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Warlock’s Apprentice: Treasure Vaults of Midgard

Warlock’s Apprentice: Treasure Vaults of Midgard

Many are those needing to store wealth, information, and other odds and ends they’d prefer not fall into the hands of thieves. All across Midgard, special repositories are built to this end: difficult to locate and access and often featuring traps and guardians to destroy intruders. Here are detailed but a few of those.

Bemmean Wandering Vault

The Wandering Vault is a semi-sentient construct that roams the Magocracy of Allain. The hexagonal building measures 40 feet on each side and is 20 feet tall. It is invisible and can become ethereal (rendering all creatures and objects within ethereal as well) for 10 rounds as a reaction, so it escapes the notice of most. It crawls on a thousand pairs of metal, millipede-like appendages, giving it a speed of 150 feet. It has a fly speed of 50 feet, and it can take an action to teleport up to 1 mile if an unauthorized creature attempts to breach it. The vault can take an action to attack with its appendages, making up to two attacks per creature within 10 feet of the building (Walking Appendage. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (2d10+9) bludgeoning damage).

Very few people outside of the nine archmages of Allain have Bemmean key wands that unlock the vault. A successful DC 18 Intelligence (Arcana) check fools the locking mechanism into unlocking while a successful DC 20 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools bypasses the locking mechanism. On a failure by 5 or more, the creature making the check is targeted by disintegrate as though cast with a 9th-level spell slot.

Entering the vault is easy compared to exploring it. The layout forms a variety of sigils, each of which terminates at the beginning of a new sigil. The confounding paths created by these sigils sometimes overlap, incorporating portions of other sigils and making it difficult to walk each sigil perfectly as required. A successful DC 18 Intelligence (Arcana) check discerns the path of each sigil, which terminates at the beginning of a new sigil. A creature that fails to follow the path must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 55 (10d10) acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage (determined randomly) on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one.

Six iron golems patrol the vault’s halls and are not required to follow the path of the sigils. The golems challenge all visitors to the vault, but presenting a Bemmean key wand to a patrolling golem allows the bearer and all creatures designated by the bearer to pass freely. A successful DC 18 Intelligence (Arcana) check using an object that requires attunement by a spellcaster simulates the key wand. Alternatively, a successful DC 22 Charisma (Deception) check tricks the golem into believing the character presented a key wand. Failure on either check causes the iron golem to attack. It fights to the death and pursues creatures until they leave the building. (Note, also, that creatures failing to follow the path of sigils take damage as above.)

The vault is rumored to hold dangerous, powerful magic items and artifacts from the Great Mage Wars as well as ancient grimoires containing horrific knowledge, usually pertaining to the terrible entities roaming the Wasted West. The vault’s extreme protections and difficulty to locate support the notion that it contains items the Magocracy does not want to fall into the wrong hands.

Dragon Empire Vaults

Most dragons in the Dragon Empire prefer their hoards easily accessible, either in buildings they own or on their own person, so they can admire their accumulation of wealth. However, paranoid or ostentatious dragons sometimes commission vaults where they store their hoards. Distrustful dragons consider the cost of a vault worth the protection granted by the structure. Flashier dragons see these vaults as a representation of their wealth and practically dare thieves to attempt to break into their vaults and loot them.

Regardless of the purpose for the vaults, the dragons commissioning them also hire kobolds to build diabolical traps. They also bring in drakes to serve as guardians with the promise of a reward (or fulfilling a term of punishment) upon completion of their service. Coin drakes enjoy living in coin-filled hoards and often protect vaults merely for the pleasure of swimming in the coins contained within.

A vault in the dragon empire typically contains material wealth in the form of coins, gems, and jewels. Powerful dragons also sequester magic items—either items they take a liking to or those capable of harming dragons—in their hoards.

Spike Spike Trap. Kobolds created this two-step trap, which triggers when a creature opens the trapped door or chest. Each spike makes a ranged attack with a +8 bonus against up to four random targets within 20 feet of the trapped item. (The spike does not need to see a creature to attack it.) A target that is hit takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to avoid being impaled by the spike. A creature can take an action to remove a spike with a successful DC 12 Strength check. Regardless of the check’s success, pulling the spike out inflicts 3 (1d6) damage to the target.

One round later, on initiative count 10, a volley of spikes magnetically attracted to the first group of spikes launches from the other side of the chamber. All creatures within the chamber make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) piercing damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Creatures impaled by a spike in the previous round have disadvantage on their saving throws.

Prevention: A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check notices holes in the trapped object. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms the trap, disabling the firing mechanism. A failure on this check triggers the trap.

Another successful check spots the holes in the opposite side of the chamber. A successful DC 17 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms the second part of the trap. A failure on this check only triggers the second part of the trap.

Coin Drake

Layers of coins of all description cover this draconic creature’s head, body, and tail. Its teeth and claws appear to be coins filed down to a fine point.

Living Treasure. Coin drakes are their own hoard. When adult drakes produce an egg, they find a suitable pile of coins in which to place the egg. As coin drakes grow older and larger, they add more coins to their bodies and replace coins of lesser value with those of greater value. Coin drakes not associated with another dragon’s hoard must constantly replenish coins they lose in combat. When they are killed, they collapse into a heap of coins.

Watchful Wardens. Coin drakes among a pile of coins become attuned to the coins and can sense movement of those coins. This makes them excellent guardians of coin-filled hoards belonging to more powerful dragons who don’t mind the loss of a handful of coins to drakes who must rebuild themselves after a fight.

Coin Dependent. Coin drakes measure 3 feet long and weigh 50 pounds with most of that weight coming from coins. Plucking individual coins from the drakes is difficult, but it sheds them when it engages in vigorous activity. A “naked” coin drake often dies within an hour of losing its last coin, prompting a desperate search for replacements.

Coin Drake

Small dragon, neutral
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 82 (11d6 + 44)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.

10 (+0) 16 (+3) 19 (+4) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 15 (+2)

Saving Throws Dex +6, Cha +5
Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, unconscious
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Coin Sense. The coin drake has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on vibrations when a creature comes into contact with coins within 20 feet of the drake.

False Appearance. While the coin drake remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a pile of coins.


Multiattack. The coin drake makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Hurled Coins. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

Molten Gold (Recharge 5–6). The coin drake expels gold heated within its body in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 33 (6d10) fire damage or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that fails its save is restrained by the rapidly cooling gold. As an action, the creature can make a DC 15 Strength check, breaking free of the gold on a success…


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