Flipping through sourcebooks, there is a multitude of spells that draw the eye and scream “must have!”. Very few of them are as dramatic as the utilitarian Teleport spell. While many spells can be easily classed as offensive or defensive, Teleport is pure utility. And boy, when utility is the game, Teleport is the name!
Now, that’s not to say that it’s an easy spell to apply; there are many situations where a 7th level spell slot might be used differently. You don’t want to be blowing your all-important spell slots to blink a few steps or save time climbing a cliff; but when an astute spellcaster is playing the battlefield like a chess match, Teleport can easily be the key to victory.
What is Teleport Spell?
Teleport is a 7th level spell that can be learned by Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards that allows the caster to teleport themselves and objects or targets to a specific location a non-specific distance away. Let’s take a look at the official description from the Player’s Handbook to start off:
This spell instantly transports you and up to eight willing creatures of your choice that you can see within range, or a single object that you can see within range, to a destination you select. If you target an object, it must be able to fit entirely inside a 10-foot cube, and it can’t be held or carried by an unwilling creature.
The destination you choose must be known to you, and it must be on the same plane of existence as you. Your familiarity with the destination determines whether you arrive there successfully. The GM rolls d100 and consults the table.
Teleport 5e Stats
|Casting Time||1 Action|
|Classes||Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard|
It is best to consider this point by point. First, Teleport is a 7th level spell. You won’t be casting this one early on in your campaign. This has its benefits: a seasoned player can carefully build a character to take certain advantage of the spell over time, rather than hurdling into it headlong at the beginning.
Its Arcane Tradition is conjuration, a class of spells that conjure, or create, something from magical energies. This may be an important detail in situations where powerful enemy casters are sensitive and more perceptive of the use of certain types of magic.
While it takes an action to cast, it is instantaneous in its effect. That means, in combat, a caster (without certain feats) could only move and cast this spell (or other bonus/free actions) but they would not be able to cast another action spell or use an attack.
Teleport 5e Spell Range
Now, a contentious aspect of Teleport is its range, which may be deceptive to beginner players. Its given range is 10ft, but this refers to the diameter of the area in which you are casting the spell.
Referring back to the description in the Player’s Handbook, the caster can choose up to 8 willing creatures in a 10ft area surrounding the caster. The origin point of the cast is always the caster, as it is essentially a self-targeting spell, but you can think of the 10ft area around the caster as an optional splash zone.
As for components, the difference between RAW (rules as written) and Homebrew doesn’t affect this spell as much. Teleport only has a Verbal (v) component to its cast, so in most situations, the limitations in a RAW campaign and a Homebrew campaign are likely to be the same.
The caster must be able to clearly speak the words, casting Teleport may also draw attention due to the noise of the spoken incantation, and the spell can be quashed by effects such as area of effect silences or magic disruption zones.
How Does Teleport Work?
The most important aspect of a spell like Teleport is, of course, where you can Teleport. It’s written pretty clearly that the caster must “be familiar with” the location they are choosing to Teleport to.
Now, this aspect, “familiarity” can get a bit dicey; luckily, the Player’s Handbook spells it out for us with a handy table:
|Familiarity||Mishap||Similar Area||Off Target||On Target|
|Permanent Circle||–||–||–||1 – 100|
|Associated Object||–||–||–||1 – 100|
|Very familiar||1 – 5||6 – 13||14 – 24||25 – 100|
|Seen casually||1 – 33||34 – 43||44 – 53||54 – 100|
|Viewed once||1 – 43||44 – 53||54 – 73||74 – 100|
|Description||1 – 43||44 – 53||54 – 73||74 – 100|
|False Destination||1 – 50||51 – 100||–||–|
Looking at the table, there are a number of considerations to be made. First and foremost is the most reliable: a teleportation circle. These circles can be found all over the world in places of magic instruction or research or created by an astute and well-prepared caster who took the 5th level Teleportation Circle spell (by casting it in the same spot, every day, for a full year – yikes!)
Most casters tend to opt to focus on permanent circles created by others, rather than investing the time and effort to inscribe their own. The caster always succeeds if they are attempting to teleport there.
The same can be said of an associated object, which means that the caster retains an object closely related to the location they have in mind, but has only been removed from the location within the previous six months such as:
- A candlestick from the Duke’s dining room
- A claw from a hunters’ lodge’s mounted warg
- A tile from the private baths of a back-alley brothel
The next few location categories are less well-defined but fairly clear in any regard:
Places the caster is very familiar with describe an area the caster is long-associated with or has spent a significant amount of time in. The caster’s stomping grounds or home are good examples of locations they would be “very familiar with.”
Places seen casually might be other places in their town outside of their usual haunts. They have passed by these places and recognize them, yet don’t know them like the backs of their hands.
Viewed once is harder to pin down, as there is a wide gap between “seen casually” and “viewed once”. It will really come down to DM ruling to split how familiar a caster might be with a place in question. However, for “viewed once”, the general idea is a place the caster has passed by and can still remember features of. They don’t know all the details, but they have a fairly solid image in their head.
A caster may have been given a detailed description of a place or read about some far-off land in a scholarly tome. While the Teleport spell allows them to go to that place instantly, due to the lack of actual familiarity the caster has with the place, the roll distribution is not incredibly favorable. Be careful.
There’s always the chance that the caster is given a completely and maliciously wrong description of their intended Teleporting location. In such a case, the caster’s only possibilities are Teleporting to a place similar to the description (as no such place actually exists) or certain misfortune.
In any case, a caster is not entitled to know automatically if the Mishap is due to false information or a faulty roll – plenty of space for a creative DM to sow some tension in a campaign.
Teleport 5e Spell Scenarios
It’s important when weighing the decision to Teleport to know not just the types of places a caster could end up in, but also the likelihood of misfortune. The degrees of success for a Teleport roll, in order from the best-to-worst-case scenario, are: On Target, Off Target, Similar Area, and Mishap.
On Target means simply Teleporting to where the caster intended. The caster goes where they wanted and all is well and good. Congratulations!
Off Target means close-ish, but not very close. The distance the caster is away from their target is determined by 1d10 x 1d10 as a percentage of the distance the caster is meant to travel. For example, if the caster intended to travel to the forest at the edge of the continent 200 miles away, the DM rolled off target, and rolled a 6 and a 4 on the d10s, the destination would be off by a matter of 24% – 48 miles!
The DM would then determine the direction in which the caster was off by rolling a d8 – 1 being north, 2 as northeast, and so on clockwise. In such a case, the caster could wind up 48 miles into a rogue wilderness instead of the forest they intended!
Similar Area begins to get a little esoteric. Instead of being off target by a number of miles, the caster teleports to an area of a similar theme. Instead of the forest at the edge of the continent by the East Sea, well, the caster ends up in the haunted forest at the edge of the continent by the West Sea, completely across the map from where they intended.
Whether the caster ends up on the same side of the continent or on the other side of the globe is entirely up to the mercy of fate. For players whose campaigns are run by capricious DMs, be careful of using Teleport without weighing the pros and cons.
Mishap is… unfortunate. Each target of the spell takes 3d10 force damage and then the d100 is rolled again to determine the location of the Teleport. This means that a truly unfortunate caster could take 3d10 damage and still not wind up at the intended location! Caster beware!
Is Teleport a Good Spell for Combat?
Combat-wise, Teleport can be amazing or lackluster – it’s all down to the rolls!
Using the 10-by-10 dimension given in Teleport’s description, the caster could attempt to Teleport a large smelter over the enemies and deal some wicked bludgeoning/burning damage. Now, if the caster is part of a RAW campaign, they would have to pay attention to the danger they’re putting themselves in: Teleport always teleports the caster as well as targets. Get your acrobatics dice warmed up!
As a caster in combat would most likely be roughly familiar with the location because they could physically see it, it might be best to collect some relic of the location to insure that the cast table aligns with an Associated Object, as the Teleport would be guaranteed, rather than simply being Very Familiar or Seeing the space Casually.
Leaving it up to chance in such a way opens the caster up to being Off Target, Similar Area, or taking a large amount of damage due to a Mishap.
It is best to check with the DM before planning too many movie-tier strategies with Teleport. As it could be an incredibly powerful, campaign-breaking spell with the right considerations, DMs might have custom rules for dealing with the fallout of such a powerful spell.
All things considered, Teleport is a must-have for any would-be caster’s repertoire. A caster without such a versatile and flavorful spell would certainly be missing out!