This is a follow-up question from this question: Can I use Divine Intervention or Wish to regain Wish?

My plan was to use wish to conjure a "The Fates" card from the deck of many things. This would trigger the repercussions of wish, and there is a 33% chance to lose the power to cast it ever again. However, I do get the card "The Fates"; if the spell failed, then I don't suffer the repercussions, and I still have my 9th-level spell slot to try something else with.

If I conjure my Fates card, and fail the 33% chance check and can never cast wish again, can I use my Fates card to have never cast wish in the first place?

This effectively would give me back my spell slot and allow me to cast wish again.

If this is possible, I can put my devious plan into action: get 2 Fates cards by wishing and repeating, then whenever I fail a wish check, I can throw one Fates card at it to recast, and then use the other to generate a second Fates card.

Can the Fates card undo the casting of a spell to regenerate the spell slot that was used to create the card?

Relevant information:

The Fates. Reality's fabric unravels and spins anew, allowing you to avoid or erase one event as if it never happened. You can use the card's magic as soon as you draw the card, or any other time before you die.

To clarify, my confusion comes from the almost paradoxical effect. Say I get the card from wish, but are never able to cast it again, and I use the card to undo its own creation... Or is that too complex for 5e to be worrying about?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain I dont know. I cant see anything that suggests any magic items are unique. Besides, since i am just conjuring the card and not the deck, this shouldnt matter (?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Timi
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 16:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In previous editions the Deck of Many Things was an artifact, not a simple magic item. If that remains true, I would argue that there can only ever be one copy of the Fate card in existence. However, I don't have 5th so I don't know if that's true in this edition or not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems like the simplest answer is that the Wish spell explicitly says it's up to the DM if something is allowed. So even if your DM is happy to allow the first attempt, at any point they could say "nope, that's enough of that" -- not by DM fiat, but simply by RAW. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 16:00

4 Answers 4



This is the kind of rules lawyering that will get such a wide range of responses depending on each table that it is best left as a thought experiment.

As a pure thought experiment, I can agree that provided you ignore the time paradox of using thing B to undo action A that gave you thing B in the first place, then this should work. And fantasy/sci-fi media is full of time paradoxes where it is best not to worry about those details and just enjoy the special effects and outrageous story.

As a DM, I would just say "don't go there" because the end result is too game breaking (a supply of Fate cards only limited by your willingness to abuse a possible rules loophole), so I'd have no choice but to shut it down whatever the correct RAW reading was. There are multiple ways to shut this down, and I'd be supported by the rules for non-standard uses of Wish:

The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance; the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong.

There is no need for a DM to be consistent here, and "something goes wrong" can be any suitable effect. This even allows for the DM to let the request work the first time, then shut down any re-try once they have figured out the trick you are attempting.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Uses the card -> "The Fates Reality's fabric unravels and spins anew, allowing you to avoid or erase one event as if it never happened." -> "You never met the wizard who took you in and taught you magic. You instead wandered the streets alone and had to fend for yourself. You are now a rogue." Messing with fate can be very messy. \$\endgroup\$
    – nwp
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nwp not how that works... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wish for a Fate card? Sure it comes wrapped in a Deck of Many Things... draw away! \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Why not? Having a different upbringing that doesn't allow you to cast 9th level spells does avoid the event as if it never happened. \$\endgroup\$
    – DvdZee
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 11:05
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Wraithguard: Because the wording of the Fate card effect gives you more direct control as a player over the event erasure, unlike Wish would - i.e. with the Fate card you choose a single event, and DM is not free to interpret that backwards to include pre-cursor events. Which is why it is a big deal if you can use Wish to gain a Fate card, you potentially gain a specific high-powered effect that is more potent than Wish (although more specialised). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 11:25

From the Wish spell description (PHB p.289):

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope o f the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible. The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance; the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish.

From the Deck of Many Things Description (DMG p. 162):

Before you draw a card, you must declare how many cards you intend to draw and then draw them randomly

A lot will turn on how you word your wish, and how malicious the DM wants to be.

For example "I wish to draw the fate card" I would interpret as "I will keep drawing until I get a fate card" - yes you will get your fate card eventually: if you survive that long.

However, let's assume that you can word the wish perfectly and the DM allows it to work exactly as you ... uh ... wish. At that point you have expended your spell slot and have the Fate card. If the wish caused side-effects you weren't happy with, you could use the Fate card to undo the wish and try again. In this way it would guarantee you the Fate card.

However, given that each card must be drawn within 1 hour of the last, I can't see how it would help you get 2 Fate cards, unless you have 2 wishes you can only get 1 Fate card for sure (you could get another through luck).


Yes, the Fates card can reverse your wish failure

You can erase any event and a wish failure is an event. This does get your spell slot back, though presumably it would also reverse the effects of the wish.

No, you probably can't wish for a "Fates card"

The wish spell can "create an object of up to 25000gp in value that isn't a magic item". You're attempting to create a magic item. And not just any magic item -- you're trying to create something that's more powerful than a legendary item!

Consider: the deck of many things is a legendary item, but this "deck of many things that contains only one card and it's one of the best cards in the deck" is much better than an ordinary deck of many things.

When you try to wish for something that's much much more powerful than wish normally supplies, your DM tells you what happens. The wish spell has, as an example, the case where someone tries to wish for an artifact and the spell just teleports you to the artifact's current owner.

-- Now, it's technically true that your DM might decide that your wish succeeds as planned. But if your DM is as generous as all that, it seems like you might as well just wish to be immune to your wish spell backfiring, or wish for infinite wishes.

The paradox thing is up to your DM

In D&D, when the rules don't clearly say what happens in a situation, the DM makes a ruling. In this case, it seems like you're creating a time paradox by using a Fates Card to prevent yourself from gaining the Fates Card. The DM will have to issue a ruling about what happens when you do that. We can't, and shouldn't, issue that ruling for you.

(I'd probably be fine with it, though.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a really good frame challenge and I totally agree that wish probably can't summon a single card from the deck. Suppose that the deck of many things is valued below 25,000gp and I wish to create it, then draw exactly 1 card, by chance I draw Fates. Can I then use that fates card to undo the wish? \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 3:39

The real problem here is the paradoxical situation that seems to be created, where a Fate Card can be used to make the Wish that created the Fate Card never have happened, so there would have been no Fate Card to unravel reality...

As has already been covered, I think, the rules alone suggest that yes you can Wish for a Fate Card (if you word it very carefully so the DM can't corrupt your intention) and yes you can use the card to undo the casting of the Wish in the event you lose the ability to cast Wish.

So the way I would run this scenario is this, which is logical and avoids any paradox:

  1. You Wish for a Fate Card
  2. You get the Fate Card
  3. You suffer the consequences of a Wish and may never cast Wish again
  4. You use the Fate Card to unravel reality so that the Wish was never cast
  5. As a consequence reality unravels such that the Fate Card never existed
  6. As a consequence you were never able to use it to unravel reality
  7. As a consequence you did actually cast the Wish and got a Fate Card
  8. You suffer the consequences of a Wish and may never cast Wish again

So after using the Fate Card you end up in the situation that you have lost the ability to use Wish and still have the Fate card. You now have the choice to do it again and go round the loop again. Evil grin.

So if a player tried to do this in a campaign I was running they would end up going round this loop, leaving them still having cast the Wish spell, still having the Fate Card in their hand but still never being able to cast Wish again. And this would happen every time.

Reality sucks, and it protects itself!

It also explains why every 17th+ level Wizard does not have a a pile of Fate Cards in operation and are effectively (even more) invincible.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 5:43

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