The Dead Vault is a sealed demiplane located within Golarion's molten core that some say can be found thousands of miles below the center of the Windswept Wastes on the continent of Casmaron. Connected to the surface through the Pit of Gormuz, the Dead Vault is the eons-old prison holding the god Rovagug and his servants.1 Legends say that should the Rough Beast ever escape the Dead Vault, he will lay waste to all of Golarion.2
In the legendary period of Golarion's earliest past known as the Age of Creation, the gods of Golarion banded together to stop Rovagug, the god of destruction, from unraveling everything they had worked so hard to create. Such was Rovagug's power, that it required the cooperation of such differing gods as Sarenrae and Asmodeus to stop him. Calistria distracted Rovagug; Torag and Gorum forged the shell of the Dead Vault; Pharasma imbued it with potent wards against escape; Sarenrae delivered the blow that knocked Rovagug to the Dead Vault; Dou-Bral impaled Rovagug with several Star Towers to prevent him from hearing the prayers of his faithful; and finally Asmodeus used a key to lock him up. The Star Towers were damaged after Dou-Bral became Zon-Kuthon, allowing Rovagug to grant spells once more; this ultimately led to the corruption of the city of Gormuz.13
The Dead Vault is a demiplane of incredible power, combining Sarenrae's burning fury with Asmodeus' dark pragmatism. It appears as a massive faceted topaz that traps the Rough Beast inside it, like an ancient insect caught in amber. It is circled by rings of black iron and inscribed with binding runes. Even though it is visible to those capable of surviving the incredible heat and pressure found at Golarion's core, it is magically warded from approach by Asmodeus himself. Anyone who approaches it is magically redirected, although Asmodeus has on rare occasions allowed someone to almost reach it, before causing the demiplane to swallow the intruder.1
The interior of the Dead Vault is its own demiplane and does not actually exist within Golarion's core. It is a gigantic, hollow world thousands of miles in diameter. Devoid of light, it is said to be filled with a chitinous ocean of Rovagug's servants, primarily his shades, who battle and consume one another in a cannibalistic frenzy. Other sections contain regions of the lowest parts of the Darklands created by the Vault Keepers that have been absorbed into the Dead Vault. Devils are also said to roam the demiplane in packs, somehow able to survive its other inhabitants. The other major denizens of the Dead Vault are legions of qlippoth, formerly Rovagug's symbiotes or followers who were swept up and imprisoned alongside him.13
The vermin that lived in the soil were captured and imprisoned inside the Dead Vault, and with no choice but to feast upon Rovagug's divine flesh they evolved into colossal wrackworms that sometimes burrow their way out of the Dead Vault to wreak terrible destruction upon the rest of existence.6
The Dead Vault is said to be connected to Golarion's surface via the Pit of Gormuz, a miles-long vertical passage that tunnels through Golarion's crust and reaches all the way to the planet's molten core. The wards binding Rovagug within the demiplane, however, were constructed in haste, and the gods did not fully understand the extent of Rovagug's power, or how he might change after eons of imprisonment. Although they keep him from escaping, the barriers allow aspects of his essence and spirit to leak out and build up, eventually triggering monstrous transformations in the inhabitants of Golarion's Darklands. The greatest of these monstrosities made their way to the surface and became known as the spawn of Rovagug.1
Key to the Dead Vault
Asmodeus holds the key to the Dead Vault and enjoys using it to taunt Rovagug. Otherwise, the gods tend to avoid the Dead Vault other than to periodically check to ensure that their hated enemy remains imprisoned.8
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- “Other Dimensions” in The Great Beyond, A Guide to the Multiverse, 49–50. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Pyramid of Kamaria” in Dungeons of Golarion, 42. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 212. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 245. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “The End Times” in Concordance of Rivals, 49. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Chapter 4: Bestiary” in Planar Adventures, 251. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- “Mwangi Campaigns” in Heart of the Jungle, 43. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 32. Paizo Inc., 2008 .