"Fallen" Witch?


Rules Questions


Knowing the flavor behind the Witch, is it possible for a witch to "fall" like a Cleric when his/her patron no longer wishes to impart knowledge? Witches lack the "Ex-X" line in their class abilities, so I'm inclined to believe they cannot lose their powers mechanically, regardless of their alignment or how they interact with their patron.

(I'm speaking in game terms, not RP terms.)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nope, they cannot fall, because nothing really explains how they interact with their patron. Technically, they are as likely to be leeching away the power as specifically granted it.

Dark Archive

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Since the Patron only grants a selection of spells, it would make sense that an 'oathbreaker' Witch would only lose access to those spells, although some other mechanical change, like losing one's familiar and having to start over with a new one (losing spells learned other than the 2 / level automatically learned).

Some sort of feat or archetype might someday further develop a Witch's tie to her Patron, but, at the moment, it's not really all that relevant.


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By the rules, there is no way to fall as a witch.

James Jacobs has said he thinks the flavour of the Witch class is flawed in that regard, and that 'patron,' should be thought of as a major in college, not an entity you learn from. (I disagree and think this spoils a good deal of the witch's flavour, but that's just me. I am aware I can make my home game use whatever flavour I want.)


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That the patron is left up to the player/gm is something I like; by leaving how a witch gets their powers vague allows us to create the widest variety of characters. In not having the "Ex-X" line frees up witches for the "dark powers used for good" trope (or vice-versa).

For example, my witch Casimir (healing patron hedge witch/herb witch) gets his powers partly through birth and partly through leaning; he might (according to a demon cult) also be a "chosen one" who was "destined" to heal the land of a terrible (demon caused) sickness. Casimir, however has other ideas and left the impoverished sicked country of his birth for much more healthy and wealthy countries where he sells his remarkable healing talents to those who can afford them. That the way he uses his powers might run counter to the intentions of his mysterious patron is a significant part of his character and tying his powers to oaths or alignments would spoil it.


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Set wrote:

Since the Patron only grants a selection of spells, it would make sense that an 'oathbreaker' Witch would only lose access to those spells, although some other mechanical change, like losing one's familiar and having to start over with a new one (losing spells learned other than the 2 / level automatically learned).

Some sort of feat or archetype might someday further develop a Witch's tie to her Patron, but, at the moment, it's not really all that relevant.

Well, if the familiar does leave when the patron rejects her, the witch is pretty screwed. She would need to find another patron even to get a new familiar.

No more spells. Hexes could still function.

Way back, before Reign of Winter came out, I was toying with a campaign using that basic setup - Elvanna's revolt against Baba Yaga. I would have taken it off in entirely different directions, but the relevant point is that I was assuming that the Baba Yaga was patron to Irrisen's Winter Witches and that one of Elvanna's major hurdles in rebelling was finding someone (or in this case something) to take her place as patron.


Trigger Loaded wrote:

By the rules, there is no way to fall as a witch.

James Jacobs has said he thinks the flavour of the Witch class is flawed in that regard, and that 'patron,' should be thought of as a major in college, not an entity you learn from. (I disagree and think this spoils a good deal of the witch's flavour, but that's just me. I am aware I can make my home game use whatever flavour I want.)

Do you think you can link that quote/post?


darkerthought7 wrote:
Trigger Loaded wrote:

By the rules, there is no way to fall as a witch.

James Jacobs has said he thinks the flavour of the Witch class is flawed in that regard, and that 'patron,' should be thought of as a major in college, not an entity you learn from. (I disagree and think this spoils a good deal of the witch's flavour, but that's just me. I am aware I can make my home game use whatever flavour I want.)

Do you think you can link that quote/post?
James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Does Yog-Sothoth work as a witch patron? Also, I know Yog-Sothoth is a vast uncaring mind that knows all and sees all, but would he let someone he's given power to (assuming he would do so) fight other Elder beings like Hastur and Xhamen-Dor?

No. Witch patrons are not things; they're ideas. "Time" or "Portals" or "Space" would all work as a witch patron, but not a specific entity like Yog-Sothoth.

The mythos deities pretty much don't care what their worshipers do, and in many cases don't even realize they have worshipers.

So where does the power (bonus spells, etc.) a witch gets through their patron come from? My understanding was that the Witch character class was meant to be like Faust: their power didn't come from study or genetics but through bargaining with otherworldly forces they don't understand for power. Where did I begin misinterpreting it?

It's unfortunately very poorly defined. A witch's spells are arcane, so she doesn't depend on an outside source; she gains the power and manipulates it through her studies. A witch's patron is more akin to a college student's "major" in that way. It's the focus of her studies. A witch doesn't have to worry about losing her magic because her patron vanishes or dies or because she switches alignment; she always has that same patron.

The problem is that the word "patron" is really not the right word for this concept, and I wish we'd gone with something like "focus" or "inspiration" or a more accurate term.

Alternately, I wish we would have used the idea of a Faustian bargain more accurately, and have a witch's patron be ACTUAL things like Dagon or Nyarlahtotep or Mephistopheles, complete with ramifications if the witch betrays that bargain.

As it stands, it doesn't actually work that way, and the word "patron" is kinda just the wrong word for what it's actually doing.


darkerthought7 wrote:
Do you think you can link that quote/post?

Posted just yesterday.

As mentioned, as a GM, you could rule otherwise and make it possible for a witch to faĺl. Just make sure any witch players are CLEARLY informed about this before the game starts, and know exactly what is required.

I could see an 'offering' mechanic, where your patron doesn't care what you do with your newfound power, as long as they get their due. Like, say, sacrifice an animal once a week, or pour libations worth X amount of gold per day. A goodly aligned one may demand X amount of time spent helping the poor and needy. Could be weird religious-like restrictions, like not ibeing allowed to eat meat and vegetables at the same time, or not wearing clothing that has been dyed.

But as I said, make sure your player is WELL aware of this before you do it.


As they are arcane spellcasters, my opinion is that they'd retain the knowledge of their spells... as long as their «spellbook» didn't abandon them, that's it.
Also, they might have to find a new patron to regain a familiar. Probably it would have the same rules as a witch whose familiar has been replaced for another reason.

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