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I was actually thinking a similar thing too! Porcupining (Thorns/Retribution/etc..) makes sense especially if we think about CRPGs.

However, as I was messing with the idea, I ran into a design issue due to this being a TTRPG: Porcupining is meant to be a deterrent from attacking someone and that's opposite of what the Guardian's role.

Experiences:

Witch's Needle of Vengeance - Punishing others for attacking someone is meant to deter them from doing so. Taking damage is a pretty big incentive to not continue.

Nature Domain's Vibrant Thorns - Similar case, damaging those who attack you should deter them from attacking you. Personally, I find it more of a Cloistered Cleric's defensive ability (1A cast, lasts the entire fight, and you can use your Heal Font to amplify it). A Warpriest could get some use out of it too for punishing folks going after the healer. Champion, it does have tension, but the Champion's reaction + Lay on Hands just makes it frustrating for enemies to not target the Champion.

With the current kit of Playtest Guardian, it's already too good at deterring attacks against it (best AC, use of Shield/Shield Block, innate resistances). Even Taunt isn't a strong enough incentive to attack the Guardian. Having the porcupine damage makes the Guardian less valuable of a target.

Conclusion: HOWEVER, attaching it to Intercept Strike DOES seem like a good idea. If we can make enemies NOT want to attack our allies because Intercept Strike is just too dangerous would be nice! (I also think Bodyguard should be a baseline feature for ALL Intercept type abilities).

Between attacking a heavily armored person with their shield-raised, or trying to attack the "fragile" Wizard...while knowing that the heavily armored person is just going to slam into place, hurt me, and also make it a nuisance to hurt that Wizard, I'd rather just contend with the Guardian instead.


Also, the Sentinel archetype has some unique feats which is baked into the Guardian class features (meaning, likely not available to the Guardian archetype).

I can imagine Guardian archetype being something like:

Dedication (2)
+Trained Athletics (or another skill).
+Trained Guardian DC (STR).
+Trained Medium/Heavy Armor proficiency.

Guardian Resiliency (4) - Add +3HP per archetype feat.

Basic Guardian Feats (4): Pick a lvl. 1/2 Guardian feat.

Taunter (4): Gain Taunt.

Advanced Guardian Feats (6): Pick a Guardian feat half or less your level.

Intercept Strike (6): Gain Intercept Strike.

Guardian Armor Expert (14): Expert in Medium/Heavy armor.

Sentinel still has the Armor Specialization (6) and Steel Skin (4) feats, which are the Guardian’s lvl. 1 class feature Guardian’s Armor.


I wonder how Witches would be able to fare now, especially due to the Remaster/Rage of Elements/Howl of the Wild and Spirit Guide specific familiar.

Howl of the Wild introducing the Hidebound spell really ups things in terms of a team of Witches being able to protect each other. It scales better than a Cosmos Oracle’s physical resistance (though, just be smart with spell slot preparation as there’s less need for your highest rank spell slot to use Hidebound when Rank-2 is the same effect). There’s just a good assortment of reaction spells for Primal/(Arcane) and reaction feats (Portents and Coven).

The various patrons are also quite powerful and some have very specific roles, which is normally not useful in a well-rounded party, but I think would shine here.

Edit: Familiar Sage could potentially be a game-changer here too depending how good those feats are.


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I know not a lot of folks were enthused by it…

But I’m really happy Merfolk are finally added into the game (with all the various support to play it).

Been wanting to play one in PF2e ever since I first tried out PF1e, so…yay!


Maybe as a heritage or lineage, they can have a Sea Lion option.

Sea Lions can move surprisingly fast on land (probably faster than an un-athletic human).

I always imagined (since PF1e) for a Strongfin Merfolk where it mixes the Climher Perch and Sea Lion together for a Merfolk with extremely strong “pectoral fins” that operate close enough to short legs. Closest I can get to that is a Nephilim Merfolk with Nimble Hooves.

The Strongtail feat’s mention of leaping to move around, I think is referring to the Mudskipper and how it folds it’s tail to jump on land.

There are fantastical ways to make Merfolk more land friendly, but honestly, I can see folks complaining how that’s “not fish like”. */shrug*


Mellored wrote:
Though, if your doing recall knowledge, you should learn about the enemies attacks, not their defense. Knowing a dragon's breath is Reflex instead of Fortitude would (or should) be more useful.

Holy crap! I love that idea!

I would even go to say…maybe if there is a mental Guardian, make it a WIS guardian that relies on Perception to really hone in on what kind of attacks that enemy can make.


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I thought Werebat would’ve dealt Wood trait bludgeoning damage.


Centaur Witch with a Centaur (Beast Eidolon) and a Centaur familiar (Master’s Form).

At least the legacy version of centaurs in the bestiary give them the “Beast” trait. *shrug*


Kelseus wrote:
That is the gist of it. Reaction hex. if ally moves while within 15 feet of you, familiar lands on them and uses their wings as cover until your next turn.

Does the familiar also need to be close-by, or can it falcon dive like…from another plane of existence, lol.

Jokes aside, that’s a super beautiful hex (even if it might not be good coz…using a reaction to protect someone means no reaction for your familiar). Maybe if we get could an option for a Celestial familiar in the future, this would be a super cool roleplay moment.

Really hope we get more thematic utility/non-offensive familiar combat stuff like this in the future.

Thank your for spoiling us!


I heard about new Witch Lessons, but the Lesson of the Flock sounded confusing.

Familiar ability and a reaction focus hex that lets your familiar grant Cover?

It seemed like it’s meant to mix with Whisper on Wings so you can trigger the familiar ability, position them; and grant Cover?


Personally, I don’t think it’s the right direction.

I think instead, having a various multitude of “taunt”-traited actions could be interesting. Could have something “Unstable” similar to limit more powerful taunts or just have them as 1min cooldowns.

So it’s not just one vague taunt, but rather a variety of methods a Guardian can debuff and hamper enemies. And would be a lot more dynamic.


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It’s why I’m leaning towards Taunt being a variety of debuffs the Guardián can place on an enemy, in exchange for the +2 attack vs. the Guardian.

So the Guardian is more than just a tank (which is done via Intercepts and Maneuvers) but an aggravator via debuffs that are separate from MAP and (more often) Will-based (unlike solely relying on Athletics).


I think that is the line of following they need to do for taunts.

Either you have one Taunt that can be customized via feats/actions that help with action compression.

Or you have the [Taunt] trait and multiple actions that have that trait and can also be “meta-magic” by feats.

Like Shielding Taunt: You Raise your Shield and perform a 1A ability with the Taunt trait.


A consolation I think to get around stuff:

Add this “Armorer’s Improvisation”.

“The Guardian can reinforce less ideal armor to suit their needs (and tastes) with various pieces and materials. Such as tying metal plates, extra folded heavy cloth, or fur linings - though the armor becomes heavier to become sturdier.

During a Guardian’s daily preparation, you can select an Unarmored/Light armor equipment and increase its AC by 2, reduce the DEX cap by 2, increase STR requirement by 2 (etc., etc..). The altered armor is considered Medium armor.

Additionally, the Guardian’s ability to make the most out of any armor, grants them even armor specialization when using Cloth. While wearing Cloth, the Guardian’s fluid flow grants +1 item bonus to Reflex and +1 per armor fundamental rune.”

Essentially, a Guardian can “Armored Skirt” Unarmored/Light armor. Still keeps the Guardian using Medium/Heavy armor proficiency, but allows a uniquely Guardian customization to expand their options in a way no other class can.


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Test Philosophy: I focused specifically on Lvl. 1 Guardian as I know it’s the entry for many players wanting to try the class. Their first impression will be their greatest impression and ensuring the core gameplay feels tight before they build with feats is important.

Week 1 Thoughts:

Initial Reactions: Oh, that’s cool, but Commander seems more interesting with Tactics. Intercept Strike sounds fantastic. Taunt sounds interesting. The focus on defenses, but specifically Medium/Heavy Armor and Sword/Board focus also felt a but disappointing. Being able to be an Unarmored/Light Armored 2H “stand your ground and take a beating for others” remains elusive. The Monk thematically is a martial artist with DBZ magic, which isn’t the same theme. But…I guess **another** restricted-to-armor knight is exactly what’s wanted?

Initial Math-Theorizing: The class is very confusing in terms of Taunt and Armor Proficiency progression tied to the goal of the Playtest(PT)-Guardian. The Armor proficiency progression outpaces the incentive to attack the PT-Guardian meaning casters are ALWAYS a better target over the Heavy Armor/Shield Raised Guardian. The Armor Proficiency is also meaningless when focusing on Intercept Strike as it bypasses the Guardian’s main defensive benefit. It also means a players will need to rely on Chain armor and Mitigate Harm Threat Technique - which makes the PT-Guardian just a heavily restrictive, unimaginative, and boring class. The math of AC vs. Taunt means that Taunting is just not worth it unless I’m certain it’s a Crit Success. And Raising my Shield mathematically dooms the caster.

Actual Encounter #1: A severe encounter of a Lv. 1 Shield/Mitigate Harm Guardian + a Starless Shadow Witch vs. an Orc Warrior and Mitflit. I went Mitigate Harm with a Wood Breastplate so I could use Wood’s Armor Specialization to deal damage back if I got crit. The Guardian was an Orc with Irc Ferocity (just in case).

Was actually fun! Intercept Strike felt great to use and Taunt was a great debuff on the Mitflit as the Mitflit was on a hill providing ranged support for the Orc Warrior. The Witch was comfy and safe near me, though Maneuvers were our weak spot. The turns felt hard figuring out what to do as there are Move, Maneuvers, Taunts, Raise Shield, and Strikes to do. I felt like I never had enough actions to do what I needed and each turn felt less like I was trying to accomplish something, but more like looking at a check list of things I need to do and which one will get me in trouble for not doing. But other than that, defending felt great! For a Severe Encounter, it was beaten comfortably.

Actual Encounter #2: An extreme encounter of 2x Orc Warriors against a 2H Guardian that used Greatsword/Ferocious Vengeance and wore Chainmail. I picked Azarketi for Hydraulic Deflection to have a “shield” without a shield/parry. Partner was a Faith’s Flamekeeper Witch with a Restorative Familiar and the Runic Weapon/Heal spell prepared.

Initially, the fight felt very controlled. The Guardian protected the Witch, the Witch boosted the Guardian’s damage and also gave tempHP to the Guardian. The Orc Warriors eventually tried using flanking tactics on the Guardian, but the taunted Orc tried attacking the Witch. I just assumed the intent of Ferocious Vengeance is to last through the Guardian’s turn. The Guardian got a Nat20 Crit with their Runic Weapon and the high STR, Witch’s hex, and Ferocious Vengeance nearly one-shot the Orc. We cleaned it up fast before the Orc’s could try splitting us apart (with repositions).

This is where the fight went downhill. The last Orc tried running away and the Guardian chased. At 2/3rd HP, they got Crit by the Orc, only surviving due to temp HP and Chain armor spec. The 2nd strike at 1st MAP downed the Guardian. The Faith Witch was promptly bullied and deleted

Feedback: Threat Tactics and Builds - Initial builds are a bit deceptive. Going full offense or full defense doesn’t seem like a good idea. It seems better to do Ferocious Vengeance + Shield as Raising Shield offsets the enemy’s bonus attack against the Guardian. Targeting ally’s means your 1H weapon can try to compare to a 2H (I think the damage should scale at the same levels you get Weapon Potency runes and so it matches the same progression as a Thaumaturge).

Mitigate Harm is a mandatory choice for a 2H Guardian. Without the Shield and Freehand the 2H Guardian is extremely limited in what it can do. The 2nd encounter would’ve been better as either an Orc Ferocity or as a Shield/Ferocious Vengeance Guardian.

I can see why the Guardian doesn’t have Unarmored/Light armor scaling for “thematic reasons” and to avoid player traps…but 2H weapon is a player trap for those imagining themselves as the tank like the FF14 Warrior/Dark Knight or WoW’s Death Knight.

Intercept Strike - I LOVE IT! I don’t know why, but it feels great being the body-double that takes the hit for your ally’s. It feels fun. It feels thematic. And I feel heroic like I’m doing something for the party. The adjacency requirement does feel restrictive and hampering. I haven’t tried the feats (since I’m focusing on lvl. 1 play), but they look nice…yet slightly mandatory. #I would recommend that Intercept Strike be the Guardian’s class defining ability and the improvements for Intercept Strike be built-in as class features.

However…the survivability absolutely needs tuning. Mitigate Harm feels like it should be baseline, otherwise the Guardian being a 12HP class or their Taunt granting tempt HP feels like a way to help the Guardian being a meat sack for the party.

Taunt - Mathematically I understand how to use it, but it felt very fire-and-forget. In melee, it’s a bit weird because it depends heavily on the GM to roleplay as the bonuses/penalties feel a bit too metagamey. As a ranged debuff? FANTASTIC! The ability to weaken ranged enemies from sniping weaker allies is a strong niche.

Taunt Idea - What I love about Taunt is how tactical and situational it is. It adds an element of how the Guardian wants to control the field. My feedback? DIG INTO THAT MORE. I think instead, Taunts should be various abilities that can be picked up, like “martial repertoire”, kinda like Thaumaturge Implement abilities/Kineticist impulses/Witch hexes. There are a lot of “tanking spells” that could inspire some of these. Like using weapon to reflect light, irritating the enemy, but lowering their attack in ranged attacks. Or making Long Distance Taunt a baseline Taunt. Or a Taunt that makes it difficult terrain in any direction not approaching you. Making Taunts niche and situational…but strategic.

Armor - Armor is an extremely important customization for the Guardian like weapons are to the Fighter. However, I *feel* like it is extremely boring because of how passive it is. I think the Malleable Rune is going to be mandatory for Guardians so that Guardians can shift their armor strategy based on the situation. Fighting ranged archers or beasts - swap to Composite/Plate/Skeletal armor spec. High HP and willing to Taunt/leave defenses open? Use Wood armor spec. Dangerous boss? Swap to Chain. I feel like if armor had a something…else to it, it could be better. Not just more resistance, but maybe some “armor maneuvers” or something. Honestly, this is the hard part as it targets a specific gameplay element and not the Guardian directly.

Strategy vs. Tactics: The Commander feels to me like a tactician, picking the right types of shifting decisions to leverage the situation. The Guardian feels more strategic, figuring out what general approach and preparations the party will be sticking to per the Guardian’s position and loadout/build. I think digging into the Guardian as a “strategic play” vs. the Commander’s “tactical play” could be interesting.

Concern: Maneuvers and the Guardian’s “Ward”. While I didn’t get to actually do the tactic (because I was using minimal enemies of equal level), maneuvers will be a nightmare for the Guardian and a hard counter to them, similarly to how Wisps counter the Kineticist. The Reposition ability can be used to reposition a character (like a caster) away from the Guardian and further away than 10ft…rendering the Guardian’s (what I consider their CLASS DEFINING ability, Intercept worthless). I feel like something is needed to thematically help the Guardian be sticky, not to enemies, but to their allies.

Thematic Wishlist: The Sword and Board/Armored Knight seems well-supported. However, I think the class should still be opened to Unarmored/Light armor play, making the Guardian the best at ALL defensive fighting styles and not solely armor. This also means addressing the meaning of Armor Specialization for things that don’t have one, like Cloth. This might be addressed in the Battlecry book, but it’s a concern right now. The 2H Guardian needs some support as the Playtest Guardian relies too much on a Sentinel/Bastion focus for the available feats and the 2H Guardian needs some SOME mitigation, though not as much. It’s probably better just playing a 2H Fighter.

I’m still surprised how much I enjoyed Guardian though. I’m normally a controller/caster person, so I thought Commander would be my default and I would dislike the Guardian. I also don’t like playing Tank as there’s too much “leadership” expectation, when I instead want to focus on the whole battlefield and strengthen the weakest point. But I really REALLY love the bodyguard aspect of being an enabler, letting whoever is near me feel safe that I’ll take the damage for them. If Taunts were a selection of smaller abilities (alongside more support for 2H and Light/Unarmored), then I think the class would feel very solid! I do understand it makes it difficult to work out how to be both STR and Unarmored at the same time.

Great work with what we got so far!


Easl wrote:

I'm guessing the formulaic archetype too. I would only add that most class archetypes also have:

"Basic [splat] - add a level 1 or 2 class feat", and

"Advanced [splat] - add a class feat equal or less than half your level. You may take this feat multiple times".

So I'd expect to see those too.

Lol, can’t believe I forgot to include those. It’s just such a given. XD


I was thinking of what from the Animist will stay strictly Animist (like Witch has its Patron’s gifts - familiar ability/hex cantrip), and I’m thinking the spontaneous Apparition spells might be it (and possibly being able to select/swap apparitions).

My guess:

Animist Dedication: Select an apparition. You gain that apparition, but nothing else tied to it. Trained spell attack and DCs. Gain 2 cantrips, from the Divine tradition. Trained in Religion and a lore from your apparition.

Basic/Expert/Master Spells: Prepared divine spell slots.

Spell Breadth: Gain additional spell slots.

Vessel Spell: Gain the associated vessel spell of your apparition.

Will Mastery: Master Will saves. Probably add something about bonus against possession.

The spontaneous apparition spells are a bit too…involved, to use. Granting the ability to swap apparitions seems a bit much for a person dabbling into the Animist. Gaining one apparition that they are strongly bonded with.

I’m gonna guess gaining more and having the ability to swap would step too much on what the Animist is and so it shouldn’t be accessible to other classes. Because you’re already a full class, the Animist Archetype should only be one slice of the Animist to augment your capabilities. And if you wanted to have more prepared/spontaneous casting, you’re either getting the opposite of what your caster does, or you’re gonna have to stretch because you’re a martial and you’re pretty good already.

It’s a bit boring/formulaic, but I think it’s consistent with the formula.


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Errenor wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Just realized that, until the post above, I read Hide as the english armor while it was the japanese first name all along.

And I was trying to understand why the character would have such an odd nickname.

Oh. Ooh. And then most probably it isn't read as /haɪd/.

I feel that Tian Xia guide should include some guide on pronunciation...

Just in general, when reading other cultures in Latin script, best to assume:

A = ah, E = eh, I = ee, O = oh, U = oo.

Diphthongs (for example, the [i] in “Hi”, which is [ai]) and flat vowels aren’t commonly assumed when other languages are written in Latin script for an American audience.

Lots of Latin script languages are pretty straightforward with what each vowel is (Spanish/Italian/Portuguese). And others have additional vowels for other sounds (such as German/Turkish/Scandinavian). And French is both your cousin and it’s own thing at the same time.

There are lots of exceptions, but for an internet post (and not a linguistics lecture), this is generally a helpful guideline. (Though Japanese Romanji does do the “ai” sound so it’s “Meen-kai” and not “Meen-kah-ee”…but again, that’s a whole other discussion.)


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Were familiars supposed to lose access to use Trained Skill actions?

It was in the original Familiar page, but in the Remaster, it doesn’t exist in either the Pet feat or the Familiar page.


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Dubious Scholar wrote:
More summoner options are always welcome! Would a kami be divine or primal in tradition?

In the Bestiary, they use Divine spells, but they are from the Material Plane.

If there is a Kami eidolon, I imagine they’ll also be Divine spell tradition, but their home is the Universe (like Plant and Beast eidolon).


Good to know! Thanks!


Something I’m wondering.

PC1 didn’t have Specific Familiars (which was odd, I thought that would’ve been the place to put it so that all familiars rules are in the same place).

And it isn’t mentioned at all in PC2. Which would mean, Specific Familiars are no longer core rules.

Did Paizo just remove Specific Familiars from Pathfinder 2e?

(Which is odd, because I thought Specific Familiars were a beautiful, elegant, and balanced design method.)


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Organsight “debuffs” an enemy so that when you special RK against it, you have a chance to deal Organsight’s damage. This damage occurs whenever they take Slashing/Piercing damage from you.

Rouse Skeleton is a reflex basic save slashing damage AoE that can be Sustained.

Since the slashing damage happens even on a Success, you have a high change of triggering Organsight’s damage (if you originally triggered it on the RK).

It’s great for long fights (as the Witch has more subclass options for bursts sustained combat).

The hard part about this (and the reason it’s not broken, though very potent/efficient) is that you have use up 2 spell slots (Organsight and Rousing Skeleton), it takes 2 turns to get them out (unless you Quickened Casting), and Witch is INT-based, so you need good Medicine skill or vast amount of Lore skills to nail the Organsight RK check often.

However, once you get that out, if you have 3 FP for Cackle, you can burst out some damage.


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Cackle has always been more than just a hex sustain feat.

It’s also meant for getting multiple sustained spells rolling, or layering multiple spells as tactical play that non-Witches can’t do.

With Flaming Sphere’s change to Floating Flame (basic save for damage), Primal/Arcane witches can find some enjoyment in using Cackle + Sustain and having 2-actions left for either a spell or other stuff. Or Organsight’s RK + Rousing Skeleton. Or when you reach the point

But it’s still a useful tool for some.

One example: Cackle is a fine candidate for a Wilding Steward witch. If you’re more frontline oriented (either Athletics or Gouging Claw), having Cackle can be helpful for handling multiple enemies that go after you (and saving Interposing Earth for others) while still maintains some actions for spellcasting or maneuverability. If you’re far range, a Floating Flame can end up being more economical than a Thunderstrike for some sustained single target damage.

Or it can be completely optional due to other strong choices such as Basic Lessons or Enhanced Familiar.

Whereas a Silence in Snow witch, it would be a lower priority if they want to be doing continual chip damage with Clinging Ice, but a higher priority when they need to be defensive and space out from danger (using their familiar ability and hex cantrip‘s effect).

Action efficiency is just as valuable as character potency, and it has its place.


Ah sorry, thought I pointed it out.

It’s not you getting the imprecise sense, it’s your familiar being able to use Point Out + Speech. Since Blinded makes everything Undetected to you (visually), your familiar can help mitigate its effects by using its 60ft range and Point Out. And in the case that imprecise hearing might not work in the area you’re in. Which I guess works if you’re in the center of your own Darkness spell (since everything will become Undetected/Hidden to you).

Keen Senses is a fantastic scouting tool. I’m not denying that! I’m just digging around the Primal spell list to see if there’s anymore interactions with these kind of blind spells and Keen Senses/Point Out.

But I’ll keep searching around. It’s just nice to know that it can do that, meaning you can play around with other ancestries/heritages that don’t get Darkvision. I also forgot Primal gets the Darkness spell.


No, that’s still great information!

I think we’re still on-topic because the topic is Remaster Witch Patrons and the Wilding Steward (and Resentment) are the two hot topics. And I know that Wilding Steward is going to be the least played and thus, the least experienced. Which means it’s not getting the proper research or playtesting.

For example, something I haven’t seen brought up yet: Wilding Steward and the Blinded Condition.

Keen Senses mitigates the Blinded condition on you. If you don’t have the right senses (such as Darkvision or other senses), your familiar can Keen Senses and you can use your (AoE replete) Primal spells to continually blast away. Scatter Scree, Timber, and the humble Spout cantrips are AoEs, not targeted.

Give your familiar Speech and they can Point Out to you all day. Spirit Guide has Speech (if you need an early combat pet), Elemental Wisp has Speech (and can boost the damage of Timber, Spout, or Scatter Scree), and Ceru has Darkvision.

And the reason this is important - in the (possibly rare) situation where you don’t fight any Darkvision enemies (and if there is one, make sure to Wilding Word it first), you can get the effect of a Rank 4 spell at Rank 2 (the Hidden condition without breaking in hostile actions).

I know that other families can grab imprecise sense, but the Wilding Steward can mitigate the effect of Off-Guard the Darkvision enemy would have against you, but I think you’ll also be to Interposing Earth against them too. And there are other spells during this level to mitigate Darkness spells if you need to do other things - Darkvision, Tremor Sense, and Fungal Hyphae are all Rank 2 spells.

With some more digging, in sure we can find more ways that Keen Senses can be weaponized. We just gotta look at the class a whole (like everyone does with Ongoing Misery and Occult spells) to see how we can play it to our favor.

Overall, the Wilding Steward’s theme is “mitigation insurance”, which is probably one of the harder playstyles to work with. Because… you sometimes have to put yourself out there, to ruin it for everyone.

Edit: I know I know. “I could just pick those same familiar abilities or specific familiars too.” or “Just cast Darkvision, it’s the same tier”. But that’s the point, the WS doesn’t have to do that meaning that’s one extra spell slot for something else.


I do agree it’s not intuitive. Funnily, it works perfectly casting it on the familiar because the familiar has near 0 ways to trigger the debuff or even be affected by the debuff.

Narratively, it actually can work. Growl at your familiar to do better.

I also think it’s true the Wilding Steward needs more time in the oven. What SuperBidi experienced is exactly what was intended by James Case and the team when they remastered Wild patron. I also think it was the last to be worked on, which is why it feels so “clunky/unintuitive”, but also why it was a bit more prominent in the Witch blog (most recent on the mind).

I think both SuperBidi and Finoan are BOTH correct in their side: SuperBidi is right that the Wilding Steward Witch is functional and viable. Finoan is absolutely correct that it could’ve been more clean and polished in its remaster. I’m sure we wouldn’t have minded as much (because I bet most players wouldn’t even give the Wilding Steward patrons a second look), if the Resentment wasn’t such a strong patron.

And I can understand that on the forums, we try to argue for balance that DOESN’T require a GM’s involvement, despite that more likely being the default (because we care about a universally good experience for everyone as the baseline).

But I’d like to know from SuperBidi how he built/plays his Wilding Steward Witch and how he felt about it in combat. (Just so I can compare it to mine and my experiences.)


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Lol, ya, that was my suggestion for Wilding Word to apply to minions (maybe just the Crit/Failure?). I feel like I’m being greedy with it but at the same time…it would be nice!

But I’m just gonna chime in on Wilding Steward because I was the guy that made the thread s&$#ting on it back around PaizoCon. (I didn’t just say overhaul, I said it needed to be put behind the barn and shot. Apparently, I was very wrong and it’s not as bad).

I find Wilding Steward really really weird because for a “niche” patron, it’s satisfyingly fine outside its niche and incredibly nice during those niche. It’s one of the patrons that can support alternate stats such as a STR/DEX Witch instead of a DEX/INT witch who chooses healing/summoning/utility rather than Primal’s typical blasting (and instead commits to Success expectations). The nice thing about PF2e is that a character is a sum of its parts and the Wilding Steward does work I stepped back and looked at all the things it can use.

I agree it’s not the most powerful, but I’ve definite found it *intriguing* and thus fun! But I think the Patron gifts only work…because it gets the Primal spell list.

I’ve been finding fun because those utilities work out nicely with a Primal caster. Familiar of Keen Senses Point Out works out due to Primal being filled with AoE spells. Having access to Scatter Scree and Spout. Additionally, since your familiar has a default detector/scout ability, you can customize it however you want and it will ALWAYS be ready as a scout. So swapping it to an Elemental Wisp, for example. It feels like the most free/flexible for specific familiars since its scout ability is always available.

And Wilding Word. I find it a fine hex because it’s multipurpose. It’s both a defensive and debuff hex. But why does Primal work well with it? Interposing Earth. You can more easily handle the single baddy who has Reach + Reactive Strike than other 6HP casters. Those other casters, they just don’t have the total AC to be that safe. Wilding Word + Interposing Earth can force the RS to strike at a -4, essentially almost a 1st MAP RS against you. It was actually a reason I felt pretty comfortable triggering AoO on the Wilding Steward. (Being an Orc with Orc Ferocity also helps). And, Primal doesn’t struggle against multiple weak enemies. It’s a blasting spell tradition. You can hex the “stronger” enemy, save Interposing Earth for dealing with “flanking enemies”. And if you know s$%# will hit the fan, you like have the Tailwind buff to high tail it out of there, or instead, bunk down with the Raise Shield+Wilding Word.

Another reason is that Interposing Earth gives Standard Cover, meaning you can Hide and then Sneak. Which, the STR/DEX Witch should be able to Stealth check better.

And in the Beginner Box, the very first encounters, the Wilding Steward would’ve absolutely felt valuable. Familiar of Keen Senses will do a great job picking up enemy groups early. Wilding Word works well standing with a martial at a chokepoint. There’s a big enemy right after the first pack which makes Wilding Word useful, especially if you’re gonna go in a Gouging Claw/Ignition. Rousing Splash/Glass Shield/Positive Attunement (and Vital Beacon layer on) can help mitigate being a 6HP caster. Glass Shield, Shattering Gem can do some porcupining. And some heritages + Oaken Resilience can help with resistances.

I don’t think it’s a super strong combat-wise like Resentment, but in actual play - I’ve found it strong against those annoying enemies while thinking back to my other experiences - it performs well in more roleplaying stuff. And being a Primal spellcaster, it has versatile “spell builds” to choose from that supports your playstyle. I think there are a lot of incredible unconventional directions you can go with this patron - the Packmaster, the Grappler, the Combat Healer (Cleric), and Durable Caster (Druid), the Combat Familiar, etc..

I think it’s a solid 8/10 patron amongst other patrons that are probably 9/10 to 11/10. It’s also not the easiest because it relies more on system mastery. I don’t think it’s “shiny” like most other patrons and I do believe it will never be popular (because it’s more niche and derivative from typical casters). But it does function very well with some internal synergies. And it’s absolutely so much better than Premaster Wild Patron.


Finoan wrote:
Tunu40 wrote:
I do think it’s odd that they didn’t place Protect Companion in the Player Core…
I don't think that is odd. Protect Companion is from Secrets of Magic. Not from CRB or APG.

But Gouging Claw is from SoM and is in the Remaster.


On a fun side: since Companions in spells/abilities refer to BOTH familiars and animal companions, that means it clarifies that Thundering Dominance spell works on Familiars.

Not that big of a damage boost due to the slow heightening, but it does resolve the Skilled - Intimidation issue for familiars. The scaling of the Intimidation bonus is half what your proficiency bonus would be. Meaning the familiar isn’t completely worthless.

And an Independent familiar can use Thunderous Roar once each casting for a small AoE, but also an AoE Fear.

Not the greatest thing, but I think it’s a nice clarification.

I do think it’s odd that they didn’t place Protect Companion in the Player Core…


Don’t think that works. Nothing keeps their Fly speed when you mount them unless it specifically has the Mount special ability.

Familiars are balanced with Flier because they have very minimal (to most extent, none) combat capabilities.

Additionally, Familiars are “supposed” to be more scouts and detectors so Fly gives them the capability to do that.

Edit: Also reading through the Remaster, there are some contradictions in the Animal Companion section, but looking at Turns and the Minion trait (under spells), a Minion actually has 2 actions/0 reactions the moment your turn starts, but they cannot use those 2 actions unless specifically commanded. And since you can end your turn with unused Actions, the Minion is essentially losing any/all actions that were never used. Which means, any start of turn/end of turn stuff for the Minion should take place the same time you as a player normally would.

The biggest thing against my argument is that Animal Companion section contradicts by saying that they gain actions when Commanded, which means the Animal Companion section believes all Minions have 0 actions/0 reactions per turn.

However, following the Minion description + the Turn rules does explain what it means by the minion will “take actions to defend itself or move out of harm’s way”. If we follow that rule and not the Animal Companion section, then that means if a player chooses not to command their minion because they need to use the actions to escape for themselves, the GM can intervene and dictate how the Minion will use those 2 actions to “save itself” (such as not standing in the fire). I think it would be fair for the GM to also never dictate that the Minion can follow the offensive metagame of the player despite the bond.

But this does come down to GM work and fiat, which I know this particular discussion is trying to address. This interpretation can help keep things a bit more realistic and avoid the whole “This is fine” familiar as it burns to death watching the master run away to safety.


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I always thought it’d be neat if Wizard’s Spellbook had the Inscribed trait where they can store scrolls inside and cast scrolls from.

The Spellbook was always something associated to the Wizard (iconic art of flipping to a page and casting the spell) and that fits perfectly with the mechanics associated to Inscribed + Scrolls.

Maybe that could be an Arcane Thesis where some Wizards decide to make their Spellbook able to store a number of scrolls.

Instead of the Spellbook just being a floppy disk to boot up ye olde “Prepared Spell Program” and then chucked back into the bag.


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Some last things I’ve noticed from Minata:

The one-eyed tusk creature? Bungisngis (bu-ŋis-ŋis). ‘Ngisi‘ is the word for ‘smirk/grin’ but along the lines of when you’re sniggering/whichever. They come from a story of the bungisngis harassing 3 animal friends for food and then trashing their house when they refuse. In Malayo-Polynesian languages, words are repeated for greater emphasis or meaning. In this case, ngis-ngis is “SUPER smiley”!

Sprites? I think this is reference to anito and diwata. There’s a bit of overlap as the terms were more found in different regions, but during the colonial eras, diwata was usually confused with fairies, though they were also nature spirits and sometimes celestial deities. However, diwata do make me think of “fey-like” creature for the Philippines. The story I heard, Diwata was the name of the supreme goddess (and wife to the Great Spirit Bathala). There is a story about the Pleiades constellation, which I heard as the story of the Paralumans (means ‘muse’, but in this case, it was Star Maidens). They came to earth to bathe and a hunter sees them. He’s advised to steal one of their winged dresses, preventing the paraluman from flying back to the stars. After her sisters leave, he meets her and they fall in love. Years later, their daughter finds the hidden dress and shows it off to her mother who recognized it as her own. She takes the dress back and flies home, reuniting with her sisters. The sky god, to ensure they never get trapped again, locks them into the sky, and that’s how we got the Pleiades Constellation. I think it’s likely that diwata could be an inspiration for Minatan Sprite heritage. In the Singkil dance I mentioned, some folks say it was the diwata that causes the earthquake, some say it was the anito. Some have diwata are akin to wood nymphs/dryads. Other times (such as Maria Makiling) she’s more like a saint/demigoddess (she was restructured from being a mountain goddess into a…nature Virgin Mary during the Spanish Era). Though, diwata are almost always female, and from some research, it seems the male version are called Enkanto, but I’ll have to read more.

Spirits? So, the other term used for spirits are - anito. The way I heard of anito was along the lines of nature spirits (animism) and the wood idols in homes they can possess. Unlike diwata, which could be mischievous, anito I’ve always heard of them being revered. Babaylan are indigenous animistic tribal priests that interact with the anito. My understanding is that it’s pretty diverse, but in some ways - anito can be understood along the lines of kami, being both natural/ancestral spirits. I can see how this can tie into a few classes, but in general, the roleplay and world-building is awesome. My understanding is that pre-Hispanic times, there was a much more vivid connection with the world. There is a (likely inaccurate) story I heard about how anito was used to spread Christianity. The story goes that the conquistadors found anito statues in a hut and we’re going to destroy it, but they noticed one was a child in crib. They recognized it as El Niño and used it to spread Christianity. I doubt it’s that true and is more likely conquistador propaganda, though it’s possible it might’ve been an El Niño statuette left behind when Magellan’s expedition fled the Philippines. It’s also probably a white-washing of overwriting indigenous beliefs, such as how Maria becomes the new classification for Diwatas, likely to avoid angering the conquistador-priests. (Unlike other colonial areas, Philippines was so distant from Spain that the only Spaniard ever met in the community was the priest).

To fit into Pathfinder magic traditions, the legends of Diwata always fit closer with Divine (even Occult) and Anito with Primal, even though they’re still mixed around at times.

Goblins? I’m not really sure. My first thought were the Duwende. I’ve only heard stories from friends (who were scared of them in the Province). They don’t really have a form except for a mound you’re not supposed to step on. And if you think a duwende might be nearby or might’ve been offended, you say “Tabi tabi po” meaning “let me pass by, please”. Tabi meaning “aside”, and repetition for emphasis. Po is used along the lines of “ma’m/sir”, you add it to the end to show respect to those older than you (or just to be formal). Or you can use it to insult your older siblings/cousin. I used it once (thinking I was being polite) and had an Auntie respond “I’m not THAT old!” But ya, I’m not fully sure what Paizo pulled inspiration for the Goblin, so I’m excited to see what that one is!

Overall, super excited at how much they’ve pulled! Can’t wait to see the other areas of Tian Xia, but also, super looking forward to the other setting books!


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First Off:
=======
I'd like to congratulate Paizo on releasing Player Core 1 and GM Core remaster books! It was a lot of work in a short time and we have seen your sweat and tears delivering a protected TTRPG! Thank you for your dedication!

At the same time, we do understand that the time crunch meant not everything got to go exactly as planned. There just wasn't time and maybe somethings were good enough. One, in my opinion, the Wilding Steward.

Issue?
======
Many of the patrons really nail the intent of the Witch in the remaster. (Applause!) It really emphasizes the familiar as a central part of the class, giving a fun niche compared to other casters. They have strong hex cantrips to make up for their reduction in spell slots. There is a LOT of internal cohesiveness in the patrons. Also, the patrons' flavors fricking drip! Kudos! However, the Wilding Steward is one that struggles the most to meet these things.

Compared to the other Primal patron, Silence in Snow makes sense with the level 1 kit. Clinging Ice reduces enemy speed, Familiar of Freezing Rime adds difficult terrain, and Gust of Wind knocks down enemies while making it difficult to approach you. In short, the Silence in Snow Witch's kit allows the Witch to continue doing their casting from afar and making it difficult for enemies to get to them and take them down. It's defensive, but in a tactical/utility way of "demobilization".

The Wilding Steward doesn't have the same internal cohesion. Wilding Word makes it more difficult for an enemy to harm you, while also makes it more susceptible to attacks/saves if it does. And I think Wilding Word is so much better now that it can affect everything! Familiar of Keen Senses doesn't really work with Wilding Word (or most of the time), even though it IS a fantastic detector (Overseer aberration specific familiar?) And Summon Animal/Veggies would normally draw fire anyway with or without Wilding Word being active. It's a bit hodge-podge of some interesting ideas, but not united by any core mechanical role or identity (though I love the flavor).

I think I have a nice direction to go!

Proposal:
=========

Wilding Word
Success: Change "harms you" -> "harms you *or your minions.*"
Critical/Failure: Change "damages you" -> "damages you *or your minions.*"

And that's it! I think it lands a fun little role for the Wilding Steward - that of the "Packmaster". It would work well with the granted Summon Animal/Veggies spell.

Some Reasons:
=============

-Lesson of Wild Speech Mechanical/Narrative Cohesion: Wilding Word + Summon Animal/Veggies has some serious narrative flair. The power of the patron over nature is ever present as you summon creatures of the wild, your own primal voice intimidating enemies, and punishing those who fight against the patron's pawns (you, your familiar, and your summons).

-Iconic Control: The witch that has minions to do her bidding is iconic. The Wicked Witch of the West sends creatures after Dorothy. The White Witch and her army of creatures. Maleficent being aided by nature. I don't think it's odd that when the hero enters the domain of a witch that the creatures around spy for her. Though not a Witch, Kira from The Dark Crystal, calling on critters to take down the Skeksis Scientist.

-Unique Patron Niche - Primal: Silence in Snow is definitely lined up for the blaster primal patron. However, Primal is more than just blasting. It has environmental manipulation, healing, summoning, and battle forms. If a Common "Spirit Guide-like" specific familiar was available, the Wilding Steward would fit perfectly as that more physically-oriented witch that uses those other Primal spells for support.

-Great Use for Certain Feats: Certain feats are sort of "extra" or "trap" feats that don't truly serve a good purpose when compared to other things at their level, but would fit this witch. Rites of Convocation to ensure the Wilding Steward has their main gimmick spell slot available and Witch's Charge (if it was tweaked to always include your minions).

-Give Familiar Purpose: As Mark Seifter highlighted, put that familiar to work! Having it take hits to trigger the hex can be something! (Especially if you select the defensive familiar route...which Spirit Guide specific familiar fits perfectly...)

Inspiration:
============
I always liked the Wild Patron, but it didn't really offer anything that the Winter Patron already did. It barely had a usable hex and Summon Animal/Veggies was already accessible, but Gust of Wind is a great spell. However, that changed when the Spirit Guide [Rare] specific familiar was released early this year (2023).

I don't think this was on any of the developers minds, but it fit perfectly with the Wild Patron. With no hex to use, the Wild Patron could focus on commanding the familiar. The Primal spell list had the perfect things for the Spirit Guide - Magic Fang and Moon Frenzy. On top of that, Enlarge/Elemental Gift/Barkskin/Haste/etc.. At level 11, you could have your familiar cast Magic Fang on itself as you cast either Enlarge/Moon Frenzy. However, the Spirit Guide needs the Witch to have a high STR (for attack) and a high DEX (for AC).

But it worked out. Primal spells accesses heal spells (and some useful buff spells). The granted spell is a summon spell which you could summon a Guard Dog. With the Spirit Guide, my Witch could easily use itself and the specific familiar to qualify for the Guard Dog's pack attack. Later on, grab Beastmaster and enjoy being the Packmaster.

Did it overshadow other witch builds? No! It wasn't broken, but it was creatively fun!

It overall showed that a more physical Primal Witch can be fun, doable, and fitting!

<<Warning>>: Playtesting though, I do want to share something that was "tension" with the summoning Witch. Summoning guzzles up the whole turn. This made it difficult to get the hex off and have the summon appear and immediately be a threat. It requires some planning and setup to do (such as getting a hex on the enemy you want to target and possibly buffing your familiar with Rousing Splash, then having your familiar Independent Stride to the enemy. Then, on the second turn - you need to have Cackle to sustain Wilding Word as you summon on the enemy. This is why I don't think the simple errata would be gamebreaking. It's arguable, it may hardly change anything at all. However, I still think it is a fitting functionality.

The Primal spell tradition is pretty diverse. And honestly, the Wilding Steward fits perfectly for that battle form witch, which is also very iconic! The Green Witch (Narnia), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Madam Mim (Sword in the Stone), Kuzunoha (Japanese folklore/history), and various antagonists in Chinese films.

Conclusion:
===========
I feel like this simple change of adding **9 words**, could have incredible and fun ramifications that are far from being overpowered! I do have other thoughts (such as the familiar flanking fits better on Wilding Steward), but that's for another time.

Thanks again and regardless of what happens, still pretty stoked for what 2024 has in store!

(Side note: And if it isn't too much trouble, I do feel that the Spirit Guide familiar could become a core option in Core 2. They are far from powerful, but they are pretty neat and fun.)


Definitely should be errata’d though. Once per round means you can’t Hex and Phase Familiar outside your turn. Which I know is absolutely not intended.

As a side note, I still think Phase Familiar should be a reaction hex cantrip and Cackle/Patron’s Puppet should be the two focus spell options. Then replace the Cackle feat with a feat to grab the one you didn’t initially choose.


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It’s a small thing, but I like that Baba Yaga’s Spirit Object buff means my object (puppet) familiar can pack a bigger punch.


Amaya/Polaris wrote:
That's kind of a reach for being relevant errata, especially since the whole flavor of nephilim now is that it can include influences from several planes, and thus it's just as likely that the character marked 'Nephilim' isn't of any one lineage and features both celestial and fiendish traits.

If I remember right, in the Nephilim description it mentions that there are Ganzi and Aphorite Nephilim, but the (Core) book will only cover fiend and celestial.

So, maybe those will be in Core 2?


If familiar patron abilities are allowed during Absorb Familiar - turn it into a gem and make a necklace to hang around the martial’s neck (or shove it in their pockets). Now enemies will think the hissing that’s ruining their lives is coming from the martial.


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I’m wondering if design-wise, Paizo expects Primal casters to spend their time blasting away (it is known as the “physical blaster”).

In that case, I can see why they decided on the patron packaging.

Snow Witch has Clinging Ice’s speed reduction + Freezing Rime’s difficult terrain, when placed in front of you and positioned using your team on your “corners” to negate “walking around”. It takes 2 actions for an enemy to get to you and attack from the 30ft range. A speed hampered enemy might see that ice on the ground and just decide to deal with the pain in front of them, rather than charging towards the middle of the party over the frosted terrain.

Wilding Witch would instead be a “trapped beast in the corner”. Most enemies might expect to charge a caster and take them down. If they fail, the Wilding Witch hexes them, and now they’re in the middle of the party, and not even great at taking their target down anymore. And if they continue going after the Witch, they’re now weakened. Familiar of Keen Senses also serves to help the Witch know if enemies are sneaking around. I do understand that this relies a lot on the GM’s style, which lowers the value of the familiar ability. Maybe, if you’re GMing with a Wilding Steward Witch player, consider having more enemy skulking around so the Witch player can feel like their familiar is supporting?

They’re both defensive, but Snow demobilizes while Wilding deters/detects. I wonder if they expect Primal Witches to always be focusing on pumping out blasts. Snow might prefer having more speed for a “kiting” style, whereas Wilding might want to be more durable for “duking it out”.

Ignoring the Resentment elephant familiar in the room hissing at everyone, I find myself more curious about the intended design and playstyle that Paizo thinks Primal (and Arcane) should be doing.


Witch will be defacto debuff caster. A lot of the patrons have a no-save familiar effect, though they are conditional. For example Starless Shadow (Night) needs the familiar to be relatively concealed to the target. Or Resentment (Curse) requiring a spell/effect to be already applied. Or Wilding Steward (Wild) in which it’s the Hex - requiring the enemy to harm the Witch.


As much as I love Korakai, I was hoping an ORC ORaCLe would become the poster child of the ORCLicense Remaster.


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Other uses:
•Free Action Valet + Consumables (Cauldron, Double,Double, Ceremonial Knife).
•Free action familiar Aid: Start a turn with Lend a Hand, Emote, Second Opinion
•Familiar activities: Breath Weapon (Faerie Dragon/House Wyrm), Elemental Breath, Spirit/Stitched Familiar, Restorative Familiar, Divine Emissary, Patron’s Presence/Claim.

If your Witch player uses Patron’s Puppet for Familiar Focus…please (PLEASE!) as a GM have the Witch’s patron manifest from the skies to slap their Witch for being silly.

I think Patron’s Puppet is fantastic! I know for years, most players have been advised to play Lesson Witches with their familiar shoved into their pocket for an extra focus point.

Lesson/Hex Witches got buffed by the refocus changes and the general hexing rule changes. That playstyle still exists and is even stronger (especially since most Lesson Witches were going Curse Witches anyway and Resentment is an incredible buff for the optimized Witch).

All of these other tools (different Witch patrons like Wild, Cauldron, Patron’s Puppet, Sympathetic Strike) are fantastic for those OTHER Witch playstyles that were desired, but poorly supported. Is some more tweaking needed? I think so! But it’s still great stuff!


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Someone made an interesting post on the subreddit. Familiars are considered companions and the rule about companions (meaning animal companions and familiars) mentions the 1 week.

So, likely, that’s the general rule that familiars fall under, with familiars being a specific type of companion.


John R. wrote:
I can't even find the rules for what happens when a standard familiar dies in the remaster.....

It’s not in the familiar rules? Premaster: “If your familiar dies, you can spend a week of downtime to replace it at no cost. You can have only one familiar at a time.”


I think if there’s one adjustment I’d make to Witch’s Armaments, is to do something similar to Bard’s new Martial Performance - when you make a successful Strike you can then choose Sustain your hex as a free action.

You can’t access the feat until level 2 (unless you’re Human or GM-approved Mixed Human) anyway, so it’s competing against Cackle, Enhanced Familiar, Cauldron, and Basic Lesson which are all fantastic options (and better?) for a melee Witch.


Ah thanks for sharing the 2nd section!


WWHsmackdown wrote:
You're saying there's a familiar ability to revive at daily preparations?

My apologies, I was asking if they formalized it as a separate section in the Witch class feature or if it was formalized as a Witch only familiar ability (like their patron familiar abilities).


Two things: 1) You can prepare 2 cantrips instead of 1 cantrip now? That’s nice. The argument before was you have to use that 1 familiar ability for Cantrip Connection. Glad they changed that!

2) Oh, is the familiar revival now officially a familiar ability called Undying? That’s an interesting way to do it!


Neat read.

But what was the stuff Freiya, Daji, and Lem did during the fight scene? I’m guessing Freiya cast Needle of Vengeance hex and later used her Witch’s Armaments (Eldritch Nail). I’m guessing this was her Witch powers from a long time ago and that Lem was referencing to her deep Witch/Hag-like powers she gained from her past - which was triggered by the child’s crying.

What did Lem do with his one note? Was that italicized section a part of his composition or was it another one of Daji’s riddled casting?

I also have no clue what Daji did. Familiars don’t have offensive spells except for the Spellcasting familiar ability and now the Stitched/Spirit Familiar ability. And the description of the spell he cast sounds nothing like any of the above.

Was it just a creative license thing? Coz I’m pretty jealous my Witch won’t be able to do what Daji does!


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Oh, being able to grab a 5 cost specific familiar at lvl. 4 (by taking Enhanced Familiar with Basic Witchcraft) is super exciting!

Is there any language for Witch on how to handle familiars from different sources?

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