The Witch is too specific, and should be a broader thematically


Witch Playtest


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One of my first impressions from looking at the playtest, especially at the class feats, is that some of the Witches features are far too specific- it feels as if it was designed to create the most superficial elements of the commercialized Halloween Witch. In isolation those elements are fine, but without a stronger thematic basis it feels out of place and overly niche relative to the game's other casters (or like the Witch should drop the multi-tradition angle and settle for being the game's prepared occult specialist to really lean into the specialty)

Each of the other spell casters answers a central question of "how" they perform magic, and can fit any number of different fantasies under that umbrella. The Witch actually has that, utilizing the Patron and its unique familiar mechanics- but then instead of building on that thematic ground, many of the class feats instead seem focused on trying to shore up the "Witch Caricature Elements"

I think this can be done more elegantly by reexamining the Witch and ensuring it's thematic space is as deep as it's CRB spell casting counterparts.

1. The Witch has a Patron, who is the primary source of their familiar and therefore their powers. If sorcerers are the magic users who have magic because of their lineage, and Wizards are magic users who use magic through study, then we should double down on Witches as THE patron spell caster. I posted in the Patrons/Mechanical Weight thread about how this could be emphasized without losing our current flexibility.

1.5. On the same general subject, the familiar is and should continue to be a massive part of the witch's flavor and abilities- they represent the Witch's only link with their Patron, I'd love to see them tied into more witches abilities.

2. The thematic through-line to a lot of broad commercialized witch depictions, is actually that the witch is something of a hedge-mage, and rural spell caster (think about the Witchers in the Witcher, or Idalia and the other Wildmages from the Obsidian Trilogy). Wizards often do their magic in fancy towers and laboratories, Witches do it in huts in the woods. This doesn't need to be strict, but I think we need to take a pass on the Witch's class feats that cleans up what they're trying to convey- Cauldron is actually pretty cool in this respect.

3. Some classic Witch abilities, like Living Hair, would be better as a Focus Spell so that the Lessons can be the main mechanic for "what flavor of Witch am I?" (Also using Focus Spells to go into temporary magical states to enhance melee combat capability is generally a model of Gish I support, since it introduces natural drawbacks relative to actual martials, who dont need 10 minute breaks)

4. Coven is actually a perfect example of what I'm talking about, its a witchy seeming feature that kind of implies that Witches have something to do with Hags because they can participate in covens, but its very hard to use and doesn't really say anything about what a Witch is. Instead, I would suggest we go back to the fundamental idea of what a coven *is,* which is to say, a means for a group of witches to pool their abilities and amplify their powers. Following from this, Witches should have an ability where they can create synergy for multiple spellcasters in the same party, acting as a kind of hub point where multiple party spellcasters (and NPCs if relevant) can gain bonuses on their spell casting by joining with the Witch character.


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I don't see how it's overly niche. There are a lot of different concepts you can play out with the Witch as written... and a lot of your suggestions are about making the class more niche, not less.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
I don't see how it's overly niche. There are a lot of different concepts you can play out with the Witch as written... and a lot of your suggestions are about making the class more niche, not less.

In short, the abilities are too shallow, the witches it presents don't have the same thematic depth of what a witch is relative to what a sorcerer is, or a wizard is. For a multiple tradition caster, its an issue.


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All of the thematic aspects of the others come from roleplaying more than mechanics (especially the wizard). There's no reason for the witch to be different. Emphasize staring into your familiar's eyes to get your hex powers back and to prepare spells, spooky cackling as you curse foes, etc.


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Wizard do have mechanics that emphasis the learning aspect via the school and thesis and those cant be simply role played. And what your are saying is more shallow Halloween witch tropes.


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Xenocrat wrote:
All of the thematic aspects of the others come from roleplaying more than mechanics (especially the wizard). There's no reason for the witch to be different. Emphasize staring into your familiar's eyes to get your hex powers back and to prepare spells, spooky cackling as you curse foes, etc.

I'm thinking of how the Wizard has class feats that play up it's base mechanics to support the fantasy of a scholarly spell caster, the current Witch lacks that same cohesion, and relies on more 'direct' abilities.

For instance, Wizards have all of these features that revolve around manipulating magic for greater versatility and flexibility- abilities that have to do with storing magic in tools, abilities that have to do with creating scrolls, and with altering their own spells. This 'scientific' approach to magic is what makes wizard class feats so flavorful. The archetype it draws on is very rich, because it feels like a real role in a real world, with a lot depth to it. They define what a wizard *is* in a very poignant way.

The witch seems a lot more shallow in this respect, because the elements its trying to convey are too specific to the "halloween" witch. It gives me that vibe, but without delivering a real sense of place in the overall dynamic of the spell casting classes- Wizards are Magical Scholars with class feats to prove it, Sorcerers draw magic intuitively from their blood with class feats that expand on their bloodline, and Witches... do stereo-typically witchy things.

I wish the witchy things were delivered through a richer thematic basis, hence my rural spell caster interpretation- they use a lot of 'natural' magic, good old fashioned charms and hexes, and have a lot of practical skills (like maybe my proposed version of coven) that Wizards and such don't, that have a very traditional feel to them. I want them to draw on that for a much stronger sense of what a witch is, without losing the "toil and bubble" for that want it.


i feel that you can build a pretty nice "rural witch" with the abilities as they are now tbh.

it's mostly about the selection of Hexes in the beginnning, but abilities like Cauldron, as an example, may be called as such, but they don't actually need a real bubbling cauldron filled with bile to work. It could easily be just your collection of herbs you keep in your hut in the village outskirts as an example.

You can also soothe the wounds of the villagefolk with Life boost, speak with small animals around you, or even plants, make herbal remedies to give around with Witch bottle and Temporary potions, charm the noisy inquisive types that try to meddle, or even outright make them too tired, draw protective lines to ward "evil", and cure afflictions and etc (all those last ones are the hexes).

All those are much more close to a hedge witch rather than the stereotypical "halloween witch".

Add the Primal spelllist and there you are.

In the end, i feel that the "flavor of the witch" is extremely diverse since it mainly comes from the Spelllist, and you have 3 whole spelllists to choose from, and the Hexes, which again are a wide array of them to choose from that fit a lot of themes.


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Squiggit wrote:
I don't see how it's overly niche. There are a lot of different concepts you can play out with the Witch as written... and a lot of your suggestions are about making the class more niche, not less.

You have two conflicting concepts. You have the patron, and you have the "Halloween Witch" aesthetics. There's nothing to tie these together or explain how they're related to one another. Why do Fey, Demons, and demigods all grant their witch followers living hair, or an affinity for swamps? Was there some cosmic treaty between all the gods and demons and fairies that said that this is how witches will be?

You're right that there's a lot of concepts you can create with the Witch, but that's only because they're mostly a blank slate without a coherent concept. You're making up the concept out of whole cloth, so of course there's a lot of room for creativity, but that also means you have no or limited mechanical support to convey those concepts in the game.

The Witch needs to decide what it wants to be, and tie that idea into a coherent theme through its class features. If they're going to be the occult spellcaster, with the patron as the focus, then we need class features to reinforce that mechanically. You can have a "Halloween Witch" for fey patrons, but it doesn't make sense to include those elements for a demonic or lovecraftian patron.


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shroudb wrote:
In the end, i feel that the "flavor of the witch" is extremely diverse since it mainly comes from the Spelllist, and you have 3 whole spelllists to choose from, and the Hexes, which again are a wide array of them to choose from that fit a lot of themes.

If the whole flavor of the class is the spell list, then why do we need a new class for that? Why not just use the existing classes? The whole point of having classses in the first place is to provide players with a prepackaged archetypal template. If the Witch is just a blank slate, and doesn't evoke any particular archetype, then it's failing as a class.


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Strill wrote:
f the Witch is just a blank slate, and not an archetype, then it's failing as a class.

That's absurd. Broad based classes are good, not bad.


Broad class are good if they have enough coherent options to differentiate them mechanically.

If you want an example of a well done broad class look at the vigilante. The base class and talents have almost no flavor, but it has so many options that you can make almost any concept.

The PF2 witch is trying to fit patron being this mystery being with little lore or mechanics besides the creatures type with arcthetypical Halloween Witch abilities and a "choose your own study plan" that makes me think more of wizards. But the mechanics are essentially the same as every other class.


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Strill wrote:
shroudb wrote:
In the end, i feel that the "flavor of the witch" is extremely diverse since it mainly comes from the Spelllist, and you have 3 whole spelllists to choose from, and the Hexes, which again are a wide array of them to choose from that fit a lot of themes.
If the whole flavor of the class is the spell list, then why do we need a new class for that? Why not just use the existing classes? The whole point of having classses in the first place is to provide players with a prepackaged archetypal template. If the Witch is just a blank slate, and doesn't evoke any particular archetype, then it's failing as a class.

because i said it's *mainly* the spellists+*hexes*.

The witch, from pf1 to pf2, was always about the hexes, and it still is here.

all the class features can be used to create a wide array of "witches" and yes, you can't do that with ONLY the spell list. You need the spell list, you need the hexes, and some of the class feats help a ton as well.

All those together form what is known as a class.

as for your notion that classes are supposed to be a "prepackaged template". No. Just no.

That's 5ed DnD right there, where the choices are so minimal that most same classes play exactly the same. That's bad.

Pathfinder always flourished because it gave meaningful options in whatever class you picked so as to make it as diverse as possible.


Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
f the Witch is just a blank slate, and not an archetype, then it's failing as a class.
That's absurd. Broad based classes are good, not bad.

Broad in what way? Broad, as in there's nothing there to begin with, so you're free to make things up and homebrew it the whole way? Or do you mean Broad as in there's a package of mechanical options for a each of a wide variety of concepts, such as with the Sorcerer? Clearly the latter is not the case, so you must mean the former, and in that case, you don't need new classes at all. Just take the core classes, and strip out all the thematic elements, and make the rest up yourself. Good luck coming up with balanced mechanical options to reinforce those themes though.

The more broad the class's scope, worse it is for any given concept. You could play a Wizard using the Witch class, but it wouldn't be nearly as good, because there's nothing to emphasize the Wizard as an academic. In the same way, you could run a lovecraftian researcher as a Witch, which should be a good fit with the Patron concept, but isn't because there's no mechanics to support lovecraftian themes.


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Strill wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
f the Witch is just a blank slate, and not an archetype, then it's failing as a class.
That's absurd. Broad based classes are good, not bad.

Broad in what way? Broad, as in there's nothing there to begin with, so you're free to make things up and homebrew it the whole way? Or do you mean Broad as in there's a package of mechanical options for a each of a wide variety of concepts, such as with the Sorcerer? Clearly the latter is not the case, so you must mean the former, and in that case, you don't need new classes at all. Just take the core classes, and strip out all the thematic elements, and make the rest up yourself. Good luck coming up with balanced mechanical options to reinforce those themes though.

The more broad the class's scope, worse it is for any given concept. You could play a Wizard using the Witch class, but it wouldn't be nearly as good, because there's nothing to emphasize the Wizard as an academic. In the same way, you could run a lovecraftian researcher as a Witch, which should be a good fit with the Patron concept, but isn't because there's no mechanics to support lovecraftian themes.

what's the point of "feats" if you're just supposed to pick up an archetype in your opinion, and the optimal package be given to you?

Diversity in how to build is a strong suit of a class, not a weakness.

p.s. no support for lovecraftian witches? How about Lessons of Night, Deceit, Shadow, Dreams, Death ? How about Occult spell list? how about Coven, Siphon, runed claws and even the counterspell/deflect feats?


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Strill wrote:
The more broad the class's scope, worse it is for any given concept.

Then I guess you should only play classes with really narrowly defined parameters like Swashbucklers and Druids.

Personally I'm not a fan of those and I think it's a little absurd that you keep acting like it's some objective truth that having a fundamentally more open ended chassis is inherently bad. Again, more power to you if you like that kinda thing, but miss me with these overly grandiose assertions about what's Good and what's Bad.


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shroudb wrote:
Strill wrote:
shroudb wrote:
In the end, i feel that the "flavor of the witch" is extremely diverse since it mainly comes from the Spelllist, and you have 3 whole spelllists to choose from, and the Hexes, which again are a wide array of them to choose from that fit a lot of themes.
If the whole flavor of the class is the spell list, then why do we need a new class for that? Why not just use the existing classes? The whole point of having classses in the first place is to provide players with a prepackaged archetypal template. If the Witch is just a blank slate, and doesn't evoke any particular archetype, then it's failing as a class.

because i said it's *mainly* the spellists+*hexes*.

The witch, from pf1 to pf2, was always about the hexes, and it still is here.

all the class features can be used to create a wide array of "witches" and yes, you can't do that with ONLY the spell list. You need the spell list, you need the hexes, and some of the class feats help a ton as well.

All those together form what is known as a class.

as for your notion that classes are supposed to be a "prepackaged template". No. Just no.

That's 5ed DnD right there, where the choices are so minimal that most same classes play exactly the same. That's bad.

Pathfinder always flourished because it gave meaningful options in whatever class you picked so as to make it as diverse as possible.

When you play a wizard, you're drawing on the mythical archetypes of Odin, Merlin, and of Hermetic magicians and alchemists, each of whom gained magical power through knowledge. Gaining power through knowledge is the core concept of the Wizard, and it invokes the imagery of those figures to convey that concept in an immediately recognizable way. You can play a Wizard who's angry, sneaky, clever, or any number of other things, but they're all drawing on that common archetype. There are a wide variety of Wizard class feats to customize how your character plays, but they still adhere to that archetypal theme.

What archetype is the Witch trying to draw inspiration from? Ostensibly it's drawing from fairy-tale crones and witches, and from medieval persecution of herbalists. There's plenty of class feats to reinforce this archetype, just as the Wizard's class feats reinforce its archetype. However, this isn't consistent with the Patron concept. A magical patron is a much broader archetype, with many different subcategories, of which the "halloween witch" is but one. The witch class doesn't have the options to do those subcategories justice. If you want to properly portray the Patron concept, you should also have class feats and features that make sense for a character who made a deal with a devil, for example, but there are no such class feats.

I think that Paizo needs to decide whether they want the Witch cover just the "Witch" archetype, or if they want it to cover the much broader patron archetype.


Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
The more broad the class's scope, worse it is for any given concept.

Then I guess you should only play classes with really narrowly defined parameters like Swashbucklers and Druids.

Personally I'm not a fan of those and I think it's a little absurd that you keep acting like it's some objective truth that having a fundamentally more open ended chassis is inherently bad. Again, more power to you if you like that kinda thing, but miss me with these overly grandiose assertions about what's Good and what's Bad.

I'm not talking about personal preference. I'm speaking in terms of practical time constraints. When someone works on one single thing in great detail, you get something of high quality. Create a class with a single defined concept, and you get a high-quality class. When someone splits their time to on a wide variety of things, however, they have less time to spend on each one, and you get a bunch of medium-quality things. That is what you get when you have a class with a huge scope.


shroudb wrote:
Strill wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
f the Witch is just a blank slate, and not an archetype, then it's failing as a class.
That's absurd. Broad based classes are good, not bad.

Broad in what way? Broad, as in there's nothing there to begin with, so you're free to make things up and homebrew it the whole way? Or do you mean Broad as in there's a package of mechanical options for a each of a wide variety of concepts, such as with the Sorcerer? Clearly the latter is not the case, so you must mean the former, and in that case, you don't need new classes at all. Just take the core classes, and strip out all the thematic elements, and make the rest up yourself. Good luck coming up with balanced mechanical options to reinforce those themes though.

The more broad the class's scope, worse it is for any given concept. You could play a Wizard using the Witch class, but it wouldn't be nearly as good, because there's nothing to emphasize the Wizard as an academic. In the same way, you could run a lovecraftian researcher as a Witch, which should be a good fit with the Patron concept, but isn't because there's no mechanics to support lovecraftian themes.

what's the point of "feats" if you're just supposed to pick up an archetype in your opinion, and the optimal package be given to you?

Diversity in how to build is a strong suit of a class, not a weakness.

p.s. no support for lovecraftian witches? How about Lessons of Night, Deceit, Shadow, Dreams, Death ? How about Occult spell list? how about Coven, Siphon, runed claws and even the counterspell/deflect feats?

I'm referring to "archetype" in the original meaning, not in the Paizo meaning.


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Anyone else baffled how vague all patrons are?

They don't have any themes tied to them, they're just unknown dudes with unknown goals. This doesn't have any depth whatsoever.

Why not focus more on how the Patrons impact your choices. Do you want a Witchy witch straight out of Halloween? Pick one (or more) patrons that grant you the base theme. Want to lean more on the Fey aspects? Then grant some Faerie-related magic that are tied to types of fae in the world (Seelie or Unseelie, make both available for good and evil characters). You want to be more of a potion-brewing and plant-based type? Why not having as patrons old and forgotten deities of Nature or even some legendary animal.

These are just random ideas I came up with. But I think he severe lack of flavor (which bleeds heavily into feat creation) is exactly because the Patrons are flavorless piles of benefits. They have some theme behind, but they're all very, very lackluster and leaving it all to the GM and Player to come up to things is not a good direction. It severely needs a solid foundation for the player, right now you only have a broad sense of what a Patron is.

EDIT: Just as a bonus. Wortwitch (FEAT 1) should be a class path, not a class feat.

Silver Crusade

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

We got a thread for that :3


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Rysky wrote:
We got a thread for that :3

Should've checked. Thanks!


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Strill wrote:
I'm not talking about personal preference.

You absolutely are. "I think narrowly defined classes are better" is purely and entirely an expression of personal preference. You're just framing it as some unassailable fact of life because... I dunno, you think it gives your point more weight? Something like that, presumably.

Quote:
Create a class with a single defined concept, and you get a high-quality class.

Oh right, like the Shifter.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We're all friends here.

I think Strill has a point though. The witch class is trying to do a couple different things at once, and I'm not sure that it's coming together as a class. That might just be a lack of options at the moment though; more lessons drawing from a broader array of stories might allow the class to feel more whole.

Then again, I'd also prefer they ditch the "pick your spell list" for this class, so take what I say with a grain of salt.


Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
I'm not talking about personal preference.
You absolutely are. "I think narrowly defined classes are better" is purely and entirely an expression of personal preference. You're just framing it as some unassailable fact of life because... I dunno, you think it gives your point more weight? Something like that, presumably.

Don't put words in my mouth. I am saying that when designing a class, you choose two:

* Broad scope
* Detailed
* Quick/Easy to design

Time is finite. If you design a class that covers every possible theme, you aren't going to have enough time to give each theme the attention it needs, while also being consistent with the rest of the class. On the other hand, if you focus on one theme, you can ensure that each class feature contributes toward the class concept.

If they can figure out what it is that ties the "Halloween Witch" concept with the "Patron spellcaster" concept, and focus on that, then they can probably make it work. Otherwise, one concept will win out over the other. Currently the "Halloween witch" concept is winning out over the "Patron spellcaster" concept, which has very little mechanical support.


Strill wrote:
I am saying that when designing a class, you choose two:

But you don't. Whether a class is hyper specific or broad you're designing generally the same number of options. All the scope does is dictate how specific the concept you're trying to convey with those options are.

Broad-based classes, like the fighter, wizard, witch, etc. have feats and options that are loosely defined and allow the player to fulfill a number of concepts based on how they pick and choose from those options.

Narrowly defined classes, like the swashbuckler and druid, have feats and options that are very specific to a certain theme and or a narrow range of ideas within that theme.

But ultimately you're still getting the same amount of work regardless.

You don't need to worry about giving each specific idea 'enough' time, because how options come together to create a theme is, in large part, going to be left up to the players and GMs making the character. And that's a good thing, because it enables more creative freedom for the player making the character. That's going to be true even for highly specialized classes for the Druid, too, just within a narrower scope.

That doesn't mean highly specific classes are a bad thing, but it does mean that there's a trade off either way and that treating one as objectively superior to the other is a bit silly.


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The more I think about it, the more I think the witch class as presented suffers from the choose-a-spell list concept, when it would be easier and more flavorful to just let patrons add spells to the occult list and otherwise let the witch really lean into the occult fantasy. It would also allow for later expansion; we can get unique, named patrons with exclusive lessons (I love the lessons, by the way) and unique lists of patron spells.

Really, by not focusing on the occult spell list, they're missing the chance to really expand on what Occult means beyond bards. There's a lot of stories to be told under that occult blanket! Alley witches, Fey-blessed witches, Iron witches that stand against fey, Ice Witches that are colder than snow, cook witches that call fire to their hands, zombie masters, potion experts, herbalists, the list goes on. All can be done as MOSTLY creepy, cursing, and occult, with a little bit extra (I think).

I will give credit; I do dig the concept of lessons from a specific yet vague source, and that source determining the kind of magic you cast. But just don't think this is the class for it. Summoners, for one, might be a LOT better at it, especially since the new divisions of summoning spells means the summoner is already covering basically every spell list with ts base abiity.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
I am saying that when designing a class, you choose two:
But you don't. Whether a class is hyper specific or broad you're designing generally the same number of options. All the scope does is dictate how specific the concept you're trying to convey with those options are.

Except that PF1 witches are already fairly narrow and specific. If paizo broadens it, will they have the page count left to support all the new concepts they're expressing with the class and also support all the PF1 concepts of old? Right now they're trying to shove all the new concepts into the old framework, leaving us with stuff like Cackle as your base ability no matter if your patron is the Baba Yaga or a Bastion Archon.


Squiggit wrote:
Strill wrote:
I am saying that when designing a class, you choose two:

But you don't. Whether a class is hyper specific or broad you're designing generally the same number of options. All the scope does is dictate how specific the concept you're trying to convey with those options are.

Broad-based classes, like the fighter, wizard, witch, etc. have feats and options that are loosely defined and allow the player to fulfill a number of concepts based on how they pick and choose from those options.

Narrowly defined classes, like the swashbuckler and druid, have feats and options that are very specific to a certain theme and or a narrow range of ideas within that theme.

I don't know what you're talking about. How is a Wizard more loosely defined than a Druid? Wizards, as I've mentioned, harken to Odin and the Hermetics, while Druids are loosely based on animistic religions and neopaganism. If the Wizard is more broad than the Druid, it probably has more to do with how ingrained Hermeticism is in our culture, than the Wizard class itself. Or perhaps are you saying it's just easier to erase and ignore all the academic elements of the Wizard, while the Druid's thematic elements are tied to mechanics, and so can't be handwaved?

Quote:

But ultimately you're still getting the same amount of work regardless.

You don't need to worry about giving each specific idea 'enough' time, because how options come together to create a theme is, in large part, going to be left up to the players and GMs making the character. And that's a good thing, because it enables more creative freedom for the player making the character. That's going to be true even for highly specialized classes for the Druid, too, just within a narrower scope.

And the more leeway you give the player to reinterpret the class, the less mechanical support there is for that reinterpretation, and the worse the class is at realizing that theme.

Quote:
That doesn't mean highly specific classes are a bad thing, but it does mean that there's a trade off either way and that treating one as objectively superior to the other is a bit silly.

Spellcasting classes in PF2e are already so mechanically similar that I don't see what the point is in making them even more generic. If you're saying the Witch should be as general as possible, then what concept could you make with the witch that you couldn't make with a Wizard or a Sorcerer? Why then bother having the Witch at all? Just use a Wizard or Sorcerer instead.

I say if you're going to bother adding a class, add one with a specific theme that you can't already achieve via some other class, so you open up new territory.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:


Except that PF1 witches are already fairly narrow and specific.

Not really. The PF1 witch covers a tremendously broad set of concepts. Pretty much everything the OP takes issue with is just as true of the 1e Witch as the 2e. The biggest changes are the flexible spell list and the shift away from at-will hexes, but even that's more a mechanical alteration than one of flavor. Narratively spells and hexes are pretty much interchangeable anyways.

"Strill wrote:
How is a Wizard more loosely defined than a Druid?

In the same way that the Fighter is looser than the Paladin. The druid has a very strict set of class features and even has narrative-driven restrictions built into the class. The Wizard doesn't.

Quote:
I say if you're going to bother adding a class, add one with a specific theme that you can't already achieve via some other class, so you open up new territory.

I say that if you just want to build one very specific idea, you might as well make an archetype.

Now if you want to argue the Witch, as written, is too similar to the Wizard, that's fine, but differentiating a class doesn't necessitate stripping away peoples ability to play out certain concepts either.


Squiggit wrote:
"Strill wrote:
How is a Wizard more loosely defined than a Druid?
In the same way that the Fighter is looser than the Paladin. The druid has a very strict set of class features and even has narrative-driven restrictions built into the class. The Wizard doesn't.

You're talking about Anathema, or something else?

Quote:
Quote:
I say if you're going to bother adding a class, add one with a specific theme that you can't already achieve via some other class, so you open up new territory.

I say that if you just want to build one very specific idea, you might as well make an archetype.

Now if you want to argue the Witch, as written, is too similar to the Wizard, that's fine, but differentiating a class doesn't necessitate stripping away peoples ability to play out certain concepts either.

I still don't understand what you mean by "specific". I'd say the Wizard is specific, because each class feature is geared towards emphasizing the Wizard's academic nature, which evokes the mythological figures the Wizard is based on. It's not trying to cover a bunch of disparate archetypes.


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"Academic nature" is an extremely vast concept though.

You can make hundreds of different approaches to that.

By the same logic, all witch options are "folklore nature" (Curses, transmutation, mind manipulation, nature, hedge wisdom, etc)


shroudb wrote:

"Academic nature" is an extremely vast concept though.

You can make hundreds of different approaches to that.

By the same logic, all witch options are "folklore nature" (Curses, transmutation, mind manipulation, nature, hedge wisdom, etc)

I agree.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:


Except that PF1 witches are already fairly narrow and specific.
Not really. The PF1 witch covers a tremendously broad set of concepts. Pretty much everything the OP takes issue with is just as true of the 1e Witch as the 2e. The biggest changes are the flexible spell list and the shift away from at-will hexes, but even that's more a mechanical alteration than one of flavor. Narratively spells and hexes are pretty much interchangeable anyways.

It’s not very broad at all. Certainly not compared to where we’re headed. Deep, yes, because as Shroudb says folklore covers a lot of concepts, but they all still have that unifying theme. With this iteration, the patron is going to be the unifying theme.

If your patron is a dragon, let’s say, how do the class abilities of cackle and familiar as written right now help convey this? Claws (nails refluffed) I can see, but living hair? Cauldron? Which hexes are appropriate?

How about a Vampire patron? Or a Bastion Archon? Desna herself (with a butterfly familiar, naturally)? Given time and page space, all of these can be filled out easily enough. But if they do that, will there be page space left for stuff like Child Scent or Beast Skin?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In general, I think that what we should really be aiming for is the kind of Witch that can encapsulate the PF1e Witch, but that's a little broader as well.

If we make the patron the core thematic focus, and give it the style of "rural spellcaster" thematically (features that contrast with the academic mage, and bloodline magic intuitive, to create a sense of a spellcaster drawing on an ancient tradition passed down from other witches) I think it could work out well-

I don't think specific Patrons need super specific abilities (thats the job of a sorcerer bloodline, which it would feel very redundant with), I think the Witch just needs a less superficial thematic bent toward Halloween Witchery, and more toward taking those ideas and some other ones, and fleshing them out into what feels like a more concrete "tradition of magic"

Some of this could be handled by changing the inflection without touching the mechanics:

Cackle could maybe be revised to be a more generalized vocalization (some witches might laugh and cackle, others might sing or chant or hum.) This keeps the ability the same, but makes it less focused on a singular feeling style of witch.

Coven could be revised mechanically to have less to do with hags and more to do with creating circles of spellcasting between player characters and/or NPC allies of the party (conveys traditional magic arts which allow multiple spell casters to pool their powers) and give all of those spellcasters bonuses, making these circles a Witch unique mechanic.

(Just Spitballing, but what if the Witch could use an action/actions to set up a circle, and then allied spellcasters within 30 feet could spend an action to sustain a link with the circle each turn, and everyone in the circle gets a +1 circumstance bonus to their spells / spell save DC per member in the circle starting with the witch, you could limit it at +3 at max to get the Witch Trio motif, if just letting it stack higher is a balance concern- I'd even be tempted to move this into the base chassis and move Cackle out into the Class feats, it would be much more impactful and flavorful and exciting as a core Witch class feature)

(Another flavorful alternative, if it was moved into the base class, would be to start it out really simply with a mild benefit, and then let Witches improve the benefits of their Circle through class feats in the way Cackle works now- letting spell casters use the other members as firing platforms for their spells, bonuses to hit / save dc, letting them place actions in a pool to be used by other casters directly for casting spells, the sky is really the limit- you could even include drawbacks where hurting one member of the circle hurts them all somehow)

Swamp Witch should be gotten ridden of... perhaps for a feature where the Witch gets the same bonus, but gets to choose the terrain (to reflect a knowledge of woodcraft from whatever area they hail from, instead of just swamps- making it a spellcaster associated with the land instead of a spellcaster associated with the swamp)

Nails could be revised to keep their rune etching on body mechanic, but maybe expanded to cover other body parts, like magical tattoos, it would be cool if there were upgrade feats for this, so that you could get up to 3 extra runes in this way.

I mentioned it earlier, but Living Hair should be part of a Focus Spell for a specific subset of Witch.

The Lessons in general aren't bad, but I think they could be a little more varied and give just a smidge more flavor to reflect different kinds of witches beyond the spell list, maybe let it encompass more shamanic roots as well (we're already a decent amount of the way there- the protective tradition, and ice traditions are especially strong I feel, honestly they might just need more flavor text building up the kind of feel they're supposed to convey)

As for emphasizing patron, I would actually suggest more class feats that modify the familiar- unknown patron witches wouldn't really take them (unless its part of a story beat) but more types of familiar in the way they can get a leshy would be rad, with cool little perks depending- like taking a feat to get a fiendish little guy, or a celestial, or whatever.

Beyond all of this, something being in PF1e is not a reason it shouldn't be fixed in PF2e.


I just hope that if Paizo does not lock every Witch into a cauldron coven type. I can not really imagine a cauldron and coven bound Witch actually going out on an adventure. Mostly to my mind, I suppose that the Witch you hope for seems to be more of a static box than a stand out member of a party.


Grenn the scarred wrote:

I just hope that if Paizo does not lock every Witch into a cauldron coven type. I can not really imagine a cauldron and coven bound Witch actually going out on an adventure. Mostly to my mind, I suppose that the Witch you hope for seems to be more of a static box than a stand out member of a party.

well, coven is just a single feat and "cauldron" doesn't actually needs a cauldron, it can be anything. it just makes you better at potion crafting, with any way you choose to flavor that.

so, so far, we are safe from them being relegated to "stay in hut and do stuff". If anything, with the removal of some pf1 specific hexes (looking at you scar...) they are required to be on the spot.


Another cool thing that Patrons could have to enhance the flavor even more is types of familiars it uses as liaisons. Fey Patrons use fey creatures of many types, devils use the lowest cast of demons and stuff, nature base could use leshys or simple animals, winter witches could either be tied to fae or feature a subset of winter-related creatures.

This way the class can evolve through patrons and new familiars through time beyond having new lessons, feats and archetypes. This open up so many possibilities for new feats for the class that can enhance, expand and alter the patron's theme.


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Thank you, The-Magic-Sword, I was thinking all of this, and now I don't have to go through the trouble of writing it out myself!

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