Witch Playtest Expectations and Hopes


Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest General Discussion

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Temperans wrote:
Ed it's hard to do that because the system already had a foundation which got obviously changed.

I didn't say it would be easy. :-)


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Rysky wrote:

I'm also for prepared Occult, with patrons adding spells from other lists.

Otherwise Pick-Arcane-Witch steps on Wizards toes and pick-Divine-Witch steps on Clerics toes too much. Plus occult is very thematic for them.

Whether or not it's the witch, I want a "prepared pick-a-list" class eventually. It doesn't need to step on the toes of the Wizard, Cleric, or Druid any more than the Occult sorcerer steps on the toes of the Bard or the Divine sorcerer steps on the toes of the Oracle.

I personally want a dedicated prepared and a dedicated spontaneous caster for each of the four lists, and a "pick a list" option for both prepared and spontaneous. If we get a third kind of casting, then that's five more classes I want.

*cough* magus *cough*

I’ll not clutter this thread with my argument for it, since in all honesty I haven’t come up with anything new I haven’t said before. Instead, I’ll merely second your wish here.

It occurs to me that an additional 5 classes could be neovancian. I wonder what those classes would look like?


I do expect Patrons to be expanded upon. More abilities coming from that. I do not expect the list to change, but we'll definitely see added spells and maybe focus spells.

Maybe they even have some universal spell adjustments (similar to the Sorcerer's). As prepared casters, they could have different ones and prepare one daily


I'm pretty certain it will work as follows, and I did a mini test of this in one of the released APs:

-Prepared Intelligence-based Occult spellcaster.

-Will have access to Patrons, which I suspect will give one bonus spell per level of a specific spell (not necessarily on the Occult list, but casts as an Occult spell for all purposes, maybe? Otherwise will just be free Occult spells they have access to).

-Hexes will most likely function as one-action abilities, with some of them (like Slumber) being two-action or higher abilities with once per target per day limitations similar to how it was in PF1.

I actually had used this in play, where the BBEG used Evil Eye on the PCs. It was a one-action flourish ability that targets an enemy they can see within 60 feet (and who can see the Witch), affecting one kind of proficiency they possess (attack rolls, AC, saving throws, skill checks, and so on). On a failure, the target suffers a -1 status penalty to those types of proficiency checks for a number of rounds equal to the Witch's intelligence bonus. On critical failure, the status penalty is increased to -2, and lasts for 1 minute. On a success, the penalty lasts only for 1 round, and no effect on a critical success. It's simple to use, maintains power throughout all levels of play, and is great for projected Witch playstyles.

-Will have a Familiar as a standard feature instead of it being an option like the Wizard had, though I imagine there will be feats that enhance it similar to Animal Companions as part of the Witch class feat pool. Hopefully this will give the Witch a special identity, and not simply be a "Wizard with different spellcasting and focus powers," or a "Bard with different primary stat and focus powers."

I actually have a write-up of what this stuff probably looks like that I might post here sometime in the near future.


Charon Onozuka wrote:
Where does it say that divine magic only comes from deities?

In Golarion, the only beings who can choose to grant divine power, rather than pass it down involuntarily through genetics, are deities. Note that my comment already take demigods into account when I said "deities".

Charon Onozuka wrote:
Looking back at PF1, the Witch class had several options for connecting them to divine sources that weren't deities. Some examples would be Celestial Agenda (patron), Demon-Sworn (archetype), Infernal Contract (Patron), and Pact Witch (archetype).

My biggest problem with those patrons is that being invested with power by a group of minor planar beings doesn't sound like an int-based casting class at all. They felt a lot more like options for a charisma-based caster instead, like the 5e warlock. I would also be pretty disappointed if infernal contracts are a witch patron rather than a class-agnostic option, like rituals. I shouldn't have to multiclass witch to play a fighter who sold his soul to be the best swordsman alive. In fact, witch wouldn't even make sense.

Charon Onozuka wrote:
...worship isn't generally done unwillingly, while contracts can easily be made under duress or while being tricked. Unlike Clerics, the Witch class didn't have language saying they lost access to their magic/abilities if they don't follow their patron's wishes.

That's only 1e witch, where patrons are ill-defined forces of nature and metaphysics. 2e witch patrons will be tangible beings, which makes me think that witches will have anathema, just like druids and clerics.

Charon Onozuka wrote:

I've never seen anything implying that Druids are expected to revere specific beings in exchange for power. Generally they always seen to be portrayed as respecting nature as a whole. So there really isn't much thematic overlap here.

Looking back at PF1, the Witch class had patrons like the Fey Gifts patron....It also had the Green Whispers patron.... The class also had plenty of spells, hexes, and general patrons which seemed to go along with the primal theme.

Not all druids directly worship powerful entities of nature, but plenty do. Worshiping the the forces of nature itself also includes at least paying respect to those beings. It's not that you can't gain power from a powerful representative of nature by doing its bidding, it's that you can already play that very concept as a druid. You don't need the witch class at all.

Charon Onozuka wrote:
Personally, I see the Witch as the best choice for being a pick-a-list prepared caster since like the Sorcerer - their power originates from a distinct and highly variable "other" element (bloodline/patron) which they have limited control over. As long as enough emphasis is put on Patrons and their pact/contract, I don't think the Witch having an overlapping spell list will make them overlap too much with other casters.

By overlap, I mean that all arcane/divine/primal witch concepts can ALREADY BE PLAYED by being a wizard/cleric/druid, barring the infernal contract idea (but I also have other desires for how that's implemented, see above). Occult witches meanwhile fill a specific niche that can't be represented by any other class or class combination in the game.

Charon Onozuka wrote:

Overall, part of the reason I really prefer to push for the Witch to have patron dependent spell traditions is because I worry about future-proofing content & limiting the theme.

For future-proofing. Say a really thematic demon-related spell gets added. It'd probably be added to the divine spell list (since that's what demons cast from). A Demon-blooded Sorcerer would instantly have access to this, but an occult-based Witch with a demon patron wouldn't be able to cast it since it was on the wrong list and any patron-related bonus spells were already decided before the new spell came out.

We have a similar problem with draconic sorcerer already. A green dragon sorcerer can't cast entangle, a spell like ability shared by all green dragons, without being crossblooded. Silver and gold dragon sorcerers can't cast divine spells at all despite their ancestors having them. Instead of future proofing the class like that, I'd personally want to see feats and archetypes that address these issues independent of class.

Charon Onozuka wrote:
For the theme, one complaint I saw in PF1 was that too much theming was spent on the sort of stereotypical evil fairy tale Witch while not giving enough options for others types of Witches in tales/myths/etc. If the PF2 Witch becomes strictly Occult, I kinda worry that themes related to the Primal/Divine side of Witch stories will get muted/ignored in the class mechanics in favor of this stereotype.

Considering that bards are occult, I'm not worried about stereotyping. Are bards also cackling evil hags?

Besides, I think if we're ever getting a prepared-any class, I hope it would be the shaman. The 1e witch felt way too similar to the shaman already, which in turn makes the shaman one of the thematically weakest classes.


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Y'ask me, Shaman should be Primal, not Occult.


Ed Reppert wrote:
Y'ask me, Shaman should be Primal, not Occult.

I didn't say occult, I just said prepare-any. If we NEED a prepared-any analog to sorcerer, the shaman's whole thing with directly borrowing power from spirits (which could really be anything...outsiders? nature spirits? dead people? who knows!) can be represented by the spells being whatever tradition the spirits themselves use. Wandering spirit would also grant a handful of spells from another tradition.

Primal shaman is the obvious other option, of course.

But enough shaman talk. This thread is about witch.


Arcanist also kind of work as prepared any, they already effectively had the choice between Wizard, witch, partial druid. Also the Blood Arcanist archetype, which makes it directly related to sorcerer spontaneous any.

And yes I agree this thread is about the witch let's talk about it not just prepared any.


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I'm not sure we really need prepared any and to be honest the idea of just checking off every box for the sake of checking it off sounds.. not great. We don't really need ten flavors of 10th level spellcaster just to check off boxes.

Not to say that more casters aren't bad, but they should have some really strong thematic thing tying them into the game, not just exist to fill an arbitrary niche.

Like, Wizards and Arcane Sorcerers already feel really similar. Throwing a third caster in there feels like it would be pretty suffocating unless it has something really compelling to set it apart, which is in and of itself hard to do with how minimalist full caster class features actually are.

Regarding Witches, while I don't think it's necessary for Patrons to define spell lists, I would still like to see them be a lot more meaningful than 1e Patrons. The fluff of the Patron is really neat, thematically... but in practice there just isn't much there.

I like Hexes as a combination of cantrips and focus spells like the Bard has... maybe we could even get a damage dealing one so I can snag a patron and a big nuke and pretend to be a D&D warlock.


Squiggit wrote:

I'm not sure we really need prepared any and to be honest the idea of just checking off every box for the sake of checking it off sounds.. not great. We don't really need ten flavors of 10th level spellcaster just to check off boxes.

Not to say that more casters aren't bad, but they should have some really strong thematic thing tying them into the game, not just exist to fill an arbitrary niche.

Like, Wizards and Arcane Sorcerers already feel really similar. Throwing a third caster in there feels like it would be pretty suffocating unless it has something really compelling to set it apart, which is in and of itself hard to do with how minimalist full caster class features actually are.

Regarding Witches, while I don't think it's necessary for Patrons to define spell lists, I would still like to see them be a lot more meaningful than 1e Patrons. The fluff of the Patron is really neat, thematically... but in practice there just isn't much there.

I like Hexes as a combination of cantrips and focus spells like the Bard has... maybe we could even get a damage dealing one so I can snag a patron and a big nuke and pretend to be a D&D warlock.

Inquiring minds want to know: how is prepared occult any less "checking off boxes" than prepared any? You might be able to argue that it is a more important box, but ultimately it is just a box.


Mechagamera wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I'm not sure we really need prepared any and to be honest the idea of just checking off every box for the sake of checking it off sounds.. not great. We don't really need ten flavors of 10th level spellcaster just to check off boxes.

Not to say that more casters aren't bad, but they should have some really strong thematic thing tying them into the game, not just exist to fill an arbitrary niche.

Like, Wizards and Arcane Sorcerers already feel really similar. Throwing a third caster in there feels like it would be pretty suffocating unless it has something really compelling to set it apart, which is in and of itself hard to do with how minimalist full caster class features actually are.

Regarding Witches, while I don't think it's necessary for Patrons to define spell lists, I would still like to see them be a lot more meaningful than 1e Patrons. The fluff of the Patron is really neat, thematically... but in practice there just isn't much there.

I like Hexes as a combination of cantrips and focus spells like the Bard has... maybe we could even get a damage dealing one so I can snag a patron and a big nuke and pretend to be a D&D warlock.

Inquiring minds want to know: how is prepared occult any less "checking off boxes" than prepared any? You might be able to argue that it is a more important box, but ultimately it is just a box.

Currently there’s no prepared Occult, so the creative ground is fertile and full of potential. While it could be argued as ‘checking off a box’ there’s substantial reason and thematic potential for placing it there. Placing it as Prepared-any has less potential to be unique without stepping on the toes of other prepared Arcane/Primal/Divine; and will be under significant pressure to feel different, possibly stumbling the design process. This isn’t to say it’s not possible, or even the direction they might end up going; but with current information and speculation, Occult seems like the best fit for the time being.

As for my feelings on what i want from Witch: Familiar options, and few, if any, exclusive to the class itself. Which should have an options similar to the Wizard’s Familiar Thesis so they can get more Familiar/Master abilities. Then just dump a bunch of new Familiar/Master abilities.


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Mechagamera wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I'm not sure we really need prepared any and to be honest the idea of just checking off every box for the sake of checking it off sounds.. not great. We don't really need ten flavors of 10th level spellcaster just to check off boxes.

Not to say that more casters aren't bad, but they should have some really strong thematic thing tying them into the game, not just exist to fill an arbitrary niche.

Like, Wizards and Arcane Sorcerers already feel really similar. Throwing a third caster in there feels like it would be pretty suffocating unless it has something really compelling to set it apart, which is in and of itself hard to do with how minimalist full caster class features actually are.

Regarding Witches, while I don't think it's necessary for Patrons to define spell lists, I would still like to see them be a lot more meaningful than 1e Patrons. The fluff of the Patron is really neat, thematically... but in practice there just isn't much there.

I like Hexes as a combination of cantrips and focus spells like the Bard has... maybe we could even get a damage dealing one so I can snag a patron and a big nuke and pretend to be a D&D warlock.

Inquiring minds want to know: how is prepared occult any less "checking off boxes" than prepared any? You might be able to argue that it is a more important box, but ultimately it is just a box.

Its about the reason for making the decision. The point is that the choice shouldn't be made just to fill a box, and you shouldn't just keep adding classes just to fill those boxes. The decision should be "I have an interesting and fun class concept, what tradition and method of spellcasting best fits that concept and helps to develop its distinctive identity".

While I am actually all for the sorcerer being pick a tradition (as it best fits the concept) I feel that making the witch pick a tradition doesn't feel right for the witch, and that occult magic is what the witch should be all about. (As the weird creepy spell list are a big part of the fun of the 1e witch, and most of those spells fall under occult).


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Tender Tendrils wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I'm not sure we really need prepared any and to be honest the idea of just checking off every box for the sake of checking it off sounds.. not great. We don't really need ten flavors of 10th level spellcaster just to check off boxes.

Not to say that more casters aren't bad, but they should have some really strong thematic thing tying them into the game, not just exist to fill an arbitrary niche.

Like, Wizards and Arcane Sorcerers already feel really similar. Throwing a third caster in there feels like it would be pretty suffocating unless it has something really compelling to set it apart, which is in and of itself hard to do with how minimalist full caster class features actually are.

Regarding Witches, while I don't think it's necessary for Patrons to define spell lists, I would still like to see them be a lot more meaningful than 1e Patrons. The fluff of the Patron is really neat, thematically... but in practice there just isn't much there.

I like Hexes as a combination of cantrips and focus spells like the Bard has... maybe we could even get a damage dealing one so I can snag a patron and a big nuke and pretend to be a D&D warlock.

Inquiring minds want to know: how is prepared occult any less "checking off boxes" than prepared any? You might be able to argue that it is a more important box, but ultimately it is just a box.

Its about the reason for making the decision. The point is that the choice shouldn't be made just to fill a box, and you shouldn't just keep adding classes just to fill those boxes. The decision should be "I have an interesting and fun class concept, what tradition and method of spellcasting best fits that concept and helps to develop its distinctive identity".

While I am actually all for the sorcerer being pick a tradition (as it best fits the concept) I feel that making the witch pick a tradition doesn't feel right for the witch, and that occult magic is what the witch should be all about. (As the...

I get magic because my daddy is a devil is okay for that magic to be divine, but I get my magic because I learned it from a devil means the magic is somehow occult? On the surface, that doesn't feel right to me.

Now if they say something like "devils and fey lords teach witches occult magic in order to disguise their influence", I could buy that (assuming they explained how a nonoccult patron can teach occult magic [for devils I assume it would involve mining knowledge from occult casters souls in Hell]), but I haven't seen anything like that either (especially on this thread)


Mechagamera wrote:

I get magic because my daddy is a devil is okay for that magic to be divine, but I get my magic because I learned it from a devil means the magic is somehow occult? On the surface, that doesn't feel right to me.

Now if they say something like "devils and fey lords teach witches occult magic in order to disguise their influence", I could buy that (assuming they explained how a nonoccult patron can teach occult magic [for devils I assume it would involve mining knowledge from occult casters souls in Hell]), but I haven't seen anything like that either (especially on this thread)

The real question here is, what exact are we expecting witch patrons to be? All we know is that they'll be concrete beings rather than nebulous metaphysical concepts, with Baba Yaga being a single example. But we really don't know what else.

People are assuming that we'll see fiends, celestials, fey, and great old ones, based on how 5e warlocks are implemented, but considering the core differences between that and pathfinder 1e's witch (spontaneous cha caster vs prepared int caster), are those assumptions really valid?


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The Blood of the Coven player's companion for PF1 included the option for your Patron to be a Celestial, Hag, Outer God, Devil, Fey, a Manifestation of natural forces, a Shadow plane denizen, etc. So it's not like this is unprecedented in Pathfinder.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I personally hope there's a good way to downplay or ignore patrons. To me, patrons weren't the fun part about witches and every one my group played actively ignored it. In my head, patrons = warlocks.

What I liked about Witches was their spooky spell list which oozed flavor, and their hexes which helped shore up their patchy spell list and gave them a unique niche as an all-day spooker.

I think being the pre-eminent Occult spell slinger and having hexes as cantrips/focus powers/rituals/etc would be more than enough to sustain a class.

Patrons can be an optional flavor extra for those who liked that, similar to wizard schools.


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To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.


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Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

There’s literary precedent for that, but I don’t think Pathfinder goes that route.

I’m continuously pleased that the 5E class that is all about their pact is named “Oathbreaker” by the way. I also like that PF witches draw on older stories than the ones that made the two terms synonymous (since that’s relatively recent).
Edit: older than I thought,


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Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.


I admit that a wide variety of patrons is an assumption (one I feel good about but still an assumption). It all depends on what is the most important part of being a witch. If it creepiness, then no need to go farther than the occult.

If it is getting magic by being the student of some otherworldly being, then different types of patrons seem worthwhile. That being said, there are some missing outsiders from PF1 that if they became occult would go along way to filling the fiend/celestial/fey patron roles. Kytons in particular practically scream occult as does their home, the Plane of Shadows. Oni, Rakesha, or Qlippoth are also possibilities. For the Qlippoth, maybe the demons have finally driven them totally out of the Abyss or they left to strike a major blow (I mostly included them for the creepy factor). Agathions are a little tougher sell as the good occult guys, but I could be persuaded by a good story (they collectively decided to sacrifice their place in Nirvana to more actively battle evil). Not sure who could be the occult stand in for the fey off the top of my head, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be some.


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WatersLethe wrote:
The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

The PF1 witch did have a pact-themed feature (even if it was just flavorless bonus spells) and had a strong emphasis on all-day, at-will utility with a much more limited spell list than other full casters. It didn't have a blasting hex, but there are definitely some noticeable parallels there.

Of course, in 2e every caster has fallback options via cantrips and spell lists are standardized, so that aspect of the Witch won't really exist to the same degree.


WatersLethe wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

The 4e warlock could be either an int caster or a cha caster and spent all day making sure that warlock's curse was on somebody (and a lot of somebodies at higher levels) and could hang around a summoned minion. By 3rd level, the 'lock only used eldritch blast if he/she ran out of creepy encounter or daily spells. I don't know about you, but that seems just a cackle short of being a lot like the PF1 witch to me.


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Patron options weren't "flavorless" but they weren't flavorful either. They were basically lesser domains (only got 1 and only the spells).

So like others have said its great that they are getting more info, but it's still a question of how much focus will Paizo put on them.

I definitely dont want Witches to be the Pathfinder Warlock equivalent. At least not by default, its fine if they just port over the havoker archetype when they release the PF2e Kineticist.


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Mechagamera wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

The 4e warlock could be either an int caster or a cha caster and spent all day making sure that warlock's curse was on somebody (and a lot of somebodies at higher levels) and could hang around a summoned minion. By 3rd level, the 'lock only used eldritch blast if he/she ran out of creepy encounter or daily spells. I don't know about you, but that seems just a cackle short of being a lot like the PF1 witch to me.

The 3.5e warlock was cha based, didn't have regular casting, was focused on the Eldritch blast, could wear armor, and had a better BAB.

5e Warlock doesn't have regular casting, is cha based, and does lots of Eldritch Blasts (Or so I've heard).

If the Witch had an offensive blast they could spam, and was a spontaneous caster, and had either 6th level casting or a reduced number of slots, I would have seen them as a much closer Warlock imitation.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

Well, when I played D&D there were no warlocks. Or witches, for that matter.


WatersLethe wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

The 4e warlock could be either an int caster or a cha caster and spent all day making sure that warlock's curse was on somebody (and a lot of somebodies at higher levels) and could hang around a summoned minion. By 3rd level, the 'lock only used eldritch blast if he/she ran out of creepy encounter or daily spells. I don't know about you, but that seems just a cackle short of being a lot like the PF1 witch to me.

The 3.5e warlock was cha based, didn't have regular casting, was focused on the Eldritch blast, could wear armor, and had a better BAB.

5e Warlock doesn't have regular casting, is cha based, and does lots of Eldritch Blasts (Or so I've heard).

If the Witch had an offensive blast they could spam, and was a spontaneous caster, and had either 6th level casting or a reduced number of slots, I would have seen them as a much closer Warlock imitation.

The 4e warlock is clearly the inspiration for the witch. It doesn't matter what the 3.5 or the 5e version does. It is just as relevant to talk about what the 2e ranger or 1e paladin did as it is to bring up either of those warlocks.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mechagamera wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
To my mind, a warlock is a male witch. Other than sex, there's no difference.

I reserve the term Warlock for the D&D class that focuses on all-day blasting, is charisma based, has limited casting, and requires a pact.

The PF1 Witch was not even close to that to me.

The 4e warlock could be either an int caster or a cha caster and spent all day making sure that warlock's curse was on somebody (and a lot of somebodies at higher levels) and could hang around a summoned minion. By 3rd level, the 'lock only used eldritch blast if he/she ran out of creepy encounter or daily spells. I don't know about you, but that seems just a cackle short of being a lot like the PF1 witch to me.

The 3.5e warlock was cha based, didn't have regular casting, was focused on the Eldritch blast, could wear armor, and had a better BAB.

5e Warlock doesn't have regular casting, is cha based, and does lots of Eldritch Blasts (Or so I've heard).

If the Witch had an offensive blast they could spam, and was a spontaneous caster, and had either 6th level casting or a reduced number of slots, I would have seen them as a much closer Warlock imitation.

The 4e warlock is clearly the inspiration for the witch. It doesn't matter what the 3.5 or the 5e version does. It is just as relevant to talk about what the 2e ranger or 1e paladin did as it is to bring up either of those warlocks.

Not at all. For one, I said I personally reserve the term Warlock for D&D warlock, but I didn't specify which edition. I followed up with the editions that I have in mind when I say "D&D Warlock". Whether or not the Witch is an offshoot of ths 4e Warlock (which is up for debate) is immaterial.

The fact is, coming to Pathfinder from D&D 3.5, I personally do not feel the witch is even remotely a stand in for my warlocks. They fill significantly different niches, and I would argue that the D&D warlock fulfills the "make a pact for power" fantasy much better.


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Also, both the medium and the shaman fulfill that niche in PF pretty well.


Frogliacci wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
Where does it say that divine magic only comes from deities?
In Golarion, the only beings who can choose to grant divine power, rather than pass it down involuntarily through genetics, are deities. Note that my comment already take demigods into account when I said "deities".

Again... where does it say this? I do not see such in the deity section and under magic traditions it says this.

Divine Tradition wrote:
The power of the divine is steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the Material Plane. Clerics are the most iconic divine spellcasters, beseeching the gods to grant them their magic. Divine sorcerers can use the blood of their celestial or fiendish ancestors as a divine conduit, and champions call upon their gods to grant them martial prowess through divine guidance.

Things like Angels/Daemons/Demons/Devils seem to perfectly fit the definition's criteria - which is probably why they became divine casters in PF2 (even though my initial gut reaction was something more like Daemon:Primal, Demon:Arcane, and Devil:Divine - I can see how this makes sense with how it is defined). Maybe there's something else in the rules that would say only deities grant divine magic - but I'd really like to see the text saying that before just accepting such an assertion.

---

Frogliacci wrote:
I would also be pretty disappointed if infernal contracts are a witch patron rather than a class-agnostic option, like rituals. I shouldn't have to multiclass witch to play a fighter who sold his soul to be the best swordsman alive. In fact, witch wouldn't even make sense.

I'd agree with the first part, but add that I don't want to see something like deity-worship be restricted to Cleric/Champions either. However, what I'd love to see to help this would be something like feats/archetypes (possibly return of Divine Weapon Techniques/Deific Obediences please) to make deity benefits more accessible to any class. For Patrons, I'd argue the same thing. Have a class dedicated around them as a major feature with a smaller archetype/feats for other characters which touch on the concept without it being their central theme is something that would be fine with me.

As for the second part, how does a Witch not make sense for infernal contracts!? There are multiple historical events basically based on this idea - so it would be a tremendous shame in calling a class "Witch" if such a concept couldn't be done at base without requiring a half-dozen feats to do so...

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Frogliacci wrote:
That's only 1e witch, where patrons are ill-defined forces of nature and metaphysics. 2e witch patrons will be tangible beings, which makes me think that witches will have anathema, just like druids and clerics.
Frogliacci wrote:
By overlap, I mean that all arcane/divine/primal witch concepts can ALREADY BE PLAYED by being a wizard/cleric/druid, barring the infernal contract idea (but I also have other desires for how that's implemented, see above). Occult witches meanwhile fill a specific niche that can't be represented by any other class or class combination in the game.

I'd agree that Witches are likely to gain anathema, but think that the idea of rebelling against your patron is such a powerful concept (& one that can't really be done by something like a Cleric) that I would hope the class includes some possibility of doing so (even though they'll probably suffer hardships as a result when their patron isn't happy with it).

I'd disagree that Witch is just as easily played by other classes - especially since I expect the Patron feature to be giving the class something unique like how it is done with deities, bloodlines, etc. Not to mention you say a druid could worship certain powerful themed entities - but that is like saying any class could worship a deity. Technically it is true, but that doesn't make it redundant to have a class focused around and more tightly linked to that concept (like Clerics with deities compared to more lay worshiping characters).

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Frogliacci wrote:
We have a similar problem with draconic sorcerer already. A green dragon sorcerer can't cast entangle, a spell like ability shared by all green dragons, without being crossblooded. Silver and gold dragon sorcerers can't cast divine spells at all despite their ancestors having them. Instead of future proofing the class like that, I'd personally want to see feats and archetypes that address these issues independent of class.

Personally, I'd say that's a problem of trying to squeeze all true dragons (a highly diverse species that will likely end up touching on every spell tradition) into a single bloodline which will only get worse when some of the other true dragon types return. Luckily, the nature of bloodlines is such that it wouldn't be too hard to make a new bloodline option which included a better representation for a specific dragon type or add variation into the existing bloodline depending on the dragon type selected (like PF1's implementation of expanded draconic bloodlines).

My issue with your solution of using feats is that the idea of fixing everything with more feats means you'll eventually start needing to spend multiple of your limited feats just to reach a concept which should've been possible at base (your bloodline representing the creature you draw heritage from in your example).

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Frogliacci wrote:
Besides, I think if we're ever getting a prepared-any class, I hope it would be the shaman. The 1e witch felt way too similar to the shaman already, which in turn makes the shaman one of the thematically weakest classes.

I'd agree the Shaman is among one of the thematically weakest classes (similar to Arcanists and other hybrids). But I'd argue that retheming the Shaman as a spontaneous primal caster would be a better option to connect with the themes implied by the word "Shaman."

Frogliacci wrote:
I didn't say occult, I just said prepare-any. If we NEED a prepared-any analog to sorcerer, the shaman's whole thing with directly borrowing power from spirits (which could really be anything...outsiders? nature spirits? dead people? who knows!) can be represented by the spells being whatever tradition the spirits themselves use. Wandering spirit would also grant a handful of spells from another tradition.

I'd take this argument and say that Patrons are more thematically broad than Spirits, and thus a better choice for for a prepared-any option. Patrons can easily be oddball things, with one of my favorite third party books in PF1 giving the Witch weird patron options like a hivemind, mafia dragon, and a cursed efreeti offloading his curse's requirement to grant wishes by making Witches who could do it for him (but still being a prick, would screw with wishes made in good nature of for the Witch's own benefit).

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Frogliacci wrote:
Considering that bards are occult, I'm not worried about stereotyping. Are bards also cackling evil hags?
Mechagamera wrote:
I admit that a wide variety of patrons is an assumption (one I feel good about but still an assumption). It all depends on what is the most important part of being a witch. If it creepiness, then no need to go farther than the occult.

This is exactly my worry with making the Witch occult-only, that the focus of the entire class will be based on "being creepy" and ignoring many of the other concepts related to their stories/myths. Bards do not have a stereotype of being cartoonishly evil/creepy, Witches do - which is why I have such a worry. I want to see a Witch class that is able to handle the diversity of myths related to the word "Witch." Naturally, this includes things Witches being a product of a devil and/or drawing magic from nature and herbs in addition to Witches being related to occult entities.

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Tender Tendrils wrote:
Its about the reason for making the decision. The point is that the choice shouldn't be made just to fill a box, and you shouldn't just keep adding classes just to fill those boxes. The decision should be "I have an interesting and fun class concept, what tradition and method of spellcasting best fits that concept and helps to develop its distinctive identity".

Personally, I look at these boxes in the opposite way. Rather than trying to just fill boxes, we're trying to filter down some concepts to prevent a bloat of very similar casters by provide a checkbox limit (1 spontaneous & 1 prepared of every tradition + a select-a-tradition).

I think we can all agree that the game doesn't really need to have a half-dozen arcane casting classes - and this sort of checkbox limit helps imagine what should be most deserving of the missing spots.

For my person opinion, it'd be:
Prepared Any: Witch
Spontaneous Arcane: ?
Spontaneous Divine: Oracle
Spontaneous Primal: Shaman (large rework)
Prepared Occult: Psychic (or something new / blend of several psychic classes)


WatersLethe wrote:

I personally hope there's a good way to downplay or ignore patrons. To me, patrons weren't the fun part about witches and every one my group played actively ignored it. In my head, patrons = warlocks.

What I liked about Witches was their spooky spell list which oozed flavor, and their hexes which helped shore up their patchy spell list and gave them a unique niche as an all-day spooker.

I think being the pre-eminent Occult spell slinger and having hexes as cantrips/focus powers/rituals/etc would be more than enough to sustain a class.

Patrons can be an optional flavor extra for those who liked that, similar to wizard schools.

Personally, I hope there isn't an option to ignore patrons that much.

The one thing I like about the current classes is that there is always a cause, a source of magic if they have spellcasting abilities.

I don't want a class that can do magic just because it's cool without any explanation. For the witch, that explanation is the patron.

For that reason, I like the multiclass system. There isn't just a class archetype for the fighter that grants spells because that would be cool. If your fighter wants spells, they can MC into a spellcasting class and with that also gain the source of magic of that class. It's far more thematic.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
masda_gib wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

I personally hope there's a good way to downplay or ignore patrons. To me, patrons weren't the fun part about witches and every one my group played actively ignored it. In my head, patrons = warlocks.

What I liked about Witches was their spooky spell list which oozed flavor, and their hexes which helped shore up their patchy spell list and gave them a unique niche as an all-day spooker.

I think being the pre-eminent Occult spell slinger and having hexes as cantrips/focus powers/rituals/etc would be more than enough to sustain a class.

Patrons can be an optional flavor extra for those who liked that, similar to wizard schools.

Personally, I hope there isn't an option to ignore patrons that much.

The one thing I like about the current classes is that there is always a cause, a source of magic if they have spellcasting abilities.

I don't want a class that can do magic just because it's cool without any explanation. For the witch, that explanation is the patron.

For that reason, I like the multiclass system. There isn't just a class archetype for the fighter that grants spells because that would be cool. If your fighter wants spells, they can MC into a spellcasting class and with that also gain the source of magic of that class. It's far more thematic.

A high intelligence prepared caster can achieve their power through study and practice, just like Wizards. That's one of the reasons I liked Witch in PF1, because they could learn spells like a Wizard but had a distinct way of going about it. That is, learning more esoteric, bizarre spells gleaned from old rituals, hags, hedge magic, and bits of handed down lore. The Occult spell list does a great job at this.

Patrons never felt particularly important to the concept of a witch to me. Partly because I'd like it if you can play a "christian boogeyman witch" as well as a version of the "wiccan witch", which certainly doesn't need a patron.
Also, the etymology of the word Patron goes all the way back to "pater" or father which has some pretty annoying connotations for a class called Witch.

I'm just saying, I hope either Patrons are refluffable (so don't have anathema) or we're given an option to not require one.


WatersLethe wrote:


A high intelligence prepared caster can achieve their power through study and practice, just like Wizards. That's one of the reasons I liked Witch in PF1, because they could learn spells like a Wizard but had a distinct way of going about it. That is, learning more esoteric, bizarre spells gleaned from old rituals, hags, hedge magic, and bits of handed down lore. The Occult spell list does a great job at this.

Patrons never felt particularly important to the concept of a witch to me. Partly because I'd like it if you can play a "christian boogeyman witch" as well as a version of the "wiccan witch", which certainly doesn't need a patron.
Also, the etymology of the word Patron goes...

Right. I could live with the option of "Patron: You yourself. You gained your power through studying and dedication...", which would be the Universalist/Fury Instinct option. You may not get patron spells with this option but other cool unique stuff - like the universalist wizard.

Edit: I thought a bit mor about this and agree more with you. The which's basic theme should be the high INT prepared caster that gets magic through studying - being the occult wizard. And as an option also can have outside influence or a pact by/with a patron that gives extra stuff. That makes no "no patron" option easier. But if you chose a patron it should be more defining than in PF1.


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masda_gib wrote:


Edit: I thought a bit mor about this and agree more with you. The which's basic theme should be the high INT prepared caster that gets magic through studying - being the occult wizard. And as an option also can have outside influence or a pact by/with a patron that gives extra stuff. That makes no "no patron" option easier. But if you chose a patron it should be more defining than in PF1.

Building on this, I would like to see a lot of focus on the familiar, and not limit the witch to just animals. This steps slightly on the 5E and 4e warlock's toes, but I'd want options for an intelligent item familiar, a creature familiar, a shadow tattoo familiar, a mirror witch.

The hexes and occult list are good, but I want something else on top of that to differentiate the class. I just don't see the patron cutting it, but familiars might.

Liberty's Edge

For me, the reason I think it's a good idea to give Witch access to two WHOLE traditions as their base from the Patron is because of how crazy all-over-the-place their Spell List is in PF1.

I cannot feasibly see how pretty much ANY Witch could be converted from PF to PF2 without enabling the Patron to grant a second spell list in its entirety. Occult is a good spell list, and it has a variety of abilities but if Occult is what they are limited with the exception of 10 specific spells they will end up with basically the same offensive capabilities as a Bard... and I don't think that makes much sense at ALL.

One Bonus Spell per spell level simply does NOT cut it, not for a prepared caster. I'd like very much to see the Patron feature boosted considerably because it was incredibly under-utilized in terms of both flavor and function in PF, and instead of creating the system whereby 90% of Witches choose the same Patron so that they can get access to one or two SPECIFIC spells, I really think it would be better off to enable them to choose more flexibly from the Tradition lists, esp since they will still only have so many spell slots per day.

Otherwise, as I mentioned, Paizo is going to end up creating different "Tiers" of Witches defined by their Patron based on what their 10 Bonus Spells are. You'll see Patron 1, 2, & 3 considered as S Tier, 3, 4, & 5 as A Tier and 6, 7, & 8 as B Tier with option 9 & 10 being labeled the Garbage Tier. This is not healthy for the same reason that 90% of all Spellcasters in PFS take the same 2 traits as everyone else because people look at it as a Best-in-Slot choice.


I'm not sure I understood, do you mean to give witches access to 1 spell list and then another based on the patron?

Because if it's only about spell slots all casters were highly nerfed (~30%+ reduction in spell slots).

As for the "tiers" argument. Isnt the main selling point by PF2 supporters that everything is "balanced" now? So I dont see them having a problem with granted spells. I mean Clerics work the same way (kind of). Anyway tiers will remain regardless of whether it's the full spell list or just a select few, even more now that every slot matters.


WatersLethe wrote:


A high intelligence prepared caster can achieve their power through study and practice, just like Wizards. That's one of the reasons I liked Witch in PF1, because they could learn spells like a Wizard but had a distinct way of going about it. That is, learning more esoteric, bizarre spells gleaned from old rituals, hags, hedge magic, and bits of handed down lore. The Occult spell list does a great job at this.

Patrons never felt particularly important to the concept of a witch to me. Partly because I'd like it if you can play a "christian boogeyman witch" as well as a version of the "wiccan witch", which certainly doesn't need a patron.
Also, the etymology of the word Patron goes...

I still disagree with this to a degree.

Looking specifically at the Pathfinder Witch specifically and not just the generic concept of a Witch, yes a Witch is an INT caster and thus improves their magic through practice and study, but the magic in question is only accessible through the Patron via the Familiar. Hence why the Familiar acts as the Witch's spellbook and teacher.

A Witch that solely learns their magical abilities themselves with no Patron at all isn't a Witch, they're a Wizard. Sure, you can argue that the Witch delves into more esoteric and unknown magics, but the difference in that is basically just academic. There is no reason a Wizard can't go about studying older and forgotten rituals. Heck, in doing so they could even have a feat or even a whole archetype that lets them take some spells from the Occult Spell list.

The thing that makes the Witch thematically different IS the Patron. Even if that Patron can more or less be ignored during gameplay (just like how if you are playing a Wizard, you don't need to roleplay out the intense study during downtime in order to learn a new spell). If you want to play a Winter Witch, there is no reason at all that at your table you can't say "Hey, I don't really want to deal with Baba Yaga and her craziness, so can I just say that I am learning from the essense of Winter itself?". But that is still a Patron. You are still being tied to that Patron through your familiar and drawing knowledge from it. A Patron doesn't NEED to be a singular entity. It just needs to be some outside power that you can make a pact with.

And yes, I get that in PF2, they have stated a desire to move towards Patrons that are defined individuals rather than nebulous and unknown entities, but that is just flavor-text. There's no reason you can't decide that it works that way for your table.

As a final note, the etymology of Patron thing is a non-starter. Patron doesn't mean that anymore. Words change and evolve over time. Patron doesn't refer specifically to a father figure any more than ambidextrous means that you are untrustworthy or two-faced (which was the original terminology of the word, and MUCH more recently than Patron used to refer to father).


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vali Nepjarson wrote:

A Witch that solely learns their magical abilities themselves with no Patron at all isn't a Witch, they're a Wizard. Sure, you can argue that the Witch delves into more esoteric and unknown magics, but the difference in that is basically just academic. There is no reason a Wizard can't go about studying older and forgotten rituals. Heck, in doing so they could even have a feat or even a whole archetype that lets them take some spells from the Occult Spell list.

While I think this is a perfectly fine opinion to have, I disagree with it. I think it's nice and neat in this edition if you allow an int based prepared caster who learns Occult spells to be a Witch and one who learns Arcane spells to be a Wizard.

"A feat or whole archetype that lets them take some spells from the Occult Spell List" might just as easily be multiclassing into Witch.

I think the fact that Witches must seek out and expand their spell repertoire really feeds into this notion that I have that they should be analogous to Wizards. If Witches truly receive all their power from a Patron, they should get the full spell list like Clerics.

I'm okay with a portion of their power coming from a Patron, as long as it's handwavable or, even better, explicitly avoidable through a different option.

As for the "Patron" etymology question, and this is a severe tangent at this point, it's a small enough issue for me to let it go, but I do consider it a contributing factor as to why I personally don't care for it. In modern day Wicca, it's common to use "Matron" or "Patron" to describe one's personal goddess or god, specifically because of the masculine association of the word Patron. Patroness is commonly discarded because it implies the female patron is a special case of the default, similar to how people object to words like stewardess. I'm sure you can see how it can be a bit of an eye-twitcher issue.


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WatersLethe wrote:
I think the fact that Witches must seek out and expand their spell repertoire really feeds into this notion that I have that they should be analogous to Wizards. If Witches truly receive all their power from a Patron, they should get the full spell list like Clerics.

Personally, I was thinking they would get the whole list right off the bat. With patrons granting specific hexes, focus spells, familiar abilities, and spells added to the occult list.

I don't have anything backing that up, but that's what I was assuming.


PF1 Witches were arcane casters with the witch spell list. So witches learned their spells like all other arcane casters, but had their own unique list of things they were taught/learned.

Which is one of the sad parts of the new spell list system. Every arcane class has the same list, every divine class has the same list, etc. Yes I know it's to help devs, but it's the little thing you know?


WatersLethe wrote:


While I think this is a perfectly fine opinion to have, I disagree with it.

This isn't really something to disagree upon though. You can not like the patron dynamic, of course, but the concept of witches with patrons has existed for as long as the witch class itself has existed in Pathfinder. This is not a new thing being dumped on your head. But to say the Pathfinder Witch having a patron is somehow antithetical to the concept of the class is fundamentally misleading, because it's always been a component of said class.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
swoosh wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


While I think this is a perfectly fine opinion to have, I disagree with it.
This isn't really something to disagree upon though. You can not like the patron dynamic, of course, but the concept of witches with patrons has existed for as long as the witch class itself has existed in Pathfinder. This is not a new thing being dumped on your head. But to say the Pathfinder Witch having a patron is somehow antithetical to the concept of the class is fundamentally misleading, because it's always been a component of said class.

No need for hyperbole. I never said having Patrons is antithetical to the class. I said it's not something I personally find important to the class's concept, given that every witch in my games has handwaved them away.

When we're talking about hopes and expectations for the class, I hope that I can continue to handwave away patrons or better yet have a canon option to proceed without them.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One of the things I liked about the Hârnmaster magic system is that there were specific rules on how to create new spells — and mages were expected to develop some. In fact, in order to get promoted from apprentice to journeyman, you had to develop three new spells. But that's a relatively low-magic system compared to Pathfinder. There are, iirc, only a couple of hundred spells in the provided materials. A new mage character would have about half a dozen spells known, and the limit on how many times he could cast them in a day was fatigue. Casting a spell makes you tired, and being tired reduces your effectiveness at spell-casting (among other things) and eventually you'd just be too tired to cast any more until you got a night's rest. No spell slots, once you learned a spell you knew it and could cast it at will, subject to fatigue (and other penalty, like being wounded) limitations. Elemental system, six elements, plus neutral spells that mostly affect other spells.

Also, in the setting, the mages and the priests had an agreement: no one would call what mages do "miracles" and no one would call what priests do "magic". The two were deemed to be completely separate things. Priests would pray to their gods (or the minions of their gods) for "miracles" - and there weren't too many of those either.

I think once you set up the four traditions as a basis for magic, it makes sense to have a single "spell list" for each tradition. I dunno, though. If we see new Arcane or whatever spells in future products, they may or may not end up on a "consolidated" arcane or whatever spell list. And of course focus spells of whatever tradition are not necessarily available to every practitioner of that tradition.


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I am loving all of the ideas and theories everyone is posting.
I honestly don't know which one I like best.
But here is hoping that we will get some news soon.
So we can see what we will be working with, and how it will play.

It is the Season of the Witch!!!

Liberty's Edge

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Any word on when the playtest drops?


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Paladinosaur wrote:
Any word on when the playtest drops?

Near the end of the month.

I'm presuming a thematically appropriate Halloween release, allowing me to be pleasantly surprised if they do it earlier.

Sovereign Court

rainzax wrote:

Divergently, I would like to see a more modular Witch class chassis.

Prepared caster, yes. Options to have their "spellbook" be either a Familiar, a Cauldron, or a Tome.

And Patron determines Tradition. I could argue equally for an Arcane, Divine, Occult, or Primal Witch.

Okay, maybe not Divine...

You could adapt my Warlock class to the witch... It has most of what you are looking for, Patron determines the spell list, a choice between Pact of the Chain (to get a familiar that can eventually change into an Animal Companion), Pact of the Tome (to get more spells), and Pact of the Blade (for a more martial witch?). For the Divine list, your Patron can be the Celestial (I changed the Demons and Devils style Patron of the Fiend to Arcane because I agree with you, they are not Divine IMO)


QuidEst wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Any word on when the playtest drops?

Near the end of the month.

I'm presuming a thematically appropriate Halloween release, allowing me to be pleasantly surprised if they do it earlier.

It's now looking like the playtest will drop a day or two after Halloween, per this post from Jason.


masda_gib wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


A high intelligence prepared caster can achieve their power through study and practice, just like Wizards. That's one of the reasons I liked Witch in PF1, because they could learn spells like a Wizard but had a distinct way of going about it. That is, learning more esoteric, bizarre spells gleaned from old rituals, hags, hedge magic, and bits of handed down lore. The Occult spell list does a great job at this.

Patrons never felt particularly important to the concept of a witch to me. Partly because I'd like it if you can play a "christian boogeyman witch" as well as a version of the "wiccan witch", which certainly doesn't need a patron.
Also, the etymology of the word Patron goes...

Right. I could live with the option of "Patron: You yourself. You gained your power through studying and dedication...", which would be the Universalist/Fury Instinct option. You may not get patron spells with this option but other cool unique stuff - like the universalist wizard.

Edit: I thought a bit mor about this and agree more with you. The which's basic theme should be the high INT prepared caster that gets magic through studying - being the occult wizard. And as an option also can have outside influence or a pact by/with a patron that gives extra stuff. That makes no "no patron" option easier. But if you chose a patron it should be more defining than in PF1.

Alternatively, there could be a mystery patron, whose identity and type of creature the witch is unaware of. Of course, if the spell list was similar to other patron's that would enable the PC (or worse) the player to figure out the mystery. The best solution would be tables of spells--roll a D20 as many times as the number of spells you would get, and pick the spell associated with the number (roll again if you get the same number more than once). Sure there is some uncertainty there, but if the player was really concerned about the spells, he/she would have picked a patron based on the spells.


@Mechagamera: I think the reasons for wanting a no-patron-option that WatersLethe gave are not mechanical but flavorwise. The goal is a witch that got their spells by own study and not gifted by a patron. A mystery patron would solve nothing in that case.


masda_gib wrote:
@Mechagamera: I think the reasons for wanting a no-patron-option that WatersLethe gave are not mechanical but flavorwise. The goal is a witch that got their spells by own study and not gifted by a patron. A mystery patron would solve nothing in that case.

Since wizard multiclassed with witch will fulfill that concept more than adequately, there is nothing to solve, just a mental exercise in interesting witch patrons.

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