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Winter Witch Revisited

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Illustration by Ryan Portillo

It's the end of the summer, and while it's not winter quite yet, we got you a frosty gift. When we recently released Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige there were some questions on the messageboards regarding the winter witch prestige class and how it worked with hexes and spells and some of the other goodies the prestige class gets. Since we're gearing up for the Reign of Winter Adventure Path, we decided we'd revisit the winter witch, make a few clarifications, and present you fine folks with the result. We wanted to get it cleared up so people can play the class in the Adventure Path, but don't think we're being completely altruistic—we really wanted to make sure that the White Witches of Irrisen provide a significant challenge to pesky adventurers making trouble and poking their nose in their nation's frozen business!

Download the New Winter Witch Spread! (1.2MB zip/PDF)

Adam Daigle
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Campaign Setting Ryan Portillo Witches
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Cheliax

JohnF wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Is that a request for Summer Summoners and Autumn Alchemists?

I was rather hoping for Spring Surprise ...

I prefer Crunchy Frog, myself.


bdk86 wrote:
AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
Hex Stuff

Whether or not they continued to get regular hexes as if still progressing through the Witch Base Class depended on one's reading of the class; that was where a lot of the confusion came from.

AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:


So, while not having to give up their regular patron spells like before, they DO have to now give up 3 non-ice based major hexes possibly. Not sure the trade-off is balanced (as in giving essentially losing 3 bonus hexes to get more spells), and it's surely not a "BEAST" in comparison IMO as the first poster says...

I'm pretty "meh" on Hoarfrost (if only for the long term effects involved), but Ice Tomb is an excellent control spell akin to Sleep hex for putting troublesome targets (Read: Casters whose Will saves make using Slumber hex on them hard) out of the fight.

Numbing Chill is also amazing for anyone playing a Winter Witch already, given they are going to be loaded with cold spells which will in turn have high DCs (Ice Magic+Likelihood of Elemental Focus Cold). Where the Winter Witch Archetype hex turns any touch spell into a Cold Damage/Cold Descriptor spell, Numbing Chill takes ranged cold spells and makes them just plain mean. Ray of Frost (granted by Winter Witch Arcehtype) can be turned into a 1d3 Cold Damage+1d4 Dex Damage/Staggered spell. As cantrip.

So really, you're just losing flexibility in major hexes and being asked to take one that is less than optimal. Not too shabby a trade off.

Does it se the hex save or the spell save. Also, you could have thrown a quicknd spell with the swift you spent on that hex.

Cheliax

The Forgotten wrote:

Does it se the hex save or the spell save. Also, you could have thrown a quicknd spell with the swift you spent on that hex.

The Numbing Chill effect asks for a separate save for its effects, so most likely the witch's Hex DC. And while yes, you could have thrown a quickened spell...there are lots of things you can do with a swift action; I just think Numbing Chill is worth it from a hex standpoint when a lot of your ranged spells as a Winter Witch will qualify for it.


Azure_Zero wrote:
Yoink.


NOOOOOOOO my DC 40 Icy Prison. I loved you while you lasted. Conceptually. In a spreadsheet, alone, by yourself.


Yayy now I can really go to town on designing my Jadwiga...

Watch out World, Ykaterina Ystrova is coming


My question is actually about the original Archetype for the Winter Witch... If it is misplaced, please feel free to move it.

The "Ice Magic" ability specifically states "... A winter witch cannot learn or cast spells with the fire descriptor at all." But later on, in the Patron Themes list, Vengeance is an optional Patron... Vengeance includes burning hands, burning gaze, and incendiary cloud...

So do Patron spells override this type of limitation, are they altered to deal cold damage instead, or was this just an oversight? I am creating a winter witch as an NPC in a game I am currently running, and need a little clarification before deciding which patron to choose...

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Scooter Scott wrote:

My question is actually about the original Archetype for the Winter Witch... If it is misplaced, please feel free to move it.

The "Ice Magic" ability specifically states "... A winter witch cannot learn or cast spells with the fire descriptor at all." But later on, in the Patron Themes list, Vengeance is an optional Patron... Vengeance includes burning hands, burning gaze, and incendiary cloud...

So do Patron spells override this type of limitation, are they altered to deal cold damage instead, or was this just an oversight? I am creating a winter witch as an NPC in a game I am currently running, and need a little clarification before deciding which patron to choose...

This was an oversight. Vengeance should be removed from the list of possible winter witch patrons.

Contributor

Rob McCreary wrote:
Scooter Scott wrote:

My question is actually about the original Archetype for the Winter Witch... If it is misplaced, please feel free to move it.

The "Ice Magic" ability specifically states "... A winter witch cannot learn or cast spells with the fire descriptor at all." But later on, in the Patron Themes list, Vengeance is an optional Patron... Vengeance includes burning hands, burning gaze, and incendiary cloud...

So do Patron spells override this type of limitation, are they altered to deal cold damage instead, or was this just an oversight? I am creating a winter witch as an NPC in a game I am currently running, and need a little clarification before deciding which patron to choose...

This was an oversight. Vengeance should be removed from the list of possible winter witch patrons.

Couldn't there be a "dish best served cold" option for Winter Witches with Vengeance patrons? I'd think cold hands, icy gaze, and freezing cloud would work just fine for vengeance and keep everything in theme.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Rob McCreary wrote:
This was an oversight. Vengeance should be removed from the list of possible winter witch patrons.
Couldn't there be a "dish best served cold" option for Winter Witches with Vengeance patrons? I'd think cold hands, icy gaze, and freezing cloud would work just fine for vengeance and keep everything in theme.

That's pretty what I thought too, Kevin. I mean those spells don't exist in the game (so I wouldn't use the vengeance patron in a freelance project), but if a GM really wants a vengeance patron for their game, altering the energy descriptors on those spells is a pretty easy and painless way to have your cake and eat it too.

EDIT: The problem with making it "offical" is then you need to have those re-imagined spells in an offical document. And then someone complains that they're being charged money for same spells with the energy descriptors filed off. One alternative is a special ability that changes the energy descriptor from fire to cold, but is going to be broad enough to encompass every possible rules question that it might engender?

All that being said, any sensible and thoughtful GM could easily still use the vengeance patron in their home game.


I had actually thought of that option as well, might even give the character a bit more flair, especially as an NPC. I just wanted to know what the official answer was regarding if it was a mistake, or if I needed to read more carefully before the question came up... Every game has a rules lawyer somewhere... and the least experienced player in my group still has over 10 years gaming experience...

Thanks for clearing it all up! Always nice to know there are knowledgeable, and helpful people out there to answer a question quickly... Now if I could just find those darn black unicorns from the mana waste that I know I read about... LOL...


How about a trait that lets you change the energy Descriptor to Cold.Limit it to Winter Witches only and it doesn't become a game breaker

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

DM Wellard wrote:
How about a trait that lets you change the energy Descriptor to Cold.Limit it to Winter Witches only and it doesn't become a game breaker

Great idea, sounds vaguely familiar! :)


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Couldn't there be a "dish best served cold" option for Winter Witches with Vengeance patrons? I'd think cold hands, icy gaze, and freezing cloud would work just fine for vengeance and keep everything in theme.

Yes, exactly like Elemental Bloodline sorcerers bloodline spells work.

I'd actually far prefer that than to remove Vengence from the Winter Witches' patron list (as I agree it is an excellent thematic choice).

-TimD

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Rob McCreary wrote:
Scooter Scott wrote:

My question is actually about the original Archetype for the Winter Witch... If it is misplaced, please feel free to move it.

The "Ice Magic" ability specifically states "... A winter witch cannot learn or cast spells with the fire descriptor at all." But later on, in the Patron Themes list, Vengeance is an optional Patron... Vengeance includes burning hands, burning gaze, and incendiary cloud...

So do Patron spells override this type of limitation, are they altered to deal cold damage instead, or was this just an oversight? I am creating a winter witch as an NPC in a game I am currently running, and need a little clarification before deciding which patron to choose...

This was an oversight. Vengeance should be removed from the list of possible winter witch patrons.

I have noted this on the d20pfsrd.com site with a link to this post as the source.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TimD wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Couldn't there be a "dish best served cold" option for Winter Witches with Vengeance patrons? I'd think cold hands, icy gaze, and freezing cloud would work just fine for vengeance and keep everything in theme.

Yes, exactly like Elemental Bloodline sorcerers bloodline spells work.

I'd actually far prefer that than to remove Vengence from the Winter Witches' patron list (as I agree it is an excellent thematic choice).

-TimD

I've got one doing that. Winter Witch archtype/Sorceress (elemental cold bloodline)/Oracle of Waves. All those energy spells, now cold with nifty mods on them.


So does the loss lf spells from the list, the non-auto-learn of the spells, and the change to the hexes make this a triple-nerf? Or am I just confused?


So there's a Winter Witch Archetype and a Winter Witch Prestige class.. and the Winter Witch Archetype is a requirement for Winter Witch Prestige class since it's the only one that gets Ice Magic. I get it's an upgrade but the same name thing seems like it's bad policy to me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The archetype is Winter Witch With Icy Training Wheels.


So, do you get the patron spells with PrC levels?

And does Cold Flesh "count" as a hex for the purposes of Winter Witchcraft. I'd find it odd that specializing even MORE in cold removes your cold resistance/immunity track, and it's a hex replacement. So, I assume it applies. Cold Flesh should probably just be labeled as a hex.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A spring bard is great for when you need to jump a bit further...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Joseph Wilson wrote:
AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:

Hmmm I noticed in this new write up the Witch no longer gets the COLD based Hexes automatically, but instead is required to take them. Meaning, before they were 3 free EXTRA hexes, now they are not...

Paths of Prestige Winter Witch wrote:

Bonus Hexes: At 5th level and every two levels thereafter,

a winter witch gains the following major hexes in addition
to those gained from normal advancement:
5th—ice
tomb UM , 7th—hoarfrost UM , 9th—numbing chill (see below).
If a winter witch already has this hex, she may instead gain
any other hex she meets the prerequisites for.
New Updated Winter Witch wrote:

Winter Hex: Starting at 5th level, whenever a winter witch

can choose a major hex, she must choose from the following
hexes: ice tomb UM , hoarfrost UM , numbing chill (see below).
Once the winter witch has selected all three winter hexes,
she may thereafter choose any other hex she meets the
prerequisites for.

So, while not having to give up their regular patron spells like before, they DO have to now give up 3 non-ice based major hexes possibly. Not sure the trade-off is balanced (as in giving essentially losing 3 bonus hexes to get more spells), and it's surely not a "BEAST" in comparison IMO as the first poster says...

BUT, as originally written, Winter Witches did not gain hexes via normal witch progression at all, and now they do.

Yes, they did. Both versions of the class have "Winter Witchcraft" and the wording is unchanged. However, note what I bolded in the quote above.

So, as I said, a Winter Witch made by the BOOK will have more HEXES, but less SPELLS than a witch made with this errata.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

So, do you get the patron spells with PrC levels?

And does Cold Flesh "count" as a hex for the purposes of Winter Witchcraft. I'd find it odd that specializing even MORE in cold removes your cold resistance/immunity track, and it's a hex replacement. So, I assume it applies. Cold Flesh should probably just be labeled as a hex.

it doesn't though, Winter Witchcraft also gives you class abilities when you would acquire them, it's really Winter Witch Archetype plus, you lose 1 caster level and your 4th level hex for all of this.

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