What Do I Know About Reviews? Keys from the Golden Vault, Part Five (D&D 5e)
The next adventure we’re going to look at, Prisoner 13, is already adjacent to greater fame. It takes place in Revel’s End, the prison that Chris Perkins created to tie into the Dungeons & Dragons movie that will be coming out shortly (at the time of this writing). This adventure is firmly set in the Forgotten Realms (although it can be converted using similar conventions), and it’s also the preview adventure that was released as a teaser for this anthology.
If you are following along, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this adventure is for 4th-level characters.
As will all of the other adventures we’re looking at, I’m not planning on revealing every twist and turn in the adventure, but I’m going to talk enough about the adventure that there will be some spoilers. If you plan on playing in this adventure, you should probably jump off right about . . . now.
A shield dwarf clan from Gauntylgrim lost a lot of their fortune when it was stolen by a member of their clan. She was remanded to Revel’s End for her actions, but the clan is in bad shape, and has managed to find the vault where she stored the stolen treasure. The dwarven prisoner is the only one with the key to the vault. They tried to get her released, but the Lord’s Alliance representatives that make these decisions denied her parole.
If the PCs are working for the Golden Vault, they get recruited to help the fortunes of the dwarven clan by entering Revel’s End and finding out where the key is. If they aren’t working for the Golden Vault, a member of the Shield Dwarf clan decides to cut the PCs in on a percentage of the treasure if they can get into Revel’s End and find out about the key.
Most of the adventure isn’t going to take place there, but depending on if the player characters want to follow the plan set out by the dwarf who hired them, they start off in Luskan, on a ship bound for Revel’s End, undercover. The rest of the adventure is set in the prison itself, which is located in the frosty northern location of Icewind Dale.
This has been the first adventure in this anthology with a lot of setting-specific details. While it’s easy enough to ignore them, they really do add a lot to the texture of the adventure, especially if you want to use Revel’s End as a plot point in future campaigns set in the Forgotten Realms. There is some backstory on how the Lord’s Alliance runs the place, as well as another faction that has its own interest in the location as well.
While the PCs are presented with a specific plan, the adventure also details some other options that they may take if they want to freestyle a plan. In general, the PCs are going to be disguising themselves to enter a prison, and are prepared for the eventuality that they may need to break a prisoner out of incarceration.
As a twist, the PCs may not need to break the prisoner out of prison, but they may need to be able to steal something for her, and then get it back to its original location without being found out.
There are also some easy-to-implement rules on determining patrols in the prison, the DC to hide or get out of trouble when patrols come around, and the differences in security when the alert level in the prison has been raised.
There are a lot of details to be discovered in this adventure. There are charts that determine the personalities of some of the other prisoners at the prison, as well as their crimes. There are secrets held by the warden, as well as the disposition of the members of the Lord’s Alliance present at the prison. There is a lot of texture for the PCs to snag if they decide to do so.
Most of this adventure sees the PCs dealing with humanoids of various types, although depending on who the PCs interact with, there is also a possessing undead, and what could be a fun encounter with a Spectator that knows exactly who should and shouldn’t be present at the prison.
This is one of the first adventures that mentions what happens if the PCs do something that the Golden Vault wouldn’t approve of, and I appreciate that detail. Assuming the PCs haven’t decided to go on a murder spree to get the job done, the Golden Vault once again offers them a magic item as payment, but this time around, the rarity jumps up to rare.
The treasure from the Shield Dwarf clan is substantial. Not only do they get some coins and gems for their trouble, but there is also a selection of magic items that they can gain as well. If you are playing this as a campaign, this team is pretty well-outfitted for a 4th level group of adventurers. It’s worth noting that only one of the potential items they get from the Shield Dwarf clan is an attunement item.
I’m going to point out that I’m more than willing to wear my biases on my sleeve, and the Forgotten Realms lore in this one warms my heart. I especially like that the lore in this adventure isn’t so much leaning on old canon, but building on new connections that make sense for the setting. I like the possibilities that the prison and how it is run present for Forgotten Realms campaigns.
I also really enjoy that there is a mechanical way of tracking patrols and security levels that give you a solid set of rules to rely on that aren’t too much to deal with. In fact, these are rules that could easily be ported to other similar adventures.
There is also a nice flexibility in this adventure, in that the PCs are given an obvious plan from their employer, but the adventure itself also contains some information if the PCs decide to attempt other options beyond just posing as guards that work at the prison.
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