The Vaults

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Version 0.28: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
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 entered 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 a convoluted 5-floor Dungeon branch filled with long, wide hallways and countless treasure chambers, most of which are (unfortunately) empty. They are guarded by a wide variety of late-game monsters, as well as a number of guards unique to the branch, but the promise of the silver rune of Zot, access to the Crypt, and four guaranteed treasure or shop vaults makes it well worth the hazards.

The gate to the Vaults can be found on either floor 13 or 14 of the Dungeon; it requires at least one Rune of Zot to open.


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. Composed primarily of stone, metal, and crystal walls, only the most powerful Earth Magic specialists or sufficiently pious followers of Lugonu can expect to alter the floor plan much. Because the arrangement of rooms can be extremely convoluted, it's easy to get cut off from the stairway back up if you aren't careful; 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. The floor contains four very large rectangular chambers that take up almost the entire area, save for a cross-shaped central hallway separating them all and an outer hallway bordering everything. These four large vault chambers have openings at each corner. All three normal staircases from the 4th to the 5th floor dump you in the very center of the floor, which will be surrounded by many vault guards and other angry Vault inhabitants. Fortunately, this floor also houses an immense amount of loot and possibly shops, along with the silver rune of Zot.

Useful Info

The Vaults are inhabited by a wide variety of monsters (almost anything threatening that can appear in the lowest floors of the Dungeon or the Depths can generate here) with a very diverse array of attacks, but simply getting beaten to death by brute force is an everpresent threat. Stone giants, yaktaur bands, and other common creatures have high physical damage output at range, and the wide hallways and open chambers make it difficult to effectively bottleneck opponents or cut off lines of fire. Pack enemies also appear in great numbers, ranging from high-level orc bands to devastating hell knight packs, and the various guard units unique to the Vaults each cause their own issues:

p Vault guard.png Vault guard- Plentiful lumbering oafs with heavy weapons and sturdy armour.

p Vault sentinel.png Vault sentinel- Wakes up nearby enemies, afflicts you with Sentinel's Mark, often has a crossbow.

p Vault warden.png Vault warden- Can seal doors and stairs around you, forcing you to kill it to escape.

p Ironbound convoker.png Ironbound convoker- Recalls and buffs enemy units from elsewhere on the floor.

p Ironbound preserver.png Ironbound preserver- Soaks partial damage for other enemies, effectively doubling their HP until the preserver dies.

p Ironbound frostheart.png Ironbound frostheart- Freezes anything standing by the walls.

O Ironbound thunderhulk.png Ironbound thunderhulk- Ogres who bombard you with lightning, but only from a distance.

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.


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


The fifth floor is an abrupt change from the first four. All of the standard down staircases to V:5 place you in the very center of the floor, with a ring of over a dozen vault guards waiting for you and several other (much more dangerous) opponents lurking right behind them. These monsters can include titans, storm dragons, quicksilver dragons, shadow dragons, and liches, along with the worst of what you've encountered on the previous 4 floors. No matter what your character type may be, charging in and slugging it out is very likely to go poorly.

Resistances are much more important on V:5 than on the floors above. The draining attacks of shadow dragons can strip away your HP with frightening speed unless you have negative energy resistance (the more the better). Failing that, high evasion and possibly Repel Missiles help tremendously. Storm dragon breath can be brutal as well without electricity resistance, which also protects against the lightning bolts of titans. Quicksilver dragons deal severe damage regardless of your defenses and can dispel any buffs you might be taking advantage of, so try to make them a high priority. Packing some fire and cold resistance on top of everything else is advisable, as there are plenty of other dragon types around, not to mention casters with broad spell lists. High willpower will help protect you from some of the dangerous enchantments you're likely to see here (Slow, Confuse, Paralyze, Banishment, and especially Sentinel's Mark).

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 so helpful here -- the vault guards and many of the most dangerous threats down here can all see invisible.

Stair dancing to break up the oncoming horde into manageable squads can work very well, but a vault warden sealing the staircases from the edge of your vision, a tentacled monstrosity constricting you, or a dragon trampling you off the stairs before you can make it back up will ruin your day. Javelins, Level 6-9 Conjurations spells, or offensive Invocations can usually take out such threats quickly, but they still leave you subject to several attacks in the meantime.

A good tactic can be to teleport yourself out of the ring of guards into one of the hallways surrounding the treasure vaults, forcing most of your opponents to come at you from one direction instead of all sides. Blink might land you where you want to go, but a scroll of blinking will guarantee it. Alternatively, a scroll of teleportation might land you in one of the sparsely-populated hallways along the edges of the level, where you can begin methodically clearing the level at a slower pace; of course, it might also land you in the middle of one of the treasure chambers along with an assortment of far deadlier enemies. Taking an escape hatch or a shaft down from V:4 can produce a similar result, but with the added bonus of not necessarily waking the guards around the stairs.

If you do choose to stand and fight, use the most powerful area-of-effect attacks you have. Freezing Cloud, Ozocubu's Refrigeration, Starburst, Olgreb's Toxic Radiance/Ignite Poison... Extremely high-level spells like Ignition, Fire Storm, Polar Vortex, or Shatter are very effective, if you can cast them. Be aware that the noise you generate will wake and lure out monsters from the four treasure vaults.

For a more subtle approach, you can try slowing or disabling opponents with spells like Dazzling Flash, Metabolic Englaciation, or Leda's Liquefaction. Alistair's Intoxication works well here, as you'll confuse the majority of the guards, causing them to injure each other and leaving you free to take out the more serious threats. Discord can also work, but you'll want to have an escape plan so you aren't standing in the middle of an angry mob as it tears itself apart.

Characters without magic still have a couple tools at their disposal. Several gods offer potent invokable abilities, such as Cheibriados's Slouch, Nemelex Xobeh's deck of destruction, Ru's Apocalypse, or Qazlal's Disaster Area. A condenser vane with some Evocations training behind it can whittle down your attackers to manageable levels. Another tactic is to stack as much fire resistance as possible, waltz down the stairs to V:5, read a scroll of immolation, and set off a chain reaction. You'll still take considerable damage and will generate an immense amount of noise, but successfully pulling it off is a blast (literally).

The worst possible thing 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 purple draconian breath or Yara's Violent Unravelling isn't a recommended tactic, but if you're out of potions of cancellation, stripping a V:5 Sentinel's Mark by any means necessary is often worth the risk.


  • 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.