Image via Behaviour Interactive

Old-school skeleton keys are a staple of the horror genre overall. There’s something comforting about a key in a dangerous situation; it’s both a tool of escape and, in the case of a violent pursuer, a tool of entrapment. Since Dead By Daylight is an amalgam of horror tropes, it’s only sensible for a key to be present here as well. Here’s how the key works in Dead By Daylight

What do keys do in Dead by Daylight?

The key is a category of consumable item that can be obtained by Survivors in Dead By Daylight. Like any other consumable, you can receive keys from nodes on a Survivor’s Bloodweb, or as loot from a chest. The key comes in three different rarities:

  • The Broken Key, with 10 seconds of usage
  • The Dull Key, with 5 seconds of usage
  • The Skeleton Key, with 30 seconds of usage

Keys offer two major benefits to a Survivor that chooses to bring one to a Trial. The first and foremost one is that a key can be used to preemptively open a Hatch, also known as a “black lock.” The Hatch always spawns when there are only two Survivors left alive in a Trial, but it only opens when only one remains. Using a key, you can force the Hatch open and escape immediately. There are two catches to this, though: first, only a Dull Key or Skeleton Key can be used to open a Hatch; Broken Keys won’t work. Second, using a key to open a Hatch will automatically destroy it.

The second benefit of a key comes about with its add-ons. Depending on the add-ons you attach to your key, you can use it as an active item to temporarily reveal auras around you, including Survivor auras, the aura of the current Obsession, and the Killer’s aura. The rarity of your key determines how long you’ll be able to utilize these effects. However, the key can’t actually read auras if you don’t attach an add-on, so don’t charge in with a naked key. 

Some add-ons work in tandem with each other to make their abilities more potent. The Prayer Rope add-on, for example, adds an extra 10 seconds of usage to your key, while the Scratched Pearl add-on increases the range of your aura scans. If you’re specifically packing the key with the intent of opening a Hatch, the Milky Glass add-on will prevent it from being destroyed upon use. This works well with the Weaved Ring add-on, which prevents the key from being lost if you’re killed. 

Obviously, you should hope you don’t end up in a situation where the Hatch becomes your only means of survival, but in the event it does, you’ll be glad you have that key in your pocket.