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Does using the wish spell to resurrect a creature killed by the disintegrate spell (or similar) trigger the "stress" penalties of the wish spell?


The first thing that causes me to question this is the general design of it, which is more of a RAI assessment. From what I can tell, wish's non-spell replicating punishment is meant to be a limit and punishment to keep players from breaking the game with repeated and frequent uses of wish to reshape the world and break every other rule of the game with a solid mechanical effect that doesn't put the whole weight of that limitation on the GM's shoulders.

From this perspective, using wish to resurrect someone killed by a spell that explicitly tells them that they have to use wish (or another 9th-level resurrection spell) to resurrect someone is a fully intended system in the game, and thus should not be subjected to wish's punishment for "trying to break the game".

The RAW argument for the resurrection not triggering the punishment is that, if the person has died within the last 10 days, the spell reincarnate only requires you touch a piece of them (resurrection does not have the "piece of them" option), which the dust left behind by disintegrate could be argued to be, and the a new body is generated for them. Wish was used to replicate the spell. Therefore, you are meeting the requirements of disintegrate (wish) and the requirements of the non-punishing wish (replicating a spell) and the requirements of reincarnate (touching a piece of the body). So you should not have a chance to lose the ability to cast wish.

The argument for it not working is pretty straight forward. You are casting wish, invoking the text of the disintegrate spell, not replicating a spell of level 8 or less.

Also, this could seem like it is stepping on the toes of true resurrection. However, true resurrection has a much longer timeframe, does not change the character's race, and does not require the party to pick up all the dust if they can't cast wish before a strong gust of wind picks up. It also only works to counteract disintegrate or other spells with the same effect in the same way that true resurrection does; it does not replace other reasons that true resurrection could be necessary, such as the body being taken out of the party's reach.

The relevant part of the reincarnate spell's description says:

You touch a dead humanoid or a piece of a dead humanoid. Provided that the creature has been dead no longer than 10 days, the spell forms a new adult body for it and then calls the soul to enter that body. If the target's soul isn't free or willing to do so, the spell fails.

The relevant part of the description of the wish spell says:

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.

Finally, the relevant part of the disintegrate spell description says:

A disintegrated creature and everything it is wearing and carrying, except magic items, are reduced to a pile of fine gray dust. The creature can be restored to life only by means of a true resurrection or a wish spell.

Personally, if this came up in play, I would not include wish's punishment due to the first paragraph; however, with the benefit of foresight, I am seeking a more informed answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question seems to be wobbling between being a poll of "What do you think?" and looking for a definitive answer. It might help to tighten up the text a little bit. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Dec 17 '20 at 18:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "What's the difference in Geas saying it can be removed by Wish?" in particular this answer \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 17 '20 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate (I just don't want to hammer this): "Does using Wish for a use that's mentioned elsewhere, but that's not duplicating a spell, cause stress?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 17 '20 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very rules lawyered perspective, are you a DM or a player? \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Dec 17 '20 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the feedback. I was going for a solid answer and explaining my uncertainty. I am both a gm and a player, but I am asking for guidance on how to do things when I am GMing. Thanks for the geas reference. I had forgotten that Geas also had the wish removal text, and that is a much more direct comparison than my rules lawyering of disintegrate's resurrection text. \$\endgroup\$ – Batosai33 Dec 19 '20 at 4:09
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You incur the penalty.

The wish spell has exactly one use that does not trigger the penalty:

to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower.

Any other use of wish triggers the penalty:

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you.

Replicating a spell is not good enough for disintegrate.

True resurrection can get the job done for reversing disintegrate, but as a 9th level spell, it is not eligible for duplication via wish. For 8th level and lower resurrection spells, the trouble is that once you replicate a spell, you are not casting wish for the purposes of resurrection, you are casting the spell. Wish says:

The spell simply takes effect.

Casting one of the lesser resurrection spells with wish does not count as using wish for resurrection; all wish does is produce the effect of a spell that is not powerful enough to reverse death-by-disintegrate.

To use wish for the purpose of reversing a death-by-disintegrate, you must wish that creature back to life, and trigger the penalty.

Finally, as RevenantBacon observed in a comment, the spell true resurrection would be totally pointless if wish could replace it without penalty.

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Given that the only way that Wish does not incur a penalty is using it “to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower” and True Resurrection is a 9th level spell, I would say that this use is outside of its normal behavior, and thus it is subject to all penalties as described in the spell's text.

You could, however, use Reincarnate via the Wish spell to give the dead individual a new body. That would be subject to the rules for Reincarnate, though.

I would also note, while Wish is capable of resurrecting a person killed using Disintegrate, that does not mean that this resurrection is exempt from the rules. Only that it is a valid method of undoing a disintegration based death.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A disintegrated target cannot be restored to life with Reincarnate. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 18 '20 at 7:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that Reincarnate does not "restore" a creature to life. It creates a new life, which a creature's soul is then called to inhabit. This would definitely be a DM's discretion situation I think. I would also say that using Wish to cast Reincarnate specifically follows the wording of Disintegrate. \$\endgroup\$ – Carson Dec 18 '20 at 16:06
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You would suffer the penalty

The intended use of the wish spell is simply to wish the person back to life, which is outside of the penalty avoiding options for that spell so you would have to pay the price.

Casting any other form of resurrection spell (such as reincarnate) would not work as the effect of the disintegrate spell is quite specific about that:

The creature can be restored to life only by means of a true resurrection or a wish spell.

So casting reincarnate, for example, via wish would escape the penalty but not bring the person back to life.

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Yes, it triggers the penalty of the wish spell

I think just the fact that the disintegrate spell description says:

A disintegrated creature and everything it is wearing and carrying, except magic items, are reduced to a pile of fine gray dust. The creature can be restored to life only by means of a true resurrection or a wish spell.

That does not mean it does not incur the penalty. Because there is an explicit passage in the description of the wish spell that suggests otherwise:

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you.

So I would argue that the explicit mention of wish is RAW mostly just a clarification for Adventurers League rulings. (Remember, this still saves the material components that you'd normally need to cast true resurrection!) That is, if it said "only true resurrection", that would make it "up for the GM to decide how to handle this", instead of a simple: "Yes, but you get wish penalties."

It probably won't break balance (too much) to rule otherwise. But I don't see a RAW reason to not incur penalties.

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