Welcome to the Treasure Vault! Within the pages of this mighty tome you’ll receive a guided tour through the vaults of the mighty underworld dragon Valashinaz, Mistress of the Vault. Deep beneath the surface of the eastern continent of Tian Xia, Valashinaz curates a thousand-chambered series of vaults packed with treasures collected from across the length and breadth of Golarion, as well as planes beyond.1
I mean you didn’t really think we’d be able to get out of the Treasure Vault in just one go, right? Last time I highlighted what the various chapters had to offer, but there’s some juicy in-story details woven in as well! Of course I love the art that can inspire PCs when they see what they just found or the stories told in some of the images. Looks like Fumbus got a little excited (see above) as he started exploring for example. But it’s the lore, the Age of Lost Omens, and the great story unfolding within Golarion that always excites me as a storyteller. One of the best ways to make the world feel alive around your players’ characters is to be able to punctuate what is happening around them. Also, while I do value the improv, including some consistent narrative details is exciting. And dang it, some of these mysteries are too juicy to ignore!
Rage Of… Dragons?
As I said before I love how this book is framed narratively with Valashinaz, a collector of all things treasure who just happens to be an ancient underwolf dragon, and Purepurin their seneschal and curator, as well as steward kobold from one of many tribes of kobolds who have longed served Valashinaz. This isn’t merely a bit of fun in the Vault, though if it had been that would’ve been fine. Nope. Besides starting every chapter with a perspective from one of the two, we also get sidebars (yes, love those sidebars) and other perspective details from the two. They even start with a two page detail of the Vault’s owner and curator giving us backgrounds on the two. Considering Rage of Elements and the ever-unfolding tales of the Age of Lost Omens (i.e. adventures and adventure paths), I would be shocked if we don’t see the two again. The dragon’s first paragraph paints some tales of her having an elven companion and fighting a kraken while another warns not to deal with her in bad faith. The former shows promise for heroics and the latter is a neutral, fair story. Perhaps one day our heroes will need something from Valashinaz’s Vault… EDIT: I’ll add that a recent blog post sees many of the contributors referencing working on Rage of Elements. Coincidence? I think not!
Valashinaz shows both self-actualized hubris (she is a dragon after all) but a bit of humility that belies perhaps some faith in the inevitably of things like Groetus. In speaking to the Armor & Armaments of that chapter, Valashinaz speaks to the varied items of those who come to fight the dragon. Yet she speaks of the day when some party will be her downfall. More foreshadowing? Maybe, but what I like of this chapter is the variety of individuals who have presumably come and gone adventuring in the vault. Many cultures and groups are represented and that is also good for the world-building of Golarion. There’s Mantis Shell armor for those Red Mantis Assassins as well as Hellknight Half Plate and the O-Yoroi armor that is clearly modeled after the armor of Samurai from Japan. It’s not just armor as there are shields for a Helmsman or the Starfall Shield made of adamantine. There are other items from historically asian cultures including weapons like the meteor hammer, three-section naginata, and hook swords. As Golarion has various lands and cultures that are meant to accentuate and celebrate the diversity in our own world, I’ll remind all to research the history of these items and weave them into your tales. Don’t play an adventure in Tian Xia without considering the empires of China like we need to consider South American history for Arcadia.
BREAKING NEWS: Get ready for far more adventures in Tian Xia with the announcement today from Paizo including an adventure path and not one, but two books on the lands and people!
Of People and Places
We get more cultural inspiration for Golarion in the Alchemical Foods with a few world references like Warding Punch being a Thassilonian recipe or Witch’s Finger being an invention of Irriseni witches… Maybe it is. Only way to know for sure is to get the Treasure Vault. It’s definitely not something an ice cream shop invented to sell kids. Of course, in your story maybe that ice cream shop owner from New Stetven met an Irriseni witch. That sort of detail is always up to you. We get more Fulus as well, which were first introduced in Secrets of Magic and I pointed out in the last article have cultural significance you should be familiar with if you use them. We get Spellgun ammunition and while not called out, the Beast Gunner archetype is from a practice developed in Arcadia while guns are a product of Alkenstar and certainly some blend magic with it, perhaps in Nex to the north. There’s also many items from armor, weapons, potions, talismans for draconic reference. This doesn’t mean anything from a lore perspective that I can easily conclude other than the obvious owner of this Vault and perhaps the idea we’ll see more dragons popping up. The Dragon Handwraps, an Apex Item, is another example. They’re silk and not scales, but a red dragon is featured for the flaming nature. Maybe a thematic item we’ll see in an adventure path. Again, Rage of Elements seems likely considering dragons typically have that elemental connection.
The Treasure Vault keeps plenty of items agnostic of Golarion materials but as we get deeper into the book, more tied to the world pop up. Harrow Spellcards are definitely a Golarion item, and we know a Harrow-based adventure path is coming. I like that Stolen Fate starts at level 11 as a quick aside. There’s a Varisian Emblem tattoo born the Varisian tattoos that they themselves can from the Thassilonian magic before them. Varisian nomads and people have a strong Romani feel, and I love that inheritor of magic especially with our iconic sorcerer Seoni. The Varisian Emblems let you know the language of Varisia or get a bonus to diplomacy on top of the spells they let you cast. Since it’s considered a level 3 magic tattoo I expect we’ll see more of them in adventures. Meanwhile the Lyrakien Staff is not attributed to a people but a religion as they were first made by Desnans after the lyrakien azatas. If you’ve got a Thaumaturge in your party then they will be thrilled with all the new things, or cultural information, to associate with them whether magical or not. You’ve also got the Bellflower Toolbelt meant for those in the Bellflower Network to hide their contraband amongst alleged tools of the trade. The weaving in of locations, peoples, religions, and organizations presents a healthy representation with these Vault items.
These Are The Arti-facts, Sir
But okay, let me just go next to artifacts. Cayden’s Tankard is presented in its level 25 glory! Apparently “the accidental god wasn’t the only one who achieved apotheosis over his 3-day test” so sayeth the Treasure Vault right there under the entry. The tankard is effectively a weapon (a light hammer) and we learn its imbued with Cayden’s courage. I had a pirate inquisitor who’d have loved to have this! I appreciate one ability is to swiggle the beverage within to counter fear for those around you. What’s interesting to me (well more interesting) is the destruction of it requires a lawful evil creature to bring the tankard into Starstone Cathedral, drink from it, and return outside, which will shatter the tankard. That really makes me wonder if a certain Lawful Evil entity (Asmodeus) or some associated devil helped Cayden get to where he is.
There’s many other cool artifacts, and you should definitely check out the relics and archetype artifacts like I mentioned last article, but we also get the Whisperer of Souls. It’s the glaive that Shelyn gave to her half-brother Dou-Bral. Who’s Dou-Bral? Oh sorry, you know him as Zon-Kuthon, patron of Nidal. The entry says Shelyn took it back from Zon-Kuthon fear it had aided in his corruption. Well the ability it has to allow an occultism check to act as a Legend Lore might be part of it. That critical failure that turns you toward evil and fills you with forbidden knowledge and wicked secrets sure seems like it might have. Basically, Zon-Kuthon knows about all the dark evils and unknowable terrors in the vast darkness between the stars because of this glaive. Whispers of danger and dread glaive is more like it. It drinks the souls of your enemies after all. I’m sorry Shelyn, but where did you get this? Why would you give this to your brother? I can’t really blame a deity for going a bit mad and consumed with darkness after his sister “gifts” him with such a blade. I blame Shelyn y’all. If Ateran over at Roll for Combat ever finds out, they might too. Maybe Nocticula can help redeem the knower of terrors.
Dark & Foreshadowing
The Blighted Boons have some story-long implications. They’re great for a full game or a long arc for a character. The Void Fragment refers to a crystalline wisp who wanted to master all of mind and space. It feels like a psychic danger to me, and a reminder of the Dark Archive’s secret mystery hunt for lost pages. I loved participating in that and I highly recommend you check it out! Ultimately you have to slay a chaotic evil aberration to put off the void fragment and its strange magics. You can easily weave a tale about Ustalav, Nidal, Lastwall now, or some other dangerous location as to where to find a Void Fragment. I’m wondering if the Gatewalkers or some other path will feature one. Golarion is plumbing the depths of history, magic, and multiple cultures more and more and I thank Paizo for that. The future is in the path, and we’re even seeing Chronomancy pop up in books. Granted, this fragment also made me think of Critical Role Campaign 3 and the red moon Ruidus’ effect on people. This fragment does give you tongue, telepathy, the ability to quickly teleport, protection from mental effects. Could there be a psychic danger in Golarion’s future? Well, there already is clearly. Some of the darker, less obvious, and more noir dangers are starting to arise for Golarion. I think Paizo is positioning for some secret wars or hidden villains adventure paths or larger plot threads. You didn’t really think that Dark Archive mystery hunt was a one time marketing ploy did you?
I think it’s pretty clear you should invest in the Treasure Vault. Do it for you. Do it for your players. Do it for Valashinaz and Purepurin. Do it for the love of adventure and treasure. The options grow but with story-minded intention and really, the fun use of treasure we didn’t see as much in Pathfinder 1E because of all the “math-necessary” stat items. Now you can get the various items and enjoy all the cool abilities or rich flavor, like collecting the set items of Pharasma’s Command a relic item set with life and time abilities! Now if someone could come help me, I don’t think Valashinaz is going to let me leave and I don’t want to get stuck down here like Professor Zei in Wan Shi Tong’s library…
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!
- Into The Vault excerpt, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
- Potions banner image, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
- Crackling Bubble Gum image, Alchemical Foods, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
- Magical Tattoos banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
- Trappings of Power banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo
- Armor & Armaments banner, Pathfinder Treasure Vault, Paizo