The Vaults

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Not to be confused with "vaults", pregenerated features of the dungeon.

Possibly constructed by some powerful madman, the Vaults are said to be home to great treasures. The blood spattered liberally around the entrance suggests that there is a certain amount of violence, too.

The entrance to this branch can be found between levels 13 and 14 of the Dungeon.

This branch can only be exited while carrying at least 1 rune of Zot.

This branch is 5 levels deep.

This branch contains the entrance to the Crypt.

This branch contains the silver rune of Zot.

Vaults entry.png The Vaults are 5-floor branch filled with long, wide hallways and countless chambers. The gate to the Vaults can be found on either floor 13 or 14 of the Dungeon.

You can enter at any time, but you must have at least 1 rune of Zot (no matter where it's from) in order to exit back into the Dungeon. If you try to enter with no runes, you will receive a prompt warning you that you must have a rune to exit.


The Vaults are a sprawling compound made up of wide hallways and small chambers of various shapes and sizes, most of which are separated by doors. The entirety of this branch is made of undiggable material; stone, metal, and rarely crystal walls. If you aren't careful, it's easy to get cut off from an upstairs. Try to clear rooms methodically to avoid enemies you missed showing up when you're already half dead.


The fifth and final floor changes this pattern abruptly. Vaults:5 contains 4 very large rectangular chambers that take up almost the entire area. Each chamber is filled with loot and/or shops. A cross-shaped hallway cuts through the center, and the outer border is a hallway. The silver rune will be in one of the chambers, although there are mimics imitating the rune.

All three of the regular staircases from Vaults:4 lead to the center of Vaults:5. The center is always surrounded by 24 vault guards, as well as a number of other angry inhabitants.

Vaults:5 often contains much stronger monsters than the rest of the branch, including titans, quicksilver dragons, golden dragons, and liches.


The Vaults are inhabited by a wide variety of monsters, with many foes from late Dungeon and early Depths. Getting beaten to death by brute force is an everpresent threat, but there's many magical monsters as well.

Pack enemies appear in great numbers, from deep trolls and high-level orc bands, to squads of yaktaurs firing at range. The wide hallways and open chambers make it difficult to effectively bottleneck opponents or cut off lines of fire.

The various guard units unique to the Vaults each cause their own issues:

Bring sufficient firepower, take your time, and be ready to take a different staircase down if the one you just used places you in a fight you don't want to deal with right away. Also, if you get hit with a Sentinel's Mark, retreat to an empty floor as quickly as possible. The reinforcements it will bring can be devastating on a mostly unexplored floor.

Do not enter Vaults:5 before you are ready for it. If you had difficulty with floors 1-4, floor 5 will probably be too much for you, and even peeking down there can be immediately fatal. Many players will do Vaults:1-4, move on to the other branches, then come down to get the rune.

Vaults:5 Strategy

As soon as you climb down to V:5, you can be locked in by a vault warden, so preparation is important.


Resistances are more important than usual. Shadow dragons and storm dragons can deal surprising damage if you don't resist them. Other elemental threats like titans and deep elves are common, too.

When entering V:5 for the first time, use what buffs are at your disposal before heading down: Haste, Might, Brilliance, Heroism/Finesse...

  • Haste is particularly important, either for darting through the ring of guards towards a hallway, or for killing as many of them as quickly as possible.
  • Invisibility isn't very helpful here -- the vault guards and many of the most dangerous threats down here can all see invisible.


There are two/three 'common' strategies to tackling the entry vault. These are not exclusive with each other; you may need to use multiple.

  • Stair dancing. Only adjacent enemies follow you up the stairs. If you have good AC (and are reasonably lucky), stair dancing can clean up the entrance party.
However, a variety of foes may prevent you from using stairs. Vault wardens can seal stairs. Tentacled monstrosities can constrict you, and dragons can trample you away. Having a way to snipe enemies (javelins, all manner of high-level spells, offensive Invocations, evocables, etc.) is great to have.
In addition, the stairs may become too dangerous to climb down. Sometimes, the best thing to do is teleport away - see below for detail.
  • Teleport strategy. The basic gist is to teleport (or use an escape hatch) to land in a random location. This may land you in one of the sparsely-populated hallways along the edges of the level, where you can begin methodically clearing the level. Your goal is to end up in the corners and create a safe place to rest (by killing nearby monsters).
Of course, it might also land you in the middle of one of the treasure chambers, along with an assortment of far deadlier enemies. You may need to teleport multiple times to get a good location - teleport early and often. Buffs are highly recommended.
  • Being loud. Blast through everything in your path. If you can sustain combat for a long time, large AOE can be a good idea. Be aware that (at least when fighting in the center) the noise you generate will wake and lure out monsters from the four chambers.

One of the worst possible things that can happen on V:5 is to receive a Sentinel's Mark. If this happens, quaff a potion of cancellation or quickly retreat up the stairs to V:4. Normally, targeting yourself with your own quicksilver bolt or Yara's Violent Unravelling isn't a recommended tactic, but it may just well be worth the damage.

Even if you don't plan on being loud, it's nice to have some form of AOE attack. If you don't have spells, certain divine abilities (Chei's Slouch, Nemelex's deck of destruction, Ru's Apocalypse, Qazlal's Disaster Area...) can fill the gap. For any character, evocables (condenser vane / tin of tremorstones) are great tools if you have high Evocations skill.

Casters should be mindful of their MP, especially when teleporting. "MP efficient" spells like Malign Gateway and Spellforged Servitor are very useful. Remember to use potions of brilliance and/or potions of ambrosia when you got the chance.


c Centaur warrior.png Centaur warrior c Yaktaur.png Yaktaur c Yaktaur captain.png Yaktaur captain o Orc knight.png Orc knight o Orc warlord.png Orc warlord
Y Dire elephant.png Dire elephant J Slime creature.png Slime creature H Harpy.png Harpy k Lindwurm.png Lindwurm g Boggart.png Boggart
p Vault guard.png Vault guard p Vault sentinel.png Vault sentinel p Vault warden.png Vault warden p Ironbound convoker.png Ironbound convoker p Ironbound preserver.png Ironbound preserver
p Ironbound frostheart.png Ironbound frostheart O Ironbound thunderhulk.png Ironbound thunderhulk T Deep troll.png Deep troll B Entropy weaver.png Entropy weaver p Necromancer.png Necromancer (monster)
p Wizard.png Wizard (monster) u Very ugly thing.png Very ugly thing G Great orb of eyes.png Great orb of eyes G Glowing orange brain.png Glowing orange brain H Sphinx.png Sphinx
9 Peacekeeper.png Peacekeeper 9 War gargoyle.png War gargoyle 9 Crystal guardian.png Crystal guardian


Also includes most enemies from the above list.


p Hell knight.png Hell knight W Phantasmal warrior.png Phantasmal warrior W Freezing wraith.png Freezing wraith W Shadow wraith.png Shadow wraith W Flayed ghost.png Flayed ghost
e Deep elf annihilator.png Deep elf annihilator e Deep elf sorcerer.png Deep elf sorcerer e Deep elf death mage.png Deep elf death mage e Deep elf demonologist.png Deep elf demonologist e Deep elf high priest.png Deep elf high priest
C Stone giant.png Stone giant C Ettin.png Ettin C Fire giant.png Fire giant C Frost giant.png Frost giant O Ogre mage.png Ogre mage
T Deep troll earth mage.png Deep troll earth mage Q Tengu reaver.png Tengu reaver L Lich.png Lich


D Shadow dragon.png Shadow dragon D Storm dragon.png Storm dragon D Quicksilver dragon.png Quicksilver dragon D Golden dragon.png Golden dragon
C Titan.png Titan X Tentacled monstrosity.png Tentacled monstrosity L Ancient lich.png Ancient lich L Dread lich.png Dread lich


S Aizul.png Aizul H Asterion.png Asterion d Bai Suzhen.png Bai Suzhen L Boris.png Boris @ Donald.png Donald
@ Frederick.png Frederick V Jory.png Jory R Mara.png Mara @ Margery.png Margery A Mennas.png Mennas
@ Nikola.png Nikola o Saint Roka.png Saint Roka Q Sojobo.png Sojobo D Xtahua.png Xtahua a Zenata.png Zenata


  • Prior to 0.30, you needed one rune of Zot in order to enter this branch. (This requirement has now been moved to the exit)
  • 0.28 removed ironbound beastmasters.
  • 0.27 added ironbound frosthearts, ironbound thunderhulks, and ironbound beastmasters. Additionally, many of the weaker enemies that could spawn in the Vaults were reduced in number or removed altogether.
  • Prior to 0.14, it was not necessary to obtain a rune of Zot to enter this branch, and its entrance was located on D:15-20. Also, the four chambers on Vault:5 only had entrances on the corners nearest the center of the floor.
  • Prior to 0.12, the Vaults were made up of 8 floors, the first 7 of which were all wide open areas spotted with rectangular rooms. Also, the vault guard was the only guard-type monster found here, and they usually appeared on the eighth floor.
Dungeon branches
Dungeon exit.png The DungeonTemple entry.png The TempleDepths entry.png The DepthsZot entry.png Realm of Zot
Lair entry.png The Lair ( Spider entry.png Spider's NestSnake entry.png Snake PitSwamp entry.png The SwampShoals entry.png The ShoalsSlime entry.png Slime Pits)
Orc entry.png Orcish Mines ( Elf entry.png Elven Halls) • Vaults entry.png The Vaults ( Crypt entry.png The CryptTomb entry.png The Tomb)
Abyss entry.png The AbyssPandemonium entry.png PandemoniumHell entry.png Hell ( Cocytus entry.png CocytusDis entry.pngDisGehenna entry.png GehennaTartarus entry.png Tartarus)
See also: Portal