The 5e Wish spell does, literally, whatever you wish, but for a price. The Basic Use version may be useful for instant spell research without the usual time / gold costs. Logically, one could use this Basic Wish to learn all the wizard spells lvl. 8 and lower. But what are the limits? To quote:

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.

Here are some possibilities:

  1. Casting 'Wish' may allow one to have a version of any existing / official spell (found in Player's Handbook, Volo's &/or Mordenkainen's manuals). This exists as a memorized spell 'slot', uncast, in one's mind. Wizards (class) could then write-scribe this spell, providing this was a wizard's (spell-list) spell in the first place. This learning technique may also extend to some ritual spells, q.v.

  2. As the Basic Use of a 'Wish' spell does NOT require material components. As such, the caster of this spell can automatically gain one (1) fully transcribed non-magical version in a book (or scroll / carved tablet / scribed on a skull / whatever suits your fancy). Should this be a 'wizard' spell, the caster could then use this written version as though they had transcribed this themselves. Other wizards would need to endure the usual transcription-study-cost process from this origin material, as normal.

  3. This Basic Version of the spell vetoes any and all requirements! As such, any spell imaginable (of less than 8th level value) can be instantly scribed into a book. If it were considered a 'wizard' type spell others of that class could make use / transcribe it as usual. If it were a spell for any other list, those of the appropriate class could use this written spell to re-establish a new relationship with their deity, patron or other spell-delivery creature.

Off the cuff, the first one seems reasonable. The second version seems to be pushing boundaries a little (not sure why). The last one, drafting out Brand New Spells every day, seems totally implausible for a mere Basic Wish (perhaps a FULL wish could do this?) - yet i have no known RAW defence on this. It just seems like a bad idea to let a CR 11 'arch-mage' pump out 300+ spells (of any class / up to 8th lvl) in any given year, risk free. But... why not?

Gathered Exchangers of Stackings... what say ye?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The text simply says "The spell simply takes effect.". I can't see the connection between a spell being cast and the caster being able to add the spell to a spell book. Can you explain why it is 'logical' that transcribing the spell is possible? Casting a spell from a scroll doesn't give this benefit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


There's an assumption here that I'm not sure I agree with. Just because wish allows you to replicate the effects of any spell of 8th level or lower does not imply to me that you therefore know anything about how the lower level spell is cast.

This is my reading, and as far as I can tell it's consistent with the rules text:

  • The spell you are casting and know how to cast is wish.
  • When you cast wish you ask for a certain thing to happen.
  • In the particular case where what you ask to happen is a thing that a lesser spell could do, the result is as if you had cast the lesser spell instead of wish.
  • You do not need to know the lesser spell to use wish in this way.
  • You don't learn anything about the spell you are replicating by producing its effects via wish.

Therefore, I don't think any of the cases you describe are necessarily applicable and you cannot perform magical research by replicating spells using wish. (You could wish for knowledge of spells, but that's not covered by the "basic use" clause.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would add that even casting a spell through Spell Scrolls or Magic Items does not allow you to scribe the spell on the book. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 4:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint: Though if you have a spell scroll of a spell you could cast, you can just try to copy that scroll directly (assuming it's of a level you can cast normally) :P \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 3:25

The effect of wish, when used to duplicate the effects of a spell of 8th level or lower, doesn't give the caster that spell in a special slot that can be then be written into a spell book. Casting wish simply performs that spell instead, immediately when wish is cast, as if you had cast the other spell instead.

If you're using a crafting system where you can make a scroll of a spell by casting the spell during crafting (like 3.5/PF era), you could produce a scroll this way with some hours of work and the cost to create the scroll, then use the scroll to write the spell into your spell book.

Wish also only duplicates existing spells; it can't be used to simply create new spells without risking the stress of a "true" wish. However, your DM might determine that the spell you want has already been invented somewhere and allow you to copy it despite your character not knowing it already exists...

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wish I had some more rules support to cite, but "the spell only does what it says it does" is about the only support I can give my answer unless an author has chimed in on the subject. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 1:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ :) I see what you did there! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 2:37

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