If you haven’t yet, there’s only 9 days left to fill out the first annual Papers & Pencils survey!
A bag of holding is a coveted prize for an adventurer. In one small sack, a person can carry an entire armory of weapons, more potions than a wizard could brew in a year, and enough riches to buy a kingdom. Never does the bag grow in size, or become any heavier than a skin filled with water. Few know how these marvelous devices work, but the truth is that each bag accesses a small pocket of the Astral Plane. The infinite nothingness which flows between the dimensions, holding them together into a single multiverse. Each bag of holding is a small portal into a pocket of that void.
As precious as these items are, they’re also a great liability. It’s a simple task for a thief to rob you of your entire fortune, if you’re foolish enough to put it all in one place. Thieves are not even the greatest of an adventurer’s worries. A far greater danger is that posed by a stray blade, or arrow. A whizzing bit of steel which, while it may fail to harm the adventurer, damages their bag. When a bag of holding is broken, it does not simply split as a bag of canvas would. A bag of holding implodes, sending its contents whirling into the astral plane in all directions, and the unfortunate adventurer will be lucky if they’re not sucked in along with their lost treasures.
Over the centuries, countless bags have burst into the astral plane. Since the acquisition of such a bag in the first place is a dangerous–or at least expensive–proposition, the items contained in them are often quite valuable. Powerful magic items and artifacts float aimlessly throughout the vast nothingness.
But the astral plane is not entirely empty. Planar travelers use the astral plane as their road between worlds. The alien Githyanki even call the astral plane their home. There are many astral phenomena as well. Young wizards preparing to travel the planes for the first time are warned of the dangers of sonic rain, and transformative clouds. Worst of all is the bridge lightning. Arcs of energy which are drawn towards physical matter. They appear as if from nowhere, and move so quickly that by the time the eye has seen them, they are already gone.
If a person can survive the shock of being struck by bridge lightning, they’ll suddenly find themselves somewhere completely different. The lightning draws anything it touches to an area of intersection, where the astral plane overlaps another plane. Whatever the lightning strikes is unceremoniously dumped into a seemingly random spot somewhere in the multiverse. It is said that the astral plane’s natural state is emptiness, and the gods created the bridge lightning to enforce that.
Lost treasures are far more numerous than travelers in the astral plane, though. The lightning is often drawn to a mighty sword or magic potion lost by an adventurer who trusted their magic bag a little too much. Sometimes the items fall into the fires of hell or the endless fields of Elysium. Occasionally, they even end up in the depths of a dungeon, only to later be found by another adventurer. And other times, the items are zapped to a rock.
It’s not a particularly interesting rock. It’s just a stone in the middle of a field, which happens to intersect with the astral plane. Every so often, some item appears on the rock without warning. One day, a magical sword might appear, and six months past that, a dozen gold coins. A week after, a collection of goblin teeth, then a year later a powerful suit of plate armor.
A century or so ago, a clan of nomadic orcs were wandering through the wilderness, and came upon a small pile of gold and other treasure. They fell upon it eagerly, and took it as an omen that they should make camp around the stone. They intended to stay only a few weeks, but while they were there, they noticed that magical marvels continued to appear. The shamans declared the rock to be a manifestation of the orcish god, and the tribe cast off their nomadic ways to remain with the godstone.
To this day, the Tribe of the Godstone guard their land viciously. They are impossibly wealthy and well equipped, and eagerly offer outsiders as sacrifice to please their deity.