For reference, DMG p154 -

You can use an action to pull the fuzzy object from the bag and throw it up to 20 feet. When the object lands, it transforms into a creature you determine by rolling a d8 and consulting the table that correspond's to the bag's color. See the Monstor Manual for the creature's statistics. The creature is friendly to you and your companions, and it acts on your turn. you can use a bonus action to command how the creature moves and what action it takes on it's next turn, or to give it general orders, such as to attack your enemies. In the absence of such orders the creature acts in a fashion appropriate to it's nature.


For 5e, that appears to be one of the things that they left out. Previous editions had limitations as noted below, so this is one of the things that will be up to the DM to decide as necessary.

2nd edition time limit: 10 minutes (1 turn)

Only one creature can be drawn forth at a time. It alone exists until it is slain, until one turn has elapsed, or until it is ordered back into the bag of tricks. At that point, the creature vanishes. Only then can another animal be brought forth. Up to 10 creatures can be drawn from the bag each week.

3rd edition time limit: 10 minutes

Bag of Tricks: This small sack appears normal and empty. However, anyone reaching into the bag feels a small, fuzzy ball. If the ball is removed and tossed up to 20 feet away, it turns into an animal. The animal serves the character who drew it from the bag for 10 minutes (or until slain or ordered back into the bag)

3.5 (Same as 3rd edition)

4th edition time limit: 5 minutes or encounter length

Bag of Tricks

These small leather bags come in a variety of colors, gray being the most common. You can use a bag of tricks to conjure an obedient beast. You must spend a healing surge to activate the bag’s power, and you gain no other benefit for spending the healing surge. When you use a bag of tricks to conjure a creature, it appears in an unoccupied space within 5 squares of you; the space must be large enough to contain the creature without squeezing. The creature obeys only you, responding to commands spoken in any language. The creature remains until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes

Note, that in the absence of orders (one would presume continual), the animal summoned will wander off and do what is natural to it. So you could game it several ways to prevent the character from having an army of baboons or similar.


As of the latest Dungeon Master's Guide errata,

Bag of Tricks (p. 154). The second paragraph ends with a new sentence: “The creature vanishes at the next dawn or when it is reduced to 0 hit points.”

Despite Jeremy Crawford's answer to tweets, it seems this is the official position of their collective brainstorming.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, nothing limiting the number of creatures that can exist at once? Disposable ablative meat shields, ahoy! \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Dec 23 '15 at 3:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ If taken together with Jeremy Crawford's tweet, I think the "one animal at a time" rule would take effect but I am stumped as to why they corrected the duration but not the limit of active beasts. My assumption is that it was deliberated and purposefully omitted, much like how they did not follow Crawford's tweet about duration. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Dec 23 '15 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget what happens if you fail to use your bonus action to command the animal. Most won't stick around without some constant 'prodding' to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Dec 26 '15 at 23:45

D&D 5e designer and official rules expert Jeremy Crawford tweeted the following errata on 09 Jan 2015:

The bag of tricks is missing its duration: 10 minutes, 1 animal at a time. We'll correct it.

In response to this question from @BrailSays:

Bag of Tricks...no duration listed, nor limit to how many things total, just per day. Can amass army of critters?

This has since been given an official errata as explained in this answer by daze413.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even without that errata, it would be limited to a single animal controlled at a time, because it requires your bonus action each turn to maintain control. Most animals would, given a lack of outside control, choose to GTFO, and quickly be out of range to hear any commands. It could be funny, though to have a player later discover that many of the local critters obey his commands if he uses the bag a lot in any given area. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Dec 22 '15 at 23:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also wonder if the animal disappears, or is just no longer controllable at the end of that 10 minutes. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Dec 22 '15 at 23:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheoBrinkman If given a generic command such as "protect me" or "attack my enemies" the creature won't "GTFO" I think. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Dec 23 '15 at 3:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ It isn't "direct orders" vs. "general orders". It is "choose the Action" vs. "general orders". When you choose the action, you choose which Action the animal takes. For a general order, the animal (via the GM) chooses how to interpret the general order, and what the animal does to fulfill the command. It involves more than just the animal's action, though. It could involve moving, and object interaction as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Dec 27 '15 at 0:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ The twitter link is broken, maybe JC deleted that thread so as not to contradict the DMG Errata? \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jan 25 '19 at 22:29

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