What is Cackle supposed to do?


Witch Playtest


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Witches get the Cackle class feature at first level, giving them the Cackle action. It reads identical to the "Sustain a Spell" action with the following differences:
- Cackle has Auditory and Sonic traits and only affects targets that hear you.
- Cackle does not have the concentrate trait.
- Cackle only works on spell that have a target/targets (no summons)

I'm not seeing what the point of using Cackle over just sustaining a spell is. The concentration trait doesn't seem to affect non-Barbarians in any way while the Sonic trait comes with some limitations. You can later modify Cackle using class feats but what's the point? You're getting a weaker version universal action every spellcaster can do from what I can tell.

They get Effortless Cackle at 16 instead of Effortless Concentration that other spellcasters do, but still not seeing the difference. They should get this earlier imo, since it was one of their main gimmicks before.


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only thing i'm seeing is that it would avoid AoO from Disruptive stance and etc.

but yeah, not seeing the purpose for this action over sustain except for the "thematic" factor.

Liberty's Edge

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The only thing I can think of is that PERHAPS the intent was for the Witch to be able to apply the Cackle-Sustain on multiple Spells at the same time but it does not appear to be worded in this way.

Beats me really.


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There are some monster abilities other than Disruptive Stance that trigger off concentrate actions or hinder them, so while it is a bit niche and mostly thematic, it can sometimes be mechanically beneficial over the sustain a spell action.


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The way I read was that it allows the sustenance of multiple spells with a single action.


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Sayt wrote:
The way I read was that it allows the sustenance of multiple spells with a single action.

So does that mean you can cast an unlimited number of Flaming Spheres, and keep sustaining all of them?


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Sayt wrote:
The way I read was that it allows the sustenance of multiple spells with a single action.

how so?

"You gain the effects of Sustaining a Spell with one or more targets of that spell, as long as the targets can hear you Cackle. As when Sustaining a Spell, Cackling for more than 10 minutes (100 rounds) ends the spell and makes you fatigued unless the spell lists a different maximum duration. If your Cackle is disrupted, the spell immediately ends."

it seems pretty clear to me that it costs 1 action to gain the effects of "sustaining a spell" with a single spell.


Strill wrote:
Sayt wrote:
The way I read was that it allows the sustenance of multiple spells with a single action.
So does that mean you can cast an unlimited number of Flaming Spheres, and keep sustaining all of them?

Pretty sure that spell doesn't target any creatures anyways, but a square on the grid.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The rest of what y'all are seeing is correct - it uses different traits, so you have some flexibility related to triggering reactions, restrictions on concentrate actions, and so forth.


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Lyz Liddell wrote:

Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The rest of what y'all are seeing is correct - it uses different traits, so you have some flexibility related to triggering reactions, restrictions on concentrate actions, and so forth.

Not sure if I'm missing something development wise, but wouldn't it be simpler and clearer then to simply have it as a "passive ability" that read something like:

Cackle:
When you Sustain a Spell you can replace its traits with "Auditory, Sonic" traits. The Sustain a Spell action then resembles a cackling.

?

(since teh Auditory trait already imposes the condition that it must be heard to have an effect either way)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

There's also a couple of feats that modify and improve Cackle. So I think the idea is that while it starts as a largely flavor option, it can grow into very much it's own thing.

In particular Effortless Cackle at 16 turns it into a free action.


Lyz Liddell wrote:

Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The rest of what y'all are seeing is correct - it uses different traits, so you have some flexibility related to triggering reactions, restrictions on concentrate actions, and so forth.

For the wording of the first part, how is that particularly different from Sustain a Spell? I'm legitimately confused on what the key difference is.


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Ezekieru wrote:
Lyz Liddell wrote:

Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The rest of what y'all are seeing is correct - it uses different traits, so you have some flexibility related to triggering reactions, restrictions on concentrate actions, and so forth.

For the wording of the first part, how is that particularly different from Sustain a Spell? I'm legitimately confused on what the key difference is.

The second part is the whole difference - it has different traits, and so interacts differently with some abilities. Beyond that is the fact that it can be modified in a couple ways at higher levels.


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Kori Meneasteri wrote:

There's also a couple of feats that modify and improve Cackle. So I think the idea is that while it starts as a largely flavor option, it can grow into very much it's own thing.

In particular Effortless Cackle at 16 turns it into a free action.

effortless cackle is the exact same as effortless concentration (that i think all other casters have), both in level and in effect.

It has some thematic upgrades like the bottled hex that you can cackle in it though or the other feat that makes it "silent".

Dark Archive

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We've talked about it in the Arcane Mark discord, and the key point is swapping the Concentration trait for only affecting creatures that can hear you. Good for Raging and avoiding Reactions that trigger off Concentrate actions.


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Also some monster abilities and effects force flat checks to succeed at concentration actions, Cackle would avoid that hurdle.

Dark Archive

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I feel like it could have an additional benefit added to it. Like, Once a Day you can Sustain a Spell as a Free Action.


Sin_Dark wrote:
I feel like it could have an additional benefit added to it. Like, Once a Day you can Sustain a Spell as a Free Action.

There's a 16th level feat for this, but it's infinite use.


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Now that the mystery has been solved I can say I don't think this should be a class feature, it just changes 1 trait for another that isn't necessarily superior and the "upgrades" it gets are pretty filler in my opinion (That bottle one is baaaad if you actually think of the practical applications). Just because we had a popular PF1 ability called Cackle doesn't mean we need it again if it's just gonna be... This? Not a great way to use half a column. Would rather it be an actual ability that does something and witches just get effortless concentration like everyone else.

Well, good thing there's a survey thingy so I cna make my opinion known. I'll be checking out the rest of the class because it's cool, but this ability will definitely get a mention.


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ChibiNyan wrote:

Now that the mystery has been solved I can say I don't think this should be a class feature, it just changes 1 trait for another that isn't necessarily superior and the "upgrades" it gets are pretty filler in my opinion (That bottle one is baaaad if you actually think of the practical applications). Just because we had a popular PF1 ability called Cackle doesn't mean we need it again if it's just gonna be... This? Not a great way to use half a column. Would rather it be an actual ability that does something and witches just get effortless concentration like everyone else.

Well, good thing there's a survey thingy so I cna make my opinion known. I'll be checking out the rest of the class because it's cool, but this ability will definitely get a mention.

Probably just need to shorten the description and make it clear that the base ability is "Sustain with different traits". It's a nice, thematic option that has benefits in some cases.


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Took me a moment, but there's actually several debuffs that prevent Concentrate actions.
Cackle bypasses them.


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I think I would prefer Cackle if it was a 1st level feat instead of a class ability. It just doesn't seem like it's lack of concentrate trait would be that useful at lower levels, but as GM I would definitely try to concoct relevant if a player told me they chose to have the ability


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Cackle in my opinion seems incredibly lackluster as a class ability that's not really fun or thematic. Avoiding concentration is pretty niche sure when it comes up it will be cool for the witch but I don't think it will come up enough were the witch will be able to take advantage of it. Additionally because of this relatively small difference as it is written now I could see it confusing new players. My husband and I have been playing Pathfinder for a very long time and even we were a bit confused on the difference on a first read.

For Cackle to be a class feature I feel it needs something to set it apart. Something that feels more interesting and class defining that makes the player feel cool for having it.


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chellter wrote:

Cackle in my opinion seems incredibly lackluster as a class ability that's not really fun or thematic. Avoiding concentration is pretty niche sure when it comes up it will be cool for the witch but I don't think it will come up enough were the witch will be able to take advantage of it. Additionally because of this relatively small difference as it is written now I could see it confusing new players. My husband and I have been playing Pathfinder for a very long time and even we were a bit confused on the difference on a first read.

For Cackle to be a class feature I feel it needs something to set it apart. Something that feels more interesting and class defining that makes the player feel cool for having it.

Would be ok if it was for free in addition to actual class features that do things. Like Wizard gets both Thesis, School and Arcane Focus, all of which are actual exciting powers! And we complain wizard sucks...

Cackle is just a "ribbon" or whatever they call it, it should be counted as like Druids being able to speak Druidic and not part of the "balance".


Wizard school is a terrible ability, it locks a spell into a school that might be bad and into a focus power that is bad. The witch gets an unrestricted extra spell and freer choice of MUCH better focus powers. Plus choice of tradition.


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It's a class feature. Meaning it doesn't cost you anything to have this ability. There is nothing to suggest that it is given to the Witch in lieu of some other ability, and there are no opportunity costs to taking over some other feat.

Considering that, it's a fun little bit of flavor with some niche but concrete benefit and little to no drawbacks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would honestly prefer to switch out Cackle with Cauldron.

Witches are the masters of Potion Crafting. I feel like it should be a Class Feature with some feats to improve them.

Or maybe even Coven


Well, Snicker is another feat that makes it no longer need to be "heard" so it can work on deaf individuals/flat checks if you're deafened. If it worked on multiple spells at once, I could see some major nonsense you could pull off with multiple hexes and auras and stuff, just... ALL THE SUSTAINING! It would also give them a gimmick that's not "wizard, but for all the traditions" since that's kinda flat.


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I think cackle has problems in the sense that it’s not particularly obvious to a newer player what it does in the first place. Even if it’s there mostly for flavor I think it has to potential to confuse people as written because they’ll be trying to understand what the upside is.

Adding some minor but obvious upside would help people read and understand this ability I think.


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Prince Setehrael wrote:


I would honestly prefer to switch out Cackle with Cauldron.

Witches are the masters of Potion Crafting. I feel like it should be a Class Feature with some feats to improve them.

Or maybe even Coven

Cauldron is pretty bad because of the cost in time and gold to use it. Many would never touch it.


Xenocrat wrote:
Prince Setehrael wrote:


I would honestly prefer to switch out Cackle with Cauldron.

Witches are the masters of Potion Crafting. I feel like it should be a Class Feature with some feats to improve them.

Or maybe even Coven

Cauldron is pretty bad because of the cost in time and gold to use it. Many would never touch it.

Although not explicit, I would read Temporary Potion to work like alchemist's free daily batches.

On the topic Cackle being useless: There is a Witch Hex that explicitly creates a flat check to use a concentration action.

Veil of Dreams wrote:
Failure The target takes a –1 status penalty to Perception and attack rolls and is fatigued for the duration. Any time it performs a concentrate action, it must succeed at a DC 5 flat check or the action is disrupted


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it feels like the bard being able to play an instrument instead of using verbal, material or somatic components. Or the sorcerer changing material components with somatic ones. It's mostly fluff instead of an increase in power.


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Not sure if it was mentioned above, but several people commented that you could have a Cackling Barbarian. When the dedications get released.


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I'm wondering if the wording means that if you cast the same spell multiple times (for example, Evil Eye hexing two different opponents) that you could sustain both of them with a single action.

Its still...not a great feature, seeing how Evil Eye went from something you did pretty much every round all the time (until you ran out of targets) to a once-every-ten-minutes feature (and slotted spells are also not very numerous), but its a thought.

Edit: nope. The multiple spells idea is quashed by Echoing Cackle.


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I think some of you guys got a bit confused with the wording of Cackle and were looking at the wrong part of Lyz’s words. I honestly read Cackle (after a bit of processing with the weird wording) like this:

“Choose one spell with a duration of sustained. You Sustain the Spell for all targets affected by that spell within 30 feet.”

So, for example, if the witch had cast forbidding ward on two different PCs, then the witch would Sustain both of them with a single Cackle instead of two Sustain a Spell actions.

But that’s just my two cents based on this phrase from Lyz's post:

Lyz Liddell wrote:

Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The rest of what y'all are seeing is correct - it uses different traits, so you have some flexibility related to triggering reactions, restrictions on concentrate actions, and so forth.

Emphasis: mine.

EDIT:

Draco18s wrote:
Edit: nope. The multiple spells idea is quashed by Echoing Cackle.

EDIT: If I may counter that: Echoing Cackle, from my reading of it, basically changes all active sustainable hexes (specifically hexes, not other kinds of spells) to have a duration of 1 minute (or its max duration) rather than only affecting targets of a single kind of hex (so you would max out the durations of the enemy who was evil eye’d, the PC with a life boost on them, and your personal blizzard all in the same action to Cackle).


KingTreyIII wrote:

I think some of you guys got a bit confused with the wording of Cackle and were looking at the wrong part of Lyz’s words. I honestly read Cackle (after a bit of processing with the weird wording) like this:

“Choose one spell with a duration of sustained. You Sustain the Spell for all targets affected by that spell within 30 feet.”

So, for example, if the witch had cast forbidding ward on two different PCs, then the witch would Sustain both of them with a single Cackle instead of two Sustain a Spell actions.

But that’s just my two cents based on this phrase from Lyz's post:

Lyz Liddell wrote:
Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The reason I think you're wrong is that the standard Sustain a Spell is worded similarly.

"Choose one spell with a sustained duration you have in effect. The duration of that sorrel continues until your next turn."

Note that they both state "choose one spell" which means that the intent that two castings of the same named sorrel are separate effects.


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I'm definitely of the thought this should be a feat. There are a lot of witch characters where cackling isn't exactly in character. White haired witch, hedge witch, those of a more serious and scholarly bent.

Don't get me wrong it's a decent ability, and can fit a lot of witch ideas, but not really a one size fits all ability.


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I think making it a feat+giving it some additional upside would work out really well. Making it a feat would help broaden the class, and justify the extra benefit.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So what if Cackle was like lingering composition and allowed you to make a check(relevant to the spell being maintained i.e. Arcana, Occultism, Religion, Nature) to on a Crit success the effect doesn't need to be sustained for a round. That way a witch can juggle multiple effect like they could in 1e but at the risk of failure ending the effect immediately and making the target immune for 24 hours.


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I was hoping it would let you Sustain multiple spells with a single maintain action to give them something really cool like that. Put a cap on it, sure, but a regular spellcaster can easily Sustain two spells, and actually get 3 at once if they cast the third one with Quicken Spell. Even being able to sustain 2 with the one cackle would let the average witch have 4 as an option, with the potential to get a 5th


Another option would be to get a free demoralize or something when you cackle. That in particular might be too strong, but something which frightens could be cool and thematic.


Draco18s wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:

I think some of you guys got a bit confused with the wording of Cackle and were looking at the wrong part of Lyz’s words. I honestly read Cackle (after a bit of processing with the weird wording) like this:

“Choose one spell with a duration of sustained. You Sustain the Spell for all targets affected by that spell within 30 feet.”

So, for example, if the witch had cast forbidding ward on two different PCs, then the witch would Sustain both of them with a single Cackle instead of two Sustain a Spell actions.

But that’s just my two cents based on this phrase from Lyz's post:

Lyz Liddell wrote:
Hi! Lemme pop in here, because this wording is not as clear as it could be. Cackle is letting you Sustain a Spell, prolonging the effects of a single spell on all targets who can hear you.

The reason I think you're wrong is that the standard Sustain a Spell is worded similarly.

"Choose one spell with a sustained duration you have in effect. The duration of that sorrel continues until your next turn."

Note that they both state "choose one spell" which means that the intent that two castings of the same named sorrel are separate effects.

Just asked about Cackle in the stream that just happened and from the sounds of things it's literally just a Sustain a Spell with different traits.

Silver Crusade

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

Yep. It doesn't have the Concentrate trait, so no Reactions.


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Rysky wrote:
Yep. It doesn't have the Concentrate trait, so no Reactions.

And circumvents a number of other things - e.g. Rage limitations.

Having it is better than not. I think people are hung up on how frankly insane 1e cackle is as the cornerstone of the class's ability to bring enemies to their knees indefinitely. It doesn't need to be that kind of transformative thing. I'm okay with this being a flavorful trick that sometimes lets me safely wield magic where other classes can't.

Liberty's Edge

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After rereading things and reviewing this thread I want to put my vote out officially.

CACKLE [one-action]
AUDITORY, SONIC

Requirements: You have at least one spell active that has a sustained duration and affects one or more targets, and you are not fatigued.

You gain the effects of Sustaining a Spell with one or more targets of your spells, as long as the targets can hear you Cackle. As when Sustaining a Spell, Cackling for more than 10 minutes (100 rounds) ends the spell and makes you fatigued unless the spell lists a different maximum duration. If your Cackle is disrupted, the spell immediately ends. This can be used to Sustain multiple spells simultaneously.

That one simple change will dramatically improve the flavor of the effect and it makes more logical sense in that instead of "directing" your Cackle at a specific target (How exactly do one audibly channel your laugh at an individual anyhow?) your Cackle keep whatever effects you have going already maintained.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It almost seems like Cackle is really just a feature for very minor fringe benefits, and so that normal "Sustain a Spell" actions can't benefit from Cackle upgrades through the class feats, and so the Multiclass Dedication feat can exclude it for similar reasons.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

After rereading things and reviewing this thread I want to put my vote out officially.

CACKLE [one-action]
AUDITORY, SONIC

Requirements: You have at least one spell active that has a sustained duration and affects one or more targets, and you are not fatigued.

You gain the effects of Sustaining a Spell with one or more targets of your spells, as long as the targets can hear you Cackle. As when Sustaining a Spell, Cackling for more than 10 minutes (100 rounds) ends the spell and makes you fatigued unless the spell lists a different maximum duration. If your Cackle is disrupted, the spell immediately ends. This can be used to Sustain multiple spells simultaneously.

That one simple change will dramatically improve the flavor of the effect and it makes more logical sense in that instead of "directing" your Cackle at a specific target (How exactly do one audibly channel your laugh at an individual anyhow?) your Cackle keep whatever effects you have going already maintained.

That's more or less how I thought it worked when I first read it.

Round 1: move, hex first target.
Round 2: hex second target, cackle.
Round 3+: cackle to sustain both hexes.
Then I realized that you would need at least 2 focus points to do something like that.
Then I came here, and realized that it still wouldn't work that way.
It seems rather weak for a class feature.


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KingTreyIII wrote:
Just asked about Cackle in the stream that just happened and from the sounds of things it's literally just a Sustain a Spell with different traits.

And a range limitation.


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I originally read it as sustaining all spells with a single action. and thought that approriate to the wtich (who is all hex/curses).

By itself just doesn't seem very useful, or thematic. It would be different if like your Familiar could sustain for you-without taking your actions but preventing from doing anything else. So you just have a cackling creature on your shoulder holding a spell for you.

I would rather like it to be expanded to sustain multiple things. Or that they get the Reaction sustain faster (like before lv 10). Getting it that early would justify the trait limitaions and distance limitations.

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