Dwarven Witch in Armor and Shield.


Advice

Sovereign Court

Okay so I need some help in making a character concept work and not completely suck. A dwarven Witch that will wear armor and use a shield.

My Friends and I are building a party of dwarves. We are going to be from the Five Kings Mountains in Golarion and are all part of a dwarven military unit. The Shield Wall (teamwork) feat is virtually mandatory for all of us ideally at first level. We intend to play them like legionnaires and will attempt to fit in as many teamwork like feats as we can. However, my conundrum is that I am playing the “Cadre Mage” and therefore I am not proficient in Armor and Shields by default.

My dwarf (yet to be named if anyone has a good one let me know) is from a very conservative family of dwarven warriors. All the dwarves in the family for generations have served in the dwarven militia. He himself is rather a misfit nerd and unlike the rest of his physically intimidating clan. So his father decides to send him to military school to make him into a real dwarf. His father is fond of such phrases as “A dwarf without armor is a dead dwarf!”, “Real dwarves wield hammers and drink by the keg ”, “Books are for elves, if it’s not carved in stone it’s not worth reading” Etc… He is afraid is son is too wimpy and wants to “man” him up so others don’t think of him undwarvish like. While my dwarf is not very warlike at heart and wants to explore the world of magic.

20pt build to keep it simple Pathfinder Society rules. No more than 1 non-witch level I don’t want to be a magus wanabe I want to be a witch. Here are the stats I was considering.
Str 10 Dex 12 Con 16 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 5

One option is that I could wear all the gear but not be proficient and just suck up the arcane penalty until I grow out from under my father’s influence and switch to mage armor

or

Take a level in a class that is proficient in armor and shields and then qualify for the Shield wall feat and possibly other teamwork feats like shielded caster or others.

Hexes have no arcane spell failure since they are supernatural abilities.

Any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

Dark Archive

1 level in Oracle of War. Or Fighter.


You could possibly be a Cleric of Torag with domains of Protection and Earth (or any of his other domains) giving you proficiency with your armor and shield as well as your first foray into magic.

Liberty's Edge

Well, that's an interesting conundrum. You want to be non-dwarflike, but take shield wall and wear armor. Hmm.

If I was playing your character concept, I would not take shield wall. I'd be all like, "sure, I took shield wall, pssht, what dwarf wouldn't take shield wall" to the other PC's, and I'd completely take Extra Hex instead. Cackle+Misfortune at 1st level is really strong. Or you could do cackle + Fortune. Surely none of your dwarven buddies would begrudge the lack of shield wall when you're letting them roll two attack rolls.

To me, your obvious strength is that hexes aren't subject to arcane spell failure. I'd take extra hex every single level, and wear armor all you want to.

Liberty's Edge

Doctor Smite wrote:

Okay so I need some help in making a character concept work and not completely suck. A dwarven Witch that will wear armor and use a shield.

My Friends and I are building a party of dwarves. We are going to be from the Five Kings Mountains in Golarion and are all part of a dwarven military unit. The Shield Wall (teamwork) feat is virtually mandatory for all of us ideally at first level. We intend to play them like legionnaires and will attempt to fit in as many teamwork like feats as we can. However, my conundrum is that I am playing the “Cadre Mage” and therefore I am not proficient in Armor and Shields by default.

My dwarf (yet to be named if anyone has a good one let me know) is from a very conservative family of dwarven warriors. All the dwarves in the family for generations have served in the dwarven militia. He himself is rather a misfit nerd and unlike the rest of his physically intimidating clan. So his father decides to send him to military school to make him into a real dwarf. His father is fond of such phrases as “A dwarf without armor is a dead dwarf!”, “Real dwarves wield hammers and drink by the keg ”, “Books are for elves, if it’s not carved in stone it’s not worth reading” Etc… He is afraid is son is too wimpy and wants to “man” him up so others don’t think of him undwarvish like. While my dwarf is not very warlike at heart and wants to explore the world of magic.

20pt build to keep it simple Pathfinder Society rules. No more than 1 non-witch level I don’t want to be a magus wanabe I want to be a witch. Here are the stats I was considering.
Str 10 Dex 12 Con 16 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 5

One option is that I could wear all the gear but not be proficient and just suck up the arcane penalty until I grow out from under my father’s influence and switch to mage armor

or

Take a level in a class that is proficient in armor and shields and then qualify for the Shield wall feat and possibly other teamwork feats like shielded caster or others.

Hexes have no arcane spell failure since...

Dude - One level of cavalier would be great with this character concept!

- You and everybody within 30 feet get a teamwork bonus free once per day. This works perfectly with the military theme.

- Armor proficiencies!

- you can get perception as a class skill with Dragon Order.


Hrmm...well...on one hand you might consider going bard. That would still allow you to fit the 'arcanist' niche while allowing you to wear armor and it's knowledge based enough that you'd still be able to be a dwarven nerd.

If you're using WOTC stuff, there's a dwarf-specific armored caster in races of stone called a runesmith that is basically perfect for you, but you'd be waiting a bit to get there.

Honestly, my suggestion, if they want a 'cadre mage' they also have to take the 'unarmored character' with it. I think it's cool that your group is working together with concepts and all that jazz, but 'shielded, armored level 1 witch' just doesn't work that well.

Alternately, you could just take the arcane spell failure (still won't have the shield wall feat, though). Since your character is a cadet and forced out of his element, the occasional fizzle seems pretty in-character. You could even work out something interesting with your DM, such as making spell failure into a humorous misfire of some kind.

Sorry, I know that's not much help.

Sovereign Court

Velderan wrote:

Hrmm...well...on one hand you might consider going bard. That would still allow you to fit the 'arcanist' niche while allowing you to wear armor and it's knowledge based enough that you'd still be able to be a dwarven nerd.

One of the players is already going to be a bard so I don't want to double up that way. Not to mention 5 charisma on my stat array spread really goes against being a bard, sorcerer, or oracle.


Doctor Smite wrote:

Okay so I need some help in making a character concept work and not completely suck. A dwarven Witch that will wear armor and use a shield.

My Friends and I are building a party of dwarves. We are going to be from the Five Kings Mountains in Golarion and are all part of a dwarven military unit. The Shield Wall (teamwork) feat is virtually mandatory for all of us ideally at first level. We intend to play them like legionnaires and will attempt to fit in as many teamwork like feats as we can. However, my conundrum is that I am playing the “Cadre Mage” and therefore I am not proficient in Armor and Shields by default.

My dwarf (yet to be named if anyone has a good one let me know) is from a very conservative family of dwarven warriors. All the dwarves in the family for generations have served in the dwarven militia. He himself is rather a misfit nerd and unlike the rest of his physically intimidating clan. So his father decides to send him to military school to make him into a real dwarf. His father is fond of such phrases as “A dwarf without armor is a dead dwarf!”, “Real dwarves wield hammers and drink by the keg ”, “Books are for elves, if it’s not carved in stone it’s not worth reading” Etc… He is afraid is son is too wimpy and wants to “man” him up so others don’t think of him undwarvish like. While my dwarf is not very warlike at heart and wants to explore the world of magic.

20pt build to keep it simple Pathfinder Society rules. No more than 1 non-witch level I don’t want to be a magus wanabe I want to be a witch. Here are the stats I was considering.
Str 10 Dex 12 Con 16 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 5

One option is that I could wear all the gear but not be proficient and just suck up the arcane penalty until I grow out from under my father’s influence and switch to mage armor

or

Take a level in a class that is proficient in armor and shields and then qualify for the Shield wall feat and possibly other teamwork feats like shielded caster or others.

Hexes have no arcane spell failure since...

I'm so happy you asked this question because I think the answer is 1 FTR/5 Witch/eldritch knight. I've been playing with the idea and it seems like a fun character. Use a tower shield and a dwarven war-axe, still spell to cast in armor with no free hand, and as you mentioned hexes have no spell failure chance. If you play this character please let me know how it turns out.


I am kind of with Jeremiziah as I would take Witch at first level and join the legion to satisfy your father. But I would continue on with the witch concept and try to prove to your father and the rest of your company that you may not be the strongest Dwarf in the group but you have STRENGTHS of your own that you provide and these unique abilities make the group better because....

As for the teamwork feats I would take the ones you can qualify for and go ahead and use a shield but suffer the penalties for not being proficient with it.

Doing both of these will make for a interesting character, kind of reminds me of the Dwarf in R.A Salvatore's novel "The Cleric Quintet" his name was Pikel I believe and he believed he was a Druid. Made for a very entertaining group.

Good luck with whatever you decide for there were definitely some good options suggested to you above.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Are you starting at first level?

It seems to me, to fit the concept closely, if you start at first level, you can take Light Armor Proficiency with your feat. This will allow you to build your way up to Medium, and take Arcane Armor Training and Mastery as you level up. It's also a terrible waste and a long wait.

If you can start at at least 2nd level, take 1 level of Fighter and 1 level of Witch. Wear a chain shirt, and use a small shield. It's 25% spell failure, which is a drag, but hey, you still have hexes and some armor. Plus, you'll have plenty of feats to spare for teamwork feats.

At 4th level (3 Witch/1 Fighter) you can take Arcane Armor Training, switch to a mithral chain shirt (you should do this ASAP, actually) and a mithral light shield (ditto), and be at 0% spell failure. By 8th level (7 Witch/1 Fighter) you can have Arcane Armor Mastery, switch to a mithral breastplate and a mithral heavy shield for 0% spell failure and a nice AC bonus of 8.

Stay away from Eldritch Knight if you like hexes, otherwise, go crazy, but you'll lose another caster level. I feel that these suggestions fit your concept best, these are NOT optimized for anything but what you laid out. Sure, you could take Cavalier levels or Oracle of War or some such, but I don't see how they fit your concept.

I see him as a dwarf who learned the Dwarven arts of war at his father's behest while simultaneously pursuing his true vocation, that of Witch (strange choice for a dwarf, but then, you did say he was a strange dwarf). Fighter fits this better than anything else, and you never said he had a mount or any divine powers, so I figure he's a grunt, same as all the rest. None of this Oracular business or singing spells or ridin' ponies underground. Da wouldn't hear of it anyway, and you're already shamin' him somethin' fierce with this Witchery nonsense.

There were rules in 3.0 for beginning 1st level with two classes, it's a shame they were cut, I never thought that there was anything unbalanced about them. If you can dig up a 3.0 DMG you can find them on page 40. Simple to adapt to the Witch, and they will better allow you to play your concept (which I like).


The arcane armor training and mastery feats are nice for spontaneous casters that normally can't wear armor (aka: sorcerers) but for anyone that prepares spells Still Spell is a MUCH better choice -- especially on a class like the witch (or if going Eldritch knight) when you have a lot of things you want to do with all your action types already.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:
The arcane armor training and mastery feats are nice for spontaneous casters that normally can't wear armor (aka: sorcerers) but for anyone that prepares spells Still Spell is a MUCH better choice -- especially on a class like the witch (or if going Eldritch knight) when you have a lot of things you want to do with all your action types already.

Still spell is great for these types - I agree. That being said, I'd rather have a spell failure chance for my first level spells than not be able to cast them at all. Also, that's like having 2 levels of a non-spellcasting class (by bumping all spells with somatic components {which is most of them} up one level). I think that a combination of the two would work just fine. There are few things low level casters can do with their swift actions, and higher level casters can work it out (quickened stilled, perhaps?). Never hurts to have more options. And it does fit the concept.


Just not fond of the feat cost -- especially since mage armor is available as a first level spell.

Also there are several spells that have hour/level durations that wouldn't need still spell (and true strike for example -- or teleport... maybe D.Door -- not sure on that one).

While I agree that the bump isn't fun, it allows quicken spell, and with the hexes already available he's not going to be without good options (though if he can get it ability focus isn't a bad thing on his Hexes).

Feats tend to be tight for martial spell casters, which is a huge point against arcane training/mastery, and the fact that with still spell you can cast with your hands full (of say a tower shield and weapon) means you can be better prepared than arcane armor training will allow.

Personally I have considered a "witch blade" build in the past (EK mixed with witch) and think it is a really solid choice. I would use still spell IMO, but I think the basic premise is solid enough to support arcane armor training if that route is decided on. I would recommend having a mount of some sort (indeed at low level the mount spell is great) since cackle uses up a move action (and is worth it) and your other actions will burn your standard and swift actions -- leaving you needing a means of moving other than the 5 foot step: which a mount fulfills admirably.

Sovereign Court

To answer a previous questions I need to start at first level, and I'm not interested in being a fighter/witch to take levels in EK. I'm looking at being no more than 1 non witch level. Though an EK witch has some great potential so I'll think on that more.

Noteleks wrote:

I am kind of with Jeremiziah as I would take Witch at first level and join the legion to satisfy your father. But I would continue on with the witch concept and try to prove to your father and the rest of your company that you may not be the strongest Dwarf in the group but you have STRENGTHS of your own that you provide and these unique abilities make the group better because....

Doing both of these will make for a interesting character, kind of reminds me of the Dwarf in R.A Salvatore's novel "The Cleric Quintet" his name was Pikel I believe and he believed he was a Druid. Made for a very entertaining group

I loved the Cleric quintet books actually, one of the few salvatore novel's I really liked.

I think this is what I'm going to do. Wear armor w/o being profficent and take extra hex at first and 3rd level to have more things to do. I'll have to make sure to play up the ill fitting armor and work out saluting so that my helmet falls off etc.. should be fun.

I will try to get a wand of ill omen, enlarge person or ray of enfeeblement asap to help casting while wearing armor and still contributing beyond hexes.

At 5th I think I'll go with still spell unless character development has lead me away from wearing armor then... maybe spell focus or look out teamwork feat maybe or something... dunno yet.

If my group does decide to mandate shield wall then I will take caviler for a mount (as some one pointed out is handy) and bonus teamwork feat, and still spell, it is a few more skill points than fighter and still 2 feats since I would take a teamwork feat anyway.

What do you all think the best Witch patron is for a dwarven legionaire group. Darkness seems like a good buff spell for a whole group of dwarves.. but I'm not sold on the rest of the spells of that patron.

I was thinking of going with the scorpion for the +2 init but not sure it's very dwarfish... even though it has dark vision and tremor sense.

For my first 4 hexes I was thinking between Fortune, Misfortune, Cackle, Slumber and Evil Eye.


The healing hex at first level actually works well for your concept....

In the group of battle hardened veterans minor healing among that many individuals is very good!

Imagine the witch with 100 allies at first level could assist all of them.

I use the hex to make extra money or at least get individuals to buy my PC a drink!


As somebody who created a Dwarf Monk with a 6 Charisma as one of his first 3.5 E characters, I can relate to your wanting to create an "iconoclastic" dwarf character! :-D

As far as your familiar goes, I'd see that as a liability in the sorts of constant combat situations that militia would probably find themselves in. The witch's reliance on a familiar as his/her "living spellbook" immediately struck me as a serious weakness/flaw for the character class.

However, I was just reading "Classic Treasures Revisited," and found the entry on Figures of Wondrous Power to be quite interesting. Apparently one of the optional rules in this section grants characters the ability to form a bond with the creature that the figurine becomes, so why not have a witch with a figurine familiar that doesn't die when reduced to 0 hit points; it just reverts to statuette form?

--Wand of Orcus


Doctor Smite wrote:
Okay so I need some help in making a character concept work and not completely suck. A dwarven Witch that will wear armor and use a shield.

I'll help you and you help me buying the actual batmobile from Batman Begins. I think you'll have the easier job! ;-P

If you want to go with armour, get Arcane Armour Mastery - which you can get no sooner than 3rd level. 1st will be used for Armour Proficiency (Light).

Or accept that you will be crippled. It's like you won't even with those feats.

Doctor Smite wrote:


My Friends and I are building a party of dwarves. We are going to be from the Five Kings Mountains in Golarion and are all part of a dwarven military unit. The Shield Wall (teamwork) feat is virtually mandatory for all of us ideally at first level. We intend to play them like legionnaires and will attempt to fit in as many teamwork like feats as we can. However, my conundrum is that I am playing the “Cadre Mage” and therefore I am not proficient in Armor and Shields by default.

The cadre mage does not stand in the front line. The cadre mage stands in the second line (or further back). Until he learns to fly, that is.

Doctor Smite wrote:


My dwarf (yet to be named if anyone has a good one let me know)

Stonebeard Orcaxer.

Hammerhand Metalbeard.
Orcsmash Orcsmashson.

Something like that. At least one of the following words in the name is mandatory:

  • Iron (or any other metal. Precious metals count, too)
  • Stone
  • Axe
  • Hammer
  • (Some enemy)-slasher (or other form of this. Like grinder or killer or whatever)

    Doctor Smite wrote:
    is from a very conservative family of dwarven warriors. All the dwarves in the family for generations have served in the dwarven militia. He himself is rather a misfit nerd and unlike the rest of his physically intimidating clan. So his father decides to send him to military school to make him into a real dwarf. His father is fond of such phrases as “A dwarf without armor is a dead dwarf!”, “Real dwarves wield hammers and drink by the keg ”, “Books are for elves, if it’s not carved in stone it’s not worth reading” Etc… He is afraid is son is too wimpy and wants to “man” him up so others don’t think of him undwarvish like. While my dwarf is not very warlike at heart and wants to explore the world of magic.

    You're a witch. That's just about the worst thing you can be when you're a dwarf amongst conservative (or "cliché-") dwarves. Even worse than wizards. Not only don't they like violence, they treat with questionable powers for their power.

    The important thing to remember is that you play your character, not his father. The father's wishes are not important. Your character's reaction to these wishes, and his general outlook towards life, tradition, and listening to some racist sociopathic idiot who happens to have sired you.

    So you either let that jerk control your life, in which case you will never get beyond 1st-level as witch (because it's not proper), or you'll have a nice row and turn your back on your clan, because they couldn't care less about you as a living being.

    Doctor Smite wrote:


    20pt build to keep it simple Pathfinder Society rules. No more than 1 non-witch level I don’t want to be a magus wanabe I want to be a witch. Here are the stats I was considering.

    Falling out with the clan it is. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Best tell the other beards that you're a wizard, though. They'll be too dumb to know the difference, and you'll be seen with less distrust.

    Unless they actually manage to play their characters differently from 99.99999% of all dwarves ever played. I.e. no walking stereotypes without a trace of originality.


  • The Witch Blade needs 1 martial level (class doesn't matter only those martial weapon proficiencies!) and then can go full blown 10 EK levels.

    KenderKin's suggestion of the Healing Hex at low levels isn't a horrible one -- generally I don't like this hex, but for your situation it would be good -- a possibly better suggestion would be the warding hex which adds to AC and Save throws and can be passed on when someone doesn't need it anymore.

    The patrons I like for a dwarf are: Wisdom (a great choice anyways), Endurance (another good choice in general) and Strength (which is the best choice for a witch blade since it gives most of the really good buffs you are going to want).

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