Should the Witch be Intelligence based or Wisdom Based?


Witch Playtest


The Witch is my favorite class. I loved the design from first and am excited to see it.
So this was an issue I had with the Witch class from 1st edition. Why is it Intelligence based?
They draw power from a patron similar to a cleric and their deity and a Druid and nature.
Many witches in lure are in a cabin in the woods dealing with nature, animals or viewing the night sky.
They are viewers of the future through cards, crystal balls or animal entrails.
They are the ones noticing things others can’t like spirits, breaks or distortions in time and space, the shifting of seasons.
The biggest reason I’ve seen Witches as Intelligence based is the game balance having another Int. caster.
What does everyone else think? Should there be a change? Am I not seeing something?


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well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.

Sovereign Court

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In my revised playtest document, there are 3 options: If you have an Arcane patron, you are Int based. If it is Occult, you are Charisma based. If it is Primal, you are Wisdom based. Other classes, such as Rogues and the martial classes can do it, so the Witch should be able to as well. It's just 1 more thing to help differentiate between the patron types.


Samurai wrote:
In my revised playtest document, there are 3 options: If you have an Arcane patron, you are Int based. If it is Occult, you are Charisma based. If it is Primal, you are Wisdom based. Other classes, such as Rogues and the martial classes can do it, so the Witch should be able to as well. It's just 1 more thing to help differentiate between the patron types.

I’d love for an intelligence based Witch to be more like the alchemist instead of it being Arcane.

I like this idea though.

Silver Crusade

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Witches don’t draw power from their Patrons like how Clerics do with their Deities.

Patrons serve as an inspiration for their studies, thus Intelligence fits.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Samurai wrote:
In my revised playtest document, there are 3 options: If you have an Arcane patron, you are Int based. If it is Occult, you are Charisma based. If it is Primal, you are Wisdom based. Other classes, such as Rogues and the martial classes can do it, so the Witch should be able to as well. It's just 1 more thing to help differentiate between the patron types.

NGL I kinda don't really care for this. Being able to play an Int-based occult or primal caster is a big part of the appeal.

Plus it feels weird, because just changing the type of magic shouldn't fundamentally change how you learn or access it.

Sovereign Court

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likrin wrote:
Samurai wrote:
In my revised playtest document, there are 3 options: If you have an Arcane patron, you are Int based. If it is Occult, you are Charisma based. If it is Primal, you are Wisdom based. Other classes, such as Rogues and the martial classes can do it, so the Witch should be able to as well. It's just 1 more thing to help differentiate between the patron types.

I’d love for an intelligence based Witch to be more like the alchemist instead of it being Arcane.

I like this idea though.

Well, they already offered a Wortwitch feat that changes your familiar into a Leshy, I can easily see an option that changes it into as Tumor familiar! In fact, just change the name to Wartwitch and it should work perfectly! (and it explains why witches are sometimes seen with a wart on their nose... "That's no wart, that's my familiar!"


likrin wrote:

The Witch is my favorite class. I loved the design from first and am excited to see it.

So this was an issue I had with the Witch class from 1st edition. Why is it Intelligence based?
They draw power from a patron similar to a cleric and their deity and a Druid and nature.
Many witches in lure are in a cabin in the woods dealing with nature, animals or viewing the night sky.
They are viewers of the future through cards, crystal balls or animal entrails.
They are the ones noticing things others can’t like spirits, breaks or distortions in time and space, the shifting of seasons.
The biggest reason I’ve seen Witches as Intelligence based is the game balance having another Int. caster.
What does everyone else think? Should there be a change? Am I not seeing something?

As already mentioned, witches don't draw power from a patron, they learn from them. The rest of it isn't specifically witch stuff and there's plenty of witchy tropes that fall under other stats e.g. Arcana, Occultism, Deception and so on.

Wumiao Xue wrote:
well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.

I'm sure there's plenty of witches who don't do this either.

Liberty's Edge

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Being a Witch is still a matter of academic study, it just involves a rather specific type of being as a personal tutor rather than the ordinary human instruction a Wizard receives. I definitely think that still leaves Intelligence as the most important stat for them.


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Actually I have to say Witches using Int is one of my favourite things about them over D&D Warlocks. This may or may not be more based on my own headcanons about the way certain game mechanics translated, but I like what Int implies about Witches doing as Deadmanwalking said, actually studying the magic and needing to learn it the same way Wizards do, but starting with a different premise.

I've been meaning to gather my thoughts and post in the Patrons Do Nothing thread for a while but the gist of why I appreciate this so much is because it finally offered a satisfying explanation (to myself) why witches were arcane (in 1e) and what made them different from clerics.

To give the short of it, I had/have a bit of a headcanon about the similarities and differences between the three primary casting stats and what they said about the way those classes cast spells.

Cha is somewhat obvious, particularly since innate magic is based on Cha. Cha represents using magic as an expression of one's will and creativity, sort of feeling out the magic by instinct, which is why Bards use it alongside the typical 'innate' or 'gifted' spellcasters (Sorc/Oracle, etc)

Wis being the primary ability score for divine spellcasters suggested to me that the ability to use magic granted to you by supernal beings depended largely on your awareness of the order of things in the world and your place within that order (perhaps could explain that better, but Wis isn't the point here).

Int finally is for spellcasters that must study and learn every spell manually. While Cha-casters know a handful of spells that they just 'get' and Wis-casters rely on various spiritual entities for the knowledge of each spell, Int-casters memorize by rote and cunning.

Suffice to say, that Witches use Int appealed to me because it told me that Witches don't so much as hit up their sugar entity for cosmic power as they go to these mysterious and elusive beings known as patrons to learn hidden secrets of magic--especially when one is in possession of a keen intellect but lacking in traditional academic sources of magical knowledge.

Make sense?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Wumiao Xue wrote:
well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.

i don't know who you are, but i love you for this.


Wumiao Xue wrote:
well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.

I thought the 2nd edition witch doesn’t get to choose though. The patron just looks at the prospective witch, sniffs them, and says, “Meh, I guess you’ll do.” and BAM! Magical sugar daddy, no strings attached*.


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Tunu40 wrote:
Wumiao Xue wrote:
well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.
I thought the 2nd edition witch doesn’t get to choose though. The patron just looks at the prospective witch, sniffs them, and says, “Meh, I guess you’ll do.” and BAM! Magical sugar daddy, no strings attached*.

It is always free to play at first. But you have to pay to keep up with other players, that is how they get you.


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Honestly, high charisma types are the only ones who could fall for this sales pitch. High physical stat types have probably had to work out or practice, so "powers for nothing" is suspicious. High wisdom types wouldn't "feel right" about it. High intelligence types should figure "it doesn't make any sense for someone to offer me something for nothing." High charisma types assume everyone loves them anyway, so why shouldn't a mysterious stranger give them a magic pet....


High int types actively seek out deals knowing there might be a costs. High physical stat can either be: "why do that when I can train" or "sure I'll like magical steroids, did you say something else?". High Wis would only probably do it if there is no other option, or they want the power more than they care for the cost.


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Mechagamera wrote:
Honestly, high charisma types are the only ones who could fall for this sales pitch. High physical stat types have probably had to work out or practice, so "powers for nothing" is suspicious. High wisdom types wouldn't "feel right" about it. High intelligence types should figure "it doesn't make any sense for someone to offer me something for nothing." High charisma types assume everyone loves them anyway, so why shouldn't a mysterious stranger give them a magic pet....

In fairness to the other character types, they may have simply been very inebriated at the time.


You guys are assuming the high int character's in great conditions. Try this on for size:

A young and very logically minded prodigy who can't afford wizard school is approached by a mysterious entity who offers him magic. Maybe even to top it off his mom or dad or girlfriend or boyfriend's sick, let's say something horrible like mummy rot, and they can't afford to pay any clerics for a cure disease and remove curse spell. Then a patron offers them this kind of deal? Yeah.

Or nobody's sick and they take the deal because the patron's offering to teach them magic, which is plenty of reason in itself to take the deal tbh.

Or maybe they're very smart but think they're smarter than they. My first witch's motivation. "I can and will usurp my patron." She ended up doing so too, so I mean...

Or yeah, you know, they could've just been drunk. Or a kid. Their mom may have a witch and inducted them into the coven when they were just a kid.

Tunu40 wrote:
Wumiao Xue wrote:
well,high wisdom characters don’t sign powerful contracts with unknown entities.
I thought the 2nd edition witch doesn’t get to choose though. The patron just looks at the prospective witch, sniffs them, and says, “Meh, I guess you’ll do.” and BAM! Magical sugar daddy, no strings attached*.

Also this, why should the patrons ask people to do stuff for them when they might just as easily be able to find people who are likely to do things that benefit them anyway and just hand them knowledge for free? Patrons are likely to have divination spells that can tell them that after all.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Mechagamera wrote:
Honestly, high charisma types are the only ones who could fall for this sales pitch. High physical stat types have probably had to work out or practice, so "powers for nothing" is suspicious. High wisdom types wouldn't "feel right" about it. High intelligence types should figure "it doesn't make any sense for someone to offer me something for nothing." High charisma types assume everyone loves them anyway, so why shouldn't a mysterious stranger give them a magic pet....

high charisma types will of course also be horrible witches, and so witches are rare.


Temperans wrote:
High int types actively seek out deals knowing there might be a costs. High physical stat can either be: "why do that when I can train" or "sure I'll like magical steroids, did you say something else?". High Wis would only probably do it if there is no other option, or they want the power more than they care for the cost.

Maybe I am giving too much credit to the forums, but it seems like people who claim the most system mastery (high intelligence) are the most risk averse.....


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Given how broad and vague they are conceptually I think it's a little pointless to try to typecast ability scores all that much.


High int is risk adverse unless they think they are safe which is very well represent by Planar Binding + Magic Circle. If done right there is no risk to the wizard and he will profit, however if he miscalculates how strong the entity is he will probably die or suffer.

Also dont forget there is no reason why the patron would show his true side before the contract is made. looks at a certain magical girl anime


Temperans wrote:

High int is risk adverse unless they think they are safe which is very well represent by Planar Binding + Magic Circle. If done right there is no risk to the wizard and he will profit, however if he miscalculates how strong the entity is he will probably die or suffer.

Also dont forget there is no reason why the patron would show his true side before the contract is made. looks at a certain magical girl anime

Oh man, they are witches!


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Being the matter of interpretation that it is, I think Intelligence works well for Witches as others have said; they study lessons from an unorthodox tutor to bend magic to their will. There is seemingly still study and learning involved despite the patron and familiar, only you trade a magic university's administration for a patron and professors for the familiar. By learning the building blocks of the world and how to manipulate them you're only limited by how well you can execute the verbal/material/somatic components and what you actually know is possible

This is different from Wisdom-based magic which to me seems more about having full access to a huge, unfathomable amount of power but having to wait for guidance on how to channel it through yourself so as to not, y'know... Pop. Wisdom spellcasting doesn't make magic, it moves magic. Deities and other higher powers turn on the tap for you, but only give so much as they need you to have or that you've demonstrated you're capable of controlling

I think Witch could work for both, but the patron/familiar relationship to me leans the class towards Intelligence. The patron doesn't give the witch power, it says--through the familiar--"Hey, kid, try wiggling your pinkie when you chant this, see what happens..." That's more like book learning; the patron doesn't channel power through the Witch, it teaches the Witch through one tradition or another, and the Witch still has to practice


Temperans wrote:

High int is risk adverse unless they think they are safe which is very well represent by Planar Binding + Magic Circle. If done right there is no risk to the wizard and he will profit, however if he miscalculates how strong the entity is he will probably die or suffer.

Also dont forget there is no reason why the patron would show his true side before the contract is made. looks at a certain magical girl anime

It is easier to be in control when you initiate things. The fluff seems to make the witch reactive ("Your power instead comes through an unknown being that has chosen you as its vessel to carry forth some equally unstated plan in the world.") To use your example, this set up is a lot more: the wizard comes across some people conducting a ritual, he/she doesn't know any of them, they won't tell the wizard what their intentions are if the ritual succeeds (I will assume the wizard can figure out what the ritual does), but they want him/her to join them, will tell the wizard what he/she needs to do, and even promise some vague amount of power. So the question is, would someone with high intelligence take the group up on their offer?

If the fluff was "I sacrifice Fluffy (my pet) to the great (dark) mysterious forces. If you accept my sacrifice, make Fluffy rise again and teach me magic...." I think that would better support an int-based witch. The witch has initiated things and figured out how use a patron-requesting ritual (maybe even picking a time/date/location that has the best chance of success and the lowest chance of being fed to a demon for your impertinence).

Liberty's Edge

I equate faith with WIS and curiosity with INT. Therefore I think INT is more appropriate for Witches

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