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The vault key is an Eridian artifact which is used to open the many vaults on the planet of Pandora. It consists of a few parts, which the vault hunters and Rhys and Fiona in the Borderlands and Tales from the Borderlands collect in order to open the vault.
In Borderlands 2, it is a part of Handsome Jack's plan to open the Vault of the Warrior and use the superweapon inside to exterminate all life on Pandora to fit his vision of turning the planet into a "paradise."
In Tales from the Borderlands, the role of the vault key is performed by the Gortys robot created by the Atlas corporation. Here, the key is used to open the Vault of the Traveler. However, unlike other Vault Keys, Gortys locks the Vault into a singular location as the Vault constantly shifts around Pandora, possibly due to the Traveler's own teleportation powers.
In Borderlands 3, the Pandoran Vault Key serves as a map to the Vault on Promethea. There are three other Vault Keys introduced in this installment: those for Promethea, Eden-6, and Nekrotafeyo. Each one is incredibly unique in design. The Promethean Vault Key is an Eridian cylinder, the Edenian Vault Key is seemingly organic, a Vault symbol made of vines, and the Key for Nekrotafeyo is a spiked orb.
- In the first game, Borderlands, you have to assemble the key for The world of Pandora.