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In the description for the Portable Hole both "a rift to the Astral Plane" and "a gate to the Astral Plane" are mentioned. See the exert below (emphasis mine):

If a bag of holding is placed within a portable hole, a rift to the Astral Plane is torn in that place. Both the bag and the cloth are sucked into the void and forever lost. If a portable hole is placed within a bag of holding, it opens a gate to the Astral Plane. The hole, the bag, and any creatures within a 10-foot radius are drawn there, the portable hole and bag of holding being destroyed in the process.

What is the distinction between a rift and a gate to the astral plane?

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This "rift" only drags the bag and portable hole, while the "gate" actually not only destroys the items but will actually planeshift the creatures within 10 feet to the Astral plane.

That is the only difference really. In one sequence the items are destroyed, in the other, you get sent to another plane.

To clarify, Gate is a 9th-level spell. If those items allowed you to create a permanent gate to another plane, it would drastically increase their price and would certainly mention that in their description. It doesn`t create permanent gates. It doesn't say it works "as the Gate spell" either, so it just plane-shifts people and disappears.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you know if the rift / gates stay present or disappear soon after appearing? \$\endgroup\$ – JoshuaD May 25 at 1:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The effect would say so if it did. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 25 at 4:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it did stay or if it did disappear? \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel May 25 at 10:33

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