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Our party found a Night Hag's Heartstone.

Per the emerging consensus on this question, the Heartstone automatically expends a charge every time the holder has to make a saving throw. We would prefer to only use charges to cure disease.

The Heartstone is described as:

All night hags carry a periapt known as a heartstone, which instantly cures any disease contracted by the holder. In addition, a heartstone provides a +2 resistance bonus on all saving throws (this bonus is included in the statistics block). A night hag that loses this charm can no longer use etherealness until it can manufacture another (which takes one month). Creatures other than the hag can benefit from the heartstone’s powers, but the periapt shatters after ten uses (any disease cured or saving throw affected counts as a use) and it does not bestow etherealness to a bearer that is not a night hag. If sold, an intact heartstone brings 1,800 gp.

Is there any way to carry/port/move the stone without "holding" it to prevent it from being active for saving throws so that we can use it just for curing disease?

Note: We discovered that the DM used a 3.5e description with a 5e game - so that helps clarify some of our confusion. We have revised this question to only cover 3.5e to clarify the context of the question and be of use to others.

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The details of the Heartstone are extremely brief, meaning the application of the item would be mostly up to the individual GM. However, the Heartstone is described as a periapt. There are several other magical periapts in the game, and they are all described as being a necklace, which must be worn to have an effect. Logically, the Heartstone should probably follow this, and be worn to have an effect, rather than just held or picked up.

If you are playing with this item in a 5e game (as mentioned late in the question), then your GM might also require Attunement to make the item active.

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If the DM's ruled that a night hag's liberated heartstone activates automatically while the heartstone's in a creature's possession—rather than, for example, only activating when the heartstone is held in hand—, placing the heartstone in an extradimensional space like in a bag of holding (Dungeon Master's Guide (2003) 248) (2,500+ gp; 15+ lbs.) or a portable hole (DMG 264) (20,000 gp; 0 lbs.) should be sufficient for the heartstone not to count as being in any creature's possession, therefore allowing it to be transported without risk of accidental activation. That is, in 3.5, extradimensional spaces are their own demiplanes, and most DMs won't count items that are on different planes as also being in a creature's possession even if the entrances to those demiplanes—like bags and holes—are in the creature's possession.

While some other editions vastly increase the scarcity of magic items, these kinds of extradimensional spaces are commonplace enough in 3.5 that any party of level 5 or higher can typically be expected to have at least one—usually a Heward's handy haversack (DMG 259) (2,000 gp; 5 lbs.)—if for no other reason than to justify to the DM where they're keeping all their loot.

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Starting with Gary Gygax, the various editions of Dungeon & Dragons have always been particular in their use of the English language. Since you took the description of the heartstone from the d20 System Reference document. I decided to search for any other example of work uses.

I found this

CHARGES, DOSES, AND MULTIPLE USES Many items, particularly wands and staffs, are limited in power by the number of charges they hold. Normally, charged items have 50 charges at most. If such an item is found as a random part of a treasure, roll d% and divide by 2 to determine the number of charges left (round down, minimum 1). If the item has a maximum number of charges other than 50, roll randomly to determine how many charges are left.

Prices listed are always for fully charged items. (When an item is created, it is fully charged.) For an item that’s worthless when its charges run out (which is the case for almost all charged items), the value of the partially used item is proportional to the number of charges left. For an item that has usefulness in addition to its charges, only part of the item’s value is based on the number of charges left.

While it doesn't spell it out as a hard and fast rule the context in which this section uses the word "uses" (a bit of a tongue twister there) suggest that the heartstone per the d20 SRD description should be treated as a magic item with 10 charges. After the tenth and last charge is expended it shatters.

Note that for D&D 5th edition, the description of the heartstone is much more terse and there is no mention of charges. As noted Jeremy Crawford in a Sages Advice column stated that heartstone was intended to be used only by the Night Hag in 5th edition D&D. My personal recommendation is to use the ten charge rule from the d20 SRD if you rule that players can use the heartstone.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you're addressing the core issue here - what counts as 'carrying', and is there some way to carry the heartstone without it activating? \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Mar 26 '18 at 0:08
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Your question can't be accurately answered given how you describe the situation. You have a 3rd edition object in a 5th edition game so in truth the only answer to your question is "Ask your DM". I'm not trying to dodge the question but because the item is specific to his interpretation of an older edition item in a new edition game I would say he is the only one qualified to answer it.

Short of that -- RS Conley gave a solid answer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As noted in the question clarification - this question is only about 3e game use of this item \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Mar 28 '18 at 5:39

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