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When it comes to the Teleport spell, familiarity is important:

Familiarity:

  1. “Very familiar” is a place where you have been very often and where you feel at home.
  2. “Studied carefully” is a place you know well, either because you can currently physically see it or you’ve been there often.
  3. “Seen casually” is a place that you have seen more than once but with which you are not very familiar.
  4. “Viewed once” is a place that you have seen once, possibly using magic such as scrying.

I've got some downtime to prepare. I can buy some things, or craft items, but custom items are sadly unavailable.

What I want to do is prepare some way to increase familiarity with my current position. A teleport beacon, so to speak. I know about one potential solution, which is the Dungeon Ring. However, this only works to people, and not to locations. Also, 17k gold is quite a lot, and I don't care for the "status" or "can't remove ring by themselves" features.

Is there a more affordable way to significantly improve the chance of a successful return trip?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Gloweye, I made a small change to the layout of this answer. "Ways to do X" usually invites poor quality answers suggesting little one-off ways rather than a more comprehensive solution, so it's a phrase I'm mindful to edit out when I see it. I've shifted the title you had in the body of your question into the title proper, and introduced a small intro. Feel free to revise further to make the wording better fit you if you'd prefer! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nope, looks fine this way. I'm not familiar enough with the site to know that type of details, so thanks for helping. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Jun 29 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ have you talked to your DM about this? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster What "this" exactly are you referring to? \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Jun 29 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ About how much time is needed exactly for a caster to become very familiar with a place or to study it carefully. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29 at 19:30
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Spend a few days in a location, and sleep there and add personal touches.

You need a place to feel like home. This article suggests how to do so.

It suggested that in a new place, people are “monitoring their environment with their brain and are more likely to wake up to unusual sounds,” Tamaki said.

The reason could be that we are like animals and feel we need to protect ourselves when in a new environment, she said.

“It dates back to way ancient times when you might need to not be completely asleep to sense danger,” she said. While a new hotel room or Airbnb likely isn’t actually a dangerous place in need of constant monitoring, your brain doesn’t know that, and so you can’t fully sleep.

Tamaki said when she sleeps in a new place, particularly if she’s traveling for an important meeting or conference where she needs to focus, she tries to fly in two nights before.

“So my meeting is not contaminated by the first night effect,” she said.

If that’s not an option, she suggests spending a lot of time in the new room, getting comfortable there and bringing your own things from home so it doesn’t feel so unfamiliar.

You would need to argue this to your DM of course, but if you've slept in a location, spend a lot of time, added personal items from your home, and know all the common sounds there it is much more likely to count as familiar.

This rules out many locations- if you can't pull up a sleeping bag, put up some dolls, and draw on the wall a picture of your favourite ancestor and sleep freely it's not your home, and many people own property and wouldn't let you do that.

Another key thing is to make the DM invested in you having easy teleports so they don't argue that you're not familiar with a location. One common way to do so is to set up home locations near their favourite quest zones, so you can easily do quests they like and have fun adventures. I've in my games tried to be as friendly as possible with teleports, and it's generally given me more leeway with DMs who appreciate me taking on a utility role.

In the end, it is always a DM discretion thing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Much like the other answer, this one is a bit high on lore/common sense, and low on rules/items. Given that this is the second answer to have that, I'm starting to think there aren't any other options. If so, then I think that inclusion would be a requirement for a truly great answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Jul 1 at 7:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, there are no simple ways to boost familiarity, other than the ring you mentioned. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Jul 1 at 9:26
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Make the destination as unique as possible.

The text of the Teleport spell strongly alludes to the "familiarity" aspect of the spell being related to how uniquely identifiable a destination is starting with this "You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination. The clearer your mental image, the more likely the teleportation works." The more a location is unique the clearer the anchor points in your mental image are likely to be.

None of the wording in the categories of familiarization mention having to have stayed somewhere a long time. Frequency of visits gets a mention in 'very familiar', though I suspect this is just the most obvious way a person can know a place well.

Imagine teleport destinations as needing spatial co-ordinates, but instead of numbers it uses unique aspects of the locale. For instance a real world locale would use longitude, lattitude, and height above sea level, in teleport terms you would need a similar number of unique reference points to get a "very familiar" destination.

For example, the shingle above the inn door has a green dragon curled around a brown tankard and the words 'Drunken Dragon' in Common on it, the cellar door of that inn is at the bottom of steep stairs and is painted red with a small face hatch in it, there is a hangling oil lamp light right over the cellar door which has distorted yellow glass in it. Your mileage may vary, but that is likely the only place like that in range of teleport (Greater Teleport is another matter as it takes in a LOT more range!). If the wizard can focus on those reference points clearly enough they should be allowed to roll on the 'very familiar' row of the familiarity table. Make the Player describe it, or have them roll a concentration check, whatever assuages your disquiet as DM.

If it was a generic hostel, in a featureless slum, then perhaps it could be as bad as "seen casually".

The 'similar' result range seems to support the idea that it is the uniqueness of the destination which matters, if you choose something which isn't very unique then some kind of arbitrary method of determining which one of the various 'similar' destinations you actually meant is made by the magic (aka DM).

'False destination' seems a clincher in regards to a teleport destination needing to be unique AND current. If time travel was able to be performed as easily as geographical travel then I suspect if your wizard imagined a place which they were very familiar with but no longer existed there might be a way to get to the last time it DID exist using a Temporal Teleport... but I digress.

What can you do if you can't find a suitable place that is unique enough already? Make it unique! Example: That old ruined house of the edge of town away from prying eyes you know of is isolated, but there are a few such ruins on the outskirts of town so it rates as 'seen casually'. If you're not going to seal the building to prevent access, then clear some rubble and carve a unique symbol onto the old floorboards then carefully cover it back up with rubble so any casual visitors to the ruin won't notice it. Unique anchor 1 done. You want three or more of those unique anchors such that normal events in the area won't change them. If they do change then you're in heading into false destination range!

Lastly, there is the negative condition to consider: "Areas of strong physical or magical energy may make teleportation more hazardous or even impossible."
Don't place your destination point near strong magical or physical energies and your mental image of the destination won't be interfered with when translating into a real destination. It seems a bit like radio static preventing your signal getting through clearly. Now what "strong physical energy" actually is throws me for a loop, but since wizards don't usually place a set teleport destination point in the middle of busy market bazaars it's probably a condition due little concern. "Strong magical energy" is a more concerning warning as wizards do often ward teleport landing zones. I've tended to scale up the meaning of "strong" to compensate for this practice, and consider "strong" to mean something like a place of natural power such as where ley lines cross, a devestating magical battle site, or amidst a bunch of adamantite/mithril veins in the Underdark (or your world's equivalent if it has one).

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems rather heavy on lore - and therefore GM discretion - and light on rules. Even without double-checking with my GM, I know this isn't going to fly, because uniqueness != familiarity. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Jun 30 at 8:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point @Gloweye. I'd argue that the use of the word 'familiarity' is bad considering the 'false destination' and 'similarity' possibilities. I am of the belief it should be 'precision' over 'familiarity' but as you've said that is more house-rule and/or GM discretion. \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Jul 1 at 0:07

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