I vaguely recall Wishes in 1e affecting ability score increases going something like this:

  • a single Wish spell could increase any ability score to 16
  • you needed another Wish spell to get to 18
  • then it was one Wish spell per point over that (with like 5 Wishes needed to get to 18/00 STR)

But now, looking through the 1e DMG, I can't find any of this. Ideally, I'd like information on how a Wish spell would interact with ability score increases for each edition of D&D.

What's the historical interaction between the Wish spell and increasing ability scores?


2 Answers 2


AD&D1e has rules for this, on p. 11 of the DMG. A wish per point of ability, up to 16, then a wish per tenth of a point.

BECMI D&D has rules for Clerical wishes on p. 40 of the Rules Cyclopedia and for Magic-User wishes on p. 61. Raising an ability by one level requires as many wishes as the number of the new level, all of which must be cast within a week.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see anything in the 1e DMG about 'a wish per point' up to 16. Only about how Wishes affect ability scores at 16 and above. Can you quote where you got that part from? \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @aaron9eee: So it doesn't. I was answering mainly from memory of forty years ago; I think we must have deduced a wish per point, the text is clear that you get more than a tenth of a point below 16. Several groups I played in had reached the same conclusion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ LOL, that 40 years truly does play havoc with memory!! \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 2:12

3/3.5e are the only editions to explicitly allow an increase in ability scores using Wish.

  • OD&D - no Wish
  • Greyhawk supplement 1 - Wish is introduced, but no explicit effects, it's basically up to the DM
  • 2e - Wish has no explicit effects again
  • 3e - "Grant a creature a +1 inherent bonus to an ability score. Two to five wish spells cast in immediate succession can grant a creature a +2 to +5 inherent bonus to an ability score (two wishes for a +2 inherent bonus, three for a +3 inherent bonus, and so on). Inherent bonuses are instantaneous, so they cannot be dispelled. Note: An inherent bonus may not exceed +5 for a single ability score, and inherent bonuses to a particular ability score do not stack, so only the best one applies."
  • 4e - wish isn't in this edition
  • 5e - no interaction
  • \$\begingroup\$ May wanna check BECMI \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 5:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil It's in there, but I don't have any of the source books or know a good site to confirm the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 5:32

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