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Silus
2011-10-21, 03:50 AM
Ok, so I was wondering how ya'll deal with your characters getting wises, and your thoughts in general on wishes.

For me, in the few times that I've gotten to use wishes, I've tried wording them as extensively as I could to cancel out an DM meddling. Like if I said "I wish for a Holy Avenger", then the DM may get smart with me and give me an NPC that is a "Holy Avenger". Or teleport me to an NPC with the sword. Or make it cursed. Or other dickish things one could do. Usually though this tends to tick off the DM and the players....

On the whole, I'm not real fond of wishes. They end up boing so limited....

Mikeavelli
2011-10-21, 03:55 AM
The intentional ******* over of wishes was codified in the 2nd edition rules like so much other cancer.

The 3.x system of having certain things the Wish spell can do without any creative reinterpretation works well. Most of the time if a player wants to do something outside the bounds of a wish, they'll straight up ask, "Can I do this with a wish?" - and I'll answer them yes or no.

This is because my group, like you, have realized that everyone has already learned the "be careful what you wish for" aesop.

Kol Korran
2011-10-21, 04:22 AM
my general approach as Dm is "wishes are powerful, and should o powerful things, with in reason" so i try to have the wish work more as intended rather than worded i find word lawyering over 9th level spells silly and counter to the point. the spell should feel fun. however:
- wishes gained by plot reasons and or/ before their time (efreeti?) do need to take into account the will of wish giver.
- i may use unspecified parameters to make the wish reasonable in power (powerful, but not uber powerful)
- if the player is deliberately trying to screw things over, i will subvert the wish ain the most aweful ways, wording or not. we have a gentlemen agreement- i let you have your fun, as long as you don't try to screw everything over (unless of course, that's the point of the game)

that's my philosophy at least. my group (as player or DM) never reached such levels for it to become relevant yet, other than a few minor incidents.

Xiander
2011-10-21, 04:38 AM
I believe that the problem with wishes is that everyone realize that they can be very game-breaking if the GM does not stay alert and make sure not to just grant his players whatever they wish for.
The problem is that GMs tend to overreact. Many GMs will punish players harshly for wishing for anything not on the list of safe wishes, which is sad, as it destroys the possibility for doing coll but non-game-breaking stuff with the wish.

As an example, one of the things players often try to achieve through wishing is immortality, and I have seen many creative ways of screwing this up. Okay, any GM would recognize that making the player immortal in the sense that he cannot be killed by any means is problematic. So how should a GM react to a wish for immortality?
He could turn the character into a statue as per stone to flesh, there, you won't ever die, but you are screwed, that will teach you to try and break my game. This approach is what makes a lot of people wary of wishes. In essence it's a bad approach, because it punishes the player without givving him anything in return.
A better way to react would be to grant the wish partially by making the character stop aging. Congratulations! You can live forever, provided you don't get killed. The knee-jerk response to this is to go: "but that is completely overpowered". To which i say: no it's not. I could have asked for a magic item worth 25000, and you would have had to give it to me without complains. That would have given me a far more noticeable advantage in the plot. This just makes my character special.

In short: I see no reason not to work with the players to make wishing interesting, instead of trying to punish them for daring to make use of that part of the game.

Callos_DeTerran
2011-10-21, 08:11 AM
I've only had to deal with wishes twice now, but I do follow a very simple set of questions on what effect happens...

-Does it fall on the 'safe' parts of the wish spell?
-If not, will it break the game in some manner?
-Is it cool?
-Can it be subverted without being actively harmful?
-If it does break the game and isn't cool, how can it become harmful so the PC doesn't think to try it again with just more legalese?

I'm lucky enough to have friends who realize that if they try to make a clever wish outside of the safe lists that would upset the balance of the game, that I'm far more weaselly then them and can turn it to dangerous circumstances quite easily even if they word it well. Did it keep them to the 'safe' lists? Sure. Is that a problem? Nope! Wish is already obscenely strong, a DM shouldn't have to constantly worry about the ramifications of 'non-safe' wishes if they'll break the game/aren't cool to a majority of the players and an established deterrent is better then suddenly screwing a player over on a wish spell.

That said, my PCs have only come across a Wish once in a limited fashion (a luckblade with one wish remaining) and I was much more lenient with how it could be used because it was likely to be the only one that they were going to find and none of them were full arcane casters, so wishes weren't in their future anyway.

TriForce
2011-10-21, 11:53 AM
i once challenged my players to take the next 30 min ( we were waiting for someone) and think of a wish that was overpowered but i could not possibly screw them over with. after the 30 mins, they decided they never want to have a wish anymore :P

im usually pretty agreeable concerning wishes. its a powerful spell, so the result should reflect that. for instance, i allow wish to "retcon" a bad event in the past, within reason ofc.

however, if a player is foolish enough to wish for something gamebreaking, i let the spell get perverted and take the route of least resistance. namely, how can the wish be fulfilled using the least amount of power. literally or otherwise.

tyckspoon
2011-10-21, 12:23 PM
I usually decide based on whether it's an XP-paid wish or not. If you're spending the XP, either by hard-casting it yourself or using it from an item that had the XP used as part of its creation (ie, Ring of Wishes or Luck Blade) then you'll get pretty much what you want; if your Wish fails it'll be partial fulfillment style instead of "lol you were dumb enough to make a Wish, you lose" corruption. 5,000 XP is a pretty big cost, and if you're willing to pay it you're going to get something useful from it.

If it's a free Wish, just stick to the safe list (with caveat: no magic items.) Anything outside of that is either not possible without investing XP (if you're casting it yourself as a Dweomerkeeper or something) and/or will be twisted by the intent of the thing providing the Wish and not yourself.

NichG
2011-10-21, 02:51 PM
I think Wishes are a lot more interesting when they aren't available at will (i.e. by virtue of being a high level character with it on your spell list, or by having the money to go and buy them, or via summoning shenanigans). In some sense, once you get to the point that you can throw around Wishes (Miracle, to a greater extent), its just a universal spell for when you don't have exactly what you need. That kind of removes the specialness, and honestly makes me less likely to allow things outside of the list (since it can already do so much, and there isn't much stopping you from doing it again and again and again, so it doesn't feel like a limited resource). Yes there's an XP cost, but at a certain point you just start buying the things, or you use Miracle, or you summon and bind Solars, or whatever.

As such, Wishes in my games tend to be more potent when you get them via one-time sorts of situations (and I generally go over the wording with people if I notice something glaringly silly), but if you're rolling your own I tend to ask people to stick to the list and restrict what it can do to things close to existing 8th level and lower spell effects.

Aidan305
2011-10-21, 05:56 PM
I operate in the same way as NichG, informing my players at Char creation that the spells Wish, Limited Wish and Miracle don't exist in my game. It saves the players the trouble of trying to get around me and it saves me from being tried by the players. If they earn a wish in-game, that's fine. They've earned it. Otherwise they ain't getting nothing. (Yes, I realise it's a double negative.)

Alleran
2011-10-23, 11:04 PM
While I allow wishes, it is with the caveat that some things are simply beyond the power of the spell (though there also, in my games, exist ways to heighten the power of wish, they are rare and hard to find - and the people who know any of those methods aren't sharing). Trying to get too wordy or otherwise specific is going to cause the spell to fail.

Miracles are a bit more of a grey area, but generally I make it much harder for the cleric to get that spell from the deity (or cause). If they can get it, of course, then they might even be able to use it to its fullest potential (though whether or not the deity fulfills the request the way the player wants is a different story). Deities, however, are not fond of handing them out except to their most honoured and loved followers.

Roderick_BR
2011-10-24, 08:10 AM
my general approach as Dm is "wishes are powerful, and should o powerful things, with in reason" so i try to have the wish work more as intended rather than worded i find word lawyering over 9th level spells silly and counter to the point. the spell should feel fun. however:
- wishes gained by plot reasons and or/ before their time (efreeti?) do need to take into account the will of wish giver.
- i may use unspecified parameters to make the wish reasonable in power (powerful, but not uber powerful)
- if the player is deliberately trying to screw things over, i will subvert the wish ain the most aweful ways, wording or not. we have a gentlemen agreement- i let you have your fun, as long as you don't try to screw everything over (unless of course, that's the point of the game)

that's my philosophy at least. my group (as player or DM) never reached such levels for it to become relevant yet, other than a few minor incidents.
This. Wishes are hard to get/cast, so the player shouldn't be punished for getting one. Game breakers, though, deserve every bit of it.

I believe that the problem with wishes is that everyone realize that they can be very game-breaking if the GM does not stay alert and make sure not to just grant his players whatever they wish for.
The problem is that GMs tend to overreact. Many GMs will punish players harshly for wishing for anything not on the list of safe wishes, which is sad, as it destroys the possibility for doing coll but non-game-breaking stuff with the wish.

As an example, one of the things players often try to achieve through wishing is immortality, and I have seen many creative ways of screwing this up. Okay, any GM would recognize that making the player immortal in the sense that he cannot be killed by any means is problematic. So how should a GM react to a wish for immortality?
He could turn the character into a statue as per stone to flesh, there, you won't ever die, but you are screwed, that will teach you to try and break my game. This approach is what makes a lot of people wary of wishes. In essence it's a bad approach, because it punishes the player without givving him anything in return.
A better way to react would be to grant the wish partially by making the character stop aging. Congratulations! You can live forever, provided you don't get killed. The knee-jerk response to this is to go: "but that is completely overpowered". To which i say: no it's not. I could have asked for a magic item worth 25000, and you would have had to give it to me without complains. That would have given me a far more noticeable advantage in the plot. This just makes my character special.

In short: I see no reason not to work with the players to make wishing interesting, instead of trying to punish them for daring to make use of that part of the game.
Giving it partially works, I guess. In your immortality example, the character doesn't age, and may get immunity to diseases, and even fast healing, but magic and magical weapons can destroy him as usual. Maybe make it as a template.

Or do like the giant dragon in Dragon Ball: Go and say that so and so wish needs much more power than the wish spell has, therefore it can't be done (compare with it's limit to not work against deities or divine interventions).

NMBLNG
2011-10-24, 02:43 PM
I generally do something similar. Wishes are granted by jinni (or however that's spelled), and the jinni does its best to grant that wish. Note that most jinni are not Q, so the power of a wish can be limited.

QuidEst
2011-10-25, 09:24 AM
To tell the truth, I've always wanted to have a character wish to be the DMů :smalltongue: And yes, I'd be willing to DM in-character for that.

When it comes to granting wishes, I'd probably really only cause trouble if they start wishing for over-the-top stuff like unlimited wishes. Mind you, I'd stick to the letter of the wish if at all possible even then. Unlimited wishes simply means your character goes through the rest of his life wanting everything. Even then, I'd give them fair warning that they may want to be more reasonable.

Winds
2011-10-25, 11:53 AM
I think the source matters. For example, giving up XP to cast the spell yourself means you've invested a significant portion of your personal energy (and to some readings, your life's energy). The wish in this case is you, in many ways. Therefore, the result of that spell will be as close to the 'correct' result as possible. For the divine equivalent, the alignment of the deity matters. A good deity will grant you something close to what you ask. An evil one might F you over if they think they've gotten their use, or actually grant you something useful to keep you serviceable...but it may not be what you thought.

Silus
2011-10-25, 12:42 PM
To tell the truth, I've always wanted to have a character wish to be the DMů :smalltongue: And yes, I'd be willing to DM in-character for that.

When it comes to granting wishes, I'd probably really only cause trouble if they start wishing for over-the-top stuff like unlimited wishes. Mind you, I'd stick to the letter of the wish if at all possible even then. Unlimited wishes simply means your character goes through the rest of his life wanting everything. Even then, I'd give them fair warning that they may want to be more reasonable.

What about wishing for a quest trigger that will lead to a quest where in the end you can get more wishes?

Lord Il Palazzo
2011-10-25, 01:44 PM
For the divine equivalent, the alignment of the deity matters. A good deity will grant you something close to what you ask. An evil one might F you over if they think they've gotten their use, or actually grant you something useful to keep you serviceable...but it may not be what you thought.I don't think this is quite so cut-and-dried. I feel like, whatever the alignment, a deity would likely twist or not twist the a wish they're granting depending on how it suits their own alignment. For example, why would an evil god want to ruin your wish to burn down an orphanage? I feel like he'd grant it as is, and go find himself some marshmallows to roast. Meanwhile, given the same wish, a good god might engineer things to have the wisher trapped in the otherwise empty orphanage as it burns to punish them for making such an evil wish.

Provengreil
2011-10-25, 03:34 PM
I don't think this is quite so cut-and-dried. I feel like, whatever the alignment, a deity would likely twist or not twist the a wish they're granting depending on how it suits their own alignment. For example, why would an evil god want to ruin your wish to burn down an orphanage? I feel like he'd grant it as is, and go find himself some marshmallows to roast. Meanwhile, given the same wish, a good god might engineer things to have the wisher trapped in the otherwise empty orphanage as it burns to punish them for making such an evil wish.

if a good cleric of a good diety cast a wish to burn down an orphanage, that's a vicously evil act like to lose him the favor of his god, thus removing his spells. at that point, he's already out his alignment, 5000 XP and entire spell list, why kill him too when you could have a great redemption story arc ahead?

QuidEst
2011-10-25, 03:38 PM
What about wishing for a quest trigger that will lead to a quest where in the end you can get more wishes?

I might be tempted to let them find a "Ring of Three Wishes". Roll Will against wishing to retire, wishing to become a farmer, and wishing to sell your equipment in order to donate half of the proceeds to the poor. It'd have some sort of inscription that would heavy-handidly warn them about those who wish for more than they have often end up with less. That said, if they put the original quest wish well or do something that would make it interesting, I might try to build something out of it. Warring djinni, for instance- I dunno. Depends on the suspected motivation behind wishing that ("Hey this is an interesting/fun idea!" versus "Hah, now I can get even more!") and the source of the wish.

Lord Il Palazzo
2011-10-25, 03:52 PM
if a good cleric of a good diety cast a wish to burn down an orphanage, that's a vicously evil act like to lose him the favor of his god, thus removing his spells. at that point, he's already out his alignment, 5000 XP and entire spell list, why kill him too when you could have a great redemption story arc ahead?1) I'm talking from the perspective of a good god asked to grant an evil wish, not the perspective of a DM. It hardly seems out of character for a good god to smite an evil character, given provocation and an opportunity.

2) My post was in reply to the assertion that a good god would grant wishes in the spirit they were made. My example was to show that this isn't necessarily the case. Exactly how they would twist the wish wasn't the question.

Winds
2011-10-25, 08:44 PM
I agree, the deity form is less cut and died. But from your particular example, I feel I should have specfied that this would be so for an act apropriate to that diety's dogma. For the evil god...some of them are quite happy to screw with their pawns if they think they've gotten their use. Evil deities usually are about messing up people's lives, else they usually aren't considered Evil. Some of them would find that a good time to make the transition from 'favoered pawn' to 'nullified threat'. Let's face it...an evil cultist or whatever with acess to wish/miracle isn't likely to play nice with their patron for much longer.

Steward
2011-10-26, 11:07 AM
Let's face it...an evil cultist or whatever with acess to wish/miracle isn't likely to play nice with their patron for much longer.

If they're a divine caster, why isn't that likely? I mean, let's say you just got your brand-new 9th level list. Is it really likely that you would just throw that away for the fun experience of being a feeble commoner again?

Lysander
2011-10-28, 10:34 AM
If they're a divine caster, why isn't that likely? I mean, let's say you just got your brand-new 9th level list. Is it really likely that you would just throw that away for the fun experience of being a feeble commoner again?

Also divine casters usually believe in their religion, even if it's an evil one. All that praying and human sacrifice isn't just an act, they can actually believe it. Being their Dark Lord's humble slave for all eternity might be their ultimate goal with no plan to usurp power for themselves.

And it's possibly for an evil deity to show loyalty and favor to a beloved priest. But it'd definitely depend on what you were asking for and who you were asking it from. An evil deity granting a wish probably wouldn't screw you over randomly, if it liked you, and liked what you were asking for, and didn't resent being asked for a favor in the first place. Those are three ifs to consider.

Qwertystop
2011-10-28, 10:46 AM
Yeah, Evil doesn't mean "will mess with people for no reason whatsoever". Chaotic Evil, maybe, maybe not (chaotic doesn't mean no common sense). Evil in general, no.

jindra34
2011-10-28, 10:55 AM
One thing I sometimes do with Wishes is increase the cost, and then start twisting based on how much of the cost is paid, with total failure and corruption if less than half is paid. And a similar thing with Miracles but with maybe a little scene with the god/dess discussing payment and reasons.

ondonaflash
2011-10-29, 05:18 AM
My cousin once made an interesting point regarding Wishes that I think has merit. A Wish can be many things, but sometimes it is just a "Skip it" button. If there is a part of your campaign that the player cannot figure out, or something that is boring or frustrating, they can just wish to "Skip It"; like rather than quest for that magic sword, they can wish for it to be given to them. Rather than try to track down the BBEG they can just wish to be where he was.

The trade off is that rather than questing for their goal and earning experience and wealth in the process, they are losing that experience and wealth. They get to use a proverbial cheat code to skip a level, but don't get the vorpal sword they would have found if they had played through it on their own.

bloodtide
2011-10-29, 09:01 AM
As a DM, I've always loved wishes. They are a great way to spice up a game. Once you get to high level play, wishes are a great way to 'break' things in a good way.

I've always felt that a wish comes with the warning label 'you can't get something for nothing'. So that a wish is a way to tempt mortals and cause lots of change.


I don't do the 'mis-word' wish thing much, where a character wishes for a 'Holy Avenger' and then gets a toy model that says holy avenger on it. But I do do the 'everyone around notices' thing. So if a low level paladin suddenly had a holy avenger, many folks good and bad would notice and take action.

Covah
2011-10-31, 10:27 AM
When it comes to granting wishes, I'd probably really only cause trouble if they start wishing for over-the-top stuff like unlimited wishes. Mind you, I'd stick to the letter of the wish if at all possible even then. Unlimited wishes simply means your character goes through the rest of his life wanting everything. Even then, I'd give them fair warning that they may want to be more reasonable.

If I had a player wish for unlimited wishes, they could have it. But their character would be reduced down to first level with 1 Exp and never able to move above 1 Exp. They might have power because of the wishes, but one AoE spell will likely kill them.

Steward
2011-10-31, 01:10 PM
If I had a player wish for unlimited wishes, they could have it. But their character would be reduced down to first level with 1 Exp and never able to move above 1 Exp. They might have power because of the wishes, but one AoE spell will likely kill them.

That sounds like a cool idea but I don't understand how you came up with it. Does it have to do with multiplying the XP cost for the Wish spell (to ∞??) or is it just a completely homebrew penalty?

Covah
2011-10-31, 01:56 PM
That sounds like a cool idea but I don't understand how you came up with it. Does it have to do with multiplying the XP cost for the Wish spell (to ∞??) or is it just a completely homebrew penalty?

I'd say homebrew. Came up with it as I was reading the post. I figured that wish has an XP cost, so having an unlimited number of wishes would continue to cause that XP cost except that eventually it'd use up enough XP push the PC into nonexistence. So, instead of that happening, it just eats any XP that they gain.

Swordguy
2011-10-31, 02:24 PM
Miracle is fairly simple for me. Priest asks for a favor from his diety, deity reviews the request and then grants it in the manner the deity finds most suitable (so if the cleric's been naughty, then there may be a bit of a lesson in there from the deity not granting it quite the way the cleric wants). Generally speaking, though, the cleric will get his Miracle - unless he's constantly asking for them (Gods have better things to do). The fact that your Miracle generally gets granted according to its spirit helps offset having to play by the deitie's Code of Conduct/Alignment Guidelines. Of course, a cleric without a deity to judge the intent behind the Miracle may find things a bit more dicey...



As for Wish...it's complicated. There's a BUNCH of factors that go into it.

-First factor is whether it's a clearly-delineated "safe" Wish or not. If the Wizard is asking for one of the specific listed effects of a Wish, it'll pretty much always work as intended. That's a given. If a Wizard asks for something outside the listed "safe" possibilities (or if I'm playing 2e), then other stuff comes into play.

-Next is the source of the Wish. Wishes granted by Good-aligned beings are MUCH more reliable than a Wish granted by Pazzuzu, for example, with the caster's memorized Wish spell setting the bar for "average".

-Next factor is the power level or game-breaking factor of the Wish. Casters who are deliberately trying to become ultra-powerful or break the game will find their Wishes subverted far more often than a caster who wished for an item that's 1gp over the limit.

-Next factor is the Dramatic Appropriateness of the Wish. A wish is, in my eyes, immensely powerful magic, above and beyond even other 9th level spells (sort of 9.4999th level...not QUITE epic, but better than other 9th level stuff). You're literally rewriting reality. The aftereffects and ramifications of casting a Wish Spell should rival those immediately following the words, "You may fire when ready, Governor Tarkin." Thus, a caster who blows a Wish spell in a Dramatically Appropriate moment or in final, epic desperation will get a LOT less subversion than somebody who grinds NPCs 3 levels below him for XP so he can chain-cast Wishes during every instance of moderately lengthy downtime.

-The next factor is the metagame wording of the wish. Wishing for XP is a bad idea - XP doesn't exist for the characters. The wish needs to be phrased clearly and in-character.

-The final factor is how much of a power-gaming douche the player is. I run very character-centric games, where a complete lack of optimization is the norm; Bards, Monks, Evoker Casters and Fighters are quite common at my table, while Tippy Wizards, DMM Clerics, Uberchargers, and Natural Spell Druids with Fleshrakers are not whatsoever welcome. This is clearly understood by all my players, because I hand them a sheet of paper with that very point written on it in Large, Friendly Letters when they join my group - they must read it, sign it, and give it back before they create characters. People who annoy me by breaking that table agreement are going to get ZERO leeway in their Wishes from me. You'd better actually have a lawyer draft your document, because I'll go through it line-by-line looking for loopholes. Granted, I'll generally do that anyway if you're asking a being from the Lower Planes for a wish, but players like this will get this treatment all the time.