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Ok, I know this is a big spell and I'm not trying to break anything but I've always wondered if I could do this. Remember this is a 9th level spell so by the time this could be cast I don't think it would be too powerful. However, in accordance with the spell description it would have to be worded properly or risk unforeseen consequences.

If I used a (carefully worded) Wish could I get an extra pair of arms? "An identical pair of arms just below my original arms that function under my control and independently of my original arms while keeping the rest of me the same"? (last part is to keep me from being changed into another race as an unforeseen consequence)

The purpose of this is to have my Goliath be able to use 2 Large Goliath Warhammers at the same time. (I guess the 2nd part of the question would have to be, if I got the arms could I attack like this?)

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While having the arms to dual wield two-handed weapons sounds cool, check out "Schlock Mercenary" and "Girl Genius", two web comics with characters with 2 or more arms. In the first, the character has 4 hands, but only 2 eyes, so he can only focus on one target at a time. In "Girl Genius", the four armed character has to put up with a lot of harrassment from some of the other characters. So would having more arms than you are used to cause a loss of DEX? Or CHA? – Jim Green Dec 21 '12 at 13:05
I'd probably just make them face backwards. – Chris Gwinn Dec 21 '12 at 18:18
Best use of wish I've seen in a long time. – Cypher Dec 21 '12 at 22:55
up vote 27 down vote accepted

First look up Girallon's Blessing

It's a level 3 spell you can find in Savage Species 66 or Spell Compendium 106 (they have major differences, so make sure you look at both of them), and grants multiple extra arms based on caster level and size. It has limits and restrictions, but sets useful precedents:

  • One of the basic uses of wish is to mimic other spells. There's a level 3 spell that gives you extra arms; anyone who can cast wish could easily cast girallon's blessing to give you extra arms for more than two hours.
  • This means you're not inventing the wheel and it gives you a baseline to negotiate from: you're asking wish to give you a permanent non-magical improvement (e.g. no penalties if you fail the Will save, if you use the SS version) of the effect of an existing spell.
  • If a level 3 spell can do nearly exactly what you're asking, this gives you a strong argument that wish should be able to easily handle your request.

Do be aware that girallon's blessing is not explicit in saying that it would let you wield your extra warhammer, so that's another bump-up you're asking for, depending on the DM's reading of the spell.

Then ask your DM

As @SevenSidedDie says, it's ultimately a DM's call and they're only instructed to twist a wish if the request is too powerful to be granted by the spell as stated. By invoking the "mimic lower-level spells" ruling and providing a remarkably low-level precedent, your DM is more likely to consider it a reasonable wish. [Remember that successive wishes can provide cumulative power, if the DM thinks that's too much for one wish (I don't think it is).]

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Since SC is newer than SS wouldn't it override the original spell? – Ben-Jamin Dec 22 '12 at 10:28
+1 & Accepted, Thanks for providing some comparison spells..I would have to agree (as a DM) that a 9th lvl spell could easily do more than a 3rd lvl spell & 5th lvl (Permanancy) so I would probably rule it ok, with 3 of @BBlake's "consequences" – Ben-Jamin Dec 22 '12 at 10:31
@Ben-Jamin Yes, SS should technically be the 'official' version. But for our purposes we aren't casting the spell; we're looking at existing spells to find baselines. In that context it might actually be helpful to see that the new version removes the attack penalty, and to compare other aspects. – BESW Dec 22 '12 at 12:07
Perfect answer: if you can find a spell mimiking closely what you are asking with your wish, then it's 99.99% of the job done! – Yaztromo Dec 22 '12 at 23:18

As a DM I would rule that gaining an extra pair of arms would not be unacceptable. However, I would also rule that it would not implicitly grant you the ability to dual wield the weapons. There would be consequences, both positive and negative.

  • First--The obtaining of extra arms and being able to control them is not the same as being competent in their use. The arms could easily get in each other's way for quite some time until you have become proficient in maneuvering and working with their presence. In fact, I would probably make you take a penalty for at least the next level of your character to any actions that include using your arms (attacks, climbing, crafting, etc). Once I deemed this penalty was no longer enforced, however, I would open up bonus opportunities to be obtained. For instance, bonuses to grappling would become an option as well as the Rend attack (which as a player I saw girallons use quite effectively against us).
  • Second--I would enforce all the normal dual wielding penalties that come from wielding two weapons. Those would never go away without the appropriate feats, class abilities or racial abilities that allow dual wielding without (or with limited) penalties.
  • Third--I would possibly consider as well some additional penalty or limit to your strength bonus to attacks & damage for dual wielding two large weapons. It would be a judgement call based on your other stats and the penalties that would come from the other two options above. I'd have to think about whether this would be temporary or permanent.
  • Last--I would apply penalties to Charisma and/or any Charisma based skills and checks. This would probably be the weakest of the penalties applied in your case, but come on: 4 arms is just wrong. :)

Basically, as a DM I would rule that what your asking for with your intent is ok, but there would have to be some short and long term consequences. With any wish spell, I think there has to be a cost far and above the cost of just casting the spell. But especially in your case I think what you're asking for is on the upper edge of what I would allow as a DM.

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+1 I really like/agree with your First, Second & Last consequences but I don't understand your justification for your Third..can you expand on the reasoning? Overall, this is a great answer and it was tough to decide between yours and @BESW's answer, but as he listed comparable spells it would be easier to use to convince an open minded DM to allow the spell. (I would allow with your 3 consequences I agreed with) – Ben-Jamin Dec 22 '12 at 10:27
Another disadvantage: almost any clothing, especialy armor would need to be changed to accomodate 4 arms (and if it was not possible, they would be unusable) – Alpedar Dec 23 '12 at 23:18
My reasons for limiting the strength penalty is that the character is not gaining additional strength by adding additional arms. Therefore, when dual wielding their strength would now be divided between two extremely large and heavy weapons and they would not be able to utilize their full body strength into either weapon. It's not something that has a basis in the rules one way or the other, but it would make logical sense to me as DM in the situation you describe. – BBlake Dec 27 '12 at 5:06

That sounds pretty good to me, but the easiest way to get a Wish worded right is to just ask your DM – if they aren't concerned about it being too powerful, you might not need to worry overmuch. DMs vary in how they handle wishes, but the official guidance in the DMG is to twist the wording into something with unanticipated consequences only if the wish is too powerful.

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