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Teleport can go wrong even when you are very familiar with the destination, but if you have an associated object, you can arrive at the right destination with 100% certainty.

The spell describes an associated object as follows:

"Associated object" means that you possess an object taken from the desired destination within the last six months, such as a book from a wizard's library, bed linen from a royal suite, or a chunk of marble from a lich's secret tomb.

But what does taken from the desired destination imply about how long the object must have been there, if anything?

Technically, everything the wizard has on their person has been in any location they visited in the last six months, and hence has been taken from there. Does this mean the wizard, as long as they do not change their clothes, shoes, spellbook or whatever object they carry with them, can safely teleport to any place they visited in the last six months? Does it mean if the wizard receives a letter from the king, he can teleport to wherever that letter was written? If not, what can reasonable criteria be?

It's clear from the examples, that the object does not need to originally be from the destination. The bed linens were certainly manufactured somewhere else and then transported to the royal suite, and they might be changed daily.

Obviously, the DM can make a ruling on this, but is that all? What are your experiences with ruling on this, and how well did these rulings work?

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1 Answer 1

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When the DM says.

As you noted, the teleport spell says:

“Associated object” means that you possess an object taken from the desired destination within the last six months, such as a book from a wizard’s library, bed linen from a royal suite, or a chunk of marble from a lich’s secret tomb.

Exactly what that means, in all its nuance, is just not specified in the rules. In the end, it's more a question of adjudication and world-building than anything else.

As a player

You need to work it out with your DM.

As a DM

You can homerule this however you choose to interpret it, to whatever depth satisfies your homeruling and worldbuilding desires.

"Reasonable criteria" probably cannot be defined outside of a specific game, because what works for one table may not work for another.

We have used this aspect of teleport extensively and have never had any issues.

Some rules that have been successful for us:

  • Teleporting with an object to its associated location "resets the clock" for that object, as much as to save us the tedium of saying things like "I drop the rock and pick up a new rock" as anything else.

  • Objects can be incredibly mundane, such as a chip of brick, a leaf, or a pebble.

  • Someone else can bring you an object and you can use it as an associated object.

We have only used objects intentionally acquired as a teleport object, although we haven't specifically made a rule. As an example, even if using an apple to teleport to the tree it grew on is legal, we have not explored using teleport in that way. Although if someone specifically picked up the apple to use as an associated object and brought it to the teleporting wizard to use as a teleport object, that would be consistent with our use. While that could probably be reduced to a rule, we have not yet had the need to houserule it.

We briefly discussed the idea that everyplace you go any objects in your possession are suddenly "from" that place, and discarded it as patently absurd, without exploring reasoning or exact mechanics in depth.

Most DMs can probably successfully handle it at their own table by building up rules that work for their game in a similar way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, this is exactly the played experience kind of answer I was hoping for (I updated the question to make it clearer). My wizard has also taken to collecting chips of stone (and, for verisimilitude, labeling and dating them; not that the spell explicitly demands you have to know which stone in your bag is the right one...). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 6:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if treating visiting as having an object is that absurd, though -- effectively, it helps to eliminate the rote the book-keeping of where you picked up or chipped off a sliver of stone. Otherwise, all you achive is the wizard stating in each room (or major node/nexus/location) they are taking an object, and then having to track them. So from an ease of play perspective, it may be a very reasonable apporach. You still do not get to teleport into your opponents study without fail that way. We currently do this with a "standing order" that the wiz picks up stones, to similar effect. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 6:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think a good rule of thumb would be that any object can be associated with at most one place at any time and if you ask anyone familiar with the (recent) history of the object, where it is from, the answer you get should be that place. That history could specifically include intentions. After all there is a felt difference between taking some royal linen because you want them primarily as an object from that place and taking them because your bedroom needs an upgrade. \$\endgroup\$
    – mlk
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 10:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mlk, My wizards bedroom certainly could do with an upgrade. Months of sneaking around in disgusting dungeons, and nary a copper to spend yet on adquate eiderdown. Damn those spell ink costs! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 10:43

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