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RPG Superstar 2015

Witch Archetype.....round 2.


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


I posted an archetype for the Witch class about a week ago, that was intended to increase the mechanical influence of their patron, so that it fills more of a part in "role play".

The idea has evolved over the last week, and has become something a bit different than what I started out with....and I wanted to toss it up and get feedback and opinions.

There are elemnts drawn from several sources involved here, some of the biggest being the "possesed" rules from CoT4, the "Haunted one" template, and even a dash of "Black blade" rules.

The final result is a bit more powerful than the standard familiar, but comes with some difficulties that I hope retain balance....

Warlock (Witch Archtype)
Warlocks are mortals who share their bodies with strange intelligences of supernatural origin.
These disembodied intellects exist only as thought—and cannot directly interact with the world until they find a host willing to share both body and mind. These entities become valuable tools and allies, as both the warlock and the spirit entity bound to him typically crave arcane power, but as a bound entity becomes more aware, its true motivations manifest, as does its ability to influence its wielder with its ever-increasing ego.
In essence, a warlock is two creatures—a living host (almost always a humanoid) and its pact bound vestige (the unbodied entity).
Eldritch Pact (Su): By forging strange pacts with otherworldly beings, warlocks becomes a living conduit for powerful eldritch abilities. The vestige is bound to a particular warlock by the eldritch pact, in much the same way as a familiar, but in more of a partnership than a master-servant relationship.
As a warlock increases in power, he begins to develop a stronger connections with his vestige.
As a result, the vestige becomes more efficient at transferring greater amounts of lost knowledge to the warlock.
This ability replaces the class’s Familiar ability.

Vestige Basics
A warlocks spells come from the knowledge and will of his vestige, and It's ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch’s spells are stored, and granted by her familiar.
The warlock must commune with his vestige each day to prepare his spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored by his vestige.
While all vestige's possess their own intelligence and have unique goals and motivations, they are similar enough to present them as related entities.
A vestige attempts to influence it's host by disseminating cryptic ideas and motivations among the host’s own thoughts and memories. A vestige’s methods of influencing its host are subtle yet effective, though ultimately it has no ability to override the warlock.
It cannot take control of the warlocks body, and throughout the “possession” the warlock retains his free will.
Instead, the vestige can strong-arm the warlock, much like an intelligent magic item—a warlock who fails to act upon the
vestige's “requests” or continually disregards its suggestions, suffers increasingly adverse retaliation by the vestige.
Sign (Ex): The warlock bears a sign of their vestige's presence, perhaps in the form of glowing eyes, an inhuman growl, crawling sigils, or spontaneous bleeding. This manifestation is obvious to anyone looking at the host.
As long as the sign persists, the warlock suffers a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures opposed to the vestige's goals, and a +2 circumstance bonus, to all charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures aligned with their vestige's goals.
Intelligence: This is the intelligence score of the vestige. It starts at 11 and increases by 1 for every two additional levels of the warlock (at 3rd level, 5th level, and so on).
Wisdom and Charisma: As the warlock increases in level, so do the Wisdom and Charisma of the vestige.
These abilities start at 7 and increase by 1 for every two additional levels the warlock gains.
Ego: A vestige starts with an ego of 5, and that ego increases as the vestige becomes more powerful, as per Table 1–4 below. In cases where a warlock and the bound vestige come into conflict, just like an intelligent item, a vestige can attempt to exert its dominance using the rules for intelligent magic items on page 535 of the Core Rulebook.
Due to its flexible and powerful nature, a vestige has a nonstandard ego progression.
Alignment: The vestige bound to the warlock does not necessarily share the same alignment as the warlock, and may vary up to one step away on each alignment axis (lawful through chaotic, good through evil).
Languages and Skills: A vestige starts with it's choice of one language, which the warlock gains as a bonus language —and can be chosen from any language (including secret languages, such as Druidic).
Additionally, vestige's possess telepathy with their host.
At 7th level the vestige's telepathy extends to other vestige's,and witches familiar's to a range of 100 feet.
As the vestige increases in Intelligence, it manifests knowledge of additional languages and arcane lore.
Upon reaching an Intelligence of 12, it gains a bonus language of the GM’s choice.
Each time the vestige gains a bonus to Intelligence, it gains another language.
Senses: While possessing a warlock, a vestige shares the senses of its host.

Vestige Ability Descriptions: A vestige has special abilities (or imparts abilities to its host) depending on the warlock's level.
Alertness (Ex): While a warlock is bound to his vestige, he gains the Alertness feat.
Duel Minded (Su): You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves against enchantment or fear spells or effects. At 7th level, the Will bonus increases to +4, at 12th level, the Will bonus increases to +6.
True Lore (Su): Warlocks possess the uncanny ability to recall fantastic amounts of knowledge in areas of study previously unknown to them, often including information beyond the scope of the greatest scholars.
Typically, this knowledge concerns something ancient and occult, forbidden things that most would find horrifying
and maddening, which the warlock feels compelled to seek out and explore.
Once per day, a vestige can grant the warlock a +20 insight bonus on any Knowledge skill check that the warlock makes, provided that the warlock possesses at least one skill rank in that Knowledge skill. Every 5 HD possessed by the warlock grants an additional daily use of this ability.
Pact Boon (Ex): Your bond with your vestige has granted you preternatural vigor and understanding of all things. You gain a +1 inherent bonus to Constitution and one mental ability score (Int, Wis, or Cha) of your choice. You gain an additional +1 inherent bonus to Constitution and one mental ability score (Int, Wis, or Cha) of your choice upon every five warlock level gained thereafter.
Vision (Sp): Once a day, a warlock can use vision as a spell-like ability (Caster Level equals the warlocks HD). Every 5 HD possessed by the warlock grants an additional daily use of this ability.

Arcane Discovery: At 6th level, a warlock can learn an arcane discovery ( pg 86 of UM) in place of a regular hex or feat as a wizard equal to his level. This ability replaces the normal witches hex gained at 6th level.

So...comments, opinions, ideas ???


No interest at all eh ?


So, they give up a static familiar bonus (and a weakness in that their familiar is their spellbook) in order to get all of this?

Am I missing something? That seems like a hell of a buff.


Foghammer wrote:

So, they give up a static familiar bonus (and a weakness in that their familiar is their spellbook) in order to get all of this?

Am I missing something? That seems like a hell of a buff.

The idea was, that their familiar is a spirit that actually posseses them.....ah well....back to the drawing board....


OK...I went through with a rather large knife, and cut things back to what felt (IMO) to be bare minimum....

The idea here, is that the unbodied entity (I'm using the term vestige at the moment" actually posseses or rides the warlock, and acts as their familiar.

The trade offs: While it's true the vestige is not vulnerable to being killed like a standard familiar....it functions as an intelligent magic item, that has it's own goals and personality.
As a result conflicts can arise, just like when wielding an intelligent item, and the vestige can, in a fit of pique, refuse access to some or all of it's abilities, at least temporarily, if the warlock pisses it off. I think that's a pretty equal trade off.

The original write up was taking the arcane bond item ability as a model, and as a result, I was scaling the power level accordingly.
i have removed several of the abilities, and just retained the ones I really felt added the feel of two minds in one form.

Warlock (Witch Archtype)
Warlocks are mortals who share their bodies with strange intelligences of supernatural origin.
These disembodied intellects exist only as thought—and cannot directly interact with the world until they find a host willing to share both body and mind. These entities become valuable tools and allies, as both the warlock and the spirit entity bound to him typically crave arcane power, but as a bound entity becomes more aware, its true motivations manifest, as does its ability to influence its wielder with its ever-increasing ego.
In essence, a warlock is two creatures—a living host (almost always a humanoid) and its pact bound vestige (the unbodied entity).
Eldritch Pact (Su): By forging strange pacts with otherworldly beings, warlocks becomes a living conduit for powerful eldritch powers. The vestige is bound to a particular warlock by the eldritch pact, in much the same way as a familiar, but in more of a partnership than a master-servant relationship.
As a warlock increases in power, he begins to develop a stronger connections with his vestige.
As a result, the vestige becomes more efficient at transferring greater amounts of lost knowledge to the warlock.
This ability replaces the class’s Familiar ability.

Vestige Basics
A warlocks spells come from the knowledge and will of his vestige, and It's ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch’s spells are stored, and granted by her familiar.
The warlock must commune with his vestige each day to prepare his spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored by his vestige.
While all vestige's possess their own intelligence and have unique goals and motivations, they are similar enough to present them as related entities.
A vestige attempts to influence it's host by disseminating cryptic ideas and motivations among the host’s own thoughts and memories. A vestige’s methods of influencing its host are subtle yet effective, though ultimately it has no ability to override the warlock.
It cannot take control of the warlocks body, and throughout the “possession” the warlock retains his free will.
Instead, the vestige can strong-arm the warlock, much like an intelligent magic item—a warlock who fails to act upon the
vestige's “requests” or continually disregards its suggestions, suffers increasingly adverse retaliation by the vestige.
Sign (Ex): The warlock bears a sign of their vestige's presence, perhaps in the form of glowing eyes, an inhuman growl, crawling sigils, or spontaneous bleeding. This manifestation is obvious to anyone looking at the host.
As long as the sign persists, the warlock suffers a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures opposed to the vestige's goals, and a +2 circumstance bonus, to all charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures aligned with their vestige's goals.
Intelligence: This is the intelligence score of the vestige. It starts at 11 and increases by 1 for every two additional levels of the warlock (at 3rd level, 5th level, and so on).
Wisdom and Charisma: As the warlock increases in level, so do the Wisdom and Charisma of the vestige.
These abilities start at 7 and increase by 1 for every two additional levels the warlock gains.
Ego: A vestige starts with an ego of 5, and that ego increases as the vestige becomes more powerful, as per Table 1–4 below. In cases where a warlock and the bound vestige come into conflict, just like an intelligent item, a vestige can attempt to exert its dominance using the rules for intelligent magic items on page 535 of the Core Rulebook.
Due to its flexible and powerful nature, a vestige has a nonstandard ego progression.
Alignment: The vestige bound to the warlock does not necessarily share the same alignment as the warlock, and may vary up to one step away on each alignment axis (lawful through chaotic, good through evil).
Languages and Skills: A vestige starts with it's choice of one language —and can be chosen from any language (including secret languages, such as Druidic).
Additionally, vestige's possess telepathy with their host.
At 7th level the vestige's telepathy extends to other vestige's,and witches familiar's to a range of 100 feet.
Senses: While possessing a warlock, a vestige shares the senses of its host.

Vestige Ability Descriptions: A vestige has special abilities (or imparts abilities to its host) depending on the warlock's level.
Duel Minded (Su): You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves against enchantment or fear spells or effects. At 8th level, the Will bonus increases to +4, at 15th level, the Will bonus increases to +6.
True Lore (Su): Warlocks possess the uncanny ability to recall fantastic amounts of knowledge in areas of study previously unknown to them, often including information beyond the scope of the greatest scholars.
Typically, this knowledge concerns something ancient and occult, forbidden things that most would find horrifying
and maddening, which the warlock feels compelled to seek out and explore.
Once per day, a vestige can grant the warlock a +20 insight bonus on any Knowledge skill check that the warlock makes, provided that the warlock possesses at least one skill rank in that Knowledge skill. Every 3 HD possessed by the warlock grants an additional daily use of this ability.

Better ???


Evidently the aproach I'm taking isn't really generating any interest or comments.

Anyone have any advice as to how they would aproach this idea ?


I'll take another look back at this once I have some time. I can see Foghammer's point about there being a lot of power for a mixed blessing of a trade-off, so I might consider tying your extra abilities to an existing progression for the witch class: Hexes. If you look at the witch archetypes, they sacrifice various hexes to instead gain a different (often hex-like) benefit. I think that that would work well for a few of the abilities at the end.


Caepio Alazario wrote:
I'll take another look back at this once I have some time. I can see Foghammer's point about there being a lot of power for a mixed blessing of a trade-off, so I might consider tying your extra abilities to an existing progression for the witch class: Hexes. If you look at the witch archetypes, they sacrifice various hexes to instead gain a different (often hex-like) benefit. I think that that would work well for a few of the abilities at the end.

I would appreciate that ;)

The first version (at the top of the thread) was admittedly balanced against the "Arcane Bond" ability of the Wizard class...with a nod to the "Black Blade" from the Magus class.

When Foghammer commented, it occured to me that as Witche's get hexes (which wizards don't) that might have been a bit much to balance it against.

In the second version, I tried to just balance it against a familiar....
But I'm not opposed to adding a couple of abilities that where trimmed out, at the cost of a hex or two.

Alternatively, I would like to look at adding a pool of points (in the same vein as a blackblades arecane pool) to allow the possesing entity "possesion actions" (as the possesion rules in the CoT Infernal Syndrom pg 58).
Some of the possesion actions would probably criple the character to much, but if it was a limited list of possible actions, it could be great "RP" flavor.

Star Voter 2013

I like the idea of a vestige bound witch. I LOVE the idea of a vestige with an ego score. I don't think most posters are familiar with tome of magic or the intelligent magic item rules though, so this probobly looks like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to them and will take some time for the posters of the board to digest.


Archomedes wrote:
I like the idea of a vestige bound witch. I LOVE the idea of a vestige with an ego score. I don't think most posters are familiar with tome of magic or the intelligent magic item rules though, so this probobly looks like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to them and will take some time for the posters of the board to digest.

I actually wouldn't mind comming up with a different term than vestige, but I was looking for something that didn't specifically define the spirit as any one type of being (fiend, undead, etc...)

I can't imagine gamers are unfamiliar with the magic item rules though :P


I cleaned up some of the fluff, and looked up some of the plausable abilities regarding possesion point usage.
I wasn't sure if it was OK to copy the actual poosesion actions from CoT, so I just referenced the page number, and listed the actions usable by a vestige.

Warlock (Witch Archtype)
Warlocks are mortals who share their bodies with strange intelligences of supernatural origin.
These disembodied intellects exist only as thought—and cannot directly interact with the world until they find a host willing to share both body and mind. These entities become valuable tools and allies, as both the warlock and the spirit entity bound to him typically crave arcane power, but as a bound entity becomes more aware, its true motivations manifest, as does its ability to influence its wielder with its ever-increasing ego.
In essence, a warlock is two creatures—a living host (almost always a humanoid) and its pact bound vestige (the un-bodied entity).
Eldritch Pact (Su): By forging strange pacts with otherworldly beings, warlocks becomes a living conduit for powerful eldritch abilities. The vestige is bound to a particular warlock by the eldritch pact, in much the same way as a familiar, but in more of a partnership than a master-servant relationship.
As a warlock increases in power, he begins to develop a stronger connections with his vestige.
As a result, the vestige becomes more efficient at transferring greater amounts of lost knowledge to the warlock.
This ability replaces the class’s Familiar ability.

Vestige Basics
A warlocks spells come from the knowledge and will of his vestige, and It's ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch’s spells are stored, and granted by her familiar.
The warlock must commune with his vestige each day to prepare his spells and cannot prepare spells that are not stored by his vestige.
While all vestige's possess their own intelligence and have unique goals and motivations, they are similar enough to present them as related entities. It should be noted that the term “vestige” refers to the condition of the unbound spirit, and not the creatures type. Extraplanar creatures—good or evil—various forms of undead, unknowable entities from the depths of space, powerful fey creatures, and other even less fathomable beings all might have reason to seek a pact with a warlock.
A vestige attempts to influence it's host by disseminating cryptic ideas and motivations among the host’s own thoughts and memories. A vestige’s methods of influencing its host are subtle yet effective, though ultimately it has no ability to override the warlock. It cannot take control of the warlocks body, and throughout the “possession” the warlock retains his free will.
Instead, the vestige can strong-arm the warlock, much like an intelligent magic item—a warlock who fails to act upon the
vestige's “requests” or continually disregards its suggestions, suffers increasingly adverse retaliation by the vestige.
Expression (Ex): The warlock bears a sign of their vestige's presence, perhaps in the form of glowing or strangely colored eyes, an inhuman growl, crawling sigils, or spontaneous bleeding. This manifestation is obvious to anyone looking at the host. As long as the sign persists, the warlock suffers a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures opposed to the vestige's goals, and a +2 circumstance bonus, to all charisma-based checks when dealing with creatures aligned with the vestige's goals.
Intelligence: This is the intelligence score of the vestige. It starts at 11 and increases by 1 for every two additional levels of the warlock (at 3rd level, 5th level, and so on).
Wisdom and Charisma: As the warlock increases in level, so do the Wisdom and Charisma of the vestige.
These abilities start at 7 and increase by 1 for every two additional levels the warlock gains.
Ego: A vestige starts with an ego of 5, and that ego increases as the vestige becomes more powerful, as per Table 1–4 below. In cases where a warlock and the bound vestige come into conflict, just like an intelligent item, a vestige can attempt to exert its dominance using the rules for intelligent magic items on page 535 of the Core Rulebook.
Due to its flexible and powerful nature, a vestige has a nonstandard ego progression.
Alignment: The vestige bound to the warlock does not necessarily share the same alignment as the warlock, and may vary up to one step away on each alignment axis (lawful through chaotic, good through evil).
Divination and abjuration effects treat the warlock as if it were the vestige, providing information or barring the warlock accordingly. (Example: detect spells, passing through a magic circle against (chaos, evil, good, law), or the effects of a forbiddance or similar magics ).
Languages and Skills: A vestige starts with a choice of one language —and can be chosen from any language (including secret languages, such as Druidic). As the vestige increases in Intelligence, it manifests knowledge of languages and arcane lore. Upon reaching an Intelligence of 12, it gains a bonus language of the GM’s choice.
Each time the vestige gains a bonus to Intelligence, it gains another language.
Senses: While possessing a warlock, a vestige shares the senses of the warlock and can communicate with him telepathically.
Possession points: A vestige also gains a number of possession points per day equal to ½ the warlocks level + the vestiges Intelligence bonus.
These points can be spent to utilize special bodily possession actions detailed below. A vestige may expend these points as it pleases, with each possession action taking a full-round action.

Vestige Ability Descriptions: A vestige has special abilities (or imparts abilities to its host) depending on the warlock's level.
Alertness (Ex): While a vestige is pactbound, the warlock gains the Alertness feat.
Duel Minded (Su): You gain a +2 bonus on Will saves against enchantment or fear spells or effects. At 9th level, the Will bonus increases to +4, at 16th level, the Will bonus increases to +6.
Telepathy (Su): While a warlock is pact bound to his vestige, he can communicate telepathically with the vestige in a language that the warlock and the vestige share.
At 7th level the vestige's telepathy extends to other vestige's,and creatures of it's type to a range of 100 feet.
True Lore (Su): At 3rd level, the warlock gains, the uncanny ability to access fantastic amounts of knowledge in areas of study previously unknown to him from his vestige, often including information beyond the scope of the greatest scholars.
Typically, this knowledge concerns something ancient and occult, forbidden things that most would find horrifying
and maddening, which the vestige compels the warlock to seek out and explore.
Once per day, a vestige can grant the warlock a +20 insight bonus on any Knowledge skill check that the warlock makes, provided that the warlock possesses at least one skill rank in that Knowledge skill. Every 5 HD possessed by the warlock (after 3rd) grants an additional daily use of this ability.

Table – 1-4 Vestige progression
HD Int Wis&Cha Ego Special

1-2 11 7 5 Alertness, Duel minded+2, Store spells.
3-4 12 8 8 True lore 1/day
5-6 13 9 10
7-8 14 10 12 Telepathy(100 ft), True Lore 2/day
9-10 15 11 14 Duel Minded +4.
11-12 16 12 16
13-14 17 13 18 true lore 3/day
15-16 18 14 20 Duel minded +6
17-18 19 15 22 True lore 4/day
19-20 20 16 24

Possesion actions See CoT Infernal Syndrom pg 59 for details.

Elusive Presence (3 or 1 PP)

Alter Mood (5 PP)
Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 25)

Vile Gout (5 PP)

Empower Host (7 PP)

Reinvigoration (7 PP)


I'm trying to decide how many hexes should be given up to make this archetype balanced.

As it stands, the only things that go above and beyond having a familiar, are......

Duel minded: Roughly equivilant to a feat?
True lore: Closer to a standard class ability?
Possesion action pool: Some cool abilities, but the higher price one's will generaly eat up the entire pool at 1 use. There may be a few points to spare once your 17th level or above.

My current thought is one normal, and one major hex sacrificed should be enough.

Opinions ???

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