Friday, March 25, 2022

Vault Warrants

The Vaults beneath da-Imer have been inviolable for more than a millennium, since the reign of the king-emperor Akamra (1:345–2:17). Dubbed “the Taciturn” by later chroniclers, Akamra decreed that the priesthood of Akor, goddess of secrets, to whom he was especially devoted, should keep watch over all known entrances to the Vaults within his capital city. In addition, he tasked the priests with seeking out evidence of any other entrances that might exist, lest robbers employ them to despoil the Vaults and bring the wrath of the Eternal Gods upon Inba Iro.

Akamra’s decree stood more or less unchanged during the ensuing cycles, even after the Chomachto conquest, when Magdor defeated Bejen at the Battle of Vayandima (10:24). Though a foreigner – and a barbarian at that – Magdor had a deep respect for the Ironians he now ruled. He upheld Akamra’s decrees regarding the Vaults and indeed strengthened them, which no doubt contributed to his eventual acceptance as king-emperor by the great families and the priesthoods of Inba Iro. 

Not all of Magdor’s successors were as punctilious. With the reign of each subsequent king-emperor, the taboos against broaching the Vaults were weakened – in practice, if not always in law. The final blows against ancient custom came when Mabru ordered the construction of a new capital at Tamas Tzora (10:206) and his son, Trelu, abandoned da-Imer entirely (10:255), leaving its governance in the hands of an appointed viceroy.

This did not sit well with the priesthoods, who reminded Trelu that his position as Emperor of the Twenty Cities of Inba Iro was rooted in his being King of da-Imer. Without his physical presence in the First City, he was inviting calamity upon himself and his people. Trelu responded to this rebuke by stripping several priesthoods of their ancient privileges, including the priesthood of Akor. No longer would they act as protectors of the Vaults; indeed, Trelu gave his viceroy the authority to open the Vaults to treasure hunters. 

The priesthood of Akor seethed. 

Terms and Conditions

The Viceroy of da-Imer issues what have come to be known as Vault warrants. These legal documents grant an individual or group the right to enter and explore the Vaults beneath the city, provided they do so through one of several designated and approved entrances (the largest being the Amaranthine Bastion). In addition, the warrant grants its holders the right to exit the Vaults with any goods they obtain there, subject to an exit charge, based on the value of said goods, as assessed by viceregal agents. The basic exit charge is 20%, but it may be lowered for those who have proven their worth to the city government (and the payment of bribes, it is often claimed).

Warrants can be obtained at the Amaranthine Bastion. There is a set schedule of fees, based on the number of individuals covered by the warrant and its duration. A valid warrant, whether for an individual or a group, must be shown to appropriate viceregal authorities upon both entrance and exit from the Vaults. Failure – or inability – to do so carries with it fines and possible legal prosecution, as does suspicion of warrant-less treasure hunting. As one might expect, there is a vigorous trade in forged warrants within da-Imer, despite the best efforts by the viceregal guard to stamp out the practice.


  1. I've done a couple of campaigns around a similar "licensed adventure site" in years past, although mine were a riff on the Pavis/Big Rubble concept with the "ruined city of the fallen empire" thing rather than strictly underground tomb complexes. It works pretty well IME, lets you toggle between dungeoncrawls and urban adventuring just by walking through a gate.

  2. Reminiscent of the Castle Blackmoor dungeons as well, though much more serious in execution.

  3. Brilliant idea! Just what I needed for the family game I'm plotting for...