole point of the scene. I don't see this as creating a perfect heist for the PCs to investigate after the fact. He could have written it with the mages using misty step and improved invisibility and had the mages escape scot free, sure. Congratulations for winning D&D.
Or, he could have written it with the intent of giving the PCs a hook into an evocative chase scene. The central conflict of the scene isn't the mages stealing the samovar in an undetected manner - it's about how the PCs are going to react to a swiftly unfolding action situation. Are they going to split up and pursue by a variety of means? Are they going to all pile on the carpet and slow it down?
You may be on a different wavelength than the writer, but that doesn't mean what he wrote was wrong or bad. It looks like a fairly fun encounter as far as I'm concerned.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Honestly, I think your approach is wrong - or at least not having the same understanding as the writer about the whole point of the scene. I don't see this as creating a perfect heist for the PCs to investigate after the fact. He could have written it with the mages using misty step and improved invisibility and had the mages escape scot free, sure. Congratulations for winning D&D.
Or, he could have written it with the intent of giving the PCs a hook into an evocative chase scene. The central conflict of the scene isn't the mages stealing the samovar in an undetected manner - it's about how the PCs are going to react to a swiftly unfolding action situation. Are they going to split up and pursue by a variety of means? Are they going to all pile on the carpet and slow it down?
You may be on a different wavelength than the writer, but that doesn't mean what he wrote was wrong or bad. It looks like a fairly fun encounter as far as I'm concerned.

Is the fact that criminals commonly make so many mistakes one of the things that makes society possible?
 


EpicureanDM

Explorer
I don't see this as creating a perfect heist for the PCs to investigate after the fact. He could have written it with the mages using misty step and improved invisibility and had the mages escape scot free, sure. Congratulations for winning D&D.
I don't see it as creating the perfect heist either. I agree with you that the game designer probably wanted to create an interesting chase scene. But the game designer told me to use some game rules that don't quite line up with an interesting chase scene. He also told me to perhaps ignore some of the game rules he included as part of the interesting chase scene.
The central conflict of the scene isn't the mages stealing the samovar in an undetected manner - it's about how the PCs are going to react to a swiftly unfolding action situation. Are they going to split up and pursue by a variety of means? Are they going to all pile on the carpet and slow it down?
Again, that's part of my criticism. How did the designer expect the PCs to react to this situation? Is that accounted for in the design? I don't think he needs to have every possible reaction covered, that would be impossible. But what is under Arman's control - and what is flawed - is the set-up, the design of the initial conditions before the chase starts.

Part of what allows poor encounter design to endure is an uncritical examination of these encounters. Designers (and readers) don't look beyond the surface of an encounter to ask, "OK, but what will that look like in actual play at the table? Is that plausible or likely? Is that fun?"

For example, what do you imagine would happen at the table if the party of 11th-level characters "splits up and pursues by a variety of means"? It's easy to say this, but what do you think that looks like at the table, in a situation where players have to announce their actions and a DM has to resolve them? This 11th-level party is in a merchant's backroom. The encounter begins with the escaping wizards zooming away on a carpet of flying down an alley separated from the back room by a solid wall. The DM turns to the party and says, "What do you do?" What would those characters do if they're going to "split up and pursue by a variety of means"? Pursue using what means?

EDIT: More importantly, how does Arman's encounter design support the idea that the party splitting up and pursuing by a variety of means will be fun and/or evocative?
 




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