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The spell Wish allows you to do one of three things:

(1) The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower.

[...]

(2) Alternatively, you can create one of the following effects of your choice.

  • You create one object of up to 25,000 gp in value that isn't a magic item. The object can be no more than 300 feet in any dimension, and it appears in an unoccupied space you can see on the ground.

[...]

(3) You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of 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.

The difference between #2 and #3 is that the examples #2 provides are fully reliable - they will not fail/partially succeed/be monkey-pawed, which could all happen to a #3 Wish.

Question: How would a Wish for something not listed as one of the #2 examples, but that the DM (me) reckons is of similar or lesser power to them, be adjudicated?

  • The problem I'm trying to solve is if a player wishes for a moderately powerful thing, is the spell telling me to grant it to them (with the stress involved in the spell, of course), or to maybe twist it?

As an example: a wish to permanently summon five (normal) horses.

Not one of the examples, but clearly not a more powerful effect than the ones they provide. Would this wish be automatically granted (i.e. like the #2 examples), or would that wish be not 100% reliable (i.e. it falls into #3)?

It seems like the outcome hinges on exactly what "beyond the scope of the above examples" means.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to take the opportunity to remind answerers to back up their answers. Suggested solutions to the problem should be tested, by you or in a way you have seen, and ideally come with an evaluation of how well it worked and what the downsides and/or limitations are. Noone is being accused of anything, just a reminder. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Oct 3 '19 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't find it now, but I have a feeling this was already asked and answered few months ago. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Oct 3 '19 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Were you thinking of this question for 3.5e? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Oct 3 '19 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil might be the case, I see it is upvoted by me. I thought I remember 5e version, but quite possibly I was mistaken. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Oct 3 '19 at 13:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ OK, thanks, maybe emphasize that as your bottom line? I'll remove the other comments. The problem I'm trying to solve is if a player wishes for a moderately powerful thing, is the spell telling me to grant it to them (with the stress involved in the spell, of course), or to maybe twist it? Put that in, maybe? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 3 '19 at 13:18
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Similar does not mean the same. If the effect is not what is exactly listed, then it is a different effect. If the effect is not #1 and is not listed under #2, then it qualifies as #3.

The viability of granting #3 depends exactly on the GM's discretion.

In your case, wishing for a single horse is a listed effect in #2. Wishing for multiple horses is not a single object, therefore it is effect #3, and is up to your GM's discretion.

You could wish for "viable land-transport for a party of 5" and argue that you're wanting a single object, which could be #2. Your GM may negotiate with you and grant you the 5 horses instead.

You could wish for five horses to appear, which could be interpreted as a Teleport spell targeting 5 horses at a stable and bringing them to you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll quibble that (1) wishing for a horse is not a listed #2 effect, because a creature is not an object, and (2) remote-teleport stuff to me from somewhere else is not the effect of the spell Teleport, and thus not a duplication of an 8th or lower level spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Vigil Oct 3 '19 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point, a creature isn't an object, so horses would always be under effect #3. For my second example, the point was it all depends on context. If there is a viable way for a translocation spell to grant the ability under effect #1, then no GM discretion needed. If not, then there is. Wishing for a get-away horse in a city may not be an issue to fulfill under effect #1, but wishing for it if you're in the elemental plane of fire would be effect #3. \$\endgroup\$ – JRodge01 Oct 3 '19 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm afraid I have to continue to disagree - "I wish for a Fireball to erupt in <city a hundred miles away>" is not something Fireball can do when duplicated, just as Teleporting things to you is not something Teleport can do when duplicated (such a Wish is arguably duplicating (1) location magic to find a horse, (2) protection magic so nothing in the horse's vicinity can harm you, (3) Teleporting to the horse, (4) Teleporting you and the horse back (something Teleport can do) without the horse being willing (something it can't do)). \$\endgroup\$ – Vigil Oct 4 '19 at 7:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want to nitpick it to this degree, then just about any wish can be construed to fall under category #3. What are you trying to accomplish exactly? \$\endgroup\$ – JRodge01 Oct 7 '19 at 11:38
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Firstly, as the DM it is entirely up to you.

That said, no matter how you slice it, it falls under the 3rd effect. "The above examples" are worded as a comprehensive list so anything not included within those as they are written would be beyond the scope.

As a DM the example Wish you provided sounds reasonable enough where I'd grant the Wish gladly but still require the player to undergo the consequences of a stressful Wish. Including the 33% chance to never be able to cast it again. Some ideas though are if you're feeling generous 5 horses pop into existence in front of the party. If you're interested in trolling the players a bit you could spawn the horses a few feet above their heads.

Alternatively you could do as suggested by @JRodge01 and teleport the horses from stables nearby (which still counts as the 3rd effect as not only is a horse not an object but there are also multiple of them) which could potentially end up with the party being chased by the local authorities for theft.

I would advise against Monkey's Pawing the wish in that particular case unless the player worded it extremely poorly. It's a relatively tame wish (compared to the wishes I saw at the end of my last campaign anyway... *cough* immortality *cough* Anyway, for this case in particular I wouldn't twist it too hard even if it was poorly worded but maybe ask your player if they're sure about it in that case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your second paragraph: It's worth noting that even for the effect #2 of wish (as numbered by OP), all of the listed options still cause the "stress" of casting wish described by the spell - only effect #1 doesn't cause that stress. The only difference between #2 and #3 is the guarantee of success (or lack thereof) and potential for other negative outcomes. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 '19 at 3:49

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