Hedge Witch Archetype in PFS?


Rules Questions

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

15 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay, so there was a thread years ago about this, but no 'official' consensus was ever reached... so then they are more than likely played in PFS, so how do they work?

Hedge Witch wrote:

Spontaneous Healing (Su): A hedge witch can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that she did not prepare ahead of time. The witch can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower, even if she doesn’t know that cure spell. This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 4th level.

Empathic Healing (Su): A hedge witch can minister to a diseased or poisoned target, redirecting the affliction into herself. For a poisoned target, the witch must tend to him as a standard action; he makes his next saving throw against the poison as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the poisoned creature. For a diseased target, the witch must tend to the sick person for an hour; he makes his next saving throw against the disease as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the diseased creature. The witch does not actually become poisoned or diseased (and is not contagious and does not need to be cured), but suffers the effects of the affliction as if she had been. The witch normally uses this ability to extend the life of someone near death, giving him time to recover. This ability has no effect if the witch is immune to disease or poison. This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 8th level.

I bolded the important parts. Now, note that it doesn't specify what level the hedge witch gets the ability, so would that not mean that you get it at level 1? All hedge witches can do this? BUT, it then says it replaces the hexes at 4th and 8th level respectively. So to some players, this means you don't actually get the abilities until 4th and 8th level.

My take in home games is that the witch gets them at level 1, but if a player tries to abuse the rules and 'dip' I'll smack them (not literally) but I know that kind of ruling doesn't work in PFS.

So, what's the 'official' way to do it in a PFS game, both if I ever play one or if I run a game where a player is one?


There’s still no official consensus. I’d assume that you get both abilities at level 1, as every other archetype ability that has a level prerequisite, mentions that level in the text.

But I wouldn’t be shocked if you came across a GM who rules the other way.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

1st level. It isn't even close to the only archetype that does this by now, but still GMs wail and gnash their teeth at an archetype getting something and paying later.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is definitely something you should discuss with your GM before beginning the scenario.


Anything that doesn't have the usual "At X level, a Y can do blah blah" thing is gained at 1st level.

Dark Archive

Okay, yea that's kinda what I was afraid of... This one of those "No FAQ Needed." cases where Paizo thinks it should be obvious and if it's not obvious to us like it is to them, then oh well.

I'm not actually playing one and I don't GM PFS, but I was curious because if I ever did GM PFS then I'd need to know this...

On the other hand, say I was a level 6 wizard and level 1 witch (hedge witch) would the GM be okay to say I was abusing the rules and not allow it? Or would the fact that I would let the level 3 witch have all the abilities mean I have to let the level 6 wiz / level 1 witch have them too?

To a more broad question, what is the ruling when players are blatantly abusing 'dips'?


I’m not seeing that dip as too abusive. Being able to spontaneously cast a couple cure light wounds spells at character level 7 isn’t that exciting. And shuffling a disease or poison effect to your low-hit-point-having-self doesn’t seem like a big deal either.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Each ability states that it replaces the hex gained at a particular level. You can't replace a hex you don't have yet (just like you can't improve a class feature you don't have yet), so you get the ability at the level you would have got the hex.

Dark Archive

And the debate continues... Let's all hit FAQ then. Especially for proper PFS ruling, this needs official word because a consensus with players isn't happening.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:
because if I ever did GM PFS then I'd need to know this...

Good news. In PFS, how you determine how a rule works is how does your GM think it work. The only time that isn’t true is when there is a known way something works, you are expected to use the known way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Andy Brown wrote:
Each ability states that it replaces the hex gained at a particular level. You can't replace a hex you don't have yet (just like you can't improve a class feature you don't have yet), so you get the ability at the level you would have got the hex.

This is how I read it as well.

Replacing an ability means you get the ability at the level of the one it replaced unless something indicates otherwise.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I’m also on the replacing, you get it at the level it replaced bandwagon.

Shadow Lodge

Andy Brown wrote:
Each ability states that it replaces the hex gained at a particular level. You can't replace a hex you don't have yet (just like you can't improve a class feature you don't have yet), so you get the ability at the level you would have got the hex.

This is not actually correct, as there have been archetypes that specifically did this (Mutation Warrior, for example, originally granted a Mutagen at 1st level even though it replaced a Level 3 class feature. It was eventually errata-ed, but at the time, it was RAW).

That being said, I'd agree that if not otherwise specified, you gain the feature at the same level of the feature that it replaced.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If I had such a character come across my table, I would similarly rule that they received those abilities at the indicated levels.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Andy Brown wrote:
Each ability states that it replaces the hex gained at a particular level. You can't replace a hex you don't have yet (just like you can't improve a class feature you don't have yet), so you get the ability at the level you would have got the hex.

This is not actually correct, as there have been archetypes that specifically did this (Mutation Warrior, for example, originally granted a Mutagen at 1st level even though it replaced a Level 3 class feature. It was eventually errata-ed, but at the time, it was RAW).

That being said, I'd agree that if not otherwise specified, you gain the feature at the same level of the feature that it replaced.

I'd take that errata to be an additional indication that things are replaced at the same level unless specifically called out to be replaced earlier.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Andy Brown wrote:
I'd take that errata to be an additional indication that things are replaced at the same level unless specifically called out to be replaced earlier.

Likewise, as they may not have been as much attention on any remaining items as there was on the mutation warrior.

Dark Archive

James Risner wrote:
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:
because if I ever did GM PFS then I'd need to know this...
Good news. In PFS, how you determine how a rule works is how does your GM think it work. The only time that isn’t true is when there is a known way something works, you are expected to use the known way.

That's the biggest problem I have with PFS. For all their vaunted "We have to determine how things work so there are no conflicts at the table" there are cases like this where they don't bother.

If I've played in a few games with GMs that interpret it as I get the ability at 1st level, then suddenly play with a GM that says "Nope, it doesn't say 1st level so you get it at the level of the hex" then that's taking away an ability my character has had her entire career. Same as if I was the GM... I wouldn't want to be the GM to say "I don't care what every other GM let you do your past 3 levels, you don't get that ability until 4th level" or vice versa, being the 'nice' GM that allows it.

So yes, I understand there isn't a 'known way' in this case, which is my entire point. There NEEDS to be, especially as it has been pointed out that this isn't the only archetype where they worded it this way anymore (one being eratted doesn't set a precedent for others.)

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:
I understand there isn't a 'known way' in this case, which is my entire point. There NEEDS to be

Actually, we'd like there to be. There doesn't need to be. It would be a full time job of one person 40 hours a week to field all the things that someone "needs" clarified. That isn't going to happen. Plus each of those clarifications are there and need to be understood by every GM. There is already probably too many clarification.

In short, we need to use the things that have little or no table variance in characters we expect to have more than one GM and use the things clarified with your PFS table GM on the ones that have bigger variance. That is how this system works.

Dark Archive

James Risner wrote:
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:
I understand there isn't a 'known way' in this case, which is my entire point. There NEEDS to be

Actually, we'd like there to be. There doesn't need to be. It would be a full time job of one person 40 hours a week to field all the things that someone "needs" clarified. That isn't going to happen. Plus each of those clarifications are there and need to be understood by every GM. There is already probably too many clarification.

In short, we need to use the things that have little or no table variance in characters we expect to have more than one GM and use the things clarified with your PFS table GM on the ones that have bigger variance. That is how this system works.

So then if I'm the PFS GM, I'm totally okay to allow level 1 hedge witches to have the archetype's full abilities then.

While I understand where some things don't need to be clarified, I still think this is one that does, as evidenced by how many people just in this thread are so sure they are correct in how it works.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ruling either way is reasonable, and thus correct. Not every rule question has this amount of uncertainty. In cases where you feel the DM is wrong, you could try asking your venture lieutenant or captain. Or just find a more agreeable DM.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:
I'm the PFS GM, I'm totally okay to allow level 1 hedge witches to have the archetype's full abilities then.

If that is how you believe the rules work, yes.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The thing is, though, you don't lose anything when a GM rules that you have to wait until 4th/8th Level. You still have all of your 1st-3rd level abilities.

You're gaining something *extra* when a GM tells you that they're gained immediately.

And if you'd like this question answered, copy the URL to this thread and post it in the Stickied "Compilation of Campaign Clarification Requests" thread in the PFS Forum.

There is a Campaign Clarifications document. This is exactly the sort of thing it was created to address. Just be patient while everything ahead of you gets worked through the queue.


Unless I’m somehow mistaken, that level 8 hex trade is pretty weak though. By that level you should just be curing the disease or poison. It actually makes a lot more sense to me to get that at level 1, when it could actually come in handy.

The spontaneous cure spells is ok, but it does feel a bit weird to wait till 4th level to get that. Especially since it scales as you level anyway.


any archetype that trades out an ability and doesn't have the at x level text grants you the ability at level 1


Lady-J wrote:
any archetype that trades out an ability and doesn't have the at x level text grants you the ability at level 1

Is that in the rules or FAQ somewhere?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Melkiador wrote:
The spontaneous cure spells is ok, but it does feel a bit weird to wait till 4th level to get that. Especially since it scales as you level anyway.

Being able to cast a spell you haven't prepared is quite powerful. Being able to cast a spell you don't know is more powerful

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Andy Brown wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
any archetype that trades out an ability and doesn't have the at x level text grants you the ability at level 1
Is that in the rules or FAQ somewhere?

No in general, yes on specific items like Mutation Warrior.


James Risner wrote:
Andy Brown wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
any archetype that trades out an ability and doesn't have the at x level text grants you the ability at level 1
Is that in the rules or FAQ somewhere?
No in general, yes on specific items like Mutation Warrior.

The Mutation Warrior says when it gets things, so I'm not sure why it's relevant at this point


They're generalizing from the single case of mutation warrior getting errata'd to all similarly-worded cases. For what it's worth, the design team has repeatedly warned against doing that sort of generalization; on the other hand, some rules really are meant to be generalized, and we merely disagree over whether this is one of those cases.

Edit: Generalized, not extrapolated.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's hard to argue (IMO) that you'd get these abilities any earlier or later than the indicated levels.

Our experience can certainly cloud our judgment. How would someone brand new to Pathfinder interpret this?

They'd likely, reasonably, understand it to mean that you gain those abilities at the indicated levels.


They could just as reasonably think they gain them when first taking the class, as no other limitations are listed.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I suppose, if other people are interpreting it that way.

I just don't see it, but I'm certainly open to being wrong.


Nefreet wrote:
It's hard to argue (IMO) that you'd get these abilities any earlier or later than the indicated levels.

There are no indicated levels for the gained abilities - that's the thing. All other abilities without an indicated level are gained when taking that classes first level.

"Gain when you replace it" isn't a hard and fast rule - for example, the Motunui Arsenal Chaplain gains Weapon Training at 5th level in exchange for Chamnnel Energy, normally gained at 4th level.

For the record, I'm not saying your reading isn't what's intended, just that it doesn't match what's written.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Derklord wrote:
just that it doesn't match what's written.[/smaller]

Depends on how you interpret it.

Interpretation 1) You get things the level that you trade away the feature, by default.

Interpretation 2) You get things at 1st unless otherwise specified.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Indeed. Text requires interpretation. There is no such thing as "Rules as Written".

When the written text is "This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 8th level", I personally cannot see how people argue that you would instead gain the ability at any other level. But that's just my interpretation.

Obviously there are people posting the exact opposite.

Luckily, we have GMs that can make a ruling and move on (whether it be PFS or otherwise).

Grand Lodge

In that case, I've decided to interpret it as I get spell perfection at level 1 as a prerequisite free bonus feat. ;)

Good thing that there's absolutely no such thing as Rules as Written or someone might be able to prove me wrong.


While I don’t agree that there is no such thing as RAW, in the general sense. In this case, either interpretation stands up to natural readings. We have no other facts to convince either side they are wrong in their interpretation. So trying to convince someone their interpretation is wrong is futile.


Derklord wrote:
"Gain when you replace it" isn't a hard and fast rule - for example, the Motunui Arsenal Chaplain gains Weapon Training at 5th level in exchange for Chamnnel Energy, normally gained at 4th level.

However, that states the level at which you receive weapon training, so it's an explicit change to "gain when you replace it"


Just to add an extra wrinkle, the Vellemancer actually says "at level x you get y. this replaces the hex gained at level x".

Wording and/or intent definitely needs some clarification.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jurassic Pratt wrote:

In that case, I've decided to interpret it as I get spell perfection at level 1 as a prerequisite free bonus feat. ;)

Good thing that there's absolutely no such thing as Rules as Written or someone might be able to prove me wrong.

I've read your quips before, but can never tell when you're serious or not.

You can, for example, interpret Weapon Focus to grant a cumulative +1 on every attack roll, and of course then to CMD as well, but not to Steal or Grapple maneuvers.

Nothing is ever "proven", 100%. Everything is in degrees of certainty.

If you genuinely believed Weapon Focus worked as I just laid out, you'd likely have evidence to support your belief. That evidence would then compete against opposing views. There might even be a point when half of all people side with either view.

Even if an FAQ or clarification was issued, we've seen plenty of times before that the argument didn't end. The degrees of certainty may have shifted, but there was still sizable opposition for the debate to continue.

So if you genuinely interpreted text somewhere as meaning that all characters get Spell Perfection as a bonus feat, you'd likely have something to show your GM that was the case. If they disagreed with you, it doesn't mean you're wrong, you just wouldn't be able to gain Spell Perfection for free with that character.

Maybe your next GM will side with your interpretation.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Jurassic Pratt wrote:

In that case, I've decided to interpret it as I get spell perfection at level 1 as a prerequisite free bonus feat. ;)

Good thing that there's absolutely no such thing as Rules as Written or someone might be able to prove me wrong.

That isn't what we are saying. We are saying that if something said "Get spell perfection when you think it would be cool to get" then yea. You might think it's cool to get at level 1 as a bonus ignoring prereq feats. Others would disagree, but both interpretation would be fine.

Grand Lodge

Its just absurd to suggest that things can't be proven 100%. I can 100% prove that your account just posted here for example.

Multiple views of something does not mean multiple valid views. Sometimes things truly mean one thing. Just because one side has a problem with reading comprehension doesn't mean their view is valid.

And on the other hand, there certainly are cases where things are vague and either side could be correct. This is certainly one such area since it doesn't specify what level you get the abilities at and we don't have a hard written rule about whether you only gain abilities at the levels of things they're replaced or not when it's not specified.

But arguing that nothing can ever be "proven" when language has laws that tell you how to interpret it is absolute absurdism.

@James Any interpretation is fine to have, but that doesn't make it valid if it contradicts what is written.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Its just absurd to suggest that things can't be proven 100%. I can 100% prove that your account just posted here for example.

You can believe my account just posted here, but you cannot "prove" it.

So imagine this went to a court hearing. You argue my account posted, I argue it did not.

You present evidence supporting your belief. You might cite our past discussions, manner of language used, Forum Handle and even IP address.

In response I would present evidence to the contrary (whatever evidence that could be).

The judge would weigh all evidence and side with one view. That does not mean either side was correct, otherwise nobody would ever disagree with the outcome of a case.

If the judge in our hypothetical scenario ruled against you, you would likely continue to believe I had posted, despite the ruling not being in your favor.

It might even be "true".

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Jurassic Pratt wrote:

But arguing that nothing can ever be "proven" when language has laws that tell you how to interpret it is absolute absurdism.

@James Any interpretation is fine to have, but that doesn't make it valid if it contradicts what is written.

No one, including me, is arguing nothing can be proven. I've seen my words extrapolated to that view by others. I've said language is fluid. Which really translates to:

  • Changes over time.
  • Words have multiple meanings, and unless a Pathfinder rule sets which one to use people will disagree.
  • Some people may read the wording differently than 90% of others.

In short, this is an example of something both sides seem to agree is not "only one side is valid." There are other threads, where only one side may be more valid, but someone refuses to accept. There may be yet other threads where neither side is valid and Paizo gives us a third version in the form of errata.

So what someone think is the only valid interpretation, may not be.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What I believe your argument addresses is "shared understanding". You and I, both being Forum posters, PFS members, role-players and avid readers of Paizo materials, operate using a similar framework of understanding. We will likely read the majority of text published by Paizo and come to the same interpretations.

We both believe, using our shared understanding, that Weapon Focus grants a +1 untyped bonus on all attack rolls with one specified weapon type, and that Spell Perfection isn't a bonus feat for all 1st level characters. You and I will likely never disagree about that.

The degrees of certainty are going to be pretty solid. The vast majority of readers will likely agree with us.

But do not extrapolate that shared understanding to mean that other text cannot be interpreted differently.

Grand Lodge

James Risner wrote:
No one, including me, is arguing nothing can be proven. I've seen my words extrapolated to that view by others. I've said language is fluid.

Nefreet seems to have actually just stated above you that he is arguing that.

Grand Lodge

Nefreet wrote:

What I believe your argument addresses is "shared understanding". You and I, both being Forum posters, PFS members, role-players and avid readers of Paizo materials, operate using a similar framework of understanding. We will likely read the majority of text published by Paizo and come to the same interpretations.

We both believe, using our shared understanding, that Weapon Focus grants a +1 untyped bonus on all attack rolls with one specified weapon type, and that Spell Perfection isn't a bonus feat for all 1st level characters. You and I will likely never disagree about that.

The degrees of certainty are going to be pretty solid. The vast majority of readers will likely agree with us.

But do not extrapolate that shared understanding to mean that other text cannot be interpreted differently.

My friend, you seem to have taken one too many intro level philosophy classes. I'll let it go at this point as you're very clearly stuck in your highly interesting worldview and its unlikely to be a productive conversation.

Sczarni

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Not just intro level, I wasted money on an Undergraduate degree! *thumbs up emoji*


Either way of this off topic debate, the fact that people can't agree on this issue is good reason to click that FAQ button, of which there is only a measly 6. Though there is probably another post for this somewhere...

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Generally if your end goal is to get a question FAQ'd it's good practice to research prior threads and link them in the first post to show that it is indeed a frequently asked question.

In doing so you may just come across a post that already has numerous FAQ clicks already, or even a Developer/Author clarification that never made the final edit.

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Hedge Witch Archetype in PFS? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.