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I’m playing a level 20 Bard and this is my first PC. I am not very experienced and I’m not happy with the spells I chose so I would like to change my spell list.

I thought the wish spell could help me with this. Can I use the Wish spell to change my spell list?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Considering that a bard can change one previously selected spell every time they gain a level; what prevented you from changing spells as you leveled up as you realized they were the wrong choices for you? \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jan 26, 2021 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miva it may be that Vasilis built a level 20 character from the outset (rather than leveling up from a lower level). \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Jan 26, 2021 at 17:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara, if that was the case, it would be a dick-move for the DM to say to an inexperienced player "Create a god character, but you only get one shot at it." There are so many trap spells, features, and considerations that even though I've been playing since 1st edition, I would have a hard time coming up with a 20th level character out of the box that I'd want to keep playing. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jan 26, 2021 at 19:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a bit of an XY question. Your real problem is that you want to "re-spec" some build choices, such as spells, after testing your character in play. But you only asked about whether Wish can do that. There are probably some existing Q&As about what you actually want, with answers about talking to your DM and maybe integrating the change into RP, or just retconning if it's a minor change and early in the campaign and/or spells/features you haven't even been using. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2021 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Important considerations outside of the answer to this question - is this a character starting at level 20, or have you been playing for awhile? If it's the former, then there might be options for you to achieve what you want outside of being the bard class (for example - if you want to play instruments but have a better spell list, you might be better off picking the 'entertainer' background, and an entirely different class). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibbobz
    Jan 26, 2021 at 19:38

4 Answers 4

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Ignoring the stress aspects caused by using Wish in this way, this is the important part of the spell for you:

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible. The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance, the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the Effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish. For example, wishing that a villain were dead might propel you forward in time to a period when that villain is no longer alive, effectively removing you from the game. Similarly, wishing for a legendary magic item or artifact might instantly transport you to the presence of the item's current owner.

So short answer, yes, the spell can do what you want but the DM gets the final say. For something like allowing a PC to change their spells I would hope the DM would say yes to your request without trying to trick you.

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    \$\begingroup\$ An addition might be to add that it could be worth talking to the DM first, explain the current spell selection isn't fun and ask them outright to just let this wish happen before it becomes the wish. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 23:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agree with SeriousBri, talk to the DM first. Plus you two might also come up with a RP element to mark the change. Since a bard's spells are tied to their art, maybe your Bard suddenly finds they can no longer play the Viol, but is now a dab hand at the Flute? Inmaterial, but could be a fun RP element, especially if it was a favoured instrument that's lost \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Jan 26, 2021 at 10:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also petition my DM to ignore the stress part about wish since I'd even allow this without the wish spell (and would congratulate a new player for doing it so favorfully) \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Jan 26, 2021 at 12:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Those suggested "interpretations" are classic cases of the Jackass Genie trope, and nobody should ever ever do that. Literal Genies are interesting and rewarding to deal with, Jackass Genies don't bother you lose anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Jan 27, 2021 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a DM, the only reason I'd consider saying no to this is if you're in the middle of a situation where you've found out that the BBEG is a fire elemental and you want to change all your spells to be water based to make the fight easy. But if it's downtime, and it's just because you want to generally make better choices, it should be fine. If he still says no, ask if you can use one wish per spell you want to change and see if that's allowed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mathaddict
    Jan 27, 2021 at 17:54
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Yes, but ...

Only the DM can allow this and ... the Wish spell is immaterial. If your DM allows it you don’t need the Wish. If the DM doesn’t allow it the Wish won’t help.

The DM should allow it

Punishing an inexperienced player for making poor choices by a DM is a DM (the first DM stands for Dungeon Master, the second ... doesn’t).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Dumb Man? Dale M? Dreadful Moron? I must know what the second stands for! \$\endgroup\$
    – nwp
    Jan 26, 2021 at 13:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to guess "Dick Move". \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaz
    Jan 26, 2021 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's written already "Doesn't Master" \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2021 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ D-d-d- DoucheMan? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2021 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ It stands for "Dale M", clearly. :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Rekesoft
    Jan 27, 2021 at 14:30
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The Wish spell can do literally anything, at the DM's discretion.

Wish states:

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible. The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance...

This means exactly what it says; you can wish for anything you want and it's up to the DM to decide what happens. If you want to change your spell list then yes, you can wish for that. Whether it works, how well it works, and what the ultimate outcome is depends on the DM.

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Frame Challange: Wish isn't the solution

If you're a new and inexperienced player running a Level 20 character* then your DM should totally allow for some respecing of your character, NO WISH REQUIRED. At absolute minimum I'd ask to be able to change any spell you haven't cast yet. That said it wouldn't hurt the game in an appreciable way for them to allow you to change all or most of your spells.

As far as "maintaining the narrative" it's a fantasy game, you and the DM should be able to come up with a narrative reason for the change without too much trouble. If nothing else just say it was the effect of a wild magic surge from an nearby incautious sorcerer.

*I'm assuming here that you started at level 20 since playing long enough to level up from 1 you would NOT be a new or inexperienced player.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This this character is their first and they're now level 20, they might not be a new or inexperienced player, but they would've been while picking spells at lower levels. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2021 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean either they've played at least 20 session (leveling up each time) or they started the character at (or near) level 20. In the former case they wouldn't be new anymore. My point is that if you haven't played enough to not be new, you haven't played enough that being locked into your initial choices is fair or worthwhile in any way. \$\endgroup\$
    – aslum
    Jan 26, 2021 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see now that my comment was unclear. If this is their first character, and they started at level 1 and have now played to 20, they might not be new any more but they were new while picking their spells. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2021 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ True, but they probably weren't "new" for, let's say, 10th level onward. Since Bards can replace one of their previously learned spells each time they level up, and only learned 12 spells at levels 1 through 9, they likely would have been able to replace all but 2 of their learned spells by level 20. I'd say it's unlikely they're asking this question based on 2 spells they're unhappy with. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2021 at 23:34

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