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Friday, September 17, 2021

Portable Holes in a One-Plane Universe

There’s a question about portable holes on the OD&D forums: do you treat it as a Bag of Holding, or just a temporary hole? The question assumes in both cases that there’s an extra-dimensional space involved, as mentioned in the Greyhawk supplement.

But I thought: What if there isn’t?

I’ve written before about how I prefer a one-plane cosmology with a material world that has additional states of matter beyond solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. To maintain that, there couldn’t be any extra-dimensional spaces under my cosmology. So where does the hole part of a portable hole come from? Where do things inside the hole go when it is removed?

How I interpret Portable Holes:

  • Turns a ten-foot long cylinder of connected solid material into ethereal matter.
  • The effect stops when it hits liquid, gas, or any other non-solid material and does not continue, even if solid matter resumes before the ten-foot range is reached.
  • Objects or living beings that enter the hole at this point aren’t transformed. They are just normal objects occupying space previously filled with solid matter.
  • When the hole is removed, any ethereal matter tries to return to its solid state. If something is already in the same space and can’t be pushed out, it remains ethereal until that space is no longer occupied.

This means that if someone is crawling through a Portable Hole through a stone wall when the hole is removed, they become embedded in stone. They will suffocate, if they need air to breathe. Meanwhile, there’s an ethereal stone duplicate of them occupying the same position. When they are removed from that position, the stone reappears. If the surrounding stone is no longer there, you wind up with a statue of a crawling person.

There are some other weird situations that could happen, but the general principle is that two solid objects or two ethereal objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time, but a solid object and an ethereal object can occupy the same space.

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