More than ten years ago, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez got together their amazing writing and illustration talents and bred “Locke & Key”, an amazing tale of supernatural horror in six volumes and three one-shot issues. The series was so successful and its ending so beloved, that everyone knew it had to become a TV show. And after a few attempts, Netflix released its first season on February 7th. On the other hand, our friends at Enderra are hosting the RPG Blog Carnival, and they have selected “Legends & Lore” as this month’s topic. And finally, as a blog with serious preference for the Eberron campaign setting, well, guess what: we’re turning the keys and opening the door into a world of possibilities.
The keys in the universe of Locke & Key are made from whispering iron, which was first discovered by Benjamin Locke in 1775, during the Revolutionary War. A small army hiding in a cave found a mysterious door the Black Door, which they opened, resulting in the release of demons from another world. One of them possessed a soldier, but as others were unable to find hosts, they fell dead, turning into chunks of what would be known as whispering iron. This magical origin imbue all the keys forged with this material with different magical properties: some of them are extensively featured in the series, while others are only seen briefly.
Today, we will focus on two of them: The Anywhere Key can open a door to anywhere as long as its bearer can visualize it in their mind, and the Shadow Key allows its wearer to control shadow creatures, even the shadows of other people.
Even if the dwarves of House Kundarak are the masters of security and lock manufacturers, it was a different clan who found the Black Door to Xoriat in Eberron. The now-disappeared Noldrun clan was the one getting first contact with the Whispering Iron in a mine deep into the M’ror Holds four hundred years ago. No one knows for sure who forged the keys, but the Ghoradin from House Kundarak got in possession of many of them, and particularly the Anywhere Key has been more than useful to them as House Kundarak’s own intelligence service being able to bypass even their own security.
Artifact (requires attunement)
When this key is inserted into any door with a keyhole, the door becomes a portal to any other door in the world that the user can clearly visualize in their mind. The user of the key must have seen a door in the location they wish to travel.
- Magic Portal. The Anywhere Key can be used to cast Teleportation Circle as an action and without need for the material component. You can carry with you up to eight other creatures as long as they are holding one hand with each other. The destination needs to have a door that is known to you.
- Destination Familiarity. When casting Teleport and using the Anywhere Key as a focus, you can treat any “very familiar”, “seen casually” or “viewed once” destination as if they had a permanent circle you know. It can also warn you if the destination you pretend to arrive to exists or not in order to avoid a mishap.
- Riffel Rule. When someone else becomes attuned to the Anywhere Key, you lose memories of ever having used it.
- Destroying the Key. As with any of the other keys, the Anywhere Key can only be destroyed by trying to use it to open a lock made of byeshk (see below) within a manifest zone and during a coterminous phase of the plane related to such zone.
Artifact (requires attunement)
Originally, the Shadow Key opens a door leading to the “Chamber of Living Shadows,” a room which contains candles and the Crown of Shadows on a stone pillar. Once the key is used on the door, the key starts to glow like a candle, despite not generating any heat. By putting the key on the crown, it is activated. If the user then puts it on his head, all shadows around him including his own come to life in different shapes. It is unknown how the shadows gain the form they take, but it appears that the user’s shadow gives hint to his personality. If the user is skilled with the usage of the Crown, he can “wear” shadows and take on a certain shadow-like appearance. He can also merge with also the shadows to become a gigantic shadow entity, increasing his height, strength and stamina.
- Penumbra. When activated, the area in a 30-ft. radius from the Shadow Key is heavily obscured.
- Summon Shadows. As an action you can imbue life in the shadows around, actually summoning up to 6 levels worthy of CR among the following creatures: shadow (1/2), shadow mastiff (2), shadow demon (4). For example, you can summon up to 12 shadows, or 2 shadow mastiffs, or one shadow demon and one shadow mastiff. You can use this feature again to summon additional creatures up to 6 levels more, but it requires concentration unless you are also wearing the Crown of Shadows. Any creature summoned this way has the “Sunlight Weakness” trait, giving them disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws while in sunlight.
- Riffel Rule. When someone else becomes attuned to the Shadow Key, you lose memories of ever having used it.
- Destroying the Key. As with any of the other keys, the Shadow Key can only be destroyed by trying to use it to open a lock made of byeshk within a manifest zone and during a coterminous phase of the plane related to such zone.
The Byeshk and Graywall Mountains are a mountain chain on the western coast of Khorvaire, separating Droaam from the Eldeen Reaches. The mountains are home to medusas, basilisks, several flights of harpies, and other horrible creatures, but they are most notable for holding abundant resources of byeshk, a purple metal widely used in jewelry as well as for bludgeoning weapons. Such weapons are particularly effective against daelkyr and some aberrations. The Dhakaani hobgoblins mined byeshk for use against the daelkyr, and some of those mines still exist today. Many of them remain inhabited by the descendants of the horrible creatures the daelkyr sent in to shut the mines down.
Bludgeoning weapons whose head is made of byeshk give their users a +1 bonus on damage rolls. In addition, byeshk weapons of any type are able to overcome the damage reduction of daelkyr, which are resistant to all other weapons. This metal is very difficult to work into armor, and it offers no significant advantage over iron for this purpose. Byeshk has hardness 17 and 35 hit points per inch of thickness. An item made of byeshk weighs 50% more than the same item made of iron. As it is difficult to work with, doing so has an increased DC for any Craft checks to create or repair an item made from it.
Have you read Locke & Key? Have you watched the Netflix adaptation? Do you want to see more keys for your Eberron campaign?