29
\$\begingroup\$

In my campaign, the PCs have recently defeated a dragon and looted its hoard. In it, among some other things, they found a fully charged Ring of Three Wishes. Not knowing what it was, the party had their Wizard cast identify on it.

After the game, the player of the Wizard came to me in private and asked if he could use one of the rings uses to wish for the ability to cast all of his spells at will from now on. I told him that he'd have to find out by using the ring and the conversation ended there. I have no reason to suspect that the player was not entirely serious.

Is this something that the spell Wish could theoretically do or is my player just gonna be out of luck when he tries it?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 71
    \$\begingroup\$ What did Will ever do to them? \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Oct 28 at 17:46
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't answer in the comments. All such comments will be (and have been) removed. Instead make well-formed answers below if you have something valuable to add. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 29 at 16:10
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ There are already some good answers, but could you clarify how you might like to adjudicate the Wish spell? Wish can do essentially anything, but it can't necessarily do a given thing reliably or safely. The question could be clearer and indicate if you are interested in whether or not Wish could do this at all, whether or not you as DM should allow Wish to do this, or what potential complications of Wish would be appropriate/balanced for a player trying to wish for this effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Oct 29 at 17:14

16 Answers 16

64
\$\begingroup\$

That would be very powerful.

Let's compare the effect with the other things Wish can do:

  • You grant up to ten creatures you can see immunity to a single spell or other magical effect for 8 hours
  • You undo a single recent event by forcing a reroll of any roll made within the last round
  • You grant up to ten creatures that you can see resistance to a damage type you choose
  • You create one object of up to 25,000 gp in value that isn't a magic item.

These are all temporary or one-time effects, excluding the resistance. Permanently being able to cast all of his spells at will would be way too powerful; refreshing all of the Wizard's expended spell slots, on the other hand, would be more balanced.

If you want to deny his Wish, you could twist his wording and make it so that he can cast all his spells at-will - but only at some poor bloke named Will.

Alternatively, you can simply interpret it so that the Wish has (mostly) no effect at all, if you say that "he can cast all his spells at will" means that he's able to cast all his spells at Will. Since he presumably could already do that before, it changes nothing. This interpretation would also not include any at-will casting.

Another interpretation is that he can target Will with all of his spells, even those that normally only have a range of self or require a willing target (for example). I would, however, be very careful with this interpretation, especially concerning the willing target - many spells become significantly more powerful if their target doesn't have to be willing (although I can't think of an example off the top of my head).

\$\endgroup\$
  • 43
    \$\begingroup\$ "If you want to deny his Wish, you could twist his wording and make it so that he can cast all his spells at will - but only at some poor bloke named Will." I actually love this more than my words can describe. It disables a wizard if he can only target people named Will, though he can use a second use of the ring to correct it, leaving him with only 1 use to hopefully, use wisely. \$\endgroup\$ – Samara Markcosian Oct 28 at 18:35
  • 57
    \$\begingroup\$ However, you have to be really careful. If they wisen up about how to work wishes, you're going to have a glorious momentary scene where the ultimate bad guy of all time goes pale and gulps because they cast a second wish to bestow upon him the name of Will. \$\endgroup\$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Oct 29 at 3:10
  • 37
    \$\begingroup\$ Only being able to target someone named Will is great. If you want to go for a more classically evil Wish interpretation, you could have the Wizard lose access to any spells that aren't cantrips. Then he would, by definition, cast all of his spells at will. \$\endgroup\$ – D.Spetz Oct 29 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 2 at 8:22
37
\$\begingroup\$

Up to you

Quoting from the rules of the Wish spell:

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.

However, "casting all my spells at-will" is immensely powerful, so I'd be careful about giving him what he wishes for.

(But you can give him something powerful, or you can just twist his words and give him the option to cast (all his spells) at-will. Unloading all your daily spell slots in one action would be memorable and powerful, but probably not game-breakingly so. And very risky)

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Or anytime that character comes within x number of feet from anyone named "Will" all his spells will be targeted and cast at him... poor Will. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Oct 28 at 17:44
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the last paragraph. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Oct 28 at 17:58
  • 16
    \$\begingroup\$ You can also make him able to cast all of his spells at will by removing everything that isn't a cantrip from his repertoire. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Oct 28 at 18:06
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A fighter already casts all his spells at will all the time already... \$\endgroup\$ – Nelson Oct 29 at 2:02
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd see the alternative interpretation of casting all spells in their repertoire at the same time, directed at the same target, whenewer they want to cast any spells as an interesting idea. That would basically turn the recipient of the wish into a walking nuke, as anybody sane would think twice before using this ability. The actual impact would greatly depend on the current repertoire and its balance between beneficial and harmful spells, and the actual implementation (like order of saving throws, ...) But it would certainly lead to interesting scenarios, especially once news start to spread. \$\endgroup\$ – zovits supports GoFundMonica Oct 29 at 13:17
22
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, but...

Theoretically, the Wish spell can do anything the DM allows. Per the spell description,

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.

As the DM, you will have to decide if the effect he wants is too powerful for your campaign or if it will diminish the fun that others will have. If it is too powerful, you have a couple of options for how you want to proceed.

  • The spell might simply fail
  • The effect might be partially achieved
    • N-th level spells can be cast at will
  • Or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence of how you worded the Wish
    • Only can target a creature named Will
    • Can only cast cantrips
    • Etc.

Something that I haven't seen mentioned yet are the downsides to casting Wish in this manner. If the desired effect isn't duplicating a 8-th level or lower spell, the side effects are

  • Each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage per level of spell. Cantrips count as a level 0 spell. (0d10 = 0)
  • Your Strength drops to 3 for 2d4 days. Each day spent resting and doing nothing more than light activity reduces the recovery time by 2 days
  • There is a 33 percent chance (1/2 on a d6 roll) of being unable to cast the Wish spell ever again.

A possible twisting

Another way to twist the words I wish to cast all my spells at will is to take it in the context of how Wizards cast spells. Before they can cast a spell, a Wizard is required to prepare their spells. Instead of requiring the spells to be prepared, you could waive that requirement and allow for the Wizard to cast any known spell. While this is a strong effect, the Wizard is still limited in their daily power by their available spell slots.

If you are a spiteful DM but still want to play along, you can do this in the form of a new blank spellbook, Spellbook of Permanence (homebrew).

Spellbook of Permanence

Legendary (requires attunement)

This spellbook replaces your current spellbook. It starts with no inscribed spells. Without attunment, this can be used as a standard spellbook. When attuned to this spellbook, you are considered to have all spells in the spellbook prepared.

Imagine your players surprise when they go to prepare their spells for the day, only to find that their spellbook got a visual upgrade, but is completely empty of spells.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. This is a great first answer with some excellent examples of how to apply the rules from the spell. Thanks for contributing and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Oct 29 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the necrotic damage idea. I like that its based on the behavior of Wish from the PHB, it gives the player what they want, AND offers a compelling risk/reward mechanic for actually using the benefits of the wish. Could be explained as the stress of breaking fundamental laws of the universe. \$\endgroup\$ – ThunderGuppy Oct 29 at 17:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A Spellbook of Permanence seems vastly over-powered, especially given the guideline of only creating one non-magical item worth 25k or less. \$\endgroup\$ – pluckedkiwi Oct 29 at 19:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are those downsides also applicable to wishes from items/djinns/..., i.e. not directly cast by a PC? \$\endgroup\$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Oct 29 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PaŭloEbermann those downsides are from the Wish spell description and applicable to whomever cast the Wish spell. You would have to consult the item description as to whether it says 'You cast...' or not. Whether djinns or gods use the same version of the Wish spell is up to the DM. \$\endgroup\$ – CertainlyNot Oct 30 at 16:26
14
\$\begingroup\$

DM's Word Is Law

Ah, the wish spell... Let's put this simply. D&D is about telling a story. If a PC wants to do something incredibly broken (like give themselves unlimited spell casting potential) your story can fall apart. You end up with a super character that stands above and doesn't need other PCs. Wish is a powerful spell, but it shouldn't be able to break your game.

Options that come to mind

  1. The spell fizzles. ( A little cheap, but Mystra herself may interfere to stop the PC from disrupting the flow of magic, to protect the weave, etc, etc.)
  2. Listen to the wording of your PC and look for a loophole to punish or twist PC intention
  3. Maybe take At-Will as without the use of material components

Again, let me stress DM's Rule is Law. It is your story, if you're not going to be happy with letting the wish go through, then don't. The wish spell has specifics detailed in the PHB you can reference and decide based on the examples.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To expand, At-Will could also be without verbal or somatic components. Still takes a slot, requires line of sight or touch, by can be cast by will alone. It'd be pretty powerful, but compared to other things you can do with a wish, probably not game breakingly so. \$\endgroup\$ – aslum Oct 29 at 14:15
12
\$\begingroup\$

Be very careful how you deal with this

I hate the Wish spell, and in my games it only works for what is in the description, what is written in other places such as the Deck of Many Things, a 'please help me in this specific situation' manner (akin to being immune to the lich as suggested in the spell), or a 'please indulge this awesome RP element' manner which has no mechanical applications (For those who know, think the wedding episode in Critical Role and the dead brother.)

Wishes such as this are off the table on a meta-level, rather than just coming down to DM fiat.

The problems are many:

Twisting the wish

Because players can't read the mind of their DM, they wish for something cool and get something that sucks. This is a massive let down especially for a player who isn't trying to game the system and might genuinely expect the spell to have such capabilities. I would never do this, and never play in a game with a DM who did (at least not after they did so), so know your player if you are going to twist this, especially in any of the ways suggested in other answers.

Having the wish fail

Wish is really powerful, if you have a player not entirely understanding how it works making a wish simply fail is at best unkind. In game this is a highly intelligent wizard who probably knows better than to ask something stupid. In the real world most players don't know where the limit lies and it is the job of the DM to try and ensure they understand it before they waste a wish.

Letting it succeed

Letting a spellcaster of any level cast spells at will is just too powerful. That means a meteor swarm every round. I don't really need to explain how overpowered that is.

My advice

Tell the player in meta terms that this is beyond the capacity of the spell, and that no sane wizard would even attempt such a wish. Let them pretend it never happened, and discuss implementing my rules as I talked about up top.

Disclaimer

I know many people enjoy messing around with wish, and there is no such thing as badwrongfun, but I always err on the side of caution because you can have fun without messing with wish, but once wish ruins the game it is hard to recover.

\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

Yes but no

While technically this is within the scope of what Wish can do judging by the quoted text below, the key thing to not is that "the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong."

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.

My suggestion is to allow him to do it but monkey's paw it or twist his wording like a stereotypical genie for instance. Examples below.

I wish to be able to cast all of my spells at will

Done, you can now only cast cantrips.

or

Done, but when you cast a spell, you cast all of your spells at once with targets randomly chosen.

or if you have a player/party member named Will

Done, now you can cast all of your spells at Will but only at Will

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Use the "twist the words of the wish" trope carefully. I'd avoid it unless it's supposed to be like this (e.g. a cursed ring or a wish granted by a mischievous genie). The reason being while it's fun for the GM, it's annoying for the players, and undermines the great power of the ring, rendering it all but useless. You'll probably find that with any future wishes, the players will spend ages writing down and carefully drawing up the wording of a wish as if it were a legal document/contract with pages of terms and conditions. \$\endgroup\$ – colmde Oct 29 at 12:50
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @colmde I'd argue that the player 'earns' a lost of a wish by making a wish that the GM clearly shouldn't grant, and it's quite clear in the spell description that something like this can happen. It helps that they have three wishes so they can undo any harm done to themselves with the next wish, and maybe you can arrange a net gain after their second wish. Still, I admit perminant screwing them over to force them to waste a second wish to fix it seems a bit much. I'd probably do one of these, screwed up wishes, but make it last for only a day so that that they don't need to wish to fix it. \$\endgroup\$ – dsollen Oct 29 at 15:24
2
\$\begingroup\$

You should not let him waste the wish on that. It would be game-breakingly powerful as already explained in other answers.

I would tell the player this up front, and give examples on how the wording could be twisted. Wording "the ability to cast all of his spells at will from now on", I'll summarize the answers seen so far and add my own potential interpretations:

  • He can now (also) cast all of his spell at any NPC called Will (no real change?) (interpretation of one of the options from Himitsu_no_Yami's answer)
  • He can actually cast all of his spells at will from now on, however he has lost all of his spells (maybe except a select few ones) and lost the ability to learn new ones
  • He can already cast his spells when he wants to, given he prepared them (no change) (drunkenvash's answer)
  • At will, cast all of your spells (Erik's answer).
  • Only will required, no more material components (Samara Markcosian's answer).
  • You actually give him the ability to cast all of his spells at will. However, he did not mention it being consequence free (could cause damage, death, stat loss, XP loss, ...).
  • You actually give him the ability to cast all of his spells at will. However, all creatures and object temporarily gain magical resistance to his spells.
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 2 at 8:30
2
\$\begingroup\$

From the wish spell:

The GM 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.

Now, this is an accomplished wizard. The wizard asked about "can I do this with wish". The proper response is "do an Arcana check", as they are asking for information about how magic works.

Your answer can depend on the roll. On a low roll, simply state "your character doesn't know". On a medium roll, talk about how attempts to use powerful wishes have killed, crippled, or otherwise backfired on previous wizards. On a high roll, include medium roll, and tell them it definitely won't do what you are expecting.

As for what should happen, that is seriously up to you. Here is untested homebrew

The wizard now has every spell in their new spellbook prepared, but their max HP is lowered by 1 for every spell in their spellbook. "at-will" means without preparation, but the wizard still uses their spell slots.

or

The wizard can cast every spell they have prepared at-will. The first cast at each spell level is without consequence. After that, the wizard's max HP is lowered by the spell level (for spells up to 5), level 6 spells cost 8 max HP, level 7 spells 16 max HP, level 8 spells 32 max HP and level 9 spells 64 max HP. If reduced to 0 max HP or less this way their soul is consumed after the spell goes off.

Both of these are an attempt to give the player a toy, but not a broken one.

\$\endgroup\$
2
\$\begingroup\$

As already said, this is too powerful to allow it to happen. It would render all of your other players worthless, and after awhile the novelty of the power wore off even the wizard would likely stop having fun in a world that doesn't challenge him. this spell can not be granted as is.

The spell description clearly states that the more powerful a wish the more likely it is to go wrong, so you are clearly within your 'rights' to have things go wrong; and frankly something needs to go wrong since the spell can't be granted as is. The options have already been well listed, so I want to focus more on how to decide which to choose.

So the real question is what will fail. You have quite a bit of range in how genours, or evil, you choose to be at this point. Let's look at our options to see what we can do based off of how cruel you wish to be.

The boring option

The obvious default is to have the spell just fizzle and fail. This is within the realm of possibilities but is...well boring. It's not going to lead to any interesting (ie fun) play. I wouldn't recommend just fizzling by itself.

The one exception to this would be if the fizzle was only the first step in a larger story. Maybe the spell fizzled because a god of your world had to intervene to prevent a broken wish, and is now watching your group. Maybe the god is mad you tried to abuse the wish, maybe it's a trickster god that finds it interesting, maybe it's not a god but some powerful being that wishes to take advantage of any wizard foolish enough to make such a wish etc.

In other words, maybe the fizzle isn't just a fizzle, but a plot hook. If you take the time to tie the fizzle into your world/adventure and use it as a plot hook this could be a very interesting and satisfying option, especially if the wizard is granted some lesser boon at the completion of the plot hook, roughly equivalent to the power of a standard wish, as a reward for following up on the hook and a compensation for the lost wish.

Since I don't know your game, or even what realm your playing in, I can't give specific ideas on plot hooks. I'll say this could be the most rewarding answer, but only if you can think of a satisfying way to justify the fizzle leading to more interesting plot developments.

The lenient answer

The nicest option is to give a partial success. Let them get some lesser version of what they requested. so some options would be, in order of danger

  1. They can cast all spells < x level at will
  2. He can choose one or more spells a day to be able to cast at will, but he must spend a spell slot equal to 3 times the level of the spell (or some similar formula) per spell he wants to cast at will. Ie. basically give him some meta magic ability to cast spells at will. There is likely already a meta magic you can copy to decide how the formula should work, but since I'm less familiar with 5e I'm afraid I can't link you directly to the appropriate meta-magic.
  3. They can cast spells like a sorcerer without memorizing them first.
  4. They can cast spells at will, but they suffer int burn relative to the level of the spell (or some other penalty such that there is still an effective limit on how much they can actually cast)
  5. They can cast all spells at will, for one hour
  6. They can cast any spell at will, so long as the target of the spell is will

Though honestly 3 feels too powerful for a wizard to get, and 4 and below could all be abused by creative enough players, so I probably would only really consider option 1 or 2, maybe option 4 if I trusted my players, personally.

The problem with being too lenient is that you may set up expectations, that all wishes will be so nicely/benignly handled. This might tempt your players into making more overly-powered wishes, and have them complain if you aren't equally lenient in the future.

To minimize this risk I'd give them hints, both in game and out, that you were being very forgiving. Narrate the experience the wizard has as he feels power forced into his head, and the sensation that he is close to losing his mind from the experience. That he can't possibly keep the power forced into his head without loosing his mind, or something similar. Stress how close it came to being a bad end for him. Out of game I may simply say they were lucky you let him get away with it and you don't promise every wish will end this well.

There is a second potential issue with spending a wish to empower one player, and that is that it may make your other players less content. If you have only one wish and it is spent making one player better then by comparison the other players are less powerful. Depending on your players this may cause some discontentment. Arguably if your players allowed your wizard to spend a wish on empowering himself they shouldn't really complain if he was thus empowered, but they may not have realized the affect it would have on gameplay, or may have reasonable expected the wish to fail anyways.

One option is to spread the wish affect around, maybe allow all your casters to cast 1st level spells at will instead of allowing your wizard to cast 2nd level spells at will etc.

Lenient with a cost

Much like the above, you could give him a real benefit, but add a drawback. Arguable my option 2 and 3 from the above list already were this, but it's not much of a cost if it's a new ability the can choose to ignore if the cost is too high.

Some examples are

  1. The player gains the ability to cast at will (or some variant from above list) but is driven mad by the revelation. Luckily it looks like 5e already has rules for madness you can use. Depending on how lenient you are you could affect them with short term madness, which is arguably not much of a penalty and serves as little more then a warning that they better not tempt fate; or long term madness. Notice long term madness can be removed by appropriate spells. If the player can't cast them yet they could get a quest/plot hook to find someone to cast it so this need not be a permanent penalty.

  2. The player gains the ability to cast all spells at will, but loses access to their top two spell levels.

  3. The player gains a spell book the can attune to with no spells, which they can attune to. They can cast any spell in the new spell book at will. But they can not memorize spells from both their old and new spell book, and using the new spell book comes with penalties (it can only memorize spells up to X level, perhaps it's an intelligent book with it's own agenda, maybe it's cursed etc)

Minor penalty, but recoverable

  1. They forget all non-cantrips they had memorized currently, thus they can, for the rest of the day, cast all their spells at will. They can still memorize new spells as usual tomorrow.

  2. They gain the ability to cast every spell at once. spells can not be targeted and doing this is likely suicidal; but hey they can do it!

  3. They forget all non-cantrips at once, and their spell book disappears; but they are given a realatively easy quest hook to hunt down their spells.

  4. For the rest of the day they can only cast spells if they target someone named will, the effect disappears after a long rest.

Really screw them over

  1. They lose all access to non-cantrips.
  2. They can only cast spells on someone named will.

How lenient you should be depends partially on your group and the type of game you are playing. If your wizard is an experienced gamer (ie, should really know better) and your playing an anyone-can-die sort of game then I suggest you really screw them over. Since they have 3 wishes they can use their second wish to fix what happened as a result of the first wish. This is a penalty of two wishes, a high penalty. However, experienced gamers should have known that a wish like this was likely to at best fizzle, and that it could easily be worse. IE they were asking for it and at least they have a way to reverse the damage done by the wish.

However, if your playing with a bunch of new novice players in a more lenient game you probably shouldn't punish them too much, or they will be afraid to use the rest of their wishes, they may even feel like it is you as the DM punishing them, even though the rules practically demand you not grant the wish. if your players are more interested in story then roll playing they may like a boon with an annoying penalty that they need to follow up on a plot hook to resolve.

If you go with a harsher option you may want to give them a "are you sure?" question before they do this, or something similar, to give them a subtle warning that they are gambling. Or even ask them to read over wish description themselves to make sure they see that part about the more powerful the wish the more likely it is to go wrong. That way when they are punished they can't say you didn't try to warn them.

Let the dice decide

This is my personal favorite answer, make them roll for it. Narrate the wizard mind being opened up to secrets of the universe that he can't possibly understand, and is struggling to retain what he is seeing without going mad. Then tell him to roll a D20 to see what happens.

  • 20: He can pick from options 1-4 of the lenient list (...with the possible exception of option 3; I still feel that may be too powerful).
  • 19-18: The human mind can only retain a fraction of what they were taught without going mad, but they retain the ability to cast 2nd-level and below at will.
  • 17-16: Same as 19-18, but limited to 1st-level spells.
  • 15-12: They gain the ability to cast 1st-level and below at will, but suffer short-term madness from the experience.
  • 12-10: They gain the ability to cast spells at will for half an hour, and suffer short-term madness.
  • 10-7: They forget all spells other than cantrips, but can always memorize them again after a long rest.
  • 7-4: They gain the ability to cast 1st-level spells at will, but suffer indefinite madness (this could arguably be higher, depending on how easy access to spells to cure madness is and/or how much your table enjoys story-driven penalties like this).
  • 3: They gain the ability to cast 1st-level spells at-will if targeting a person named Will for half an hour, and suffer long-term madness.
  • 2: They gain the ability to cast 1st-level spells at-will if targeting a person named Will for half an hour, and suffer indefinite madness.
  • 1: They permanently lose all spells except for cantrips.

This is obviously an example, you can tweak how lenient you are depending on your players and the type of game you play. You may want to replace permanent madness with some other penalty depending on how much your players would be willing to play a flaw like this, some would find it fun RP and some would complain about loosing agency of their character so judge your own party and if necessary use one of the other penalties as appropriate.

I'd argue the above table is pretty lenient, I could see arguments for a much harsher table that only gives a permanent boon on a 18 above, or even 20, and most of the other results are just finding out how royally screwed the player is. After all an experienced player should know that this wish can't be allowed to succeed, and thus the rules encourage the DM to screw with them if they try it.

I like this option because it makes it clear that your players are gambling with their wishes and things can go wrong. If they roll poorly and get screwed over, well it's not DM fiat that they can complain about, it was luck if the die. Likewise if they roll high and get a lenient result they aren't guaranteed to get that good a result in the future, so they can't complain if you decide to punish them for a different overly-ambitious wish later. Plus, what player doesn't like to gamble their lives on a d20 roll? Isn't that the spirit of D&D :)

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

An idea: You mean like he does already? He chooses to cast a spell, uses a spell slot and maybe a material component (depending on the spell). Apparently he already can cast at will. That would be funny.

My perspective: I wouldn't give it to him like how I assume he wants it. To cast all his spells for free unlimited times per rest. What I would do is let him cast the spells he currently know without the use of materials. Still limited to spell slots, duration, concentration, and actions. (Following all the rules except material components.) Another limitation that I would consider is the duration that this wish lasts. I would let him roll 1 d 20 and the number is how many days it will last. A roll of 20 and a follow up roll of 90 - 100 for critical success would grant it to him permanently.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

Yes but it would be very powerful and is unlikely to work

Allowing the player to cast any spell at will is immensely game breaking. It means that almost any challenge, the few exceptions being areas devoid of magic and things like Counterspell (though even Counterspell can be counterspelled as per the Sage Advice Compendium, and you’d likely cast it at 9th level every time), is completely redundant as they will have a spell, or a collection of spells, that will be able to overcome said challenge.

Whole cities have been killed? Simply cast a ton of True Resurrection spells and now there were no casualties. Do you encounter any kind of threat ever? Cast Foresight and you’ll always know its coming, or Time Stop and walk away from it or cast Invulnerability and laugh as a Terrasque fruitlessly tries to digest you, before repeatedly casting Meteor Swarm in its stomach, each meteor dealing 40d6 damage (though only one can affect it at a time) as you sit there unharmed. Also, because you can cast all of these spells at will, there is no risk of ever leaving yourself vulnerable.

As you can see, at will spell casting is extremely powerful and very game breaking. If the player asked for this, there is an extreme likely hood that this would fail, as per the description of Wish:

The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance; the greater the wish, the greater the Iikelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved,

As this is an astronomically great wish, the chances of it failing are astronomically great too, likely to the point of it basically being an automatic fail.

However, the line about “the effect you desire might only be partly achieved” is very interesting as it allows you, as the DM, to grant the player a weaker version of their wish, for example:


Let them cast one spell that they know per long rest without expending a spell slot or material components

Whilst you could manipulate his wish and have him only cast spells at someone named Will or tell him the spell fails or manipulate his spell in any way you wish, I feel that this may be unfair to the player. Now, of course, i’m not suggesting to grant him his wish as it is - being able to cast any spell at will is certainly gamebreaking - instead I suggest to give him the option to cast one spell without it costing a spell slot or material components.

Essentially, this is just giving them a basic Wish:

The basic use of this spell is to 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.

The difference is though is that you have to know the spell that you want to cast, rather than being able to cast any spell regardless of if you’ve prepared it or not. Firstly, having to have the spell known or prepared makes it so the regular Wish spell is not being too heavily overshadowed. Secondly, and most importantly, that caveat of having to have the spell prepared or known prevents lower-level players from gaining access to high level spells before they are ready (this is because you can’t learn or prepare a spell that you don’t have the spell slots to cast).

I feel that this is a fair option and is in-line with what the player wanted. They can “cast any of their spells at will” but they can only do that once per long rest. Its also not that game breaking as all you’re essentially doing is giving them one extra spell slot and saying spells cast using this slot don’t cost material components.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

Jerk Genie Answer

As a single action, the wizard can now use every spell (spell slot) they've prepared for the day targeting the same individual. Beneficial, harmful, ineffective, doesn't matter, they can, At-Will, cast all their spells. They'll need a long rest afterwards, and the results might be chaotic depending on what spells were simultaneously cast.

Might effective against a single baddie, or even group, but if there are multiple encounters before a long rest your wizard is going to be rueing the day.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

As everyone has said, way, way too powerful. Expect it to backfire badly.

Another option for a backfire:

He can cast at will--as in nothing needs to be done. Everything he casts is stilled/silent and doesn't require components. I'd be generous and only raise the required slot by one, though.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

Unless you are running a game where PCs are like gods incarnate, you don't want the Wish to fully give him what he intends. Also, you don't want the wishes to be a complete waste. Wishes going sour can be fun when it creates interesting narrative and new plot for the players to engage in, but it can also be a lazy answer. (The "bloke named Will" approach, while hilarious for a hot minute, is a wasted opportunity.)

A partial success that has upsides and downsides is most likely to satisfy the players. Your starting point with Wish is to think about the shortest path the spell follows from the user's intent to an effect that is within reasonable bounds.

The closest capability is within the Spell Mastery feature, which wizards get at very high levels. At his level, the wizard's mind could break trying to wrangle that much magic. To say nothing of spells that are above level 1 and 2.

What you do from this point is a matter of judgment based on how powerful the other PCs and NPCs in your world are, but here's what I'd grant them:

You learn to grasp the raw fundament of magic. You are able to cast any of your known spells at will, without them needing to be prepared and without consuming a spell slot, but doing so puts great strain on you as mind and body alike or torn apart by raw magic.

When you cast a spell using this feature, roll 1d20. The DC of this check is 10 + (the level of the spell). Your current and maximum hit points are reduced by Xd6, or half on succeeding the check, where X is the level of the spell. This damage is to the fabric of your being, and cannot be further reduced or prevented. In addition, if you fail to make the check, you gain a level of exhaustion.

In other words, this could seriously save the party's bacon in a moment of desperation, and using it for stuff like Shield or Mirror Image they'd need to weigh the pro's and con's, but regardless the wizard is going to be hurting. I'd also let the player know that the d6's might become other dice rolls as tuning is required.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, but they cast unconsciously in dreams and other non-intentional states

This is not actual advice on how to run a game. In a story, however, an appropriate outcome to someone being able to perform miracles without foresight is just that... every instinct they have leads to magical effects.

  1. Annoyed at the waitress? She's a toad, before your conscious mind says "Wait!"
  2. Trimming your beard taking too long? Fire erupts from your face, searing it off.
  3. Hungry? The mayor's steak dinner is teleported in front of you, including his monogrammed napkin, which everyone sees.

For some inspiration, watch the anime Shinsekai Yori.

One way to do this in a way that could make an entertaining story is, every day or week, add one more level of spells that are available at-will and also one more level that happens spontaneously.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ One thing to consider is that the OP is asking about this problem in the context of a game and is looking for advice on how to run it at their table. They are explicitly looking for advice on how to run this aspect of their game. Answers would be most helpful if they address this explicitly, preferably also backing that advice up with some sort of evidence. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 29 at 17:13
-1
\$\begingroup\$

What your player is asking for is a fraction of the Spell Mastery class feature that a wizard would gain at level 18. In short, giving the player what he ask would unbalance the game a lot.

The spell wish can do anything the DM says it does. You will have to decide what a wish can do. With that said, you should warn your players on how you will resolve a wish spell :

  • Can a wish do nothing ? If the wish is too much, does it simply do nothing or does it attempt to do as much as it can, probably resulting in a partial success.
  • How much weight will you give to the wording vs the intent of the wish ?

I suggest forcing prompting the player to roleplay the wish. A wizard wishing for unlimited spells per day seems like a wish for more power to me. If the wish is for more power then you have more freedom to interpret that wish as the spell was intended.

Personally, what I would do in your situation (examples) :

  • If you want to resolve the wish quickly I would suggest giving the wizard either a Pearl of Power or a Spell Storing magic item as those items will allow a caster to cast more spells per day. Be aware that those items can be very strong for a low level character.

  • If you want you can use that wish to have the character come in contact with a powerful being such as a warlock's patron. More power is something a warlock's patron could grant and the spell Wish is clearly strong enough to contact one. Whether you want to homebrew things or simply allow the wizard to multiclass into warlock is up to you.

  • You could start small by giving the wizard the Magic Initiate feat. You can either simply give it or add more roleplay and say, for example, that his wish unlocked his understanding of a different type of magic (such as the dragon blood or wild magic from the sorcerer, the druidic magic or maybe it was a gift basket from one of the warlock's patron choice).

\$\endgroup\$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.