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The Name "Secret Chest"



The concept for Secret Chest came out of an interview with some of the creators of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) back in the 1970s, working with various services that shard data, and reading academic works for different methodologies to encrypt and encode data going back decades. That was all when I was writing a book on the History of Computers and answering questions about how to make passwords more safe at the old day job. During the pandemic, when I was doing much of the math to make all this work, I also happened to be playing 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons once a week. Then it came time to name the product.


In Dungeons & Dragons, Leomund's Secret Chest is a spell that allows you to hide a large chest and its contents in a different plane of existence, making it incredibly secure. You cast the spell by touching both a regular-sized chest and a tiny replica of it. The spell then hides the real chest and its contents on the Ethereal Plane, which is invisible and intangible to most beings in the Material Plane. The chest you use must be made of expensive materials and can hold up to 12 cubic feet of non-living items. So the spellcaster can hide secret stuff in the chest and it's safe.


You can then retrieve the hidden chest at any time by touching the tiny replica and using an action. It will appear near you on the Material Plane. Sending the chest back to the Ethereal Plane requires touching both the real chest and the replica. The spell, like secrets in Secret Chest, lasts indefinitely unless dispelled. When dispelled, the replica is destroyed, or you choose to end it. After 60 days, there's a small chance each day that the spell ends and the chest is lost forever in the Ethereal Plane. Secret Chest doesn't do that part!


Leomund's Secret Chest is popular for storing valuable treasures or sensitive items safely away from prying eyes and nimble fingers. It can also be used creatively for transportation, hiding in plain sight, or even staging surprise attacks. Its mechanics might differ depending on the edition you're playing, but that's the gist, going back to the early days when Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dragons was playing with the original people who helped perfect the game mechanics. Leomund was the player character of Len Lakofka in the 1970s. They game continues to pay homage to those early play testers and their weird made up spells and game mechanics. His son Ernie's Tenser, Elise's cleric Ahlissa, Otiluke, Robert J. Kuntz' Bigby, Brian Blume's Rary, and Gygax' own Mordenkainen, and plenty of others. Others involved in the early days led to Tasha, Nystul, Otto, and Melf (of Melf's Acid Arrow).


The roots of some spells run deep, all the way back to the Gygax house in the early 1970s. Just as some of the terms (like sharding) we use in Secret Chest. Because it's kinda' fun - unless it makes it harder to understand what's happening in the app. Then we sometimes drop terminology and just throw an icon out there. Because .svgs usually take up less space and a picture tells 1,000 words!

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