This is possibly the most DM/GM dreaded spell ever devised. I don’t remember what I was thinking when I put this down as a prompt. I’ve seen this one spell wreck entire campaigns. There are so many broken uses for this spell it’s ridiculous. The only thing that might be worse is the DM/GM interpretations of this spell and things people wish for.

Player 1: I Wish for 1 million gold pieces.
DM: Okay. One gold piece falls from high up in the sky and hits you for 1 point of damage.
Player 1: Huh?
DM: Another gold coin hits you in the head for another point of damage.
Player 1: (Records the damage.) I look up. Where are these coins coming from?
DM: Did you ever see the Captain Kangaroo sketch where Mr. Moose has ping pong balls raining out of the sky?
Player 1: Captain who? Mr what? Bruh, I’m 17 irl.
DM: Well, that’s cool. I need everyone within 5 feet of Murl to make a Reflex save.
Players all grumble. Dice are rolled.
DM: The party is buried alive under 999,998 gold coins. If you made your save you only take 50K damage. The rest take 100K.
Players begin to weep softly.
DM: Next week will be Session Zero for the new Pathfinder game. First level characters. 😁

I mean, it was either that or have the guy get pelted in the head once per round until he got all of the coins or died… Just sayin. It’s almost as bad as wishing for more wishes. At least in the 5E rules it’s been rewritten to not be a total disaster and is a little more DM friendly.

Back in the day we used to get in some real knock down drag out arguments about this spell and how it was worded. We stopped giving out magic items with this property such as the Genie Lamp, the Ring of 3 Wishes, and the Monkey’s Paw. The only time a Mage had it loaded would be if we were fighting a BBEG or taking on a Tarrasque.

“But the bad guys have access to the spell, too.”

Okay, I know it’s a fantasy game, but let’s get real for a second here. If the main villain of the story has access to friggin Wish, do you really think some cheesy low level adventurers would still be meddling in her affairs? Absolutely not!

Think about it in 80’s cartoon terms for a minute. Skeletor uses Wish to make it so He-Man’s sword is completely inert. Cobra Commander wishes he could charm 20 Joes at a time. Megatron wishes Starscream into the Phantom Zone. (What? Starscream is a pain in the butt for both sides.) The D&D kids throw a wish out and (POOF!) they’re all home again as if they never got on that ride. (No portals necessary. No going back for Uni. Venger can’t get through behind them.

Admittedly, there would always be a way around some of these wishes, but only in cartoon land. But if Venger has the Wish? I feel really sorry for those kids, and Dungeon Master. Good old Tiamat wouldn’t care, but I don’t think Venger would be silly enough to try it.

There are 101 ways to mess with just about any D&D character using a Wish spell. Duplicating spell effects or coming up with one’s own can be truly awful. You can turn an Arcane caster into a healing machine. You can zorch beam blast your way to victory using any number of damage-causing spells. Chances are if you have Wish, you probably have one of those already in your repertoire, but even if you didn’t, you can just Wish for that Meteor Swarm. Done.

Other doors DM’s wish this thing never opened.

Imagine what happens if someone uses a Wish to do some time travel. I’m talking about years and centuries. There goes the temporal neighborhood. Not to mention the poor DM is now scrambling to cover the paradox.

If Wand of Wonder or Deck of Many Things is bad, this one spell can throw the campaign into an absolute tailspin if abused. That’s not to say the DM can’t ever allow the Wish spell to be used, but there definitely needs to be a clear understanding that the player won’t use it do turn the whole game on its ear. Well-meaning DMs, like me, have allowed this spell with the same expectation, but then the mage player gets a little greedy or power hungry, and the next thing you know it’s all crazy.

I don’t particularly relish having to get heavy handed with spell adjudication. Unfortunately, Wish sort of requires it. My personal experience is that once this spell becomes available to the PCs, the game is pretty much over. Otherwise, I have to reframe the campaign or prepare for things to get pretty wild. I mean, one could almost justify having the gods radically alter the laws of magic or some other world-shaking campaign events to counterbalance PCs being able to bend reality.

I’m curious how other DMs have dealt with this spell.

I’ll admit this is one of my weak points. Then again, in this day and age- how many campaigns even get to this point? I hear a lot of campaigns end before or around Level 10. That’s kinda sad for a game that goes to Level 20 and used to go all the way to 30.

Is it getting too hard to run past 10th? I’ll probably touch on this sometime in the future. I know Wizards of the Coast is talking about adding more challenges to the game between 10 and 20. I think high level spell adjudication should be something covered in the next DMG. I’m fortunate enough not to have to deal with it much these days.

I guess I would be more comfortable with it in a one-and-done type of situation. That way if the PCs really had something they couldn’t accomplish any other way, maybe the Wish spell could help them with a one time casting. Say they wanted to bring back a cherished NPC or PC. Maybe repair a magic item they thought was forever broken or chucked into a volcano.

Thanks for stopping by today. I wish you the happiest of times and the best of dice rolls. Have fun.

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