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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 21 Sep 2019 :  10:33:12  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Artifacts in D&D are rule breakers. It plainly states in basic 3.5e rules that Artifacts are allowed to circumvent standard rules to game play by the DM's choice. (How much fun can you possibly have?).

Same for 1Ed Advanced D&D, and 2e rules alike. So from 1978 to 2010 Artifacts can pretty much break all the rules and players can balk, or whine or laugh at the notion.

Example... My +20 battle axe of the Dwarven Lords of Runedardath unerringly strikes you for a critical hit of 12d20 + 20 damage per successful hit. That's truly insane, but feasible within game rules.

It's up to your DM really. But I would expect a mighty, powerful backstory and history as to why this can happen to follow.

The Shattering Swords of Coronal Ynloeth... The most Powerful elven Artifact in canon to date... With the clash of the twin longswords you can shred any living creature, regardless of HD to oblivion within 1 round. You can single handedly slay Asmodeus with this Artifact on his home plane of the 9th Hell. Mind you, you are shredded too, unless you have Ynloeths Bracer. So if you possess the Shattering swords and Ynloeths bracer, you can (in game terms) slay a greater deity.

Absolutely insane, but within canon game terms. Because it's an Artifact.

So forget The Axe of The Dwarvish Lords, forget The Shattering Swords of the elven Coronal of Aaryvandarr. Go low and create something new and less powerful, but still an artifact.

Even if there were 1,000 powerful artifacts littered across Faerun, that would mean a 1 and 1,000,000,000,000 chance of finding one. Good luck. And if you do somehow... your DM allows it... I'm fairly certain that it'll be back on the super-wicked rare list on top of your bones for another to find.

Twin-Blades Alight? A powerful minor dwarven artifact. The Mace of Cuthbert? The Wand of Orcus? The Chaos-Bringers of Vezzenvazzel Ahmaquissar? The Shattering Swords?, The Hand of Vecna?, The skull of XYZ deity?. The Eye of Baphomet?, The Ivory Horn of Asmodeus?, The Necrotic fang of Mephistopheles?, The Jeweled eye of the Prime Modren?, The Withered claws of Ygorl, Lord of Entropy?, The + 20 Silver Vorpal sword of the Githyanki Lord of Sorrow?, The Missing Eye of Tyr?, etc... etc...

Artifacts DO NOT make or break you. Contesting to the items intelligence alone will mess you up if you're not of the specific alignment.

Do you think that any dwarven PC can simply hold and wield The Axe of The Dwarvish Lords? Fools... Can any Dwarven lord simply pick up Twin-Blades Alight without dying in a monstrous hoard of enemies before she basks in the glory of her ancient kin?

As far as Canon goes... The last elf to wield The Shattering Swords was a Moon elf of Evereska that knowingly and willing clashed the blades together in the midst of an abyssal hoard, led by a Balor Lord of tremendous power, in order to buy time for The MistMaster to seal Hellgate Keep shut.

In the end... The Balor Lord was consumed and ripped apart by the shattering shards of Coronal Ynloeths swords, along with the moon elf who wielded them. All in all, over 100 demons were torn apart by the ancient magic of the sword, only to lay dormant somewhere under Hellgate Keep.

Or what about the Gnome Illusionist hero Phazarest Shadowstone, who stole the twin daggers of Baravar Cloakshadow from a hoard of Hobgoblins that was led by Vrazatablimnal, the Ogre-Magi King? Legend says he worked his way into the heart of the Ogre-Magi kingdom with nothing more than spells of Illusion and deception. Once he acquired the twin daggers he went on a frenzy of death dealing and violence that no mortal can comprehend. Eliminating the entire clan of Hobgoblins and eventually killing the Ogre-King himself.

And what of Paz Quicktoe, The Halfling thief that stole the frozen heart of Auril? Bypassing traps and locks and hellish frozen death to appease his god Brandobaris? He stole a shard of the winter queens heart and forged a mighty shortsword in her own fey kingdom, Calling it "Dweamorfrost".

Legend also speaks of a Drow Elf bard by the name of "Whispertongue" who ventured into the abyss seeking the Lyre of Madness. Rumor has it that his face was destroyed in combat with Grazzt. Undeterred, he sang a song of beauty and the Demon Prince was immobile in sleep as he stole the Lyre of Chaos instead and was imbued with the ability of changing a thousand faces. The only blatant theft against a lord of the abyss by a mortal in Realms history.

Fact is this... Artifacts and the legends behind them are really all that matter. You can have a crazy powerful longsword that does 100d12 damage as long as you have the backstory of the item or the person behind the legend.

What are some of your Artifacts?

CEV

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
32468 Posts

Posted - 21 Sep 2019 :  15:35:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The only artifact I've come up with is something that I originally thought up for a way-overpowered NPC. I've since scrapped that munchkin NPC, but I still like the idea of the sword I gave him.

I never really detailed it much, though.

I called the sword Nemesis, and it was originally the blade of a now-fallen war deity. The sword had one basic power: no matter what it was used against, it still did normal damage. Damage resistance, immunity to certain materials, ignoring certain types of damage, all that -- the sword ignored it all.

And it blocked regeneration, too.

So if something ignored everything except +5 silver whiffle bats and regenerated 20 hp a round, the sword would be considered a +5 silver whiffle bat and the damage it inflicted could only heal normally, not through regeneration. If the very next opponent could only be hit by +2 cold iron blades, that's what the sword would be considered. And so on.

I've never really done anything with this sword for two reasons: once I got out of my phase of creating insanely overpowered NPCs, there was no need for it, and despite the simplicity of the sword's power (always does the same damage), the execution of that is rather complex.

I do have another NPC concept that requires an artifact to be in his backstory -- but that's only to have the NPC subject to a curse that can't be lifted. I've not come up with the artifact itself because the curse was the important part of the backstory -- and even that NPC only exists to provide backstory to another NPC. And I've never really figured out what to do with the second NPC, so she remains mostly conceptual.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4771 Posts

Posted - 21 Sep 2019 :  15:56:38  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've always had difficulty distinguishing between a magic item and any other artefact. Some things, like demrons swords are just magic items, whereas others are artefacts and there is little to distinguish the power level.

I make up a backstory for almost every single magic item I introduce into a campaign or world.

I consider something an artefact only if it cannot be recreated due to the unique circumstances or reagents that went into its creation.

So the splintered sword of aidyn is an artefact that doesn't really do much other than deal damage to a creature that is otherwise impervious to damage, it is a wooden sword and completely useless in any other circumstances.

Then I have the numerous magic items across the old empires that are infinitely more powerful but can be recreated by the churches that first made them

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
32468 Posts

Posted - 21 Sep 2019 :  16:09:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, and one more thing about that sword I thought up: it wasn't originally intended to be an artifact. It was only much later that I realized that the scope of its abilities was simply beyond mortal magic, therefore it had to be an artifact.

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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2019 :  21:02:20  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Oh, and one more thing about that sword I thought up: it wasn't originally intended to be an artifact. It was only much later that I realized that the scope of its abilities was simply beyond mortal magic, therefore it had to be an artifact.



Give me the details and I'll flesh it out for you to finish if you'd like.
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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2019 :  21:06:17  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I've always had difficulty distinguishing between a magic item and any other artefact. Some things, like demrons swords are just magic items, whereas others are artefacts and there is little to distinguish the power level.

I make up a backstory for almost every single magic item I introduce into a campaign or world.

I consider something an artefact only if it cannot be recreated due to the unique circumstances or reagents that went into its creation.

So the splintered sword of aidyn is an artefact that doesn't really do much other than deal damage to a creature that is otherwise impervious to damage, it is a wooden sword and completely useless in any other circumstances.

Then I have the numerous magic items across the old empires that are infinitely more powerful but can be recreated by the churches that first made them



I love it!! A wooden sword used in practice combat for young ones learning melee combat, but in the hands of anyone over a certain HD it becomes XYZ powerful. I can kill that artifact. in a good way. I can think of 30 things right now to do with that wooden sword. Great concept.
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4771 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2019 :  22:05:29  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually it was a druid artefact so it was a bit less murder hobo than that. Anyone touching the blade was pricked by a splinter from the sword and within 10 days the sword was able to completely ignore all damage resistances the being might possess.

So the first wielder would almost certainly die, but the second wielder could use it as a normal sword against anything (even a tarrasque).

Not a terribly useful artefact but the wife of the king of moray did ask for a weapon that could kill the scaerandaga (not necessarily a weapon that would kill it)

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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2019 :  22:11:50  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Actually it was a druid artefact so it was a bit less murder hobo than that. Anyone touching the blade was pricked by a splinter from the sword and within 10 days the sword was able to completely ignore all damage resistances the being might possess.

So the first wielder would almost certainly die, but the second wielder could use it as a normal sword against anything (even a tarrasque).

Not a terribly useful artefact but the wife of the king of moray did ask for a weapon that could kill the scaerandaga (not necessarily a weapon that would kill it)



I'll flesh it out if you'd like. I only do 3.5 so that's a setback, but I'm game if you are.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32468 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  02:21:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Oh, and one more thing about that sword I thought up: it wasn't originally intended to be an artifact. It was only much later that I realized that the scope of its abilities was simply beyond mortal magic, therefore it had to be an artifact.



Give me the details and I'll flesh it out for you to finish if you'd like.



I don't have any real details. It is the sword of a fallen war deity, and it always does its normal damage, regardless of any immunities/damage reduction the target has.

Even though it doesn't do gobs of damage, the fact that it ignores everything makes it powerful.

You can try to write it up if you wish, but I'll not be able to judge if the write-up is mechanically sound, and it's not something I personally have any use for.

I've moved on from that particular stage of being a gamer. I prefer stuff that's less powerful but more interesting, now.

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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  05:10:59  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Oh, and one more thing about that sword I thought up: it wasn't originally intended to be an artifact. It was only much later that I realized that the scope of its abilities was simply beyond mortal magic, therefore it had to be an artifact.



Give me the details and I'll flesh it out for you to finish if you'd like.



I don't have any real details. It is the sword of a fallen war deity, and it always does its normal damage, regardless of any immunities/damage reduction the target has.

Even though it doesn't do gobs of damage, the fact that it ignores everything makes it powerful.

You can try to write it up if you wish, but I'll not be able to judge if the write-up is mechanically sound, and it's not something I personally have any use for.

I've moved on from that particular stage of being a gamer. I prefer stuff that's less powerful but more interesting, now.




1. does it matter what god?
2. This is NOT uber powerful to begin with so I think we're good.
3. I'll leave the money mechanics to you and others that are far better than I to figure that out.
4. I can do this in one night if you're game. I don't want to build your weapon if you're against it.
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4771 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  10:48:20  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By all means flesh it out if you fancy. I use my own rules based upon 3.5 but massively evolved so I have it acquire damage types after exposure to the blood of a creature. Otherwise it functioned as a normal long sword (I separated out all magic properties so you can have a weapon that drips acid or gains damage types but does not have any bonus to attack or damage)

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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2019 :  22:16:34  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

By all means flesh it out if you fancy. I use my own rules based upon 3.5 but massively evolved so I have it acquire damage types after exposure to the blood of a creature. Otherwise it functioned as a normal long sword (I separated out all magic properties so you can have a weapon that drips acid or gains damage types but does not have any bonus to attack or damage)



Deal. I can have fun with this as I set my own standards based on 3.5ED as well. I will start this on Monday perhaps, but I'm thinking something along the lines of this to begin with;

Vron of the Thousand Battles: This longsword is considered a +5 weapon for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction, though it has no effective attack or damage bonus. With a successful critical hit, this intelligent sword can automatically determine the weakness of any creature it strikes, causing the blade to function in whatever manner that would cause the most damage to the recipient.

Just for starters. Cool with you?
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

964 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2019 :  02:25:19  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would be easier to say that melee attacks made with the blade ignore all forms of alignment, damage type and material based damage reduction.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32468 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2019 :  04:28:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

It would be easier to say that melee attacks made with the blade ignore all forms of alignment, damage type and material based damage reduction.



This is more inline with what I'd imagined: it just ignores everything.

I also didn't imagine it being intelligent. Nemesis is powerful enough without adding intelligence into it.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6884 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2019 :  09:16:59  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The One Ring was an artifact upon which the fate of Middle Earth, Elves, Men, Dwarves, Orcs, and Sauron were all hinged. Ages were marked when it was forged, lost, and destroyed.

The Nine Orbs of Dragonkind were similarly critical artifacts in Krynn's history. At least during its most legendary, pivotal, and catastrophic moments.

But the Realms is littered with world-shaking artifacts. The Ring of Winter, the Crenshinibon, Cyrinishad, Finder's Stone, the Nether Scrolls, Zsass Tam's Dread Rings, the Flying City of Shade, Mythals, etc. They're all capable of destroying nations, remaking the world, granting godlike power... Yet they're each confined to whatever adventures, mini-campaigns, or novels were written around them.

Artifacts are central plot elements which drive stories and define the roles or goals of the characters around them. So maybe the Realms are populated by so many artifacts simply because so many stories have been written for the setting. Greyhawk also had too many (though not quite as many) artifacts with epic scope and legendary powers - they just seemed to resurface and clash with each other more often than they seemed to multiply in number.

The "best" artifact used in any games I played was a modestly unpowerful Spelljammer item. Basically a +2 cutlass which gradually transformed the wielder into a space pirate (who was inclined to drink grog, swagger a lot, and say "Arrr!" far too often). It served its story/adventure purposes well but it left behind a devastating wake of stereotypical space pirates before finally being fed into an artifurnace helm.

Planescape spans the cosmos yet lacks a preponderance of artifacts. The rules explanation being that the vast majority of artifacts are anchored to the planes and worlds and deities and histories of their origin - they're comparably powerless and "ordinary" magical items when away from their "home" power sources - so the wielder of epic unopposable god-skewering blades from Faerun won't have much luck trying to use them vs Asmodeus in his Ninth Layer of Hell.

[/Ayrik]
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Wrigley
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Czech Republic
558 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2019 :  20:25:55  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have so far created only two minor artefacts for my game and I am considering third.

First is a Skin of Sarevok - for this I have misused BG lore as it was created by Rejiek Hidesman from the remains of said Bhaalspawn. It contain some remains of his divine essence and responds to death around it. More death the more power it gives to wearer. In normal conditions it is a horrid looking suit of leather armor but once it tastes blood it becomes much more. First it compels to more killing (Rage spell) and later it empowers wearer for any death in close area (lets say 60ft, Death Knell spell). If real carnage happens it might give more demonic powers like Magic fangs, Protection from Good, ...
In long term it slightly changes your willingness to commit acts of violence (shifting you to chaotic evil). It is also not good at all as armor with AC 1 and -2 modifier as soon as it tasted blood...it only provide temporary hitpoints once a kill is made and those stack up.
It has found it's way to Darkhold where it spun a small controversy as Cyric is not seen as the same as Bhaal so they rather sold it to spread chaos (rather than keeping it as unholy divine gift).

Second is a Pool of consciousness. It was created by Jhaamdath psionics to guard area around their new home in Dordrien keep (south of Dagger Falls). It is a stone pool of sand in basement of the keep (part of the structure) and only work if you immerse yourself into it. Than if properly activated (psionics) you can send your mind to wander around for as long as you will. It is however draining to your body and you cannot feel it until you return to it or you feint out from exhaustion. Until then you are incorporeally flying in Material world and can see and hear as normal. Your flying speed is not great (50ft) so it take time to get far. You are invisible to naked eye but spells can find you and you are also vulnerable from Ethereal plane. You cannot speak to anyone unless you are capable of telepathy. You also cannot cast any spells but you can be under effect if cast before you leave the body.

Third is a Dragon helmet - elven helmet from time of Crown Wars that enables wearer to command a dragon. You have to force your will upon it so it was mainly used on young dragons trained as a steed. Once you make the link between wearer and the dragon it keeps it so dragon cannot free himself. Helmet provide a telepathic link so any command you wish is sent directly to dragon (helped in aerial battles). It does not bind a dragon in any other way so you should phrase your commands carefully and ahead of time. It could be also used only as a way to communicate and was used as such with good dragons willing to risk such enslavement. Some dragons may recognize such legendary helmet so it might be risky to approach a dragon with it on your head as he might want to kill you before you try to use it.
(I have not yet introduced it in the game so I have no backstory except it will be of Ilithyri origin)

Also there was a brief encounter with Nether Scrolls as they were dispersed around Faerun from the elven tree form in Myth Drannor.
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Copper Elven Vampire
Senior Scribe

596 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2019 :  03:23:09  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

I have so far created only two minor artefacts for my game and I am considering third.

First is a Skin of Sarevok - for this I have misused BG lore as it was created by Rejiek Hidesman from the remains of said Bhaalspawn. It contain some remains of his divine essence and responds to death around it. More death the more power it gives to wearer. In normal conditions it is a horrid looking suit of leather armor but once it tastes blood it becomes much more. First it compels to more killing (Rage spell) and later it empowers wearer for any death in close area (lets say 60ft, Death Knell spell). If real carnage happens it might give more demonic powers like Magic fangs, Protection from Good, ...
In long term it slightly changes your willingness to commit acts of violence (shifting you to chaotic evil). It is also not good at all as armor with AC 1 and -2 modifier as soon as it tasted blood...it only provide temporary hitpoints once a kill is made and those stack up.
It has found it's way to Darkhold where it spun a small controversy as Cyric is not seen as the same as Bhaal so they rather sold it to spread chaos (rather than keeping it as unholy divine gift).

Second is a Pool of consciousness. It was created by Jhaamdath psionics to guard area around their new home in Dordrien keep (south of Dagger Falls). It is a stone pool of sand in basement of the keep (part of the structure) and only work if you immerse yourself into it. Than if properly activated (psionics) you can send your mind to wander around for as long as you will. It is however draining to your body and you cannot feel it until you return to it or you feint out from exhaustion. Until then you are incorporeally flying in Material world and can see and hear as normal. Your flying speed is not great (50ft) so it take time to get far. You are invisible to naked eye but spells can find you and you are also vulnerable from Ethereal plane. You cannot speak to anyone unless you are capable of telepathy. You also cannot cast any spells but you can be under effect if cast before you leave the body.

Third is a Dragon helmet - elven helmet from time of Crown Wars that enables wearer to command a dragon. You have to force your will upon it so it was mainly used on young dragons trained as a steed. Once you make the link between wearer and the dragon it keeps it so dragon cannot free himself. Helmet provide a telepathic link so any command you wish is sent directly to dragon (helped in aerial battles). It does not bind a dragon in any other way so you should phrase your commands carefully and ahead of time. It could be also used only as a way to communicate and was used as such with good dragons willing to risk such enslavement. Some dragons may recognize such legendary helmet so it might be risky to approach a dragon with it on your head as he might want to kill you before you try to use it.
(I have not yet introduced it in the game so I have no backstory except it will be of Ilithyri origin)

Also there was a brief encounter with Nether Scrolls as they were dispersed around Faerun from the elven tree form in Myth Drannor.



I respect that.
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Nilus Reynard
Learned Scribe

Canada
119 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2019 :  10:11:23  Show Profile Send Nilus Reynard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nilus looted a minor artifact (DM created) in Undermountain many years ago. Its called the Circlet of Discord. The circlet is made of bronze and is set with 13 bloodstones. The symbol of Beshaba is engraved on each of the bloodstones. Its abilities are:

-Causes slight panic & confusion to all enemies within a 50 foot radius, causing some to give up fighting and flee/attack their allies, etc.

-Exudes a 20 foot radius of despair that affects enemies, that increases with every round that the enemies are exposed to it

-Allows the wearer to make an enemy's saving throw instantly fail up to 3/day

-Gives the wearer an immunity to all forms of curses

The circlet can only be worn by a follower of an evil deity. Any good or true neutral character that touches it receives 12d4 cold damage.

Nilus Reynard
Doom Master of Beshaba, Hand of Despair.
P24 Hm CN
(2nd Edition AD&D)

Edited by - Nilus Reynard on 16 Oct 2019 10:17:31
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