Vaults Of Madness Dungeon Guide

The Vaults of Madness are the masterpiece of the infamous Mad Architect, who is said to be one of the few entities ever to serve multiple Daedric Princes and profit from it. How he is paid for his “services” is a matter of wild and horrible conjecture.

Vaults of Madness is a four-person dungeon in the game The Elder Scrolls Online. The dungeon consists of various rooms and corridors, each with its own challenges and enemies.  Vaults of Madness can be accessed at Level 36.  In this guide, I shall explain the mechanics as well as what you should and shouldn’t do while facing the dungeon’s bosses.

Vaults of Madness Location

Vaults of Madness is located in the northcentral region of Coldharbour.  Travel northeast from The Orchard Wayshrine to reach Vaults of Madness.  You can also access Vaults of Madness specifically by using the Dungeon Finder.

Inside Vaults of Madness

DUNGEON is a one-level dungeon with eight bosses and one quest.  The enemies in this dungeon include banekins, dremora watchers, and orgrims.

Mind of Madness

Gasteau Chamrond knows how to escape the structure I’ve fallen into. He’ll help me get out if I lend him my strength.

Completing Mind of Madness

You will need to defeat Ulguna SoulReaver, rescue Casteau Chamrond, Saryne Dralen and Reynelle Derone, and then finally defeat the Mad Architect. Speak to Gasteau Chamrond to complete this quest.  Completing this quest will reward you with gold, a skill point, and the shield of the conspirators of the Worm Cult, part of The Worm’s Ramient armor set.

Vaults of Madness Boss Mechanics

Need specific info?  Click these quick links to go directly to each section.

The Cursed One

This boss is a very simple one with a very punishing side effect to people who try to burn through mechanics. This boss CAN be killed very fast due to its low health BUT if his fatal mechanic kicks in, the group can KILL the one with the boss agro. BE CAREFUL! The fight is fairly simple in regards to tanking, grabbing the boss, turning it away from the group, and keeping it still. Kill the adds FIRST then focus on the boss.

Light Attack – A very simple light attack that will hit the person with the aggro (should be the tank) this is very light damage and even a dps/healer can take a slap or two, not too much to worry about but multiples, of course, can add up.

Frozen Torrent – This is identical to most Wraith-type enemies, an ice aoe will aim at the target and freeze their feet on the spot doing a lot of damage. A tank can take it but a dps will lose up to 70% of their health depending on their resists and cp allocation so be careful, note, this is interruptible!

Drain Life – This is what gets people killed. This life-draining beam will attach to a random player and drain their life BUT the damage is based on the damage he TAKES! You used to be able to break with a dodge roll but you no longer can, you can break with range however if you get away far enough BUT the fundamental problem with this is over burning…basically, at this point, all dps players should STOP DAMAGING THE BOSS! Wait for the beam to finish and then carry on…all damage done by the group is transferred to the player with the beam.  So YES you can kill your own group. Be careful!

Ulguna Soul Reaver

This is a very simple lowish health boss and doesn’t cause too much of a problem. The tank should hold her still and face her away from the group and the group WILL need to coordinate to make this a quick and clean kill as there is a stifling mechanic coming up which will render a player useless…HELP your team!

Wave Attack – This boss will occasionally cast a flame-type aoe in front of her which issues a slight knockback and strong damage. This should normally be aimed at the tank but if not, simply block it or move to the side to avoid it.

Leviation/Stifle – The boss will pick a random player and suspend them in mid-air rendering them completely helpless. They can do nothing, they cannot break free nor use any abilities. The trick to this is there will be 4x healing orbs/feasts heading toward the boss. If they reach her she will heal BUT if you destroy them ALL, you will release your group member from the spell. Do this FAST or else that teammate will be in some serious trouble, especially if it is the healer or the tank!

Death’s Head

This boss room starts with MANY adds in the room, mostly ranged ones too so your tank will need to pul these into the middle of the room so that the group can dispatch them with AOE damage asap while the boss is on the way in. Halfway through the adds the boss usually walks into the room! Get ready!

Slam – The boss will cast a frontal aoe ability like a slam. So long as the tank is turning the boss away from the group the group will be safe and the tank will be required to block it. It is not too strong but if you are caught you will be knocked back. So be sure to block it.

Skeletons – Throughout the fight, the boss will spawn skeletons from his feet (3x at a time) and kill these fast, or else they will explode and do aoe damage, much like the boss in Banished Cells I.

Charge! – Try to face the boss towards a wall or pillar. The reason for this is he will charge across the room (much like the leviathan in Crypt of Hearts I) and will keep running till he feels like stopping or hitting a wall. When he charges he will knock down anyone in his path and leave behind a trail of mine type aoes which must be avoided. Remember this is about positioning, if you can get him to face a wall CLOSE to you, his charge will be short, if you are facing empty space, he will run a long way and the dps will constantly have to keep re-applying their damage and waste resources on ground-based aoes and abilities.


This boss has some of the coolest sound effects in the game and is a pretty straightforward boss if the group focuses on their footwork.

Slam!  This is very simple.  The person with aggro (the tank) will be hit with a very LOUD clanging heavy attack, simply BLOCK it, even a dps or healer can block this, the sound is heavier than the hit. BUT if you do not block it you will be knocked down.

Overheat  The boss will cast a charged-up like ability and hit with a nasty frontal aoe effect, this is pretty harsh but can be blocked and should be kept away from the group. Remember the tank should always turn the boss away from the team. DPS and healers should NOT stand in this aoe!

Lava Trails – During the whole fight there will be 2 snaking lava trails moving around the room. These do quite a lot of damage and should be avoided as much as possible. They have a habit of chasing players to make you move around a lot. Remember to stay behind the boss regardless of distance so you don’t get hit by HIM but while avoiding these lava trails there is a little trick you can do to make things easier…FOLLOW the TAIL of the lava trails and the head will never catch you 🙂


This is very simple and has very low health but you CAN get overwhelmed if not careful. The tank should turn this boss AWAY from the group so that his aoes don’t’  hit them. There are many adds in the room and they should be pulled into the middle as much as possible so that they can be killed with aoe while focusing on the boss. HOWEVER, you do not have to kill or even agro all of the mobs at once. If you walk straight through the middle of the room or even sneak around on the way to the boss, you won’t agro the really far-ranged ones, and this will make the fight much easier.

Flame Breath – This doesn’t take a lot of common sense to figure out but this is the flame breath a typical Deadroth uses. It will be cast in the direction of the player with the agro and this can be either stepped aside from OR blocked. If you are a dps or healer you do NOT want to get hit with this.

Fireball Spit – Like traditional Deadroths, he will spit fire and place aoes on the ground after they impact. If you see this coming, simply block it, if you get caught with it you will be knocked down. Break free as fast as possible and get OUT of the fire!

The Ancient One

This one is typical of the watcher-type mobs you have probably seen before in other content and is very simple to kill. The key to this is that the tank MUST face it away from the group. Most of the dangerous stuff is in front of him. As a dps or healer do NOT stand in his face!

Beam – A green trident-shaped triple beam that closes in on the target in the form of a frontal aoe. This does HIGH damage to squishies and anyone caught in it will be knocked off balance and will be required to break free. Avoid this at all costs as a dps/healer, the tank should be fine and if done properly the tank will be the only one that receives this.

Spin – The spin attack is a nasty one and does high damage in aoe. As dps and healers, you can move away from this OR keep doing what you are doing with high health upkeep. So long as the heals are coming in this should be fine but if you are not max health when this hits, you run the risk of dying. So HP maintenance is key.

Enrage – At low health, the boss’s aoe damage escalates so at low health keep up the heals and execute it as fast as you can to prevent this from being a problem.

Iskra the Omen

This one is not as tricky or as tough as he looks but things can go wrong quickly. He has low health and some LARGE aoe abilities so make sure you pay attention to this. The tank should keep it dead center while the group stays as close as possible (while watching out for mechanics). If everyone stays close but has their OWN SPACE, not stacking on each other’s feet, it is easy to see who is about to be focused.

Breath – This is a flame breath ability in a HUGE straight line aimed at ONE player, The target is random so hence why we have our own positions. Once you can see who it is going to hit, that player simply needs to move to the side and let it pass.  It will remain on the floor so don’t stand in it.

Jump/Slam – The boss will jump straight up in the air and slam the ground. Very simple this one. Dodge roll/run backward and avoid it, then get back IN to position asap, it is VERY important that you get close again once it is gone…

Leap – The boss will LEAP to the person FURTHEST away in this fight, so STAY CLOSE! If you are too far away it will jump for MILES and you have to spend more resources running around this massive room to reapply damage. The trick is to stay as close as possible to the whole fight. That way when it selects a player you will already be so close that the damage already applied will be continued. The boss will move a couple of feet rather than a couple of miles! STAY CLOSE. The leap hits with a large aoe splash just like the jump and should be avoided in the same way.

Remember, follow mechanics, get out, then get back in again!

Mad Architect

This boss has some of the coolest visual mechanics in the game but is a very simple one so long as people focus. The boss needs to be faced away from the group by the tank at all times, while the healer and the dps stay behind him.

Undead Minions – Throughout the fight, the boss will spawn adds and you must get rid of these fast. The tank should taunt/chain them in while the dps kill them with aoe damage if possible. EVERYONE must stay in the circle with the boss, do not run around the room it will be a mess!

Grinning Bolt – High damage single target bolt which is usually aimed at the person with aggro. The tank must NOT drop taunt as this can wipe a squishy!

Runes – The boss will cast runes on the ground. If you are caught by these you will take HIGH damage and be snared/immobilized. Do not stand in them. Don’t run away like a baby, simply move to one side and avoid them. Remember running like a headless chicken puts pressure on the group. Relax!  

Lethal Spirit (Get Out!) – This is extremely obvious…The boss will cast an ability where the ground will glow bright pink and souls will rush from the floor. This is a very simple mechanic, GET OUT! Do NOT stand in it. Let it pass then get back in again!

Letha Telekinesis (Stay In!) – This is the opposite of the above, the boss will put a protective dome over him and the group and the outside of the circle rather than the middle will smash to pieces with some crazy shapes and patterns around the room which will destroy the group…simple mechanic…STAY IN! 

The above two mechanics are random, but they are easy to follow if you understand them…pink floor get out, protective dome, stay in!

Good luck!


Vaults of Madness Dungeon Loot

Below is a list of all the loot you can expect to find in Vaults of Madness.

On normal the loot is blue and the boss does NOT drop a monster helmet, but on veteran difficulty all of the loot is purple and the main boss DOES drop a special monster helmet.

Note: in dungeons some individual bosses can drop a unique item but generally, the weapons and jewelry (non-named items) come from the last boss. HOWEVER the entire loot table can also drop from trash and chests, so loot everything!  Got the gear in the wrong traits?  Don’t worry!  You can alter the traits by either transmuting or reconstruct the piece with a trait of your choice.  For more information see the Introduction to Transmuting and Reconstructing article.

If you are looking for a matching shoulder monster piece, visit the Undaunted Pledge Master Glirion the Redbeard at the nearest Undaunted enclave.  He sells a 50/50 chance at the shoulder piece as part of the Sands and Madness Coffer or it could be in his mystery coffer.  You can learn more about the Undaunted in the Undaunted Guide.

Builds That Use Vaults of Madness Gear

Vaults of Madness Achievements

ESO In-Game Icon Achievement 022
New Mayor of Crazy Town

Defeat the Mad Architect in Veteran Vaults of Madness, after invoking the Scroll of Glorious Battle.

ESO In-Game Icon Acheivement 020
Vaults of Madness Assassin

Defeat the Cursed One, Ulguna Soul-Reaver, Death’s Head, Grothdarr, Achaeraizur, the Ancient One, Iskra the Omen, and the Mad Architect in Veteran Vaults of Madness within twenty minutes of starting the dungeon. Timer starts when players engage the first group of tormentors.

ESO Achievment 026 Icon
Vaults of Madness Conqueror

Complete Veteran Vaults of Madness by defeating the Cursed One, Ulguna Soul-Reaver, Death’s Head, Grothdarr, Achaeraizur, the Ancient One, Iskra the Omen, and the Mad Architect.

ESO In-Game Icon Ability Warrior 032
Vaults of Madness Survivor

Defeat the Cursed One, Ulguna Soul-Reaver, Death’s Head, Grothdarr, Achaeraizur, the Ancient One, Iskra the Omen, and the Mad Architect in Veteran Vaults of Madness, without suffering a group member death.

ESO Achievment 026 Icon
Vaults of Madness Vanquisher

Defeat Ulguna Soul-Reaver, Grothdarr, Iskra the Omen, and the Mad Architect in the Vaults of Madness.

ESO Icon Achievement 024
Veteran Dremora Slayer

Defeat 150 Dremora in Veteran Vaults of Madness.

ESO Icon Achievement 024
Veteran Feral Shriven Slayer

Defeat 750 Feral Shriven in Veteran Vaults of Madness.

Vaults of Madness Leads

The following antiquity leads can be acquired in the Vaults of Madness.

ESO In-Game Icon Antiquities Update 30 Mythic Neck Fragment 01

The Chain of the Bone Goliath is part of the Shapeshifter’s Chain mythic item.

The dig zone for this lead is found in Blackwood.

Final Note

Thank you for taking the time to watch the content and read this guide. Be sure on your travels to remember, although once you get very experienced you may make these dungeons much easier and faster… it starts from the ground up and it’s…