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D&D 5E Wish duplicating a spell - what level slot?

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Quick rules question: Wish can be used to duplicate any spell of 8th level or lower without requirements like components. If it matters, what level slot is it considered cast with.

For instance, if it was used to duplicate Planar Binding, a 5th level spell. Would it the slot be undefined/the minimum, in which case it lasts 24 hours. Would it be 8th level (the maximum spell level known Wish can duplicate) in which case it lasts 180 days. Or is it based on the slot actually used for the Wish, so it would last for a year and a day?

EDIT: I made this a question thread instead of a normal one, so you can upvote and downvote for what you feel is correct or incorrect. Contribute even if you don't have more to say.
 
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I would say you are casting the spell at it’s base level. Upcasting would run you into some of the pitfalls of Wish.

EDIT: I like what others are saying below better than my initial thought: the caster of the Wish can consider any spell cast as an 8th level upcast, if applicable. No penalty.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
An upcast lower level spell IS the level of the slot for every game rule mechanic I can think of that references spell level. It should be irrelevant to wish whether you use it cast earthquake or an 8th level magic missile.

If anyone can think of exceptions, I'd be happy to change my mind, but I'm drawing a blank.
 


Mort

Legend
You can duplicate any spell 8th level and lower with Wish.

As such, when casting a spell lower than 8th level, you can decide what level you want it cast at - up to 8th level. So with magic missile you can duplicate it as a 1st level spell (3 missiles) up to an 8th level spell (10 missiles) - casters choice.

Why would you want to duplicate it at a lower level? Can't think of a good reason, but all sorts of situations come up in play!
 

Dausuul

Legend
Would it the slot be undefined/the minimum, in which case it lasts 24 hours. Would it be 8th level (the maximum spell level known Wish can duplicate) in which case it lasts 180 days. Or is it based on the slot actually used for the Wish, so it would last for a year and a day?
The answer depends on how you interpret "duplicate another spell."

If you read this to mean "You are still casting wish, but it has the effect of the other spell," then the duplicated effect includes the following text: "When you cast this spell using a spell slot of X level, it does Y." You are casting the spell using a spell slot of 9th level, so under this reading, it would be upcast to 9th. Planar binding would last a year and a day.

An alternative interpretation would be that wish is enabling you to cast the other spell without using a spell slot and without taking an action or expending components. Under this reading, the other spell is being cast without using a spell slot, so the upcast clause doesn't kick in. Planar binding lasts 24 hours.

For the sake of consistency (and because wish is plenty powerful already), I prefer the second interpretation. Generally speaking, when something in 5E lets you cast a spell in an unorthodox way, you cast it at the base spell level, and I'd rather have wish follow that principle. However, I think the first interpretation is more consistent with strict RAW.

(I don't think there's any reasonable reading in which the duplicated spell is upcast to 8th.)
 

Dausuul

Legend
You can duplicate any spell 8th level and lower with Wish.

As such, when casting a spell lower than 8th level, you can decide what level you want it cast at - up to 8th level. So with magic missile you can duplicate it as a 1st level spell (3 missiles) up to an 8th level spell (10 missiles) - casters choice.

Why would you want to duplicate it at a lower level? Can't think of a good reason, but all sorts of situations come up in play!
Edit: I was incorrect, spells do have their level increased when upcast. However, the rest of my argument stands.

Upcast spells get a bonus "when you cast them using a spell slot of X level." When you cast wish, the only spell slot you are using is 9th level. The duplicated spell might benefit from that spell slot, or it might not (this is open to interpretation). But nothing in wish allows you to create an 8th-level spell slot and plug it into the duplicated spell. It's either 9th or the base level.
 
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Mort

Legend
Spells are not cast at different levels. Magic missile is a 1st-level spell, period. If you cast it using an 8th-level slot, it is still a 1st-level spell. It just gets a bonus from the spell slot that was used to cast it.

When you cast wish, the only spell slot you are using is 9th level. The duplicated spell might benefit from that spell slot, or it might not (this is open to interpretation). But nothing in wish allows you to create an 8th-level spell slot and plug it into the duplicated spell. It's either 9th or the base level.

That is not correct.

From Chapter 10 of the PHP (Spellcasting):

Casting a Spell at a Higher Level​

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting. For instance, if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level. Effectively, the spell expands to fill the slot it is put into.

Some spells, such as magic missile and cure wounds, have more powerful effects when cast at a higher level, as detailed in a spell's description.
_____________________________________________________

Since Wish says you can duplicate any spell of up to 8th level, plain reading means exactly that (so the spell duplicated is not cast as a 9th level spell but up to an 8th level spell).
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer

Casting a Spell at a Higher Level​

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting. For instance, if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level. Effectively, the spell expands to fill the slot it is put into.
Classic natural language at work. :)

A "spell" really has two meanings; one is the construct that the caster prepares or knows, which has a fixed base level. The second is the particular instance of that spell created by casting, which has a level based on the spell slot expended.

So "the spell magic missile" can mean two things. It's the spell the caster has prepared, which is 1st level, but it's also any individual casting of that spell, which can be any level for which the caster has spell slots.

So basically, it's a complete tossup as to whether the "duplicate any other spell of 8th level or below" refers to the rules construct object that is prepared/known by the caster, or to an individual casting. I'd rule the latter, because it's wish and upscaled lower level spells are generally inferior anyway.
 


Mort

Legend
Classic natural language at work. :)

A "spell" really has two meanings; one is the construct that the caster prepares or knows, which has a fixed base level. The second is the particular instance of that spell created by casting, which has a level based on the spell slot expended.

So "the spell magic missile" can mean two things. It's the spell the caster has prepared, which is 1st level, but it's also any individual casting of that spell, which can be any level for which the caster has spell slots.

So basically, it's a complete tossup as to whether the "duplicate any other spell of 8th level or below" refers to the rules construct object that is prepared/known by the caster, or to an individual casting. I'd rule the latter, because it's wish and upscaled lower level spells are generally inferior anyway.
While I can see that, and yes, natural language has these kind of pitfalls - to me, it doesn't have to be that complicated.

1. Cast wish;
2. Pick a spell;
3 if desired pick a level for that spell, up to 8th(since any spell can be cast at any level above it's minimum level).

Is that the be all, end all explanation? Certainly not, but it makes sense to me and seems to be a both a fair and liberal way to enterpret it. So that's what it is at my table.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
While I can see that, and yes, natural language has these kind of pitfalls - to me, it doesn't have to be that complicated.

1. Cast wish;
2. Pick a spell;
3 if desired pick a level for that spell, up to 8th(since any spell can be cast at any level above it's minimum level).

Is that the be all, end all explanation? Certainly not, but it makes sense to me and seems to be a both a fair and liberal way to enterpret it. So that's what it is at my table.
100% agree. Also the way I would rule it.
 

You can cast the spell being duplicated as any level from its own base level up to level eight, because any of those is a spell of level 8 or lower that exists.


Even in the face of such authority I certainly think it's reasonable, based on the wording of Wish, for a DM to potentially rule otherwise, and not allow upcasting. But I don't think that really jives with how the game generally treats upcasting. Also never forget that this whole casting lesser spells is just a way for the game to represent wishing for whatever you want without it becoming unmanageable, and having whatever you want be upcast a bit hardly seems gamebreaking when they already get to skip the material components and drop long casting times. Wish is supposed to be a bit broken; that is the lore of Wish.

I would caution a DM tempted to not allow upcasting to double-check if they have any reason to do so beyond enforcing their first glance reading of the spell, and if they do have a reason then to triple check that they are not laying down a general ruling on how the spell can work to deal with a very specific problem unlikely to recur.
 

Rabulias

Hero
In theory, a standard 8th level spell should be roughly equivalent to any other spell upcast into an 8th level slot. I generally find that upcasting yields weaker results than a standard spell of the same level. Expending your 9th level slot to duplicate a lower-level spell and hamstringing it further by upcasting is not going to be overpowered. With this in mind, and the fact that it is a wish, I would allow wish to duplicate the casting of any spell upcast up to 8th level.
 

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