D&D 5E How much should it cost to use a permanent teleportation circle?

Kurotowa

Legend
It costs nothing, because it's not a toll bridge. No one is moving mercantile goods through a Teleportation Circle. Not only does it require a high level caster, but the portal is of limited size and only stays open for 6 seconds. It's a terrible method for trying to move large amounts of goods or people.

Who's arriving through a Teleportation Circle? An invited VIP who's going to be a guest. An important courier who's delivering a gift. A trusted ally with whom you shared the sigil sequence. All people you want to be there. Unless you're running a very high magic setting and altering how the spell works, it's not a public utility open to casual use for a fee.
 

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In my game:
  • 1gp equates roughly to $100 US, which can buy a room at some inns, or a family meal at some restaurants, etc.
  • 100gp equates to $10,000 which can be an average international flight for a family* (*corrected my math), or the average cost charged by a third-party caster to cast a Teleportation Circle spell for an adventuring party. That does not cover the teleportation circle fee at arrival, if publicly maintained, which is more like a tax. Most folk who travel regularly via teleportation circle are spellcasters, VIPs, wealthy merchants transporting small goods (like jewelers), or are adventurers who risk their lives for piles of treasure. That fee for avoiding long-distance travel expenses and dangers tends to come out to an average of 100gp as well. Even if the Circle costs get recouped over time, that fee pays for the ongoing security for the Circle.
  • 500gp equates to $50,000 US, and can buy a decent vehicle on Earth, or an Uncommon magic item in game.
I don't mess with "inflation" because I've ruled that the value of precious metals and gems is determined by their inherent magical nature as universal magical reagents, and that value doesn't fluctuate. 500gp may be a material component for a specific spell, but as long as the caster has 500gp (10 lbs.) of gold on them, that usually also works unless there is a specific action that needs to be performed with the components, like painting expensive inks into a magic circle.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
I'd say it really depends on how much the group wants to use it vs doing exploration stuff.

If you don't want a lot of travel time, it's like 50-100 a pop. If you do it's in the thousands.
 

Not considering it a toll bridge is certainly an error for whomever happens to have one in its temple, guildhall or important places, as the rules say they can be found... (implying a rather high magic setting). A single casting of the spell allow everyone within one round of the circle to cross. Even if you don't want to go full Tippyverse, it's reasonable than a two lines of porters can go across and that's 10-12 persons. Each, assuming STR 10, can carry 150 pounds of trade goods without being encumbered. Sure, they won't be carrying wheat, but let's say they carry saffron, the 10 persons can bring to the destination 22,500 gp worth of saffron (using 5e prices) from its origin to destination. Given the margin on long range, luxury goods, especially in a world where you can be ambushed by a dragon along the way, it's very wise for the merchant to pay 350 gp for spellcasting service to use your TC as a trading hub. Even more so if there is a TC at the point of origin. Unless there are common enough to have created a network so that every major city is bound to have one of them. But there would be much less caravans in such a world.
 
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cbwjm

Seb-wejem
So, the portal only lasts 6 seconds, but I can imagine a world where rituals are performed to hold the portal open for longer, allowing whole merchant caravans to come through bringing exotic goods from faraway lands. A massive trade network between city states, heavily guarded with fail-safes in case of attempted invasion (perhaps both ends need to perform the ritual, if one stops chanting the portal fails). It would make for an interesting component of a campaign.
 

So, the portal only lasts 6 seconds, but I can imagine a world where rituals are performed to hold the portal open for longer, allowing whole merchant caravans to come through bringing exotic goods from faraway lands. A massive trade network between city states, heavily guarded with fail-safes in case of attempted invasion (perhaps both ends need to perform the ritual, if one stops chanting the portal fails). It would make for an interesting component of a campaign.

Technically, the portal last until the wizard next turn. So, there is nothing that preclude a whole wagon to pass each time since the oxen will move before the wizard next turn.

Unless the DM elects to read the rule strictly and consider that only the "creature" is transported, not its equipment, and then people arrive on the other side stark naked. Which is fun, but renders the spell slightly less practical.

For a detailed outcome of the campaign world, you can certainly find on the Internet what Emperor Tippy, a user on giantitp board, created (and which is called the Tippyverse). It dates back to 3.5e, but it's still interesting if you are into finding the "logical outcome" of our silly games.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Technically, the portal last until the wizard next turn. So, there is nothing that preclude a whole wagon to pass each time since the oxen will move before the wizard next turn.
Yeah, that's what 6 seconds basically means. But even then, a single cart isn't going to be that much, you'll probably want to get a few through at a time depending on the goods (small, expensive goods might still be worth it per casting).
 


jgsugden

Legend
It costs nothing, because it's not a toll bridge. No one is moving mercantile goods through a Teleportation Circle. Not only does it require a high level caster, but the portal is of limited size and only stays open for 6 seconds. It's a terrible method for trying to move large amounts of goods or people...
Generally true ... except when you're creating a circle. You can use the castings at the time of the creation to send people, goods, etc... through the circles you create to help offset the costs.

It might cost about 500 gp to send a galley on a 2 week trip along the sword coast - carrying 150 tons of cargo. That would cover the cost of labor and the depreciation of the ship assuming a 20 year lifespan.

A wizard that wanted to use a 5th level spell slot (for teleportation circle) and a 4th level spell slot (for conjure mino elemental to summon 4 Ashen Warhorses) could drag about a half ton through a teleportation circle.

Now, you could say that the cost to ship that half ton on the galley would be about 1.66 gp. If you were optimal in your efficiency, that would work out to be about right. So, you might think that a wizard might only be able to charge a few gold to offer to have his summoned mounts drag a bunch of cargo through a portal ...

But ships are never fully efficient, and there are huge advantages in not having to worry about piracy or having to wait out a 2 week trip. Plus, the captain/owner of the ship will want to make a profit. All of those things add to the cost.

A wizard could go about collecting a few teleportation circle destinations and then setting about a small business to offset the costs of circle construction by doing transportation services to those circles. A clever wizard might expand upon those by having their flying familiar deliver mail or small parcels as well - or one with time on their hands could add dozens and dozens of unseen servants to the mix to carry goods through the circle (although anything they're carrying will be dumped on the other side as the unseen servasnts will disappear as soon as they pass through.

How much will this offset the cost of construction? That would be up to the DM and player to figure out - but a really smooth wizard might be able to offset most, if not all, costs of construction in my game.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Generally true ... except when you're creating a circle. You can use the castings at the time of the creation to send people, goods, etc... through the circles you create to help offset the costs.
The presupposes a existing network of Teleportation Circles that are placed appropriately for commercial use. Not a limited number in secure locations that are reserved for authorized and important travel. Which is the difference between a high magic setting and a D&D standard setting. You can't send loaded wagons through if the Circle is in a small and warned interior room because the Wizard who's tower it's in doesn't want surprise unwelcome guests.
 

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