When should the DM make a wish go wrong?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I wouldn't waste a trait on Thoughtful Wish-Maker unless you're doing a high lvl 1-shot or something, and even then I probably still wouldn't. This is a prime candidate for Ye Olde Paragon Surge Cheese. Paragon Surge ---> Additional Traits Feat ---> Thoughtful Wish-Maker ----> Cast Wish


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Yqatuba wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Something I thought of: Should a player casting wish be able to make a linguistics (or bluff, or something) check to see if they say it right? After all, the player doesn't really have 30 cha even if their sorcerer does.

There's a trait for that, though it's regional for the Plane of Fire: Thoughtful Wish-Maker.

You get +2 on Sense Motive; and when making a wish from an Outsider, you can roll Sense Motive DC 25. Basically, if you succeed but not by 5 or more, the GM has to tell you what twists are being applied to the wish. If you succeed BY 5 or more, the GM is not allowed to twist the wish.

I'm going to be honest, if I had a player that picked up this trait it would :

1) Clue me in that they intend to make lots of use of wish
2) Probably prompt me to tell them straight up that anything beyond the specified uses is going to cause the spell to fail
3) But promise them it wont have any unintended consequences, it will simply fail.
So, basically, you're punishing players for not making characters the way you want?

No, I'm preventing wish from potentially ruining a campaign.

Telling players that they're not going to get more out of wish than it specifies isn't punishing a player and lets them evaluate if they really think the trait is worth it.

Besides, this only applies to being granted wishes by beings that might intentionally twist the spell, casting it yourself still would have the power to be twisted if you attempt to go beyond its limits.

So it doesn't actually protect you from the method that you're most likely to use to get wishes (casting it yourself).

To be honest, the way you phrased it makes me a bit upset because it comes across as though you feel entitled to make wishes without restriction...and if that is how you feel than I think we simply don't have common ground to discuss the subject.


Ryze Kuja wrote:

I wouldn't waste a trait on Thoughtful Wish-Maker unless you're doing a high lvl 1-shot or something, and even then I probably still wouldn't. This is a prime candidate for Ye Olde Paragon Surge Cheese. Paragon Surge ---> Additional Traits Feat ---> Thoughtful Wish-Maker ----> Cast Wish

Wouldn't actually help, the trait is about spells being granted by outsiders.

Basically the spell says you're not going to get tricked by poor wording when telling an outsider your wish.

It doesn't do anything for when you cast wish.


I know, this trait is so situational that it's a complete waste. So, I say Paragon Surge it for the 1/10000000 chance you'll use this.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Yqatuba wrote:
So, basically, you're punishing players for not making characters the way you want?

No, it’s laying out how things are not going to work the way they expect and that they should do something else.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
So, basically, you're punishing players for not making characters the way you want?
No, it’s laying out how things are not going to work the way they expect and that they should do something else.

Exactly! Thank you!


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Claxon wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Something I thought of: Should a player casting wish be able to make a linguistics (or bluff, or something) check to see if they say it right? After all, the player doesn't really have 30 cha even if their sorcerer does.

There's a trait for that, though it's regional for the Plane of Fire: Thoughtful Wish-Maker.

You get +2 on Sense Motive; and when making a wish from an Outsider, you can roll Sense Motive DC 25. Basically, if you succeed but not by 5 or more, the GM has to tell you what twists are being applied to the wish. If you succeed BY 5 or more, the GM is not allowed to twist the wish.

I'm going to be honest, if I had a player that picked up this trait it would :

1) Clue me in that they intend to make lots of use of wish
2) Probably prompt me to tell them straight up that anything beyond the specified uses is going to cause the spell to fail
3) But promise them it wont have any unintended consequences, it will simply fail.
So, basically, you're punishing players for not making characters the way you want?

No, I'm preventing wish from potentially ruining a campaign.

Telling players that they're not going to get more out of wish than it specifies isn't punishing a player and lets them evaluate if they really think the trait is worth it.

Besides, this only applies to being granted wishes by beings that might intentionally twist the spell, casting it yourself still would have the power to be twisted if you attempt to go beyond its limits.

So it doesn't actually protect you from the method that you're most likely to use to get wishes (casting it yourself).

To be honest, the way you phrased it makes me a bit upset because it comes across as though you feel entitled to make wishes without restriction...and if that is how you feel than I think we simply don't have common ground to discuss the subject.

Sorry about that.


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Yqatuba wrote:
Sorry about that.

It's alright, it's hard to read intent and ideas, especially when we might hastily write out a response that doesn't necessarily capture everything we intend.


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You use your wish to ask for an outsider to grant you a wish, and then ask him for something more crazy using your trait.

Shadow Lodge

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To me there are 2 factors

1) Wording

How well worded is the wish, it usually goes from ironclad and impossible to pervert to "I struggle to even understand what you really wanted".
The art of making airtight wishes gets pretty fun sometimes. Some people really enjoy crossing all the T and dotting all the I and rework their words until they are sure the wish is perfect and impossible to thwart

2) does it improve the game?

What happens if the wish goes wrong? is it an interesting set of consequences? is it something people will enjoy playing through? or will be something just utterly frustrating to everyone involved?
And what about the opposite? will the wish fulfillment trivialize the game? will it take all the stakes out of it. will it bypass events crucial to the plot?

so sometimes a wish is poorly worded, opens up for dire interpretations, but the request is either innocuous or even quite interesting for the game development so it's better for the enjoyment of al that it comes to fruition, despite how badly the wish was formulated.
Other time it's really well formulated, but just broken and disruptive of the campaign.

even after considering all the above there are alternatives to warping the wish against its user.

1) the fizzle
Sometimes wishes just won't work. It could be completely unresponsive, especially in the case of a well worded but broken wish. The spell simply is incapable of this scale of reality alteration. Other time is only a partial success or a success that dies out immediately.
Sometimes the horrible consequences of your poorly conceived wish materialize in front of your eyes in its horrific glory before reality rejects your wish and returns to normal. Or maybe you do become the absolute god of all the multiverse and you feel the power of all the cosmos at your fingertip. But you don't know how to unleash something that you never had, and you can't contain that power, and is leaving your body fast... certainly way faster than your learning curve.
You ended up hearing the cacophony of all the world's prayers for an hour, and when you sneezed your cat familiar turned blue and you don't know how to turn it back and that's all you got from the weekend you became a god.

2) the benign warp

The wish you asked for didn't come to fruition the way you expected. Doesn't mean it has to change in a bad way. Sometimes is not about how bad it would be to misinterpret the wish, sometimes is about how good it would be.
Maybe you asked to become a god and you received no power... but something still happened. The other gods are in direct communication with you, they are aware that you have no power, but still you are somehow socially a god, if the lowest of them.
You receive invitations to join Cayden Cailean next Party at his Domain in Elysium, Invitation for the fledgling god +3.
You get disgruntled telepathic messages every time you enter a temple of another god about encroaching in their territory.
You have a swarm of tiny, invisible, incorporeal, inconsequential divine servants. they are in your backpack, rearranging your equipment as their temple and singing Hymns that glorify you.
Worshipers approach you and make it their quest to find a way for you to actually obtain real divine powers.
The most zealous among them are actually able to cast a few levels of divine spells by Praying to you every morning.
You have no idea of how it works, all you know is that you bought a potted plant and started to tend to it and all of a sudden your clerics gained the plant domain.
Meanwhile you are still a lvl 17 barbarian who doesn't know the first thing about casting divine spells.


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To be sure, I simply don't allow wish-lawyering - but then again, the only player who's had a chance to use a wish has, in both times, wished for custom magic items with harmless environmental effects because, well, the imagination of youth.

In exchange, if you're getting a wish from an Outsider, your outcome (even for safe wishes) is going to reflect the Outsider's personality, adjusted for any reaction adjustments you've attempted beforehand (bribing the Shaitan with gems, defeating the Marid in an impromptu round of Dance Dance Revolution, etc.)

Let's take an example. The party finds itself on the wrong end of a fight against a Blue Dragon and really needs to hit the panic button, so they pull out the Genie Bottle. (I know these are normally only for efreet, but I allow them to exist for all four genie types.) Assuming they get the option to use wishes, they wish for the mass teleport option: "We need to get out of here now! I wish for us to be in Windy Hill!" Just like that. All four genies will grant the wish, but...

- The djinni will be ostentatious. The party will arrive with an illusion grand enough to make the "Prince Ali" entrance seem tame by comparison.

- The marid will be capricious. The party will arrive on random roofs in the village; their wagons will be stood on end, dressed and arranged like gossiping milkmaids, with the wagons' contents stored safely inside temporary bags of holding the wagon-maids are wearing as fanny packs.

- The efreeti will be malicious. The party will arrive just fine. The wagons will arrive 20' above random citizens.

- The shaitan will be expeditious and just get the party there.

Dark Archive

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Yqatuba wrote:
I always got the impression that the listed uses for wish are the safe options, meaning they won't go wrong if the caster picks one. Only if they try to wish for something more powerful should there be a chance of the wish doing something bad.

Read the wish magic section:

#1 regular wishes for regular things shouldn't go wrong.
#2 wishing for more than can be granted will cause a "twist."
#3 wishing more than 5 times in a short period of time will cause things to go wrong in an area (see also "the Mana Waste").

So short history of Golarion's Mana Waste: Geb and Nex were fighting, with magic. Vudran Nobles came to visit and Nex gave them Jalmeray (a small island off the coast). They used a bunch of Djinn to wish it a better place to live, and no doubt, were asked by Nex to intervene in the war with Geb. Wishes abounded. Land destroyed. Weird things started happening, and we're left with the Mana Waste.

Wishing a lot is bad. A ring of unlimited wishes, 1/round, costs roughly 2.72 million gold to create. Which, combined with fabricate and false focus, takes 27200 castings, and zero actual gold. Easily done in an 11th level wizard's elven lifetime: 3/day (easily) = 248 years. A human wizard might want to progress to level 15; 5/day (easily) before trying it (149 years, might need some "extendo glue").

Of course, if you make Pearls of Power (5th) for 25k, they more than make up for the time spent. If you get to work on the PoPs right off... It actually reduces the time needed a LOT. After 374 days, you have 50 castings a day (starting with 3), with 47 PoPs. So that cuts the 27200 castings down to 544 days. Or just about two and a half years (374+544 days), no gold, and 50 PoP (lvl 5) and a ring of unlimited wishes 1/rd. Not a bad two years of your life. (you can do it faster by making more PoPs). Oddly, it doesn't get to much better than that even if you get to 125 PoP (making a new one in 1 day from then out isn't that helpful either). You can reduce the time to 704 days for the 125 PoP+ RoUW 1/rd. 218 days earlier... not a huge difference, but a bit better.

Grand Lodge

Sandslice wrote:
the GM is not allowed to twist the wish

HA! That would never happen in my campaigns. There has never been, nor ever will be a rule that has power over the GM.

Dark Archive

TwilightKnight wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
the GM is not allowed to twist the wish
HA! That would never happen in my campaigns. There has never been, nor ever will be a rule that has power over the GM.

HAHAHA! A TRAIT, at that! Lolz in GMeeze.


Ryze Kuja wrote:
If the caster of your Wish is a pissed off Efreeti and the Wish itself is so poorly worded that the first thing that comes to your mind is a horrible way to corrupt it, then by all means corrupt it.

This all the way.

Anything that pops into the DM's head immediately is fair game to pop into the head of an angry caster with a higher INT than the DM.


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TwilightKnight wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
the GM is not allowed to twist the wish
HA! That would never happen in my campaigns. There has never been, nor ever will be a rule that has power over the GM.

I'm not exaggerating when I describe the trait as "the GM is not allowed."

Thoughtful wish maker wrote:
You are well acquainted with the many ways words can be twisted. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks. Furthermore, if you succeed at a DC 25 Sense Motive check prior to making any wish granted by an outsider, you become aware of your wish’s potential pitfalls. If you succeed at this check by 5 or more, you figure out how to word your wish in such a way that your words are not twisted.

It's fine to house-rule anything to below RAW levels; but your players should be made aware of such changes before opting in.


To be honest, the trait is a Regional trait for the Plane of Fire. In order to have it in the first place, you're going to need permission to take such a regional trait.

It's easy for the GM to say, "Sorry, your character is not from the plane of fire".

Dark Archive

I don't have a problem with it, honestly. Because what does it even mean? If the GM disagrees with what you asked, or how you asked, but is technically correct, is it twisting it?

"I wish for one million gold! (or even 50,001)." Haw, GM, I rolled 5 over the DC, you have to give me 1 million gold! My TRAIT (weakest form of extra-ordinary ability available) says so!

Ok. 1 million gold appears in your brain. You are dead. But rich dead.

"But that's A TWIST!"... no, it's not. You never specified where it was to appear.

Any stray effects are not "twists" - it's not the GM's fault you left things in the air. If you exceed the "power" of a wish by a factor of 20x, expect 20x the "interpretive dance" by this GM. PS. I wouldn't twist wishes from the spell, if they keep their effects to what's listed (or close to it). I will always twist (at least a little) a wish granted by an outsider (because hey, they have a completely different understanding of language and expectations of wishes being granted). You want 50000 gp from a Djinni? It's easier to teleport/transport it from someone who HAS IT, than to create it out of thin air. IOU left in it's place with your name on it. You *may* get a call from an outsider regarding the IOU.


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Then you are negating the trait's explicit function and acting in bad faith.

Nothing stops you from ruling that the wish can't be made (ie, can't possibly be worded;) but if you do grant it, you can't do anything like instantly kill the character.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yes, you absolutely can. Rules cannot stop you.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yes, you absolutely can. Rules cannot stop you.

To clarify, can't without departing from the rules and what most would consider the social contract.

The way that is being presented, a 25 on sense motive = any number of advices and warnings about why that might not be the best wish to make; but a 30 = skip all that and deliver instant death.

You can. But it speaks chapters if you do.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I return to my previous statement.


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The trait is designed so that players don't have to be super careful about how they word their wish as the CHARACTER is very knowledgeable about how words can be twisted and therefore know what to say to avoid having them be twisted.
Screwing the player over because the PLAYER didn't word something right / wasn't specific enough is ignoring the point of the trait and that's a jerk thing to do as a GM.

But the trait doesn't say that a wish has to be granted no matter what.
Wish says "You may try to use a wish to produce greater effects than these, but doing so is dangerous. (The wish may pervert your intent into a literal but undesirable fulfillment or only a partial fulfillment, at the GM's discretion.)" With the trait, GMs have to ignore the middle bit about perverting the characters intent (or they're changing the rules partway through the game even though they were, presumably, aware of the characters ability well before they got to this point). That doesn't mean that the entire wish has to be fulfilled. "It's too powerful of a wish and therefore you don't get everything you want out of it" is perfectly within reasonable expectations.

Wish only breaks a game if you allow it to. None of it's listed limitations are so strong that your game will be irrevocably changed for the worse.

Scarab Sages

Scarletrose wrote:

To me there are 2 factors

1) Wording

How well worded is the wish, it usually goes from ironclad and impossible to pervert to "I struggle to even understand what you really wanted".
The art of making airtight wishes gets pretty fun sometimes. Some people really enjoy crossing all the T and dotting all the I and rework their words until they are sure the wish is perfect and impossible to thwart

2) does it improve the game?

What happens if the wish goes wrong? is it an interesting set of consequences? is it something people will enjoy playing through? or will be something just utterly frustrating to everyone involved?
And what about the opposite? will the wish fulfillment trivialize the game? will it take all the stakes out of it. will it bypass events crucial to the plot?

so sometimes a wish is poorly worded, opens up for dire interpretations, but the request is either innocuous or even quite interesting for the game development so it's better for the enjoyment of al that it comes to fruition, despite how badly the wish was formulated.
Other time it's really well formulated, but just broken and disruptive of the campaign.

even after considering all the above there are alternatives to warping the wish against its user.

1) the fizzle
Sometimes wishes just won't work. It could be completely unresponsive, especially in the case of a well worded but broken wish. The spell simply is incapable of this scale of reality alteration. Other time is only a partial success or a success that dies out immediately.
Sometimes the horrible consequences of your poorly conceived wish materialize in front of your eyes in its horrific glory before reality rejects your wish and returns to normal. Or maybe you do become the absolute god of all the multiverse and you feel the power of all the cosmos at your fingertip. But you don't know how to unleash something that you never had, and you can't contain that power, and is leaving your body fast... certainly way faster than your learning curve.
You ended up...

There's also the "I did the best I could" power clause you see in some manga.

Cheeky Angel
Tomboy wishes to be a man among men. The magic item doesn't have the power to actually turn her into a boy so it just changes the memories of her and her best friend to think she was a boy. Doesn't even have the power to change memories of other people like her mother who still remembers her daughter.

????
Can't remember the title but a guy wishes for a cute childhood female friend and the fairy who can't rewrite history turns his childhood friend from a boy to a girl. However their willpower is strong enough to actually override the wish and turn them back into a boy unless something crops up to make them want to be a girl for awhile (such as the easier girls PE class). So the manga follows the fairy trying to grant the wish by stalking the guy and turning him into a girl repeatedly and his turning back by refusing to admit he's a girl.

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