“In the depths of the Underdark, the beholder Xynkil patiently guards its precious treasure, waiting to destroy anyone foolish enough to try and steal it.”
Barry Dore’s Xynkil’s Vault presents players with a classic Dungeons & Dragons‘s monster to confront in the the eponymous beholder. Designed for players between levels 11 and 12 and taking place in Forgotten Realms along the Sword Coast around the incredibly popular city of Waterdeep. This adventure allows for players to insert it into their own campaign or dig in deep with Forgotten Realms lore as Dore has also included the option of spicing the adventure with politics from the Emerald Enclave. The point being, players are able to immerse themselves in an already fleshed out world if they decide to take on the module as a true one-shot.
The premise is simple and to the point–the beholder Xynkil has grown too rich and now a rival wants it dead. This adventure feels like a bit of a grind or, at least, an exercise in resource management. Dore has populated the Underdark players must traverse with a diverse amount of monsters spaced just well enough and flavored with nuanced quirks to make it a challenge. However, this adventure will require players to exercise a certain degree of restraint or, rather, think and act tactically so that when Xynkil is finally confronted players aren’t drained.
There is a wide variety of types of foes presented here–beasts, humanoids, and constructs–keeping players on their toes and preventing them from feeling they can simply script their attacks. Dore has also provided some very clear and simple grid maps DMs can elaborate on without much difficulty. Should players succeed, the rewards are impressive and would serve as excellent boons to take into one’s standard campaign. What I enjoyed most about Dore’s adventure is the pure delve of it. Xynkil’s Vault is a deep dive into the caverns of the Underdark making it a classic dungeon adventure. It feels both familiar and new making it very satisfying. If players find this adventure engaging, then they ought to check out Dore’s other ‘Seldom Spring Adventures.’
Recommended Party: There doesn’t feel much room in this adventure for roleplay, but that would change depending on what perks and paths chosen by players with their level 11/12 characters. Casters will want to not be overlapping in spells but have a good variety between them. I think a party of five with a warlock, barbarian, sorcerer, bard, and rogue would do very well.