Investing In: Pathfinder Treasure Vault

Golarion is a world of magic, mystery, and ancient treasures. Perhaps no mortal or immortal creature collects these three elements together quite as often or magnificently as Golarion’s mighty dragons. Incredibly long-lived, physically and magically powerful, and inherently compelled to compile great treasure hoards, dragons are often seen as the pinnacle of challenges an adventurer can face. Many an adventurer retires from their life of danger after slaying a dragon and claiming their treasures for themselves, while others use the wealth and magic they claim to progress to extraplanar challenges beyond the mortal realms.1

The Treasure Vault is in my hands and I’m about ready to travel to Tian Xia and find this Valashinaz, so I can get my hands on all these amazing items. We’ve three authors to thank for this including Mark Seifter, Kendra Leigh Speedling, and Michael Sayre, who is also the Design Lead! Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, and James Case are contributing designers with numerous additional writers, editors, artists, and more working as a team to deliver this treasure trove.

The frame up of this book has a wonderful narrative approach much like Secrets of Magic, Book of the Dead, and Dark Archive before it. This time we get to explore the vast vault of one underworld dragon, Valashinaz, and her leading steward, the kobold Purepurin. As you might have guesses, Valashinaz’s vault is beneath Tian Xia with a thousand or more chambers to house their treasures. There’s common treasure but a number of greater secreted items like artifacts. It’s noted too that the dragon favors various inventions and alchemy. It’s a perfect narrative to tell and use for each chapter start with the wise Purepurin having some forewords as well.

The first chapter details Armor & Armaments. We get new armor and weapons including new traits for both along with various runes and specifically enchanted armor, shields, and weapons. One thing I appreciate is the inclusive nature of the Treasure Vault. If it’s previously published you can find it all here in the Treasure Vault, immediately clear in this first chapter. Granted we have the Archives of Nethys (thank you) to always reference, it helps to find all things treasure in one book. The 5th level assisting armor property rune is a nice addition to support those who need splints or prostheses while also allowing you to carry more bulk. The vampire-fang morningstar on the other hand made me think of a certain animated fantasy show that recently concluded its second season. The fact it heals instead of granting temporary hit points and the ability is usable once per minute makes it a great weapon in my opinion.

Alchemy Unleashed isn’t just alchemical ammunition and bombs. There’s foods to eat, tools to use, various elixir and poisons as well as items to support. The Bottled Monstrosities feels very Pokemon. The very first one is the Bottled Roc. Can you imagine unleashing a Roc for two actions? I appreciate it’s more attack action than summoned creature, as this example has the Roc grabbing two creatures then dropping them from 90’ up. But it’s not hard to imagine the possibilities. Maybe we can blend this with Battlezoo Eldamon? Then there’s the Permanent Alchemical items, which are more like armaments that utilize alchemy. I’ve heard concerns already the Alchemical Gauntlet might become too standard due to the placement of a bomb within so you can do some extra energy damage when you strike with the gauntlet. What alchemist wouldn’t like that in melee?

The next chapter details Momentary Magic! Catalysts, Fulus, Magical Ammunition, Missives, Oils, Potions, Talismans, and Wondrous Consumables! There’s a lot to review here but the catalysts have special interest to me. I enjoy playing spellcaster and like the idea of weaving in special components. I encourage component mention now, even if many spells rely primarily on verbal and somatic as two action spells. The Euphoric Loops is only 5gp, yet when you weave it into a charm, the target experiences a euphoric bliss. Yet it’s when the spell ends that the target has to make another Will save. This can stun or cause confusion! I love how this sets up turning a hostile NPC into a momentary friend and then hopefully an easy way to cause a bit of chaos or chance to get away if the spell ends. I haven’t used a Fulu yet but I love how they represent such powerful written intention as is true to their cultural significance. The Kaiju Fulu got me excited, but it doesn’t summon one. It’s more that it protects your building from being damaged by them, or anything really. Could really use more of those in a town before a big fight breaks out with major enemies, let alone a Kaiju.

The Trappings of Power chapter starts with two good sidebars. One is on assistive items and how “fantasy gaming is for everyone.” I agree completely. They remind how all should be able to see themselves reflected in their gaming. “Representation in gaming is essential to creating open and welcoming communities, so respectful use of assistance items has a place in all games and stories.” Use assistive items you find in the Vault or in previous books like Guns & Gears or Grand Bazaar, but do so with understanding and respect. There’s also an informative sidebar on music instrument use and that if benefits come from playing that item, spending an action each round to play or perform activates those abilities. Assistive Items and musical instruments can be found in this chapter as well as the expected grimoires, magical tattoos, spellhearts, staves, wands, worn items, and other held items. Apex Items – that I clearly didn’t have a good understanding of – have a section here too. They truly are Apex-level items considering they’re all level 17 and either add +2 to an ability score or raise one to 18. They feel like artifacts without having that level of power. I heavily suggest reviewing them for use in your high level games. It’s the spellhearts I went to first though. I believe it was Avi Kool who first alerted me to their exciting nature and inclusion to Secrets of Magic. Talismans are fun, but some more powerful ones that stick around granting a bit of magic but usable in different ways is both useful while flavorful. I’m very likely to bring the Enigma Mirror into my Kingmaker game considering the Thaumaturge that one friend is playing. It grants mirror image but lets you give an ally an image if connected to your armor or a thicket of knives effect if on your weapon. I imagine it’s like mirror shards anyway.

Many have been seeking new crafting rules. We have them now. Secrets Of Crafting, funny enough, is the chapter for you! The first section is that alternate set of rules you’ve heard from others on. Now you’ll be able to adjust the days it takes based upon your expertise and the level of the item. Consumables are even faster than permanent items, which is the right way to go in my humble opinion. Even so you can spend additional time beyond that set up to finish the item, reducing the cost. The more you’d normally make earning income with such a crafting check, the less you can spend crafting the item in materials. I think we’re going to see more people wanting to craft treasure now that they find value in the feats aside from the ability to make whatever they want. We get some cool downtime events for GMs like me who want to pepper some RP into long weeks of downtime. I can use these ideas of Kingmaker too like the mutation, which can actually result in a beneficial item of greater power for the crafter. The spirit magnet event also calls to me with spirits or vitae (spirits of nature) getting attracted to the process. Nature Crafting seems to help support this with rules about growing items like an elf wood-crafting their home in the trees or Darklands creatures enchanting mushrooms. The ability to make gardens for alchemists harvesting rare ingredients is a fun idea, and you can set up your own garden of betrayal for social encounters. Various lores are encouraged to be used besides Nature and the typical Crafting, which I think can lead to cool character builds.

The last section of the Secrets of Crafting detail narrative magic item creation or Story-based Crafting. I saw that header section and wondered just what crafting you’re doing in-character with stories, maybe as a bard. And while that could be true, it’s meant to express the ability to go on a quest or explore a narrative story and build up a magic item. I love TTRPGs for telling a cooperative story with friends, enjoying the improv, and developing characters and a world together. There’s a section to help you with this around items: Building a Narrative. Think of this as that quest to restore a legendary weapon to help you stop a beast. This could be very helpful in a lower magic game or to tie a specific magic item to a need. One example is creating a holy avenger for a paladin. It’s not a campaign wide story but a good series of encounters for a level 14 party. I want to try this for some low level and higher level items to help make treasure, specifically magic items, feel interesting and special even in a higher magic world. I highly recommend reading through all of the Secrets of Crafting chapter in detail.

The final chapter before we’re presented with some excellent treasure tables is the one entitled Game Master’s Trove. It’s got artifacts, cursed, and intelligent items like you might expect. There’s also more relics (and relic sets!) as well as two new special items: archetype artifacts and blighted boons. Now I want to heavily discuss some of the artifacts, primarily the Whisperer of Souls (Shelyn’s gift to her brother Dou-Bral who became Zon-Kuthon!), but I have to say that for lore discussion in my next article. I’m of course thrilled to see rules for Cayden’s Tankard too! But the blighted boons? They remind me of the 1E corruption rules. The Elder Seed that slowly turns you into a tree or the fragment of the beyond that will not only kill you but turn you into some terribly evil aberration from beyond the stars. Between that and the Whisperer of Souls I’m picking up some- No, wait for next time Rob. Back to the Archetype Artifacts! They are specifically intended “to be used in conjunction with the free archetype variant rules…” There’s only two examples but the quick and short of it is that you need the Archetype Artifact so you can take its feat with your free archetype feats. While the example they give is of a simple baker or commoner becoming a hero once they find such an item, you could weave the same theme into your core character build by making them a focused non-spellcaster individual who is gifted magic. Or perhaps they’re a spellcaster but now they are the champion of a spirit who gifts their chosen a specific item. This again is making me think of the Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 but their items were more like artifacts and relics.

We all love treasure, whether to give us more abilities or rewards after that epic dragon fight! Well borrow from one dragon’s hoard by investing in the Pathfinder Treasure Vault! Next time we’ll dig into the lore woven into this wonderful tome. We’ll see what Valashinaz is willing to give up!

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!


Banner Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo

  1. Into The Vault excerpt, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  2. Purepurin and Valashinaz, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  3. Alchemical Foods banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  4. Elixirs banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  5. Staves banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  6. Archetype Artifacts banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
  7. Permanent Alchemical Items banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo

Rob Pontious

You may know Rob Pontious from Order of the Amber Die or Gehenna Gaming's first series of Monster Hearts 2. He currently writes Know Direction's Investing In blog as well as a player for the Valiant podcast and Roll for Combat's Three Ring Adventure. He's been a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, as a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.