Wish Rules (3.5e Variant Rule)
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No Wishing for More Wishes
The 3.5 wish spell is very explicit in what it can do, and extremely vague about what it can't do. It has a big list of things it is capable of, and then tells the DM to ad hoc things if anyone wishes for anything that isn't on that list. Unfortunately, wishing for a Staff of 50 wishes is on the list of things you can wish for. The XP cost is considerable (512,180 XP), but if you get your wishes from a magic item (like a Staff of 50 wishes) or a spell-like ability (like an Efreet), you don't have to pay that XP cost, so the fact that it is stupidly large doesn't even matter. Needless to say, the game completely breaks down as soon as that happens. So in that spirit, we suggest an alternate list of things wish can do, coupled with some things wish actually can't do:
Free Wishes – the following wishes have no XP cost:
- Wealth: A character can wish for mundane wealth whose total value is 25,000 gp or less.
- Magic Item: A character can wish for a magic item that costs 15,000 gp or less.
- Power: A character can wish to increase an inherent bonus to any attribute by 1 (to a maximum of +5)
- Spell: A character can wish for the effects of any spell that lacks an XP cost that is lower level than the highest level spell in its spell list (a wizard spell of 8th level or less, or a paladin spell of 3rd level or less, for example).
- Transport: A character can wish herself and 1 other willing creature per caster level to any location on any plane.
Wishes that aren't Free – the following wishes cost XP or gp or both:
- Add to the Powers of a Magic Item: A character can increase the powers of a magic item to anything she could enhance it to with her own item creation feats. This requires 1 XP for every 10 gp increase in magic item value.
- Raise the Dead: A character can bring the dead back to "life", even if they were an undead, construct, or other creature that cannot normally be brought back to life. This may even be able to bring back a creature who has been devoured by a Barghest (50% chance of success). This costs 3,000 XP, which can be paid in any combination by the caster or the target. The spent XP for this wish can reduce a character's level, but coming back to life in this manner otherwise won't do so.
- Undo Misfortune: A character can wish back the sands of time in order to force events of the last round to be replayed. Time can be reset to any point back to the character's previous initiative pass. This use costs 1000 XP. While the action spent to cast wish in this case is restored, the character still loses the spell slot and XP used to power it.
- Turn Back Time: A poorly fated adventure can be averted entirely with a wish. The character expends the slot and pays 5,000 xp, and none of it ever happened.
Wishes that are Rituals – some wishes have much greater costs, at the whim of the DM. Here is an example:
- Become a new Creature: A character can wish themselves into being a new creature. This must be done when a character is eligible to gain a new level, and the character makes the wish and takes a level of the new racial class (or racial paragon class) and is now the new race.
Any use of wish causes the wisher to become fatigued (and yes, there are ways to get around that).
Creatures with spell-like abilities that grant wishes may only grant wishes that have no XP cost. So an Efreet can give you as many +2 swords as it wants, but an Efreet can't give in to your request to have a +3 sword. Also, you'll notice that we categorize the inherent bonuses as something that's free and therefore going to be rapidly available to all the player characters somewhere between 11th and 15th levels. That's because we seriously believe that it is more balanced for characters to all gain +5 inherent bonuses than it is for some characters to figure out how to manipulate XP gains and thought bottles to get inherent bonuses while the other players don't. Inherent bonuses need to be available or not available to everyone or they break the game.
Magic items with wish on them can be used to cast wishes with an XP cost of at most 5,000 XP, and are produced as items using spells with a cost of 5,000 XP. As a result, you can't wish for an item that has wish on it.