My party often has my wizard start casting teleportation circle while everyone else is still grabbing treasure. If I finish casting the spell but someone hasn't made it back in time, can I wait to open the portal until they do (probably by continuing to concentrate and use my action)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regardless of the rules, it's worth asking your DM, who might have a different opinion. \$\endgroup\$ May 14, 2023 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson Yeah as a DM I wouldn't be concerned about this in out-of-combat situations where there's no immediate time pressure. If the other players are just taking extra time to gather treasure and there's no ticking clock, there's functionally no difference between allowing the player to 'pause' at the last step of the spell vs. just handwaving that they started the casting a bit later to time exactly for when the players were all ready. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kayndarr
    May 15, 2023 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson my DM actually has ruled that I can do this. I'm just curious if it's allowed under RAW. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2023 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ "... often has my wizard start casting ..." why is timing so important for your party? Is this happening in combat situations? Otherwise why cannot your wizard wait until everyone is ready? The casting time is just 1min (as Groody has said in his answer). Out of combat situations 1 min is almost always negligible. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2023 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


Teleportation Circle is not a concentration spell

Teleportation circle has a casting time of 1 minute. During the minute you cast it, as per p. 202 PHB, you need to use concentration and your action each turn, but you have no way to change the casting time, it is a set time.

When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so. (...) If your concentration is broken, the spell fails, but you don’t expend a spell slot. If you want to try casting the spell again, you must start over.

This is different from spells with a duration of concentration, where you can choose how long you want to uphold the spell (within any limits of how long you may concentrate). You of course could stop concentrating before the spell is fully cast if they are not ready, to cast it again later. If you are not under time pressure, as the slot is not consumed, there is little downside to that. But once it is cast, you cannot wait longer to open the portal.

Once cast, the portal remains open until the end of your next turn, and there is nothing you can do to alter that either:

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.

PS. For spells with a casting time of exactly 1 action, you can use concentration with the Ready action (p. 193 PHB) to hold onto casting the spell for a round. But since teleportation circle has a casting time of 1 minute, not 1 action, this will not work here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to emphasize that if the spell is ended before the casting is complete, no slot is expended. Your quote does say that, but for OP's purpose, if the party is not ready, there is little cost to simply breaking Concentration and starting over. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    May 15, 2023 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the PS, using the Ready action does use a spell slot, regardless of whether you eventually release the spell. It is framed as casting as normal then holding the spell energy - dandwiki.com/wiki/…. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2023 at 19:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt: True. RAW, the material components aren't expended until the spell is actually cast, either. But that seems narratively silly: surely if you spend 54 seconds drawing glyphs and a circle on the ground using the "rare chalks and inks infused with precious gems worth 50gp", you can't abandon that partial casting without using up any of your materials. In Critical Role's campaign 2, the DM (Matt Mercer) let the wizard begin a casting but pause with 1 round of casting time left, narratively the final chalk mark to complete the spell. \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2023 at 1:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes Yes, I hadn't considered the expensive material components. There I think a DM ruling is called for. As you say, RAW no materials are spent until the spell is cast, but stopping 9 rounds in to a 10 round cast and not spending any chalk seems odd, as would ruling that the material components are all spent as soon as the spell is started and using them all in the first round of an interrupted cast. It seems a simple enough houserule to prorate the materials spent by the portion of the casting complete. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    May 16, 2023 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ As with many things critical role related; allowing that final chalk mark sets a dangerous precedent, because at a small cost of 50gp (effectively nothing for someone who can cast high level spells) and a minute you can cast a circle outside of every room and your escape becomes a single action cast. The point of the casting time is to stop it being used as an emergency escape \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    May 17, 2023 at 21:40

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