5.5E/One D&D World Building Magic, Magic Items, The DMG, and joined up thinking.

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
One of the things I loved initially, when I first read through the 5e PHB was some of the world building in some of the spells. Things like casting Teleportation Circle for a Year and a Day to get a permanent circle, similarly for Mordenkainen's Private Sanctum and other spells. There are some that I feel are underwhelming, like Demiplane.

But I still really love the basic idea, however, in practice, they are impracticable for the PC's. If you are trying to stop the Apocalypse, taking a year out, or retiring your ninth level mage to create a permanent teleport circle, is not a particularly attractive option.

It does not also make sense when one looks at other rules for the DM, like for scroll creation and magic items. For instance:
A scroll of Teleportation Circle (per Xanathar's) is 5k gp and 4 weeks work and a Helm of Teleportation take 10 weeks and 2k gp to make. Contrast that with the year needed for the Teleportation Circle and the cost of more than 18k gp.

What this tell me is:
That the developers never thought about this holistically, and probably do not use these rules in their home games.
That either scrolls are over priced or permanent magic items are under priced.
And that it would be better to make a magic item that casts Teleport Circle once per day on touch, fix it to a pillar and pay a peasant a couple of gold pieces once per day (on completion) to touch the item to get a permanent circle than hanging about oneself and spending 18k on the cost.

So I would like a forth coming DMG to address this. I like world building magic but I think DMs would do with more guidance as to how to incorporate it in to the campaign (what level is it appropriate to allow the players access to a permanent teleportation circle, for instance).

So what do you folks think? Do you like these kind of spells? would you like to see more useful way of making that aspect of them useful to player?

EDIT:
I obviously failed to communicate my point.
I really do not want an argument about travel time or Teleport Circle on its own but:
I have an issue that this element of the spells; they are more expensive that an equivalent magic item, in both time and money.
So I would prefer if they competitive with magic items in time and expense because I think using the spells that way is more flavoursome.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
One of the things I loved initially, when I first read through the 5e PHB was some of the world building in some of the spells. Things like casting Teleportation Circle for a Year and a Day to get a permanent circle, similarly for Mordenkainen's Private Sanctum and other spells. There are some that I feel are underwhelming, like Demiplane.

But I still really love the basic idea, however, in practice, they are impracticable for the PC's. If you are trying to stop the Apocalypse, taking a year out, or retiring your ninth level mage to create a permanent teleport circle, is not a particularly attractive option.

It does not also make sense when one looks at other rules for the DM, like for scroll creation and magic items. For instance:
A scroll of Teleportation Circle (per Xanathar's) is 5k gp and 4 weeks work and a Helm of Teleportation take 10 weeks and 2k gp to make. Contrast that with the year needed for the Teleportation Circle and the cost of more than 18k gp.

What this tell me is:
That the developers never thought about this holistically, and probably do not use these rules in their home games.
That either scrolls are over priced or permanent magic items are under priced.
And that it would be better to make a magic item that casts Teleport Circle once per day on touch, fix it to a pillar and pay a peasant a couple of gold pieces once per day (on completion) to touch the item to get a permanent circle than hanging about oneself and spending 18k on the cost.

So I would like a forth coming DMG to address this. I like world building magic but I think DMs would do with more guidance as to how to incorporate it in to the campaign (what level is it appropriate to allow the players access to a permanent teleportation circle, for instance).

So what do you folks think? Do you like these kind of spells? would you like to see more useful way of making that aspect of them useful to player?
I suspect, sifting thru all spells will also sort out the teleportation spells. The teleportation spells are all over the place, sometimes with a powerful one at a low level and a weak one at a high level. The designers need to sift thru every spell to ensure it is balanced with the other spells at the same slot level. 5e did a great job at removing the broken spells, but there are too many subpar spells compared to the other spells in the same slot level.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I still really love the basic idea, however, in practice, they are impracticable for the PC's.
That may be by design, to stop PCs from just setting up a teleport circle in every town they visit and cutting travel out of the campaign entirely.

That said, though ...

If you are trying to stop the Apocalypse, taking a year out, or retiring your ninth level mage to create a permanent teleport circle, is not a particularly attractive option.
It really depends on the campaign. You're unlikely to have a year to spare during an individual adventure, but some campaigns have downtime. My first campaign had a year between the end of the second arc and the start of the third (around level 13), and I would have been fine if the PCs had said they wanted to establish a teleport circle somewhere during that time.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
That may be by design, to stop PCs from just setting up a teleport circle in every town they visit and cutting travel out of the campaign entirely.
Is that really a problem? And before you say it depends on the campaign, one the common complaint about travel in 5e is; the advice is bad, does not contribute in campaign where resources and inventory are handwaved and subject to "I win" buttons.

That said, though ...


It really depends on the campaign. You're unlikely to have a year to spare during an individual adventure, but some campaigns have downtime. My first campaign had a year between the end of the second arc and the start of the third (around level 13), and I would have been fine if the PCs had said they wanted to establish a teleport circle somewhere during that time.
So what about players following Adventure Paths, where once the path is done they start a new campaign with fresh characters. Why can they not join in the fun?
 

Oofta

Legend
I've had a year or more of downtime in my campaigns. Think of how powerful instantly travelling great distances is. How expensive is a jetliner? If you're building a castle, would it not be worth the gold to have someone cast private sanctum for a year to ensure the throne room is safe?

Depends of course on the level of magic in your campaign. My campaign is fairly high magic and the spells in the book are spells appropriate for PCs. PCs are free to use them (and have) or I use them as inspiration for an "arcane craftsman" who can do similar things but only as rituals.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I've had a year or more of downtime in my campaigns. Think of how powerful instantly travelling great distances is. How expensive is a jetliner? If you're building a castle, would it not be worth the gold to have someone cast private sanctum for a year to ensure the throne room is safe?

Depends of course on the level of magic in your campaign. My campaign is fairly high magic and the spells in the book are spells appropriate for PCs. PCs are free to use them (and have) or I use them as inspiration for an "arcane craftsman" who can do similar things but only as rituals.
So what exactly are you saying here? You do not think these spell should be allowed? or that you are fine with them as is?
Would you allow my hack with the magic item and the peasant?

The Princes of the Apocalypse campaign I ran the PC went straight after the bad guys, The cleared the whole thing in about 8/9 months in game.
 

Oofta

Legend
So what exactly are you saying here? You do not think these spell should be allowed? or that you are fine with them as is?
Would you allow my hack with the magic item and the peasant?

The Princes of the Apocalypse campaign I ran the PC went straight after the bad guys, The cleared the whole thing in about 8/9 months in game.

I'm saying that it has happened in my campaigns that there are long breaks between adventuring so PCs could use the spells. I also have NPCs that could cast the spells. Sometimes spell info is to tell us what is possible, not what will be practical for most groups.

My personal preference is that you do not go from zero to hero in less than a year, but then again I try to avoid truly apocalyptic themes because there's no guarantee the PCs will succeed and I don't want to build a new campaign world from scratch.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Is that really a problem? And before you say it depends on the campaign, one the common complaint about travel in 5e is; the advice is bad, does not contribute in campaign where resources and inventory are handwaved and subject to "I win" buttons.
Let's just say it cuts out some potential story space and limits the DM's options. I know I was a little frustrated when my players took the teleport spell. Anecdote time: we were playing through Rise of Tiamat, and we had gotten to Xonthal's Tower. In this chapter, the PCs search a tower full of dragon cultists for an artefact, and the climax of the adventure is that a blue dragon--a returning antagonist that the PCs should theoretically get some satisfaction from defeating--arrives and lands on the roof. Only, my PCs never even knew the dragon was there, because as soon as they got the item, they cast teleport and left.

And before you say it depends on the campaign, one the common complaint about travel in 5e is; the advice is bad, does not contribute in campaign where resources and inventory are handwaved and subject to "I win" buttons.
Do you think, then, that going straight to "we should never travel" is the best way to fix it?

So what about players following Adventure Paths, where once the path is done they start a new campaign with fresh characters. Why can they not join in the fun?
I don't see creating your own teleport circles as a big issue in most APs because they usually have the need for travel factored in. They'll either give the PCs an opportunity to get a ship or mention that there are already teleport circles in the major locations or something similar. And if a group really feels that it's negatively impacting their fun, nothing stops the DM from giving them a magic item that would bypass the need to spend a year on casting the circle. I feel like a minority of groups would really need that in order to enjoy the adventure, though.

(Also, my first campaign started with the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path, but instead of starting over when we finished, I added another arc afterward to take the PCs up to level 20. That was when we had the year of downtime.)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But I still really love the basic idea, however, in practice, they are impracticable for the PC's.

So what do you folks think? Do you like these kind of spells? would you like to see more useful way of making that aspect of them useful to player?

I'm okay with there being a few spells or spell effects, that are impractical for most players.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I'm saying that it has happened in my campaigns that there are long breaks between adventuring so PCs could use the spells. I also have NPCs that could cast the spells. Sometimes spell info is to tell us what is possible, not what will be practical for most groups.

My personal preference is that you do not go from zero to hero in less than a year, but then again I try to avoid truly apocalyptic themes because there's no guarantee the PCs will succeed and I don't want to build a new campaign world from scratch.
Ok, I have no problem with your campaign, it is your campaign and between you and your players. Also, I really don't care about your campaign. That is not what I am driving here.
What I am driving at is: I really like the flavour and world building included in a spell like Teleportation Circle (There are other spells with similar elements that I love also).

Now the issue: A Helm of Teleportation costs 2k gp and takes 10 weeks to make versus the 1 year and over 18k for the permanent Teleportation Circle by use of repeated casting of the spell "Teleportation Circle".
This make no sense, why would one ever bother making a permanent Teleportation Circle by the prescribed method when instead they could make a Rare magic item (Wonderous) that take 10 weeks and 2k gp? and does the same thing?

Look at the cost of scroll vs magic items (wands)
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Let's just say it cuts out some potential story space and limits the DM's options. I know I was a little frustrated when my players took the teleport spell. Anecdote time: we were playing through Rise of Tiamat, and we had gotten to Xonthal's Tower. In this chapter, the PCs search a tower full of dragon cultists for an artefact, and the climax of the adventure is that a blue dragon--a returning antagonist that the PCs should theoretically get some satisfaction from defeating--arrives and lands on the roof. Only, my PCs never even knew the dragon was there, because as soon as they got the item, they cast teleport and left.


Do you think, then, that going straight to "we should never travel" is the best way to fix it?


I don't see creating your own teleport circles as a big issue in most APs because they usually have the need for travel factored in. They'll either give the PCs an opportunity to get a ship or mention that there are already teleport circles in the major locations or something similar. And if a group really feels that it's negatively impacting their fun, nothing stops the DM from giving them a magic item that would bypass the need to spend a year on casting the circle. I feel like a minority of groups would really need that in order to enjoy the adventure, though.

(Also, my first campaign started with the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path, but instead of starting over when we finished, I added another arc afterward to take the PCs up to level 20. That was when we had the year of downtime.)
Arguing about the travel time or rules is kind of missing the point. Which evidently I was not sufficiently clear about in the OP.
But it is more cost and time effective in the Rules (per Xanathar's for crafting) to create an item that replicated the effect than to use the spells as given.
That and comparing the costs of making those spell permanent and the costs of items and scroll make very little sense either, other than gatekeeping. The DM can do gatekeeping.
 
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Oofta

Legend
Ok, I have no problem with your campaign, it is your campaign and between you and your players. Also, I really don't care about your campaign. That is not what I am driving here.
What I am driving at is: I really like the flavour and world building included in a spell like Teleportation Circle (There are other spells with similar elements that I love also).

Now the issue: A Helm of Teleportation costs 2k gp and takes 10 weeks to make versus the 1 year and over 18k for the permanent Teleportation Circle by use of repeated casting of the spell "Teleportation Circle".
This make no sense, why would one ever bother making a permanent Teleportation Circle by the prescribed method when instead they could make a Rare magic item (Wonderous) that take 10 weeks and 2k gp? and does the same thing?

Look at the cost of scroll vs magic items (wands)
Consider this from a world building point of view. Let's say you have a relatively high magic world. There could be a group that sponsors teleportation circles and then offers to teleport people and goods for a fee. It's a 10 foot diameter circle that you just have to enter. Line people up, have them march straight through. At 30 foot movement 2 people at a time and you could have 60 people get sent anywhere in the world. Have them run and double it. Alternatively send carts loaded with people and/or goods through, just coordinate with the other end and build the circles with the proper elevation change. If sending high value items and passengers willing to pay the fee and it could be a lucrative business.

The maximum capacity for teleportation circle is far, far higher than the teleportation spell that you can cast maybe 3 times per day.

P.S. We did the calculations for teleportation circle when we had to evacuate a village in a previous campaign. We knew a safe location, the caster did teleportation circle a few times on our side and all the NPCs escaped.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
But it is more cost and time effective in the Rules (per Xanathar's for crafting) to create an item that replicated the effect than to use the spells as given.
That and comparing the costs of making those spell permanent and the costs of items and scroll make very little sense either, other than gatekeeping. The DM can do gatekeeping.
A helm of teleportation does not replicate the effect of placing a permanent teleport circle in a location, for two big reasons:

1. The helm of teleportation has a chance of failure unless your destination is a permanent circle or an item that you can see.
2. Anyone who knows the sigil sequence can use a permanent circle, while the teleport spell (as cast by the helm) is only for the caster and companions.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Consider this from a world building point of view. Let's say you have a relatively high magic world. There could be a group that sponsors teleportation circles and then offers to teleport people and goods for a fee. It's a 10 foot diameter circle that you just have to enter. Line people up, have them march straight through. At 30 foot movement 2 people at a time and you could have 60 people get sent anywhere in the world. Have them run and double it. Alternatively send carts loaded with people and/or goods through, just coordinate with the other end and build the circles with the proper elevation change. If sending high value items and passengers willing to pay the fee and it could be a lucrative business.

The maximum capacity for teleportation circle is far, far higher than the teleportation spell that you can cast maybe 3 times per day.

P.S. We did the calculations for teleportation circle when we had to evacuate a village in a previous campaign. We knew a safe location, the caster did teleportation circle a few times on our side and all the NPCs escaped.
First off you are not addressing my general point, which is, that these spells (not just Teleport Circle) are undercut in game by the Magic Item creation rules.

However, If there exists a group of people who are mages of 9th level and over that can devote a 5th level slot to facilitate commerce then I suspect the fee is very high. Fed Ex they are not.
A ninth level caster has one fifth level slot. A tenth as 2, and eighteenth as 3, plus some more higher level slots.
That said the existence of such a group is on the DM.
The DM can allow it or not as they wish. they can ban teleport spells or simply not supply the players with circle addresses. Them it is a retreat only thing. The party still has to walk to the adventure.

My issue is that the spell is there in the game. I like the flavour but from the player perspective it is more productive to make a magic item to replicate the effect than to use the spell and that is the bit you are not addressing.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
A helm of teleportation does not replicate the effect of placing a permanent teleport circle in a location, for two big reasons:

1. The helm of teleportation has a chance of failure unless your destination is a permanent circle or an item that you can see.
2. Anyone who knows the sigil sequence can use a permanent circle, while the teleport spell (as cast by the helm) is only for the caster and companions.
I am using the cost of the Helm of Teleportation as a guide to the cost of a magic item that replicates the permanent teleport circle, assume for the moment that the DM allows it.
 

I do like these spells or rituals. I think that having something that explicitly takes a significant investment in time, talent, and wealth adds to the realism of the campaign. Great works take great effort.

That said, for teleport circle I don't require the magician cast the spell daily, but rather monthly. Starting and hour before and ending an hour after twilight, the magician performs the ritual in full view of Sola and Monas, the Sun and Moon at Full, at a liminal time in order to facilitate a liminal method of travel. After a year, all of the variations of the ley lines' flow are accounted for and the circle is activated. Having it cast daily gives me a modern, workman-like feel that sucks all of the mystery out of it. Having the ritual periodically timed also allows the adventurers to go out for short excursions.

Importantly, things like this are a bag of plot hooks. Who will come to disrupt the ritual? Is there a foe of the party that is doing their own, and how would you disrupt theirs?

...[the point being] these spells (not just Teleport Circle) are undercut in game by the Magic Item creation rules.
...
My issue is that the spell is there in the game. I like the flavour but from the player perspective it is more productive to make a magic item to replicate the effect than to use the spell and that is the bit you are not addressing.

Well, for the scroll it looks like there was some backpedalling. For me, you would need 12 scrolls and it would still take a year. For the helm, that cost is astoundingly cheap for the level of teleport. Regardless of the correctness of the calculation, one made in my campaign would be much more expensive. Is 2000 gp still the price of a common item?
 
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Oofta

Legend
First off you are not addressing my general point, which is, that these spells (not just Teleport Circle) are undercut in game by the Magic Item creation rules.

However, If there exists a group of people who are mages of 9th level and over that can devote a 5th level slot to facilitate commerce then I suspect the fee is very high. Fed Ex they are not.
A ninth level caster has one fifth level slot. A tenth as 2, and eighteenth as 3, plus some more higher level slots.
That said the existence of such a group is on the DM.
The DM can allow it or not as they wish. they can ban teleport spells or simply not supply the players with circle addresses. Them it is a retreat only thing. The party still has to walk to the adventure.

My issue is that the spell is there in the game. I like the flavour but from the player perspective it is more productive to make a magic item to replicate the effect than to use the spell and that is the bit you are not addressing.

You can certainly change it if you want. I think it's fine as is. I've had PCs use it, some aspects of the game won't fit every campaign. As far as use by NPCs, I simply disagree. It's a high up front cost but then it's there effectively forever. Every campaign world is going to handle NPC casters differently of course, but it's not like the NPC casting teleportation does nothing else all day, it could just be one of many services they provide.

It also assumes that NPC casters have exactly the same limitations as PC casters, something I do not. That gets into house rules of course, but even without that if you're in, say, the Forgotten Realms where you can't walk around the corner without bumping into a fairly high level wizard I don't see what the issue is.
 

I'm okay with there being a few spells or spell effects, that are impractical for most players.
Yeah, those effects are for NPCs and PCs who have sufficient downtime in their campaigns. Just like every other long term downtime project. All that stuff has to come from somewhere, after all, and it really should take some time to accomplish great feats like this. It really does all depend on the table.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Now the issue: A Helm of Teleportation costs 2k gp and takes 10 weeks to make versus the 1 year and over 18k for the permanent Teleportation Circle by use of repeated casting of the spell "Teleportation Circle".
This make no sense, why would one ever bother making a permanent Teleportation Circle by the prescribed method when instead they could make a Rare magic item (Wonderous) that take 10 weeks and 2k gp? and does the same thing?
I might think that a helm of teleportation should probably be very rare rather than just rare since it can do up to three 7th level spells a day. But I'd also argue that it doesn't do quite the same thing as teleport circle. In some ways, the teleport is better - it's faster and doesn't need a teleportation circle as the target. But if you aren't optimizing your target location's familiarity, it's off target pretty frequently.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
That may be by design, to stop PCs from just setting up a teleport circle in every town they visit and cutting travel out of the campaign entirely.
It'd be way better if they did something to make travel and exploration fun instead of just a logistics puzzle and resource sink. But I guess just forcing you to engage in it is fine too.
 

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