Wishes will change your game. A wish is the most powerful magic in D&D, so powerful and so broken that it doesn’t even exist in the mechanics for 4e. But as the DM you have the power and the choice to introduce wishes into your campaign as you see fit. It’s not something that you should consider lightly, but it is something you should be willing to consider.
Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “W” is for wish as we look at some epic level adventure hooks for truly powerful characters.
Generally if you’re going to allow wish magic to into your game it should be for a specific purpose. Allowing it to just show up haphazardly opens the door for abuse. I’ve seen first hand how badly things can go when a PC is given access to even just a single wish. Getting a wish puts an incredible burden of responsibility on the PC making the wish; players should realize this before they get greedy and wish for XP, gp, magic items, immortality, or some other selfish reward.
I see wish being more useful as a plot device or tool to drive a campaign forward. PCs shouldn’t be given wishes without a specific reason for needing such powerful magic. We leave it to the DM to create a scenario that can only be fixed or overcome with the help of a wish. Once the PCs realize they need a wish it’s time to find a way to get one. In today’s adventure hooks we’ll look at some ways in which the PCs could acquire a wish and the circumstances around which the PCs must navigate to get it.
Adventure Hooks: If Only Wishing Made It So
1. Luck Blade
A Luck Blade is a magic sword that grants wishes, plain and simple. It’s certainly not the kind of thing that would be found laying around in an armory or treasure horde. Whoever possesses the Luck Blade surely knows of its power and has likely taken steps to keep it safe. Given the temptation that comes from possessing such a weapon the wielder is likely a man of discipline and wisdom – so a Paladin. Maybe even a king? Perhaps the burden of possessing and protecting such a weapon from the wrong hands was so overwhelming that the Paladin has gone into hiding. Maybe he wanders the land under the guise of a swordsman for hire, just looking to help those in need all the while keeping under the radar. When the PCs finally track down the weapon do they try to convince the sword’s keeper to let them use the wish? Or do they attack him and try to take it by force? How do you battle a man who can wish for victory?
2. Moon Card (Deck of Many Things)
This is one of my all time favourite magic items in D&D. It’s also a good way to end any campaign. In my experience once a party gets a Deck of Many Things it’s all down hill from there as greed takes over. If the Moon card is drawn the person who drew it gets wishes. Sounds easy enough. The trouble is that there can be as many as 22 cards in the deck and half of them are very, very bad. But if the wish magic is needed desperately enough then the PCs may just tempt fate and start drawing cards until they get what they need. Now all they have to do is find themselves a Deck of Many Things. Given the power contained within these decks they are extremely rare and likely coveted by the current owner. However, an owner who loves chaos may be talked into allowing the PCs to draw under certain circumstances. Maybe he will only allow it if the PC agrees to draw a silly number of cards. Since the magic will compel fulfillment of the number of cards drawn this could lead to all kinds of side quests to resolve the bad cards drawn.
3. Ring of Wishes
This is the D&D spin on the Genie in the bottle. When the ring is created a being capable of granting wishes is bound to the item. When the ring is slipped on ones finger the Genie appears, ready to grant the user three wishes. The Genie is usually only bound to the wearer until the wishes are granted. Once that happens the Genie is freed or the ring disappears, teleported magically to a random location until found again. What’s likely to happen is that the ring’s current owner will waste the first two wishes on personal gain immediately and then keep the third in reserve for a true emergency or the perfect wish. Knowing that this will be their last wish they may even take years to come up with the exact phrasing to get the final wish just right. When adventurers track him down and ask for the ring he’s unlikely to give up his last wish. But he might be tricked into using it.
4. Angels & Demons
In older editions of D&D many Angels and Demons have the power to grant wishes. We’re not talking about low level monsters; we’re talking about the highest level creatures. Although they have the ability to grant wishes, it’s not like they go around doing it for just anyone. So if the PCs decide that they need to contact one of these creatures in order to get the wish they need, that in itself will be a difficult task. Once they find such a being they’ll need to convince it to grant their request. The consequence of the wish must somehow reflect the alignment of the being granting the wish. Angels will likely grant a wish to save the lives of their faithful followers. Demons may agree to grant a wish but try to twist the intent of the wording. In either scenario the PCs will likely be asked to first perform a service to demonstrate their worthiness of such a powerful favour.
5. Spellbook or Scroll
Finding someone who already has the ability to cast a wish or finding an item that will grant the user a wish are two ways to get a wish, but if the DM allows it the PCs themselves could cast the spell from a spellbook or scroll. In this case there are three steps to getting the wish to work. The first step is to find the instructions. Where is the spell and how do the PCs get it? Is it in some long lost spell book? Do they have to learn the spell from some ancient creature like a Dragon? If so they’ll have to convince the creature to do so. The second step is to find suitable components. Since wishes can change reality the components should be exotic, expensive, and nearly impossibly to collect. The third step is the casting itself. It should always be more complicated than just a straight up die roll. Maybe one of the ritual casters needs to be a certain race or meet some specific requirement related to the purpose of the wish. Maybe the ritual needs to be cast at a certain hard to reach location at a specific time. By adding all three steps together this will likely be the most difficult way to get the wish but it could be the most fun.