Are Male Witches called Witches in YOUR games?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Really, isn't a male witch called a Warlock? Does that not apply in pathfinder? Does anyone else find it odd to refer to a character as a gender specific class title? Do you think it odd that out of all the classes only this one is gender specific in name? Apologies for all the question marks but the subject has raised questions.


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Daenar wrote:
Really, isn't a male witch called a Warlock? Does that not apply in pathfinder?

Sorcerer, hedge wizard, enchanter, warlock... all these are acceptable terms for a male witch. But in Pathfinder, all of these terms actually refer to a class except for warlock, which is why many have adopted "warlock" as the male appellation for witch. But since the name of a class is simply a packaging label for a set of abilities, the only name we need for the witch is "witch" IMO.

Daenar wrote:
Does anyone else find it odd to refer to a character as a gender specific class title?

Your character is not bound to call himself after his/her class. I played barbarians that weren't barbarians and monks that weren't monks but used the classes as building frames for characters concept.

I don't see any issue with your character calling himself a warlock, even if it says "witch" (or druid, or wizard, or sorcerer) under the class entry on the character sheet.

Otherwise I don't find it odd as "witch" perfectly describes the archetype represented by the class.


This issue gets much stranger in german. Sorcerer is generally translated as "Hexenmeister" (witch master) and the german term for a male witch is "Hexer", for a female witch it would be "Hexe". So, as you see, you have it really easy.


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I apoligize in advance for spelling errors, I am typing this from my phone.

Witch isn't a gender specific term. It can be used to refer to a male or female practitioner. Warlock is a reference to something else entirley.


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This may be slighlty relevant, in the Wiccan religion which practices witchcraft, even the male practioners are called witches.

Warlock has a specific connotation, at least with DnD, of a particular set of powers related to binding devils and using their power.

In short, male witches are still witches. And it is not considered a gender specific title. Our culture tends to think of it as a gender specific title though.

However, gender specific expectations is a whole different and sociological/psychological issue.


witch =/= warlock (inso far as majority of history stuffs)

withc is wiccan magic stuff. warlock i don't really know what it referenced but it has to do more with demon stuff..

pop culture wise, witch is "earth magic" warlock is "dark magic" sorcerer is "natural power from within- magic"

Though shows like Charmed just combo packed them all together.

Its pretty hard to cute through pop culture, pathfinder terms, and historical lingustics so... no clue whats proper anymore .

As a general rule I've used witch as non gendered.


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Historically, it was at one time used predominantly for men.

Silver Crusade

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I call myself Doktur

Liberty's Edge

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Yes, they are.

As often as female Witches are, anyway. Classes aren't generally known by name or talked about as such in general conversation in my games (with a few really obvious exceptions, like Paladin).


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Jeremias wrote:
This issue gets much stranger in german. Sorcerer is generally translated as "Hexenmeister" (witch master) and the german term for a male witch is "Hexer", for a female witch it would be "Hexe". So, as you see, you have it really easy.

I shall hereby call ALL male spellcasters I ever play Hexenmeisters, because that may be the best word ever

Silver Crusade

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The class name is irrelevant.

My "Witch" in my RotRL game is a Priest of Nethys to anyone who asks. He no more considers himself a witch than he considers himself a duck. ;)

I also play a "Barbarian" who is a civilized aristocrat whose passion and profession is acting. He can have a bit of a temper at times, but don't most of the aristocracy?

I also have a "ninja" in society play who wouldn't know what a ninja was if you asked him. He is a monster hunter, he hunts monsters. He just happens to be good at hidding himsel and striking from unseen positions. Oh, and he can climb walls like a spider. ;)

Finally, the term "Witch" can either be gender specific or not depending on who you ask. And, as has been pointed out, the term "Warlock" does not neccesarily mean "male witch". It tends to have rather twisted conotations. An archaic meaning of the word was "oathbreaker".

So, take it for what you will and call your character what you will. You can have a female or a male witch or you can have a witch character that calls themselves sorcerer or grand high pubah of the magical dandelion. It does not really matter. People get too hung up on names of classes and try to limit said classes based on their perception of what that name entails.


Zwordsman wrote:

witch =/= warlock (inso far as majority of history stuffs)

withc is wiccan magic stuff. warlock i don't really know what it referenced but it has to do more with demon stuff..

pop culture wise, witch is "earth magic" warlock is "dark magic" sorcerer is "natural power from within- magic"

Though shows like Charmed just combo packed them all together.

Its pretty hard to cute through pop culture, pathfinder terms, and historical lingustics so... no clue whats proper anymore .

As a general rule I've used witch as non gendered.

The term 'witch' and it's equivalents in other languages have been used for a wide range of practices. Sometimes it's been used to describe exclusively practitioners of harmful magic, sometimes it's been used for practitioners of benign magic as well.

Another male equivalent term for 'witch' is 'witcher', though the Witcher video games have applied some pretty heavy associations to the term in the public memory.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Claxon wrote:


In short, male witches are still witches. And it is not considered a gender specific title. Our culture tends to think of it as a gender specific title though.

Historically the title of witch was not one that a person generally claimed for themselves, but laid upon by others as an accusative crime. Women because of their secondary status, were more vulnerable to such a charge, especially if they were unmarried spinsters who did not have a lord or husband to defend them. Hence the female association with the term.

The original use of the term was part of the Church's usual modus operandi in displacing "wise women" who were frequently herbalists and lived alone and were frequently relics of pre-Christian culture and belief. As the Church generally put women under suspect for the perceived sins of Eve, it was natural to use persecution to allow Church male priests to displace the the frequently female herbalists and wise women.


Daenar wrote:
Really, isn't a male witch called a Warlock? Does that not apply in pathfinder? Does anyone else find it odd to refer to a character as a gender specific class title? Do you think it odd that out of all the classes only this one is gender specific in name? Apologies for all the question marks but the subject has raised questions.

3e and 4e had a separate warlock class. Adamant Entertainment has a supplement with a Pathfinder warlock base class.

I believe 4e had a witch subclass of wizard in one of the later books, maybe the fey one.

Keeping the class terms for reference to the classes open to both genders has a functional use in Pathfinder and similar RPGs.

That said I have heard of warlocks as the male term for witches and pretty much associate "witch" as a term generally for females only.

In Harry Potter witches are a term for female wizards and not a separate tradition of magic.

In the Reign of Winter Adventure Path there is a male witch NPC early on who is apprenticed to another witch. Looking back I only referred to him as "the witch's apprentice" and never just "the witch".

I am currently reading through the 3.5 Quintessential Witch for ideas to mine in my ROW game and they use male pronouns a lot when talking about witches. I do find it jarring.


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Daenar wrote:
Really, isn't a male witch called a Warlock? Does that not apply in pathfinder? Does anyone else find it odd to refer to a character as a gender specific class title? Do you think it odd that out of all the classes only this one is gender specific in name? Apologies for all the question marks but the subject has raised questions.

I call Make Witches Witchalock (Warlock + Witch) myself.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In my games the only classes that 'exist' to the general populace are wizards and paladins. Everybody else is a warrior, mage, priest, etc. So no, male witches aren't called witches. They're called wizards, mages, etc.


The only classes which are called by their class name in my campaign are prestige classes.


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Out of character:
"What class are you, man?"
"Oh, just a witch, no archetype."
In character:
"Gods...what...what are you?"
*smiles sadly* "I'm complicated."


In mine most every class is fairly known as their class name in world, the exception being the nonmagical fighters, rogues, and barbarians who would probably be called something like warrior or scouts.

Everything can be known by other names as well, but every magical tradition at least is professionally named.


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Witch


To me Witch is gender neutral but then I'm viewing it from a Pagan angle. I like the idea of a character not necessary identifying themselves as their class. It's not been an issue in Pathfinder but it 3.5 I had character on his way to becoming a Wizard/Master Specialist Abjurer/Mage of The Arcane Order/War Weaver/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil - He identified as an Abjurer. Before I settled on a non-archetyped Witch (male half-orc)I was at one point briefly thinking of going the Hedge Witch rout but calling him a Cunning Man.

The Exchange

I see no issue with calling male witches 'witch', since there are no cries of outrage when a female sorcerer is not identified as a 'sorceress.' While that's the only class I can think of that actually had a separate word for the other gender, the terms 'druid', 'wizard' and 'warrior' have slight gender assumptions. The only thing new here is that the witch's assumption is feminine.


Seems like I heard "witchking" somewhere......but seriously, in my campaign (and most published worlds I have read about), your average dirt farmer (or fighter or rogue for that matter) couldn't tell you the difference between a wizard, sorcerer, psion, witch, or warlock, or even clerics for gods they weren't familiar with.


My elven witch considered himself a diplomat/spy. I did have bard who was the local "witch". Probably the only characters I have played that will refer to themselves as their classes were my 1 of my clerics, they other uses priest.


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Men can't be witches, just like women can't be wizards.


I use the word "Witch." It simplifies things and doesn't tick off the people in my group.

Also, be careful of using the term "warlock" for a male witch. Some people get seriously offended at that.


Since the word witch means "intelligent woman", I would call male witches, warlocks. I have always thought of warlocks as male witches and nothing is going change that even if Paizo themselves make a new class and called it a warlock.


Dragon78 wrote:
Since the word witch means "intelligent woman", I would call male witches, warlocks. I have always thought of warlocks as male witches and nothing is going change that even if Paizo themselves make a new class and called it a warlock.

Is this 'intelligent woman' bit something specific to your campaign? I don't see it mentioned here at all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:

Out of character:

"What class are you, man?"
"Oh, just a witch, no archetype."
In character:
"Gods...what...what are you?"
*smiles sadly* "I'm complicated."

I can no longer read or hear that response without Amy Pond coming to mind.


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Weird none of the online definitions match old paperback dictionaries we used to have but they still all describe a woman.

Liberty's Edge

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Warlock has the unpleasant connotation of having been the term for a traitor or oathbreaker, and etymologically coming from the word for liar, while witch has no such unfortunate connotation and was originally use for men anyway.

It's not a huge deal, but it definitely leaves a bad taste in some people's mouths.


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I'm just gonna keep going with 'Witch' for my male Witch character.


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And yet witch is used much more often as an insult then warlock.


Out of game, yes.

In game, since classes are purely metagame/mechanical constructs, any individual character can proclaim himself to be whatever profession he desires. A wizard or sorcerer could call him/herself a witch just as readily as a witch could call herself a wizard or sorcerer.


Dragon78 wrote:
And yet witch is used much more often as an insult then warlock.

I think one of the main reasons it's used as a female-specific insult outside of it's original context has more to do with the fact that it's one letter off from another, far more insulting and less socially acceptable word.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
And yet witch is used much more often as an insult then warlock.
I think one of the main reasons it's used as a female-specific insult outside of it's original context has more to do with the fact that it's one letter off from another, far more insulting and less socially acceptable word.

I suspect the word you're thinking of is actually more modern than "witch".


I stick with "Witch" for male witches since Witches and Warlocks are different things in my games.
Though I have talked about it in depth in the past.
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2014/05/what-is-warlock.html

Currently working on a Witch and Warlock book for Pathfinder.

Shadow Lodge

The last time I played a witch was the kit for 2e. He was always refered to as Dr. Bombay.

Liberty's Edge

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Dragon78 wrote:
And yet witch is used much more often as an insult then warlock.

Years of witch hunting (and being in the bible in an unfortunate context). Plus Warlock not coming into common use as a male equivalent until recently.

But most witches in the real world are cool with being called a witch, and get pissed about warlock. How relevant that is to game is another matter, but it's an explanation.


I call my character "The Oracle" because of the scarcity of witches in my game. Also to mislead if the situation arises


They call themselves whatever they want generally.

Shadow Lodge

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Kain Darkwind wrote:
Men can't be witches, just like women can't be wizards.

Unless your name happens to be Eskarina.


Historically...witches where first female spirits (much like Pathfinder Hags), the term was later applied to mortals practicing "witchcraft" which was seen as specifically magic that was harmful to the community...and the accusation was most often leveled at women, although later men where also accused with greater frequency.

The terms Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, etc....generally didn't carry the "specific" meaning of doing harm to the community.....at least until Christianity rose to dominance.

The whole "Warlock means oath breaker" is a modern idea....and does not appear anywhere in Scots or Germanic lore prior to the modern age.

As far as "in game" goes, we try to avoid using class labels for our characters....

A Shoanti may refer to a female Wizard as a Sorceress, Witch, or whatever...based on their personal perception of what she is like.

I think the only class that we tend to heavily label is the divine classes, which are almost all referred to as "priest or priestess".

We actively discourage characters from identifying themselves as Rogue, Fighter, etc...etc...


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Wait...better answer...

Manwitch!


I've never had a witch in a game I've ran or played.


Have to second that, previous thread covered this topic and reached the same conclusion man-which is the correct term.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
14 sided die wrote:
Jeremias wrote:
This issue gets much stranger in german. Sorcerer is generally translated as "Hexenmeister" (witch master) and the german term for a male witch is "Hexer", for a female witch it would be "Hexe". So, as you see, you have it really easy.
I shall hereby call ALL male spellcasters I ever play Hexenmeisters, because that may be the best word ever

I approve.


In Italian "Strega" it's a clearly female noun (we don't have a neutral gender, everything is either masculine or feminine), but i nonetheless use it for male characters... Some friends of mine use "Strigo" which is the translation used for the "witcher" character already mentioned.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
14 sided die wrote:
Jeremias wrote:
This issue gets much stranger in german. Sorcerer is generally translated as "Hexenmeister" (witch master) and the german term for a male witch is "Hexer", for a female witch it would be "Hexe". So, as you see, you have it really easy.
I shall hereby call ALL male spellcasters I ever play Hexenmeisters, because that may be the best word ever
I approve.

Oh how much I want to hear now how you would pronounce "Hexenmeister"...

I imagine the voice of David Giuntoli from Grimm... :D


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Male witches being called warlocks is something from some fantasy settings, not a general rule. It's about as 'correct' as it would be to call female wizards 'witches', which also pops up in several fantasy settings (and not just Harry Potter). You can, of course, have such a distinction be part of your setting if you want to (after all, there is a precedent for it in some fantasy settings), but it's certainly not more or less correct to do so.

It's also worth noting (as other have) that there can easily be a distinction between what a character's class is, what that class is known as (and its accompanying reputation) by various cultures, and what the character thinks of themselves as being...especially when it comes to witches, who have been schooled in the ways of magic by a creature with a not-quite-human mindset that they have likely never met in person. Thus, they can as easily fall into being isolated instances that don't quite fit the usual trends as they can fit into some local tradition, depending...and might well take their cue from the entity they commune with.

Thus, it all depends. A witch might be a witch, and at the same time, might be referred to by their culture as a blesser, a cunning-man/woman/folk, a devins-guerisseur, a good witch, a granny woman, a medicine man/woman, a necromancer, a night witch, a pow-wow doctor, a priest, a seer, a shaman, a white witch, a wise man/woman, or even a sorcerer or wizard. And they themselves might identify with one of these titles or none of them, possibly influenced on their reasons for accepting their patron's teaching and the nature of their relationship with their patron.

Of course, most people don't really want to start going down this rabbit hole. Most people are perfectly content to call a witch (someone taking class levels in the witch class) a witch and have their witch call themselves a witch. Which is understandable. It can be a lot of fun to play with some cultural concepts about different kinds of magic, but it can wind up being pretty messy.

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