The wish spell is likely the most powerful and risky spells in Dungeons and Dragons. However, using it to do anything other that duplicate spells carries stress (and potentially losing the spell forever). Below I have quoted the relevant information:

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you. After enduring that stress, each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage per level of that spell. This damage can't be reduced or prevented in any way. In addition, your Strength drops to 3, if it isn't 3 or lower already, for 2d4 days. For each of those days that you spend resting and doing nothing more than light activity, your remaining recovery time decreases by 2 days. Finally, there is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again if you suffer this stress.

However, I want to know if these risks carry over to your mortal form, if you were under the effects of astral projection. Below I have quoted the relevant information:

Your astral body resembles your mortal form in almost every way, replicating your game statistics and possessions.

Your astral form is a separate incarnation. Any damage or other effects that apply to it have no effect on your physical body, nor do they persist when you return to it.

So would casting wish while under astral projection subject your body to stress and possibility of losing the spell wish, after astral projection has ended?


4 Answers 4


You suffer the stress as normal

The astral projection effect specifically applies to things that affect "your astral form" and "your physical body":

Any damage or other effects that apply to [your astral form] have no effect on your physical body [...]

However, this specific aspect of wish does not affect a physical body, it affects "you" as an entity in any form.

Finally, there is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again if you suffer this stress.

Astral projection creates an astral body for you, but there is still only one "you". Note the difference continuously indicated in the spell between "you" and the specific body you are inhabiting:

You [...] project your astral bodies into the Astral Plane

The material body you leave behind [...]

If you enter a new plane or return to the plane you were on when casting this spell, your body and possessions are transported along the silver cord, allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane.

This effect of wish is something that specifically affects "you" regardless of the physical shell holding your metaphysical self.

Therefore, I would say that casting wish while astral projecting would expose your character to the wish-losing stress as normal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2020 at 14:16

Per a comment above, I don't think a tight letter-of-the-rules analysis approach is going to work very well-- I just don't think the various rules and spell descriptions are written well enough or consistently enough for that to work.

However the GM always has the authority to rule in accordance with what he or she believes is the spirit of the rules, and also to rule based on extrapolation-- what happens if this really works? These analyses will perforce vary from GM to GM.

This GM thinks the spirit of the rules clearly imply that the wizard is going to suffer those effects one way or the other, because otherwise all the cool wizards would be doing it this way. This GM wouldn't even blink before making that ruling. (And to be clear, by "those effects", I mean the ones that re intuitively connected to the material body, like damage and strength, as well as the ones not so obviously connected to the physical body, like losing the ability to cast the spell again.)

But points for creativity!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am really surprised that all of these answers are getting downvotes, not just mine. Although explanations are obviously not required, I would be fascinated to understand why they are downvoted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Aug 19, 2020 at 22:55

It's up to the DM, but I would rule that you still suffer the penalty.

Rulings on metaphysics and ontology are pretty sparse in the published sourcebooks, and this question really depends on what counts as "you" at the time of casting - a metaphysical and ontological question. The DM will have to make ruling here. Personally, my ruling would be:

Wish refers to you in an ontological sense.

I would rule that the consequence of wish that disables you from casting it again is not an effect on your astral form at all, but an effect imposed upon you in a metaphysical or ontological sense - on your being. You isn't referring to your form. No, it refers to your center of consciousness, your mind, the essence of you as a being.

You are unable to cast wish ever again. Not, your present form is unable to cast wish ever again.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about strength being dropped to 3? I agree that the 33% chance still triggers, but the strength drop seems to me it would only affect a physical body, when present. \$\endgroup\$
    – RallozarX
    Aug 19, 2020 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The 33% chance triggers after the strength. It’s part of the same effect. It’s part of why i asked. It seems obvious that would hit the astral projection, and if it does, then why doesnt the spell loss. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daveman
    Aug 19, 2020 at 18:33

Sometimes, examining the result is more valuable than the rules and descriptions.

1. You can use Astral Projection to avoid the Wish penalty

This opens up the possibility of a smart NPC or Player getting away with a lot more than they otherwise could. However, both are 9th level spells, and cannot be cast by the same individual in the same day by normal means. Either two characters of at least level 17 must work together, or one character will need to have a way to duplicate one of the two spells. There are no Astral Projection items given in the DMG, and all Wish items have limited uses. Other phenomenon to duplicate one or the other spell will be incredibly rare.

Therefore, if you rule that this combination can successfully bypass the penalty, it will be difficult to perform as an individual, and probably impossible to do regularly. A pair of high level characters working together becomes the only way for this to happen often.

Is this okay to allow once in awhile? What are the story implications of an NPC doing this once or twice, using very rare and legendary magical items? This could be a great setup for a plot or entire adventure. If a Player does it, does it actually break the campaign, or just change it?

What would a pair of such high-level NPC characters look like? What would be their motivations for working together, and how did they discover this exotic loophole? Would they use this often, or save it as a last resort option?

Would a pair of such high-level PCs even need this combination to achieve their goals, or can they use other means? What do their companions think of this? And again, does this actually break the campaign, or merely change it?

What entities might take notice of such a thing, particularly if performed multiple times? How do these entities react?

Rather than denying an interesting combination of magics or skills, it could be more fun to tackle the implications to the story and world.

2. You cannot use Astral Projection to avoid the Wish penalty

One must then ask the question: Can you use Clone or Simulacrum to bypass the penalty? I'd argue that if Astral Projection doesn't work, then neither would Clone, but Simulacrum would be a separate question entirely, as the created creature is a different entity with its own stats and not tied to the original's life force. Granted, the simulacrum could only cast Wish once, but there is nothing to say the same wizard couldn't create multiple simulacrums across different days, allowing this combination as many times as desired. And one casting of Wish can be pretty damaging all by itself.

If one could not bypass the penalty using Astral Projection, would characters in the world even know that? It is a very specific set of circumstances, and could lead to disastrous experimentation on the part of NPCs or Players alike, with little chance of finding such an esoteric interaction pre-recorded prior to making the attempt. There are good storytelling opportunities here as well.

3. You can use Astral Projection to avoid the Wish penalty, but suffer other effects

Perhaps the backlash damages the character's silver cord. Perhaps it reverberates back to the magical item used to create this combination of spells, breaking or corrupting it. Perhaps it rips a hole in the Astral Plane, or causes a huge psychic storm, or results in a Wild Magic Surge with the power of a Wish spell behind it. Perhaps the effect of the wish mysteriously ends as soon as the Astral Projection spell ends, or it prematurely ends the projection spell and makes it harder/dangerous/impossible to re-enter the Astral Plane.

This third option is how I would rule it. Why limit your selection to "yes, this can happen" or "no, it cannot"? The world is grey, and much more interesting because of it. Let the Player(s) do it, with unforeseen consequences beyond just "some deity somewhere is aware of your presence and does not approve". Have NPCs in your world cause these consequences when they try. Let this absurdly powerful combination of magics tear at the seams of reality in unpredictable ways. Embrace the changes that occur to the campaign, and let it make your adventures as DM and Players all the more exciting.


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