Wish Adjudication

The information given on this page is assumed to actually be part of the Wish spell, as a lengthy warning and guideline on how to use the spell. Any wizard who can cast Wish will be aware of these rules, although this may not be the case if you are granted a wish by a djinn or magic item.

The general principles of a Wish are as follows:

Wishes that outright break any of these principles will not be fulfilled, and have no effect. If you try to change the past or future with a wish, for example, it will not have an unforeseen consequence. It will simply do nothing.

Dangerous Wishes

As noted in the spell description, certain "easy" wishes do not weken you when cast. These include teleportation or planar travel, complete healing, or the raising of the dead. Other wishes, though they will debilitate the caster, are relatively safe. Wishing for 1,000 to 10,000 gold pieces worth of treasure or destroying a creature within sight of 10 HD or less are both fairly easy to accomplish with a wish.

As noted above, although vast amounts of energy is harnessed by a wish, this does not necessarily mean that this energy can be controlled. The more extravagant and powerful the desired effect compared to a "normal" level 9 spell, the less stable the wish. "Normal" level 9 spells can summon creatures from other dimensions, reverse gravity in a local area, change your true shape, or place someone outside of the flow of time itself. This is the level of power that the DM should keep in mind when adjudicating wishes.

When we say that an overly ambitious wish becomes less "stable", we mean that it becomes more literal and less true to the spirit of the wish. Wishes that are equal to the power of a level 9 spell are almost never "creatively interpreted" by the multiverse. Those that are not, however, may have very different consequences to those intended by the caster. The more extravagant, the more difficult it is to avoid unforeseen results. The spell, being unable to fulfill the intended meaning of the wish, will try to find the path of least resistance among literal, figurative and metaphorical meanings. It will start to bend the meaning of the wish until eventually it comes out with a solution that technically works, even if it in no way resembles what was originally wished for.

For example, if you wished for a kingdom, it is unlikely it would simply appear as you desired. Depending on the circumstances, you might receive the local ruler's crown, or you might change to resemble them exactly. You might have a castle spring from the ground, fully outfitted and armed - but this doesn't mean that the local ruler will tolerate your presence. You might receive knowledge of a secret and untouched valley ripe for conquering, or the location of an artifact that could give you an army of ghosts to command. But it is unlikely you would simply become a king.

Open-Ended Wishes

"I wish to be invincible."

How is this adjudicated? To answer this question, you must consider one of the principles above: "Wishes will follow the path of least resistance while abiding by the wording of the wish itself." Open-ended wishes such as this can be particularly dangerous, because they allow the wish complete discretion as to how to achieve your end. Being made permanently ethereal would make you invincible to normal weapons, but would come with a hefty price, for example.

If you're looking to wish for something big and powerful without having something bad happen to you, open-ended is not the way to go. You should be as specific as possible, while using as few words as you possibly can to minimise the room for confusion.

Ability Scores

In addition to the stipulations given above, there is a special rule for increasing ability scores with wishes. Any attribute can be increased to 16 with a single wish. After this, each wish expended will improve a stat by 1 point. Of course, you can wish for more dramatic increases ("I wish I had the strength of a giant"), but they will not be permanent.