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If a creature or PC gets inside Leomund's secret chest after it has been summoned, can they be transported back to the chest's storage area when it is dismissed?

Leomund's Secret Chest[ddi] (ritual)

... After the chest is ready, you can store it anywhere you like. Performing this ritual then summons the chest from wherever you left it to wherever you are, along with all its contents. You can remove or add objects to the chest (subject to its natural size limitations) when it is present. Any time after summoning it, you can dismiss it back to its previous location.

The most obvious possible sticking point is the line about adding objects, but does this actively prevent creatures from being added or is it just a catchall term that assumes objects are what you would normally put in it?

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In earlier editions, Leomund's secret chest could, indeed, hold living beings, though they'd rapidly run out of breathable air. –  GMJoe Jun 14 '12 at 5:56
    
I suppose an important follow-up question would be "Can you open it from the inside?" –  GMJoe Jun 14 '12 at 5:57
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In this version, there is nothing special about the box itself, it's just covered in arcane designs and has a personal item incorporated into it's structure. So it seems it should be no harder to get out of than a normal chest would be. From what I gather, the earlier versions had the chest stored on another plane - in this version the chest is just left somewhere safe, like your bedroom, and summoned from there, so air shouldn't be an issue. –  Ananisapta Jun 14 '12 at 6:18
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I'm pretty sure that whether or not the chest could be opened was dependant on its design in every edition. As a general rule in life, however, it's wise not to close yourself into a container unless you're sure you'll be able to get back out. –  GMJoe Jun 14 '12 at 7:31
    
The most generally well-favoured answer's reference gave me an idea: Put the PC in a bag of holding. Put the bag of holding in the chest. Dismiss chest. PC opens bag of holding before they suffocate, is forcibly expelled from chest at new location. –  Ananisapta Jun 14 '12 at 12:10
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4 Answers 4

Seems similar to the same discussion about the Bag of Holding. The description for that item simply reads pounds of weight and does not specify objects.

I'd say you answered your own question, that objects implies non-living things. Otherwise it might have read anything.

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As per the second part of the question, does this mean living/animate things are explicitly prevented from being placed in the chest, the chest will not work if something living gets in there, or that the chest will teleport, but leaves anything that was alive behind. –  Ananisapta Jun 13 '12 at 14:37
    
It says you can add or remove objects; sounds like non-objects are prevented from entering the chest to me. –  Oblivious Sage Jun 13 '12 at 16:05
    
Wouldn't that mean you'd have to use a stick or something to get anything out of it? The Mordenkainen's Joining ritual refers to 'nonliving objects' –  Ananisapta Jun 14 '12 at 1:56
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There is no rule that denies it.

Having removed the only possible sticking point, the entire answer falls into the "DM fiat" realm.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Indeterminate.


As Erik Burigo points out in his answer, there is no rule that denies it. There is also no rule to confirm it. There is simply too little information.

Argument from Formulation

The primary objection relies upon the idea that, if it is specifically mentioned what you can do with an ability, this simultaneously reveals what you cannot. However;

Let X be the ability to place objects inside the Chest.

Let Y be the ability to place creatures inside the Chest.

X OR Y

X

Therefore:

NOT-Y

This is not a valid formulation. You can conclude nothing about the truth of Y from the truth of X. (Don't worry, logic fans, I'll get to exclusive OR in a little bit, as the problem with using it now is that it assumes the answer before you begin.) If there is a possibility of X and a possibility of Y, and the two are not negations of each other, the truth of one does not negate the truth of the other.

The most you can say is that either Y or NOT-Y; that is, either creatures are allowed or they are not, and there is no further information to qualify this.

This brings me on to the next point.

Argument from Intention

It could be argued that I should have used an exclusive OR in the first section; that is, Objects can be put in the chest OR creatures can be put in the chest, but not both, so if objects then NOT creatures. The basis for this argument appears to be the intentions of the creator - if they had thought creatures should be allowed in the chest, then they would have said so; they did not, therefore they are not allowed. This argument cuts both ways, however, as it can also be said that had they thought creatures should NOT be allowed, they equally could have said 'Living creatures may not be placed in the chest'. This point is similar to that which CatLord raised, but cannot be used to support allowing creatures to be transported - Nothing further can be concluded about the intentions from the text as written, which brings me on to the final point.

Argument from Consistency

If omission of an option is taken to mean that option is forbidden, consistency demands we apply the same reasoning to the entire ritual.

The ritual says you can 'summon the chest to wherever you are' and that you can 'remove or add objects when it is present.', in that order. It does NOT say you can add or remove objects before the chest is summoned, or when both you and it are at the storage location. Therefore, for the sake of consistency, you cannot. This clearly violates the purpose of the chest as a method for transporting things from a dungeon without having to travel back yourself.

An objection could be that the word 'present' makes it clear that the rule refers to any time the chest is at the same location you are. However, the fact it follows directly from the line about summoning it to your presence, and directly before the line referring to dismissing it, strongly implies that it is this summoned presence that is being referred to.

This last is an obviously weak argument, but it does raise the concern that the standard objection, as raised by myself and supported by Ravn, may not be any stronger.


In summary, there is simply no absolute ruling one way or the other.


Incidently, a further objection to my view may be raised from the rules regarding the targeting of creatures and objects with powers. While objects may be targeted by powers that specify creatures at the DM's discretion, there is no equivalent reversal. However, rituals are not powers, and do not follow the same rules as powers do in most situations.

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To me this seems like a case where the chest is teleported, and whomever wrote the description did not think of kidnapping or prestidigitation of living beings. Thus I would deem creatures as viable content.

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