The First Post-OGL Debacle Release: 'Keys From The Golden Vault'

By RJ on 2 February 2023.

Keys From The Golden Vault is the first Dungeons & Dragons book released this year. Inside are thirteen heist-themed adventures, meant to each be run as a single adventure or strung together to form an entire heist-based campaign. Every adventure revolves around the characters obtaining some sort of shiny object or renowned relic. As with a few other 5E products, this is an anthology book.

Chris Perkins seems to be the head designer on this release.

This will be the first D&D release from Wizards of the Coast after the massive OGL debacle that shook the entire tabletop roleplaying game community. At its height, the debacle reached popular media outlets like NPR that haven't covered D&D for years, if at all. For about two weeks, anyone online or a part of the creative D&D community could only speak about the debacle, whether it was with their friends, family, or other players and creators.

Multiple times, I had people at work ask me about it.

Maps in Keys From The Golden Vault are unique. One map is for the Dungeon Master's eyes only. The second map is an actual blueprint from the setting itself, to be used by the players and characters to plan their heist. While the DMs version contains every secret door, deadly trap, and hidden obstacle, the blueprint grants the group a high-level view of the dungeon holding their desired target.

It's unfortunate how little fanfare this book is receiving, mostly thanks to the exodus of D&D players during the now-resolved OGL fiasco. Wizards of the Coast hasn't been promoting it nearly as often, and its official cover reveal didn't even appear anywhere...official. It just popped up. What's wholly unfortunate is the fact most designers who worked on this book at Wizards of the Coast were likely uninvolved in the updated OGL. By most accounts, that was a push from executives at WOTC and Hasbro, while the actual creators and stewards of the game many of us cherish actively protested or remained quiet on the changes.

Don't be angry at the designers. Be angry at the executives.

The Golden Vault is a faction in the Forgotten Realms. They are the heist organizers who dispatch the PCs to various locations. Mostly, they are a benevolent organization that's to be used by DMs as a patron for the PCs. Inside the book are a variety of handlers who may be assigned to the group. They are the liaisons from the Golden Vault who give the PCs specifics about their missions and goals. They might even provide the group with items to be used on their missions.

It's quite high up in the air how Keys From The Golden Vault will perform. Many people claim to have migrated to different games and systems. Others have vowed not to support Wizards of the Coast, no matter what. A seemingly not-too-vocal online minority still supports WOTC, but none of these "factions" represent the masses. There are hundreds of thousands of D&D players. It's likely this book will do well and WOTC will continue to release 5E products until the release of One D&D sometime in 2024.

As for me? I'll support WOTC if I deem the product worthy. Will I use it? Will I gain inspiration from it? If yes, I'll likely get it. If not, I'll skip it. Sadly, the last product I bought from them was Fizban's Treasury of Dragons. Wow...nearly two years?? It has been a while.

Unsurprisingly, Keys From The Golden Vault ties into the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie; both feature an iconic prison in Icewind Dale known as Revel's End. Both products also use heists and general McGuffin grabbing as their central story pillars. Now that's some good timing from WOTC!

You can pre-order Keys From the Golden Vault right now on D&D Beyond, your friendly local gaming store, or Amazon, I'm sure. Will you be purchasing it? If you did, how is it? Let me know in the comments.

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