Crossing the Havocker Witch

Rules Questions

Lantern Lodge

I really could use some help clarifying the wording of a particular supplement. The Magic Tactics Toolbox included a new archetype for the witch called the Havocker, which at face value seems to be the heel to the hex healer (pun intended) trading hexes for kinetic blasting power. Upon first glance it seemed pretty balanced. Take away hexes, get kinetic blast, and every few levels get a new form blast. Not as powerful as kineticist, but with the proper application of feats and spells, could be more diverse.
Going through the wording, however, it seems you not only lose your hexes, but your familiar is altered. Yet, it doesn't say how it is altered within the text.


Patron Element: A havocker’s patron grants her the ability to devastate her foes with a specific element. At 1st level, rather than selecting a standard patron and gaining patron spells, the witch selects a specific kineticist element, which represents the shadowy forces from which she gains her familiar and class powers. The havocker gains the elemental focus and kinetic blast class features with the associated element, using her witch level as her effective kineticist level. If the havocker takes levels in another class that grants an elemental focus, the elemental focuses must be the same type, even if that means that the elemental focus of one of the classes must change. Subject to GM discretion, the havocker can change her former elemental focus to make them conform.

This ability alters the witch’s familiar and replaces the witch’s 1st-level hex.

The format for archetypes always includes a very clear description of what is being replaced at the bottom of the class ability's description. The name of the class ability would seem to imply that the witch's patron was being replaced by the element, but the line (bold-ed) above in the text impies the familiar is trading out abilities in this archetype. So what is different about the Havocker's familiar? Is it like the Winter Witch who may only choose a familiar that is comfortable with her chosen element? Does the witch, in choosing an element as her patron, not get a familiar? If so, where does she keep the spells she knows and how does she learn new ones? Did the author mean to write "This ability replaces the witch's patron" or "This ability replaces the witch's familiar" and clerical errors occurred before print?

These are all theories, of course. I would really like to attempt this archetype, but before I put an emotional investment into this character I want to make sure I have covered all my bases so I can play without fear of rule-lawyering.
Infernal is a precise and deliberate language and hell hath no fury like a pathfinder scorn'd.

It says 'a specific kineticist element, which represents the shadowy forces from which she gains her familiar and class powers.' so you still have a familiar. No actual change is given which suggests to me that one was originally included but then removed in later editing.

I will say that this archetype looks weaker to me than the base witch. The blasts aren't strong enough to make up for losing hexes like slumber, evil eye, misfortune or fortune. In most cases you'll be better to use a spell than to burn it to apply an infusion to your blast.

Lantern Lodge

The issue is not power level. The slumber/controller witch will always be queen. The issue I am running into is stacking this archetype with the Wyrmwitch archetype. Mechanically, the build is nothing special. Aesthetically, you have a witch that acts like a dragon and even has a corresponding "breath weapon" to back that up.

The only thing that is keeping the two from stacking is one line of text that says the witch's familiar is changed for both archetypes.

the witch familier store her spells. the witch gain patron spells at specific levels that 'pop' intoo the spells stored at the familier. by saying you do not pick a patrn and get patron spells it changes the familier.
(also story wise the familier while working for you is sent by the patron so taking away the patron change that part of the familier story)

Lantern Lodge

zza ni wrote:
By saying she does not pick a patron and get patron spells it changes the familiar.

Here is where I have a problem with this answer: Dreamweaver, Seawitch, Mountain Witch, Winter Witch, and Dimensional Occultist all trade out spells given by their patron and there is no indication that this alters the Witch's familiar (even the Winter Witch who has a limited selection of familiars doesn't have the corresponding "This alter's the witch's familiar" text)

There may be others. As counterpoint, I did find that Alley Witch also follows the format of the Havocker (stating that altering the patron spells alters the familiar) but other than that, the trade-offs for witch archetypes seem inconsistent. When you look at the Oracle, the bonus spells that she receives from her mystery almost always alters her bonus spells-(looks again)- actually, that seems to be pretty inconsistent, too. hrmm...

Lantern Lodge

This question has still yet to be answered.

In the Patron Element description "rather than selecting a standard patron and gaining patron spells, the witch selects a specific kineticist element"
then at the end of the description "This ability alters the witch’s familiar and replaces the witch’s 1st-level hex.
The witch's familiar is not replaced or altered in any way. Yet, according to the closing rule, the ability does not replace or alter patron spells, which is contrary to what is written in the description. So that would imply that the witch still gets her patron spells.

Corneleus Idaho wrote:
This question has still yet to be answered.

The question was answered. The archetype removes your choice of patron and access to patron spells in favor of choosing an elemental focus and getting a kinetic blast. This replacement modifies the witches familiar by preventing it from automatically learning your patron spells. They could have made it clearer and probably should have, however simply reading the ability itself and not relying solely on the last line to understand what is replaced makes it 100% clear. It does not imply that you still get patron spells, it states quite clearly that you lose those.

There are multiple reasons why they might have chosen to say it modifies the familiar rather than that it simply replaces patron and patron spells. One as suggestion before is that the ability might have originally had more to it that directly altered the familiar. Another could be that it was written this way to allow for potential stacking with other archetypes that alter patron spells. It could even have simply been in error and the familiar was never meant to be altered. Regardless of why it was written like that however, there is no denying that you lose access to the patron and patron spells features.

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