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Some spells care about if you carry an item. For example, Instant Summons lets you retrieve an item, unless someone is carrying it:

If another creature is holding or carrying the item, crushing the sapphire doesn't transport the item to you, but instead you learn who the creature possessing the object is and roughly where that creature is located at that moment.

If you put the item in a Bag of Holding, and carry that bag, do you carry the item?

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5 Answers 5

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Maybe.

If I put something in a mundane bag and then carry the bag, I am clearly carrying the things in the bag. No reasonable person would argue that I'm not carrying the items in my backpack on the basis that my backpack is carrying the items and I'm carrying my backpack.

There are no rules that specifically say that things in a Bag of Holding aren't being carried by the person carrying the Bag. In the absence of a specific rule to the contrary, we should probably assume the Bag of Holding counts as a normal bag except for the explicit mechanical effects of being bigger on the inside and having a constant weight.

Still, it seems entirely reasonable that an item that's in an extradimensional space -- functionally another plane of existence -- isn't really on your person in any meaningful sense. If items in the bag are on a whole different plane from your body, how can you be said to be carrying them? (Technically, the Bag of Holding itself doesn't claim to be an extradimensional space; that's an inference based on similar items that do, and stated directly elsewhere in the rule books, but not in the item description. However, it's generally accepted that this is so.)

But going the other way, if an item is within arm's reach in a bag on your back, how can it not be said to be on your person?

Ultimately there is not a clear answer to this. Your DM will have to make that decision, and it's really not possible to predict what any given DM will decide. So if you really want to make sure an item doesn't get magically yoinked (that's a technical term) when you aren't looking, maybe best to keep it in a mundane container.

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You carry the bag. Not its contents.

A Bag of Holding does not act as a regular bag, even though it may seem that way from an outside perspective. Instead of a bag, it is more accurately represented as a portable portal to an extradimensional space.

The bag lets you use this "portal" to store or retrieve things from this extradimensional space, but as a consequence to this, you cannot place items inside the "bag" itself, only inside the extradimensional space it is linked to.

Moreover, you cannot access items inside the bag like other items you carry. The only ways to retrieve something from the bag are the following :

Retrieving an item from the bag requires an action.

If the bag is turned inside out, its contents spill forth, unharmed, but the bag must be put right before it can be used again.

The fact that the items inside the bag are not accessible without a specific action further reinforces the fact that you are not carrying those items. You are simply carrying a bag that lets you store your things in a space outside of your current plane.

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No.

Anything that's inside the Bag of Holding is considered to be inside an extradimensional space*.

*From Bag of Holding's description, even while it's not explicitly stated, it is similar to the Haversack:

Placing a bag of holding inside an extradimensional space created by a Handy Haversack, Portable Hole, or similar item

For the Instant Summons example, it would work because it works regardless of physical or planar distances.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So, are you saying if Wizard casts the spell on Object, and Fighter carries Object in a Bag of Holding, it can be retrieved by Wizard, but if Fighter carries object on its belt, Wizard only determines Fighter carries it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Oct 14, 2022 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ For Instant Summons that would be my understanding as per the spell's wording. Relevant question: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/120716/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt DM
    Oct 14, 2022 at 17:17
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Objects on another plane are not being carried unless they are being carried on that plane.

First, it is important to observe that the interior of a bag of holding is another plane of existence. It is as much a different world as the Astral Sea or Avernus. Ergo, a bag of holding is nothing like a mundane satchel, except that on this side, it looks like one. Rather, it is a portal to another world, shaped like a bag. So step into that world and look at what’s inside: is it being carried or not? From that perspective, it should be obvious: objects inside a bag of holding are only being carried if they are being carried by a creature inside the pocket dimension. And in that particular case, they are being carried by that creature not the holder of the bag.

To use a reductio ad absurdum argument, suppose we had a bag of holding, except instead of leading to a pocket dimension, it leads to the Feywild. Are you now carrying everything in the Feywild? Obviously not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI This answer has been automatically flagged as a duplicate of your other answer. As far as I'm aware there's no actual rule against this and both are valid answers to the questions. Just thought you'd like to know that that is a thing that can happen and it's probably best practice not to dupe-post answers. Though in this case I fully support why you have. Carry-on as you were. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Jul 11, 2023 at 1:00
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It's up to the DM

Ultimately, the rules as written don't cover this specific case. When a situation comes up that isn't covered under the rules, the DM get's to decide the outcome. There are, however, two lines of thought apparent when approaching this problem:

You do not carry the bag's contents

A Bag of Holding in typically considered to be a portal to an extradimensional space, although this isn't explicitly stated in the rules. You can follow this line of thought and state that while a creature may be carrying a Bag of Holding, they are not carrying the contents of the bag--these contents simply exist in this extradimensional space and you're just carrying around the portal to that space. Since nothing in the spell description states that it can't retrieve items from extradimensional spaces, the spell succeeds. This interpretation is closest to RAW I think.

You do carry the bag's contents

Alternatively you can think of a bag of holding as an bag that contains an extradimensional space. In other words, the Bag of Holding is simply enchanted to be larger on the inside than the outside. From this logic you can argue that carrying something in a Bag of Holding is the same as carrying something in a regular old bag, and if you have an object in a bag that you are carrying, that object is considered to be carried by you, therefore the spells fails. This requires more of a logical stretch, but still falls withing the realms of rules as written, and depending on the DM may fit better into the rules as intended.

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