The Dungeon World 5th-level spell summon monster lists some choices, one of them being a useful adaptation. If the player picks "spell caster" for a useful adaptation, could they end up with an Orc Shaman or possibly a Hedge Wizard?


2 Answers 2


It wouldn't matter if they did.

And there are two reasons.

First, anything you summon only has access to the basic moves. "A useful adaptation" should be understood in the context of letting your summon use the basic moves in unusual situations, such as carefully searching a lakebed or having a punch-up in the middle of a lava flow. "My summon can do whatever I want it to because it knows magic" is far too broad as a useful adaptation. "My summon can Volley with screaming bolts of blood" or "My summon can Discern Realities in a remote place with farsight", on the other hand, are worth considering.

Second, the DM picks the form of what you summon. It's based on the qualities you pick, true, but there's nothing limiting the DM to only using specific creatures out of the Monsters section of the book. It's heavily hinted at that whatever the Wizard calls up is not going to be of this plane.

  • \$\begingroup\$ can they summon a wyvern? or can they only summon something that they describe that might end up being a wyvern. \$\endgroup\$
    – kdubs
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ A summon has a random number of features. The GM can give you requirements like, "you need to spend three adaptations on flying, venomous, and big enough to carry you" if they want to give you a wyvern, assuming you're summoning it for those reasons and not, say, to obtain a wyvern liver for a ritual. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glazius
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 18:48

No. It's not intended to grant spellcraft.

A useful adaptation like being amphibious or having wings: add a special quality for the adaptation (p224 DW)

It's intended to be a creature feature like a body part or an innate magical ability, not spell casting abilities. They also note being intangible as a possible ability.

It's meant to be a guide to the fiction, not a move.

Special qualities describe innate aspects of the monster that are important to play. These are a guide to the fiction, and therefore the moves. A quality like intangible means just what it says: mundane stuff just passes through it. That means swinging a mundane sword at it isn’t hack and slash, for a start

While spell casting is meant to be a move they possess.

Spells and magic: Magical, write a move about its spells

From the monster creation guide, an aspect that isn't in the summon monster list.

That said, your GM can do as they wish on your table.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But why isn't spellcasting a feature? \$\endgroup\$
    – Boulash
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 10:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Because the developers didn't write it that way. Likely because giving random summons spellcasting would complicate things. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure it would. In the first place, "spellcasting" isn't a thing mechanically for monsters. There's no spell list a "spell casting" monster would have access to. With that in mind, what's the distinction between "innate magical ability" and "spell casting" that you feel is relevant? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added clarification- a spell is a move which you roll with, while an innate magical ability is a guide to the fiction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 15:00

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