It's not a man purse!
What separates a Mage Purse from any other bag is quite simple. The mage purse magically protects its contents, so that glass vials, packets of powder, and other oddments can be carried along with books, and the other ephemera of magecraft without being damaged or destroyed. As a minor function, when a mage reaches in their purse, what they are looking for should easily come to hand. Finding anything in the bag should count as a free action.
Given it's protective capabilities, the mage purse can be used as an improvised shield, though a foe scoring a critical hit can damage the bag and randomly destroy something inside the bag, in a logical fashion. Also, with its protective capabilities, the mage purse can be used as an improvised weapon. While not effective against armored foes, the mage purse does count as a magic item, and can ignore some magical defenses, and effectively damage creatures that can only be struck by magic weapons.
The Mage Purse functions as a lesser bag of holding, without those inconvenient portable hole in a bag of holding dimensional fatigue events or massive explosions. Magic users can carry the bag as a tool of their trade, often keeping not just magic reagents and books in the bag, but also implements related to magecraft that is not specifically magic, such as gem cutting tools, tools of appraisal, objects of artistic or historical valueand any of the other highly precise and fussy hobbies of magic users.
A mage purse looks like a mage purse and accordingly should be decorated with sigils, runes, glyphs, accessories and trinkets that all hallmarks of the magic user's area of expertise and experience. A necromancer's mage purse should be black, and decorated with death motifs, and relics from the dead such as finger bones, animal skulls, etc. These items are part of the enchantment that protect the bag and its contents.
Notable Mage Purses
Egg Shen's Six Demon Bag
Indiana Jones adventurers satchel
The bag category in Final Fantasy Tactics
The Doctor's black leather medical bag
The Lawyer's black attache case
The Armored case handcuffed to the spy's wrist
The Aumoneire, the Princess Purse
A much smaller purse, more of a clutch on a strap, the Aumoneire can only carry a small amount of materials, but typically acts as a locking safe to protect a princesses valuables, anything medicinal they might require, and most importantly, they are a fashionable mode of protection. The aumoneire functions deliberately as a protective device granting the princess who owns it a bonus to her armor class and basic to intermediate magical protection from spells.
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