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The D&D 5E DMG says that the Bag of Holding is 4ft deep. To me this means that the bag is 4ft tall, but I'm wondering if that is simply on the "inside". Though that would mean that items put into the bag can only be 4ft tall/wide depending on which way you put them into the bag. Though, that doesn't quite seem right to me.

In the same sentence the DMG says that the mouth of the bag is 2ft wide, which means that the mouth of the bag can open up for something 2ft in diameter. It's a dimension for the outside of the bah, which would suggest that the 4ft deep aspect is as well. So does this mean that the bag is 4 feet tall?

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The DMG states,

This bag has an interior space considerably larger than its outside dimensions, roughly 2 feet in diameter at the mouth and 4 feet deep.

This specifies that its outside dimensions are 4 feet long with a 2 foot hole, not its interior space. The mouth is 2ft. in diameter though, which might pose a problem for fitting large objects. So yes, the physical bag is 4' tall.

What's weird about this is that the picture of the bag of holding on DMG 153 does not look like it's anywhere close to those outside dimensions. Instead, it looks like it's wider than it is tall, and it looks more like a small purse than a large bag.

The bag can hold up to 500 pounds, not exceeding a volume of 64 cubic feet.

The maximum volume it can hold is 64 cubic feet. If we assume that it's a cube, that's a 4'x4'x4' space. Given that it's an extradimensional space, you can probably fit something much longer inside, as long as the total volume occupied is not more than 64 cubic feet total.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If the bag is cylindrical, we can determine it's apparent volumetric size from the outside: pi*r^2*h ~= 3.142*1'*4' = ~12.6' of apparent volume. So, it would appear that a 5e bag of holding can hold roughly 5 and 1/3 times more than what it would appear to hold if it were an ordinary bag. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Jan 26 '17 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ The claim that 2 feet diameter and 4 feet deep are its outside dimensions may also be strengthened by referring to the 3.5e version of the item, which explicitly says those are the outside dimensions (and the inside is bigger). Obviously, it doesn't prove the same is true in 5e, but it substantially strengthens the case. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 18 '18 at 2:57
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The dimensions are interior dimensions, but larger than first thoughts might indicate.

From the DMG:

This bag has an interior space considerably larger than its outside dimensions, roughly 2 feet in diameter at the mouth and 4 feet deep.

Without a prepositional phrase after the comma, such as "which are", the dimensions should indicate the subject of the sentence: the interior space. This is strengthened by several arguments:

  1. Interior spaces are measured by depth, exterior dimensions by height. (A pillar is tall, but a well is deep).
  2. A cylinder 2 feet in diameter by 4 feet deep is less than half of the indicated diameter of the bag. (25 vs 64 cubic feet)

Further, the bag specified as being "2 feet diameter at the mouth". By qualifying that, it implies that the diameter is not uniform. Otherwise, there would be no need to say anything other than "2 feet in diameter". The bag could easily be wider inside than the opening at the top, like a goldfish bowl. This would allow for the indicated interior volume of 64 cubic feet.

Less importantly, but still something to consider, the artwork in the book fails to agree at all with the description, being more like a pouch or purse. Although this is never a final indicator, the art director would likely have rejected anything so drastically different from the description. [1]

If the interior dimension is the one indicated, the exterior could be anything. In fact, one would be hard pressed to justify how a 2 foot by 4 foot bag is intended to reduce character encumbrance. One could easily imagine the material of the bag to be stretchable to allow for a 2 foot diameter opening (it is magical and specifically created to allow for objects larger than it itself is), then any conflict with the pictured item is resolved.

Finally, since the bag is only 4 feet deep, but somehow holds 64 cubic feet, the interior dimensions could be anything that multiplies to 16 square feet: 4 x 4, 2 x 8, etc. No you couldn't likely fit a 20 foot extension ladder in the bag, but nothing in the description says that you can, either. Of course, a lenient DM could allow for anything that doesn't exceed a possible dimension. (i.e. 32 feet by .5 feet)


[1] I am a long-time illustrator in the RPG field, and I would not have been able to get away with such a disagreement, particularly with a company as large as WotC.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Put all together this way, it is persuasive… \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 26 '17 at 23:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ The 3.5e version of the item, which explicitly says 2 feet diameter and 4 feet deep are the outside dimensions (and the inside is bigger), supports the idea that those are the 5e item's outside dimensions (not its inside dimensions). Obviously, it doesn't prove the same is true in 5e, but it substantially strengthens the case. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 18 '18 at 2:59

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