Threw a witch npc at the party last night.
A 6th level goblin witch with 8 goblin War1 support against 6 L3 PCs.
Party is exploring sewers below Westcrown looking for a BBEG (homemade side adventure in CoT)
Witch started out using Beast Shape I (toad fam) in the shape of a small frog, support goblins were hiding in ambush further down the tunnel.
The party's forward scout skirted around the frog, which seemed to ignore him. He spotted the hidden goblins and backed up to discuss. The frog/goblin witch sees him retreat so acted spooked and darted down a side drain. A few moments later, while the party plotted, the witch disguise hexed into a kobold, and came crawling out amidst a lot of dramatic banging. As he came out of the pipe he feigned horror at the site of an adventuring party and begged that a frog had just tried to eat him as he tried to escape the horrid goblins. He led on that he knew where the BBEG was and could lead them there if the party would leave him be. (He even got 2 gold out of them).
The party moved to counter ambush the hidden goblins and the kobold/goblin witch moved in behind the party. As the party attacked the witch reached up and misfortune hexed one of the two melee PCs. I threw in a free action end of the disguise on the witch as he used his single move toward the other goblins. Unfortunately, tandom Sleeps from the Sorcerer and Bard took out 6 of the 8 goblins. The other melee PC (dwarf fighter) ran up and smacked the witch pretty hard and a ranged attack (magic missile maybe) also added some damage, putting the witch in bad shape.
The remaining two goblins engaged the misfortuned PC while the witch cackled to keep that going and Deep Slumbered the Dwarf and bard out of the fight. Unfortunately, this left the seriously wounded witch unable to move away from the remaining party members, who did him in in the next round.
Under normal circumstances I would have run away rather than cackle, but my whole objective was to see if I could keep a misfortune hex going.
In the end the witch was just too squishy to use a touch attack and then give up a move every round just to keep one PC hindered.
I think a 30 foot range would have made a big difference. Also, misfortune gives up a full half action of the witch's in exchange for maybe messing up the opponent's action. It does not come out as a positive trade. In order to be worth taking the cost (standard action) should be worth benefit. It didn't seem to be. And even the cackle, that reduced the cost for extra rounds down to just a Move action, still didn't provide the bang needed for the buck demanded. Bumping up the duration to two rounds (initial and per cackle) might make a good improvement. The witch still has to keep the ball spinning, but still has a chance to do something else to benefit from the trick.
The nature of the build was fun and it was a good little encounter. But the players would have been really surprised if I had told them that they had just taken out a L6 NPC. I'd say it was CR3, 4 tops.
Unfortunately, tandom Sleeps from the Sorcerer and Bard took out 6 of the 8 goblins.
...Deep Slumbered the Dwarf and bard out of the fight.
Thats a lot of sleep spells. Usally the 1 round casting is a dead giveaway that something bad is about to happen and everyone attacks the caster, forcing several concentration checks.
I don't feel to bad about it from the player's side because they started combat with those. Yeah, the gobs should have know that the ambush was over, but I can live with hand waving that.
Giving the witch a Deep Slumber as a standard is just flat wrong on my part. Completely forgot. And a big difference. Oh well, it actually makes the witch even a little weaker since he still got mashed despite me making an error in his favor.
To me the Witch is a seriously underpowered class for a player character. I am not one to insist on damage output, or battle worthiness but the witch doesn't even really seem like a viable choice.
The reliance on touch attacks seems odd for such a soft class. Not to mention that most of the buffs and debuffs are once per person/day.
At best I think the Witch class is better viewed as an NPC class, but your playtest shows even that might be hoping for too much.
I would have to look at the spell list more and/or maybe even see if there is a great difference based on the familiar it picks, but the ability to potenentially know all the spells on your class list is powerful.
I think the deciding factor will be how many different uses can the spells cover.
I think the supernatural abilities need a boost, but a caster(D6)should not be in touch range anyway. I made one as an NPC, and I gave it the same spells I would have given a wizard. It should be an interesting battle in about 2 weeks.
Been reading the boards on Witches since I started playing one (Currently 5th lvl Witch) and I have to say I completely disagree with it being under powered.
I have the following hexes: Ward, Healing and Evil Eye.
My spell list is a bit of curing, some offense (Burning Hands and Lighting Bolt) and hindering.
Thus far every combat we have been in I have very useful to the party. Our Front Line Fighter is always Warded, giving him a nice AC/Saving Boost until he is hit. Often first round of Combat I Evil Eye because it at least works for 1 Round if they pass the Save.
Then I Summon Swarm which is at the least a d6 of Damage and possibly poisoning and distracting.
After that Inflicting Wounds, Enfeeblement and I heal those hurt first with a Hex if I haven't used it on them for the Day or with a Wand or Spell.
It seems to me most people are not understanding the point of a Witch. It's a balance of spell casting and hexes. Each round you are either casting a spell or using a hex when the moment is right.
Witches are not Wizards. If your worried about Ranged Touch due to the low HPs the Witches have Spectral Hand on their spell list.
I assumed that it didn't work for hexes, so when I used an NPC witch against my party, she totally avoided using hexes. In fact, I basically had to use her as a standard spellcaster, because using most of the witch stuff was too dicey to actually risk in combat.
I do have to wonder about a class this squishy needing to get up close and actually touch enemies to affect them -- especially since most of the effects don't seem to be worth having your head chopped off by some melee brute for.
I wasn't talking about using Spectral Hand for Hexes but rather Spells like Inflict Wounds, Bestow Curse, Chill Touch, etc.
As for using that spell with Hexes as of now I would say it's up to the DM but the Hexes are Super Natural Abilities not Spell Like Abilities. So I would say no, Hexes and Spectral Hand do not work together.
The Witches Familiar CAN deliver Touch Attacks for them. I would guess this would apply for Hexes. Which should be added to the Description of "Deliver Touch Spells" part of the familiar.
The exception is Blight in with the Familiar AND the Witch have to touch the subject as stated in the Blight Hex description.
Most of the Witch's Hexes over all do not require a touch so to say that a Witch is weak because her hexes are rendered useless is not accurate.
As for being creamed by the Foe Melee fighter while trying to Hex him I would assume like any other Spell Caster you'd be working with the Melee Fighter in your Group to make sure your not the only shiny target that he has in mind. If you attack the lone creature with a touch (IE Getting into Melee) and no one else is near you to deflect his aggression or make quick work of it after you Hexed it then if you bite the dust it's due to poor judgement.
Lastly not using a key ability of a class WILL render that class weak. Saying you won't use a Witch's Hex because you think it's too weak and are justing using it like a Wizard, It's like saying you won't use a Bard's Bardic Music because it's not powerful enough and you just use it like a Sorcerer.
I don't see the witch as any more or less squishy then a wizard.
A wizard has plenty of spells that are touch range.
Wizards have long used a variety of magical items, potions, scrolls, and other things (stealth or feats like Arcane Armour or Armour made from Mithral or still spell) to give protection and still be able to cast spells.
I don't see this as any better or worse for a witch (except that only Mage Armour and not Shield is on their spell list ~ Shield is easily overcome with a variety of other spells).