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The description for the Silver Key artifact is

Once per round, you may spend 1 less clue to pay for an effect

This boardgamegeek thread discusses it, but I am still not clear what effects this covers or doesn't cover.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1080669/silver-key-what-effect

My general thinking is most anything is valid as long as it isn't a specific clue that is needed to pay for an effect, i.e. a mystery that requires you to finish a research encounter and pay THAT clue toward solving it.

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    This thread seems to claim that anything is an effect if you spend clues: community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/… – Tom Wilkinson Jun 3 '15 at 14:24
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    I'm leaning toward your thinking but still on the fence about cases, usually mystery solving, where they say to obtain a clue and then spend that clue to move forward, i.e. get an eldritch token to place on a mystery card. Given it's an artifact, I'm tempted to say yes to those cases. – Joey Jun 3 '15 at 14:50
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After considering the links in this thread, I've concluded that the Silver Key artifact can be used anywhere you might spend a clue including re-rolls. The single situation I would say it cannot be used is where the wording says after resolving a research encounter, the investigator can spend a clue gained from that encounter to etc such as in the Azathoth Occult Research mystery card.

The whole purpose of this wording seems to be to imply that the investigator should have succeeded in gaining that specific clue in order to spend a clue, and not allow one to circumvent it (i.e. via the Astronomer ability) to supply a clue.

Apart from that case, it's an artifact, so should be viewed as all manner of awesome. A 1 clue per round boon in every non-specific clue interpretation sounds fair game to me.

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