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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

746 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
1856 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

746 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...

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

United Kingdom
37 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
15675 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

746 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
31234 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
1856 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
31234 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
15675 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
3593 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  20:53:06  Show Profile 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
15675 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

746 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
15675 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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My Initials Are DM
Acolyte

1 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2018 :  01:30:00  Show Profile Send My Initials Are DM a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In response to the OP, here's how I deal with Wish in my campaign. Bear in mind that I don't use the canon FR pantheon - mine is a mishmash of FR gods, the Dawn War pantheon, and some nods to Dragonlance. Also, magic isn't as common in my campaign as it is in the canon FR. Wizards are infrequent and rather reclusive, and most don't cast spells higher than 3rd-level. Spells that are 6th-level and above are very hard to come by, and 8th- and 9th-level spells can only be learned from legendary or mythical beings, or by extraordinary circumstances. Case in point; the party's bard was able to learn the Prismatic Spray spell by making friends with a rainbow in the Feywild. The prismatic spray that comes out is literally the bard summoning the rainbow that she helped. She has to either sing or play "Rainbow Connection" or "Over the Rainbow" at the table whenever she casts it.

Anyways, about the Wish spell. Here goes.

As far as anyone knows, Wish doesn't exist anymore. It was lost a long time ago.

There used to be three gods of magic; Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari. Each of them made a Word of Power (PW:Heal, PW:Stun, PW:Kill), but the three of them together made a secret Word of Power, the mightiest possible. Yep, it's Wish.

Then came the Dragonfall war. Bahamut and Tiamat waged a war across the entire world that nearly destroyed it. During this war, Tiamat went to the three gods of magic and demanded that they give her their secret word of power. They refused, so she ate them.

Fast forward to today. There are currently nine Master Scrolls of Magic that were left behind by the three gods of magic. Three scrolls of white magic (abjuration, divination, and evocation), three scrolls of grey magic (alteration, enchantment, and illusion), two scrolls of black magic (conjuration and necromancy), and a single scroll of universal magic.

When the three scrolls of white magic are put together, they reveal the spell Power Word: Heal. When the three grey scrolls are put together, they reveal the spell Power Word: Stun. When the two black scrolls are put together, they reveal the spell Power Word: Kill. The single universal scroll is essentially a unifying agent, revealing the nature of the Weave itself. When all nine scrolls are put together, they reveal the Wish.

In my world, the Wish spell doesn't screw people over if they aren't nuanced about how they phrase their wish. Instead, it's ability to affect reality is proportional to the intrinsic power of the individual making the Wish. A lowly peasant can only affect a tiny portion of the world around them (like Wishing for their beloved dog to come back to life, happy and healthy), while a god could create an entirely new plane of existence.

In terms of the story of my campaign, Tiamat has always wanted the Wish, but even she believes that it is lost forever. Little does she know that our intrepid heroes have found two of the nine Master Scrolls of Magic. If she finds out that the scrolls are real, she'll stop at nothing to find them. Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because in my version of the Forgotten Realms, Tiamat is the biggest, baddest god on the block - even despite being imprisoned in Avernus - and she has but one equal. If she ever gets free, she could conquer the entire Prime Material plane. But because she's the goddess of greed, the Prime Material won't be enough. Over many millennia, she'll go on to conquer all the planes. But even that won't be enough, so she'd start consuming the planes, metaphorically and physically. She'll consume everything until there is nothing left but her. And then she'll consume herself. Then, finally, she will have been the last to have everything, and it will all be hers, forever and ever. And there will be nothing left, not even nothing. If she had the Wish spell, she could make that happen in an instant.

My players have a very good reason to keep Tiamat from knowing about these scrolls.
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Balmar Foghaven
Learned Scribe

Canada
94 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2018 :  09:33:36  Show Profile Send Balmar Foghaven a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As was mentioned earlier in this thread, Wish can be suitable as a support spell or last-minute reaction to an unforseen threat - provided the caster sticks to the basic effects of duplicating an existing spell, granting a resistance, etc. It's when the player gets greedy and pushes for the other, more powerful effects that things get wonky. That's when it really depends on who is running the game as DM, and how lenient/nasty they want to be. I can think of several examples where even a seemingly "perfectly" worded wish can still be skewed by DM tom-foolerly.
For example: "I wish to never die of age, without succumbing to the infirmities of age or the effects of undeath, and that no harm comes to me by this casting." They can still be encased in amber and held in stasis on the astral plane for all eternity.

"Despair not, for in the end all things shall work out for the best - in at least one timeline."
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31234 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2018 :  15:38:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never figured out what to do with him, but I thought up an NPC that wished for perpetual youth... And is now permanently 10 years old.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6618 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2018 :  02:57:34  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
The power has to come from somewhere.

In AD&D 1E, wish is conjuration/summoning. In (early) AD&D 2E, wish is conjuring/summoning and invocation/evocation (which incidentally makes it unavailable to both specialist invokers and specialist conjurers).

Conjuring spells create something from nothing.
Summoning spells instead bring it forth from somewhere else.
Evocation spells manifest or manipulate "background" magical energy (which is "everywhere" in a magic-rich world).
Invocation spells invoke the name of some magically-potent entity (so this entity can provide, manifest, or manipulate the magical energy as the caster requests/demands).

Also worth noting is AD&D 1E alter reality, the illusionist's almost-as-powerful counterpart of wish. An illusion spell, a false reality so powerful that it actually entirely replaces or displaces "actual" reality.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 11 Mar 2018 06:49:11
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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
197 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2018 :  23:41:26  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

wishing that pants had never been invented, and other such crazy doings.


And from now on, Wilard the Wizard walks around without pants, oblivious to the odd looks he get. He gets that wizard robes makes others more at ease around him, but not quite why..

Tbh, nothing is that powerfull, I'd assume wishing for no pants would make the caster unable to grasp what pants are. I'd roll a d20 and make it fizzle spectacularly, with natural 20 and 1 disasterously dangerous fail and a natural 20 a minor result. Maybe the fail turns all pants within 20 miles into mimics. A win makes the locals wear togas.

Edited by - Starshade on 11 Mar 2018 23:48:25
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

746 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2018 :  05:14:41  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wish should honestly depend on the caster's own power. Arcane casters are essentially twisting reality to their whims, so the more powerful you are, the greater the effect, with less chances of backfiring.

It's not like it makes much of a difference, since casters already snap reality over their knees.

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Balmar Foghaven
Learned Scribe

Canada
94 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2018 :  18:08:15  Show Profile Send Balmar Foghaven a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There would still be a certain upper limit on what the spell should be able to accomplish, of course. If one could simply Wish to become a god, then Karsus would never have needed to research his epic spell.

"Despair not, for in the end all things shall work out for the best - in at least one timeline."
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Balmar Foghaven
Learned Scribe

Canada
94 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2018 :  18:43:13  Show Profile Send Balmar Foghaven a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Though if someone in my own game made such a wish, as DM I personally would fudge the rolls slightly "whelp, looks like you have lost the ability to make such outrageous wishes ever again. Also enjoy your strength score of 3 for the next few days."

"Despair not, for in the end all things shall work out for the best - in at least one timeline."
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