D&D 5E Casting Wish To Duplicate Homebrew Spells

Would you allow a tweaked version of a spell to be safely cast with Wish?


jgsugden

Legend
I allow:

1.) Any spell in any WotC source that is 8th level or below.
2.) Anything they propose that I would allow to be an 8th level spell.
3.) Spells modified by metamagic so long as the slot+sorcery point cost would not exceed an 8th level spell equivalent (I have a formula).

This is one spell. You can cast it once pe Long Rest. It is the most iconic spell in the game. It is more of a class feature than a spell, honestly - so it should be very powerful.
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
I allow:

1.) Any spell in any WotC source that is 8th level or below.
2.) Anything they propose that I would allow to be an 8th level spell.
3.) Spells modified by metamagic so long as the slot+sorcery point cost would not exceed an 8th level spell equivalent (I have a formula).

Very reasonable. #2 is a bit hard to adjudicate, but once you get practiced at it (and as long as you are consistent) it shouldn't be a big problem.

But what the OP is proposing seems to exceed these guidelines. I guess it depends on what "tweak" means at any given time.
This is one spell. You can cast it once pe Long Rest. It is the most iconic spell in the game. It is more of a class feature than a spell, honestly - so it should be very powerful.

Absolutely.

But there's a reason it's split into 2 sections and being too flexible with the first essentially eliminates the second - and IMO that's a step too far.
 

It seems to me that without specific examples the discussion is indeterminant. All of us can think of "tweaked" spells we would allow, and examples we would NOT allow.

Would I allow a MM to have a range of 120ft? Sure, but would I give it range line of sight through a magic telescope?

Would I allow Fireball to do necrotic damage instead? Sure. But, what about make it necrotic, double damage, and have no save?
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Let's turn it around and make it a practical question. "Do I, the DM, want to make Wish an entire freeform magic system, one where every use involves an OOC debate on if the effect is equivalent to an 8th level spell or lower?"

I don't know about you, but my answer to that is HELL no. That's highly disruptive to the game and impossible to balance at all well. So let's spin some arcanobabble about how a lot of the art of developing a spell is achieving a sweet spot where the magical forces are in balance and the sympathetic resonances are just right. You can't alter the result willy nilly without destabilizing the whole thing. That's why upcasting has specifically defined effects, rather than allowing the caster to pump up whatever aspect they please. And why Sorcerer metamagic is a rare and special thing.

Now, can Wish go ahead and ignore those limitations? Sure it can. But it's harder, so it comes at a cost. One which the Wish spell very helpfully defines.
 

Let's turn it around and make it a practical question. "Do I, the DM, want to make Wish an entire freeform magic system, one where every use involves an OOC debate on if the effect is equivalent to an 8th level spell or lower?"

I don't know about you, but my answer to that is HELL no. That's highly disruptive to the game and impossible to balance at all well. So let's spin some arcanobabble about how a lot of the art of developing a spell is achieving a sweet spot where the magical forces are in balance and the sympathetic resonances are just right. You can't alter the result willy nilly without destabilizing the whole thing. That's why upcasting has specifically defined effects, rather than allowing the caster to pump up whatever aspect they please. And why Sorcerer metamagic is a rare and special thing.

Now, can Wish go ahead and ignore those limitations? Sure it can. But it's harder, so it comes at a cost. One which the Wish spell very helpfully defines.

I think that most DMs who would be DMing at such high levels would probably have some sense of the balance up to a certain point. Beyond such a point however, I agree that the difficulty ramps up higher and higher. The relative scarcity of 7th to 9th level spells compared to other spell levels in published DnD 5e works would be a big contributor to that difficulty, since balance in design requires points of reference and comparison.

As Wish can only be cast once per long rest, I don't think that it would step on the Sorcerer's feet so much, especially at 17th level when sorcerers have a very large number of sorcery points.

I suppose this also brings up the question of what the gameplay experience of the players and DM in mind is for such a situation. A player who has a good grasp on the game rules might be trusted to handle a tweaked spell for Wish within reason, but a player with very little experience in the game might overshoot easily. A DM who has run games at high levels in turn would have an easier time of it than a DM who has only run games at low to mid levels.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
How would you define "established" then? In-game, the wizard may know nothing about the intricacies of faith that enable a cleric to cast divine magic, yet still recreate a spell that normally only clerics would be able to cast, by the description of Wish itself.
I would rule that at least the caster must know such a spell exist and, so as to be able to say "I wish to  duplicate <spell_name>".

That would be my minimum requirement but possibly I may also rule that the caster needs to know how the spell works, in the sense similar of knowing what is written on the spell describe in the book, because presumably the caster wants to be able to select the target and any other variable effect. If the spell is e.g. a personal secret spell of an NPC or group, knowing it exists would not be enough to duplicate it without stress.

I would not consider knowing how a Cleric earns from faith the right to cast the spell a requirement.
 

the Jester

Legend
By logic, a tweaked existing spell would be a homebrew spell, since a homebrew spell by definition is a non-[official content] spell, therefore a tweaked existing spell, which is not [official content], IS homebrew.
I reject your reasoning. I have a 174-page long book of homebrewed spells printed out. Those are established existing spells in my campaign. A tweaked version of a spell is not the same as one I have, at minimum, tweaked, vetted, and checked for balance.
 

MarkB

Legend
Leave the Wish out of it for a moment. Would you, as a DM, allow a player to apply these non-standard, ad hoc effects to a spell when upcasting it using regular spell slots, without prior approval by the DM?

If so, then it's reasonable to consider those to be standard spell effects for the purposes of Wish. If not, then it isn't.
 

delericho

Legend
I think it depends on how you view magic in general:

If you take the view that magic can do anything, and the existing spells just represent the ones that spellcasters have thus far codified, I'd tend to allow someone to homebrew a spell on the fly. Provided it's clearly 8th level of lower, I'd say go for it.

If you take the view that magic can do anything but some things are easier than others, and therefore the existing spells represent the 'easy' things that can be done, then I'd allow the wish under the "dangerous effects" clause.

But you may take the view that magic can't do anything, and that there are some weird and wonderful rules about what is possible. (And, indeed, some of those might be near-trivial!) In that case, I might well not allow the wish at all.

Edit to add: for myself, I'd tend towards #1 but use a very conservative estimate of what's in scope. But then I've only ever seen a handful of wishes used IMC ever.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It depends on what you're trying to to do, really. Altering parameters of a spell to the point where it still falls in line with what an 8th level spell can do? Sure, why not? But the issue here is defining exactly what an 8th level spell can do in the first place, something best left to spell research and discussions with the DM- if in the middle of an adventure you suddenly say "I wish for intercontinental ballistic magic missile", and then rattle off what you want it to do, I'm going to tell you what I think it does off the cuff and include a free Gibbs slap for springing that on me (to your character, I don't condone violence against players).
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Wish can be cast to duplicate any 8th level spell or lower.

Now say somebody wants to cast a low level spell with enhancements that don't appear when upcasting the spell.

Some might say that triggers the danger aspect of Wish.

Others might say that as long as the tweaked version of the spell is not beyond the capabilities of an 8th level spell, it is still a spell that can be duplicated by Wish.

If the DM doesn't allow any spell [IN THE CAMPAIGN WORLD, NOT JUST FOR THE PLAYERS] outside of what's printed specifically word-for-word in books, then it would probably be a no-go to make a homebrew spell duplicated by Wish, but would that really be the norm rather than the exception among DnD campaigns?

The text of Wish itself does not have a specific requirement of spells only from printed books, nor does it require the caster of Wish to know how to cast the duplicated spell.

Where do you stand on this subject?
I'm flexible. I think the intent is to allow things more powerful than spells to happen with a great risk. If a player wanted to write something in skywriting to inform the populace of something, that to me is less powerful than many spells and I'm not going to make them roll to lose the ability cast wish, even though it's outside of an actual spell.

With the above in mind, if the tweak to the spell isn't making it more powerful than other 8th level or lower spells, I'm going to be okay with it.
 

jgsugden

Legend
....But there's a reason it's split into 2 sections and being too flexible with the first essentially eliminates the second - and IMO that's a step too far.
You get this spell at 17th level. Advancing at this level goes faster than it does at earlier levels - so you can spend less time at 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th level combined than you might at 9th and 10th combined... and that is even if you go to 20th level. A lot of games end before 20th.
I've never been worried about these issues. I've never felt like it was a particularly hard line to draw between my #2 (things that could be an 8th level spell) and things that couldn't be spells. And I tend to favor allowing it to be an 8th level spell or below equivalent if there is a question.

PCs at this level should feel massively powerful. Worrying about whether something is particularly balanced undercuts that feel.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Yes they are powerful, but I think that something like a low level spell getting tweaked to have better range wouldn't be all that horrible to give at that point, especially when a 9th level spell slot is used for it. I feel that Wish being 9th level and not spammable like a cantrip does a lot to justify letting the player cut loose with their imagination up to a point.
I agree, which is why we have DMs.

If a player wanted to customize a 2nd level or something spell on teh fly, and it wasn't crazy, then I would probably allow it with Wish with no penalties. Same thing when I arbitrate the archer doing a crazy called shot or the barbarian inventing some neat "wrestling move". The point of the game is for the players to color outside the lines, with the DM keeping things in check.

Now does that mean my players have carte blanc to create whatever spell they want on the fly and I'm always going to approve its use with wish? Of course not, and if they try to abuse it, just like if they try to abuse anything else, they get shut down.
 

I'm flexible. I think the intent is to allow things more powerful than spells to happen with a great risk. If a player wanted to write something in skywriting to inform the populace of something, that to me is less powerful than many spells and I'm not going to make them roll to lose the ability cast wish, even though it's outside of an actual\ spell.

With the above in mind, if the tweak to the spell isn't making it more powerful than other 8th level or lower spells, I'm going to be okay with it.
Of course, no need to even consider a roll as there is a 2nd level spell in Xanathar's: Skywrite
 


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