One of the uses of the wish spell is to emulate any spell of 8th level or lower "without meeting any requirements" of that spell. It is already clear from wish's description that costly material components are to be discarded, but what about other requirements of a spell?

In general, what is considered a requirement of a spell for the purposes of wish?

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Wish lets you ignore the requirements of:

  1. providing components
  2. providing the correct time casting
  3. providing an appropriate spell slot
  4. having that spell to be on your prepared or known spells list
  5. having that spell be of an appropriate level or school

Requirements, unfortunately, is never really given a game term definition.
So as with all words that don't have a game term definition, we should attempt to use the standard english definition.

Using that, we can say that anything is a requirement if it prevents you from casting the spell.

So with that in mind, here's the justification:

[Level] [School] - If a spell is not normally of the right level or school for you, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Casting Time: x - If you do not spend the amount of time specified, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Range: x Having nothing in range does not actually prevent you from casting a spell (for example, readying) - it prevents you from targeting it. This is NOT a "requirement".

Components: x, y, z (special) - if you cannot provide the proper components, you cannot cast the spell. This is a "requirement".

Duration: x - duration has nothing to do with whether you're capable of casting a spell. This is NOT a "requirement".

Concentration - When casting a spell normally, you can choose not to maintain concentration. The spell will end, but you are not prevented from casting it. This is NOT a "requirement".

Classes: x - If a spell is not on your prepared or known spells, you cannot cast it. This is a "requirement".

Description: [Effects] - Effects can only take place after casting is completed. This is NOT a "requirement".

Spell Slot - If you cannot provide the right spell slot, you cannot cast a spell. This is a "requirement".

Specific features (in addition to Wish) can negate some or all of these requirements, or even add requirements: see Subtle Spell or Ritual Casting

  • 1
    Does point 4 encompass both Classes and LevelxSchool requirements? If so I would make that more clear. – GreySage Sep 14 at 18:41
  • Added point 5 to match up with the explanation text – Speedkat Sep 14 at 18:47
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    I agree that this answers what is required to cast a spell, but wish says "You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell", which sounds both extremely broad and extremely vague. Can you expand on how you're interpreting this phrase to mean only casting requirements? (As opposed to e.g. concentration, which is not required for casting but is required to maintain the spell effect.) – Ryan Thompson Sep 14 at 20:51
  • +1 for noting that the rules don't really specify what a "requirement" is, and for then going ahead and defining it. – Jack Sep 14 at 21:21

"Requirements" is not game term, so DMs must interpret.

The rules do not describe what "requirement" means: it's not a game term the way "attack" or "spell" are. This means that differing DMs may interpret what a requirement is in the context of wish in slightly different ways.

However, as with all words that are not a game term, we can attempt to use the standard English definition. In this case: "a thing that is compulsory; a necessary condition."

We should try to contextualize that generic definition. When wish is used to duplicate a spell, "the spell simply takes effect". With this in mind I believe that "any condition you normally must satisfy for a spell to take effect" is a requirement that wish ignores.

Examples

The spell's effect is not a requirement. Rather, it is what wish duplicates.

Casting time is a requirement which wish ignores, because you normally must spend a certain amount of time casting for a spell to take effect.

Components are requirements which wish ignores, because you normally must provide/handle/perform components for a spell to take effect.

Duration is not a requirement, because it only defines how long the spell effect lasts. The same is true for concentration, it only defines how long the spell effect lasts.

Having the spell firmly fixed in mind is a requirement which wish ignores, because you normally must learn or prepare a spell to cast it. This goes along with the fact that wish explicitly "duplicate[s] any other spell of 8th level or lower".

Spell slots are requirements which wish ignores, because you normally must expend a spell slot for a spell to take effect.

The spell's level is not a requirement, because it just indicates how powerful the spell is. Moreover, wish explicitly limits you to "spell[s] of 8th level or lower", so either way wish does not ignore the spell's level.

The spell's school is not a requirement. Rather it is a description of the spell's effect.

Targeting restrictions are requirements which wish ignores1, because you normally must target something for the spell to take effect. This includes rules for range and other requirements described in the spell, such as sight and shared language.
Rules for a clear path to the target are more nuanced: AoE spells take effect even if the target is behind total cover, so a clear path to the target is not a requirement for AoE spells. However, it is still a requirement for other spells.


  1. I recommend ruling that spells duplicated by wish must still meet the targeting rules (especially range), because being able to target anyone wherever they are once a day, can seriously break a campaign.

This answer is based in part on a different answer by Speedkat.

  • 1
    I would argue that targeting rules are not requirements. You can still cast a spell on an invalid target, but it will have a different effect than your probably intended. For example, hold person can be cast on a non-humanoid, it just has no effect. Similarly, a fireball can be aimed at a point behind a wall, but then the effect is that the fireball impacts the wall and explodes at the point of impact, instead of exploding at the point where the caster targeted. You can even cast a spell without targeting anything (e.g. readying a spell and then choosing not to release it). – Ryan Thompson Sep 14 at 19:00
  • @RyanThompson "A typical spell requires you to pick one or more targets to be affected by the spell's magic". You can cast hold person and pick no one and in that case no effect happens. However, wish duplicates the effect, not the casting, hence targeting is a prerequisite for duplicating the effect of hold person. I think you might be right about fireball though. – Ruse Sep 14 at 19:08
  • @Ruse The rules for concentration also use the word "require", but you say concentration is not considered a requirement. – Ryan Thompson Sep 14 at 19:34
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    @RyanThompson that is an example of why "requirement" cannot be interpreted as strictly and blindly as a game term. "Some spells require you to maintain concentration in order to keep their magic active" not "in order for the spell to take effect". If you choose not to maintain concentration, the effect just ends as soon as it takes effect, but it still takes effect, hence concentration is not a requirement that wish ignores. – Ruse Sep 14 at 19:40

Wish can be cast to emulate spells the caster normally wouldn't be able to cast; i.e., not in their spellbook if they're a Wizard, Cleric Only Spell for non-Cleric, etc. Any spell means what it says: any spell.

What is a spell? A spell is a spell on a spell list that creates a magical effect.

By simply speaking aloud (components are replaced by simply speaking aloud) ... duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don’t need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect. (wish, spell description, PHB)

No mention is made of casting time; the text of the wish spell casting time is "1 action" and "by simply speaking aloud" the desired spell "simply takes effect."

Just say it, and it takes effect.

What constraints on a spell might be in play when used like this? Since it duplicates a given spell, you would expect the duplicated spell cast by wish to have the same range and area of effect. Nowhere does wish indicate that it changes a spell when cast this way.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! Check out the tour for a quick intro to how we do things around here. This answer looks like it's pointing in the right direction, but could be improved with some rules citations. In addition, are there other sorts of requirements (besides "what class list it came from") that should be addressed? – A_S00 Sep 14 at 16:56
  • Welcome to the site! Your answer could do with some fleshing out and support with evidence. Wish can ignore spell requirements but the question is asking is what all can count for that. Yes class requirements are one of those, but what about casting time or duration? My recommendation would be to delete you answer while you make edits to it in this case so that you don't attract downvotes unnecessarily. Or just keep it deleted if you don't intend to improve it. – Rubiksmoose Sep 14 at 16:57
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    I have added some rules text and a supporting point as an example of what rubiksmoose is referring to. If you like the edit, fine. If not, please edit it again so that it is more to your liking. Welcome. – KorvinStarmast Sep 14 at 17:18
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    This is actually kinda funny. Read through the edits, the original answer was about one sentence long, the rest was added in by @KorvinStarmast. Nice work, KS! – Daniel Zastoupil Sep 14 at 17:25
  • @DanielZastoupil The answer as originally posed was correct, but sometimes I have found that it is useful to demonstrate what we prefer in terms of supported answers. (One never really stops being an instructor, I guess ...) – KorvinStarmast Sep 14 at 17:27

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