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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
758 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  01:19:00  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
This has probably been asked before, but I couldn't find a thread on it so here we go.

DMs and storytellers, how do you deal with Wish in your campaigns?

We're all aware that there are plenty of archmages throughout the Realms, that theoretically have the ability to cast Wish. And it kind of seems like there have been plenty of situations over the years where they could have used it.

Why don't they? Or have they? Are there any prominent examples of Wishes being used in the Realms?

The consequences of Wish scares the bejeezes out of me for high-level campaigns, and I wonder why such a spell doesn't affect the Realms more frequently. I've considered telling my players that the multitude of high-level wizards in the Realms just don't know the spell, but that seems a bit like cheating considering its in the Player's Handbook.

Thoughts? How do you explain Wishes in the Realms?

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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

488 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  02:15:45  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because wish isn't that good. It's a decent support spell, a good way of getting stat boosts and getting non-class spells on your list, but it's not hilariously gamebreakingly powerful unless it's being paired with the gamebreaker spells. It's a downtime/'oh s***' spell, not a first resort.

You should be more worried about your party's casters stocking up on save-or-die spells, gate, planar binding, summon monster, wightpocalypse shenanigans, celerity and so on. Casters don't need wish to break the game.

As for the archmages, Tam has a ring of three wishes.
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The Masked Mage
Master of Realmslore

USA
1624 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  04:18:16  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By far the most prominent use of the wish spell that I am aware of is when it was used by Vangerdahast in the novel Death of the Dragon; other examples do exist but LoB is correct. Wishes are purposefully tricky. It is the DMs job to use semantics to find loopholes in the wording of any wish spell cast; most players mess it up and that is the whole idea of the spell. Most just wish for a thing to happen but do not specify HOW it happens - huge rookie mistake.

Also, remember that the wish spell basically comes from the Arabian Nights - and it was a trap; or go watch Disney's Aladin. Itty Bitty Living Space. Nuff said.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
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Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  04:55:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It was misused in one of the Pools books, and that usage rather painfully ignored the rules concerning such spells (the character accidently went from a tiny little wisp of a woman to a hulking Amazon, as I recall).

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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
758 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  05:40:31  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting thoughts all, thanks.

Maybe I'm worrying too much, and archmages just only use them as an absolute last resort - as Wishes have a reputation for disastrous unintended side effects.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

488 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  06:00:00  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wish spells are the last thing you should be worrying about when fighting archmages.



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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
758 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  06:14:40  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not talking about combat at all, I'm talking about making yourself King of the world, erasing monsters from the world, wishing that pants had never been invented, and other such crazy doings.

But I'm pretty happy with the reputation for disastrous unintended side effects angle.

Edit: But then... wizards be crazy...

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North

Edited by - KanzenAU on 22 Dec 2017 06:16:50
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Gareth
Seeker

United Kingdom
32 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  07:28:26  Show Profile Send Gareth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I imagine that wish spells are like Thermonuclear War. Wizards don't toss a Wish spell around beyond very minor or self only effects because they know that another wizard will then cast a wish to counter it (or already has cast a wish to prevent it), and then a third wizard will cast a wish to amend, and then a fourth.

Essentially, you don't use it for crazy stuff, because other folks also have Wish.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14922 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  08:37:03  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The 'Law of Equivalent Exchange' comes into play. Or, for you sciency-types, the law of the conservation of energy.

You cast a wish, and something, somewhere just got changed so that your thing could happen. Wish for a million dollars, and some bank-vault just got emptied. Wish for rain for your crops, and a severe drought happens on the other side of the continent. Wishes are bad news because you have no idea at all whats going to change in order to make your wish come true. Its not just a nuclear bomb - its a nuclear bomb with a five second fuse and no remote activation.

There's a dude up in Realmspace who made some very bad wishes - wanted his lands to be 'protected forever', so now he's in his castle (with the lands still around it) floating in Realmspace. Thats canon, BTW (technically SJ canon, but still).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 22 Dec 2017 08:37:58
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

488 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  12:04:48  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that wish spells are overhyped. With the stipulations presented here, you may as well not bother even preparing a wish spell. It's not like wish spells are going to make spellcasters even more broken than they are.

Break the economy? There are spells for that.

Start an apocalypse? Create a wraith, send it into a village, rinse and repeat.

Immortality? Magic jar, clone, lichdom...

Failing that, you don't even need to cast the wish yourself. Gate in a solar or a pit fiend (which you can control, since gate allows you to control 2x your caster level in HD), get it to cast the wish for you, profit.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30671 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  13:13:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Failing that, you don't even need to cast the wish yourself. Gate in a solar or a pit fiend (which you can control, since gate allows you to control 2x your caster level in HD), get it to cast the wish for you, profit.



I'd expect that to be the scenario where the exact wording of the wish could be most readily used against the recipient.

I once had a character get a wish. I gave the wording of his request much consideration, and looked for any potential loopholes -- and since I can be a sneaky git, I think that I would have found any that were there. Then, because it was in keeping with how I played that character, I made an Intelligence check for him to make sure he'd be able to cover all the same angles.

Of course, all he wanted was a permanent version of the fly spell... And that particular group stopped gaming shortly after that, so he never got to take advantage of it.

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The Masked Mage
Master of Realmslore

USA
1624 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  16:17:38  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's too easy Wooly... "I want a permanent version of the fly spell." Pop, a scroll appears with the spell requested. Once cast, the naughty little mage is permanently polymorphed into a fly. :P
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30671 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  17:04:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

That's too easy Wooly... "I want a permanent version of the fly spell." Pop, a scroll appears with the spell requested. Once cast, the naughty little mage is permanently polymorphed into a fly. :P



Again, I spent some time on it. The wish was specifically to receive the effects of the fly spell and for those effects to be permanent.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14922 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  20:20:34  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, the 'backlash' should be equivalent to the power-level of the wish.

I just finished Hunter X Hunter (anime), and in the final arc they had a character who had the 'unlimited wish' power. I think they handled it pretty well - it had a BUNCH of rules to go with it, and if you wished for really simple stuff (like a cut on your finger to heal), there was almost no backlash. Also - and interestingly - the evilness of the wish also applied. So if you wished for something positive ("I would like a flower to give to that sick girl over there"), the backlash would be practically non-existent, but if you wished for someone to die, the backlash would be VERY severe, and if you wanted them to die horribly, the backlash would increase exponentially. Any wish based upon 'sin' (greed, etc.) would get the very bad backlash, even if it wasn't all that potent (wishing for thousand dollars, as opposed to wishing for a million). Wishing for something to help another would hardly cause a ripple.

As a D&D gamer, if I were to apply rules to all of that, I think I would say it requires some 'soul' to empower the wish, and people with good intentions have very strong souls (power level 1000! LOL), whereas someone evil would have a very weak soul. If the wish drains some of your soul away, and lets say it costs '10 points', someone with a soul-value of a thousand isn't going to bat an eye, but someone with a soul-value of just twenty just lost 1/2 the remainder of their soul. Thus, good people with good intentions can get away with making wishes (they become more like 'prayers'). There's still a limit, though.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 22 Dec 2017 21:19:06
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3455 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  20:53:06  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Depends on which game you are playing; but I have some basic rules I always apply to wishes:

1- The power has to come from somewhere. Whether a God becomes interested because the wish is relevant to their sphere(s) of interest or a fiend/genie catches a whiff of it as it is cast...the power behind "granting" the wish has a great deal to do with what ALSO happens besides the wisher's will.

2- Anything "created" by a wish simply comes from the positive/negative material planes or the elemental planes. If you wish for 10,000 Gold Pieces...you get 10,000 with blank faces...but they are gold and nobody lost them from anywhere. Such a wish is likely granted by an Elemental Earth being (to adhere to rule 1) and is likely granted simply because it introduces more elemental earth into the Prime Material...thus increasing the power of Elemental Earth into the Prime. I just ask "What could a being already in existence in the game do to imitate this wish?"

3- Wishes that have to do with "Self Only" rarely has a negative side effect. If they wish to be stronger, they are (as laid out by the wish by whichever edition).

4- Wishes that have to do with "Others" is the only time it becomes tricky. Wishing someone something that isn't harmful is usually handled by me as if it were Rule 3 in effect. If it is a harmful wish, then this is the only time that it gets complicated.
4.1- If the wish is for something that simply imitates another spell, I simply use the rules for that spell. Anything from "I wish that Giant was Dead!" to "I wish that Giant was paralyzed!" can be handled simply this way. Because it is a Wish, I look for the most powerful spell first that gets as close to their wish as possible...and try to find one that doesn't allow a saving throw. Power Word: Kill and so on. If I can't find one that has no saving throw, I then go to spells that allow a saving throw. If the player complains saying "it is a wish! They shouldn't get a saving throw!" then I remind them that the powers that grant wishes can be fickle...or that the being they are wishing against is rather powerful and has innate resistance to being screwed with by Wish magic simply because of the nature of their being what they are.
4.2 If the wish is "outside of mechanics" such as "I wish that Giant would be castrated and all of his children killed" then I have to start making judgement calls. There ARE spells that allow numerous foes to be killed simultaneously...but when a Wish starts hitting multiple targets I simply explain to the player that the power of the Wish will get watered down the more they wish AGAINST. Wishes are highly adaptable to desire; but they aren't infinitely any more powerful than other 9th level spells.

That's pretty much the extent of how I handle a Wish spell.

AD&D for me!

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14922 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  21:24:45  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like #1, and 3 & 4 sound similar to what I would do, but #2 isn't for me. I like the idea the wish 'steals' from elsewhere - it literally follows the simplest method of achieving its goals.

Also, you never really know what else the wish effected. Suppose you made a wish (RW) to become 'rich & famous", and you get discovered on some talent show and become a huge success. Someone else was supposed to get that spot, but you 'stole it' from them. You stole their future. That's how I see it working. So a wish that doesn't seem to have harmed anyone may have caused immense harm in the long run (that person may have become the worlds most prominent philanthropist, ushering in a new 'golden age' of human caring). You... you're just sitting on your solid gold coach, drinking thousand-dollar a bottle champaign and doing lines with Charlie Sheen. Shame on you.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 22 Dec 2017 21:26:24
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

488 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2017 :  04:29:05  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

Also, the 'backlash' should be equivalent to the power-level of the wish.

I just finished Hunter X Hunter (anime), and in the final arc they had a character who had the 'unlimited wish' power. I think they handled it pretty well - it had a BUNCH of rules to go with it, and if you wished for really simple stuff (like a cut on your finger to heal), there was almost no backlash. Also - and interestingly - the evilness of the wish also applied. So if you wished for something positive ("I would like a flower to give to that sick girl over there"), the backlash would be practically non-existent, but if you wished for someone to die, the backlash would be VERY severe, and if you wanted them to die horribly, the backlash would increase exponentially. Any wish based upon 'sin' (greed, etc.) would get the very bad backlash, even if it wasn't all that potent (wishing for thousand dollars, as opposed to wishing for a million). Wishing for something to help another would hardly cause a ripple.

As a D&D gamer, if I were to apply rules to all of that, I think I would say it requires some 'soul' to empower the wish, and people with good intentions have very strong souls (power level 1000! LOL), whereas someone evil would have a very weak soul. If the wish drains some of your soul away, and lets say it costs '10 points', someone with a soul-value of a thousand isn't going to bat an eye, but someone with a soul-value of just twenty just lost 1/2 the remainder of their soul. Thus, good people with good intentions can get away with making wishes (they become more like 'prayers'). There's still a limit, though.



That seems unnecessarily antagonistic to evil characters. Tying wishes to character level is one thing, but an arbitrary "good pwns evil" really screws over evil player characters, or even neutral ones. Hell, it seems more like a miracle spell, which is dependent on a god, while a wish spell would be the reliant on the power of the caster alone.

It's also funny, because the one time the celestials invaded the Lower Planes, the three great fiendish races banded together and nearly slaughtered them all.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14922 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2017 :  08:38:26  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I did say I was applying the rules (as I saw them) from Hunter X Hunter to D&D, but that was more of a mental exercise, once again. I wouldn't do that, personally, even though I greatly dislike players playing evil characters (IMO, that isn't what D&D is all about - its about people becoming HEROES). However, I also believe people should do whatever works for their group.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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