Follow up question from this question

So my plan was to use wish to conjure a Fate 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 fate card, and 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.

So if I conjure my fate card, and fail the 33% chance check and can never cast wish again, can I use my fate 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 Fate cards by wishing and repeating, then whenever I fail a wish check, I can throw one fate card at it to recast, and then use the other to generate a second fate card.

My question repeated is: can the fate 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 the its own creation....
or is that too complex for 5e to be worrying about?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't the deck of many things a UNIQUE artifact? \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Obenshain Jun 21 '17 at 14:26
  • \$\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 Jun 21 '17 at 16:59
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    \$\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\$ – Wesley Obenshain Jun 21 '17 at 19:31


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.

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    \$\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 Jun 21 '17 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nwp not how that works... \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jun 21 '17 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 Jun 21 '17 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 Jun 22 '17 at 11:05
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    \$\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\$ – Neil Slater Jun 22 '17 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).


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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This isnt quite how time manipulation works. The loop would be self sustaining since I already decided to use the fate card and I dont have to do so again, since from my perspective, nothing at all has happened yet. Furthermore, this loop is a theoretical loop, one used to try and work out what actually happens by following a logical series of events. This way you can either imagine the loop as never actually happening, or be instantaneous and therefore time would stop because it can never escape its infinite loop of one moment. \$\endgroup\$ – Timi Jun 22 '17 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ The reason I take the approach I did above is that I don't want my 17th level wizards having an endless source of Fate Cards, but I do want them to carry on playing the character and I do want to have a consistent and logical approach to why. I would probably allow an Intelligence(Arcana) roll to know the details of this particular trap, perhaps as a theoretical discussion that included the outcomes you put forward. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Jun 22 '17 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Timi That depends on your understanding of time. Consider the theory of Radical Freedom. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jun 22 '17 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ No clue what that is @thedarkwanderer \$\endgroup\$ – Timi Jun 22 '17 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think time manipulation is a BIG topic and you could theorise many different "rules". In RPGs I run I just try to make whatever happens believable and not unbalance the game and leave it at that. As soon as you try and codify it, pin it down, you will find it doesn't work in one of the scenarios your players creates. Mystery and magic is all... \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Jun 23 '17 at 11:21

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