One of my friends is playing a Way of the Four Elements monk with the Elemental Attunement and Fists of Unbroken Air elemental disciplines and is trying to boost his elemental prowess with Elemental Adept, but he doesn't know if it's legal. This is the PHB on elemental casting:

Casting Elemental Spells. Some elemental disciplines allow you to cast spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting. To cast one of these spells, you use its casting time and other rules, but you don't need to provide material components for it.

To me it makes it seem like this counts as being able to cast spells, but I don't know for sure.

So, do feats that have the "Prerequisite: Able to cast at least one spell" work on a Way of the Four Elements monk?


Yes, but only if they choose any of the Elemental Disciplines (or other class feature) that allows them to cast a spell.

In order to meet the requirement for Elemental Adept you must be able to cast at least one spell. That means that you have to actually currently be able to cast it.

Some elemental disciplines allow you to cast spells.

Thus, if you choose an elemental discipline that lets you cast a spell, then that absolutely counts for the requirement to be able to cast a spell. If you choose only disciplines that don't give you the ability to cast a spell (and you have nothing else that gives you this ability) then you do not qualify for the feat.

To be clear, simply being a Way of the Four Elements monk is not enough, you must have an ability from something that allows you to currently cast a spell. Choosing one of the elemental disciplines that grants you a spell is a great way to do this.

You'll know the disciplines that allow you to cast a spell because they will say some variation on:

You can [...] cast [spell name].

Currently, your friend does not qualify for the any feat that requires spellcasting

You say that your friend currently only has two elemental disciplines: Elemental Attunement and Fists of Unbroken Air. However, neither of these grants the ability to cast any spell, so they do not qualify for the feat currently.

Elemental Adept is useless without a spell to cast anyways

Spells you cast ignore resistance to acid damage. In addition, when you roll damage for a spell you cast that deals acid damage, you can treat any 1 on a damage die as a 2.

The feat's only effect is to boost damage from spells only. The feat would have literally no benefit if you couldn't cast a spell (that does that type of damage). This is, in fact, the reason that having the ability to cast a spell is a prerequisite for this feat.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I'll tell him that he shouldn't take it until he gets a discipline that says "to cast". \$\endgroup\$
    – Twiggy
    Oct 8 '18 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rubik, I was going to ask this question about "way of the sun soul" but I think your answer covers that as well. Would that be a dupe of this question if I asked about the Elemental Adept and the Sixth Level Searing Arc Strike that allows the monk to cast the Burning Hands spell as a Bonus Action? I think it is, but I'd like your gut feel on that. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 24 '19 at 21:37

RAW, no, it wouldn't work

as Rubiksmoose wrote.


Elemental monks are by far the weakest subtype.

It would not be overpowered to let them take this feat, and apply it to all their powers of the chosen element. They need all the help available just to become mediocre.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But what good does the feat do them if they can't cast spells? It literally only boosts spells so it is completely useless to allow them to take it without having at least one spell to apply it to... \$\endgroup\$
    – Rubiksmoose
    Oct 9 '18 at 12:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ So that this is a real answer on its own, it's preferable that it answer the question independently by including any necessary statements, and not refer the reader to other answers (except perhaps to give due credit). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1 '18 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Links don’t satisfy that expectation, since it still allows this answer to be “broken” if the other answer is changed or removed for any reason. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1 '18 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: Oh, I agree. I just figured a link to the answer he's referencing would be good to have regardless, but I didn't want to paraphrase the relevant part of the answer on his behalf. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 1 '18 at 21:40

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