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The slab.

A vault () is a site that constitutes the ultimate challenge for any adventurer. Vaults are created by demons during world generation as part of the process of escaping into the world. After constructing the vault and a slab, demons enlist the help of a deity with a relevant sphere, and the deity performs a ritual at the vault to bring the demon physically into the world (for example, a god associated with Fortresses may release a demon associated with Fortresses). The slab used in the ritual is then stored in the vault, and various guardian angels make it their duty to defend the vault, and the slab, against adventurers.

After the demon has been brought into the world, it returns to the underworld spire from which it originally emerged. When history begins, goblin civilizations build a dark fortress around the spire and make it their capital, with the demon their leader. It is not known for certain whether there are always the same number of goblin civilizations as escaped demons, but it seems to be the case.

Vaults are large cylindrical structures constructed from slade, descending many Z-levels into the ground and filled with a mostly linear chain of rooms (similar to those found in sewers and tombs) occupied by the angelic guardians and containing occasional parkour-esque climbing challenges. Along the way can be found several levers linked to vertical bars which must be raised in order to progress further. At the bottom of the vault is a giant slab inscribed with the demon's true name, and this knowledge allows you to track it down and either banish it or compel it to serve you (join you as a companion).

There are three types of angels you will meet in vaults: assistants (bestial creatures with random features and low combat skills), soldiers (sentient humanoids with weapons and armor made of divine materials and Talented-level combat skills), and the archangels (gigantic beasts with size relative to forgotten beasts, and possessing Grand Master combat skills). Every vault has exactly 50 assistants, 25 soldiers, and one archangel. Vaults will actively replenish themselves with new angels after each visit, meaning the angels must be defeated in one go, without any rest. However, the Archangel will keep the wounds received between runs, so it's possible to defeat it eventually.

Find a vault[edit]

In fortress mode, you can find a vault just by '[c]ivilization/World info' and '[a]rtifacts' you can find a slab with This is a [stone/metal name] slab. All craftmanship is the highest quality. The slab reads "I am [demon name],[translated name], once of the Underworld. By the fated, I bind myself to this place

In adventure mode, you need to ask a likely member of a civilization with "ask about the surrounding area" they will tell you the nearest site including the vault, by spamming the same question they will say The Farmer Urist: [vault name] is in [location]. In a time before time, the [demon name] created [vault name]. The radius size told for the site is limited, but how big it is is still unknown, the farthest known is 9 tiles away from the map, if the demon is killed during world generation, the vault is likely never mentioned.
Also, if all civilizations are extinct, you will be only a human outsider in adventure mode, and since you have to start from some site somewhere, it can be a vault.

Attempting to conquer a vault and retrieve its slab will be a difficult challenge for even the best-equipped and skilled adventurer. It is recommended to have at least high physical attributes, mastery of at least one weapon skill, and a breadth of capability in others. The rewards will be worth the effort and risk; knowledge of the slab and the divine armor and weapons from felling angel soldiers will tremendously improve your adventurer.

Conquering a vault in fortress mode through raids is marginally easier due to the more abstract way combat is treated, and if you demand surrender you may sometimes win without a fight. Once you have conquered a vault, its angels (and only its specific type of angels) become a playable race in adventure mode.

An ancient vault.
Art by 000Fesbra000


  • The slab may not load, or certain rooms may not be connected, preventing players from accessing the final chamber. DFHack may be used to reveal the local map (which will unreveal once the player character moves) and then teleport the player character to the inaccessible area (the player character's id is given by cprobe).
  • Alternatively, the "flashstep" command may be used to teleport the player directly to the cursor(from the [L]ook key, for example).
  • Unlike discovering a river, the vault is only possible to be discovered by fast travel, if you know the location is on a mountain (assume you're using Legends Viewer) you cannot use fast travel to discover it by yourself, unless you ask the nearest civilization from the vault
  • Some entities belonging in the vault might spawn in the wall
  • The slab might spawn on the floor, not on a one tile higher floor surrounded by ramps
  • The slab is not even included in the vault at all
"Vault" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: ubbul
Elvish: thenaca
Goblin: ötak
Human: pamnot
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