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First, the player is swallowed by a large monster, such as the Tarrasque or a Dragon. Next, the player puts a bag of holding into a portable hole. This opens a gate to the Astral plane inside the large monster. The player is closest to the portal, so they are pulled through first. They arrive, no longer inside the monster. After the player, the monster is pulled through the gateway insides-first, causing it to arrive on the other side inside-out. Its organs are exposed and the hide of its back and belly envelops its limbs and head like a sack.

Have I described this result correctly? Am I correct in thinking that the gate to the Astral Realm is an aperture through which creatures must pass, rather than simply a magical effect which teleports all nearby entities to the Astral Plane?

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Scenario 1, a bag of holding into a portable hole: No.

When the bag of holding is placed into the portable hole, a gate is opened and the two items are sucked into it and forever lost. Essentially, they consume each other. There is no mention of anything else getting sucked into the gate or if the gate allows other creatures and objects travel to the astral plane.


Scenario 2, a portable hole into a bag of holding: No.

When the portable hole is placed into the bag of holding, the two items and any creature within 10' are transported to the astral plane, and the two items are destroyed. So if you are in the belly of a beast while doing that, you, the beast, and the two items (which get destroyed) are transported to the astral plane. One could say you are still in the belly of the beast.

There is no explicit mention that all living and nonliving matter within 10', no matter how whole or how partial, is transported, which would be necessary for the "sucked through inside-out" thing you're describing. It only mentions the two magic items, and any creature within 10' of them at the moment of rifting, so you and the Tarrasque probably just appear on the other side intact.


From the SRD article on the bag of holding:

If a bag of holding is placed within a portable hole a rift to the Astral Plane is torn in the space: Bag and hole alike 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, destroying the portable hole and bag of holding in the process.


If Unsatisfied... Make a DM Ruling

Page 6 of the Dungeon Master's Guide:

Often a situation will arise that isn't explicitly covered by the rules. In such a situation, you need to provide guidance as to how it should be resolved. When you come upon a situation that the rules doesn't seem to cover, consider the following courses of action.

  • If you have to make something up, stick with it for the rest of the campaign. (This is called a house rule.) Consistency keeps players satisfied and gives them the feeling that they adventure in a stable, predictable universe and not in some random, nonsensical place subject only to the DM’s whims.
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First off, I'll say that I think Ruut's answer is pretty comprehensive and mostly accurate, and I would post this as a comment but it's too long to do that sensibly.

If I came across this situation, I'd house-rule it depending on whether or not I'm OK with the players pulling something like this because it's not black and white. I'd be inclined to allow it to work because it's a pretty elegant idea for how to kill something and I'd reward that, but if you feel the players are trying to (or likely to) cheese things then you can handwave it so that it doesn't work.

Lastly, this deals with putting a portable hole into a bag of holding, as the other way round doesn't make sense (as has already been discussed).


I believe the contentious part of the rule is this (emphasis mine):

opens a gate to the Astral Plane: The hole, the bag, and any creatures within a 10-foot radius are drawn there

Generally the connotation of "being drawn somewhere" involves moving over time, rather than being instantly transported. If they were instantly moved, I'd expect a word like "teleported" or "moved". There is nothing saying explicitly that they move through the gate, but I believe it's implicit enough (although you could certainly handwave here to explain it away if you want their attempt to fail).

I'd interpret this as there being several possibilities, all with the players arriving correctly. The creature could...

  • arrive inside out because from the gate's perspective, that is how the creature is, and it must pass through the gate
  • arrive the right way out, but dead, because it was forced to compress from multiple sides to get through the gate (the players stand on one side, but the creature exists on all sides). This is a bit more of a fragile option because the players themselves are also subject to the same compression technically, and it gets a bit handwavey
  • arrive inside-out and with a split down one side, because you decide it can only pass through the gate in one direction (also a bit handwavey, but more grisly and you can really go to town describing how it deflates on top of them, and the force of the split might leave some parts of it in the normal dimension, etc)
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe the definition of drawn being used, is "pulled," such as "Their swords were drawn." You have some interesting takes on the situation. Thank goodness for page 6 of the DMG? \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Oct 14 '14 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut page 6 is a very friendly page :P Still a very interesting thought experiment heh \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Oct 14 '14 at 13:04
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The combat space chart clearly shows that if the Tarrasque was drawn into a Bag of Holding/Portable Hole Astral Gate not all of it would be drawn in and thus the inside out would be a secondary point because as the graph shows, only a fraction of the Colossal monster would in fact be drawn in.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your URL doesn't show that at all. The text of the two mentioned magic items' interaction specifically mentions creature, not part of a creature. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Sep 9 '15 at 0:14

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