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Sal's Master Key


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka NJKrosse

Sal’s Master Key
Transmutation Faint Transmutation; CL 3rd

Slot -- slot;
Price 8,000 gp;
Weight 1/2 lb.

Description
This key is made of unadorned brass, with a strip of leather hanging loose around the key's bow. The blade of the key is uncut, making it appear worthless from a cursory glance. The key only works on mechanical mechanisms such as locks, traps, or secret doors. When inserted into mechanical lock, trap, or secret door, the key passes harmlessly inside it and expends a number of charges equal to the CR of the mechanism being bypassed. If the CR is reduced to 0, it is disable or opened. If the CR is not reduced to 0, the key pops out of the mechanism harmlessly, and the mechanism's new CR is what remains after the charges are used up. The blade of the key represents the number of charges left in the item. The key starts out with 10 charges and with each charge used, the blade changes from uncut to ornately cut. Charges take 24 hours to restore after the last charge is used up.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Knock, Crafter must have ranks in Disable Device equal to half the number of charges; Cost 4,000 gp

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Now this is interesting.

I normally dont like magic lockpick stuff, but this is cool. I like the CR reduction mechanic. I like how you stick the thing in and it reduces the CR.

Problem is the number involved. The CR for even a basic lock is 20. So, at best, this item never actually works. All it does, at best, is reduce the CR from 20 to 10. Plus, if all you have is this item and no thieves tools then the 10 you just reduced the CR by is increased again by 10 for lack of thieves tools (see disable device rules).

I just dont think the number is well thought out. It should be 20. But that makes this item too good.

In the end, this is an item that once per day reduces the CR of one lock by 10. Because that is how it will be used. Really, isnt this just knock in a really fancy can--knock gives a +10 to caster level check against the DC of a lock, this item simply reduces the DC of the lock by 10.

And by the way, lets say I use this key to reduce the CR of a lock and then never try to pick the lock? Is the CR of the lock permanently reduced? Of if I relock a door after it is picked? Is the mechanisim of the lock changed and now permanently reduced to its new CR? If not, how long does it last? And what happens to normal keys for the lock? Do those still work?

Superstar? Could well be. I like the approach and the creativity, that's for sure.

[Edit: I left this post intact so everyone can see it. Yes, we all have our moments. I just want to thank everyone for not whacking me on the CR vs DC issue.]

Contributor

I like it, too, but the problem is that regular locks don't have CRs, so reducing its CR is... impossible?

Also, what does reducing a trap's CR mean if you fail to open it? If you have a poisoned spiked pit trap (CR 10) and you reduce its CR by 5, how much damage does it do? Its poison do? How does that affect its DCs?

How can you insert it into a secret door to reduce its DC? The door's DC is what you need to FIND it, not open it.

If this just worked on locks, that would be neat. Adding the other stuff means it's not making sense.

If he had left this at just-doors, or explained the trap effect, it would be a keeper for me, but as is, I have to say...

Reject.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I really want to like this. I like the way it monkeys with the CR mechanic. I want to see what this person could do in another round. Granted, I could be making a big mistake here.

This is mojo. This is something new. This is interesting. And as a result, I cut slack on this submission for errors that would be fatal in a less interesting submission. Fair? I dont know. But that's how I roll.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

My biggest question is how this affects traps. It implies that something changes to alter the CR, but doesn't say what, which is a big issue - especially as it sounds like it either leaves a GM redesigning a trap on the fly or robs the group of experience.

I'm also unclear on how this enters traps and secret doors. Does it magically do this or do you need a lock or gap? Can you use this on a trap that is just a crushing wall with no visible mechanics? Real hazy stuff here.

Again, though, I think this is neat on locks and probably should have stopped while it was ahead.

Reject.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I'm keeping it. It may not make top 32, but that's a chance I want to take.

In my experience over the last two years of doing this, it is the guy like this that makes it to the final 4.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I cant believe I just hit Keep on an item with "Sal's" in the name.

Oh boy.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

This is one that has a neat idea, but a fatal flaw. If we have 32 without significant flaws, I'd prefer not to let this one linger.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Okay. Not loving the name. Who's Sal? There's no backstory for explaining the name (and that's a good thing, because it would be unneeded backstory if you had). So why even include Sal in the name? Why not call it Abadar's Master Key? At least that way, you've got a tie-in to Golarion flavor that makes some sense.

Other than that, I can see great promise in this item. And yet, it goes off the tracks, too. First, I love the notion of a magic key that can immediately decrease the DC of a lock by plugging this thing into it. That's an awesome idea. On the other hand, having it somehow reduce the CR of a trap doesn't make any sense. What does that actually do to a trap? Reduce its damage? Force the GM to go puzzle through a whole new trap design. How does the magic even accomplish that kind of change short gumming up the mechanical aspects of the trap...and in such a way that it still leaves the trap functional at a reduced CR?

No, I think DCs are where you ought to be focusing this item's abilities. Instead of granting a circumstance bonus on Disable Device checks...like most magic items might try to do...I like the notion of working it from the other side and having this item reduce the DC necessary for such checks to succeed in disabling them. Forget about CR reduction. That way lies madness. Though, I can see the merit in suggesting if Sal's master key has more charges (10) than a trap's CR, it can automatically disable it. That's...okay, though it's a bit of an anticlimax. I'd just suggest the key helping detect secret doors, perceive traps, and then let it reduce the DCs of Disable Device checks by injecting it into the equation. That would tighten things up better, I think.

Small nitpicks: You should lower-case "Faint Transmutation" in your Aura line. The Slot, Price, and Weight information should all be on one line, which means you didn't follow the correct template. Also, you mention the construction requires "ranks in Disable Device equal to half the number charges" and yet the key already states it always starts out with 10 charges. So, why not just say it requries 5 ranks in Disable Device and be done with it? Also, your construction requirements only cite knock, which only helps with locks and secret doors...not traps. So adding something like find traps or even just guidance to the requirements would seem useful.

Now, all that aside, I really do like what you've come up with here. I can totally see why the judges perceived enough creative spark behind this idea to place you in the ranks of RPG Superstar. Congratulations on finding the design mojo to catch their eyes. Going forward, you'll need to tighten up your submissions to close off these types of questions or quibbles with your design. We'll all be watching to see what you do. Best of luck!

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

While I agree that you have the core of a pretty cool item here, the execution of Sal's Master Key leaves me more than a little confused. The questions being asked by the judges are not oddball corner-cases that a little editing can patch up. The questions are about the basic functions of this item. I'm not sure you spent the time needed to give this thing its proper vetting.

There are no effects listed for what actually happens when the CR of a device is lowered. Does the device do less damage? does its disable DC actually go down? Is the DM supposed to redesign the trap on the fly? All that CR represents is a unit of measurement for a DM to figure out how difficult an encounter or trap is for an average party, and how much XP to hand out after the fact. It's a piece of data used in encounter-building, and has no in-game meaning to the PCs.

Regardless, my musings on this are not important. You have piqued the judges' interest with this item, and have joined the ranks of this year's RPG Superstar hopefuls. I think in future rounds you need to detach yourself from your design, and really examine it with a critical eye. Your voting peers are going to discover the most nuanced flaws in your designs. You need to be able to catch and resolve the basic ones.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 aka K. B. Carter

Congrats on making it to RPG Superstar 2010! I asked myself the same three questions for each of the top 32 items. Here are my responses to your item:

Would this wondrous item unbalance or over-complicate my game if my PCs were to find it and use it?
I've said this in a few other responses to the top 32, but I generally like items that assist Skill checks as opposed to items that trivialize skill checks. In this regard, I think you did a great job with this item. The key reduces the DC in elegant and easy to understand manner, but it is not necessarily bypassing the Disable Device roll.

Would my PCs be happy with this item if they were to find it during an adventure?
My PCs will like this item. I think they will want more control over how it works. In general, if they had one these with 25 charges, they would probably rather reduce 5 locks from DC 25 to DC 20 than one lock from DC 25 to a DC 0, but I understand that PCs can't always get what they I’m okay telling them that, straight up.

Do I like the mojo? Does the item spark other ideas for my campaign?
Yeah, this is cool. I like any item that changes its appearance based on the number of charges that it has left, and the concept of a master key is easy to grasp and extrapolate. Good work. You made a simple, elegant, item that doesn't require a lot of book keeping. I dig it.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Okay, I like your flavor and your creativity. I really want to know what else Sal is making? A mechanical trumpet with a timer perhaps. But with that said I’m just going to buy a wand of knock and save 3,500gp. The wand can even look like a key. But I do think you had some creative thinking going on in this entry and I’m looking forward to seeing that pointed in a new direction in the later rounds. Best of luck to you and Sal and welcome to RPG Superstar 2010!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I'm going to have to say I don't like it. The confusion of DC and CR makes the item nearly unusable. It does have a neat description, though. I'll give it that.


Wow, I've had this one in my campaigns going back years, and in several game systems.
ED: okay it didn't work exactly the same but pretty close.

Osirion Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huh. This doesn't seem well thought out at all to me. I guess, I'm just not seeing what Clark saw. I hope you do well Kevin in later rounds, but this item doesn't seem at all useful per its description nor even very useable.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka MythrilDragon

It seems you took a creative risk and it's paid off for you. Keep the creative coming for the next round and Good Luck.


There is a neat idea here, but I really don't see the item as superstar. It's badly written, I get a sense from phrases such as 'it is disable or opened' that English is not the poster's first language (which may admittedly explain other problems), and frankly I'm not sure how you can partially disarm a trap (that is to say reduce the CR) with something that works off a knock spell - or even start the process of disarming a trap then stop without setting the thing off. Does a user even have to know that a lock is trapped to use it to disarm the trap, or does the item just start to disarm a trapped lock automatically, giving the user some kind of warning that the lock may cause problems?

I like the ranks in Disable Device construction requirement, but it seems to imply that the poster thinks that a key can be made with a variable number of charges which nothing else in the entry does.

Congratulations on making the top 32, but I really don't see how you will progress any further unless you raise your game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

With all due respect, I honestly think this item should be disqualified since it is not usable in the Pathfinder game system. Locks do not have CRs or Challenge Ratings. It's like changing the terrain of a dragon from plaid to left-handed.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Yeah, that's not happening. :) And frankly you really shouldn't suggest that. The judges all unanimously included him in the top 32. NJ now has the same chance as anyone else.

While it may be that I liked it better, just consider this one of my golden tickets. And, if my history of golden tickets holds up, my golden ticket picks tend to do really well. Its a gift I have :) But hey, you never know. It's now in his hands to bring it in round 2.

[Note: we didnt use golden tickets this year, I am merely saying to the extent my appreciation for this item helped it make the cut that is similar to the golden ticket process we employed in prior years]

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Kevin,
Welcome to the Top 32 and congratulations!

Your item is practical and fairly well written... To be honest though I don't see my party ever using this item mostly due to the cost. I am guessing there is some intent to have the item be multiple uses per day based on the cost but it's not entirely clear how that would work since the rules are a bit sketchy.

Regardless, I look forward to seeing your next rounds item.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

Clark Peterson wrote:

Yeah, that's not happening. :) And frankly you really shouldn't suggest that. The judges all unanimously included him in the top 32. NJ now has the same chance as anyone else.

While it may be that I liked it better, just consider this one of my golden tickets. And, if my history of golden tickets holds up, my golden ticket picks tend to do really well. Its a gift I have :) But hey, you never know. It's now in his hands to bring it in round 2.

[Note: we didnt use golden tickets this year, I am merely saying to the extent my appreciation for this item helped it make the cut that is similar to the golden ticket process we employed in prior years]

I appreciate where you are coming from. During the first year of this contest, my item was initially chosen by all 3 judges. It then got DQed because another member of the forum noticed it was 8 words over the word count. Without the input of the forum community, I would have been in the contest. An alternate who followed the rules then got a chance to advance in the contest.

I think this item also breaks the rules. It is a magic item which did not follow the rules of the contest because it is not compatible with the Pathfinder rule system. Locks do not have CRs, unless there in an errata that I've missed.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

SmiloDan wrote:


I appreciate where you are coming from. During the first year of this contest, my item was initially chosen by all 3 judges. It then got DQed because another member of the forum noticed it was 8 words over the word count. Without the input of the forum community, I would have been in the contest. An alternate who followed the rules then got a chance to advance in the contest.

I think this item also breaks the rules. It is a magic item which did not follow the rules of the contest because it is not compatible with the Pathfinder rule system. Locks do not have CRs, unless there in an errata that I've missed.

That's not your call. Does it have warts? Yes. But so did the Migrus.

Plus, the problem with your item wasn't "the input from the forum community," its that we as judges failed to autoreject your item. Had that happened, as it should have, you would have had no idea. In addition, if I recall correctly, you also missed getting rejected for Evard's black tentacles. Now that in my mind is more of a pass I would have given you--much like the item here.

You of all people Dan. Come on, now. I'm also surprised you are aruging with ME over this--as I was the guy fighting for your item back in the day. Dan, I'm not trying to get on you here. You know I am a huge fan of yours and that I LOVED your crown.

Look, I'll be the first to admit it--I might be wrong on this one. I said it above. But it grabbed me. Heck, all the judges spent some time with this. The warts here are, in my view, and in the view of the judges, not the same as an autoreject for over word count. This, like some other items, would not have gotten a reject, it would have gotten an "rework it this way, because that is a pretty cool idea you have there."

Start a new thread if you want to discuss this, but this author is in the top 32 and doesnt deserve discussion of autorejection in his item thread.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

I'd like to put in another vote to hear more about Sal!

While there have definitely been some concerns voiced about how it works, it sounds like it'd be otherwise quite fun to use in a game. Way more interesting than just casting knock.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I like this a lot. While the CR lockpick thing is off, it could easily be changed to DC for locks and work just fine. Plus it's a cool stairstep approach that doesn't make a lock magically just open. It keeps the rogue useful while helping to lower a potentially unpassable lock to a possible one. Good job and congrats!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka NJKrosse

Whoooo boy, where do I start?

Thank you all for the naked, honest criticisms. I'm glad those of you liked the idea of the key removing some of the difficulty of a lock/trap/door and didn't view it as quite a 'knock-off' of the knock spell. That said, I did indeed botch the mechanics of this item. I won't hide that. I didn't give myself enough time to let the key simmer and show me its true colors before submitting it. That was a big mistake, and I have no intentions of making it again in round 2. I saw the same glaring error of CR vs DC that you have all mentioned. In short, I probably should have used DC instead of CR. Hindsight, 20/20.

The intention was to make the item accessible to characters with and without disable device, and/or with and without access to a knock spell. For those times when a rogue isn't around to disarm a trap, and whatnot. There is a lot that I had wanted to put into this, and maybe I should have, like bypassing the need for lockpicks (See Clark's initial post) but I did not want a repeat of my attempt in 2009, so I chose to play it safe and not try to reinvent the wheel.

I tread as cautiously as I can because I am still assimilating the nuances of the Pathfinder Rules with my understanding of classic 3.0/3.5. That last part is not an excuse, it's just where I am coming from in this competition. With every mistake I'm making it a personal priority to better myself. Once more I thank you (and Sal thanks you) for all for the criticism now and to come.

Star Voter 2013

Clark, I think you're being a bit overly sensitive. It's hard to get tone from online postings, but it's always legitimate to raise a point for the judges to consider. That's what we're here for and that's why he cited precedent. I don't read this as especially challenging on SmiloDan's part.


I really dislike the CR thing for a completely different reason than everybody else:

CR is an abstract game mechanic that is never revealed to the players and is intentionally not interactive.

This item not only reveals CRs to the players (for traps, since neither secret doors nor locks have CRs), it makes them interactive. Players should never know what the CR of something is, not because it's some grand secret, but because it's irrelevant to their ability to play or enjoy the game. Furthermore, CR should never be subject to direct changes based on what a player does. Saying "That trap is now CR 1 because I stuck this magic item in it" is a huge no-no IMO.

Even the suggested "change CR to DC" isn't a real fix to my complaint, because DCs are similarly abstract mechanics that should never be interacted with, and probably shouldn't be directly revealed to players, either, at least for things like traps and secret doors.

By the way, please take this as it's intended: as guidance for how not to make similar mistakes in the future. Let sleeping abstract design dogs lie ;)

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

roguerouge wrote:
Clark, I think you're being a bit overly sensitive. It's hard to get tone from online postings, but it's always legitimate to raise a point for the judges to consider. That's what we're here for and that's why he cited precedent. I don't read this as especially challenging on SmiloDan's part.

You might be right. I can be overly sensitive. And the interwebs is a funny place.

Dan, my apologies.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

Clark Peterson wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
Clark, I think you're being a bit overly sensitive. It's hard to get tone from online postings, but it's always legitimate to raise a point for the judges to consider. That's what we're here for and that's why he cited precedent. I don't read this as especially challenging on SmiloDan's part.

You might be right. I can be overly sensitive. And the interwebs is a funny place.

Dan, my apologies.

Accepted.

I remember you liking my item (thanks, by the way!), but sticking to the rules, because the rules were there for both the items you liked and the ones you didn't. I know you wouldn't let your personal feelings about how cool an item might be influence your fairness in applying the rules to everyone involved in the contest.

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Sal?

I immediately thought of Saul Vancaskerkin's missing hand and its replacement when I read this.

Mmmm. Riddleport flashbacks.

The mechanical issues with this one really leave me scratching my head.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

I like roguish items. I really wanted to like this one.

I've come back to it 3 or 4 times now. The 1st time I didn't understand it at all. The I tried to fill in the blanks to see what you were going for here. I kind of get it, but I can't figure out a way to make it work mechanically either.

I also struggled with several roguish items to submit. I pored over every book I could find to try and get a precedent for one of them that I really liked. I just couldn't do it without breaking the rules entirely (not just bending them a lot) or being way too confusing to pack into 300 words. Ultimately I had to scrap those ideas and go with something a little more mechanically sound.

It's for that reason that you would not have gotten my vote, had this been a voting round. It wasn't really clear describing how it works and the mechanics weren't there. See Zurai's post about this. I have a similar view on this.

That's not to say I didn't like the concept, just that there are other items here that I could drop into my game tomorrow and they would work pretty well.

That having been said, you made the cut and I did not. So perhaps I need to be a little less cautious next year. Congratulations and good luck in round 2.


Zurai wrote:
Even the suggested "change CR to DC" isn't a real fix to my complaint, because DCs are similarly abstract mechanics that should never be interacted with, and probably shouldn't be directly revealed to players, either, at least for things like traps and secret doors.

I disagree. DCs are part and parcel of the game in ways that CR is not. You don't really need to use CR, it's just a guideline to indicicate when you are going overboard, and when you are making it a cakewalk, while DCs (whether for Skills or Saves or Hit vs. AC) are core to the game, even if they are usually not revealed directly to players, the players constantly know that they are interacting with DCs. Aid Another - effectively reduces the DC. Taking 10 is inherently something you do when the DC is 'doable' with an average roll.

If the mechanic here was 'switched' to a DC reducing mechanic (i.e. a permanent bonus to anyone attempting a DD against the target mechanism), perhaps the '# of charges' would need to be adjusted to match. This would be alot better than forcing a DM to look up the trap CR table to find the a new DC (which was the implied intent in my eyes). If implemented this way, sucha bonus could even be given a specific bonus type that's appropriate - enhancement?

...I like the idea alot though.
Maybe I'd want the key to dissolve into powder after it's charges are expended.
Better image, more rogue-y/ prone to multi-level conspiracies.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This is an interesting idea, and I can see why the judges liked it, but it needs a lot of work. I am looking forward to seeing your entry for the next round. Congratulations!


Quandary wrote:
Zurai wrote:
Even the suggested "change CR to DC" isn't a real fix to my complaint, because DCs are similarly abstract mechanics that should never be interacted with, and probably shouldn't be directly revealed to players, either, at least for things like traps and secret doors.
I disagree. DCs are part and parcel of the game in ways that CR is not. You don't really need to use CR, it's just a guideline to indicicate when you are going overboard, and when you are making it a cakewalk, while DCs (whether for Skills or Saves or Hit vs. AC) are core to the game, even if they are usually not revealed directly to players, the players constantly know that they are interacting with DCs. Aid Another - effectively reduces the DC. Taking 10 is inherently something you do when the DC is 'doable' with an average roll.

CR is integral to the game. Among other things, without CR, there'd be no way to determine experience gains, because experience is tied directly to CR (by the way, this is another reason why changing CR is a really really bad idea; CR determines xp, so reducing the CR of a trap to 0 also means you don't get any xp for it). Also, and this is getting really technical and not really meaningful to the item, players do not generally interact with DCs. I can't think of anything a player can do that directly increases or decreases the DC of anything, although I'm sure there's something somewhere. Usually what happens is the player gets a bonus or penalty to whatever the roll is, rather than interacting with the DC.

When I say "interacting with <an abstract rules element>", I'm talking about directly modifying it. There are no rules elements that players cannot interact with in a general sense -- for example, as I already mentioned, players earn experience based on the CR of challenges they overcome, which is a form of interaction. It's just not the interaction I was referring to.

Osirion

Great concept, falls apart in the execution. This is not a bad thing.

I'm interested in seeing what you do next, and I think Clark is right - we'll see you in the Final 4.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

This one I'm just not feeling the love. The idea of giving it a Disable Device DC reduction is okay I guess, but since no trap or lock has a DC of 10 or less it amounts to "+10 to Disable Device 1/day." Not a bad item, but not giving me the Superstar giggles either.

My first thought was that it was an interesting metagame item, in that it could disarm traps of up to CR 10, which is a weird way to design an item and yet one that had a certain appeal - that actually would allow you to use less than 10 charges at a time, since there are plenty of traps below CR 10. Still, that would be kind of wonky as an item.

Regardless, bro, YOU'RE IN! Best of luck going forward. Be careful of the rules, and BE AWESOME on the ideas!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I don't like this one, and frankly don't think it should have made the top 32, especially after all of the judges mentioned that mechanical soundness was so important. Still, that's not even remotely my call, so Congratulations on pushing through to the next round.

A word of warning though, in future rounds it is unlikely that the voting public will be as generous with such poor execution (and confusion) of game mechanics, so you might want to be a bit more careful in future rounds...

That said Good Luck, and I truly hope you show me just how wrong I am for feeling that your item is sub-par!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

Great job making the top 32! I have to say that I also don't really get the item as a superstar one, and would repeat the advice that you'll need to bring your A game in future rounds. The biggest concern I have (aside from how locks and secret doors don't have CR and are unaffected as written.) is that making the assumption that the key would work on the DC of locks, DCs and CRs aren't on the same scale. Reduceing a DC by 10 is okay, while bypassing a CR10 trap is pretty significant. To make the charges work more on par with each type, you'd have to have each charge effect 1 CR or reduce the DC by some multiple, probably 2 or 3.

Another burning question I have with this item is what happens if it's used on a lock that is also trapped? Which is effected first?

Finally, I'm not convinced that a magic item should give an automatic pass on a trap like this, especially up to CR10. Since CR is supposed to represent the overall challenge, to me it's equal no matter what the source (at least roughly.) I certainly wouldn't want a magic item to automatically defeat a CR10 monster, not without some sort of skill check, saving throw, or by doing damage. An item that did, would be an automatic pass on a fire giant, young red dragon, or rakshasa.

Regardless of my thoughts though, your creativity paid off. Good luck in round 2.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Boxhead

Very cool concept, but as written definitely needs a little love.

Was the intent that it reduced CR (i.e., made the trap less dangerous?) or that it reduced the DC (i.e., made a lock easier to open?). As written, it actually just seems to reduce the XP awarded to a group who uses it on a trap, which can't be the intent...

If it were designed to reduce CR, it would probably have to go to 0, or have no effect. There simply isn't a good mechanic for reducing a trap from CR 9 to CR 3, for example.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I like the visual of the key changing appearance based on the charges used. Sal sounds like a pretty level-headed guy.

Aside from the CR / DC snafu, +10 on Disable Device 1/day would be nice, but only if you have the skill to finish the job. Since Disable Device is Trained Only, someone without any ranks is still likely to fail/lose a finger/unleash the poison gas. Nice item for a rogue, though.

Good luck going forward!

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I like the idea of this item and think its worth further developing and so understand why its top 32 even if it has some flaws. The designer has come up with a unique solution to that classical problem of traps and locks. Its something different and I'd like to see a refined version somewhere down the track. Well done mate, all the best in round 2.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka DankeSean

Much like hourglass items, I'm always on the lookout for a key item that does something new. Just a personal preference; I like the way old fashioned keys look. But all too often you just see them cast knock x number of times per day and it bores. So in that respect, I admire your trying to have this do what you'd expect a magic key to do, but come at it from another angle. That said, the mechanics, as written, kind of fall apart, but that's been covered over and again and no need to belabor the point. One common criticism I will disagree with, though, is that i like the name. Sure, i don't know who Sal is, but I never knew who Mordenkainen or Kwalish were the first time I flipped through the PHB or DMG. (Come to think of it, I still don't know who Kwalish is.) Sal's a simpler, less high fantasy driven name, true, but this is a simpler item. It doesn't make me picture a uber archmage type, but I could see a more down to earth, urban wizard/rogue crafting this to give him an edge in breaking & entering. Sal? not a bad name for that.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

The working name for my item was thinking of naming my item "Steve's Amulet" but then I remembered Paizocon 09 and scrambled to come up with a new name.

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