D&D Keys From the Golden Vault explained: story, new features, verdict, and deals

Keys From the Golden Vault cover artwork, showing two Rogues rappelling into a building
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Wondering what all the fuss is about for Keys From the Golden Vault? We've got you covered. No matter whether you're a newcomer or a Dungeon Master veteran with years of experience under your +2 magic belt, you'll find everything you need to know about the new D&D release below.

As deals on Keys From the Golden Vault are also flying around right now, we've listed the cheapest available offers on this new addition to the lineup of Dungeons and Dragons books. For example, you can currently get it from Amazon US for 30% less than normal.  Similarly, those in the UK can pick it up from GAME at a massively reduced £29.99 or for £33.75 from Amazon instead of nearly £42.

Keys From the Golden Vault - essential info

Keys From the Golden Vault interior artwork of a party planning a heist

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

What is Keys From the Golden Vault?

Keys From the Golden Vault is the latest D&D adventure, or set of adventures, to be precise. This book is actually a collection of 13 one-off quests that can be incorporated into any world, campaign, or setting. They're also designed for characters from levels 1 to 11. 

While each story is its own beast, they all share a theme that sets the book apart from some of the best tabletop RPGs - heists. Your party is hired for these jobs by the mysterious Golden Vault, an organization dedicated to doing good no matter the cost. As such, the missions aren't about getting rich quick; it's about retrieving dangerous artifacts that would be deadly in the wrong hands. 

Keys From the Golden Vault release date

This D&D book hit shelves in the US on February 21, but Keys From the Golden Vault isn't due to land in the UK until March 24.

Interestingly, anyone who pre-ordered the book on D&D Beyond got access to the digital version as of February 7. This could be a sign of things to come, particularly because publisher Wizards of the Coast has been clear about incorporating a digital D&D Beyond version of the book into your purchase whenever you get a physical copy.

Are there new classes or races in Keys From the Golden Vault?

Unfortunately, you won't find any new classes, subclasses, backgrounds, or races within Keys From the Golden Vault - it's purely focused on adventure and story. However, it does differ from what's come before by including missions specifically revolving around heists. That means maps for planning the job are included, as well as numerous complications and rival groups. So far as we can tell, this is a first for D&D.

Keys From the Golden Vault - story

Keys From the Golden Vault Prisoner 13 adventure artwork

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Because this is an anthology book like Candlekeep Mysteries and Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, Keys From the Golden Vault doesn't have a plot connecting one adventure to another. Instead, it's a collection of one-shot missions that can be played alone or as part of a larger campaign.

However, an overarching thread comes in the form of the Golden Vault itself. Little is known about this organization, but it's rumored to be involved with metallic dragons and dwells somewhere on the good-aligned planes of reality. In fact, its motto is "do good, no matter the cost." 

Those missions are incredibly varied

While you won't meet with the heads of the order, you'll get your missions via a magical music box that's unlocked by specific keys (hence the book's name). Turn the key and the music box will play you a secret message detailing your next assignment, kind of like a fantasy spin on Mission Impossible's exploding recordings.

Those missions are incredibly varied; you'll be stealing mysterious eggs from museums before they can hatch into eldritch monstrosities, breaking into prison to question a crime boss about their hidden treasure, robbing a casino built on stolen funds, and more. Because each one has been written by a different writer, they also bring a different tone and perspective to keep things fresh.

If you want to get a taste for what's included within the book, you can download a free D&D adventure for Tales From the Golden Vault right now - all you need is a D&D Beyond account.

Keys From the Golden Vault - alt covers & accessories

Keys From the Golden Vault alternate cover on a plain background

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

As always with D&D releases, Keys From the Golden Vault has an alternate cover as well as a standard one. This special version was created by Simen Meyer and is only available from hobby stores (or the likes of Barnes and Noble online in the US and Waterstones in the UK). Following the trend of being more impressionistic than the normal release, it depicts a keyhole to an unknown vault - very in-keeping with the book's heist theme, in other words.

You won't have to pay any extra to get the alt cover, though. It's the same price as the standard copy, and its contents are exactly the same.

Here's where we've been able to find it online.



As for accessories, Keys From the Golden Vault doesn't have any to speak of right now. While some books launch alongside special dice and maps, this one doesn't.

Should you buy Keys From the Golden Vault?

Keys From the Golden Vault interior artwork of a bard leaping away from a tower

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Although I've not had a chance to read Keys From the Golden Vault cover to cover just yet, what I've seen so far is very positive. Besides being intriguingly unique with good elevator pitches for each story, the missions are easily digestible and won't stretch on beyond their welcome - they can comfortably be finished within a few hours. Basically, they're perfect if you want a one-and-done session.

The addition of incomplete maps around which to plan your heist is also a fun touch. Besides giving players a prop to use in planning their operation, it's inevitable that something will go wrong during the mission so any blind spots or missing info on the map will help to raise tension. It's a good way of introducing twists that don't feel as if they've come from nowhere, too.

And hey, the whole idea of planning a heist is a great fit for D&D. The best moments around the table are when everyone's trying to plan their next move, usually in excruciating detail, so Keys leaning into that is a great move. 

It's ideal for one-off sessions to help you learn the ropes or to drop into existing campaigns as a break

The downside? Murder hobos and combat fanatics probably won't like this too much. Stealth and roleplay are of the utmost importance here, so being good at knocking heads together won't be all that useful here. Actually, the book recommends rolling characters who emphasize sneaking, general skullduggery, and proficiency with thieves tools. This won't be for everyone.

Still, the adventures aren't the end of it; each one suggests further stories based on whether you succeed or fail, and that gives a whole host of options if you want to expand on the plot in later sessions or break out more traditional adventures.

With that in mind, I'd definitely recommend picking up Keys From the Golden Vault no matter whether you're a Dungeon Master newcomer or a veteran of many campaigns. It's ideal for one-off sessions to help you learn the ropes or to drop into existing campaigns as a break. For me, books like this and Candlekeep Mysteries are perfect additions to any DM's arsenal.

Keys From the Golden Vault - deals

Keys From the Golden Vault Prisoner 13 interior artwork of Revel's End

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Want to get the lowest price on this roundup of D&D adventures? Don't worry, we've got our bargain-hunting software on the lookout for any discounts and reductions. If it finds a sale, you'll see the offer below. 

Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to the latest Lego news. I've been writing about games in one form or another since 2012, and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.