Ask the Kobold: Teleport and Shadow Walk

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koboldspot3_ArcaneWhy in the world is the shadow walk spell 6th level when teleport is 5th level? Is seems to me that shadow walk’s travel limit of 50 miles/level is less useful that teleport’s 100 miles/level. Besides, teleport is instantaneous travel, whereas shadow walk can eat up hours of game time. Why shouldn’t shadow walk be 5th level and teleport be 6th level?

Shadow walk is higher level than teleport for several reasons. The main reason is that shadow walk allows interplanar travel and teleport does not.

Here are a few other things worth noting about shadow walk and teleport: You can take along more people with shadow walk than you can with teleport. Shadow walk lets you take along one creature of any size per caster level. Teleport allows one creature of Medium size per three caster levels, creatures bigger than Medium size count as multiple medium creatures, and you can’t haul along more than your maximum with teleport load in any case.

Shadow walk allows you to drag along unwilling creatures (Will save negates) and teleport does not.

While shadow walk lasts one hour per caster level, and it allows travel along the edges of the Plane of Shadow at 50 miles per hour, the maximum travel distance the spell allows is not 50 miles a level, at least with respect to travel on the Material Plane. When skirting the Plane of Shadow, your rate of travel is much more rapid with regard to the Material Plane. The spell description doesn’t say how much more rapidly.

I don’t think there’s any reason to assume there’s any limit to the distance you can travel with the spell, so long as you don’t leave the Material Plane. To determine how long a shadow walk trip lasts, I recommend dividing the actual distance traveled by 50 miles and assuming an effective speed on the Material Plane fast enough to make the trip in the time the spell lasts.

Let’s say a 12-level caster makes a 2,000-mile trip. At 50 miles an hour, the trip would take 40 hours. The spell only lasts 12 hours, however, so an effective speed of 200 miles an hour is required and the trip takes 10 hours. If you want to set a hard limit on the distance you can move with shadow walk, set an effective speed on the Material Plane, 100 miles an hour should be the minimum, I think. And, two, three, or even four times that isn’t unreasonable.

Got a question for Skip Williams? Please add it in comments or on the Ask the Kobold thread.


  1. Do you think it’s appropriate for the DM to modify the boundaries of these spells depending on the game world?

    If you are playing in a very small campaign world, would it make sense to likewise scale down the distance you can travel with teleport/shadow walk? Or is a better alternative to impose magical barriers?


    August 17, 2009

  2. Similar question: what are the functional differences between the feats Fey Step Trailblazer and Fey Tactics?

    As an Eladrin Warlord / Spiral Tactician with an emphasis on movement and buffing, which of these do I want? Both? Neither?


    Eladrin Warlord

    August 19, 2009

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