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I know that the Pathfinder version of this spell can be made permanent and lasts 10 minutes per level, but how many times can it be activated before rendered inert?

For instance, if a high level character was trying to send a mass people away from a dangerous area, would they be able to cast one of these spells and have that circle take as many people that can reach it in the allotted time, or would they have to cast the spell for every person that they wanted to save?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, we recommend that you wait at least 24 hours before accepting an answer. You don't have to if you don't want to - It's just that sometimes people will come along, see that there's already an accepted answer, and decide not to post a new answer of their own - and occasionally the answers that come along later are even more useful than the initial ones. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 27 '15 at 23:17
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The circle teleports "any creature who stands on it" to a solid object. My reading of the phrase "any creature who stands on it" is that you have to end your movement on it to trigger the teleport. How many people can end their movement standing on the circle in one round? MrLemon has done the math already and came up with 480 people per round.

However, note that all those people are being teleported to the same spot, and it's going to be six seconds before they get another chance to move. The teleportation circle stops working if you attempt to teleport people "into a solid object". How many people can we pack into the destination point before it's full of people and the spell starts failing? We can probably only teleport eight per round, assuming they're all squeezing.

I suppose you could set the destination to a point above the ground, so that the people being teleported would immediately fall and the destination would stay clear. But then you're dumping up to 480 people per round onto a giant pile of people, with consequences ranging from uncomfortable to fatal.

So: my answer is you can teleport eight people per round safely, or "as many as can reach the circle" if you don't mind dumping them out of the air in a giant heap at the destination endpoint.

If you really need more than that, consider casting gate instead. The duration is shorter (one round per level, requires concentration) but people can move through it normally without the need to stand somewhere and be teleported.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Question is activations per round, not people per round. (Besides, anyone who partial-moves through the circle can keep moving on the other side, and anyone who takes less than a single move action can take a standard action on the other side to e.g. pull the outermost rings of people off the landing pad) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 27 '15 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ My reading of "any creature who stands on it" is that you have to end your movement on it to trigger the teleport. I've added that to my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Oct 27 '15 at 18:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I think that's a case that can be made, it's a difficult one because of location triggers of traps (which seems like what the designers may've thought teleportation circle would be in a PC's hands). A pit trap, for example, triggers even if a creature doesn't end its movement on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 27 '15 at 18:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plus it contradicts the established usage in all occurrences of the spell as a trap in modules. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 28 '15 at 18:05
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The answer is that it can be activated as many times as can be done within the duration of the spell. There is no limitation on specific number of uses, outside of the hard time-limited duration.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Math time! Assuming humanoid creatures with 30ft. movement speed, 480 5ft. squares are within double-move distance of the teleportation circle (assuming no hindrances). This means that 480 of our people can go through the circle every round, or 48000 people in total, assuming perfect organization (also, no dwarves, halflings or gnomes). \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Oct 27 '15 at 14:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon There's an argument that a creature must end its movement in an area affected by the teleportation circle for it to trigger, but I don't want to have it. :-) Also, do your figures account for the 5-ft. radius of the circle or does that assume a lone square? Finally, each creature still rolls on the teleportation chart, similar areas and mishaps remaining possibilities even if off-target isn't one. At least 1 of every 100 of those dudes never makes it to the spot. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 27 '15 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon Cool. My own fault that I couldn't tell by the math. By the way, I'm less generous with greater telport, having always read the spell as eliminating the from the standard chart the Off Target entry and still requiring a roll rather than reading no chance you arrive off target as obviating the roll. Works either way; I just prefer there always be a little danger involved with teleportation. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 27 '15 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrLemon You can do MUCH better if you use the Run action with similar co-ordination (assuming no people in heavy armor, it doubles the radius, which approximately quadruples the people/round) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 27 '15 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for being correct, but this answer would be improved by quoting or linking the "duration" line of the spell description (paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/spells/teleportationCircle.html) and pointing out that it doesn't say "or until discharged." \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 27 '15 at 23:02

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