The Ruinous Vault Building / Landmark in Shedim | World Anvil

The Ruinous Vault

Not every monster can be killed.
  The Ruinous Vault is a prison for creatures beyond death and artifacts beyond destruction. Within its twisting halls, magi have locked away the end of the world a dozen times over, next to relics of great despair, magical secrets of potent destruction, and more than a few inconvenient truths.  

Doomsday Vault

Somethings should never be released, like that last MegaDeth album.
  A place beyond the known worlds, the Ruinous Vault isn't quite part of the Shadow nor part of the Beyond, but is another, private domain. Within, a thousand smaller realms form in the dark lik bubbles, each housing its own prisoners.  
The fact that the Vault even exists in the way it does gives magical theorists headaches all over. If that works, then their neat 3-world model falls apart.
by (Freepik)
The entrance to the Vault is a single gate of iron and stone, chains crossing between arches. The gate is somewhere in the Shadow, but it isn't really sure where - many paths lead here, and no one has been able to tell what Prime place it overlaps. Some suspect it doesn't at all, but even the Vault's very first step existing somewhere past known space.   Those who have been inside the Vault describe it as a hazy, dark place, as insubstantial as a passing thought but stronger than steel. It is a place of grey mists and physical darkness, a sharp and material black that makes the walls, floor, and ceiling. There's no sound here, and even the steps of visitors and inmates are swallowed by the Vault. Only the wardens of the Vault can find their way, and visitors who stray become lost forever, another prisoner of the Vault.
The makers of the Vault are as much as a mystery as the rest of it. It is ancient beyond reckoning, made with powers few can come close to matching in the modern world.
  Even with guides, traveling the Vault is dangerous. Not all of its prisoners are content to stay shackled and quiet, and the things trapped here exert a pull that calls the weak to free them. Even the wardens of the vault struggle and members of the cult sometimes disappear without trace when they venture inside.  

The Ruinous Cult

We're the links in a chain.
  The Vault is guarded by the Ruinous Cult, a ragtag group of magi and the occasional monster pledged to defend the Vault and keep it sealed. Most cultists come from those who have survived encounters with things now locked away in the Vault and seen the results up close. They tend to be an obsessive lot, concerned with the Vault and nothing more.  
Of course, not everyone believes their line about good intentions.
Most of the Cult is centered around the gate, a small fortified temple compound that welcomes supplicants and fresh prisoners while warding against any who would rob it. More independent members strike out into the world to ensure the Cult has what it needs to function or hunt down thieves who might've breached the Vault.  
Or escaped inmates, as with the imprisoned Alexander Sheridan after his latest scheme.
  The fact that there are thieves at all is a closely guarded secret. The Vault, though one of the most secure places in the world right next to the gate to the moon, is not impenetrable. Magi are a greedy, inventive bunch. Such failures by members aren't punished by the Cult; dedicating one's life to the Vault is already more punishment than any soul can shoulder.
by Unsplash (Mahdi Bafande)
  At other times, the Vault is opened by choice and something retrieved from within. These are rare, momentous occasions, but when the need is great, and nothing else seems a good option to stop whatever terrible thing about to end the world, the chains are undone, and the Vault opened.

The Beyond

The Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse.   The Ruinous Vault occupies an uncertain space in the universe. At times, it seem to be equally part of the Beyond and The Shadow, or perhaps another, unique sphere of existence.
The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)


Among the many rumored things to dwell within the Vault is the book of words, a lexicon of Sigilarium. A language of arcane power in its purest form, Sigilarium evokes the essence of a word just by being spoken aloud. In the Vault, runes glow with world-ending potency, holding words that the world can never be allowed to suffer.  
Sigilarium - Words of Power
Language | Jul 17, 2021

An ancient language of forgotten power, with words that burn their way into the human mind and leave smoldering embers when they go out.

True Names
Rank/Title | Jul 28, 2021

True Names are the essence of a being. It is an embodiment of all they are, their essence distilled to a name... Or in some cases, several.

Lord Ruinous

Our work is ancient. Our oath without end.
  The Ruinous Cult is guided by the mysterious Lord Ruinous; a mythical figure rarely seen by visitors, claimed to be the original guardian of the Vault. Only scattered details are known, and then there's plenty of unsubstantiated speculation. He is a warlock of considerable power and age or a title passed down through generations - hints exist to support either theory. When dealing with outsiders, he is courteous enough but trusts few. Only when someone seeks to imprison something within the Vault will the Ruinous Lord meet them, and only then if they've already been vetted by his disciples. Those who seek his favor must tread carefully, as he has grown apt to see through deception by those who seek to plunder his ward.  
by Unsplash

Cover image: by Unsplash


Author's Notes

Plot Hook
The instrument of murder is undeniable. There's only one relic that can do somethingg as cruel and wretched as what the victim suffered; but the Gong of Whispers have been locked away in the Vault as long as anyone can remember. The players must investigate the Vault itself and find out - is the gong still there? Can the Ruinous Cult be responsible for the murder?

Please Login in order to comment!
29 Jul, 2021 21:04

What a great article! And I love this line ...  

Within its twisting halls, magi have locked away the end of the world a dozen times over...

Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
not Ruleplaying
not Rollplaying
2 Aug, 2021 12:31

Thank you :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
30 Jul, 2021 23:26

Question: what is more dangerous? The Moon or whatever is inside The Vault?

2 Aug, 2021 12:31

The piece of the moon trapped inside the vault! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
2 Aug, 2021 12:53


Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
4 Aug, 2021 22:34

So basically, the vault belong to the Ruinous cult since the magi themselves are not really organised as a government or anything like that, right? And other people have just decided to use it because it's the most secure thing they have available?   Who get to decide when someone get imprisoned inside? Is it just Lord Ruinous who make the decision? Has it ever been contested?   I love the concept of this vault as a mysterious place shrouded in darkness and filled with many things capable of ending the world...

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
5 Aug, 2021 15:49

Something like that, yes! As far as everyone knows, the Vault - and Lord Ruinous - have always just been there. It's enough to make some people pretty suspicious... And probably for good reason :D   I should probably expand on that, but essentially there are two ways for things to get imprisoned in the Vault. The first is by, well, cult commission essentially. When something pops up and starts being dangerous, the cult sometimes lets the people involved know they ought to bring it to them.   Other time, people come to the cult to request things get locked away. That has been contested or denied in the past :D   Thank you <3

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.