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PaizoCon 2014!

Cocoon Cloak


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot shoulders; Price 7,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This cloak made from the whitish-brown silk of butterflies is prized by servants of Desna. Once per day when the command word is spoken, the fibrous cloak encases the wearer in a strong, thick cocoon (20 hardness and 10 hp). The wearer can spend up to three rounds inside the cocoon. Each round spent inside the cocoon transforms the wearer as she undergoes a metamorphosis. The first round spent in the cocoon causes the wearer and the cocoon to grow as if affected by an enlarge person spell. On the second round, the wearer’s eyes transform into an insect’s compound eyes granting her darkvision up to 60 feet. On the final round, the wearer sprouts a pair of gossamer butterfly wings. The wings allow the wearer to fly 60 feet per round (40 feet if wearing medium or heavy armor) with good maneuverability and a +5 bonus on Fly skill checks. The wear sheds the cocoon after the third round. The transformation lasts for 5 minutes at which time the butterfly wings melt away and reforms the cloak. The wearer can end the transformation before the third round and still gain the effects from each round spent in the cocoon but the cloak’s daily usage is used up for the day.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dark vision, enlarge person, fly; Cost 3,750 gp

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Hah! Okay, it's totally a SAK of SIAC effects, but that has got to be the coolest Desna tie-in and metamorphosis mechanic I've ever seen! Perfect execution on using the template, too. Generally, written well, but they missed a "wear" vs. "wearer" in there that proofreading (but not a spellchecker) would have helped catch.

I'd kind of like to Keep this one.

CEO, Goblinworks

Should get some insect antenna and some kind of blindsight not darkvision.

Seems incredibly cheap.

If I enlarge and get bug eyes then exit, am I lugging a cocoon around for 5 minutes?

5 minutes means "I can use this to overcome a challenge" not "I can use this to engage meaningfully with my environment, or travel a meaningful distance". Maybe that justifies the price.

Weak reject.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

I was worried about the cost, but it's about right--winged boots are 16k for 3 5-minute flights, which puts one use at 5333gp, and the other short-term effects add into that comparably.

As Ryan said, it could use a bit clarifying that if you emerge early, the coccoon dissolves and you still get the cloak back when the time is up.

Says "dark vision" in Requirements. :p

But I like it. Keep!

Paizo Employee Developer

Do the five minutes of use start on the first or third round of benefits? Not that 2 more or fewer rounds for the first two effects is going to make a huge difference compared to the 50 total rounds the transformation lasts, but it could be clearer.

That said, I agree that this is a well-done item with both universal and Golarion-specific appeal. Keeping was the right move here.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

I get into trouble like this all the time, but isn't whitish-brown really just tan? Trifles!

Fairly solid item, and I do like the Golarion-specific tie to Desna. Perhaps listing a break DC with the hardness and hit points of the cocoon, and mentioning whether or not the wearer can move while encased (entagled? helpless?) would help a bit.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Star knife wielders unite! This is a very usable Desna item. To me this is about the right amount of Golarion fluff, just enough for me to get it, but easily removable for a campaign somewhere else. While this is SIAC and ‘creature in a can’, the cocooning theme is quite cool and tightly done. The delay and the tight theme are what make this item elegant. I like that you called out the hardness and hp (nitpick, it should be “hardness 20,” not “20 hardness”). I don’t think it needs a break DC, other held/wielded items don’t have them listed. I would have gone more hp and less hardness: steel is hardness 10 and adamantine is hardness 20! A tiny style thing, whitish-brown isn’t that cool sounding, there’s got to be a more evocative way of saying it.

All that said, good writing and a solid idea have impressed the judges, myself included.

Welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! Next round show everyone your skills at creating brand new rules content. Best of luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Neat!

My nitpick, “Each round spent inside the cocoon transforms the wearer as she undergoes a metamorphosis.” Not sure about that. It seems redundant like “going to the restroom in order to go to the bathroom.” Metamorphosis is transformation, right? Yeah, you’re hammering home the butterfly metaphor, but it reads strangely to me.

The Golarion flavor is good, and you have just enough of it. Flavor is easy to overdo.

By definition, a good maneuverability imparts a bonus to the Fly skill, but you reminded us of that anyway. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, it’s obscure so you’re saving me from looking it up. On the other hand, it’s not consistent with the fly spell in the Core Rule book which also tells us that you’re given a bonus for having a good maneuverability but does not list the specific bonus.

Now let’s talk about that bonus- you give +5, but the definition of good maneuverability is +4. Try to remain consistent with existing rules.

But don’t feel that I dislike your item. It’s just that for once no one else has beaten me to the glitches, so I actually have something to point out. ;D

This is a cool item, and yet another example of where a solid theme makes things like SAIC forgivable. Keep bringing cool ideas in a tight theme and you will grow to be a Superstar and rise to success.

Congratulations and good luck!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I've altered this entry title. The original contained visible bold tags.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Sect

I love this item. There's really not much else I have to say about it.

Taldor

This is just...fun! It is very straightforward in its design (a nice way of saying it is primarily SIAC), but it is awesomely packaged. If the effects you need for the mechanics of your idea are already laid out nicely as spells, no need to reinvent the wheel :). Congratulations on making Superstar!


I love the flavor in this item.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Thanks everyone for the comments. Being a film grad and a failing writer (I still got those piles of reject letters!) it's nice to get some positive encouragement (for this round anyway!)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Ok, so it doesn’t make you younger, or turn you into Wilfred Brimley. If you exit before the third round, do you lose the item? (you don’t have butterfly wings yet). Why Enlarge person? Darkvision and fly make sense, a bit much for the cost though. The hardness is a bit much for the cocoon, and does it provide cover? Does it impede any other actions while you’re transforming?


John, I like it. It's got great Golarion flavor, and the mechanics are sound, if not perfect. But, I can see flaws, some of which others have already pointed out. I'd definitely make the vision enhancement some kind of blindsight, as Ryan suggested. I'd also make the time spent transforming longer, minutes (at least), not rounds. Yes, I realize this makes it less useful in a combat situation, but it fits real metamorphosis much better. (On B5, Delenn spent days in her cocoon! And all she got was human hair! ;-)) I'd also say no moving while encased, and definitely no cover, assuming an attack gets through the hardness (which is probably too high). Overall, it's an excellent item, though. Congrats making the Top 32!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Alexander MacLeod wrote:

I get into trouble like this all the time, but isn't whitish-brown really just tan? Trifles!

You know, I actually had to do some research on that one :) I looked online at various "cocoons" to help me describe it. I probably should have tightened that description up. When you look at the cocoons, they are varying degrees of white and brown. But tan works, too! Though, for Desna, made something prettier- like purplish-blue?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

I told myself I would take a break, watch a movie and relax while my archetype slowly congealed in my brain, but what the hey, I'll be up until 3am anyways, so I figured I'd give a little background on how I put this item together and as to some of the choices I made and why.

Probably like most contestants, I had about a dozen ideas to shift through. This one came to me at work. At first I had it doing a bunch of other stuff, like healing hit points or ability damage. I was trying to tie the item to what really does happen in a cocoon. I dropped the idea for awhile, went on to other items and came back with a new approach. It was "Ghlaunder's Cocoon Cloak" and it let you spread disease. It was awesome, it had "mojo", and big sexy mandibles sprouting from your mouth. It was also something more for an NPC than a PC so I rejected it (though I have it "statted up" if anyone wants it but minus the cost).

But based on what I had come up with, the bug idea for Ghlaunder, I took a stab at converting it into something PC friendly. Luckily, Desna seemed to fit the bill with her symbol being a butterfly (really wanted moths, though...) Since one of her domains is travel, I figured something along that lines would be a good starting point which gave me the idea of flight, and hence the butterfly wings. So, I thought, what happens when a caterpillar goes into a cocoon? Their body changes and with the wings, they are generally larger than before so that's where enlarge person came in. Next, I thought of darkvision, (and not dark vision as Sean rightly pointed out though it drives spell check crazy!)so that the wearer could see in the dark better (Desna being the goddess of stars, it's still pretty dark). Could have gone with low-light vision, or blindsense (didn't even think of that one!) If you want to use this item in your game, you can keep it darkvision or use low-light or blindsense and I still think it will work fine. Finally, the magnum opus, the butterfly wings which I used the "fly" spell for.

Now for the mechanics. Enlarge person is a first level spell, darkvision is second, and fly is third level, so that's the order I had them take effect in. Luckily, all three spells have a one minute duration so that made it mechanically easier to piece together. Since a 5th level wizard can cast fly, I settled on a CL of 5. As for the hardness and hit points, I woke up from a deep sleep a week later after submitting thinking, "Why didn't I include a break DC?!" I still don't know if it needs one. The hardness and hit points I calculated because while I was writing "strong, thick cocoon", I was thinking "steel-like."

For the cost, I tried so hard using that chart in the core rulebook. So hard. So finally, I went with the alternative advice, "price it to something similiar." The Cloak of the Bat helped me determine price. At 26,000 gp, it lets you fly for 7 minutes at a time and multiple times per day, plus gives you bonuses to stealth, and let's you hang upside down (and that's where I got the plus 5 bonus to fly as the CoB gives you a +7 bonus and it is a CL 7 item so that's how I thought they figured it). Granted, it can only be used in darkness, but since a lot of adventures occur in a dungeon, not really much of a problem. So obviously, the Cocoon Cloak was a lot "weaker" than the Cloak of the Bat since it could only be used once per day. So using that and the fact that it was a CL 5 item, I ballparked it on the high end of the cost for a minor wondrous item.

Now, going into this, I so knew it was a SAK/SAIC and a half. But, I took three different spells and combined them together to create something kinda' weird and different. I knew that if anything was going to get this item chosen, it was going to be flavor which is what everyone has liked so far about this item. I thought sure, it reproduces some spells, but in the end, you are some big, buglike thing and some people might think that's cool. Desna seemed perfect for it, so I used a dash of that to tie it all together thematically.

And sorry for the long post. I'm going to take a break now, really, I am!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Fun item. Not sure I'd keep the enlarge part of the effect, since I normally thing of butterflies as being more delicate than caterpillars (enlarge tanks your Dex). Maybe cat's grace instead if I used the item. My pick of the two cocoon items.


John Bennett wrote:
Cocoon Cloak

Gah. Another butterfly/cocoon item. Okay. I like this one better than the corsage, and it is a good non-sinister alternative to the cloak of the bat. Not among my favorites thus far, but not bad either.


Normally I don't like either Butterfly or transformation themed items, but this merges the two themes in such a great way while avoiding all the typical pitfalls with great elegance, that i just have to love it.
Not for the theme (don't want to turn into a giant Mothman), but simply for the execution.
If your archetype hits a flavor more fitting to my personal tastes I'm sure I will really love it. I hope that this will be the case, because if you make me like something I don't want to like, i want to know what you will do with something I want to like from the start :)


You know I love/hate this item.

It's neat -- and I enjoy themed items, it takes time, it's not "overpowered" as I feared it might have been at first -- as a GM I would allow it, viewing it as a reskinned cloak of the bat.

As a player? I wouldn't take it. I don't have three rounds to waste getting suited up, and (again) it simply reminds me too much of the cloak of the bat. I just don't really see a character I would use this with.

I like the deity link in it, especially with the link not being "hardwired" into the mechanics but in a lot of ways this item screams "Mothman" to me more than "butterfly goddess!" which might be part of my problem with it.

I really like the implementation of this item though and feel that it is very "safe" at the table.

My only mechanical question would be what happens if the cocoon is destroyed while in use?


A nice thematic item. Unfortunately, I got an image of the insectoid people from an old He-Man cartoon, in which one of the insectoid men fell in oxygen rich water and ended transforming into the exact form described after the full metamorphosis. That aside, I do like the item.

(YES, I did watch He-Man as a child, but did not make any connection and ambiguously gay references that VH1's 'I Loved The 80s' series pointed out. It was a cool cartoon in it's day and the sword of Greyskull become the Sword of Corellon for one campaign I ran, in which the sword had to be held aloft and the words "Fey Telanon Na'Corellon!!!" had to be spoken, after which the wielder of the sword underwent a transformation that was basically the spell DIVINE VESSEL. Sorry for the tangent. Couldn't stop myself.)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Daniel Gunther 346 wrote:

A nice thematic item. Unfortunately, I got an image of the insectoid people from an old He-Man cartoon, in which one of the insectoid men fell in oxygen rich water and ended transforming into the exact form described after the full metamorphosis. That aside, I do like the item.

(YES, I did watch He-Man as a child, but did not make any connection and ambiguously gay references that VH1's 'I Loved The 80s' series pointed out. It was a cool cartoon in it's day and the sword of Greyskull become the Sword of Corellon for one campaign I ran, in which the sword had to be held aloft and the words "Fey Telanon Na'Corellon!!!" had to be spoken, after which the wielder of the sword underwent a transformation that was basically the spell DIVINE VESSEL. Sorry for the tangent. Couldn't stop myself.)

Yes, He-Man! I also grew up watching He-Man. Maybe it was in my subconscious when I was writing the item?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Abraham spalding wrote:

You know I love/hate this item.

It's neat -- and I enjoy themed items, it takes time, it's not "overpowered" as I feared it might have been at first -- as a GM I would allow it, viewing it as a reskinned cloak of the bat.

As a player? I wouldn't take it. I don't have three rounds to waste getting suited up, and (again) it simply reminds me too much of the cloak of the bat. I just don't really see a character I would use this with.

I like the deity link in it, especially with the link not being "hardwired" into the mechanics but in a lot of ways this item screams "Mothman" to me more than "butterfly goddess!" which might be part of my problem with it.

I really like the implementation of this item though and feel that it is very "safe" at the table.

My only mechanical question would be what happens if the cocoon is destroyed while in use?

Like if you were still in the cocoon? I think it would probably either get the broken condition or be destroyed. I'm at work so I don't have the rulebook in front of me to verify. But it's cheap enough you can buy another one!


But does it interrupt the transformation?

I could see multiple things happening:
1. The cloak is broken or destroyed no other effect.
2. The cocoon is broken, you get the effects you got to, but the cloak is ok for use the next day.
3. The cocoon is broken, the cloak is broken, you still get the effect level you got to.

It's a fairly trivial thing so I wouldn't worry on it too much -- but it is one of those things that would come up fairly quickly in play.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Abraham spalding wrote:

But does it interrupt the transformation?

I could see multiple things happening:
1. The cloak is broken or destroyed no other effect.
2. The cocoon is broken, you get the effects you got to, but the cloak is ok for use the next day.
3. The cocoon is broken, the cloak is broken, you still get the effect level you got to.

It's a fairly trivial thing so I wouldn't worry on it too much -- but it is one of those things that would come up fairly quickly in play.

I would probably go with number three. You got some of the magic before the cloak broke.

As far as some of the other mechanic questions-
I intended that the 5 minute transformation start when the transformation is complete (so yeah, you get an extra 12 seconds of enlarge person, and 6 seconds of darkvision).
If I went back and reworked this, I would also say you can't take any move actions while undergoing the transformation. As for cover. Well, I suppose other PCs could try to use you as a shield...:)

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

John, welcome to Superstar! This is a really good execution on a theme. Well-written, solid mechanics, and an eye for small details (like hardness and hit points). Golarion detail, but not so much that this is unusable in other settings. I really have no criticisms of this entry. Well done!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

This is really great stuff, as several others have said. I don't really have much to add other than what the judges already have. Way to go!

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations John!
Strength (Overall): 15
Dexterity (see time in my campaign): 10
Constitution (long-time keeper): 12
Intellegence (mechanics): 16
Wisdom (writing craft): 15
Charisma (flavor/visuals): 16
This reminds me of a long-time favorite MtG card, which might subtract some of my personal interest in the item. I might have gone exoskeleton over enlarge, but ymmv.
Though an extra pair of eyes might have helped, I think your writing and flavor are tight and will take you far over the next couple of months. Congratulations :)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Mistah J

Congratulations on making the top 32!

This item is a cool idea. Spend some downtime to pick up a few extra abilities. It's nice and I like the tactical choice of "do I wait longer to get more stuff".

The problem is, I think, the abilities are a bit weak. No one is going to wait 2 rounds for darkvision. Especially if it is daytime and they are outside and they just want the wings to fly. There are also some issues about how cocoon destruction interrupts the process or what it does to the cloak. You put the stats of the cocoon in there which is good but we need to know the consequences.

The idea behind the cloak is sound though

Great Item!

Andoran

Folks seem to be missing the potential here for a pre-fight buff with great flavor attached. I'll spend 2 rounds for darkvision if I have 12 seconds to spare and nothings trying to kill me; why wouldn't I?

This is really neat, in my estimation. The only problem/question that I had with it was the same that Abraham mentioned above (what happens if something busts the cocoon in mid-transformation?), and I arrived at the same conclusion that you ultimately did, so maybe it's not a problem after all.

Congrats on making the Top 32 (and, so far anyway, my top 5). Looking forward to seeing your archetype!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Thanks for all the positive comments and critiques everyone. Based on many of the comments, the one weird analogy with my item that I think of it kind of like a pot of chili. Like a pot of chili, the Cocoon Cloak has a basic structure (3 rounds of transformations), but you can really put whatever you want into it (I don't like veggies or corn in my chili). I went through a couple of versions of this item, some with healing properties, some with disease properties. If you want to use this item in your game, I say definitely modify how you see fit. In fact, I would say this is really but one version of a Cocoon Cloak. Maybe they are all different depending on what the caster desired. Some may grant armor bonuses, or extra appendages. I even thought about it granting you the ability to shoot web out of your mouth. Another idea is to lower the cost and make it a one use item. Then you can really get creative with what it does. But thanks again everyone for your very perceptive and valid points. I hope I can impress you all in the next round!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

Another cocoon! I like items with multiple effects (although the judges seem to worry about too many effects unless they match up well, but in this case they do). The price seems low for being able to fly, but it is only for 5 minutes a day. And the effect might get some people to convert to Desna (or flee in terror perhaps).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Charles Dunwoody wrote:
Another cocoon! I like items with multiple effects (although the judges seem to worry about too many effects unless they match up well, but in this case they do). The price seems low for being able to fly, but it is only for 5 minutes a day. And the effect might get some people to convert to Desna (or flee in terror perhaps).

I know, who would have thought this was the year of the cocoons? I had about a billion different effects going through my mind, but I knew it would work unless it had a theme, in this case, turning into a gian bug person. Maybe next year's model will come out with some web ability.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013 aka Shadow-Mask

This is a pretty cool item. I'm actually glad it doesn't have antennae or other insectoid flavor beyond the compound eyes and wings.

Congratulations. :)


John Bennett wrote:

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th

Slot shoulders; Price 7,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This cloak made from the whitish-brown silk of butterflies is prized by servants of Desna. Once per day when the command word is spoken, the fibrous cloak encases the wearer in a strong, thick cocoon (20 hardness and 10 hp). The wearer can spend up to three rounds inside the cocoon. Each round spent inside the cocoon transforms the wearer as she undergoes a metamorphosis. The first round spent in the cocoon causes the wearer and the cocoon to grow as if affected by an enlarge person spell. On the second round, the wearer’s eyes transform into an insect’s compound eyes granting her darkvision up to 60 feet. On the final round, the wearer sprouts a pair of gossamer butterfly wings. The wings allow the wearer to fly 60 feet per round (40 feet if wearing medium or heavy armor) with good maneuverability and a +5 bonus on Fly skill checks. The wear sheds the cocoon after the third round. The transformation lasts for 5 minutes at which time the butterfly wings melt away and reforms the cloak. The wearer can end the transformation before the third round and still gain the effects from each round spent in the cocoon but the cloak’s daily usage is used up for the day.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, dark vision, enlarge person, fly; Cost 3,750 gp

Disclaimer:

Ask A RPGSuperstar Succubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus – fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Is the item Pretty?
That depends. Is the silk worked, or in an au naturel state?

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
To be blunt, no.

Is the item otherwise useful?
Not particularly.

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
So: To go down the item power list... Succubi can already fly. Succubi can already see in the dark. And to be frank, most succubi aren't going to find themselves very often in a position where they could do with being larger - so much for the item's powers from a succubus perspective. I suppose (if you're a mortal) that the price tag of 7,500 gp might look tempting for what the item does...
As a comment on the lifespan of the item, the item appears to 'self destruct' if the full three round cocoon process is not undergone - the item turns into the cocoon which is ripped to shreds when the user decides to emerge, and 'reforms' from the wings of the 'butterfly' form, but unless the process is undergone for three rounds, the user has no butterfly wings.
But, to return to an overview of the item as a whole, basically from a succubus point of view it comes down to how good looking is the cloak?

Gollum Rating:
(Benefit of the doubt on cloak appearance) Fisssh.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

I like it kind of turns you into a bug in order to get the abilities. That makes this item pretty neat.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

It would be super-awesome if you could stay inside the cocoon for a 4th round to grow a pair of skull-crushing insectoid mandibles!! ;-)

You've got a fun item here. Players would love to get their hands on something like this. The writing to top notch as well! Kudos!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

While I personally have never said "Man, I wish I could turn into a giant butterfly right now.", I do always end up using enlarge person and fly. I can pretty much do without darkvision, but the other two are must haves, especially for a melee character. This is a bit too SIC and SAK for me. It would have been nice if the item gave you something that the three component spells did not. Changing type to vermin, or magical beast for 5 minutes, or a little natural armour might have been a nice touch. As it is, I can get a lot of potions for this cost, take the same amount of time to get these effects and have a little more freedom while doing it. Am I helpless while in the cocoon? Can I see or hear anything? What actions can I take while inside?
I'm big on the metamorphosis concept here, and while not super keen on the form taken it's a matter of taste. The duration of the effect makes it something you need to use just before or during a combat, but it seems to make you quite vulnerable.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

I want one! My Desnan cleric soooo wants one! Nice imagery, it all ties together in one neat package :)

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