Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted took a deep dive into what I’ve long considered the No. 1 absolute best super power ever, teleportation. Flight, regeneration, invisibility, reading minds — they all pale in comparison and don’t even come close to the ability to instantly transport from one place to another. And with all the different ways a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons character can teleport, creating a character who bamfs around as casually as walking is within our grasp!
5E D&D teleportation master… now what?
I’ve thought about the idea of a teleporting character in 5E D&D quite a lot. If I’m honest I’m feeling a little like the Joker chasing a car now — now that we caught up with the idea, I don’t know what to do with it. We’ve discussed the idea and thought about all the different methods of teleportation available through character options and choices, and in the video Dave and Ted point out with the right combination of race and class a single character can teleport 28 times before running out of resources. But the number is orders of magnitude higher considering Way of Shadow monks’ Shadow Step feature. If you want to get technical about it, under the right circumstances this translates into 14,400 bonus action teleports, or over 163 miles.
What sort of person focuses so intently on such a singular fixation? With all this teleport action going on, what does this character do? This character becomes so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if what they would do with the power. Let’s take a closer look at an eladrin Conjuration wizard/Way of Shadow monk for 5E D&D. We’ll imagine what the character might be like, and what their teleporting brings to the table when it comes to the pillars of play — combat, exploration and interaction.
It’s important to keep in mind Benign Transposition recharges whenever you cast a conjuration spell of 1st level or higher. All of the various teleport spells are conjuration spells, so you’ll be able teleport or swap places with a willing creature on the regular. Benign Transposition itself is not a spell either, so antimagic effects, counterspells and other effects that negate spells or spellcasting do not apply to this feature.
Traveler of hidden paths
“Fey crossings are places of mystery and beauty on the Material Plane that have a near-perfect mirror in the Feywild, creating a portal where the two planes touch.”
Eladrin in 5E D&D call the Feywild home, a spectacular version of the Material Plane with boundless magic. Eladrin characters have the Fey Step feature, allowing them to teleport 30 feet once per short or long rest. Even better, at 3rd level their Fey Step carries an additional effect depending on their current season.
Teleporting is woven into the fabric of this character’s whole being, and as a roleplaying tool I imagine Fey Step as a mystical vision. The eladrin can see magical fey pathways, stepping onto them briefly and seeming to onlookers like they simply vanish in one place and appear in another. A spring season eladrin can point these pathways out to another and grant their Fey Step effect to them. This budding teleport enthusiast might have a very ethereal view of their surroundings, perhaps even catching glimpses of the Feywild parallel to the Material Plane.
A Game Master and player can discuss if this is okay for their game of course, but giving a player agency to embellish on the story by describing the functionally invisible fey world all around from time to time. An eladrin character like this could always be in a cheery mood, always seeing the beauty in everything. They delight in sharing their Fey Step with friends and showing them a glimpse of the magical world just outside the mundane world surrounding them.
Another way of looking at the same scenario is an eladrin frustrated by the circumstance of residing on the Material Plane. Their native Feywild home is so much better than the boring old regular plane of existence! For whatever reason, this eladrin is stuck in the real world and find themselves Fey Stepping from unoccupied space they can see to unoccupied space they can see, hoping each time that their next Fey Step will be the Fey Step home. Meanwhile, they’re bitter and take out their frustrations on whatever nearby creature happens to be there when they land. A winter eladrin causes the creature to become frightened and a summer eladrin deals fire damage. Deal with it.
Teleport in combat
More analytical people than I could break it all down into certain terms and exact options and procedures. Suffice to say, a teleportation specialist offers a lot when it comes to 5E D&D combat. Here’s the class features and spell options available to a 6th level Way of Shadow monk and 12th level wizard.
- Misty step — bonus action teleport doesn’t provoke attack of opportunity
- Thunder step — 1 action teleport that deals damage, can teleport with a friend
- Dimension door — 1 action teleport for two for positioning or escape
- Far step — bonus action teleport every turn for 1 minute for hit and run tactics
- Steel wind strike — 1 action area of effect teleportation attack
- Scatter — 1 action willing or unwilling group teleport for positioning, escape or crowd control
- Teleport — 1 action gtfo for 8 to any destination on the same place of existence
- Shadow Step — bonus action teleport with advantage on next melee attack is not a spell
- Fey Step — bonus action teleport is not a spell
Teleport in exploration
Many of the spells overlap of course. There’s only so many teleport spells in 5E D&D and the eladrin monk wizard’s spellbook contains pretty much all of them. Climbing, swimming, Stealth, and other methods of exploring like Perception, Investigation and even basic movement across terrain are all impacted by teleporting. Most of the teleport spells have the same benefits as misty step with additional observations included for particular spells.
- Misty Step — Cross dangerous terrain without touching the ground, reach higher areas, the list goes on and on. As far as I can tell there’s no official word on whether momentum is retained so there room to say misty step could save you from falling damage. D&D rules head honcho Jeremy Crawford answered a sage advice question saying misty step spell expends none of the caster’s speed. If you’re falling that’s forced movement, so you’re not expending your speed anyway. I’d ask the player to make some sort of check like Arcana to cast the spell at just the right time, and otherwise when they appeared in the space I’d say they still have their movement and action for the turn.
- Thunder step — Teleport with a larger or heavier object, or another creature.
- Dimension Door — Teleport with a larger or heavier object, or another creature. You also don’t necessarily need to see the destination spot.
- Far Step — need to climb 600 feet? Hang tight!
- Teleportation Circle — Back in the day I played Final Fantasy XI and one of the first things players did was find a high level guide to take them all around the world and attune to each teleportation location. Exploration expands on a global scale at this point. DMs take heed when the party can instantly travel anywhere in the world on a whim.
- Arcane Gate — If there’s 500 feet of exploration to overcome to reach a distant spot, with 10 minutes you can turn the treacherous terrain into a single step through a portal.
- Drawmij’s Instant Summons — When you need an important object at a specific location, and getting there would put the object in peril, here’s your solution.
- Scatter — Escaping traps, avoiding environmental hazards for up to five creatures.
- Plane Shift — I mean…does it get any more exploration-y than this?
- Teleport — The world is yours and 8 willing creatures of your choice’s to explore
- Shadow Step — Without using any movement or actions you can travel more than 163 miles in a single day.
- Fey Step — Better than zero chance your DM incorporates fey stuff in your campaign.
Teleport in interaction
Vanishing from one spot and appearing in another doesn’t seem like it has too much application for social interaction.
For the interaction pillar of play, your teleport specialist might use their abilities to impress another creature. Any of Deception, Intimidation and Persuasion might be enhanced with a little teleport flair. I’d award inspiration or grant advantage on a check with a clever and descriptive use of theatrical teleportation. Reaching otherwise inaccessible areas to engage with NPCs and other entities gets a lot easier with teleportation too. Anything from dimension door-ing into a noble’s private study of a guarded manor to plane shift-ing to an efreeti noble’s private study in the City of Brass, if there’s a meeting to make it to that’s your jam.
What about you? What would you do with all this teleport ability in 5E D&D? Frankly I was surprised to discover quite a bit of additional utility along with the amazing ability to teleport. The eladrin season effects for Fey Step are very intriguing, and with monk levels our teleport wizard has a few other combat tricks up their sleeve. Plus, you know, all the other spells a wizard can add to their spellbook. But really, when you can handle any situation with a teleport, what more do you need?