D&D (2024) Advice on adjudicating the use of Wish in a high-level capstone boss battle (Rappan Athuk spoilers)

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
WARNING: this post and thread will contain spoilers for the Rappan Athuk (Frog God Games) setting/adventure
If you are a player in this adventure or plan to be, you may want to stop reading. I'll avoid spoilers in the first post in case you missed the spoiler warning in the thread title.

I'm getting close to the final boss battle that will bring a nearly 5-year campaign to an end.

PCs are 19th and 20th level.

Since this is the final battle at the end of the campaign, the 20th level wizard isn't likely going to worry about risking losing Wish forever by going outside the scope of the safe examples. That's not just metagaming, when trying to end a existential threat to the world, it would certainly be in character to take that risk.

Generally, I want to reward creative, strategic play, but at the same time don't want a capstone battle to be anticlimactic because of my failure to be prepared for wish cheese.

Ideally, if wish is used, it will be meaningful and climatic, but it is difficult to plan for various contingencies given the almost limitless possibilities of what can be wished for.

I would love some advice and war stories on cool ways wish was used in high-stakes battles and how you have adjudicated attempts to shortcut high-stakes battles with wish.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For context, this battle is with the Avatar of Orcus. The Avatar has been sufficiently weakened through the destruction of the three shrines of power that the PCs had to discover, defeat the defenders of, and destroy.

There are all kinds of restrictions due to magical wards and shields that I would be fine with wish being used to overcome.
There is the possibility of a character falling into the abyss and being "lost forever" and I'm fine with wish "undoing" that.

Forcing a legendary resistance to fail, making hits miss, making PC misses hit, etc. are all fine.

For any attempts to wish the Avatar away, I feel fully justified in finding ways for that to go badly for the PC. In the in-world lore for the Lost Lands, Orcus was banished back to Abyss and punished with his current form millennia ago through the sacrifice of two goddesses. A wizard with a wish shouldn't be able to just wish him away, even if "only" an avatar.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The lame and easy answer is counterspell.
Ideally, if wish is used, it will be meaningful and climatic, but it is difficult to plan for various contingencies given the almost limitless possibilities of what can be wished for.

I would love some advice and war stories on cool ways wish was used in high-stakes battles and how you have adjudicated attempts to shortcut high-stakes battles with wish.
This is why I hate wish. Unless you give the player what they wanted, even if their wording is terrible, they get really pissed off. It's always used as an "I win" button and there's almost no recourse. Wish is a drama killer.

This is where the "devil's bargain" comes in. Unless the wish is worded perfectly it's going to have consequences. It's not undermining the wish to attach consequences based on poor wording. As the text of the spell indicates, wishing the BBEG to "go away" can be anything from 5ft of movement to teleporting to another continent to teleporting to the far side of the planet, to another plane, or straight up dying.

The trick is to not undermine what they asked for. But the thing to remember is there's nothing in the wish spell that means it's permanent. The players can just be mad about it. If a BBEG is a world-level threat, they're going to have contingencies, they're going to have mobility, they're going to have minions and lieutenants, etc.

The PC wishes the BBEG dead, okay he's dead. Then someone brings him back. The PC wishes the BBEG to be locked in another dimension or plane, okay...he is. Then someone breaks him out. The tricky part is making this all climactic in the moment because otherwise at best wish is just a delay which will give the PCs time to rest and have another wish or two to drop on the BBEG.
 
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Yaarel

He Mage
My view is, there is a safe way to use Wish, and an unsafe way to use Wish.

The unsafe way is at the mercy of the DM. Sometimes a DM can get annoyed if an unsafe Wish by a player seems greedy or game-ending, and a DM might feel an impulse to punish the wisher.

I would ignore any mechanics about the possibility of losing the ability to Wish. Heh, a DMs twisting of the wording of a Wish can be far crueler than that.

The bottom line is. If a player makes an unsafe Wish, then interpret its wording in a way that makes the game more fun for YOU as the DM.

A fun game (for you too) is the essence of any Wish.


By the way, in my campaigns, level 20 never "ends" a campaign. The high level characters are still around. They can continue into Epic tiers if they wish or take it easy, semi-retiring.

The next characters can be the kids of the high level characters, or kids of friends, or other known associates. So the backgrounds of the new characters include relationships with the earlier characters. Even if switching settings, level 20 is high enough tier to plausibly find a way into any other setting, whichever one the new characters explore.
 


Stalker0

Legend
Wish can give a number of players total immunity to something, so depending on how many attack options this orcus has, that could cut off a big chunk.
 

dave2008

Legend
WARNING: this post and thread will contain spoilers for the Rappan Athuk (Frog God Games) setting/adventure
If you are a player in this adventure or plan to be, you may want to stop reading. I'll avoid spoilers in the first post in case you missed the spoiler warning in the thread title.

I'm getting close to the final boss battle that will bring a nearly 5-year campaign to an end.

PCs are 19th and 20th level.

Since this is the final battle at the end of the campaign, the 20th level wizard isn't likely going to worry about risking losing Wish forever by going outside the scope of the safe examples. That's not just metagaming, when trying to end a existential threat to the world, it would certainly be in character to take that risk.

Generally, I want to reward creative, strategic play, but at the same time don't want a capstone battle to be anticlimactic because of my failure to be prepared for wish cheese.

Ideally, if wish is used, it will be meaningful and climatic, but it is difficult to plan for various contingencies given the almost limitless possibilities of what can be wished for.

I would love some advice and war stories on cool ways wish was used in high-stakes battles and how you have adjudicated attempts to shortcut high-stakes battles with wish.
Why is this in the OneD&D forum?
 



MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I don't have any good advice, I just wanted to congratulate you on a five-year campaign. Wow.
Thanks, its been fun. But I am looking forward to starting a new campaign, perhaps in a new system (leaning towards DCC Dying Earth, but we have not decided yet).
 


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