This saurian giant’s body is covered in pale aquamarine scales, and a dark, rigid crest runs from its head to the tip of its thick tail. Its blue eyes give off a soft glow.
Vault Giant CR 17
Speed 50 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee +1 returning spear +26/+21/+16 (4d6+20/19–20/×3), bite +19 (2d8+6), or bite +24 (2d8+13), 2 claws +24 (2d6+13)
Ranged +1 returning spear +15 (4d6+14/19–20/×3)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks tail swat
Psychic Magic (CL 19th; concentration +24)
20 PE—anticipate thoughts (2 PE, DC 17), greater synaptic pulse (5 PE, DC 20), mental barrier IV (5 PE), mindlink (1 PE), mind probe (4 PE, DC 19), mind thrust V (5 PE, DC 20), riding possession (4 PE, DC 19)
Str 36, Dex 15, Con 29, Int 20, Wis 23, Cha 16
Base Atk +15; CMB +32 (+34 bull rush); CMD 44 (46 vs.
Feats Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (spear), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (spear)
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+20 when jumping), Climb +36, Knowledge (arcana, local) +15, Perception +29, Sense Motive +26, Spellcraft +20, Survival +24, Swim +44
Languages Aquan, Common, Draconic, Giant, Undercommon
Tail Swat (Ex)
As a swift action once every 1d4 rounds, a vault giant can use its tail to swat all creatures in a 30-foot cone extending from an intersection on the edge of the giant’s space in any direction. Creatures within the area are affected if they are three or more size categories smaller than the giant. Affected creatures take 4d6 points of bludgeoning damage and are knocked prone (Reflex DC 22 negates both the damage and being knocked prone). The save DC is Dexterity-based.
Environment any coastal (Sightless Sea)
Organization solitary, pair, hunting party (3–9), or war band (10–18 plus 1 mesmerist or psychic of 3rd–6th level)
Treasure standard (Gargantuan +1 returning spear, other treasure)
Vault giants are gargantuan, bipedal lizards that live on the coast of the Sightless Sea of Orv, the lowest level of the Deeplands. Their hands and feet are webbed, affording them great mobility in water, and they have powerfully built bodies capable of great feats of strength. In addition to their great size and physical power, vault giants are quick, logical thinkers who employ powerful psychic magic to study and overcome their foes. Despite their formidable natural weapons, vault giants prefer to wield massive, ornamented spears, which function effectively both above and below the surface of the Sightless Sea. Vault giants engage in great hunts, capturing and observing any new creatures they encounter before either consuming or releasing them, as dictated by their leaders.
Vault giants adorn their scales with glowing, waterproof paint brewed from luminescent fungi. The painted markings come in a dizzying array of shapes and colors, displaying clan affiliation, status, and noteworthy personal deeds. A vault giant takes both individual and clan pride in these glowing designs, and mocking or defacing them is certain to earn a vault giant’s ire.
Vault giants are 42 feet tall and weigh 25,000 pounds.
Like the ancient xulgaths, vault giants were hard-pressed by usurper civilizations. The divided nature of vault giant clan structure made them ill-prepared to resist a united empire. Thus, to this day, rune giants are hated foes in vault giant legends, and the reptilian giants attack rune giants on sight (though rune giants are rarely found in the deepest layers of the Deeplands).
When the vault giant clans were brought to the brink of extinction, their leaders struck a bargain with unnamed dark powers promising salvation. The clans surrendered their spires to the waves and journeyed deep into the sea. There, a passage led them to the shores of the Sightless Sea of Orv, where the vault giants made their new homes.
They have adapted well to subterranean life and hunt the great beasts that roam the depths of the Sightless Sea for sustenance. Modern vault giants do not differ physically from their surface-dwelling ancestors, except that their once-vibrant aquamarine scales have paled over time. To compensate, vault giants paint themselves with glowing designs that show clan affiliation and personal status.
Habitat and Society
Vault giant clans build strongholds on the shores of the Sightless Sea. While most reside on the outer shores, some powerful clans claim steep, rocky islands. From the outside, vault giant clanholds resemble natural stone, with cunningly concealed openings for lookouts. The main entrance of a vault giant clanhold is always underwater, although the interior has portions both above and below sea level. On the inside, the structure is carefully designed to accommodate the entire clan, with defensive structures near the entrance to resist attack from rival clans or other creatures. Vault giants use the same glowing paint with which they adorn their bodies to decorate and mark the rooms inside a clanhold, including the communal heated baths where the giants sleep.
Vault giant society is strict and ritualistic. A giant’s role within the clan is established by his actions, and each giant knows the rituals and tasks that will cause his status within the clan to rise or fall. Each clan is led by a circle of powerful female psychics. The circle communes with the dark entities they serve and consults with the governing circles from other clans to decide the direction for vault giant raids and expeditions. A female vault giant who hears the psychic call to join a circle dives deep into the Sightless Sea. She returns changed many years later, with psychic abilities surpassing those of her ordinary kin—if she returns at all. Members of the circle do not age like others of their kind, but are eventually drawn back into the depths of the sea, never to be seen again.
Beyond the ruling circle, vault giant clans assign roles to their members according to individual talents, regardless of gender. Vault giant culture places the unity of the clan above familial ties. The clans decree who mates with whom and when, and females lay their eggs in a clan’s communal hatchery. Vault giant eggs mature slowly, taking a year to hatch; offspring that hatch too quickly usually have deformities and are destroyed. The whole clan is responsible for guiding healthy children to adulthood— which they reach at the age of 30—and for teaching them combat and psychic magic along the way. Vault giants can live for several hundred years.
Vault giants place the survival of their clan above all else, and self-image is closely tied to status in the clan. The worst punishment a vault giant can receive is exile. An exile’s markings of status are erased, and the individual is sent alone away from the Sightless Sea.
Vault giants deprived of their clan become psychotic and usually seek out a group of smaller creatures to bully into submission—often, a tribe of degenerate troglodytes.
This leadership is a pale shadow of the sense of belonging the giant felt within the clan, and these giants often vent their frustrations in mighty rages.
In their interactions with other intelligent denizens of the Sightless Sea, such as aboleths, munavris, and urdefhans, vault giants seem to operate according to an inscrutable agenda. They might raid one settlement, lavish gifts upon another, or raze yet another to the ground and take all of its inhabitants as prisoners.
Intelligent captives receive equally erratic treatment: they might be eaten in a communal feast or set free in a distant corner of Orv. Vault giants are cautious when they meet unfamiliar intelligent creatures for the first time, preferring to take them captive until they receive instructions from their leaders. Vault giants know only that they loyally follow the orders of their psychic circle; few realize that these powerful psychics take their commands in turn from unknown masters far below the Sightless Sea.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #120: Vault of the Onyx Citadel © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Larry Wilhelm, with Paris Crenshaw, Crystal Frasier, Tim Hitchcock, Kalervo Oikarinen, and Greg A. Vaughan.