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There is some disagreement regarding the status of a shimmering portal for a permanent teleportation circle.

My understanding is that the permanent circle has a permanently open shimmering portal.

The contesting opinion is that circle still requires a wizard to use a spell slot to open a portal in the circle.

To me their interpretation defeats the purpose of a permanent circle.

If a random squirrel discovered a permanent teleportation circle, would they see an open portal that they could enter?

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A permanent Teleportation Circle is not always open

The purpose of a permanent teleportation circle is to function as an anchor and exit for the circle created during the typical casting of Teleportation Circle. This is why you automatically learn of two permanent circles when you learn the spell; otherwise the spell would be useless.

As the spell is one direction and requires a casting, there is little reason to use a permanent teleportation circle as an entrance for the spell (other than possibly saving on the cost of the chalks). The spell also does not describe the exit circle shimmering or even opening a portal.

The DMG description of Teleportation Circle include the text:

The presence of permanent teleportation circles in major cities helps cement their important place in the economy of a fantasy world. Spells such as plane shift, teleport, and teleportation circle connect with these circles...

Essentially, there is no mechanism for deciding which circle you would be teleported to without the casting of this spell (or a similar one such as plane shift).

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    \$\begingroup\$ And the squirrels appreciate that. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 8 at 22:53

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