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The party has just rescued 100 slaves. How many of them can conceivably enter a teleportation circle before the spell ends? It seems absurd to think all 100 can make it.

The teleportation circle spell description states that:

A shimmering portal opens within the circle you drew and remains open until the end of your next turn. Any creature that enters the portal instantly appears within 5 feet of the destination circle or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied.

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They could all make it if they hurry.

Let's assume Medium creatures with a speed of 30, such as humans or elves.

The circle lasts one round, so anyone within 60 feet of it (assuming they can Dash) would make it through. A 60-foot radius circle holds 452 5-foot squares (and in reality they can pack together closer than that).

If they don't Dash (because getting 100 people all to sprint at the circle without colliding is really hard) you get a 30-foot-radius circle which holds 113 5-foot squares.

There is going to be some chaos at the destination, because the crowd will get their relative positions and directions of motion rearranged to prevent them from intersecting. Worst case, it places them 5 feet apart and running toward each other, which gives them (assuming a Dash speed of 60) 1/4 second to react before they collide head-on. One solution is for everyone to do diving rolls into the circle to stop their motion, but that only works if you're rescuing a hundred Cirque du Soleil acrobats or something and I'm guessing those guys would have escaped already.

On the other hand, you don't need open space around the destination circle; Teleportation Circle will spread them out as much as needed, even outside the room containing the circle.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Character size and circle size are factors, too - the circle is 10 feet across, so creatures above Large size have to squeeze through it, and the usable area for medium creatures is a bit wider that circular. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Aug 1 '18 at 15:49
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All of them can make it if they squeeze together.

As you cast the spell, you draw a 10-foot-diameter circle on the ground

Assuming the circle is a square...

The spell opens in a *10 foot diameter cube. That's 100 square feet. Some preparation and planning is needed with the slaves. You will need to predefine where the square will be and pack all the slaves together in that square like sardines in a can. Then cast the Teleportation Circle on the location where all the slaves are packed together to send them all through. Then you just hop in after them! Congratulation, you just saved the slaves! (As long as the location you're traveling to doesn't insta-kill them)

According to this post on Quora, ~9 people fit into a 1m x 1m square. That's approximately the same as 3ft x 3ft square which translates to 1 person per square foot.

If the circle is a circle...

It's still a simple problem to solve. As pointed out by Mark Wells, an actual circle with a diameter of 10ft would roughly contain 78 square feet. Therefore only 78 slaves could crowd inside the circle as it is cast. That leaves 22 slaves outside of the circle.

The circumference of a circle with a diameter of 10 ft is a little more than 30 feet, so it is not unreasonable to assume that each slave could be standing on the outer edge of the circle. After the initial slaves who are already in the circle get teleported, the others can just hop in with little to no crowding. There would be time to spare for the caster to hop in after them as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The actual area of the circle is about 78 square feet, which is going to be a very tight fit for 100 people. You're right that the problem of getting everyone through is easier if you can group many of them together on the spot where you'll cast the circle, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Aug 1 '18 at 6:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the critique. Updated answer to reflect logistics of real circles. \$\endgroup\$ – John Carroll Aug 1 '18 at 6:57

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