330596_INTRO—HEIST PLANNING_ Art by Alexandre HonoréThe following cease on our tour of the adventures in Keys from the Golden Vault is one other Eighth-level journey, Coronary heart of Ashes. The PCs will likely be making an attempt to steal one thing, however there’s a complete lot happening, that means that the outline of the job leaves so much left to the creativeness.

Spoiler Warning

As with the opposite adventures I’ve checked out, I’m going to be wanting on the common construction and elements that go into this journey. I could not reveal every little thing within the journey, however when you see too lots of the constructing blocks, you might get the thought of what’s in retailer. If you’re going to be a participant on this journey, now’s the time to hit eject on this weblog submit.

The Hook

The Golden Vault needs you to steal a human coronary heart from the ruins of a citadel in a cursed metropolis. Fairly brief and candy. In concept, you might have one more reason to fulfill up with the survivor of that cursed metropolis, a knight and bodyguard to the native ruler, however the journey doesn’t spend any time on constructing out alternate hooks past working for the Golden Vault.

It wouldn’t be too arduous to have a relative within the cursed metropolis, set up that the knight is a pal of one of many PCs, or any variety of different hooks that don’t revolve round receiving a mission from the Golden Vault, however you’ll be fleshing out these hooks by yourself.

The Setting

This journey takes place within the metropolis of Ghalasine, with a lot of the motion going down in what’s left of Citadel Cinis. You’ll be capable to discover Ghalasine, as a result of there’s a huge large void hovering over the place.

With the descriptions of the deterioration of town, components of the citadel breaking unfastened to drift within the air, and the soulless our bodies of the previous inhabitants of town changed into elemental husks, I’m getting some main Darkish Souls vibes from this location.

Heist Tropes

As with a lot of the different adventures on this anthology, you get a map for the placement, and you’ve got the chance to plan your strategy for getting into the citadel and monitoring down the center it’s good to discover. That mentioned, the power to plan with a format and the thought that you’re “stealing” one thing (extra context on that later) is essentially the most this journey attracts from heist tropes.

Due to how the area has been warped, and souls have been pulled into the void above town, numerous the guards aren’t folks simply doing a job that you just’re making an attempt to keep away from, however manifestations of a curse. The center that you just’re making an attempt to steal isn’t a treasure that has modified palms, however was actually torn from the ruler’s chest to enact the curse. There isn’t actually a twist, apart from possibly doing the “mistaken factor” with the center, and it could take a crew with a critical vendetta in opposition to the PCs to need to courageous this example simply to beat them to the punch.


Many of the character particulars on this journey are going to come back from the knight firstly of the journey explaining that the king’s mage, Charmayne Daymore, turned jealous of his different advisors and of the king’s rapport together with his topics. You get extra particulars on the state of affairs earlier than the king’s coronary heart was actually stolen for the ritual if the PCs discover a drow ambassador that has been trapped within the type of a mephit.

In one other “Souls-Like” contact, there are additionally charcoal collectible figurines that Charmayne has used to entice the feelings of a few of her victims for the time being of their dying for doable magical experimentation, and PCs can, after choosing them up and experiencing the final moments of the folks whose feelings are deposited within the figurine, use them as a spell focus that may do further psychic injury to Charmayne.


The motif on this journey is that Charmayne’s jealousy is popping every little thing to ashes, and I like that to strengthen this theme, as a substitute of the soulless our bodies being represented with undead, the folks of town are animated husks of ash and embers which might be represented with elementals. There are additionally some hellhounds, that are the mutated pets of the king, and some constructs.

The king himself is successfully a golem with an open chest cavity and a few personalized talents. For those who don’t agree with me on the Souls vibes coming off this journey, I ask you to direct your consideration to the art work for the king in his cursed kind.

In a change-up from the opposite adventures on this anthology, you don’t actually run into any humanoids in the midst of the journey correct. Even Charmayne, the wizard whose jealousy brought on all of this, is at present affected by the curse as effectively, and in addition seems as an ashen elemental.

After Motion

You simply completed up an Eighth-level journey, and also you saved a king. For those who actually need it, you will get lands and a title in your hassle. D&D 5e might not have a ton of guidelines for that kind of factor, nevertheless it’s a pleasant narrative boon for those who helped out a king in his second of want.

The Golden Vault will get you a present card for a Thayan Enclave that expired 120 years in the past on Toril. I’m kidding. They reward you with one other uncommon magic merchandise.

In concept, the PCs may get the “unhealthy ending” if they’re actually determined to finish the curse and destroy the center earlier than taking it outdoors of the vary of the curse. That also ends the curse, nevertheless it doesn’t return everybody to life. Apart from not getting land or a title, it doesn’t appear to be going this route goes to upset the Golden Vault an excessive amount of.


This one may very well be extra “heist-like” for positive, however I actually like the way it comes collectively, total. After I say that is “Souls-Like” I imply the ambiance, the descriptions, the truth that yow will discover out what impressed Charmayne to enact the curse within the first place by doing a little analysis within the cursed citadel, however you don’t actually need to know that backstory to repair the curse.

I did need to contact on the truth that that is the second Eighth-level journey within the anthology. Not solely is it the second Eighth-level journey, however each Eighth-level adventures contain hearts which might be symbolically damaged or framed in a poetic approach associated to a curse (“the center of Ghalasine has at all times been its king”). I believe I’d choose one of many two adventures to run if I have been stringing this collectively in a marketing campaign, simply to protect the influence of no matter story you select to run, and to maintain the center symbolism reigned in too shut collectively.

It is a good journey to have in your again pocket for these nights when a number of members of your gaming group begin to categorical their love for Souls-style story components.