A Witch's Guide to Shutting Down Enemies


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Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I had all this in my head and needed to get it out so I can focus on other projects.

I am posting the link here and desire feedback, discussion, and suggestions.

At the time of this post I do not consider it completed.

Discuss!


you said it was not complete but all I see is one blank page.

feedback: could need some text
suggestion: check if you uploaded the right thing

Sczarni

Most... interesting blank page. *joke*

Dark Archive

IMO invisibility DOES make for a strong Witch strategy. Nice job!
;)


See Invis is not on my spellist....


It demands a gmail account to be able to view, so you have to allow anonymous viewing or whatever it might be called there.

Dark Archive

I'm logged into my g-mail account, and still can't see s&~#, cap'n.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sorry! I forgot to change the view settings.

Try it now.

Edit:
The real links is this one

Dark Archive

First three things that jump out at me.

A. Ability focus, you can't have it without GM approval.

B. Cackle is nice but by no means required. I would hesitate to take it before 5th level to be honest.

C. Ride and Handle Animal are not class skills and witches don;t get companion animals. This means past 3-4th level your mount (the most important thing for your guide) dies. A LOT. Make sure that they pick up and use the Mount spell as often as possible.

Other then that it seems ok so far but is a little basic.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I believe I mentioned that Ability focus requires GM approval. I will go back and be clearer on that point.

You should have Cackle before or about the same time as Misfortune. If you don't, Misfortune is pretty much wasted for you and won't be able to fully benefit from it.

I think I will add in a mount section to cover why having one is awesome and why keeping them alive isn't as hard as people seem to think.

Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it alot.


I do not believe a wand of quickened Ill Omen is possible as wands only go up to level four spells and a Quickened Ill Omen should be a 5th level spell.

But other then that you have a good way to shut some one down and allow other players to get a killing blow pretty easy and still keep the party alive. Although most fights will be over before you get your full multi round set up in place but it would be great for single boss fights.


Does improved iniative stack with a compy familiar?


Thank you very much for your guide! I'm also looking forward to the spells' one... Great job!

I wasn't aware that intimidate would stack with evil eye.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Yes, Improved Initative is an untapped bonus, so I stacks with everything.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

familiar abilities stack unless noted otherwise. They aren't feats. If they were, they could be used as feat reqs!

==Aelryinth


"Evil Eye is possibly the most broken class feature in all of Pathfinder."

Yeah...no.

"Cackle has been referred to as crack-le."

Dude, you referenced my term for cackle and didn't even mention my guide w/ the other two... Not cool.

Agony Hex gives a save to end it each round, it's pretty bad.

You should go into detail about the Dazing Spell metamagic feat, to round out the save-based attacks. Regular witch spell list isn't too useful with it, but with Elements patron it can work.


the part I like most about your guide is the very end where you say what spells are good against ennemies with a weakness in a certain save, that is truly a thing missing in most other guides and very useful.

however I miss AoE debuffs, like black tentacles. You've got nothing against a group of low CR goblins, debuff 1 every round and you didn't achieve much.

Aside from this the guide feels a bit like an MMO guide, more how to trick the system and min/max than to build a well rounded witch. This isn't bad at all, there are already guides for a general witch and yours makes a good addition. But not every player will profit from your guide the way it is written.

So nice read (will read more in detail later), please do continue

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

StreamOfTheSky wrote:

"Evil Eye is possibly the most broken class feature in all of Pathfinder."

Yeah...no.

"Cackle has been referred to as crack-le."

Dude, you referenced my term for cackle and didn't even mention my guide w/ the other two... Not cool.

Agony Hex gives a save to end it each round, it's pretty bad.

You should go into detail about the Dazing Spell metamagic feat, to round out the save-based attacks. Regular witch spell list isn't too useful with it, but with Elements patron it can work.

I knew there was a third guide! You are not listed in the guide to guides, so I couldn't find yours. I will totally list yours if you provide a link.


Here. It badly needs updating, I've just been...lazy. :)

I posted it in the guide to guides thread along with others, but none of mine got listed in the OP. Don't know why.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Awesome. I linked your guide with the others. I actually used your guide quite a bit to make the witch I am currently playing.


Looks like your guide was added to the Guide to the Guides.


This guide is about debuffing so much that enemies are no longer a threat. It's not really control. Control is provided by the slumber hex and other save or loses, or reshaping the battlefield so much that your party can easily handle an otherwise difficult encounter.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You talk about the issue of 30 ft hex range just above it, and then go on to talk up the use of a mount...without mentioning the best reason to do so. Having the mount double move you in and out of hex range so you cn kite enemies with them from safety. Maybe it was implied, I don't know.

And I can't agree with a lot of your advice. For example...

Spoiler:
Skipped The Round by Round?
No problem. Here is a list of debuffs that you can easily have in place over the course of no more then four rounds.

Evil Eye (saves): -2 (-4 at level 8)
Intimidate: -2
Enervation: -1 to -4
Ray of Sickening: -2
Bestow Curse: -4
Misfortune: Roll twice and take the lowest

-16 to saves is the maximum, assuming you only cast enervation once and you rolled a 4. That might seem excessive, but it isn’t for high level BBEGs. Also, overkill is so underrated.

I realize that's a sort of "how high can we go?" thought exercise. But that is woefully impractical! Aside from spell expenditures, the cost in action economy is just TOO MUCH. And most of those suck.

Intimidate is a standard and lasts very short.
Ray of Sickening requires a touch attack AND gives a save, all for a -2.
Bestow Curse...you use this for the 50% you fail at life chance.
Evil Eye...I'm still not convinced this is worth the combat action. Since save doesn't matter and it basically has no failure chance (when used w/ cackle), it's better than Itimidate, Ray of Sickness, or Bestow Curse (for the save penalty), at least...

In general, any time your strategy for getting someone to fail a save is by...failing saves...you fail. If the saves are different types, I suppose it could be worth it.

But still, you're killing so many rounds doing this! Slumber + Accursed Hex retry (if 1st fails) instead of the last 2 rounds of debuffs is 2 chances to end the fight in the time it takes your example just to prep for the end.

As for targeting, "Sure there are times when enemies are suddenly lined up for a good lightning bolt, and you should take advantage of those opportunities, but single targets are going to be your focus the majority of the time."

Witch gets the cloud spells and several other battlefield control options. These are much better than casting lightning bolt. Confusion is another good spell for dismantling a group of foes, by making them kill each other. Spell list is limited, but you're not helpless in situations with big crowds.

Saves:

Fortitude: Don't forget Baleful Polymorph and Ice Tomb hex. Once you hit ~level 10, those should be your big guns for low fort save targets. Before then, blindness/deafness works well.

Reflex: Lightning Bolt isn't worth it unless it's a swarm or something else nothing but AoE direct damage can stop. You just have to accept witch can't hit reflex that well. Dazing Spell + Elements patron is the best way around this.

Now...I was just looking at Samsaran race. They take a -2 Con hit, which is painful. But they may be the best witch race if you don't care about having the most optimal slumber DC. Getting to add 6 (Int 20, as if you didn't want that already) spells from ANY arcane list to yours of ANY level would be a tremendous help to the witch, and her very limited, niche-y spell list.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

That is actually really helpful, and thank you for taking the time to post that.

The whole thing is honestly just a way to throw my thoughts out there.

The whole idea is to start and cause a snowball effect that ends with the saves the target takes to be futile. The chances of them rolling a natural 20 is far too high to worry about and eventually you can stack up penalties so high that you could use any spell you like. Sure, it can take a few rounds to set up if you try for every little penalty, but in a fight with a BBEG you should expect the combat to last anywhere from 6 to 12 rounds (or even more if you have my GM.)

Starting with Evil Eye and Intimidate means that saves don't really matter to start the ball rolling. With a -4 to saves, I have actually gotten away with an ill omen and a save-or-suck combination in the second round. However, some enemies are a bit more resilient and need the extra push. Also, Accursed Hex is only a second chance, not a guarantee, so a little set up before Slumber is worth it in my opinion.s

I rated ray of sickening pretty low in my spell guide, for the same reasons you pointed out, but it is the easiest way to place the sickened condition on a target. If you can toss on another -2 to saves, all the better.

I guess I hate the idea of my save or suck spells failing and want to ensure that they don't.

I'll add in the Samsaran after I have a chance to look at it. I also plan on expanding the different saves section and adding a section on spells that will have those cloud spells you mentioned.


Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the all-too-common way that most creatures (especially 'important' BBEGs) make their saving throws....

...a DM who rolls behind a DM screen and cheats because he doesn't want it to work.

Beware.

Dark Archive

Spoiler:
Round 2:

- Evil Eye (saves) if you didn’t the round before.
- If you have Evil Eye up from Round 1, ready ill omen to affect your target the next time they save against you. That save should be against your Misfortune Hex.
- If Evil Eye is up from Round 1 and you can quicken ill omen, do so and then hit the target with the Misfortune hex.
- Cackle to extend Evil Eye and Misfortune, if needed.
- If party members didn’t use Intimidate or ray of sickening in round 1, they should do so now.
-You may be able to skip the Misfortune Hex and just hit them with a capstone spell.

Total debuffs at the end of round 2: -6 to -12 to saves, and they might be rolling twice and taking the lowest. Possibility of a shut down target.

Round 3:

- If you readied an action to cast ill omen, that should now be affecting the target and you should use your Misfortune Hex.
- If they saved against your Misfortune Hex in round 2 and you have the Accursed Hex, try again.
- If they have the Misfortune Hex working on them, and the penalties are severe enough that you feel comfortable enough, hit them with a capstone spell. (More on them in a bit.)
- If Misfortune is up and you want more penalties, try bestow curse (-4 to all saves) or some other spell that hits saves hard.
- If you can quicken enervation, do so. Even if you already did it once.
- Cackle.

I don't understand how you ready an action to misfortune in round 2 when you imply it goes off in round 3. Readied actions can only be held until your next turn. I guess you could ready an action to target the enemy with ill omen with the condition being that it goes off just before your next turn?

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Sorry, I should clear that up. I typically ready the action to go off when the person before me attacks or does something predicable.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Ravennus wrote:

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the all-too-common way that most creatures (especially 'important' BBEGs) make their saving throws....

...a DM who rolls behind a DM screen and cheats because he doesn't want it to work.

Beware.

Which has been an issue in the past, but not with my current witch. If I had Misfortune up, they needed a 20 to save, and they claimed the BBEG made it while they rolled behind a screen I would ask to see the dice. If they tell me no or that they moved the dice, I would call shenanigans and insist they roll out in the open from that point on. I am pretty sure the other players would back me up on that.

Now, if a GM tells me that the BBEG made it due to plot, I would actually accept that. That has actually happened a couple times in our games and while the BBEG didn't get away, he did have a more spectacular and memorable death in that combat. We call it "Plot Saves" in my group and for the most part they are accepted as long as they are not abused. So far, no abuse.


CalebTGordan wrote:
Ravennus wrote:

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the all-too-common way that most creatures (especially 'important' BBEGs) make their saving throws....

...a DM who rolls behind a DM screen and cheats because he doesn't want it to work.

Beware.

Which has been an issue in the past, but not with my current witch. If I had Misfortune up, they needed a 20 to save, and they claimed the BBEG made it while they rolled behind a screen I would ask to see the dice. If they tell me no or that they moved the dice, I would call shenanigans and insist they roll out in the open from that point on. I am pretty sure the other players would back me up on that.

Now, if a GM tells me that the BBEG made it due to plot, I would actually accept that. That has actually happened a couple times in our games and while the BBEG didn't get away, he did have a more spectacular and memorable death in that combat. We call it "Plot Saves" in my group and for the most part they are accepted as long as they are not abused. So far, no abuse.

Well, I'm glad you have a better experience with your group.

My own experience, however... DMs who roll secretly and cheat rolls NEVER respond well when you call them on it.

It has really limited my character choices in certain games I play, where I know the DM does this. It's not that I dislike them (some are close friends), but I found out the hard way I can't make a character that relies on SoS/SoD abilities unless I want to be disappointed and frustrated.

I bring this up because I was really considering building a Witch for a game that's coming up... and after looking at the various guides and strategies, including yours... I realize that this particular DM would just fudge his rolls almost everytime. Sleep hex is bad enough, but Misfortune would be useless as well and I can already hear the complaints.

Oh well... it's just unfortunate that some DMs still can't seem to grasp combat encounters that are NOT HP slugfests.


demanding to see the dice of a GM is indeed bad form in my book.

If the GM does this on a regular basis (i.e. you evil eyed and misfortuned him an he makes 3 saves in a row) you should talk to the GM after the session. He should change his behaviour, but fudging dice is an art that has the goal to make everyone happy.

On the other hand SoS as noted by Treantmonk I believe is horrible for party fun as you either take out half the encounter alone or do nothing. The fighter who bashed away half the hp of a mob sees that you killed the ennemy without regard for any damage done. That is just discouraging.

A little restraint on targets would help indeed, don't try to kill the recurring villain. If your party consists mainly of mundane attackers, evil eye AC, not saves. When you've got a caster, don't SoS spell yourself, lower saves and let him take the reward.

Also as a GM I would hate and probably disallow or at least disencourage misfortune as I don't want to roll twice for everything.

However as this guide is and must be based on RAW without fudging, you are right that the reality is not always as good to such witches as it should be.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

While GMs fudging dice rolls is off topic, I have no problem addressing that briefly.

I GM more then I play, probably three times as much to be honest. I fudge dice rolls about once a session, but only in minor ways and most often in favor of the PCs. Sometimes I want a fight to last longer and I make a call, but nothing as extreme as the theoretical fudge I mentioned above. I would rather use my powers as a GM to simply say someone made a save then lie about my dice results. If I didn't roll two 20s, I didn't do it and I shouldn't lie about it. My regular group has actually talked about this and we agree that if something needs to happen to further the plot or make the story more exciting then the GM has the power to say what works and what doesn't.

You both are right though, it probably wouldn't be good to call them out right at the moment. Talking to them afterwards would be better.

As for the ability to shut down a foe in two rounds when a fighter would take ten, I have been on the fighter's side of that and I know the feeling you talk about. I played a fighter in one game and in a big battle discovered that I couldn't hit the BBEG with my highest attack unless I rolled an 11. I barely had one out of five attacks hit each round and I was dealing 30, maybe 35 points with each hit. Our party's Oracle of Battle, after 6 rounds of dealing with something else, stepped in, hit three times in a single round, and dealt more than 300 points of damage in that round. It was mostly because of a critical hit and a ton of buffs, but I felt like packing up and letting them finish without me. They clearly didn't need me.

Now I am playing a witch with the focus of taking out foes quickly. We haven't really reached a level that I am overtaking the spotlight, but I am aware that I might need to step back a bit later just to let the others have fun playing their characters. On the other hand, the GM for that game is great at designing challenges specific to characters. I have no doubt that a few BBEGs are going to be immune to mind affecting abilities, have high SR, and/or high Will and Fort saves.


CalebTGordan wrote:
Sorry, I should clear that up. I typically ready the action to go off when the person before me attacks or does something predicable.

I like to ready to disrupt the foe's action (after they've moved into melee, or in the middle of their first attack, for example). Robs them of their turn, sets the round-by-round clock as favorably as possible for your effect (most important with spells like hold person that give a full action attempt to break free each turn), and leaves them conveniently next to an ally who can coup de grace.


I'm enjoying playing my Witch in Carrion Crown but am finding that her main weakness is that very little in her Hex or Spell list affects undead..mind affecting spells are useless against them..so a healthy investment in UMD so she can use wands for the spells she doesn't get seems almost inevitable.


If it's an undead-heavy game, you should do Gravewalker archetype. Turns a weakness (undead) into a strength.

Check w/ your DM how he interprets Ice Tomb major hex. It's a very poorly worded hex w/o enough info, but it is a fort save. Undead may or may not be susceptible to it, depends highly on how the DM interprets it.


Misfortune affects everything, as it's not a mind effect.

Also plague and occult are nice because they give anti-undead spells without messing up so much of a low level character like gravewalker does. If you are starting at higher levels, then gravewalker is decent however.


Where can I find the lipstich spell? I haven't find it...


I think that Fortune can not be underestimated.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Lipstich is in Inner Sea Magic. I apologize for not making notes on where to find some of the spells.

Fortune is great, especially if you focus on buffing the party. This specific build is about debuffing and hurting enemies. In this case your actions are better spent focusing on the enemy. If you find you are ineffective against your current foes, the hex then becomes your main option to contributing to the fight.


Andrea Greenholt wrote:
I'm enjoying playing my Witch in Carrion Crown but am finding that her main weakness is that very little in her Hex or Spell list affects undead..mind affecting spells are useless against them..so a healthy investment in UMD so she can use wands for the spells she doesn't get seems almost inevitable.

Take the thanatopic and thranodic feats.

Ultimate Magic wrote:

Threnodic Spell (Metamagic)

You can convert mind-affecting magic to necromantic power capable of controlling undead.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks, Spell Focus (necromancy).
Benefit: This feat only works on mind-affecting spells. A threnodic spell affects undead creatures (even mindless undead) as if they weren't immune to mind-affecting effects, but has no effect on living creatures. A threnodic spell uses up a spell slot two level higher than the spell's actual level.
Normal: Undead are immune to mind-affecting effects.
Ultimate Magic wrote:

Thanatopic Spell (Metamagic)

Your spells can pierce wards against negative energy and even affect undead targets.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks, Spell Focus (necromancy).
Benefit: A thanatopic spell pierces defenses and immunities that protect against death effects, negative levels, and energy drain, affecting the target as if the protective barrier did not exist.
For example, you could cast a thanatopic vampiric touch or enervation spell on a target under the effects of death ward, and the target would suffer the normal effect of the spell. Saving throws and SR (if any) still apply.
Undead are susceptible to spells augmented by this feat, as it retunes the negative energy to be harmful to them. A thanatopic spell that would kill a living creature (such as by giving it negative levels equal to its Hit Dice) destroys an undead (though undead such as ghosts, liches, and vampires may reform as normal). Undead affected by thanatopic spells that give negative levels automatically make their saving throws to remove negative levels after 24 hours.
A thanatopic spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell's actual level.
Normal: Defenses such as death ward negate death effects, negative levels, and energy drain. Undead are immune to these attacks.

Liberty's Edge

I linked your guide in mine. We're building a hideous web of debilitation here. ^_^


"ready ill omen to affect your target the next time they save against you. That save should be against your Misfortune Hex."

I don't understand how this works. The rules for readying an action clearly state that your initiative order is reset when the action goes off. Thus, when you cast ill omen you have to wait a whole round before you can misfortune hex. Surely, the target has taken an action requiring a roll before your turn comes around again...

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

You are thinking of Delay Action. This action resets where you are in the initiative order.

Readying an action is a standard action and you get to keep your initiative order. In this case, you ready the action to go off when the guy before you attacks or does something predictable. They take that action, yours goes off, they finish their turn. Now it is your turn, you use misfortune (or some other hex or spell,) and the target has to roll twice and take the lowest for their save.


From: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html

"Readying an Action: You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.
You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don't otherwise move any distance during the round.

Initiative Consequences of Readying: Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the readied action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed your readied action, you don't get to take the readied action (though you can ready the same action again). If you take your readied action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round."

Clearly you initiative result changes. You don't get to take two actions in a row.


  • Evil Eye (Saves)
  • Misfortune + Cackle
  • Slumber
  • Coup De Grace

This is all you *need* to know for a lieutenant-type baddie. The BBEG will take some more setting up to allow that depending on the situation. Just go for Slumber on round 1 for weak and/or non-caster/outsider enemies. Every other spell and hex is just to let GMs feel good about letting the class in so they can say "you can do more than just that" when they get tired of this rotation. True story. It happened to me.


Great guide...
Also another trick that stacks
Rime spell with frostbite and enforcer feat and The hex they give your hair reach of ten feet..
It's fatigue + shaken + entangled with level 2 spell

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Magnus Dreadsky wrote:

From: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html

"Readying an Action:

Man, I totally missed that. Thanks for letting me know.


I now have a second level witch playing in Rappan Athuk, I am finding apart from the undead issue which has been discussed above and I can't do much about at 2nd level, the witch doesn't have many spells to affect multiple enemies. I can shut down an enemy or 2 with slumber (if they are susceptible to mind effects) but feel quite redundant unless there is a main enemy or boss to focus on.

Any suggestions as to tactics?

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

DjinnJah wrote:

I now have a second level witch playing in Rappan Athuk, I am finding apart from the undead issue which has been discussed above and I can't do much about at 2nd level, the witch doesn't have many spells to affect multiple enemies. I can shut down an enemy or 2 with slumber (if they are susceptible to mind effects) but feel quite redundant unless there is a main enemy or boss to focus on.

Any suggestions as to tactics?

Work with your party to find out what will work best. If you have evil eye you should use it often to the benefit of your party.

You should also consider tossing out the spell ill omen when it will mess up an enemy. If an enemy will have to make a concentration check or save, rolling twice and taking the worst will really help you. If they are focusing on attacks, the spell can foil an attack.

Do not forget about the skill Intimidate. It can be very helpful to give someone the shaken condition.

I don't have access to the spell list right now, but look for ways to buff a party. Even second level witches have a couple of options they can take advantage of.


How well does this work against constructs, like golems?

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Constructs, plants, oozes, and many undead are all creatures where most debuffing hexes and spells are not going to work. In those situations be prepared to offer some buffing, healing, or escape options. For this reason I suggest witches carry scrolls and potions of spells not frequently used but will be very helpful in more specialized or unusual situations. Alchemical supplies are also something to consider keeping on hand.

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