It's a big fat blast that recharges. It can't be spammed but it's not a bad way to open a fight - it scales on par with fireball basically iirc.
Barbarian and monk both have strong class feats for battlefield control via athletics (or raw threat range and AoO for giant instinct), so D is underselling them. And Barbarian has some intimidate support too.
Barbarian gets the Grab action outright even.
Fighters get some good options for debuffing too, e.g. snagging strike.
I think an AP could bring Nex, Geb, Alkenstar, and Jalmeray into a plot pretty easily. Nex and Geb war threatens to flare up, Alkenstar is caught in the middle, and representatives are meeting in Jalmeray as a neutral ground. Predictably multiple factions are getting involved, intrigue abounds, and things eventually lead into a run into Nex's demiplane or something.
CHALLENGE: Describe your character using only three details. (You get the usual race / class / gender for free.)
Fey-touched Gnome Scoundrel MC Fey Sorcerer. I have four cantrips at level 2 and can swap one out to adapt to enemies. Sneak attack makes me hit harder with both melee and spells at level 4, and my slots are free for covering other bases. I can still cut stuff up well with a short sword from flank.
If anything the problem is my stat spread means my weapon damage is lacking at early levels. 1d6 for one action or 1d4+4 at range with variable element for two?
Barbarians get an action to refresh their temp HP every turn, and they're the best class at athletics checks. Grabbing an enemy means they can't go after anyone else and the barbarian can soak a lot.
Accursed Hex is a feat you missed, though it wasn't relevant if you were building maximum mean.
I don't think we need 1e hexes and cackling again. Evil Eye + Cackle was stupid. Though the playtest evil eye gets partway there anyways it doesnt let you lead into misfortune and slumber like 1e for maximum crippling.
It's a fine line to walk I guess, because "negate one enemy by debuff" is easy to have slip into "instakill enemy". And if its fundamentally save or die effects... well, its either great or useless.
Hexes as the main combat contribution is the defining aspect of 1e witch I feel. Whether debuffs or the alternate natural weapon options (which are fine being class feats, though I don't know that the playtest version supports it well). This is what I want when I think witch.
Familiars are nice and flavorful but punishing to lose. I do like having one, I just wish it wasn't such a risk. In 1e I rarely get to use it as more than a stat stick (glorious massive perception)
I have no real attachment to the spell list, it was certainly flavorful. The limits on it feel like they got blurred in later supplements a bit.
Patrons were at best a build theme, being a very bare bones version of the bonus spell options of domains and bloodlines. No real attachment here.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Daze's damage scales extremely poorly but at level one it's a constant 4 damage compared to average 6.5 of other cantrips (with telekinetic hitting for 7.5 average). Also, it's a save so it gets half damage most of the time if it fails. Non-undead mindless creatures are a problem (if you know about undead you can bring disrupt undead after all).
Divine casters can get cantrip damage, it's just much more effort because you're shifting between Daze, Chill Touch, and Disrupt Undead with possible Divine Lance. The other lists can just pick something and run with it.
The list does have issues with being too tied to worshiping a specific deity though for damage spells (spiritual weapon is glaring because it's otherwise a nice efficient option)
Idea: What if Witches had an action to refocus mid-combat?
Cackle: 1 action
The hexes-only clause is to avoid any abuse cases of doing a quick hex and dropping it to reload focus for other classes' focus spells, but I'm not actually sure it's necessary if the hexes can't be used more than once per target.
A hex ending would include any of the following:
Edit: As this would allow witches to build for multiple hexes at once, I'd add: "Whenever you cast a Hex, you may sustain all your other hexes" under some appropriate name, to allow hitting 3 hexes at once going (at which point you'd be spending your whole turn maintaining them all, but I kind of like the mental image of a mage doing that to lock down enemies)
Sudden Charge allows you to use it with any special speeds you may have, including a climb speed.
Climbing requires two free hands. Weapons generally also require free hands.
Does this mean Combat Climber is required to be able to Sudden Charge while using a climb speed, and that it is impossible to do so with a 2h weapon, or a shield, etc?
The short version of this: Buff the hit rate of the guy with the highest to-hit bonus.
If they crit on a 20 only, they're getting the same benefit as everyone below them.
If they crit on more than a 20, they get a better benefit than anyone who doesn't and the same benefit as anyone else who does.
There's some diminishing returns once a 1 becomes merely failure instead of crit failure, but at that point the enemy is either a chump and you should just save the resources or a rare "can't miss this" enemy and you should be buffing damage (or just blasting it).
That said, this doesn't account for variance, which affects the distribution of damage, and doesn't account for differences in expected damage per hit (A raging Giant Barbarian at level 1 averages 16.5 damage with a greatsword hit, the fighter averages only 10.5), and that means if they're in the same growth band the bigger weapon wins (and if the fighter was using only a d8 longsword they only barely pull ahead in benefit when they're in the faster band and the barbarian is not since the barbarian hits almost twice as hard)
I think they could remove the full action block for it and just be a blurb that "Witches can sustain a spell with cackling or vocalizations, when doing so they replace Concentrate with Auditory" if needed, but I do like it being called out.
Cackle is on the level of sorcerers not needing a spell component pouch. The issue is that Witch basically has spell slots+hexes+class feats right now, and then Cackle is called out. And people are then jumping on it as "too weak", etc. because there's nothing else big and shiny there (there's a lot of stuff on the familiar and patron because they're important, but they don't provide action options the way something like Rage does).
Now truthfully, Sorcerer actually isn't much more than that. They get their spell slots, bloodline, and eschew materials. And that's it. The key difference really is that bloodlines are a bundle of things - bonus spells (which Witch gets via Lessons), focus powers (Lessons), and bloodline arcana (no equivalent). Bloodlines feel meatier because it's a single big choice though that affects a lot of things as a package.
I don't want to bundle lessons up that way though, as the flexibility is nice. I do agree Witch needs something else, because it does feel a little hollow at the moment - in part because hexes don't really feel a lot different from other focus spells. Replacing Cackle I think comes more from it being the only obvious thing to replace, but that makes the flawed assumption that something has to be removed in order to add something new.
The other issue hexes have though is that they compare very unfavorably to Bard's compositions. 1e bards had limited (but lots of) party-wide buffing. 2e bards have an unlimited supply (albeit having to always sustain it, though they had to in 1e as well). 2e witches are going from unlimited hex ammo for debuffs to 1/battle at level 1.
In that vein, as a global Witch option:
That just makes the last focus point needlessly punishing to spend. I'm not a fan of the grit/panache 1+ stuff in 1e for the same reason. Anything that makes spending a resource more painful is bad - people already hold off on burning resources as is.
And it should be noted you retain the option to use a normally sized weapon to avoid clumsy (but ony at base rage damage). If I'm remebering it right, you get no clumsy while using a bow (or, more likely) javelins, though you could build for oversized throwing weapons and take Raging Hurler with returning rune...
Charon Onozuka wrote:
Personally, I could see something like this for if the Summoner class returns. By not having actual spells, the class could put more focus/power into the Eidolon and any magical ability they really needed could be turned into focus spells. Not to mention it would be highly thematic for the class to focus more on rituals and it wouldn't suffer too much in combat as a result due to the power of the Eidolon.
Absolutely. Give the summoner spellcasting of a tradition but no spell slots. So they can use wands and scrolls, they can use focus spells to bring out/support summons, and they have a unique ritual for their eidolon.
But Witch should have spell slots. I like them covering the pick a tradition prepared caster, it's appropriate as the patrons can be of different sources much like bloodlines. And it mechanically means the hole is filled for occult prepared caster, which reduces burdens future books need to carry?
I do think they need a bit more hexiness to their flavor. Possibly either through cantrip hexes so they hex more often, other abilities to stretch their focus points (moving a hex to a new target if it dies, spreading it, etc), or just getting bonuses to hex-like spells.
I guess as far as what it requires to be a patron:
As given as an example above - powerful artifacts and their owners, old and mighty beings, and yes, the strongest of mages (Baba Yaga) all count.
I think the Baba Yaga example is interesting in that her level has surpassed that of her original mentor? There isn't an issue if a witch surpasses their patron - presumably this means they've learned to supplement their patron's power with other sources, possibly included their own ability akin to a wizard. But the patron still needs to be strong enough to power them along the way to that point. (And of course hexes aren't the patron providing power, so there's some innate talent there still)
Yeah, it's just the standard tradition skill. The good news is it sounds like they're definitely going to make it more explicit in the final version.
My pet theory for Kineticist:
Blasts are focus cantrips.
Burn is a class feature to take damage or something to gather power as free action.
And then you get your wild/utility/etc from some split of class feat and class features (first element acting like a path for some freebies?)
I think that covers it.
Tail Terror is a Kobold feat though and Magical Tail is Kitsune? Am I missing something?
Cole Deschain wrote:
I'll remind you of the Alchemist. While a pure focus caster or something is neat, it's not going to be the Witch.
I do think a cantrip focus based setup has potential for translating over Occultist, Kineticist, and such though down the line (in fact, I think Kineticists map quite nicely to focus cantrips and metamagic in particular) and that we'll absolutely see a class more devoted to that eventually.
I could go for this. "Chant" and describe it as something like "chanting, cackling, or otherwise vocalizing to project your will and maintain your spell" Leave it wide open. A witch could be humming or whistling and it would count.
And then of course change the feat to something like "Whispered Will" and the description becomes that you've mastered projecting your intent and can sustain via Chant without making audible noise.
Does the witch need to lose cackle for their niche? Can it be something else?
Arcane bond but for focus spells... although Oracle kind of does that with some of their feats?
Maybe you can take a hex on yourself to cast a hex on an opponent, and both sustain at the same time...? Though thats not really a witch deal I guess.
A way to spread a curse for a price? (Spell slots, more focus, take a condition? Have to spend whole turn sustaining?) The fluff being kind of... dont mess with a witch or you'll regret it? Straight up vengeance mode basically.
Maybe when a hex is maintained by cackling for at least X time, gain a benefit?
I would just say revelation spells increase curse, refocus decreases curse, you otherwise have a normal focus pool. You may cast a revelation spell with zero focus, but it makes you unconscious after.
So you can get extra juice from being a gnome but it wont reduce your curse when you do. But it would let you get another spell off before being stuck at the overcast unconscious bit.
I'd argue Evil Eye is pretty strong as well there. I can see where you're coming from though, but if I had to change something I'd probably reduce it to a flat 1 damage (and adjust heightening on it). I'm wondering though if its just that it synergizes really well with those specific classes (as the other martials dont get sneak attack or AoO at 1)
Hmm. Do they need that much else to set them apart? I think maybe giving the lessons passive effects akin to bloodlines or something, if you want to map them 1:1 against sorcerer.
Although I would note all the existing prepared casters have something to help their flexibility. Wizards get arcane bond. Clerics get Divine Font. Druids are getting an animal companion, extra focus points, or wild shape. It doesn't feel like witch is getting something for that.
Cackle is a ribbon. It's the kind of thing you compare to knowing Druidic or not needing a component pouch.
A thought: Once per day your familiar may cast a hex. It maintains this hex each round as a free action. At level one it gives you a bit more reach on focus spells, but more importantly it allows you to multitask a fight and really lock stuff down. And of course once you have more than one focus spell it's got the same flexibility.
Please do not change personal blizzard. It lets a witch single out a target at the start of a fight and completely screw with them and there's nothing they can do about it. It does not allow a save.
They lose 5 feet of movement, they lose the step action entirely (barring abilities), they take damage every turn, and they have to make flat checks to attack. It's just a whole pile of nuisances all at once, it's perfect.
I'm not really sure you get the idea of ribbons.
You need cackle for misfortune/fortune and almost for evil eye anyways. Extra Hex level 1 is basically the only option imo.
So only humans are allowed to cackle at level 1 is what you're saying?
Why is everyone so hung up on wanting it to be stronger? It doesn't have to be the class defining trick it is in 1e. It's okay for it to be a ribbon. They wrote it broadly enough that basically any vocalization is valid.
Leave cackle alone.
Note that it includes a free casting of Produce Flame. So you're basically doing 1 action to buff it and then another to immediately fire it off.
Reading through this, I'd propose the following to address the issues of "not technically focus" and curses not always being on.
1-You are permanently under the effect of the minor curse. This persists even through daily prep, etc. To make up for the effective loss of focus pool, reduce the downsides on this stage and possibly add some additional minor upside (Like, flame curse could grant low-light vision or upgrade it to darkvision or something)
I'm completely behind looking at some of the downsides on curse stages too - Life Oracle feels too harsh to me in particular, and as someone pointed out losing out on stats in social situations always is bad.
Actually, as an aside... maybe give life oracles permanent fast healing increasing with their curse stage as long as they're conscious - basically it's harder for others to heal them but there's a constant surge of health going.
Yep. It doesn't have the Concentrate trait, so no Reactions.
And circumvents a number of other things - e.g. Rage limitations.
Having it is better than not. I think people are hung up on how frankly insane 1e cackle is as the cornerstone of the class's ability to bring enemies to their knees indefinitely. It doesn't need to be that kind of transformative thing. I'm okay with this being a flavorful trick that sometimes lets me safely wield magic where other classes can't.
Really? I'm looking at the Primal list and I sure see a lot of utility spells still.
I'm still not sure on Nudge Fate as a debuff (mainly because Evil Eye feels like it hurts more), though it's not awful as a buff. Mainly it feels like it falls off as you level since it doesn't ever really get better than a 1st level spell.
I think Personal Blizzard could be given better heightening safely - make it +2 instead of +3 and it becomes significantly better. One thing to note is that because it causes difficult terrain instead of a speed penalty it prevents most enemies from using Step to avoid reactions. It's viable as is, I just think Heightened+3 is a joke (2d4 coming online at 7 is a bit slow).
Otherwise yeah, I think you're on point with what needs help. Given how strong hexes are in 1e I don't think it's a surprise they erred on the side of caution here.