Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's a Wish Worth?

My players recovered an Efreeti Bottle last night in Rappan Athuk. Not having any desire for the party to have an Efreeti at their beck and call for a year and a day I had the Efreeti offer the opener of the bottle a wish.

I've never seen a game session come to a screeching halt faster in my life. They wanted to take a week to decide on the proper wish and it's wording. I wasn't going to stop them - I understand the importance, but I've never fucked a player over for a wish that didn't ask for it.

What I mean is this - in my mind, a wish is something that is appropriate for your relative level or a bit higher. So if you're level 7, something appropriate for a level 9 or 10 character, but if you are wishing for something appropriate for a 15th or 20th level character, it probably won't work out as you expect.

Sure, it's all rule of thumb, but my rule is basically "only screw the players if they are being extremely greedy or foolhardy."

That all being said, I'm very interested in seeing what the intervening week brings...


  1. Wishes are like a cup of coffee with a rot grub at the bottom.

  2. Ugh! I hate hearing somebody say they'll "only screw the players if they are being extremely greedy or foolhardy" because that's like saying "the rules change depending on how much I like what you're doing."
    Either it's a monkey's paw wish or it's a straight up wish. Tell them how you're going to interpret and adjudicate the wish before they speak it, instruct them to phrase the wish within the fiction, and then don't fucking pull the rug out from under them if they use what you've given them just because it was something you thought was tawdry or banal.

    1. I probably didnt explain myself fully.

      My party expects to get fucked - that is their previous experience with wishes, no matter how small or greedy, they expect to get fucked.

      I've never done that to players, except in the "i wish i had all of the gold in the world" type of crap. Heck, I never went into it last night with the idea of screwing with them until they mentioned it, as i know my players, and they are more likely to wish for a rez scroll with no failure chance than a million GP

    2. Basically, you didn't convince me that you don't change the rules by which you GM if they wish for something that you don't like. In fact, you all but confirmed it.

      So saying "I wish I had all the gold in the world" would change the way you treat the wish? Does wishing for something banal leave the player with a not-getting-fucked-over wish, or just a not-getting-fucked-over-as-much wish? Or only if the wish is phrased to upset the world with far-reaching ramifications, then the wish becomes a getting-fucked-over wish? And what if they wish for something that has worldwide ramifications but is truly banal?

    3. I think that's misreading Tenkar's intent. It seems to me that he's not trying to be personally subjective, but rather to imply a "reasonability curve" within the game world itself where the closer you get to the unreasonability asymptote, the more unsavory the response becomes.

    4. So, a magical disruption of reality has to be "reasonable"?
      Give me a fucking break!

  3. I recall a tale that I was told by a gamer in a group of ages past where another player really screwed the pooch on a wish.

    Bear in mind that the setting was High Fantasy, Swords and Sorcery and, probably D&D given the time period from which the tale comes.. They wished for a shotgun! A friggin' shotgun! I don't know what they were thinking or, if they'd just been watching too much Armies of Darkness but that was their characters hearts desire at that moment in time (despite the obvious fact that his character should have no idea what a shotgun even was). Regardless, he wished for it and he got it!..

    If only he'd have wished for some shells to go with it..

    It doesn't really progress the question at hand but, I figured I'd share it none the less.


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