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If a wizard casts the spell Dimension Door as part of the casting of the spell Contingency, when is the moment of the choice of the place to reach? The choice is part of the casting or of the effect? If it was part of the casting the wizard could still state the relative position.

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You must pick targets at the time of casting

However, you're not out of luck. From Dimension Door,

You arrive at exactly the spot desired. It can be a place you can see, one you can visualize, or one you can describe by stating distance and direction, such as 200 feet straight downward or upward to the northwest at a 45-degree angle, 300 feet.

Unless you plan on being within 500 feet of your chosen destination when Contingency activates, you should use the alternative option and specify a direction and distance.

This can lead to some humorous situations where your intention was to teleport 500 ft. up when you get injured in a Dungeon, but you've just returned to town and bumped into a drunkard who gave you a sucker punch, causing you to be teleported 500 ft. above town. Be careful what you pick for your contingency trigger and effect because it will be activated...

The contingent spell takes effect immediately after the circumstance is met for the first time, whether or not you want it to, and then contingency ends.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any rules you can cite that support this answer? It's not obvious (to me) that the choice of destination for dimension door is made when it is "cast" as opposed to when it "comes into effect". \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    May 28, 2018 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq See here I'll update the answer later. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    May 28, 2018 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Downvoted this answer because it doesn't provide anything to back up the primary claim of "you must pick your targets at the time of casting". The question linked in your comment here also doesn't support this claim either because the top answer(s) says readied spells pick a target when the readied action goes off, not when the spell is prepared. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 30, 2023 at 11:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ The spell teleports you to "a spot within range". The range of the spell is 500 feet. "Stating distance and direction" does not free you from the limit of range of the spell. -1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Oct 30, 2023 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MicahZoltu See: here, which was already referenced in an above comment that has been read by others and +1'd. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Nov 10, 2023 at 22:14
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Yes, if...

  • Contingency is treated similarly to a readied action
  • Dimension Door is considered to be targeting "you" rather than your destination.

According to Sage Advice https://media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf, readied spell targeting is resolved when the spell is released not when it is prepared. Contingency is not specifically a readied action, but readied actions are the closest game rule to contingency that has anything written in the rules about how targeting works.

For readying a spell or other action, does the target have to be in range?

Your target must be within range when you take a readied action, not when you first ready it.

This alone isn't enough to make Dimension Door work though, as Contingency also only works for spells that can "target you". Dimension Door's "target" could be interpreted as the player and a willing creature, or it could be interpreted as the destination

Choose a spell of 5th level or lower that you can cast, that has a casting time of 1 action, and that can target you.

You teleport yourself from your current location to any other spot within range. [...] You can also bring one willing creature [...]

You teleport yourself from your current location to any other spot within range.


One could rule yes here and allow the player to have a contingency like, "cast dimension door if I become restrained" and upon the trigger occurring the player would state where (within range of the spell) they would like to go.

If one rules that the destination is the target of the spell, then be aware that there are other spells like Vortex Warp that very clearly have a "target" that is not the destination, and thus those would still be allowed.

If one rules that contingency doesn't behave like a readied action, then you will have to lean on DM fiat to make a call as to how it behaves because I don't believe there is any additional clarity elsewhere in the rules.


RAI

Unlike a readied action, the the Contingency spell triggers without any agency or effort exerted by the caster at the time it goes off, and it can even trigger upon your death or without you wanting it to. This implies to me that the caster cannot make any decisions about the spell at the time it is triggered, which would include the destination.

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