Other than what’s described in the text of the wish spell, are there any things that wish specifically cannot do? The one example I know involves ​​mind blank:

Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch is immune to psychic damage, any effect that would sense its emotions or read its thoughts, divination spells, and the charmed condition. The spell even foils wish spells and spells or effects of similar power used to affect the target's mind or to gain information about the target.

Are there any others?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I remember a general trend in 3.5 where defensive spells would generally be a level lower than the spell they defend against. It would make sense for 8th level spells to be necessary to foil wish. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 15 at 23:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ It can't file your taxes for you. 😉 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 18 at 1:00

3 Answers 3


There is a list of things wish won't do

Even from the normal rules, there is a number of things that wish cannot do. In some cases, the rules call out that wish can do things only under certain circumstances, or limit the effect, which means that it cannot do them outside of these circumstances, or cannot do more. These cases include:

  • Acquire the gem of a slaad, when the slaad is not present (MM, p. 274)

  • Undo the effects of time warp from the Feywild for more than 10 creatures (DMG, p. 50)

  • Repair more than 50 hit points of damage to Dearn's Instant Fortress (DMG, p. 161)

  • Restore a soul imprisoned by the Void card of the Deck of Many Things

  • Destroy the Sword of Kas, unless you also have the Hand and Eye of Vecna and are within 30 feet of it

  • Restore a creature consumed by a Lich's phylactery to life - nothing short of divine intervention can do that (MM, p. 233)

By any means...

In addition, there are several effects that state that you cannot avoid them "by any means", and that includes wish, both because wish would be a means, and because there are other effects that state you cannot avoid them "by any means except wish". For example, Divine Word says a creature banished to its home plane

can’t return to your current plane for 24 hours by any means short of a wish spell

This suggests that such a feature should say "except wish" if wish allows you to avoid it. Of course, this presumes a level of consistent editing that may not be always met in the rules, so your DM's mileage on this might vary. Examples include:

  • Prevent taking damage from casting wish with an effect that is not one from the defined list (see also Quadratic Wizard's answer for more discussion on this one)

  • Put a warlock that has the Aspect of the Moon invocation to sleep (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 56)

  • Move a ship anchored by a Quaal's Feather Token

  • Prevent radiant damage to an evil creature by the Book of Exalted Deeds

  • Restore a soul imprisoned by the Book of Vile Darkness to life

  • Heal damage caused by Pale Tincture poison

  • Escape the Chains effect of the Imprisonment spell

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I buy the "by any means logic". There are also things that the rules specifically say can't be done by a wish. Similar logic would suggest that if the rules meant for something to be impossible, even with a wish, they would say so, as in these cases. I find this argument more compelling than the "by any means" argument because the normal effect of a wish is to do things that are otherwise impossible. Your interpretation requires any description of a normally impossible act to be qualified with "except for wish" to avoid making it super-impossible. which seems implausible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nobody
    Commented Feb 16 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nobody Either "not by any means" means "not by any means [including wish]" or it means "not by any means [excepting wish]". If it is the second, then the explicit "not by any means except wish" is redundant where it appears (and it does appear). This answer (and mine), when faced with this choice opt for the 'rules do what they say they do' approach, where "not by any means" signifies exactly that and not an implicit 'of course, wish can always do the impossible'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Feb 16 at 15:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nobody First off, welcome fellow Nobody! Secondly, I agree, that is while I have the qualifier about editorial consistency. There however are several instances like the one I cite, so in multiple cases the authors felt they need to add „except by wish" to create that loophole. But you are right, it puts the same annoying burden on them, as it does on us when we answer questions about what is possible, or not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16 at 17:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt The argument works just the same in the other direction. To wit, 'Either "not by any means" means "not by any means [including wish]" or it means "not by any means [excepting wish]". If it is the first, then the explicit "not by any means including wish" is redundant where it appears (and it does appear).' Because wish is explicitly about doing things that are normally impossible, it makes more sense to explicitly call out the rules that wish can't break than to call out the ones it can. How many times do you expect rules writers to write "except for wish"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nobody
    Commented Feb 16 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nobody Absolutely the argument goes both ways. Of "not by any means [including wish]" and "not by any means [excepting wish]", one of the two has to be redundant, and we certainly see both written. However, I would argue that the principle of "rules do what they say they do" means that "not by any means", full stop, supports only one interpretation - where "any means" includes wish, and "except for wish" is written as often as it needs to be. My cursory search of the sources in my answer finds that "any means except wish" is less common than just "any means". \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Feb 16 at 23:27

Escaping Barovia

According to Curse of Strahd:

No spell—not even wish—allows one to escape from Strahd's domain.

Avoiding the recoil from casting wish

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.

Various things deal damage which cannot be reduced by any means, but I'm citing wish specifically because you'd imagine that wish would mention if it protected against itself.

Communicating with Jhesiyra Kestellharp

In Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage p.10, the wizard Jhesiyra Kestellharp has used a wish to transform herself into a disembodied presence in Undermountain. However, it specifically states:

But not even a wish spell or divine intervention will allow direct, two-way communication with Halaster's former apprentice.

Whatever else your DM says it can't

Of course.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The last paragraph should perhaps be emphasized more. While there are a number of specific lines that prohibit certain uses of Wish by RAW, when you look at the text of Wish ("The GM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance[...]"), it is clear to me that the overall intent is for the GM to make a decision on a case-by-case basis. Hence, there is no answer to "By RAW, what can I wish for?" - it is not a matter of RAW, it is solely a matter of what your GM says (which may be informed by RAW, but is not determined by it). \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 17 at 22:53


As listed in Nobody's answer, there are some things that a wish can do, but only under certain circumstances. When those circumstances are not met, then, wish cannot do that thing.

For example, a wish explicitly can send the soul of a revenant to the afterlife when that soul is bodiless (MM 259). It follows then that a wish cannot dispatch the soul of a revenant that is currently embodied.

Similarly, a wish cannot return more than eight creatures from an altered time due to entering a sphinx's lair.

Not by any means...

As explained in Nobody answer, some effects say they cannot be done or undone "by any means" while others say "by any means [except] wish". If we assume that the former are things that a wish cannot do, than it cannot:

Remove the "horns, a tail, or some other devilish features" caused as a consequence of breaking a diabolic contract. (BG:DiA 214).

Raise from the dead a creature whose soul is trapped on the soul spike armor of an intact infernal war machine. (BG:DiA 222)

Permit entry to Xonthal's Tower without passing through the extradimensional space that serves as its entrance. (TRoT 64)

Return to life someone who has been snuffed out and turned to a fetid powder through a combination of Acererak's crown and scepter (TftYP 224).

Make brighter the eastern stairs in the chapel of Kukulkan. (TftYP 86)

Obtain both the large and small sacks of the Siren in the Cavern of Gold and Silver Mists. (TftYP 222)


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