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I don't have any rule books to read and the last rule book I had was dnd 2e, but this question came up at lunch today at work. Is it possible to place live objects in a bag of holding. For instance, say I wanted to smuggle my dwarf friend into a building. Could I place him in the bag of holding, carry him into the building and then retrieve him? What about a creature. Maybe I would like to take a rabbit into a building that has a no rabbit policy. I can't just chain him up to the rail outside. So could he be placed in a bag of holding?

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The question really isn't "can you put it in?" but "Will it still be alive when you pull it out?" –  aramis May 27 '11 at 21:11
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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Yes,

As long as the creature is 200# or less and less than 20 cubic feet in volume.

I believe it is currently undefined as to the air requirements of a living creature so if you're going to keep them in the bag for a longer length of time, you'll need a ruling from your DM.

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Curse your fast fingers. Your answer was written and accepted before I even posted mine! –  dpatchery May 27 '11 at 17:54
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@dpatchery - LOL, @Valadil and I posted at the exact same time. At least I saw "0 seconds ago" for both of us when my answer was posted. On the other hand, you've "beaten" me to a bunch lately. I owed ya one! –  Pat Ludwig May 27 '11 at 17:57
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Absolutely. You should check the capacity of the bag though. A Deep-Pocket cloak holds 100 cubic feet or 1000 pounds of stuff, but each compartment of the cloak is limited to 10 pounds. So it holds most rabbits, but no full grown dwarf would fit in there. I'm not sure if bags of holding have similar restrictions.

Also, if they're going to be in the bag a while, you'll probably want 4e's equivalent of this: http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Bottle_of_Air

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Since there's a ritual (Self holding bag) for folding the bag into itself and putting it into an extradimensional space pocket, I doubt much anything so mundane as holding living beings is off limits. As Pat said, the only limit is what fits in weight or volume.

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I don't think there are official rules on this, so I think you're going to have to ask your DM.

If I were the DM, I'd say

Yes, but...

A Bag of Holding only holds 20 cubic feet. That's not a 20x20x20 cube. That's a 2.71 foot cube. A rabbit would fit, but your dwarf friend might have difficulty squeezing into a space that small.

For reference, a standard coffin is 84"x28"x23" or 31.3 cubic feet. Could you fit into two thirds of a coffin?

Another thing to consider is that this is a bag, not a sack, so the size of the opening could be a factor - another thing for your DM to decide.

There's also the issue of how long you could survive inside the bag. Mythbusters did an experiment on being buried alive. Jamie, during the dry run, was able to remain calm and composed and lasted about 50 minutes before starting to run out of air.

Using that as a baseline, we can figure out how long a creature would survive in the bag based on it's mass. I don't want to get too mathy here (hit me up in chat if you're interested), but assuming a dwarf is about as dense as a human and has an average weight of 190 lb, the dwarf could last about 29.3 minutes before exhausting the oxygen supply in the bag. Per Starving, Thirst and Suffocation add another 3 minutes or so for a grand total of ~32.3 minutes before your dwarf buddy suffocates (unless of course he's got a Ioun Stone of Sustenance).

The rabbit would obviously last longer, but I don't know the average mass, density, and oxygen consumption rate of a rabbit to do the calculations.

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Some leeway should be granted to the opening and entering the bag: after all, if a 2.71 foot cube can fit inside a bag, it stands to reason some magic is involved in getting it in. Or, you know, the fact that a small bag can contain 200 pounds of stuff. –  Adriano Varoli Piazza May 27 '11 at 17:57
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That depends on how you imagine the bag. I always pictured it as holding extradimensional space, and opening/closing the bag was like opening/closing a portal to that space, in which case air wouldn't pass through. –  dpatchery May 27 '11 at 17:59
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I've always loved discussions about the fun things you can do with bags of holding. DM Interview question: what happens when you open a Handy Haversack (1,000 lb capacity) under water upside down? –  dpatchery May 27 '11 at 18:09
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Assuming D&D physics treat the upside-down bag as displacing the full 100 cubic feet of water, napkin math is giving me roughly 640,000 pounds of upward force, or approximately one quarter of the force behind a space shuttle solid rocket booster (the ones used for liftoff by NASA). –  dpatchery May 27 '11 at 18:23
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I'm thinking that if it does displace all that water all at once, all kinds of physics fun would result, starting with the arm(s) of the character who just opened the bag ... –  Dave DuPlantis Jul 1 '11 at 13:02
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You can, and most answers assume that once inside your living being would begin to use up air until they suffocated.

I believe this only happens if you close the bag. If you leave the bag partially open, your being would be able to stay inside indefinitely assuming they have food and drink and don't poison it with their biological waste.

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