The God-Emperor’s Vault – Level 5 Delve

The only chance to steer the future of this empire is to restore the faith in the great emperor. Retrieving the emperor’s scepter may be the only chance.

Giada Alicent, Court Mage

Delve Level 5 (13,100 XP)

4 bodaks

2 ghasts

12 shadows

1 wraith


Kingdoms and empires, despite their apparent strength, are susceptible to destabilization and crum­bling when the odds are stacked against them. The idea of a single person being in charge of thousands of indi­viduals and countless territories is not foreign to humans at large. However, the fundamental greed of humankind and its constant doubt and contest against the forces-that-be place those in charge under perpetual scrutiny. It shall make them fall when things go awry.

A Failing Empire

The grand emperor, Adaggar Goltz, is dead. It has been only a few weeks since his passing. His son, Vallerk Goltz, has inherited the position much to the dismay and critique of the court and military officials. Vallerk is known to be a coward, a simpleton, and a man without a word. Already the masses, the military, and the nobles plan to oppose him, threatening to split the mighty em­pire into dozens of smaller, non-unified territories. The consequences of such actions may set the region back decades, cause hunger and famine, and ultimately cause the deaths of thousands in the skirmishes and battles for control that shall undoubtedly ensue.

Emperor Vallerk, in a bout of cowardice, has ordered the few military officers still loyal to the institution to mo­bilize their troops and arrest dissidents. Some of them are to be publicly beheaded to set an example and send the message that the empire shall not be threatened. Alas, it is unlikely that the emperor’s forces can contain or enforce these rules in the territories far from the capi­tal. Civil unrest rises as tithes and tributes from faraway regions have stopped. The threat of the upcoming winter without enough food to survive hovers above like a hang­ing blade. If things do not change fast, the coming sea­sons paint a grim scenario for everyone.

The God-Emperor

Long centuries ago, there was once a non-human emperor who ruled over the region for thousands of years. They called this entity the God-Emperor. He is a figure of myths and legends that survive to this day. The God-Emperor wielded a magical scepter that command­ed the love and respect of all. Legend has it that whoever is chosen by this scepter is the rightful ruler.

Giada Alicent, the last emperor’s court mage, escaped the palace. She is one of the few people who know of the God-Emperor’s vault; a dangerous location with protec­tive charms from the old era. According to legend, the Emperor’s Scepter is hidden therein. If only it could be retrieved in time, the empire could be held in place.

Adventure Hook

Mage Giada Alicent is looking for a small team of mercenaries to guide them into the God-Emperor’s Vault to retrieve the fabled scepter. She offers a reward of sev­en rubies (500 gp each) and the possibility to keep any valuable from the vault, except for the scepter.

The vault is located three days from the capital but Gia­da (mage) possesses a spell scroll of circle of teleporta­tion that can be used to reach the dungeon promptly.

Features of the Vault

Light. The sconces in the vault feature continual flame spells. The magic fades in 2 minutes if removed.

Locks. All doors are made of limestone slabs with high-quality locking devices (DC 17 Thieves’ Tools). There’s a 2-in-6 chance the lock is corroded and broken.

Chamber Ceilings. All areas have 20-foot-tall, flat ceil­ings decorated with intricate runes and inscriptions with prayers and adulations for the God-Emperor.

Divination Ward. An anti-magic field in the dungeon negates the casting of divination spells within the com­pound. Such spells are immediately dispelled when cast.

Immortals Guardians. The undead that protect the vault are loyal to the God-Emperor and impede the vault’s plundering. Upon defeat, they respawn at dawn.

1. The Stairway

The characters are teleported to a secluded graveyard in a dark, damp forest. An opening in between a ruined stone construction leads down into the vault.

The stone stairs descend 200 feet. Eerie imagery of a mighty ruler is engraved on the walls. The God-Em­peror a hulking figure in an opulent throne room.

Well-versed historians know that the God-Emperor was a controversial figure that ruled for thousands of years with a tight grip and no tolerance (DC 18 History).

2. The Main Hall

The steel vault door is flanked by a row of carved pil­lars and four sarcophagi too large for a human. The God-Emperor’s sun sigil decorates the stone lids.

Arcane forces in the room take on quasi-physical shapes as ethereal, iridescent strands of energy that meander about. The magical effect is harmless but a wizard can study it for 4 hours to learn the prismatic spray spell.

When the characters arrive, two enclosures open to free two bodaks. They are 10 feet tall and inhuman. They were once the God-Emperor’s guardians. The un­dead fight until slain. The vault door cannot be opened except by using the levers in areas 7 and 8. Returning here after operating both levers reveals the open vault but also a new host of blood-thirsty guardians. Two bo­daks and four shadows attack the characters.

3. Tomb of Priests

For standing sarcophagi and a magic circle glow in the light of a raging magical fire. A mosaic on the wall depicts priests worshiping the God-Emperor.

The God-Emperor’s high-priests are buried here. In life, they performed ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices meant to sway the will of the strange ruler (DC 18 Histo­ry). Each of the enclosures features a poison needle trap but the toxin decayed long ago and poses no threat.

4. Secret Chamber

Pulling a fake brick in area 3 causes a section of the wall to slide inward to reveal a narrow path to this secret area.

Treasure. The chests contain the priests’ hoard: 1,600 gp, 8,400 sp, two potions of greater healing, a +1 mace, a leather bag of tricks, and a deck of illusions.

5. Tomb of Artificers

The chamber is similar to area 3 but the mosaic depicts artificers creating geared contraptions to amuse and bribe the God-Emperor to favor their faction. The em­peror thought they were amusing and creative and gave them a place of honor here (DC 18 History). When the characters arrive here, all coffins open. Two ghasts and five shadows emerge from them and attack until slain.

Treasure. The enclosures contain some of the artifi­cers’ creations: an alchemy jug, an apparatus of Kwalish, a set of dimensional shackles, and a folding boat.

6. The Broken Vault

What once was a secure vault is now in shambles. The structure has fallen on valuable porcelain and ceramic pieces, destroying them beyond repair.

Pulling a fake brick in area 5 causes a section of the wall to slide inward to reveal a narrow path here. It contained a collection of porcelain figurines, ceramic vases, and glassware. Nothing survived the passage of time.

7. Eastern Crypt

A narrow, circling hallway houses numerous clay, gilded vases in small alcoves. Each container is en­graved with the sigil of a devoted follower or warrior.

Those outside of the artificers and priests’ circles but who demonstrated their loyalty to the God-Emperor were given a place of honor in this crypt. Inside each vase is a small limestone chest that contains the ashen remains of the person. Some vases contain the ashes of two people when they were joined in marriage.

At the end of the shifting hallway, a metal lever awaits in between two stone enclosures. Pulling the lever is re­quired to open the door to area 9. A fallen paladin loyal to the God-Emperor was interred in one of the stone cof­fins. The strength of his loyalty is enough to pull his soul from the afterlife to defend the God-Emperor’s vault. A wraith rises from the enclosure, accompanied by three shadows. They take advantage of their incorporeal qual­ities to assail the characters in the narrow passages.

8. Western Crypt

This chamber serves the same purpose as area 7. Alas, past tomb-robbers visited this place a long time ago and triggered some of the defenses. There are bones strewn upon the floor from past battles. A chamber is partially collapsed from an explosive device triggered.

By the southeast end, a hidden lever can be pulled to reveal a narrow passage to a quiet alcove. It contains a shining goblet on a stone plinth. The goblet is enchanted with a glyph of warding spell. Creatures that touch it trig­ger an explosive runes effect. They take 5d6 fire damage upon touching it (DC 16 Dexterity / half).

9. The God-Emperor’s Vault

No one has gained access to this vault since it was closed centuries ago. It contains a grandiose treasure hoard. On the back wall, a floor-to-ceiling, intricately-detailed mosa­ic portraits the God-Emperor at the height of his reign. He wields the fabled scepter in both hands.

Treasure. The vault contains 85 pp, 1,155 gp, 7,566 sp, four portraits of the God-Emperor (36 gp each), 3 jas­pers (40 gp each), a +1 lance, a set of elven boots, and the fabled Scepter of the God-Emperor.


The characters reach the end of this adventure. They must face the consequences of their deeds.

The Scepter of the God-Emperor is a legendary artifact that has the power to sway the opinions and minds of others. It is a sentient magic item that is not beholden to the use of its owner. The scepter chooses who can attune to it and gain the benefits of its usage. The mage, Giada Alicent, attempts to attune to it but is refused. If the char­acters attempt it, none present is accepted by the scepter as the next emperor. The Scepter of the God-Emperor has the power to change the future of the warring region but the characters must find someone of a good and val­orous heart to become the new ruler.

It is left to the GM to determine who can fulfill the em­peror’s role. We recommend that a recurring NPC that is already acquainted with the characters is revealed to be a plausible pair for the scepter. The characters’ king-mak­ing deeds shall soon change the empire’s future.

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