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I've got a kleptomaniac in my group who's constantly picking up entire armfuls of junk to bring back to town or squirrel away for a rainy day. I want to gift her some kind of carry-all to assist in the junk-holding, but scouring item lists has turned up three different potential options, all of which seem roughly similar other than their respective total volumes.

  • Portable Hole has a 10 x 6ft space with no weight limit
  • Bag of Holding has a 2 x 4ft space with a 500lb weight limit
  • Handy Haversack has a combined 4 x 4ft space with a combined 120lb weight limit (I think, I am very bad at math)

My intention is to reskin one of the items as a tapestry that's being used as a cloak by a puma. (Isn't D&D great?) I want them to be able to put things into the tapestry and also retreive them at will later. Other than that it's pretty flexible.

Am I overlooking a difference between the Portable Hole, Bag of Holding and Handy Haversack that would make one item significantly better suited to this purpose than the others? If size and weight are the only relevent parameters then it's an easy enough choice but I can't help but shake the feeling that I'm missing something.

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If you're going by volume, The portable hole is the largest.

However..

Retrieving an item from a deep hole takes a lot more time than retrieving an item from a bag or a haversack. A haversack has the magic to automatically place the item you're looking for at the top of the bag so it's easy to access. A bag of holding and a Portable hole do not..

If your rogue is looking for some tindertwigs or a torch and she has a portable hole, she may end up having to slide down a very deep hole and sift through belongings to find exactly what it is she's looking for. With the haversack she can just open it, reach in, and grab the torch immediately.

The trade-offs of the haversack / bag of holding / portable hole is in value, utility, and in volume.

  • The Haversack has the smallest volume but the most utility.
  • The Bag of Holding has medium volume and as a result medium utility.
  • The Portable hole has the largest volume and as a result medium utility, as you can also hide in it in a pinch.

The Portable hole also has the benefit of being able to place it into any surface, which makes it a place you can duck into if you place it into a wall, so it could aid in possible hiding if the character is trying to evade detection.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the other downside of the portable hole is you need a solid surface to place it on, that is not always possible. You also have the old question what happens to a portable hole if I smash the wall it was placed on. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 15 '18 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1; this answer is based on memories from prior editions, not the current edition. There is no action economy difference between HHS and a BoH in the cited edition, 5E. Both take an action to extract an item. Furthermore, the alleged benefits of hiding in a portable hole are dubious at best - people are going to notice a conspicuously perfect round hole. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 17 '18 at 20:53
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The biggest problem with Portable Hole as a carrying item is that it can't really be easily accessed during combat. It's basically a looney tunes hole which you stick on a wall or lay on the floor, and then reach inside/hide inside once it's laid out. You'd need an action to do it during combat. Of course, if you don't want to access the hole during combat, it's a relatively simple manner. It should also be noted that if it's not on the ground, it's basically a 6-foot-diameter black tablecloth that can't be accessed, but can be folded up.

In comparison, the Bag of Holding also requires an action to utilize, but generally is only used as a carrying bag, while the portable hole can also be hidden in. However, it should also be noted that the external dimensions of each sack are semi-irrelevant - that just shows whether or not you can carry it easily. More important is the interior dimensions of the bag.

The interior dimensions of the portable hole is, as you mentioned, 6 feet diameter by 10 feet deep. However, the interior of the bag of holding is around 2 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep. The portable hole weighs next to nothing, while the bag of holding weighs 15 pounds, no matter what is inside it. The Handy Haversack, by comparison, weighs 5 pounds no matter what's in it, but only carries 8 cubic feet - it's basically a mini bag of holding.

Overall, it really is a matter of opinion on your part - no one item is strictly better than any other. In your case, you'd probably want a portable hole ie the tapestry is spread on the ground to create the hole, but really it's up to you.

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