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A key ring is a container for storing keys.
When keys are found, they can be put into the key ring to reduce clutter in your inventory. Items that are not keys cannot be put on the key ring. Car keys, Padlock and Combination Padlock can be put on the key ring.
Keys can be used to lock or unlock their respective doors, including vehicle doors.
A key ring is given to the player automatically when the character is created. There is a 40% chance to spawn with the key to the house the player spawned in.
A key is a common item. Although it is possible to find keys in containers such as counters, dressers, and crates, it is much more common to find them on the corpses of zombies that were inside or in the vicinity of the building. If a door exists, it is likely to have a key that corresponds to it.
From newitems.txt (Project Zomboid directory/media/scripts/)
Weight = 0,
Type = Container,
DisplayName = Key Ring,
Icon = KeyRing,
Capacity = 1,
OnlyAcceptCategory = Key,
MetalValue = 5,
||Added to game.
||Now only a 40% chance to spawn with your house key.