Aura none (special circumstances); CL 20th
Slot none; Price 128,000 gp (lesser), 320,000 gp (greater); Weight 2 lbs.
This small 3-inch cube is crafted from refined alligotonium and appears to be an amalgam of smaller 1-inch cubes. Mostly sienna in hue, the middle cubes in the center of each larger face have been dyed a unique color.
A contraband cypher is a magic puzzle box made up of 26 identically-shaped 1-inch alligotonium cubes arranged to form a larger cube—each side consisting of nine exposed faces of the smaller cubes. There is no center cube within the larger arrangement, allowing for any one of the smaller cubes that make up the center square on each side of the larger paradigm to be depressed inward until it occupies the open space in the core of the puzzle box. When closed, the smaller cubes of a contraband cypher cannot be pulled apart by any means that wouldn’t totally destroy the magic item.
The smaller cubes are held together in the form of the larger cube by an attracting arcane force that draws each inwards towards the center of the box. However, when a smaller cube is depressed into the core of the larger construct, it automatically shifts back to its original location when released, once again vacating the empty space inside the puzzle-box. In this way the middle cube comprising each of the six faces of a contraband cypher can be depressed, one at a time, like a button.
The cubes that can be depressed are uniquely hued for identification (carmine, cerulean, verdant, titian, perse, and ashen).
To open a contraband cypher, the buttons on each of its faces must be depressed in a specific order to solve a combination. When the combination has been input, the smaller cubes suddenly expand outward to float, spin, and twirl in midair as they orbit around an ardent spherical field containing an extradimensional space within (and any items that were stowed inside).
A successful DC 30 Disable Device check reveals the first button to be pressed in the contraband cypher’s combination. Subsequent successful Disable Device checks (DC 30 + 5 for each new part of the combination) reveals the next button in the combination.
When the box is opened, items stowed within the extradimensional space float weightlessly inside the spherical field as the small cubes continue to erratically orbit its outer edges. If an item is placed into the extradimensional space that would push the weight capacity of a contraband cypher over its limit, that item falls to the ground.
A full-round action is required to open a contraband cypher, and it remains open for 1d4 minutes. Then the small cubes are automatically drawn back together, securing any items floating within the spherical field by compressing the opening to extradimensional space within the core of the puzzle box. When closed, this extradimensional space functions as a vacuum. The alligotonium construction of the puzzle box makes the interdimensional space contained within immune from outer planar confluences—as long as the box remains closed, the interdimensional space contained within remains unaffected by the presence of an extradimensional space (such as a bag of holding).
A lesser contraband cypher conceals a 1 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 25 lbs., and requires a combination of three buttons to solve.
A greater contraband cypher conceals a 3 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 50 lbs., and requires a combination of five buttons to solve.
While a contraband cypher is closed, it generates no aura and masks the auras of any magic items contained inside as well as providing those items within with spell resistance (SR 25) which it also shares.
A contraband cypher retains the overall mass of the contents stowed inside, causing it to seem unusually heavy when the extradimensional space is being utilized.
The combination of a contraband cypher can be reset by a creature familiar with the current combination (DC 20 Use Magic Device check). This is done by rearranging the colored cubes as they orbit around the extradimensional space when the puzzle-box is open; failure results in a totally random new combination.
To determine a random combination due to recombination failure or determining the existing combination of a discovered contraband cypher, roll 1d6 for each part of the combination and use the following chart:
1d6 Cube to be depressed
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Enlarge Spell (for greater contraband cypher only), create demiplane (CL 15th), mask dweomer (CL 5th), ½ lb. of refined alligotonium; Cost 64,000 gp (lesser) / 160,000 gp (greater)