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The Bag of Holding (DMG pg.153) is an uncommon magic item and has a significantly greater volume than any of the pouches (or even all combined) of Heward's Handy Haversack (DMG pg.174), which is rare.

My confusion stems from the fact that, while the Bag of Holding is obviously superior to Heward's Handy Haversack, it's the more common item of the two. Why is that?

Some other info to consider:

In terms of fluff, the Bag is depicted as a simple satchel while the Haversack is depicted as a hiker's backpack with multiple straps and pouches. The Bag also has the disadvantage of looking similar to the Bag of Devouring. Regardless of contents, the Bag weighs 15 lbs. While the Haversack only weighs 5 (and I highly doubt 10 lbs. of difference is worth a difference of category in rarity, especially making the Haversack rarer when the bag holds approx. 8X more volume. To say nothing of weight.).

Other than that, they have the same rules regarding their extra-dimensional properties, interaction etc.

If your answer is not directly from official sources (ex: "we know this is a typo because of existing errata, found here"), please remember Good/Bad Subjective and back your answer with evidence and personal experience.

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8 Answers 8

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This is a combination of history and what appears to be a small but significant oversight. The advantage of the Haversack over the Bag has always been that the Haversack always has what you're looking for on top, as compared to the Bag which is a disordered bag of stuff that's harder to sift through the more it holds (and it can hold so much).

The designers appear to have retained this distinction in the items' described function, and then made it immaterial during development by copy-pasting the standard 5e item-interaction boilerplate into their descriptions without making any adjustments to implement the functional difference they kept in the descriptions. (Easy enough to do, since when you're doing the rules polishing on the Bag you're not thinking about the Haversack, and it all looks fine, right?)

Traditionally (I mean back in AD&D, since in 3.x this is likely the kind of thing DMs would just handwave away), digging through a Bag for an item wasn't feasible during combat, so the discovery of a Haversack was a significant upgrade in, well, handiness. The capacity difference meant neither was strictly superior, but each had different pros and cons (the marginal utility of being usable in combat making the Haversack especially desirable, but still not strictly superior in every way). But none of this was nailed down in rigid action-economy terms then — there was no such thing as strict action economy terminology, it was just how the items' descriptions said they worked. The rarity difference in the 5e items appears to reflect a design intent to limit access to the especially-desirable item usable at combat speeds; later negated by failing to implement this small but significant distinction during the development stage.

So it just seems to be an oversight. RAW, the Haversack is the clear loser. For many DMs, the question ends there (plus a bit of head-scratching at the designers). However, 5e DMs aren't bound by RAW and are encouraged to make 'fluff' matter in their games, if they so desire.

If you want to emulate the traditional utility of the Haversack, make Bags of Holding able to be interacted with using an action... but it takes multiple before the user finds what they're looking for. You can either nail this down (at which point you're into making house rules to taste to determine exact number of actions), or just say that it's only possible during non-combat time and handwave the exact time it takes. No matter how you implement it exactly, this will leave the Haversack as the true champion of handiness that's usable with a single action to get exactly what you want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ May 12, 2018 at 5:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ One interesting way to make the BoH "worse" while still utile, would be to have every item in it represented by a card. Make a deck of these cards and if you want to pull something out in combat you draw a card. Maybe if you take a full action you can look at the top three and put them back on top, bottom or take them out as you like. As a bonus action you just grab a card and that's what you've pulled out. \$\endgroup\$
    – aslum
    Jul 19, 2019 at 20:52
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The DMG says (p135):

Rarity provides a rough measure of an item's power relative to other magic items.

However I have always assumed that the rarity of a magic item must be the product of this with how often it was made, otherwise why use these terms representing how often they are found rather than some term representing the measure of power directly.

A handy haversack (DMG p174) is a backpack, has a capacity of two side pouches of 20lbs/2 cubic feet and one central pouch of 80lbs/8 cubic feet, always weighs 5lbs. It takes an action to retrieve an item.

A bag of holding (DMG p153) is 2' in diameter and 4' deep on the outside, has a capacity of 500lbs/64 cubic feet and always weighs 15lbs. It takes an action to retrieve an item.

Difficulty:

The haversack is more complex but holds less. It is easier to carry (it's a backpack rather than a big old sack) and weighs less. For both, despite the idea that the sack is just a jumble of stuff, it takes 1 action to retrieve an item.

I'd say the haversack is more complex but less powerful than the bag, despite its better utility for an individual.

So overall, in difficulty to make, I'd say they seem pretty equal.

How many are made

People with the money or resources to have a magic item created to move stuff around tend to care more about the capacity rather than the utility for an individual.

So I'd say more bags of holding would have been made from the point of view of demand.

Overall rarity

  • Both as difficult to make
  • Both useful enough to be made in some quantity
  • More demand for bags of holding

Haversack: rare

Bag: uncommon

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an excellent in-universe explanation. Sometimes something is just so darned useful, that regardless of how powerfully magical the item is, pretty much everyone is carrying one around. It might not be easy to make, but a wizard could make a lot of money churning out bags of holding and selling them to anyone who they cross paths with. \$\endgroup\$
    – zeel
    Oct 29, 2019 at 14:51
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Alrighty, by RAW the haversack is inferior in every way.

but hear me out. from a realistic point of view, you cant just tote around a bag of holding. its 2 feet by 4 feet in size. its basically a big ol duffle bag.

a haversack however is a backpack, you just wear it on your back.

the bag of holding seems more or less like it was designed to be put on a pack animal or something along those lines. long term travel but not necessarily on your person all the time.

The picture they drew of it discredits that, but the picture also doesn't match the description ion the book. #oversight.

personally I would make them the same thing with the exception that a handy haversack lets you access it once per turn with a free action.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for pointing out size. For halflings and gnomes, especially those traveling on foot, carrying a 2X4-foot Bag of Holding is cumbersome, regardless of weight. Handy Haversack to the rescue! It also helps explain rarity, as there would simply be less demand. Many medium and large creatures would probably agree that the haversack is inferior in every way, so fewer of them would be made. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lechlerfan
    May 14, 2019 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even a full sized medium character should technically find a big ol duffle a little more cumbersome than a backpack. It doesnt describe the bag of holding as having any sort of straps or anything either. its just a bag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew Major
    May 15, 2019 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ All the answers that reference the 'quick access' feature of the Haversack seem to ignore the fact that it’s a backpack (in fairness, the DMG seems to ignore this fact too). And as anyone who has used a backpack will testify, there's really no easy way to get anything out of it without taking it off your back first (and, usually, setting it down on the ground so you can access the pockets). Unless the haversack has some unstated power that magics whatever you want into your hand, I would not expect somebody to be able to pull things out of it mid-combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – RickL
    Jun 28, 2021 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RickL there is no actual quick access aspect to the bag in RAW, only the very vague text that "the thing you are looking for is on top". Both require using an action. Anyone who uses a quicker than normal access to the item is essentially just trying to utilize that flavor text. Though honestly the side pouches are likely easily to access in combat if its anything similar to my hiking pack. and with the added feature of not needing tom search for the item, i think its totally logical that you could grab a potion and drink it as a free action from a haversack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew Major
    Jun 28, 2021 at 19:33
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The rarity is because one is for use by merchants and others storing large volumes of materials, the other is for use by travelers and adventurers who need to get to the contents in a hurry.

The 'always on top' rule means you find what you are looking for instantly with a HHH. The Bag of Holding doesn't have that language. If you are just transporting bulk goods or coins, sure, no problem. If you have a different list of 50 pieces of gear the normal backpacker will carry around with themselves, you aren't going to be able to drag what you want out of a Bag anywhere near as quickly.

So, for shoving loot into for dispersal later, or hauling around coins or rolls of silk or artwork, or bundled weapons, a BoH is basically a wagon you tie to your belt. An HHH is actually immediate and useful. The rarity is a non-issue. The HHH should actually be fairly common among adventurers and ranger-types, just not outside that number.

And BTW, if you want to transport coins, Ehlonna's Quiver is a better choice then either. If you count all the 'spears' as hollow staves, and the 'javelins' as hollow rods, figure ten coins to an inch. 18 rods x 3 feet = 48 feet, x 12 inches, x 10 coins to the inch = 5,760 coins in pouch 2, 6 staves x 6 feet x 12 inches x 10 coins to the inch = 4320 coins in pouch 3, for a total of 10,080 coins, or 500 pounds of coins in a quiver weighing 2 pounds. If you make the 60 arrows out of solid gold, you could shove even more wealth in one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your second paragraph is incorrect. Both require an action to retrieve an item, regardless of the HHH saying "...always magically on top." There is no instantly; both require, mechanically, the same amount of time. Hence, the question :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Jun 15, 2018 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack, though! I always recommend the tour and the faq to get oneself oriented! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Jun 15, 2018 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jason_c_0.. it says retrieve AN ITEM... not THE ITEM you are looking for. if you got 50 items in there you will spend an action retrieving one random item in the 50 in there...you have 1 in 50 chances of getting the item you want. This is how the rule has been written this is a sack to haul up stuff, not to use in combat \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2019 at 3:48
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Rarity is about how rare items are, and only roughly about power

The DMG introduction to magic items states (p. 135):

Each magic item has a rarity: common, uncommon, rare, very rare, or legendary. Common magic items, such as a potion of healing, are the most plentiful. Some legendary items, such as the apparatus of Kwalish, are unique.

By this, and by the naming, it is clear that the primary function of item rarity is to determine how common an item is in the game world. You don't need external designer commentary to understand this. It is right there in the rules. The system is called "item rarity" and not "item power", and its ranks are "common, uncommon, rare, very rare" not "lesser, minor, major, epic". The designers could have just as well ordered items by power, and then commented that the weaker ones are typically more common, but they did not.

The core rules do establish how common certain items are in practice via the magic item tables for randomly selected items in the Treasure section are for (p. 137ff DMG). They mechanically lead to uncommon items being found more often and earlier than rare ones, independent of their power.

Your question tacitly assumes that a item that is more rare also must be more powerful. This is just not the generally the case. The rules discuss the power aspect of rarity, and make it clear that there is only a rough correlation between power and rarity:

Rarity provides a rough measure of an item's power relative to other magic items.

There are clearly many other cases where uncommon items can be far more powerful than rare ones, the best known example is the broom of flying vs something like a potion of flying. Or a Ring of Warmth vs a Ring of Resistance. There are also cases where the same functionality is at different levels of rarity, such as a cloak of protection at uncommon and a ring of protection at rare, even though both confer the same benefit.

One additional reason for these different rarities may also be to reduce the chance of interactions between such items. If the haversack were uncommon, as the bag is, the chances to find two of those items would go up. There is the possibility to create a Bag of Holding bomb if you find two of those, and limiting one to rare makes this less likely, just as it is less likely to get a set of ring and cloak of resistance to stack up your AC than if both of those were uncommon.

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The Handy Haversack Is Handier

I agree with the above statement because in the first place it makes mechanical sense to have two items that each have a specific benefit and detriment. But I believe the text supports this also:

Retrieving an item from the haversack requires you to use an action. When you reach into the haversack for a specific item, the item is always magically on top.

Retrieving an item takes an action, on this everyone agrees. But it never says which item you retrieve.

In the handy haversack it specifies that the item you want is on top, in the BOH it does not, so I would argue from the BOH you get an item using an action, in the haversack however the item you want is on top, and as so you retrieve that item as an action.

I hope I can convince you of this, mainly because it makes each item useful in a different way.

New contributor
Matias Ruiz Huidobro is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack Matias_Ruiz_Huidobro! Take the tour when you have a moment, and feel free to peruse the help center for more in-depth info about the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 23 at 17:27
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If you want to continue using All previous versions of what a bag of holding looked like (basically a large santa like burlap bag)..REF: DMG3.5 p248, DMG AD&D2nd P159, 0D&D Rule Cyclopedia P239" As stated in all previous versions the bag appears to be a normal cloth sack. The bag of holding is merely a normal bag that is magically enhanced. Don't use drawings in any books to determine rules or magic item effects. The artist picture in the DMG of the bag of holding is just a nice drawing - and does not reflect what the item is actually is in game terms. But you could decide it is what it looks like. BUT STILL the bag of holding will be pretty useless in combat.

Apart from that, the main advantage of the haversack over the bag of holding is as per the description of the bag of holding, "you retrieve an item with an action - and not the item you are looking for. That means if you have 1000 gp and a longsword, it is different enough from the rest of the content to be easily grabbed, but if you have 1000 gp, 5 rings, and 20 different types of potions, you will have to sift through your bag first to find the item then retrieve it. The stuff in the bag is as difficult to find specific items in it as if its content was strewn out on the floor in front of you.

In my games, I actually call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check to find a specific item in the stash, with the DC depending on how hard the item is to find to first find it. a bag of holding is not to be useful in combat, just to hold stuff and carry it around.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you support your claims by citing evidence? I don't think you're necessarily wrong, but you don't cite any text from 5e or past editions (or any designer statements) to support it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 19, 2019 at 5:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ DMG V3.5 p248. " the bag appears to be a normal cloth sack 2feet by 4feet in diameter." \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2019 at 13:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KilrathiSly V2Blast meant “in the answer”. Comments are temporary; any support needed goes in the answer. (Also, you don’t need to write “edit: …”. There’s an edit history already built into the post.) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2019 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok. My apologies for the badly written response. I was in a hurry and since I was dealing with the exact same question with my group, I felt I had to document what I found during my research of that ruling. I fixed my answer a lot and gave all references to all previous versions of the bag of holding but V4 (I have all D&D versions books published since 1983 and played all of them, but V4 as I hated that version.lol) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2019 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding some discussion of dealing with this in your group might help the answer too. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2019 at 18:29
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The Handy Haversack Is Handier

This is a frame challenge. I disagree with the premise that a bag of holding is “obviously superior” to a handy haversack; and I disagree with the currently-accepted answer's interpretation that the difference in rarity is a historical hold-over, and that 5e made the main feature of the handy haversack immaterial through the description of the bag of holding. And I think that with that bit clarified, it will be easier to see why the handy haversack can be, well, handier.

What Does It Take to Retrieve an Item From a Normal Bag, Backpack, Chest, Etc?

Before considering magic items, let's make sure we're on the same page about some non-magical scenarios. There are no specific rules about interacting with containers like bags, backpacks, chests, and so on. Instead, these interactions and much more are covered by a general rule about interacting with objects.

Other Activity on Your Turn

You can also interact with one object or feature of the environment for free, during either your move or your action. For example, you could open a door during your move as you stride toward a foe, or you could draw your weapon as part of the same action you use to attack.

If you want to interact with a second object, you need to use your action. Some magic items and other special objects always require an action to use, as stated in their descriptions.

The DM might require you to use an action for any of these activities when it needs special care or when it presents an unusual obstacle. For instance, the DM could reasonably expect you to use an action to open a stuck door or turn a crank to lower a drawbridge.

Basic Rules, Chapter 9: Combat, D&D Beyond

Later in the chapter, there are some examples of the sorts of things that could reasonably be done for free during movement or another action. I've included the ones that seemed relevant to this question.

Interacting with Objects Around You

Here are a few examples of the sorts of thing you can do in tandem with your movement and action:

  • withdraw a potion from your backpack
  • pick up a dropped axe
  • take a bauble from a table
  • fish a few coins from your belt pouch
  • take a book from a shelf you can reach

ibid

Retrieving an item from a bag or backpack feels analogous to withdrawing a potion or fishing out some coins, so it could probably be done as part of another action. Similarly, picking an item up off the top of a pile or off the ground feels analogous to taking a bauble from a table or a book from a shelf.

But what about something larger? Would we feel comfortable letting a player use a single action for their character to reach into a barrel full of apples and retrieve a potion stashed at the bottom? Or to reach into a treasure chest full of gold and jewels to retrieve one particular necklace or gem mixed in with the rest?

For reference, a barrel is specified to have a capacity of 4 cubic feet, and a chest a capacity of 12 cubic feet or 300 pounds. A backpack or a sack (closest I could find to a bag) has a listed capacity of just 1 cubic foot. (Basic Rules, Chapter 5: Equipment, D&D Beyond)

I think many DMs (myself included) would be more inclined to call for one or more actions to search through these larger containers, and likely to call for a skill check if the character is under time pressure.

I think the key here is that the character is no longer interacting with a single object—one potion or one bauble—or even two, where the rules for object interaction say the first is free and the second requires a separate an action. They can't just jam their hand in and feel around—there are many objects between them and their goal, which must be sorted through, moved, and looked under. It sounds more like the Search action might be more applicable in this case.

Search

When you take the Search action, you devote your attention to finding something. Depending on the nature of your search, the DM might have you make a Wisdom (Perception) check or an Intelligence (Investigation) check.

Basic Rules, Chapter 9: Combat, D&D Beyond

Note that the DM decides if a check is warranted and sets the DC, and can ultimately decide that the check is impossible given the circumstances and obstacles and choose not to call for a roll at all, or to resolve the search as multiple Search actions.

Taking things a step further, what about a character reaching through a 2-foot-wide opening into an unlit 4-foot by 4-foot by 4-foot room, filled with hundreds of pounds of gold, loot, potions, poisons, weapons, and possibly bodies, to retrieve a single potion in particular that they know is in there somewhere?

If it doesn't feel reasonable to assume a character could do that in a single uncontested action—if it feels like this might take several rounds or even minutes of searching, depending on the circumstances—hold onto that thought.

What Does It Take to Retrieve an Item From a Bag of Holding?

Both the bag of holding and handy haversack have similar rules in their descriptions around retrieving items.

Retrieving an item from the bag requires an action.

Bag of Holding, D&D Beyond

Retrieving an item from the haversack requires you to use an action.

Handy Haversack, D&D Beyond

I understand this as a specific exception to your general ability to retrieve an item from a bag or backpack for free as part of movement or another action.

Note that the rules still refer to these items as a “bag” and a “haversack”—they're still containers, just containers with a magically large capacity. Then retrieving an item from a bag of holding should follow the same rules for object interaction as any other bag—and it does, except that its description invokes one of the rules of object interaction that says

Some magic items and other special objects always require an action to use, as stated in their descriptions.

in order to deny the possibly of retrieving an item from a bag of holding (or handy haversack) for free as part of movement or another action. So retrieving an item requires at least an action.

That said, there's one big difference between a bag of holding and a normal bag: the inside of a bag of holding is a 4-foot deep, 64-cubic-foot space holding up to 500 pounds of crap with a 2-foot opening. Sound familiar? This is the exact same scenario as above, except that instead of a mundane room with a hole in the wall, the character is reaching into an extradimensional space with a hole connecting it to the Material plane.

There is nothing in the description of the bag of holding that makes this scenario any easier. The description does not say that you can use an action to retrieve an item, or that retrieving an item requires only an action—it just invokes the built-in exception to the object interaction rule to disallow retrieving an item for free.

Therefore, if we would not resolve the mundane scenario as a simple object interaction, it would not seem applicable here either—and like any other activity without specific rules, we fall back to improvising an action.

Improvising an Action

Your character can do things not covered by the actions in this section, such as breaking down doors, intimidating enemies, sensing weaknesses in magical defenses, or calling for a parley with a foe. The only limits to the actions you can attempt are your imagination and your character’s ability scores. See the descriptions of the ability scores in the Using Ability Scores section for inspiration as you improvise.

When you describe an action not detailed elsewhere in the rules, the DM tells you whether that action is possible and what kind of roll you need to make, if any, to determine success or failure.

Basic Rules, Chapter 9: Combat, D&D Beyond

So, if you open up your bag of holding in the middle of combat, it's entirely up to your DM and your shared world-building what will be required to retrieve the item you want. Is the bag mostly empty, or did you explicitly say you left it on top of the pile in the the bag? Then maybe it would be a normal object interaction (but requiring an action). If not, maybe it's a Search action, or multiple Search actions. Is your character small? You may not even be able to reach the item you want to retrieve without climbing into the bag.

Again, to be clear, there are no specific rules for any of these things I've just mentioned, but there are no specific rules for most things characters want to do in D&D. This is why there's a DM, who can apply common sense to decide what's possible, what's achievable, and what it requires.

What About Retrieving an Item from a Handy Haversack?

The same reasoning about retrieving an item requiring at least an action applies to the handy haversack, but there's one important difference from the bag of holding.

When you reach into the haversack for a specific item, the item is always magically on top.

Handy Haversack, D&D Beyond

Even if the capacity of a handy haversack is smaller than that of a bag of holding, it's still magically large. The main compartment has a capacity of 8 cubic feet, roughly the size of two barrels. But the item you want is always on top, with no searching required. This makes retrieval analogous to picking a bauble up off a table or a book off a shelf—it's right there, unobstructed and ready to be grabbed.

It's actually easier to retrieve the item at the bottom of a fully-loaded handy haversack than to retrieve pretty much any item from a normal backpack—you never have to feel around. If the item description didn't invoke the exception to free object interaction, retrieving an item from a handy haversack would almost certainly always be free. Since it does invoke the exception, retrieval just always costs an action: no more, no less.

A Bit More Comparison of the Descriptions of the Bag of Holding and the Handy Haversack

One other thing I'd point out is that the description of the handy haversack explicitly calls out that placing an item in the haversack follows the rules for object interaction.

Placing an object in the haversack follows the normal rules for interacting with objects. Retrieving an item from the haversack requires you to use an action. When you reach into the haversack for a specific item, the item is always magically on top.

Handy Haversack, D&D Beyond

Compare this with the corresponding section of the description for the bag of holding.

Retrieving an item from the bag requires an action.

Bag of Holding, D&D Beyond

Why did the description of the Handy Haversack feel the need to call out that placing an object in the haversack follows the normal rules? It's presumably not because of the subsequent sentence about retrieval requiring an action, because the bag of holding has pretty much the same sentence without the call-out.

So then it must be because of the sentence about the desired item magically being on top. This is different from the normal rules of object interaction when dealing with an 8-cubic-foot container—again, the equivalent of two barrels—where the desired item is normally buried under dozens of pounds of undesired bric-a-brac.

The description of the bag of holding felt no need to call out normal object interaction, but we know they must apply—otherwise there would be no way to put items into the bag. So then the normal rules of object interaction would also apply to retrieval (including the built-in exception to free object interaction, as described above)—and the normal boundaries of those rules would also apply, limiting what can and cannot be retrieved from a bag of holding in a single action the same way they do for every other container (or indeed small room).

Very Handy

This is (in my opinion) why the handy haversack has a higher rarity. Sure, it doesn't have the sheer volume of a bag of holding, but it lets you tote around up to 12 cubic feet or 120 pounds of whatever you want and retrieve anything from inside at a moment's notice. They two bags solve different problems: the bag of holding solves the problem of storage capacity, and the handy haversack solves the problem of immediate access to an arsenal of magic items (and also helps a bit with storage capacity).

It turns out there are plenty of ways to store large quantities of loot besides a bag of holding: rent a vault from your setting's Gringots analog; buy some wagons and horses to pull them; acquire a tower with a permanent teleporation circle for easy access; learn to cast Leomund's secret chest. Sure, the bag of holding is probably more convenient than all of these, but it's just degrees.

On the other hand, having repeatable, immediate access to any of 120-pounds worth of equipment is pretty powerful for a wealthy character. For example, fill your handy haversack with potions and wands. “Most potions consist of one ounce of liquid” (Dungeon Master's Guide, Chapter 7: Treasure, D&D Beyond)—an ounce of water weighs about an ounce, maybe double that to account for the glass, so 500 potions (62-ish pounds) probably fit in the haversack's combined capacity of 120 pounds. Wands have no listed weight, but are “about 15 inches long and crafted of metal, bone, or wood” (ibid), which would probably fit in even the smaller 2 cubic foot pouches of a handy haversack, and definitely in the main part.

Now you can always create any effect you want with at most one round of lead time—and if some of those potions are potions of speed, you can retrieve and use an item from your haversack each turn for one full minute.

Meanwhile the guy with the bag of holding is digging through a pile of gold, gems, and art objects for the potion of healing that he knows is in there somewhere.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "...if it weren't for the specific rule in the item description it would almost certainly always be free." And therein lies the issue. The item appearing on top does not add nor do anything mechanically, as both bags specify an action to retrieve something. I'm sorry, but I fail to see how your interpretation is supported. The Bag of holding does not require any digging: it requires an action, just like the Haversack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Dec 2, 2023 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o I believe there's a difference between "it requires an action to" and "you may use an action to". Retrieving an item requires an action, which means you can't do it in less than an action. But the DM decides what's possible. If you stumbled across a random 500lb pile of loot, you wouldn't assume that you could use an action or free object interaction to pull something off the bottom in the middle of combat—your DM would say no, or call for an investigation check. The contents of a bag of holding are just an extradimensional 500lb pile of loot. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2023 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ So in other words, you can always interact with an object within reach and retrieve it—often for free as part of movement for another action. Both the bag of holding and handy haversack say doing this requires an action. But the bag of holding has no effect to put most of its contents within reach once they start piling up. It's still a 4ft deep space with a 2ft opening, and there's no effect that makes it easier than retrieving an item buried in any other 4ft deep space with a small opening—you'd need to reach your whole arm and shoulder in just to reach the bottom. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2023 at 17:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ The item interaction rules are overridden by the specificity of each bag's rules. Again, each bag requires only an action to retrieve an object. "Reach your whole arm in" does not make any mechanical difference to the game. You are free to interpret it this way but I still don't see any support for your answer. Thank you for the time to write it, but I don't feel you see the point of the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Dec 2, 2023 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o: I've updated my answer to try to take some of this discussion into account. I don't know if you'll find it any more convincing, but I tried to be more explicit about how I think these items relate to object interaction. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2023 at 21:44

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