Genies can be trapped in a lamp for long periods of time, maybe hundreds or thousands of years. They are made of vapour so this doesn't inconvenience them much. Whilst in the lamp they don't have a human form but they can hear speech (and therefore summoning spells) and can feel someone rubbing the lamp. It is dark inside the lamp.

There is nothing else in the lamp apart from the genie's vaporous self.

Genies have great powers to grant wishes and in fact they can grant themselves three (and only three) wishes during the whole of their existence.


Genies are constrained by a Higher Power to remain genies until the Final Day. They must stay in the lamp at all times except when summoned. When summoned they must emerge and grant the summoner three wishes then return to the lamp. The summoner can require all three wishes at the same time or at different times.

Genies cannot countermand any restrictions imposed by the Higher Power.

The Genie only has three wishes for itself in total yet it may be summoned many times by different people over the centuries and millennia. Outside conditions may change drastically so they need to choose wisely.

Genies can only grant wishes including their own whilst outside the lamp.


The Genie's (unavoidable) task is to grant as many wishes as possible but also to be as tricky as possible about it so that wishes are, if possible, granted in an undesirable way the summoner hasn't thought of. One of the paradoxes of this is that the genie must grant its own wishes in the least favourable way! I need to know what the wishes should be but also what unfavourable outcomes could come from these wishes and how the genie can avoid tricking itself.

What should the genie wish for?


closed as too broad by Renan, Gryphon, Alex2006, Frostfyre, L.Dutch Jan 7 at 15:57

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    $\begingroup$ What does the genie want? Is its goal in life to get to Armageddon with the most wishes fulfilled? the fewest? ones that are most in tune with its moral code, whatever that might be? Or does it simply want comfort of some kind while performing its service? $\endgroup$ – Cadence Jan 6 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ Are there any restrictions on the wishes, aside from those already noted? Can genies kill? Resurrect the dead? Grant Humans powers equal to their own without the restrictions? Turn other people into genies? Brainwash/mind control? And part from that, can genies twist or pervert the wishes they grant? $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Jan 7 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps a bigger lamp? What if the lamp was so large it contained the solar system? Legal trickery I know, but it would solve the problem of freedom. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jan 7 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Freeeedoooooom! $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 7 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ I have the impression you are asking for a potentially infinite set of triplets with no clear way to evaluate each triplet, aside from your own opinion. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 7 at 5:53

The genie has no personal desires, beyond the need to grant as many wishes as possible. Hence the wishes must push the genie towards being as good at its job as it possibly can. I also sense a hint of chaotic neutral about its instructions.

  1. The lamp should never be out of the physical possession of a potential user for more than a decade.
    The genie isn't going to be granting wishes if the lamp is lost at the bottom of the sea for a millennium, it has to be found and rubbed for wishes to be granted. A person who has used all their wishes is no longer a potential user, this timer starts as soon as the third wish is granted. The most likely problem with this is that one person wishes for immortality and attempts to hoard the lamp forever, and so we come to:
  2. The lamp should never remain in the possession of any single controller for more than a year.
    People have a terrible tendency to hold off on that last wish until needed, that stops other people from getting control and wishing their own wishes. This timer starts as soon as the new owner first takes control of the lamp, even if it's casually thrown in a bag with other loot and never used.
    The lamp needs to move around. It's going to get a lot of people killed if they're not willing to give up the lamp. The genie doesn't care about that, the genie wants new people to grant wishes to and as such the lamp must change hands by any means.
    The greatest risk to the genie is that it's passed around endlessly but never rubbed, but then, if you've had it for a year and never rubbed it, what are the chances you're going to start now? Move it along and maybe a servant will polish it as it sits on a shelf.
  3. Reserved for undoing the damage caused by the other two wishes
    Because that's one of the rules of wishes, the last wish is always to undo the damage.

All time periods subject to adjustment for plot purposes.

  • $\begingroup$ The catch to these is that the genie must also try to trick itself to make the wishes come true but in an undesirable way. Could you explain how the genie could deliberately misinterpret these wishes and yet get a desirable outcome? $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jan 7 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK, the simpler the wish and the less it asks for the harder that is to do. #1 is the most open to error, but #2 is a modifier of the thing most likely to go wrong (one person hoarding forever after wishing for immortality). #2 is likely to get a lot of people killed, but the genie doesn't care about that. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 7 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ How this goes wrong: Wish 2 turns the lamp into plutonium, killing anyone who rubs it or holds it too long. Wish 1 just means the deep dungeon the lamp will be buried in is technically in someone's possession at all times. Still a good answer, but the wishes need refinement. $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Jan 7 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyrus, a little spit and polish, a word here or there. It doesn't matter if #2 causes a bloodbath, as long as a new owner eventually comes along to make a wish as required by #1. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 7 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Wish #1 doesn't actually require a wish to be made... You still have my +1 though :-) $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Jan 7 at 11:08

Being able to perceive outside the lamp, possibly even globally would be extremely useful for getting the most out of a) their remaining wishes and b) the wishes of their summoner (whether maliciously or benevolently)

Being able to affect things outside the lamp, whether perhaps environmental conditions, or tampering with the minds of passerby, etc could all also be potentially attractive, depending on the personality of the genie.

Having another entity for companionship, or the ability to communicate back and forth with other entrapped genies would appeal to some individuals (probably most if they are humanlike in personality)

The ability to record their thoughts somehow for posterity might appeal to some.

Ultimately what a genie wishes for is going to depend hugely on their personal preferences and desires. Maybe some would want a garden inside their lamp...


One Wish will be enough, if it grants the Genie the capability to talk the lamp users into anything the genie wants. In this case, the Genie will have infinite wishes by talking the humans into wishing anything the Genie wants and giving the lamp to the next victim ..ehm .. user when the wishes are done.

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    $\begingroup$ "You can wish for anything you want but if you don't wish for what I tell you to I'll cut your legs off", said the Genie. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 7 at 12:04

1) I want to become the eternal, immortal, omniscient ruler of the universe

2) My bottle should expand and contain the entire universe

3) I want to be able to make as many wishes I want

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the 3rd wish would work, usually, wishes can't modify the wish system itself. $\endgroup$ – Ender Look Jan 7 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the Higher Power would be pleased with (1). The HP has already decreed that the genie should remain a genie. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jan 7 at 9:35

I think a genie would want additional capabilities.

I would think a genei would want to be able to view the world around them or knowledge of what has happened while they are stuck in the lamp. So some sort of magical knowledge to let them predict events as they happen or some sort of remote viewing ability so they can watch events happening while they are in the lamp.

I also think they would want some control over how they are used or who finds them so maybe an ability to make the lamp change shape or appearance so they could try and hide if they wanted.

And I don't think a genie would ever use its final wish. Because once it has it has no more options to change anything or any control over its destiny. I would think a genie would value the option of being able to grant a wish for itself more than anything it could ever wish for.

  • $\begingroup$ Beware of the logic trap: if the nth and last wish is too important to ask, then n-1th becomes the last, which is again too important to ask. You end up asking 0 wishes. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 7 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch, the last wish is special, the last wish is always to undo the damage done by the first two $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 7 at 9:14

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