Witches are creatures of mystery and power, feared and respected in equal measures for their eerie abilities and potent hexes. While some casters look to ancient tomes, others to the powers inherent in their bloodlines, and still others to their faith in a god or goddess, witches turn elsewhere, drawing power from their communion with the unknown. A witch's familiar acts as the conduit through which she receives her abilities, gifted to her as part of a pact made with otherworldly beings. As they grow into their power, many witches seek out and eventually come to understand the precise sources of these arcane abilities, yet just as many remain blissfully unaware of what fell forces guide their hands and incantations. To these witches, it is enough merely to have power, and if there's a price to be paid somewhere down the road—so be it.
This section includes new witch hexes, new witch patron themes, and several witch archetypes. Each archetype includes a number of witch hex suggestions that, while not mandatory, help to flesh out the character.
The following hexes are available to all witches and use the standard rules for hexes. The save to resist a hex is equal to 10 + 1/2 the witch's level + the witch's Intelligence modifier.
Beast of Ill-Omen (Su): The witch imbues her familiar with strange magic, putting a minor curse upon the next enemy to see it. The enemy must make a Will save or be affected by bane (caster level equal to the witch's level). The witch can use this hex on her familiar at a range of up to 60 feet. The affected enemy must be no more than 60 feet from the familiar to trigger the effect; seeing the familiar from a greater distance has no effect (though if the enemy and familiar approach to within 60 feet of each other, the hex takes effect). The bane affects the closest creature to the familiar (ties affect the creature with the highest initiative score). Whether or not the target's save is successful, the creature cannot be the target of the bane effect for 1 day (later uses of this hex ignore that creature when determining who is affected).
Child-Scent (Ex): The witch gains the scent ability, but only with respect to humanoid children and immature animals. Thus, she could sniff out a child's hiding place or a den of wolf pups, but not the child's parents or the den mother.
Feral Speech (Su): This hex grants the witch the ability to speak with and understand the response of any animal as if using speak with animals, though each time she uses the hex, she must decide to communicate with either amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, or reptiles, and can only speak to and understand animals of that type. The witch can make herself understood as far as her voice carries. This hex does not predispose any animal so addressed toward the witch in any way. At 12th level, the witch can use this hex to communicate with vermin.
Nails (Ex): The witch's nails are long and sharp, and count as natural weapons that deal 1d3 points of damage (1d2 for a Small witch). These attacks are secondary attacks. If trimmed, the witch's nails regrow to their normal size in 1d4 days.
Poison Steep (Sp): The witch can use her cauldron to brew a foul toxin in which she can steep fruits and other delicious edibles, transforming them so that when eaten, they have the same effect as a poison spell. Brewing the toxin and then steeping the food takes 1 hour in total; steeping can affect up to 1 pound of food. The food is poisoned for 24 hours, and the poison cannot be transferred to other objects. The food tastes normal, but magic detects it as poisonous. The witch must have the cauldron hex to select this hex.
Prehensile Hair (Su): The witch can instantly cause her hair (or even her eyebrows) to grow up to 10 feet long or to shrink to its normal length, and can manipulate her hair as if it were a limb with a Strength score equal to her Intelligence score. Her hair has reach 10 feet, and she can use it as a secondary natural attack that deals 1d3 points of damage (1d2 for a Small witch). Her hair can manipulate objects (but not weapons) as dexterously as a human hand. The hair cannot be sundered or attacked as a separate creature. Pieces cut from the witch's elongated hair shrink away to nothing. Using her hair does not harm the witch's head or neck, even if she lifts something heavy with it. The witch can manipulate her hair a number of minutes each day equal to her level; these minutes do not need to be consecutive, but must be spent in 1-minute increments. A typical male witch with this hex can also manipulate his beard, moustache, or eyebrows.
Scar (Su): This hex curses a single target touched with horrible scars of the witch's choosing, whether something as simple as a single letter on the target's forehead or blotchy, burnlike scars on his body. The target may make a Will save to resist this hex. These scars do not interfere with the target's senses or prevent it from using abilities, but may affect social interactions. The witch can user her hexes on the scarred target at a range of up to 1 mile, and she is considered to have a body part from the target for the purpose of scrying and similar divination spells. They persist through disguises and shapechanging. The witch can withdraw this hex from a target as a move action at any range. The number of supernatural scars the witch can maintain at once is equal to her Intelligence bonus; once she reaches this limit, she must remove the scar from a current victim in order to mark another. Effects that remove curses can remove the scar.
Swamp Hag (Sp): While traveling through swamps, mires, bogs, and similar terrain, the witch leaves no trail and cannot be tracked, as the trackless step druid ability. The witch can walk through mud and even quicksand as if it were normal ground.
Unnerve Beasts (Su): The target becomes offensive to animals (Will negates). Animals become distraught and aggressive in the victim's presence—horses buck, dogs snap and bark, bulls charge, and so on. The hex lasts a number of hours equal to the witch's Intelligence modifier. A creature that saves against the hex cannot be affected by the hex for 1 day. The reaction of the animals is a mind-affecting charm effect, but the hex on the target is not.
Water Lung (Su): An air-breathing target can breathe water or an aquatic target can breathe air. This lasts 1 minute. If the witch uses this hex on herself, she can maintain it while she sleeps, allowing her to safely sleep underwater.
Starting at 10th level, a witch can select one of the following major hexes whenever she could select a new hex.
Beast Eye (Su): The witch can project her senses into an animal within 100 feet, sensing whatever it senses. She cannot control the animal's actions. She can project her senses from that animal to another within 100 feet of it as a standard action, and can continue to make these sensory leaps, potentially viewing things very far from her actual location. She may return her senses to her own body as a free action. Normal animals get no saving throw against this ability, but animal companions, paladin mounts, and similar unusual animals may resist with a Will save; the witch may use this ability on her own familiar as if it were an animal. If the witch has the coven hex, all other witches within 10 feet of her who also have the coven hex can see through this animal at will, although the acting witch still controls the ability. The witch can use this ability for a number of minutes per day equal to her level. These minutes need not be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-minute increments.
Cook People (Su): The witch can create fabulous spells by cooking an intelligent humanoid creature in her cauldron, either alive or dead. Using this hex creates one meal or serving of food of the witch's choice, typically a delicious stew or a dough suitable for cookies, pastries, or other desserts. Cooking the victim takes 1 hour. Eating the food provides one of the following benefits for 1 hour: age resistance, bear's endurance, bull's strength, cat's grace, eagle's splendor, fox's cunning, neutralize poison (instantaneous) owl's wisdom, remove disease (instantaneous). Alternatively, the witch can shape the dough into a Small, humanlike creature, animating it as a homunculus for 1 hour. The witch must have the cauldron hex to select this hex. Using this hex or knowingly eating its food is an evil act.
Hoarfrost (Su): The target is rimed with a shell of frost needles that slowly work their way into its flesh (Fortitude negates). The target turns pale and blue, and takes 1 point of Constitution damage per minute until it dies, saves (once per minute), or is cured. Break enchantment, dispel magic, remove curse, and similar spells end the effect. If the target saves, it is immune to this hex for 1 day. This is a cold effect.
Ice Tomb (Su): A storm of ice and freezing wind envelops the target, which takes 3d8 points of cold damage (Fortitude half). If the target fails its save, it is paralyzed and unconscious but does not need to eat or breathe while the ice lasts. The ice has 20 hit points; destroying the ice frees the creature, which is staggered for 1d4 rounds after being released. Whether or not the target's saving throw is successful, it cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day.
Infected Wounds (Su): The target's wounds become infected (Fortitude negates). The target takes 1 point of Constitution damage per day. After the first day, the target may save once per day to cure the infection. This is a disease effect.
Speak in Dreams (Sp): The witch can contact a creature as if using dream. The witch can use this ability on a number of creatures per day equal to her Intelligence bonus, but can dream-speak to those creatures as often as desired throughout that time period.
Witch's Brew (Ex): When the witch uses her cauldron to brew a potion, she may spend double the cost to create 2 identical potions that day instead of just 1. At 15th level, she may spend triple the cost to create 3 identical potions that day. The witch must have the cauldron hex to select this hex.
Starting at 18th level, a witch can select one of the following grand hexes whenever she could select a new hex.
Dire Prophecy (Su): The witch curses the target so he is doomed to die (Will negates). As long as the curse persists, the target takes a –4 penalty to his Armor Class and on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks. While the curse persists, the witch may end it by bringing its full force upon her victim all at once. Doing so gives the victim a penalty equal to the witch's caster level to his Armor Class or on any single attack roll, combat maneuver check, opposed ability or skill check, or saving throw. The witch must decide to apply this penalty before the roll to be modified is made. If the witch does not have line of sight to the target, the full force of the curse occurs when the GM considers it most appropriate, such as when the target is in mortal danger. A target can only have one dire prophecy upon him at a time. Whether or not the target's save against the hex is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex for 1 day. This is a curse effect.
Summon Spirit (Sp): The witch calls forth the ghost of a humanoid creature with no more than 18 Hit Dice. The ghost has its own personality and desires, but is willing to bargain with the witch, as if she had cast greater planar ally. To seal an agreement with the witch, the ghost requires life energy equal to 1 temporary negative level (this is in addition to the standard payment for the ghost's service). This negative level persists as long as the ghost remains in the service of the witch; the witch can end the agreement as a standard action, immediately removing the negative level.
Witch's Hut (Su): The witch can animate a hut, small house, covered wagon, tent, or similar construction as an animated object. The hut can be of up to Huge size (approximately 15 feet by 15 feet). The animated hut's hardness increases to 8 and its hit points double. The witch can give the hut the following commands: guard (the hut watches for trespassers within 120 feet using the witch's Perception modifier and screams if it spots any), hide (all entrances are hidden by illusory wall spells and locked with arcane lock), and move (moves at speed 60 on giant bird or bone legs as directed by the witch, even obeying commands such as “follow me from 100 feet away”). The hut remains animate for 24 hours, until she dismisses it or she animates another, at which time the hut stops where it is and reverts to its nonmagical state.
The following are alternative patrons themes that a witch can choose.
Death: 2nd—deathwatch, 4th—blessing of courage and life, 6th—speak with dead, 8th—rest eternal, 10th—suffocation, 12th—circle of death, 14th—finger of death, 16th—symbol of death, 18th—power word kill.
Healing: 2nd—remove fear, 4th—lesser restoration, 6th—remove disease, 8th—restoration, 10th—cleanse, 12th—pillar of life 14th—greater restoration, 16th—mass cure critical wounds, 18th—true resurrection.
While all witches are intimately tied to their familiars, a beast-bonded witch's craft focuses specifically on her familiar bond and developing the relationship with her patron through her familiar.
Transfer Feats (Ex): Whenever the beast-bonded witch is capable of learning a new feat, she may choose to instead have her familiar learn the feat as a bonus feat. The familiar must meet the prerequisites for any feats that it learns this way. If her familiar is lost or dies, the witch can reclaim the feat slots and select new feats for herself, or apply the slots toward her new familiar.
Enhanced Familiar (Su): At 4th level, the beast-bonded witch's connection with her familiar strengthens. For the purposes of determining her familiar's powers and abilities, she treats her familiar as if she were one level higher than her actual witch level. This ability replaces the witch's 4th-level hex.
Familiar Form (Sp): At 8th level, a beast-bonded witch may take the shape of her familiar (or a giant version of her familiar or a similar kind of animal) as if using beast shape II. For example, a witch with a rat familiar can turn into a Tiny rat, Small dire rat, or a larger rodent; one with a cat familiar can turn into a Tiny cat or a Large feline such as a tiger or lion; one with a monkey familiar can turn into a Tiny monkey or a Large gorilla, and so on. The witch can remain in animal form for a number of minutes per day equal to her level. This ability replaces the witch's 8th-level hex.
Twin Soul (Su): At 10th-level, if the witch or her familiar is gravely injured or about to die, the soul of the dying one immediately transfers to the other's body. The two souls share the surviving body peaceably, can communicate freely, and both retain their ability to think and reason. The host may allow the guest soul to take over the body temporarily or reclaim it as a move action. They can persist in this state indefinitely, or the guest can return to its own body (if available) by touch, transfer into a suitable vessel (such as a clone), or take over another body as if using magic jar (with no receptacle). This replaces the witch's major hex at 10th-level.
Hexes: The following witch hexes complement the beast-bonded archetype: beast of ill omen, charm, feral speech, ward.
Major Hexes: The following major hex complements the beast-bonded archetype: beast eye.
Grand Hexes: The following grand hex complements the beast-bonded archetype: forced reincarnation.
Having much in common with necromancers, the gravewalker is obsessed with the occult manipulations of the dead, particularly mindless undead such as zombies. Unlike the creations of standard necromancers, a gravewalker's creations remain forever tied to her will, and she can produce vile apparitions of tremendous power.
Spells: A gravewalker replaces some of her patron spells with the following: 4th—command undead, 6th—animate dead, 12th—create undead, 14th—control undead, 16th—create greater undead. These replace the patron spells
Spell Poppet: Each gravewalker carries around a gristly, inanimate poppet stitched from human skin and stuffed with shards of bone, fingernails, and grave dirt. A gravewalker's spells come from the will of evil spirits residing in the poppet, and its ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch's spells are granted by her familiar. The gravewalker must commune with her poppet each day to prepare her spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored in the poppet. This ability replaces familiar. The following familiar ability works differently for a gravewalker:
Deliver Touch Spells (Su): At 3rd level or higher, a gravewalker can use her poppet to deliver touch spells. After casting a touch spell, as a full-round action, the witch can designate a target and stab a pin into her poppet, delivering the spell as a ranged touch attack. The target must be within range of her aura of desecration ability (see below).
Aura of Desecration (Su): At first level, a gravewalker can create a 20-foot-radius aura of evil power. This aura increases the DC of channeled negative energy by +1 and the turn resistance of undead by +1. At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the radius of the aura increases by 5 feet, to a maximum of 70 feet at 20th level. This ability replaces the witch's 1st-level hex.
Bonethrall (Su): At first level, a gravewalker can take control of an undead creature within her aura of desecration by forcing her will upon it (Will negates, using her hex DC). If it fails the save, the creature falls under her control as if she had used command undead (once control is established, the undead remain controlled even if outside the witch's aura). Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist her command. The witch can control up to 1 HD of undead creatures per caster level. If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, the witch must make an opposed Charisma check whenever her orders conflict with that creature's. This replaces the witch's hex gained at 4th level.
Possess Undead (Sp): A gravewalker may take direct control of one of her undead minions within her aura of desecration, as if using magic jar; the witch's poppet acts as the soul receptacle for this ability. The minion gets no saving throw against this ability. This replaces the witch's hex gained at 8th level.
Hexes: The following witch hexes complement the gravewalker archetype: beast of ill-omen, evil eye, misfortune.
Major Hexes: The following major hexes complement the gravewalker archetype: ice tomb, infected wounds, waxen image.
Grand Hexes: The following grand hexes complement the gravewalker archetype: death curse, summon spirit.
Among witches, there are those who devote themselves to the care of others and restrict their practices to the healing arts. They often take the place of clerics in rural communities and may wander the countryside servicing the needs of several small communities.
Patron: A hedge witch's patron is normally one with a healing theme (see page 83).
Spontaneous Healing (Su): A hedge witch can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that she did not prepare ahead of time. The witch can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower, even if she doesn't know that cure spell. This replaces the witch's hex gained at 4th level.
Empathic Healing (Su): A hedge witch can minister to a diseased or poisoned target, redirecting the affliction into herself. For a poisoned target, the witch must tend to him as a standard action; he makes his next saving throw against the poison as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the poisoned creature. For a diseased target, the witch must tend to the sick person for an hour; he makes his next saving throw against the disease as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the diseased creature. The witch does not actually become poisoned or diseased (and is not contagious and does not need to be cured), but suffers the effects of the affliction as if she had been. The witch normally uses this ability to extend the life of someone near death, giving him time to recover. This ability has no effect if the witch is immune to disease or poison. This replaces the witch's hex gained at 8th level.
Hexes: The following witch hexes complement the hedge witch archetype: cauldron, feral speech, healing, tongues.
Major Hexes: The following major hexes complement the hedge witch archetype: major healing, weather control, witch's brew.
Grand Hexes: The following grand hex complements the hedge witch archetype: life giver.
A sea witch's affinities are tied to the vast oceans and the rolling waves. Her magic concerns the moon, tides, water, and winds, and she is most at peace when she is upon or near the sea.
Patron: A sea witch cannot choose a patron whose interests or theme opposes that of water (for example, earth or fire).
Spells: A sea witch replaces some of her patron spells with the following: 2nd—touch of sea, 4th—gust of wind, 6th—water breathing, 8th—control water, 10th—cloudkill, 12th—control wind, 14th—control weather, 16th—vortex, 18th—tsunami.
Know Direction (Sp): So long as she near a sizable body of water (at least a lake with a diameter of 1 mile or more), a sea witch may cast know direction at will as a spell-like ability.
Sea Creature Empathy (Ex): A sea witch can influence the attitude of water-dwelling animals and animals that live along coasts and shores, including birds, as if using wild empathy. The sea witch uses her witch level as her druid level for this ability. If the sea witch has wild empathy from another class, her witch levels stack with the other class's levels to determine her wild empathy bonus for these kinds of creatures. This ability replaces the witch's 1st-level hex.
Hexes: The following witch hexes complement the sea witch archetype: charm, flight, water lung.
Major Hexes: The following major hexes complement the sea witch archetype: hag eye, hidden home, weather control.
Grand Hexes: The following grand hex complements the sea witch archetype: natural disaster.