The Vaults of Vaarn are subterranean ruins that riddle the blue desert. Crucially, these Vaults will always contain Exotica, the far-future treasures the PCs are searching for; therefore, the GM is advised to create one such location before the campaign begins.

Follow these steps to begin drafting a Vault.

  1. Roll a d20 to determine the basics: the entrance type, tunnel type, and original function of the Vault. This will form the base for your inspiration.
  2. Next, list five ideas for rooms, but don’t map them yet. Just picture five locations that might be found in the Vault you’re creating. If you can’t think of anything or need fresh ideas, roll on both Room Feature lists below, and combine the two features.
  3. Attach hazards to the second and fourth rooms in the list. These may flow logically from the room features you rolled; alternatively use the Hazards table below to generate ideas. Some hazards should be immediately obvious, while others might be more insidious.
  4. Attach an item of Exotica to the fifth room using the d100 table provided. These items are the goal of a vault-raiding expedition, so make sure they’re challenging to reach, but obtainable if the characters persevere.
  5. You now have five rooms for exploration. Sketch out a map of how they connect to one another. Think about doors, but also consider elevator shafts, staircases, teleporters, air vents, drainage systems, and other passageways. Make sure most rooms have at least two exits.
  6. Add an NPC into the Vault for the players to talk with. This could be a forgotten prisoner, an AI, a sentient ant colony, another scavenger, or anyone from the NPC table. They don’t have to be friendly, but think about why they’re in the Vault, and what they might want from the PCs.
  7. Write up an encounter table. This is a list of d8 active creatures or phenomena that may be found as you move around the Vault. Think about the encounters that would emerge logically from the details you have created so far; one of them could be the NPC you created in step 6. Use the Bestiary for ideas if you are stuck. As the PCs explore, roll a d6 each time they enter a location or make a loud noise. If you roll a 1, roll on the encounter table. You can find some generic, unthemed encounter tables below.
  8. With a map, an encounter table, and a reward for the PCs, you are now ready to play! If you want a larger Vault, return to step 2 and begin adding more ideas for rooms. Make sure to keep adding Exotica as the Vault grows in size. A party of four PCs will need to find four Exotica to reach level 2 and eight to reach level 3, so ensure it is possible for your players to advance if they are bold and clever.

Vault Basics

d20Vault EntranceTunnelsOriginal Purpose
1Steel Blast DoorsHalf-FloodedFallout Shelter
2Back of Tiny CaveFilled with Blue SandTransport Network
3Enormous CraterDusty and SilentBioweapon Research
4Narrow Fissure in CliffCrystal-encrustedTime Paradox Research
5Through Old SewerBlood Red WallsLanguage Virus Research
6Atop MountainDecorated TilesGeothermal Power Station
7Opens At Full MoonFire-DamagedNuclear Power Station
8Scrawled With RunesWinding and NarrowHypergeometry Research
9Functioning LiftDescend Into The UrthDeep Core Mining
10Broken LiftSomehow Absorb SoundMilitary Command Post
11Functioning EscalatorLightless and DankTitan AI Memory Banks
12Broken EscalatorSpiralling, StrangeTitan AI Cooling System
13Ruined Train TunnelLit with Bioluminous MossSeed Bank
14Beneath Toxic WaterSurprisingly CleanInterrogation Chambers
15Air Filtration VentFull of Ancient CorpsesSynth Production
16Infested with BatsIncredibly ColdIllicit Cloning Facility
17Barricaded from InsideEnormous and EchoingSpy Network Base
18Below an ArcologyBattle DamagedRecycling Plant
19Below a SettlementWhite and SterileHidden Reservoir
20Below a RuinFilled with GarbageAutarch’s Hideout

Room Features and Hazards

d20Room Feature ARoom Feature BSample Hazards
1Banks of syntax enginesCorpses in hazmat suitsCarnivorous Fungus
2Filled with blue sandFlickering broken viewscreensAncient chaingun turret
3Littered with plasticSpeaker plays discordant musicRigged with proximity mines
4Tangled gas ductsWeeping source of waterToxic gas leak
5Erratic sparking arraysBlast-proof doorRadioactive waste
6Grim silent enginesConference tableFaulty elevator
7Lattice of Memory CrystalExercise equipmentCrazed guard synths
8Enigmatic booksSleeping nooksHypergeometric rift
9Preserved foodstuffsCorpse seared by laser fireMagnetized ceiling
10Home to bat colonyDead synthUnstable floors
11Scrawled with graffitiWeapon lockersLaser grid trap
12Functional vending machineSingle mummified corpseFlooded room; electric cable
13Overgrown with pink mossCampfire left by other vault raidersOverzealous janitor synths
14Vats of esoteric chemicalsBloodstained laboratory equipmentSharp, self-replicating crystals
15Abandoned dining setWarning in ancient languageCapricious AI overseer
16Echoing bottomless shaftCrazed web of wiresCannibal descendant of original inhabitants
17Gleaming forcefield projectorWarning in ancient languageMind-slaving hypnoscreens
18Ancient insect hiveColossal dead molluskVault sacred to Faa nomads; intruders killed
19Choked with dead vinesHovering polychrome spheresVault is Lair for Monster
20Sentient, immobile machineHumming teleportation gateVault is Bandit Hideout

Generic Vault Encounter Tables

d8 Depth 1Depth 2Depth 3Depth 4Depth 5
13d6 Blue BaboonsBattle Board6 Battle Boarsd4 Cacogen Pseudo-giantsd8 Cacogen Pseudo-giants
2d8 Greenguardd6 Cacklemawd8 Cacklemaw + War Mamad6 Walking Wombsd8 Lambent Lynx
3Harlequin Serpentd6 Lizard LionsSubtle StalkerLeopard WormArgent Shepherd
43d6 Pthalho-jackalsd8 Faa Nomadsd6 Hiveymend4 Hollow MaidensAlzabo
5d6 Grey Cricketsd6 PlaneyfolkLithling Scholard4 Glass Tigersd6 Glass Tigers
6d6 Quill-Spidersd10 Banditsd6 Memory EatersRegeneratord6 Regenerators
7d6 Stumbling Dronesd6 Tiger-fliesBehemoth Toadd6 Behemoth ToadsChromavore
82d6 YurlingsGiant Azure Scorpiond4 Giant Azure ScorpionsXanthous MycopmorphAmaranthine Death-Worm

5 thoughts on “CREATING A VAULT”

    1. Cheers BB, thanks for the write-ups on your blog also. I’m still thinking about expanding this stuff further and maybe doing procedural generation for dungeon layout but haven’t hit on a good method yet.


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