It’s a momentous week in the BryanMD household; we’ve just moved it into a new home! As such, this week has included some sore muscles and a whole slew of keys: new house, new garage, old house (front door), old house (back door), my car, wife’s car, moving truck… And what I’m pretty sure is a key to the mailbox from the apartment we left two moves ago.
Still, much like Charlie observed in an earlier post, there’s something mystical about keys. That satisfying way they click open a door. The security you feel in a new house where only you can turn the deadbolt. The power you feel by having access to a place that actually needs a lock. All of this awe and wonder has inspired some game-ready content for today; some keys with truly magical abilities! As usual, I’ve tried to make them universal enough to fit locks in a variety of systems, settings, and campaigns.
Used by paranoid wizards and secretive agencies alike, envoy keys are used to keep secrets. The bearer of such a key may ‘lock’ a message of no more than 13 words safely inside the mind of an intelligent creature. The message is then largely forgotten by the creature, and may only be unlocked by another bearer of an envoy key. These keys may only be used to secure a single message at a time; that is, the bearer cannot secure another message until the previous one is unlocked. These messages cannot be accessed through magical, psionic, or technical means but only by another envoy key.
Favored by all manner of heroes and villains alike, these items are especially sought after for tracking other beings. Kindred keys are always forged in pairs, hence their name. When suspended aloft or held in one’s hand, a kindred key will always point in the general direction of its twin. This power will only function when both keys are held by a living creature; dead, undead, or inanimate objects cannot activate a kindred key.
When journeying in foreign lands, many adventurers have been glad of a parlance key. This item must be worn around the bearer’s neck to have any effect. Once a week, for up to 7 minutes, a parlance key allows the bearer to communicate with another intelligent being in a language that the creature understands. The bearer need not have heard the language before, as the parlance key seems to transmute the bearer’s words into the appropriate tongue. Unfortunately, the parlance key does not allow its bearer to comprehend that language in return.
Many cultures fear the power over death and the undead; others still revere it. The funeral key grants its bearer this power; as such, depending on the culture’s views of these matters, the possession or use of a funeral key may be considered an evil thing. Use of a funeral key has two possible outcomes, and these always alternate from use to use. It is not possible to gain the same effect from a funeral key in consecutive uses.
First, when placed against a crypt, coffin, or even graveyard earth, this item can raise a deceased creature as an undead version of its former self. (The game master’s discretion should be used to decide the condition of body and attitude toward the key’s bearer.)
Alternately, a funeral key may be used to lock any non-living creature or being into a coffin, tomb, or vault. A creature secured in such a way cannot escape or be raised, except by use of a funeral key.
This magic item is only usable by a character who is capable of casting arcane spells. The key must remain in contact with the bearer’s skin for a full lunar cycle before it may be used. Once this time has passed, the caster may imbue the arcane key with any appropriate spell; this spell may be decided by the game master, or by the player (applying any requirements from the corresponding system). The bearer may ‘unlock’ this spell at any time by swallowing the key; the spell is considered cast at the moment the key is ingested.
Only the caster who originally infused the arcane key may cast a stored spell in this way. However, the original spell may be written over should another bearer take possession of it, and go through the necessary steps.
Many a missing party has tried to turn the tide of their travels with one of these items. A locus key is used to gain obscured information from a map. The locus key is placed on the map in question, then spun around once by each member of the party. At the game master’s discretion, the key will reveal one random hidden feature on the map; this may be a room, tunnel, door, safe, trap, or the like. A locus key will only show features that existed at the time of the map’s drafting, and has no effect on a map that is incomplete. A locus key cannot be used more than once on any given map.
This item creates a virtual prison by locking an object in place, making it unable to be moved, lifted, or otherwise taken from its intended location. A static key can be used on intelligent creatures, but has only a 50% chance of success. An object locked down by a static key is held in that place for the exact amount of time that the key was in contact with the object, and will not move or be compelled to move. However, touching the object with the same static key that locked it in place will allow it to move as normal.
They say silence is golden, and such is the gift of the golden key. By placing the golden key under the victim’s tongue, and uttering the command word ‘Aurum’, the bearer may ‘lock’ the vocal cords of said creature rendering them silent no matter what. The creature’s voice may only then be restored by that same key, in the fashion described above. This item may only affect one creature at a time, and has no effect on a creature that is already incapable of making vocal sounds.