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The components of the 6th level spell find the path are the following:

V, S, M (a set of divinatory tools - such as bones, ivory sticks, cards, teeth, or carved runes - worth 100 gp and an object from the location you wish to find)

It seems to me that only the divinatory tools are worth 100 gp, and if so, since the object from the location the caster wishes to find is not consumed during the casting, then it can be substituted with a component pouch.

Is this an accurate reading? Or is the 2nd material component still a requirement?

The main point of confusion here is that the component pouch couldn't possibly contain an object from any conceivable location I wish to find, including another plane of existence. This is because of the description of the component pouch in PHB 151.

Component Pouch. A component pouch is a small, watertight leather belt pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell's description).

Another red flag was that in the 91st episode of Critical Role, one of the players seemed to be under the impression that they needed a piece of an underground prison in Dis to actually find the prison via this spell. While the confusion happened among the players and not the DM, their (possible) misconception has confused me a bit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this a question about rules literalism, or what is practical/sensible? I can imagine the sorts of answers this is going to gather being very different for each of those, so if it was meant to ask about one and not the other it might need to be disambiguated before the “wrong” kind of answers start arriving. (On the other hand, if the question itself is actually agnostic about which way to approach the problem, then I think the question works fine as-is.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 17 '17 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie It's agnostic to the approach. Thanks for the clarifying comment. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jul 17 '17 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain I'm trying to shy away from reference-less answers, since literally all of mine tend to do that. I can't lay hands on a specific thing from the rules to back up one or the other. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Wells Jul 17 '17 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AdamWells Reference-less answers aren't improved by being submitted as comments. Submitting it as an comment actually makes the situation worse because now the poor-quality answer is pinned above all other answers. (For that reason and a number of other reasons, we don't support any kind of answer in comments.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 17 '17 at 16:05
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RAW - Component Pouch Works

The RAW is clear in that unless an item has a special cost or is consumed, a pouch or focus will provide

From PHB, 203:

A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in chapter 5) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell.

There is no cost or consumption of the "object from the location you wish to find", so it is included what the Component Pouch or Focus provides.

However...

RAI - Unlikely

The possible intent of the spell is to have something that the Magic can use to find its location. If you don't have to actually have that piece, then the requirement for it seems very odd. Either the path can be found without any 'reference' - or it requires the physical reference.

A reasonable ruling would be that you have to have something from the destination in order for the spell to work.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As mentioned on comment on other answer, taking an open reading of "cost" then "object from the location you wish to find" has a cost of being difficult to obtain, and the text "from the location you wish to find" appears in the spell description in exact same place as "worth at least xxx gp" \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Jul 17 '17 at 19:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NeilSlater I see where you're going with that, but the philosophical implications of cost are a bridge too far for me :) I think my answer sums up the situation well. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 17 '17 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes I searched the rules just now for open-ended use of the word "cost", and there are other costs than gold - movement, sorcery points, legendary actions etc. But they are all numerical, points based. So this sort of constraint on spell components being a literal "cost" is not supported by anything else in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Jul 17 '17 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeilSlater Is there another spell that has a non-literal "cost"? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 17 '17 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO, you can keep objects from several destinations in your component pouch if you want (in its many pockets), but you do have to obtain them somehow. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Jul 17 '17 at 20:37
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Yes you can.

The RAW show you are correct. The rules literally say, not even imply, that a component pouch can substitute for an object from the location as it does not have a stated value.

That's the end of the RAW answer. Now for some arguments that you should actually require an item from the location, even though it is "homebrew".

  1. Arguably the value of a piece of a specific destination is high just because of its context. In our world if you just needed a brick you could go to the right shop and buy one for very little money. However if the brick you needed was from Buckingham Palace it is going to be very expensive just because of where it comes from. Even if the brick you needed was from some old tumble down slum, how are you going to get it? Either you already know the way or you are going to have to buy it off someone, and if they know you need it, it is going to cost you. The DM may decree that an object for casting the specific find the path spell is too valuable to substitute a focus or component pouch.
  2. More importantly it is much more "flavoursome" to require an actual item from the location. It can make things more interesting, add to the story and potentially gives the players a significant but interesting hurdle to overcome. If, due to the context of the situation, it is undesirable, for instance it slows things down where you need some pace, then the DM can make it very easy, or better (as it is probably less contrived) make it a storytelling element and just say "after a few hours you find a brick said to be taken from the wall of a soul merchant in Dis", for instance. The RAW answer doesn't allow for the reverse as you would have to artificially restrict the spell.

So while the RAW answer is yes you can, you have lead me to the decision that in the game I run we shall homebrew, maybe following the RAI though there is no evidence to suggest this anywhere I can find except for the context of the spell, and will run it so that actually no you can't use a component pouch, you need a real object.

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The Component Pouch doesn't have all the items

It has only common material components, nothing more. Let's take another example - the Reincarnate spell.

In order to cast it, you

touch a dead humanoid or a piece of a dead humanoid

The spell description clearly states you need at least a piece of a dead humanoid to cast the spell. The Component Pouch, in its turn

has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells

However, it is obvious that a Component Pouch you have bought in a magic store does not contain your friends' fingers in it. So, despite its description, the Component Pouch does not have all the required items.

Neither it has a specific object from the place you want to find

The Component Pouch "holds all the material components", but it doesn't work as a material component itself. It is not a magic item. It is just a bag with common material components inside its compartments.

In order to cast Find the Path, you need an object from a particular place:

an object from the location you wish to find

When you buy a Component Pouch in a magic store, it does not contain any object from that location. You might not even know "that location" at this moment. And since the Component Pouch isn't magical, it doesn't automatically refill - its contents will remain the same.

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