Before the D&D movie premieres, you should play these adventures
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves arrives in theaters on March 31, hopefully clearing the extremely low bar set by previous D&D-themed movies. While fans of the seminal role-playing game are still a little bent out of shape by Hasbro’s recent spate of unforced errors, the non-gaming public seems pleasantly surprised by Sophia Lillis’ owlbear costume and Michelle Rodriguez’s flaming axe. Now, with less than two months until the premiere, we finally know which officially licensed adventure books will tie in to the Chris Pine vehicle — Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden and the soon-to-be released anthology Keys from the Golden Vault, due out beginning Feb. 7.
Among the major locations from the Forgotten Realms that will be included in the upcoming movie is Revel’s End, a maximum-security prison located in the frozen wilds of Icewind Dale. Revel’s End was introduced in Rime of the Frostmaiden, and it turns out that publisher Wizards of the Coast built its towering edifice with a particular audience in mind.
“I worked with the writers, directors to come up with a location in the Forgotten Realms that would serve the needs of the movie,” said Chris Perkins, game design architect for D&D, in a promotional video released on Thursday. Rime of the Frostmaiden was released in 2020, meaning that Perkins has been whispering in the ear of writers Michael Gilio, John Francis Daley, Chris McKay, and Jonathan Goldstein for some time now.
Rime of the Frostmaiden borrows from elements of psychological horror, including films like John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic The Thing. I’ve played a fair bit of it, and it lives up to its reputation as a mechanically challenging experience for players and Dungeon Masters alike. Revel’s End is an optional mid-level dungeon that players can explore, a panopticon built around a central, all-seeing tower. In that book, it gets a fancy bit of art from Titus Lunter, and a map by Stacey Allan and Will Doyle.
You can also see a version of it breaking through the clouds in the most recent trailer for Honor Among Thieves.
Thursday’s video, also accompanied by a news release, details how Revel’s End will play a role in Keys from the Golden Vault. Players will receive a key from the Vault, a benevolent organization hell-bent on securing McGuffins for various reasons and secreting them away. That key, once placed into a magical music box, will relay a mission from the party’s handler. Next, players will use an in-fiction map to plan their heist.
Keys from the Golden Vault will be filled with these kinds of heists, 13 in total. In a nod to 5th edition’s penchant for numerology, the quest involving Revel’s End is titled “Prisoner 13.” Rime of the Frostmaiden sent players after prisoner 237, a relative newcomer in that facility, which makes me think that the eponymous prisoner number 13 has been on ice for quite a long while indeed.
Keys from the Golden Vault is available in a few formats, including a traditional hardcover book and a Roll20 virtual tabletop supplement. Like last year’s Dragonlance reboot, it will also be sold as a physical/digital combo. Those who purchase the combo pack will get access to the Roll20 supplement two weeks earlier, on Feb. 7. Keys from the Golden Vault hits the street, including Amazon and your friendly local game store, on Feb. 21. The United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will have to wait until Mar. 24.
If you’re interested, you can download the relevant adventure from Keys from the Golden Vault for free right now on D&D Beyond, Hasbro’s digital companion for D&D, which it acquired in April.