Many spells with the ongoing tag give a disadvantage to the caster while they are still active. Additionally, some spell effects may not always be desirable to the caster after some time.

Some explicitly give control over the ending of the spell to the caster, such as the cleric spell Contagion:

Choose a creature you can see. Until you end this spell, the target suffers from a disease of your choice. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.

But others make no mention of ending control, such as another cleric spell, Darkness:

Choose an area you can see: it’s filled with supernatural darkness and shadow. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.

Is Darkness permanent until actively removed or is it also maintained at will like Contagion?


2 Answers 2


“Wizard, can you end a spell at will? How do you do it?”

As with most spellcasting details, DW doesn't answer this and it falls under the instruction to the GM to ask questions (and use the answers). Your Wizard is the expert: ask her how ending ongoing spells works. It might be simple or complicated, it might be different for every spell or the same. Now you know!


And as with every other state of the world, you can change it on a player’s miss. Just like torches last until you make a GM move to use up their stuff, Darkness can end, or Contagion end prematurely, when you use a GM move to make it end.

Consistent with how the Wizard has told you how magic works, and how you’ve together played to find out how magic works, of course!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I figured it may be left up to fiction created. Thank you for confirming that I didn't miss something. I'm learning that this is basically the paradigm in DW, "If we didn't write it RAW, it's up to you" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 22:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WillBarnwell I'd add one bit to your summary there: "If we didn't write it RAW, it's up to you and your players to play to find out." (Which is a bit I found hard to internalize; to the extent I have, a lot of that's come from some excellent DW Q&A on this very site =) ) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 22:47

It would be weird if you couldn't end ongoing spells whenever you wanted.

For The Wizard especially, there's Arcane Ward as a starting move of the playbook, which is just straight-up "end an ongoing spell to shield yourself from its level in damage".

Arcane Ward, and its big brother Spell Augmentation, aren't written to give any special permission to end ongoing spells - it's something you can do while being attacked, so it doesn't make sense for it to be complicated.

Boy, dungeons sure are weird.

At the same time, never stop asking "what's that look like?" when you don't know. Even if there's absolutely no question of capability, learning about how the PCs do the things they do will help you portray a fantastic world.

You know, like when Clericsdottir chooses to draw attention when casting a spell, and you just chuckle and take a note, and then later when she tries to unweave the thread of darkness that was covering everyone's escape, she finds some minor spirit of shadows has tangled itself all up ins like an enthusiastic kitten.


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