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Wish is a 9th level spell, one of the uses written into it is:

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 question is what level is that copy of the spell cast at? I can see three possibilities here:

  • Wish was cast from a 9th level spell slot, so the copied spell is cast at 9th level.
  • Wish can cast up to an 8th level spell as a copy, so the copy cast is cast as if it were using an 8th level slot.
  • The spell being copied is of Nth level, so the copy is cast as if it were using an Nth level slot.

There are good reasons to cast low level spells at higher levels, the extra die per level of healing for cure wounds, the extra missile per level for magic missile, etc, so using a 9th level slot to cast a low level spell copy at the low level would generally be undesirable, but the wish spell isn't clear.

The first two possibilities both make some sense and are useful, in the 9th level example you just get the spell as if you had cast it normally in the slot, in the 8th level example you're sacrificing one level of casting bonuses for the ability to cast possibly unknown, unprepared or cross-class spells (no restriction against copying say cleric spells as a wizard with wish) - and that utility seems like a fair trade off.

But which is 'officially' correct?

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From this tweet by Jeremy Crawford, it appears that the second option is correct - the spell can be cast at any level of 8th or below. The relevant text:

A spell you duplicate with wish can be cast at a higher level, as long as that level is no higher than 8th.

(Do note that Crawford's tweets are no longer official rulings, but rather reflect designer intent).

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Sage Advice Compendium is official rulings, the website "Sage Advice" is little more than a compilation of design tweets. That said, this certainly shows how the spell was intended to function \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 11 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @medix2 or at least how he felt when he wrote that tweet. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 11 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Official rulings on how to interpret rules are made here in the Sage Advice Compendium [...] The public statements of the D&D team, or anyone else at Wizards of the Coast, are not official rulings; they are advice." @Andrew \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Feb 11 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you support this outside of Crawford's tweet? That would greatly improve this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 11 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Joakim M. H. gives a succinct explanation here: "if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level" -- You don't need to upcast spells duplicated by Wish because they are not "cast" they "simply take effect". \$\endgroup\$ – pwi Feb 12 at 3:05
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Up to the caster, but L8 is the limit.

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

Casting at a higher level neatly dovetails with the wish wording.

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting.

This tells informs us that there are higher level fireballs than the minimum. For instance, wish can duplicate the effects of a level 6 fireball. That level 6 fireball rolls 11d6 fire damage.

Refering to upcast spells in this manner matches other uses

Many of the magic items in the Dungeon Master's Guide refer to items that grant spell casting along with the level. E.g. Instruments of the Bards (p 176) grant spells of the same name and different levels:

Anstruth harp ... cure wounds (5th level)

Canaith ... cure wounds (3rd level)

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this answer: rpg.stackexchange.com/a/128073/44723 @Rubiksmoose argues that the spell isn't cast but duplicated. He uses this to argue that the spell is not cast - how does your answer deal with that? \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Feb 11 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu considering the wish spell to duplicate another isn't a problem here. It duplicates a level 6 fireball instead of casts a level 6 fireball. The semantic difference of cast vs duplicate doesn't impact this issue. There exists a level 6 fireball spell that wish can duplicate. There exists a level 9 fireball that it can't duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Feb 12 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu Fireball level 6 exists. Wish duplicates it as per "You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect." Wish eschews the spell slot, components, time, chicken waiving, etc. The spell simply takes effect. The SAc you refer to elucidates the default when the level is unspecified or doesn't use a spell slot via class features. Magic items do not use spell slots and are not limited to the lowest level. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Feb 12 at 1:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu "When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting. For instance, if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level." that is to say that "2nd level magic missiles" exist, and they are what you can duplicate -- 2nd level magic missile is a spell of 8th level or lower. Upcasting is irrelevant because the spell is never cast, it pops into existence. I think your point is mainly about the wording "for that casting" right? \$\endgroup\$ – pwi Feb 12 at 3:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pwi yes, Wish duplicates. Either the target is a template of a spell with a set spell level or a spell that is cast. Then there is the question of how the spell comes into existence - is duplication a casting of a spell? If it is a casting of a spell normal casting rules apply (minus requirments). Since Metamagic does apply to Wish duplicates (SAC 2.3) it has to be a casted spell, and because the duplication causally happens after the wish slot, that cast does not consume a spell slot, so it is cast at its lowest possible level (unless the spell explicitly says otherwise, which Wish doesn't). \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Feb 12 at 3:53

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