Magical wishes are rarer and more complicated than stories about them. The simpler form is just the result of a favor, a promise, or at most a geas. But if you are dealing with a wish-granting artifact, with no attached servant such as a genie, then the wish is a ka-based spell.

A wish is a spell that, when triggered, casts a very short-lived and tightly focused ka of the wish-founder, built around the specific wish as around an irresistible geas. The ka has the skills, knowledge, and attitudes of the wish founder at the time of the founding. Thus:

Wishes are characterized as you would a mundane piece of craftsmanship, e.g.:

The other major measure of a wish is the power it contains, measured in psi points for game mechanics. In setting, societies have various measures. "Nights" ("nx") is one, being the psi developed by an average human in one night of sleep. 1 nights = 10 psi points. Since people and other things vary greatly in the efficiency of their use of psi, this measure is of limited value.

Particularly powerful wishes may include supplies of luck or even karma, and the most powerful can develop these on command (or implied command).

Some magical economies have produced standardized denominations of wishes as trade goods:


The wishes are cast on leaves of the tree in question, which become unwithering until the wish is discharged. (Pennywishes are cast on clover blossoms.)

Stone, Spear, Sword, and Cauldron wishes are supplemented with luck, karma, etc., and categorized by the founder on personal grounds. They are not really quantified, but they are more powerful than holly wishes.

The wishes are founded by sidhe druids, who are known to combine and standardize low-level wishes into higher-level ones.


The wishes were cast on small oval coins in silver, silver with turquoise, gold, or gold with carnelian, bearing a stylized whirlwind. The coins were "as shiny as if oiled" until discharged.

The wishes were founded by teams of mighty Egyptian djinn, trained for uniformity. These djinn were paid in centuries of service by the Alexandrine mages who hired them and issued the wishes; the mages considered it a good way to get a magical education and maybe an extended life (unless the service is also rendered after death; records are unclear).


The wishes were cast on tiny pinches of dust of the relevant material, glamoured to look like solid beads. The beads crumble when discharged.

The wishes were founded by a college of wizard golems created and trained for the purpose. The college disappeared centuries ago, but some of the golems, or all, must survive, because new beads still circulate.

Babylonian Wishing Candles:

These are the origin of the birthday cake wishing ceremony.

A wishing candle looks like a home-made votive candle, very short, usually delivered in a presentation box inscribed with indications of the provenance and the identity of the founder. It often comes with an accessory candlestick or lamp.

The owner lights the candle, wishes, then blows it out. It can then be re-used in one year. It never burns down.

The candle usually comes with a 5-year charge. You can then re-charge it by lighting it and going to sleep by it. In game mechanics, it will drain all your psi, focus, and effort points, taking them as psi points for its charge. It does the drain shortly after you go to sleep, then leaves you to recover normally. But this does mean you are very weakened if roused shortly after going to sleep.

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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010