The Bag of Diminished Capacity

The Bag of Diminished Capacity

The group approached the display slowly. The glow of the magic plate mail added a blue hue to the torchlight. After checking for traps, Rolf declared everything safe. “It’s clear, but how are we going to carry all this with the treasure we’re already hauling?”

“Mayhap this bag of storage could be of use,” said Argo. He pulled the rune-embroidered bag from his robes and held it out. “I think I’ll compose a ballad to describe our exploits here in this treacherous vault while I pack this morsel away.” He pulled up the sleeves of his frilled white shirt and his delicate fingers began to pluck pieces of armor from the stand and place them in the bag. He began to sing a rollicking tune, which slowly slid into an idle hum as he removed the heavy plate from the stand and placed it into the bag.

“Make it quick,” muttered Bragg. “I want to be drinking mead in Himmsdale by sunset.”

Still humming, Argo put the last of the armor in the bag and stepped away from the display. “Me am done,” he muttered. He turned back to the rest of the party.

Everyone turned and looked at the bard. His usual intelligent gaze was gone. His face was wrenched into a puzzled look.

The Bag of Diminished Capacity
Most game masters and role-players are familiar with bags which hold more than their size should permit, and which reduce the weight of the carried items to prevent encumbrance. The “Bag of Diminished Capacity” is an evil twist on that highly useful tool.

Produced by the notorious Grumple Grimwolde’s Impish Hex-Works, the bag is almost identical to a “normal” magical bag. Like its more useful cousin, this bag allows more items to be stored inside than the exterior should allow. Items carried in the bag only encumber at 10% of their normal weight. But this is evil Impish magic. Grimwolde wove a curse into its very fabric so that those who use it become less intelligent.

The curse strikes anyone who places an item into the bag. The amount their intelligence is decreased is based on the total unmodified weight of the items stored in the bag. For every 25 pounds stored in the bag the curse decrements the victim’s intelligence stat by 1. As more weight is added to a bag, every person affected by the curse receives the negative intelligence modifier.

Example: Geoffry, already unknowingly cursed, is holding the bag and has 25 pounds of goods inside. He currently has a “-1” applied to his intelligence. Geoffry’s friend Thordag puts a 25 pound silver bar into the bag. Now the effect of the bag overall is a -2 and both Thordag and Geoffry will receive it.

It will also hold any item that can fit through the bag’s opening (1 foot diameter).

The affected character’s intelligence can not be decreased below an unmodified “1,” so if other items add to the character’s intelligence, the modifiers can keep the intelligence stat artificially higher than “1” even if the character’s natural stat has reached this lowest limit.

Removing the items from the bag will not remove the curse. A “remove curse” spell can stop the effects on the characters, but removing the curse itself from the bag will destroy the bag’s weight-reducing abilities. Removing the curse on the bag will also destroy any items inside the bag. Also, someone who has not been cursed may safely remove items from the bag. Only adding items will incur the curse.

Grimwolde designed the bag to be almost irresistible to most people. It is a beautiful silk bag died royal blue, with golden runes embroidered around the sides, and with a drawstring ending in two black pearls.

Game masters may consider the item as a cursed wonder which the players find in the course of a dungeon crawl, but the following scenario is suggested. Have the players encounter a village idiot bearing the bag. This NPC can display the wondrous properties of the bag by pulling any number of things out during the course of the session. The players could secure the bag in a number of ways, finding an assortment of odds and ends inside already (fish, ale, a chicken, dung, a mug, copper, gravel, lint, etc…). If the players figure out that the bag is cursed they may go help the idiot who could turn out to have a real reward for their efforts. Perhaps this idiot is really a prince from the north, missing all these years. Let your imagination be your guide.

About the Author

I am "The Management."