Does a bag of holding fill up or remain flat?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Scarab Sages

I'm just wondering if you fill a bag of holding to capacity does it look like a stuffed sack bulging with items from the outside or does it remain a flat bag your can roll up and shove in your pocket?


Unspecified. Either way is a reasonable interpretation, with the understanding that a rolled up bag of holding might be a bit heavy for a clothing pocket. (Try putting a 15 pound lead weight in your trouser pocket sometime for a laugh.)


An empty Bag of Holding weighs as much as a full Bag of Holding. It never looks like it has more or less stuff in it till you look inside. It always contains the same dimensional pocket so it won't bulge unless you do something like put a portable hole in it. Then it bulges in a very, very, horribly noticeable fashion.


weirdly I've imagined that it always looks half full. Since:

1. It has a fixed weight
2. No one suspects there is anything special about the bag when someone goes to pull something out.
3. No one suspects there is anything special about the bag when someone goes to put something in it.

Of course, the illusion presented by #2 and #3 is immediately ruined when the object being stowed or retrieved has wildly "wrong" dimensions for the bag.

I figure it doesn't look any more or less full regardless how much is in it because of #1.

Scarab Sages

So GM discretion I guess thanks.

blahpers wrote:
Unspecified. Either way is a reasonable interpretation, with the understanding that a rolled up bag of holding might be a bit heavy for a clothing pocket. (Try putting a 15 pound lead weight in your trouser pocket sometime for a laugh.)

Oh I'm sure there'd be all sorts of issues with carrying it in your pocket starting with tearing the pocket off your pants still I can see a thief filling it up with treasure and putting up with the horrible weight of a scrunched up bag of holding in their pocket till they get awway.

Hmm now that I'm looking at the types of bags of holding I'm reminded a handy haversack is not a portable hole . . . 2 Type I bags + 2 type III bags = 2,500lbs (over a ton) of carrying capacity and a spare 5lbs in each side pocket and 10lbs in the main one on top of this. Ah well back to my search of why an overloaded bag of holding explodes rather than spilling out the top. I do miss the belt of many pockets from 3rd ed though.


I would say it looks flat unless full or almost full. The biggest kind has a capacity of 250 cubic feet, about equal to an object 6 feet across.


Classic treasures revisited has two pictures of bags of holding (a normal and a variant). Both look relatively empty.

That aside

Quote:
If a bag of holding is turned inside out, all of its contents spill out, unharmed, but the bag must be put right before it can be used again.

If a bag stayed particularly full it would be a bit hard to push it past its own closure, especially if it appeared to have a single large object.

Scarab Sages

I don't have that book, would you recommend it as worth buying (aside from these two pictures obviously)?

This does raise the question of if you can block off the top when you tip it upside down and as I've asked elsewhere why does a bag of holding rupture if overloaded rather than just spilling out the top?

Also the question of what size limit exists on what can be pushed into it?


Senko wrote:

I don't have that book, would you recommend it as worth buying (aside from these two pictures obviously)?

This does raise the question of if you can block off the top when you tip it upside down and as I've asked elsewhere why does a bag of holding rupture if overloaded rather than just spilling out the top?

Also the question of what size limit exists on what can be pushed into it?

Your asking us to give you a logical argument on the behavior of a magic item, are you? Magic is magic because it breaks natural law, and it only pays heed to its own rules. And in this case, its own rule says if you puncture the bag from the inside this bad thing happens.

Though you could simply say its because you rupture the fragile extra dimensional space and it collapses back into our reality spilling the contents while destroying the bag itself. That is if you want to pretend that magic needs to make sense.


This appears to be a common cloth sack about 2 feet by 4 feet in size. The bag of holding opens into a nondimensional space: its inside is larger than its outside dimensions. Regardless of what is put into the bag, it weighs a fixed amount. This weight, and the limits in weight and volume of the bag's contents, depend on the bag's type, as shown on the table below.

Bags of holding have the same physical size, but their weights vary by capacity. This suggests that the larger bags appear to have more in them. So a type I bag would appear to be mostly empty, but a type IV bag would be have a much fuller appearance.


Meirril wrote:
it won't bulge unless you do something like put a portable hole in it. Then it bulges in a very, very, horribly noticeable fashion.

Step 1: Cut a hole in the Bag of Holding

Step 2: ...

Scarab Sages

Meirril wrote:
Senko wrote:

I don't have that book, would you recommend it as worth buying (aside from these two pictures obviously)?

This does raise the question of if you can block off the top when you tip it upside down and as I've asked elsewhere why does a bag of holding rupture if overloaded rather than just spilling out the top?

Also the question of what size limit exists on what can be pushed into it?

Your asking us to give you a logical argument on the behavior of a magic item, are you? Magic is magic because it breaks natural law, and it only pays heed to its own rules. And in this case, its own rule says if you puncture the bag from the inside this bad thing happens.

Though you could simply say its because you rupture the fragile extra dimensional space and it collapses back into our reality spilling the contents while destroying the bag itself. That is if you want to pretend that magic needs to make sense.

Magic still obeys its own rules or you could make a bag that would not rupture when you stuck a sword into it just have a hole to extradimensional space. Though the second part of that sentence works if we assume that the outside and inside cloth are not linked e.g. outside cloth constitutes a visible barrier and transport system for your magical hole. The inside cloth though exists in an extradimensionl space so its outside is effectively permanently in a void with no support to its and if you overload the weight limits it tears like a normal overloaded carrying bag being held in the air. No support for the weight means its all always pushing against the cloth. I can work with this. Thus things wont spill out the front because you aren't putting them into a sack supported by the floors weight where they can slide off rather than in you are putting them into a sack that is effectively hanging in midair and the weight has finally hit the limit of what it can take before rupturing.

Magic users are apprently very precise in their ability to calculate weight limits though this does suggest a sack that is often heavily loaded may in time wear and rupture as well. I'll need to look up bag carry limits and the effect of heavy loads on them.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:

This appears to be a common cloth sack about 2 feet by 4 feet in size. The bag of holding opens into a nondimensional space: its inside is larger than its outside dimensions. Regardless of what is put into the bag, it weighs a fixed amount. This weight, and the limits in weight and volume of the bag's contents, depend on the bag's type, as shown on the table below.

Bags of holding have the same physical size, but their weights vary by capacity. This suggests that the larger bags appear to have more in them. So a type I bag would appear to be mostly empty, but a type IV bag would be have a much fuller appearance.

Interesting interpreation and I didn't notice they were all the same size on the outside. I can see how that would work, I may use this idea.


I don't recall coming across RAW on the OP's question specifically.
Although honestly, I've never made a dedicated search.

Everything below is my own interpretation. I don't make any bold claims that it's the 'right' or 'legal' way to do it. Take it or leave it as you will.
As in a lot of things, the GM is probably going have to make the call on how it works.

The way I've always played/adjudicated it, is that the bag would generally appear as full as it normally would, based on how much of it's capacity was been used.

If half of the bag's (magic) capacity was being currently used, it would look and take up as much space, as a normal 2x4 ft. bag would if half-full, etc.

The 'putting it a my pocket' scenario, probably wouldn't work in any case. Even empty, a 2x4 ft. cloth sack would still take up more space than a typical pocket. Remember, it's cloth in a default fantasy/medieval setting. Not Mylar, nylon, or thin (modern) cotton cloth.
A sack, which needs to be strong enough not to tear under normal use, is probably as thick/strong as burlap or something similar.
Could a peasant fold up his burlap shirt and store it in his pocket? I'd say not likely.

As far as what could physically be put in a bag, I'd use common sense, and a little geometry.
Formed into a circle, the opening would have a diameter of slightly less than 16 inches. You could pull the mouth into more of an oval to get wider for one dimension of the object, but the maximum width would be 24 inches, for something thin like a framed painting or mirror to slip in.
So, for example, a shield at least 2 ft. wide on two sides, would not be able to be put in the bag.

Just my random thoughts on the subject.

Scarab Sages

PodTrooper wrote:

I don't recall coming across RAW on the OP's question specifically.

Although honestly, I've never made a dedicated search.

Everything below is my own interpretation. I don't make any bold claims that it's the 'right' or 'legal' way to do it. Take it or leave it as you will.
As in a lot of things, the GM is probably going have to make the call on how it works.

The way I've always played/adjudicated it, is that the bag would generally appear as full as it normally would, based on how much of it's capacity was been used.

If half of the bag's (magic) capacity was being currently used, it would look and take up as much space, as a normal 2x4 ft. bag would if half-full, etc.

The 'putting it a my pocket' scenario, probably wouldn't work in any case. Even empty, a 2x4 ft. cloth sack would still take up more space than a typical pocket. Remember, it's cloth in a default fantasy/medieval setting. Not Mylar, nylon, or thin (modern) cotton cloth.
A sack, which needs to be strong enough not to tear under normal use, is probably as thick/strong as burlap or something similar.
Could a peasant fold up his burlap shirt and store it in his pocket? I'd say not likely.

As far as what could physically be put in a bag, I'd use common sense, and a little geometry.
Formed into a circle, the opening would have a diameter of slightly less than 16 inches. You could pull the mouth into more of an oval to get wider for one dimension of the object, but the maximum width would be 24 inches, for something thin like a framed painting or mirror to slip in.
So, for example, a shield at least 2 ft. wide on two sides, would not be able to be put in the bag.

Just my random thoughts on the subject.

I was thinking more belt of many pockets pocket which is a sort of belt based bag of holding system.


Senko wrote:


I was thinking more belt of many pockets pocket which is a sort of belt based bag of holding system.

Do you mean putting a bag of holding inside of another extra-dimensional space like a belt of many pockets?

Most everything depends on GM rulings there.

It could work if:
GM considers bag of holding as some nice silk (thin) material, which (being a masterwork item) is do-able. Plus, that the bag always appears empty (is flat); plus that when folded up, it's small enough to pass into the mouth of the pocket.
But most importantly, what the GM thinks about stacking inter-dimensional spaces. Rules specify bags vs. portable holes, but I know many GMs (myself included) that have expanded and filled in the blank spots on how such things work in their worlds. Almost without exception, GMs that I've known, put dimension-stacking into the 'bad-idea' category. Be wary.
(For instance, my players found out that climbing up into a 'rope-trick' space, carrying extra-dimensional items is definitely a "bad idea".)

Scarab Sages

PodTrooper wrote:
Senko wrote:


I was thinking more belt of many pockets pocket which is a sort of belt based bag of holding system.

Do you mean putting a bag of holding inside of another extra-dimensional space like a belt of many pockets?

Most everything depends on GM rulings there.

It could work if:
GM considers bag of holding as some nice silk (thin) material, which (being a masterwork item) is do-able. Plus, that the bag always appears empty (is flat); plus that when folded up, it's small enough to pass into the mouth of the pocket.
But most importantly, what the GM thinks about stacking inter-dimensional spaces. Rules specify bags vs. portable holes, but I know many GMs (myself included) that have expanded and filled in the blank spots on how such things work in their worlds. Almost without exception, GMs that I've known, put dimension-stacking into the 'bad-idea' category. Be wary.
(For instance, my players found out that climbing up into a 'rope-trick' space, carrying extra-dimensional items is definitely a "bad idea".)

Oh I know GM choice can vary from its fine to boom goes the universe. To be honest I personally tend to ignore that rule and house rule that its fine. A portable hole is a defined space with an inside and outside same with a bag of holding so the bag goes into the hole (or another similar space) just fine. However the hole opens an extra-diemensional hole in a surface so putting one into a bag means it tries to put a hole in the bag breaching the magic and causing bad things to happen as the contents explode into non-space (destroying them) and ruining both items. Similarly putting a bag in another bag or similar item is fine as long as the shell isn't breached or contents are overloaded. Still I know thats at best a minority opinion.

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