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Class Acts: Witches (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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The Class Acts PDFs introduce new class options for the base classes and core classes featured in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Every PDF contains two full pages of high quality content (no fluff or filler)!

Class Acts: Witches includes eighteen new hexes, including several advanced hexes.

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Product Reviews (5)

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****( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Absolutely terrible

*( )( )( )( )

All the hexes in this book were clearly designed with the "rule of cool" in mind rather than actual practical usage.

For example there is a hex that causes unattended items to break down. Useful if you are a low level NPC villain terorrizing villagers, not very useful for adventuring. That and any DM could easily give a NPC villain a curse that does something similar, without nerfing a boss fight by using a hex slot for something useless.

There are also attempts to synergize the hexes with paizo hexes, but it is horribly done. One of the hexes here duplicates the effects of alter self, a level 2 spell. It does not scale except in duration, when many paizo hexes are more powerful than a low level spell or can scale to a more powerful version. You can use this as 1 hour uses of disguise self....assuming you have the disguise self hex, which already works in 1 hour increments...

Major hexes dissapoint as well. A major hex that curses the target with your dying breath. Except that all it does is make them "worry", with no penalties, and they can keep saving every day to fight off the hex. This is worse than a bestow curse effect...oh and as a bonus, the witch can't be resurrected for as long as the curse persists. Completely useless without major house ruling.

Other major hexes include the lack luster ability to take the better of two rolls for bluff under heavy restrictions or to duplicate the effects of detect thoughts with a shaken condition, with the added downside of making the target aware that he is being mentally spied on.

Its really sad that so many 3rd party products these days are clearly being released with no attempt at playtesting or designing it with feedback involved, and are a little more than a bunch of "cool" ideas shoved together with unworkable rules.


An excellent example of new powers that fit with a class's theme

*****

The witch is one of those rare Pathfinder classes that follows a very clear thematic element without being necessarily bound to specifics. Yes, we all know witches ride broomsticks, and chant “bubble bubble toil and trouble” over cauldrons, but beyond that it’s less about concrete actions and more about the theme of those actions.

For Pathfinder, that usually takes the form of the witch class’s hex ability. While very expansive, there are still many different hex abilities that a witch can use to cause wrack and ruin for her foes…such as those written in Abandoned Arts’ Class Acts: Witches book.

Four pages long, with a page for the cover and another for the OGL, the book nevertheless packs eighteen new hexes into its remaining two pages. Of these, thirteen are normal hexes, and five are major hexes – I was slightly surprised to find no new grand hexes here, but c’est la vie.

The hexes themselves are surprisingly evocative, without sacrificing playability. The abeyance hex, for instance, curses a specific area, damaging everything within it; the heartstone hex grants a witch greater defenses (on their saves) and protection from disease; the last laugh major hex allows a dying witch to lay a debilitating (but not necessarily unbeatable) curse on an enemy, etc. There are many hexes here that, while not necessarily “signature” abilities of classical witches, are highly reminiscent of their powers – who but a witch could not only scry a creature through a cauldron, but affect it by pouring in magic potions (via the scrying cauldron hex)?

Sometimes great things come in small packages; if you want to give your witch character some new abilities that seem like they should have been there from the beginning, pick up Class Acts: Witches!


****( )

Abandoned Arts is back with a couple of additions to their Class Acts line, this particular addition covering Witches, and their hexes. Giving us four pages, with the colored background and simple framework that is becoming their signature look, format adheres to the 2 column standard, with the notable exception of the inclusion of a block of text above the new hexes recounting the official stance on hexes, what they are, when you get them, and such on and so forth...a handy tidbit to have at hand for a Witch player, so I am ruling this a useful item.

With a total of 13 hexes and 5 major hexes, there is far more here than I am going to list, so we shall go over what stood out to me. Dance With The Dead allows for the usage of a progressive list of spells all focused upon the dead, through dance. The higher your level, the greater the spells you have access to through this hex. Design wise, I love the visuals of this, the idea that the witch has to dance as the primary means of activating this ability forces a player to rethink combat, as the usage of this ability provokes AoOs.

Evil Presence has me baffled, as, if I am understanding it right, you essentially are so infused with evil, that a casting of detect evil upon you is supposed to supply information implying that you are more than you are...the confusing thing is that it states, and I quote ...”You are treated as a cleric or a paladin with a class level...” Um, a paladin? Never met an evil paladin, at least not without referring to them as anti-paladins....

Heartstone Hex allows you to create a fail-safe against diseases, as well as gaining a bonus to saving throws. Interesting idea in that it enchants a physical item that the witch must carry, but I would have liked to have seen a steeper negative applied in case of loss or damage to said enchanted item.

Witchlights brings the idea behind dancing lights into the realm of the witch, with what I believe is a nod toward the Will-o-wisp. Bringing into existence a group of lights that bewitch and mesmerize targets, leading them where the witch wishes.

Looking into the major hexes we find Last Laugh, that one more before I go hex. On death's door, you pick a targeted foe, and curse them with one seriously annoying curse that will require one of the big three (wish, limited wish and miracle) to get rid of. Of course, no curse of that much power comes for free, so you must be willing to die to do this, and by die, I mean die...for as long as your target is alive, you can't be.

Am going to close these with Scrying Cauldron, as anything that brings this classic part of fantasy literature for the witch back into usage is good with me. Not only does this do the expected trick with scrying spells, but it allows for several potions to be cast upon targets viewed within the cauldron through those scrying spells...which is pretty slick, and certainly invokes several classic tales of witches “reaching out” to affect the world around them through their cauldrons.

Final thoughts on this product. Daron continues to impress me with his design concepts, but there were a few hexes here that were more on the blah side of things (Alteration, Pinch, Lure)...but within a collection, there are always a few that one wont dig as much as the others. The wording of evil presence comes off as extremely confusing, and a clarification would seriously help. Taking this into account, and balancing against the few that stood out, and the price, I am settling on a 4.5 star rating for this product, rounding down to a 4 for the purposes of this forum.


4.5 stars - the best Class Act so far and a must-buy for witches

****( )

This pdf is 4 pages long, 1page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content for 18 new hexes, 5 of which are major hexes for the witch, so let's check them out!

Abeyance is the first hex and it is already an interesting one - by pronouncing a curse on an area, you reduce unattended objects to half hit points (netting them the broken condition) and make structures appear more fragile, whither plants and strip corpses of their flesh and turn bone to dust - essentially the quintessential curse effect known from fairy-tales. And much like this curse, it can be broken, the affected structures, objects etc. regaining their former glory. AWESOME! "But this is not too useful in combat!" So what? This hex is iconic, can work as a great roleplaying catalyst for players and even determine some nice tactics and add a more pronounced distinctiveness to a witch's arsenal. Two thumbs up!
With "Bewitch", you can pile a dominate on your charm-hex and "Dance with the Dead" is also rather stylish: Granting you Perform (dance) as a class skill, it lets you detect undead at will while dancing and even command mindless undead and later animate them as part of your dance. Seeing how much enamored I am with the concept of the Danse Macabre, this hex is right up my alley and the dance restriction keeps the witch from spamming annoying amounts of detects, while still being useful - well done!

Where the Doom Hex first looks like a cheap duplication of the doom spell, it has a nice caveat - once the target creature is damaged, its wound turns accursed, necessitating a caster level check to heal it. Again - cool and a nice design choice. Why then there's a hex that just mimics the alter self-spell without any additional cool effect, I don't know.

Mostly for NPCs (or players of Fire Mountain Games Way of the Wicked) is the "Evil presence-hex, which makes you detect as a cleric/(anti-)paladin for purposes of detect spells and stuns or nauseates those do-gooders trying to sniff you out. That ought to teach them detecting all the time...

The Heartstone Hex, taking an Andersen-trope, creates a stone that not only grants you a bonus on saves, but into which you may also transfer diseases you catch -cool! If you're more into spreading pestilence yourself, take the "Pestilence" Hex, which not only empowers your disease-spells, but also makes beasts affected by your blight contagious.

The "Pinch" Hex can also be considered iconic - deal 1 point non-lethal damage (unless you have nails...) as a touch attack and potentially transfer touch spells as part of the pinch. Granny told you to clean the bath... In direct comparison, the ability to create dancing witch lights that fascinate the onlookers feels almost bland - almost: Lead them into the swamp, come to me...

The Major Hexes are nothing to be laughed at either, especially the "Last Laugh" hex, which lets you place a sickening curse upon those who reduce you to -1 hp and which has to be chipped away at slowly by the afflicted. When you bluff via the new "Lure" hex and try to tempt others with something they desire, you may roll two dice instead of one and take the better result. With "Torment", a witch now may enter a creatures mind as per detect thoughts, but also heap the shaken-condition on them for the duration - another staple of fiction, well-converted to rules.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard with a parchment-like background and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none of the latter at this level.

The Class Acts-pdf by Daron Woodson have been a mixed bag for me so far - great designs alongside some filler and minor problems. It is with the utmost pleasure that I can announce that this installment of the Class Acts series is AWESOME. While there are some hexes herein that are not up to the coolness of the others, most of the content herein is simply awesome and iconic. In fact, the rules and ideas used are often not only viable options, but rp-catalysts in their own rights. That being said, there still are some hexes that don't hold up to this standard (e.g. yet another cauldron-scrying hex), but these are relatively few and far in-between, making this pdf mostly a winner. My final verdict will, gladly, be 4.5 stars, just short of the full 5.

Endzeitgeist out.


The Best Class Acts Yet

*****

First of all, I just want to say that I was offered on the EnWorld forums (and did accept, obviously) a review copy of this product, if anyone finds that relevant. Now on to the review.

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.
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Formatting, layout, spelling and grammar, and overall appeal are on-par with the other Class Acts PDFs.

As the product description says, there are eighteen new hexes contained in this PDF... and almost every one of them is a "keeper." This might very well be the best Class Acts product to date.

I could find no "bad" hexes here. Woodwife is alright, if bland-ish, and Pinch isn't very powerful (but it is funny and original, and it offers a little justifcation for the otherwise terrible Nails hex from the APG). Also, Bewitch might be a little broken?

Almost everything here is awesome, though. Visually speaking, the coolest hex here is the first: Abeyance. The reason I love witches and hexes in general is that they just ooze with flavor. This PDF delivers flavor in spades with hexes like this one.

Dance with the Dead lets you dance the dead to unlife, Pestilence is fantstic for NPC villains, and Witchlights is outstanding... letting you literally lure enemies to their doom (i.e. the five-foot square in front of your barbarian) in a very fey and witchy way. Evil Presence gives your evil witch a nice advantage when dealing with nosy paladins and inquisitors.

All five of the major hexs are great: Last Laugh is a fantastic mechanic that gives GMs a couple of really good plot hooks with which to build an andventure around. Lure is nothing special, mechanically, but it gives witches an advantage when Bluffing. I don't know why it doesn't give Bluff as a class skill (and I wish it did, that's been a pet peeve of mine since forever), but some kind of Bluff bonus is better than none. Promise of Power gives power to your dominated thralls, and Scrying Cauldron is very neat - you use your cauldron as a scrying focus and pour potions into it to affect the subject of your scrying. Torment is a hostile detect thoughts; neat.

Very impressed with this product, moreso than any other. I highly recommend this product (to everyone, but especially to GMs), and I give it five stars. *****

- Sara McLean


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