The Day Two prompt for Wyrd & Wonder – which I’ll stick up a twitter photo for one of these days before I’m too late – was “pop this in your book bag of holding”. Which got me thinking as the Bag of Holding is one of the great iconic magic items from D&D, with its main purpose being for putting other magic items in. I mean, is it really D&D if you’re not decked out like a Christmas Tree with more magic weapons than most golfers have clubs?
(Well, yes it is if your edition of choice isn’t 3.5, but I’m a 3.5 guy goddamnit).
So – what are the five coolest magic items in fantasy that you’d want in your Bag of Holding? The wise will notice the key word in that is want; Stormbringer is cool, but you don’t actually want to use it yourself. Not unless you’ve got a death wish. So what do you want?
1. Weapon – Need, Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey
The enchanted sword Need appears in multiple Valdemar books and is both a great boon and great character. Need, you see, gains its magic from the spirit of a priestess inhabiting the steel, one that is frequently exasperated by the actions of her bearers. I do love my crabby old people after all. Not only is she entertaining but she is very useful, protecting people without magic from it and giving people without sword skills the skill they need. Okay, she doesn’t work very often for non-women, but it’s hard to imagine a more useful sword minus these restrictions.
2. Transport – The Ship That Travels Over Land And Sea, Elric of Melibone by Michael Moorcock
The name pretty much says it all here. It’s a ship – plenty of room – and it can go everywhere. Okay, it can’t fly high into the heavens. And there’s some minor details about having to deal with warring elemental kings. But it’s still pretty awesome, and just the sort of thing you need if having to deal with treacherous sociopathic family members.
3. Communication – Ce’Nedra’s Amulet, The Belgariad and Malloreon by The Eddings
Sooner or later, talking with people non-face to face is very useful. Knowing what they think is even more useful. This amulet allows you to do just that as with a bit of work, it allows you to have a mind to mind conversation over great differences – or just listen in on someone else’s. I’m not quite sure what the work involves, because the Eddings didn’t use this amulet much (no poking holes through the plots!), but it sounded great to have whenever they did.
4. Power Ups – Jade Beads, The Green Bones Saga by Fonda Lee
I do seem to be mentioning this series a lot recently, don’t I? In any case, presumably if you’ve got a lot of magic items, at some point there will be various unpleasant affrays involved in your life. At some point, you will need a magic items that really allows you to give it back. At this point, the Jade from the Lee’s Green Bones Saga is a godsend – assuming you can use it – because they grant you the superhuman abilities you might see in a wuxia movie. A magic sword is great, but not as great as being able to jump thirty feet into the air then kick someone through a wall.
5. Utility – The Luggage, Discworld by Sir Terry Pratchett
All of these items are very cool, but sometimes you need something that covers a lot of situations like a swo- no, not like a sword. Like a properly stocked Bag of Holding! But what if, instead of a Bag of Holding, you had something like that which walked itself around? Something that was both highly intelligent and loyal, and capable of eating sharks and fighting off legendary barbarian heroes? Then you’d have The Luggage, one of Pratchett’s greatest creations and fantasy’s most endearing living suitcase. And I have to say if I could only have one of these items, this is the one I’d have. I mean, who doesn’t need a suitcase with endless capacity that doesn’t get heavier in this world?
But those are mine – let me know yours in the comments below!