AD&D Spells for Dungeon World: System Changes

AD&D Spells for Dungeon World: System Changes

The spells

The spells can be found here:

AD&D Spells for Dungeon World: Spreadsheet.

System changes

These spells have been translated from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and are intended to replace the ones in vanilla Dungeon World. Spells of even levels were moved to adjacent levels to preserve Dungeon World’s spell tiers (primarily because Roll20 needs that.)

The spells are largely untested, and only a cursory attempt was made at balancing them. If a spell seems relatively pointless–looking at you, Protection From Cantrips–it might serve merely to add flavor to the setting.

For a classic D&D experience, minor changes to the way spells are acquired, prepared, and cast are in order.

Acquiring spells

Clerics and Wizards gain an update to their Deity and Spellbook moves to determine the spells available to them. These moves have tiers for the levels at which spells are available: 1/3/5/7/9. (Only Wizards get level 9 spells.)

When you gain a level, instead of choosing a new move, you may advance your Deity or Spellbook move to the next tier to expand your spell repertoire. You can only advance to spell tiers up to your level.

This option is also available to multiclass spellcasters. You do not need to choose another multiclass move to do this. Your spellcaster level still counts as one lower, so you can only advance to tiers lower than your level.

DEITY 1/3/5/7 (Cleric)

Your deity grants you additional miracles befitting its portfolio. When you acquire or advance this move, discuss with the GM which six Cleric spells to add to your repertoire.

Cleric spells are grouped into domains. It is recommended that a deity’s portfolio consists of the All domain plus two or three other domains.

AD&D has a separate spell list for what it calls “druids”; priests who follow the Old Ways. The portfolio of the Old Ways consists of the Elemental and Nature domains. (This excludes the All domain, which is only for “proper” clerics.) This portfolio is recommended for Clerics looking to emulate non-shapeshifting druids, Rangers taking God Amidst the Wastes, and Druids taking God Amidst the Wastes via Hunter’s Brother (or Stalker’s Sister.)

SPELLBOOK 1/3/5/7/9 (Wizard)

Through your own independent research, you inscribe an additional spell into your spellbook. When you acquire or advance this move, add one Wizard spell to your repertoire. You also start with the Cantrip spell–the only actual cantrip.

When you copy a Wizard spell from a scroll into your spellbook, add it to your repertoire. The magic of the scroll is consumed in the process.

Wizards may also choose to start with the following move.


Choose one school of magic as your specialization. Discuss with the GM which two schools oppose your specialization. When you acquire or advance your Spellbook move, inscribe an additional spell from your specialization. You are unable to prepare spells from opposing schools.

Your first spell choice does not have to be from your specialization.

You may still use scrolls to cast spells from opposing schools.

Preparing spells

When you prepare spells, for each tier of spells available to you, select one of your available spells of that tier or lower.

You may select the same spell multiple times.

There are no cantrips or rotes except for the spell named Cantrip and those granted by moves.

The four advanced spell preparation moves are updated.


When you prepare spells, select a second spell for each tier below your highest tier.


When you prepare spells, select a third spell for each tier below your highest two tiers.

Example: Yuki is a Wizard with Spellbook 5, Prodigy, and a penchant for setting things on fire. She can prepare two level 1 spells, two level 3 spells, and a level 5 spell. Determined to watch the world burn, she selects Burning Hands and Magic Missile as her level 1 spells, two Fireballs as her level 3 spells, and a third Fireball in place of a level 5 spell just in case.

Casting spells

Unless noted otherwise, you must see the target, speak in a clear voice, and perform complex gestures.

When you Cast A Spell, on a 7-9, the spell is automatically revoked or forgotten.

You cannot choose either of the other 7-9 options, though you might still be put in a spot or draw unwanted attention on a 6-.

Spell tags

Range and area


You must be touching the recipient to cast this spell. You may have to Defy Danger to touch a hostile creature.


You can cast this spell on something in sword’s reach.


You can cast this spell on something nearby (“if you can see the whites of their eyes.”)


You can cast this spell on something in shouting distance.



This spell affects an area the size of a small room.


This spell affects an area the size of a large room, such as a classroom.


This spell affects an area the size of a huge room, such as a ballroom.



This spell ends when you stop concentrating on it. Maintaining concentration is taxing at the best of times. If you cast another spell while concentrating, you must Defy Danger +WIS to maintain concentration. You cannot maintain concentration while resting, unconscious, communing, or preparing spells.

Losing concentration falls under the GM moves Use up their resources and Put them in a spot. It goes well with the Deal damage move. The GM may require you to Defy Danger +WIS to hang on to important spells.



You do not need to speak to cast this spell.


You do not need to gesture to cast this spell.



This spell is part of a special ritual. Before you start, tell the GM what you are trying to achieve and how you intend to do it. The GM will tell you how far that would get you and what more (if anything) you need. You do not need to have the spell prepared to discuss the details but you must cast it when you perform the ritual.


Powerful or resistant creatures may be able to save themselves from some or all of this spell’s effect. The GM will tell you what happens.


This spell takes quite a while to cast.



A beast, possibly giant-sized but otherwise mundane, specifically a mammal, bird, or reptile. Not a person, insect, or supernatural creature such as a dragon, centaur, or owlbear.


This spell drains the caster’s vitality, possibly aging the caster several years in the process. The caster must mark a number of unmarked debilities. If the required number cannot be marked, the spell fails.


Fear spells only affect creatures that can experience fear. For instance, it will not affect constructs or undead. The reaction of fearful creatures is up to the GM: flee, panic, beg, fight.


Illusions mislead one or more senses, usually visual. Some illusions vanish when a creature interacts with them and the illusion does not respond in a believable manner, others merely become translucent. Clever creatures may be able to tell that something is off. Non-living creatures such as constructs and undead are not affected by illusions unless the illusions are quasi-real.


Specifically a (six-legged) insect. Not an arachnid, crustacean, myriapod, or any other non-insect arthropod.


Invisible to the naked eye, including infravision. Powerful or clever creatures may have ways to detect invisible things.


A member of a mundane humanoid species from the Prime Material Plane. Not a giant or  supernatural creature such as an ogre, dryad, or zombie.


A quasi-real illusion has full motion and affects not just all of the senses but reality itself, making it even more convincing and dangerous: any damage it inflicts is real, not imagined.

Scrying device

A device such as a crystal ball that can be used to see over virtually any distance or even into other planes of existence, provided the user knows the subject to be viewed. Locating takes time and effort inversely proportional to how well the user knows the subject. Simple divination spells function through the device. Vigilant creatures may eventually notice being spied on.


Instant magical transportation. The subject vanishes in a puff and appears at the destination. Accuracy depends on the spellcaster’s familiarity with the destination. Home is fairly safe but destinations the spellcaster has only heard of have a wide margin of error. Strong energies make teleportation (even more) hazardous or impossible. Teleporting into thin air is hazardous but teleporting into solid ground is fatal. Aim high.


Updated: 2021-11-01

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