Plan the Perfect ‘D&D’ Heist With the DM Vault for ‘Keys From the Golden Vault’
I’ve been reviewing the deluxe D&D boxed editions from Beadle & Grimm’s, like their Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen Steel Edition, for a while now. But with the DM Vault, Beadle & Grimm’s is trying something a little different.
The DM Vault is still filled with a lot of the great handouts and maps that you’ll find in their other sets, but this is a pared-down supplement to the recently-published Keys From the Golden Vault 5e book from Wizards of the Coast. Gone is the softcover copy of the adventure book itself, a staple of the boxed editions. Similarly missing are the encounter cards, premade characters, and artifacts. So what’s inside this set, and will the DM Vault be an essential kit for running the standalone adventures from Keys From the Golden Vault?
What Is DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault?
DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault is a toolkit for Dungeon Masters looking to run the Wizards of the Coast D&D 5e adventure. Keys From the Golden Vault is a series of 13 D&D heists, that can be played as one-offs, incorporated into other adventures, or strung together into its own campaign. However, the DM Vault does not contain the adventure book, which must be purchased separately.
The DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault costs $95 and is available at the Beadle & Grimm’s webstore. It contains the following:
- 13 Player Maps: These in-world maps get handed to the players to help plan each heist.
- 13 DM Maps: Pulled from the book and annotated to include an at-a-glance Map Key for the DM.
- 6 Battle Maps: We’ve chosen six areas where a boss fight is most likely and provided beautiful, scaled battle maps.
- 13 In-world Call-to-action letters: These artist-rendered letters can be handed to the players at the start of each heist, introducing them to their patron and immersing them in the quest at hand.
- 9 additional In-world handouts: High-quality clues and details found within the adventures themselves that can be handed to the players to create a memorable moment.
Note: This is not a review of the adventure Keys From the Golden Vault, but a review of Beadle & Grimm’s DM Vault for that adventure. Also, be warned that, if you’re intending to play any or all of the 13 heists from the book, spoilers may follow.
Golden Vault Assignment Folder
In addition to containing all the contents of the DM Vault, the Golden Vault assignment folder functions as an in-world prop. First, the folder contains its own challenging puzzle, which the Dungeon Master could choose to have the players solve before they are allowed to open the folder and receive their first mission.
The DM Vault contains a call-to-action letter and player map for each of the 13 heists within the adventure. You may use the Golden Vault Assignment Folder to deliver the appropriate materials to the players. The flap of the folder has a magnetic clasp.
Let’s take a look at everything you’ll find inside that folder.
There is a letter for each of the 13 adventures in Keys From the Golden Vault. These have been written and artist-rendered uniquely for the DM Vault. Much like the majority of handouts that Beadle & Grimm’s creates, they are all done in different styles and types of paper.Click to view slideshow.
Similarly, there are 13 maps included that can be handed out to the players along with the corresponding letters at the start of each heist. While the artwork from these is taken directly from the WotC book, Beadle & Grimm’s uses different paper types for each map. A few of the maps are even partially “burned” and/or torn, to match the illustrations in the book.Click to view slideshow.
Beadle & Grimm’s has included 6 scaled battle maps, with lovely illustrations by Stinky Goblin. These are printed on thick, double-sided paper.Click to view slideshow.
These maps aren’t comprehensive for Keys From the Golden Vault but rather represent areas where a boss fight is most likely to occur.
Like the player maps, there is a DM map for each of the 13 heists in the book. And while the maps are pulled directly from Keys From the Golden Vault, each DM map is annotated to include an at-a-glance Map Key. Additionally, they are printed with a dry-erase finish, so the Dungeon Master can take notes directly on the maps.Click to view slideshow.
Finally, what would a Beadle & Grimm’s set be without some of their custom-designed handouts? These incorporate a wide variety of art styles and paper types to help bring the adventures to life.Click to view slideshow.
DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault — The Verdict
It’s funny: my girlfriend, who has recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons, has been dying to have me run a campaign with one of my Beadle & Grimm boxed editions I’ve previously reviewed for GeekDad. She really loves the feeling of immersion that those products provide for players.
However, as I’ll be moving in with her in a few months to another part of the state, I didn’t want to launch into what’s likely to be a year-long campaign. Imagine my delight when I opened an email to discover that Beadle & Grimm’s was shipping me their newest product, the DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault. Here was a chance to play a few episodic adventures with my girlfriend and some of my local friends, but still using some of the great materials that Beadle & Grimm’s produces.
I’m used to those big boxed editions, so my first response when the DM Vault arrived was, “It’s so skinny.”
Yet, even within this slim volume, there’s a wealth of content.
Beadle & Grimm’s describes the DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault as a toolkit for Dungeon Masters, and that’s extremely accurate. They’ve provided some maps, letters, and handouts for the DM to use to help draw their players into each of the thirteen heists from the book. And I love how the assignment folder can be used as a prop when running the game. As always, Beadle & Grimm’s has put a ton of thought and creativity into the content of this set.
Do I miss some of the items from the boxed editions, such as the artifacts and NPC stat cards? Sure I do. But then again, the DM Vault is roughly half the price of Beadle & Grimm’s least expensive boxed set. And with an adventure book like Key From the Golden Vault, it’s highly unlikely Dungeon Masters are going to run all thirteen heists. So having a big boxed edition for Keys From the Golden Vault isn’t as necessary or desired as one for a campaign adventure.
So yes, Beadle & Grimm’s has spoiled me with their big box sets. But I love what comes in the DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault, and it’s just what I need to provide a great experience for my girlfriend and the other players while they carry out a few Dungeons & Dragons heists.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the DM Vault for Keys From the Golden Vault, head over to the Beadle & Grimm’s webstore.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of the DM Vault for review purposes.
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