The great divine witch debate


Witch Playtest

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I figured this could use its own thread, since it's sort of derailed the arcane witch is unsavory thread.

My most recent post in the thread:

Midnightoker wrote:
Corwin Icewolf wrote:


See you say that like "it is possible to teach divine magic," is a completely logical conclusion to draw from "there's an ancient, ludicrously powerful occult artifact that makes you a god if you touch it." I don't follow your logic at all.

Let me be explicit then:

If an "insanely powerful artifact" can grant Divine power, then Gods are not needed to grant Divine power.

Therefore, we've established precedence already that divine power is not strictly limited to Gods that currently exist.

That already means that "gods said no" is not necessarily the case, because people (players even) can become gods.

We have absolutely no clue what the starstone even is beyond "thing that came from the stars that makes people deities," it could have been made by a god to distribute godhood freely. That god would likely have been killed by other gods for making it, so we wouldn't know. Gods are jerks like that. The point is, an odd corner case that we don't know the precise mechanism of can't be taken as the rule.

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What I gather is that divine magic is either inherent(sorcerer) comes from faith in deities(cleric) or comes from faith in what the deity's get their powers from(Oracle.) It requires devotion, not study.

Sure, in the context of them, that is the case.

But that's an arbitrary distinction that is literally rooted in the lore of "gods said no" and "divine power doesn't work that way".

To my response would be: "why? Why does it functionally have to work that way?"

The answer is it doesn't. There are plenty of reasons to say something works a certain way or it doesn't, but to say that it has to in order to work at all? I would question that highly.

In pf1 the only rough equivalent to the 3.5 archivist is an inquisitor archetype that still requires faith in something.

This leads me to believe paizo wants to keep divine magic tied to faith. You are free to rail against that decision, of course.

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There are plenty of polytheistic pantheons that do not follow the paradigm of divine power being inherently controlled in such a way to limit any and all access to its usage.

After all gods are dependent on domains. A domain is inherently something a god draws its powers from, because a domain does not belong to any one god, it belongs to many.

So in that sense, why can a witch not draw power from what provides the domains their power?

What makes you think something provides power to domains, rather than domains just being fundamental building blocks of the universe.

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And more aptly, why can a witch not draw power from the essences that Divine Magic is derived from itself?

Because... that's the Oracle's schtick?

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This is evident in Sorcerer's, Demons, Angels, Oracles, etc.

They do not devote themselves and yet they have these powers.

Oracles are either devoted to the things deities get their magic from, or something is devoted to them. Devotion is involved either way.

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Who is to say a Witch can't steal the ability to use these powers by say "tapping a divine vein" or something of that nature?

Are we saying that unraveling the mystery of where divine power comes from is inherently impossible? Are there no patrons that would seek to expose this power?

Maybe they can't. Maybe there are such patrons, but tbh they would be rare. Odd corner cases that would be better served by a class archetype in the final book or elsewhere.

Sovereign Court

Corwin Icewolf wrote:


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And more aptly, why can a witch not draw power from the essences that Divine Magic is derived from itself?

Because... that's the Oracle's schtick?

In my honest opinion, the Oracle and Witch are 2 sides of the same coin. They should both be people who outside forces have chosen to invest with power for their own reasons. The Oracle drew the attention of Divine forces and received a curse that provides him with spells and revelations. The witch received a Familiar with spells and hexes. It's fitting that both are coming in the same book. But both should be Spontaneous casters, because power was bestowed to them, and they didn't choose to seek it out through hard study or long prayer.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i have no strong feelings one way or the other.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I see the witch as fundamentally an Arcane caster with the flexibility to push into Occult or Primal. I don’t think it makes sense to include Divine.


For my money, witch shouldn't be a multiple-list caster in the first place.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It's not exactly fair to clerics who learn to cast divine magic by channeling their god while adhering to strict religious tenets and performing continuous worship.

I personally don't think anyone should be able to just devote time and learn to cast divine magic, it waters down the whole paradigm. If Witches were supposed to gain power only through their patron, who could take it away at a whim 1. I would not like that and 2. divine casting witches would be too similar to clerics.

I think Primal, Arcane, and Occult lists are appropriate, but patrons should do MUCH more to modify those lists. If you're otherwise a somewhat normal arcane caster, but your patron grants you a bunch of unprecedented spells that they don't teach at the Wizard school, that's pretty appropriate to the whole theme. It also allows the Witch to feel like a better spellcaster than the bard, even if they do end up reducing the number of spell slots to get bard-like hex cantrips.

Personally, I'd be fine with all witches starting with the Occult spell list and Patrons granting juicy selections of bonus spells from other lists.


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It seems to me that if they added a couple of divine-related greater and major lessons in the APG, a lot of the concern would go away. It may only need one that gives your familiar summon fiend and the witch a hellfire rebuke hex and one that gives some good healing options. Then the "make a deal with the devil" and the healbot "good witch" archetypes would both be supported without opening up divine witches.

Of course, for my money, the witch shouldn't be a list caster in the first place and should get all the spells from lessons which could draw from all the traditions. The big selling point would be that witch is best positioned to get a little bit from tradition A, a little bit from tradition B,....


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One of the reasons I started the arcane witch thread was it didn't quite make sense to me that a witch could be arcane but NOT divine. Opening up all traditions to the witch though treads too much on the sorceror's unique thing so the question of why arcane but not divine led me to suggest dropping arcane.

The flavour of each tradition as far as I understand them are:

Arcane: University Magic, PHDs and theses etc.
Divine: Magic granted by some higher power
Occult: Creepy magic
Primal: Nature magic

The Witch getting spells from a patron is kind of exactly what the Divine tradition describes. It just comes in the form of 'Lessons'.

For my personal ranking of how well each tradition fits my understanding of the theme of a witch it is

1. Tie between Occult for Halloween/Wicked Witch (both played straight and subverted), and Primal for Wiccan/Hedge magic Witch.
2. Divine 'cause I'm having a hard time distinguishing between magic granted by higher beings just because one of them is though 'Lessons'.
3. Arcane. To me the wizard school flavour of the tradition just doesn't fit with the witch theme.

In any case the issue popping up with having 3 of the 4 traditions available is that it makes the tradition left out more prominent than the 3 allowed. What's so unique about divine that Witch Patrons can't hand it out?

I don't think there's a very good flavour explanation for that considering the Oracles have no problem mysteriously accessing it w/o any obvious help while the Witch has a powerful patron to help!

Hell MONKS can get divine focus spells through kicking a lot or something. Witch Patrons can't give it to the Witch?


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Mechagamera wrote:
Of course, for my money, the witch shouldn't be a list caster in the first place and should get all the spells from lessons which could draw from all the traditions. The big selling point would be that witch is best positioned to get a little bit from tradition A, a little bit from tradition B,....

I think this solution would cause major problems down the line. Having each caster operate of a single spell list as a base is really important since it means printing new spells is super easy and gives all the casters of that tradition access. If you go for this solution and print a book with an occult spell down the line, all the occult casters would get access to it... but not the witch. That would mandate printing new lessons just to give witches access to new spells, which makes the class kind of auto-bloat in a way.

Waterslethe's solution is my preferred one by a long shot, and at this rate I should probably make a longer post arguing for why I want that particular witch/list dynamic since I keep saying I want it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
GM Stargin wrote:


The flavour of each tradition as far as I understand them are:

Arcane: University Magic, PHDs and theses etc.
Divine: Magic granted by some higher power
Occult: Creepy magic
Primal: Nature magic

The Witch getting spells from a patron is kind of exactly what the Divine tradition describes. It just comes in the form of 'Lessons'.

For my personal ranking of how well each tradition fits my understanding of the theme of a witch it is

1. Tie between Occult for Halloween/Wicked Witch (both played straight and subverted), and Primal for Wiccan/Hedge magic Witch.
2. Divine 'cause I'm having a hard time distinguishing between magic granted by higher beings just because one of them is though 'Lessons'.
3. Arcane. To me the wizard school flavour of the tradition just doesn't fit with the witch theme.

HALCYON CASTING!

you can teach primal spells academically, and it's a pretty big deal down in the south. so paizo doesn't agree with your interpretation of spell lists.

Grand Lodge Designer

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Take a look at the intersection of magical traditions and essences (Core Rulebook 299-300). The witch in P1 was an arcane caster, so that suggests witches are tapping into primarily mind and matter. They can then access any tradition that uses one of those two essences: arcane, occult, and primal—but not divine.

Now, that's how we got where we are. If that's not where it seems like we should go, we can absolutely revisit that, and I've seen some really interesting suggestions as to why we might want to. But as far as "why was this decided?", there you go.


Henro wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
Of course, for my money, the witch shouldn't be a list caster in the first place and should get all the spells from lessons which could draw from all the traditions. The big selling point would be that witch is best positioned to get a little bit from tradition A, a little bit from tradition B,....

I think this solution would cause major problems down the line. Having each caster operate of a single spell list as a base is really important since it means printing new spells is super easy and gives all the casters of that tradition access. If you go for this solution and print a book with an occult spell down the line, all the occult casters would get access to it... but not the witch. That would mandate printing new lessons just to give witches access to new spells, which makes the class kind of auto-bloat in a way.

Waterslethe's solution is my preferred one by a long shot, and at this rate I should probably make a longer post arguing for why I want that particular witch/list dynamic since I keep saying I want it.

Although I think the customizability of the witch as I described would be beneficial, I don't have any illusions that it has any chance of happening (it is too big of a jump). And if the next splat book has pick one (divine, occult) mediums with at least one spirit being an dead wizard who can add some arcane, but no primal because you are screwing around with the cycle of life, no one will be scandalized (which is honestly driving at least some of the divine witch desire).

PF1 had a bunch of types of fiends, most of which (I believe) haven't shown up in PF2 yet. Divs could go back to being elementals, so you could have a fiend-like elemental patron, and maybe the Qlippoth finally got totally kicked out of the Abyss and became occult (they are already pretty Lovecraftian/aberrant), so there would be a fiend-like occult patron (that has a very good reason for keeping its identity a secret from the witch).

If you wanted a good-leaning patron (for the "good witch" archetype), agathion could easily be celestial-like primal patrons, and Shedu/Lamasu could be celestial-like occult patrons (conjure entity needs some love too).

In short, it isn't impossible or even difficult for Paizo to support "make a deal with the devil" and "good witch" archetypes without opening up the class to divine casting, but I think if that is their plan, they ought to throw out a bone so it doesn't derail the playtest.


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Well by that logic why did Sorcerer get divine spells? I mean they were Arcane caster with the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list.

Witch spells and themes at least fitted with primal, arcane, and occult.

* Also thanks for responding to comments and talking to us about the process.


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WatersLethe wrote:

It's not exactly fair to clerics who learn to cast divine magic by channeling their god while adhering to strict religious tenets and performing continuous worship.

I personally don't think anyone should be able to just devote time and learn to cast divine magic, it waters down the whole paradigm. If Witches were supposed to gain power only through their patron, who could take it away at a whim 1. I would not like that and 2. divine casting witches would be too similar to clerics.

I think Primal, Arcane, and Occult lists are appropriate, but patrons should do MUCH more to modify those lists. If you're otherwise a somewhat normal arcane caster, but your patron grants you a bunch of unprecedented spells that they don't teach at the Wizard school, that's pretty appropriate to the whole theme. It also allows the Witch to feel like a better spellcaster than the bard, even if they do end up reducing the number of spell slots to get bard-like hex cantrips.

Personally, I'd be fine with all witches starting with the Occult spell list and Patrons granting juicy selections of bonus spells from other lists.

The first time I disagree with WatersLethe. Never thought I'd see the day!

Anyways

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I personally don't think anyone should be able to just devote time and learn to cast divine magic, it waters down the whole paradigm.

How does this "water down the paradigm" anymore than an Oracle/Sorcerer who gets it simply by being divinely born/blessed?What if the Witch has to "steal" the magic? Why can't they "leech" off of their Familiar's magic (who maybe is blessed by the divine).

I fail to see mechanically, thematically, and really any way at all that a Witch with a divine list = Cleric

1. Clerics just know everything on their list, they just prepare what they want off of that list. Witches have to learn specific spells, this lends more credence to the "borrowed/stealing/leech" aspect of the Class.

2. Clerics don't have hexes, get domains, get weapons from their deity, get channel, etc. All of which are extremely functionally different both thematically and mechanically from the Witch

To me, when I think "Witch" that learns spells from an "Anonymous Patron" I think of someone that's learning secrets they probably shouldn't know.

You call the Witch the Occult Prepared caster, and I sit down shut up and nod my head.

You open them up to mutliple lists?

Then they should be the "secrets of magic" thief from every list. They commune with a familiar to learn things from a Patron that are normally forbidden, against the rules of magic, generally shady, etc.

Standard "devil contract" could work like this:

- Familiar is a divine minion of said Devil. Devil needs an "agent" so he sends a Familiar to find a patsy/operator/whatever.

- The familiar finds an eager beaver, and says "I will teach you how to call on my masters tricks!"

- Witch goes, cool, I dig it, gimme the deets.

- Familiar teaches them how to tether demon power to the familiar, and the witch uses the familiar as the embodiment of divine power or even casts spells "through" their familiar or as a conduit (Witches being conduits for the Devil is actually pretty nested in lore in general).

I really don't buy the whole "Cleric = Divine Witch", even if you were going strictly off themes. Maybe someone can tell me why they think that a little more thoroughly.

I also don't really see how not having tenets somehow makes the Witch "better" than a Cleric (heck the Sorcerer and the Oracle don't have tenets? why does it matter)

But even then, maybe Patrons should have tenets. It's already been discussed that the Patron to Witch relationship mechanic is pretty flimsy. Maybe not direct tenets or anathema, but some kind of lesson penalty or familiar backlash or something wouldn't be uncalled for.

Perhaps if you violate Patron stipulations too often, your Familiar is punished or something.

IMO of course :)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Midnightoker wrote:

The first time I disagree with WatersLethe. Never thought I'd see the day!

As I was writing it, I knew I was letting you down. I'm sorry :(


WatersLethe wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

The first time I disagree with WatersLethe. Never thought I'd see the day!

As I was writing it, I knew I was letting you down. I'm sorry :(

Hahaha thanks good buddy that made me laugh.

I wish I knew how to tone down my legalistic Argumentative stances online I do appreciate all of the people here that are willing to communicate with me on subjects like this


Temperans wrote:

Well by that logic why did Sorcerer get divine spells? I mean they were Arcane caster with the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list.

Witch spells and themes at least fitted with primal, arcane, and occult.

* Also thanks for responding to comments and talking to us about the process.

Because it makes more sense for characters with the blood of angels to cast from the same tradition as angels.

Remember that the PF1 sorcerer had to deal with baggage from DnD. The PF2 version is more like how Paizo would have done it from the start had they the freedom to. The PF1 witch was Paizo's creation, and so keeping closer to the PF1 version has more weight.


GM Stargin wrote:

Arcane: University Magic, PHDs and theses etc.

Divine: Magic granted by some higher power
Occult: Creepy magic
Primal: Nature magic

It isn't necessarily PhD magic, just magic that broadly requires logic to use, the witch being int based actually makes arcane a very good fit for that reason.

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The Witch getting spells from a patron is kind of exactly what the Divine tradition describes. It just comes in the form of 'Lessons'.

Not really. The divine tradition describes itself being "steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the material plane." But I never saw how the witch views their patron as a matter of faith. The patron teaches the witch magic for some reason, and the witch uses the magic they teach them because it's magic and thus why wouldn't you, magic is magic.

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3. Arcane. To me the wizard school flavour of the tradition just doesn't fit with the witch theme.

Wizard school isn't the only way to logically study magic.

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In any case the issue popping up with having 3 of the 4 traditions available is that it makes the tradition left out more prominent than the 3 allowed. What's so unique about divine that Witch Patrons can't hand it out?

See above "steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the material plane."

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I don't think there's a very good flavour explanation for that considering the Oracles have no problem mysteriously accessing it w/o any obvious help while the Witch has a powerful patron to help!

oracles have faith in their mystery. The witch class isn't really built on faith like the cleric and Oracle class. And yeah, divine sorcerers exist, but having divine blood is going to change the rules a bit.

Having said that:

arcane tradition wrote:
arcane sorcerers study the secrets of their blood to unlock the power within themselves
occult tradition wrote:
Occult sorcerers strive to understand the mysterious power in their blood

While the divine tradition doesn't explicitly say that sorcerers have faith, instead saying they use their blood as a divine conduit, it wouldn't surprise me if they did in fact need some degree of faith, given how the arcane and occult sorcerers are flavored.

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Hell MONKS can get divine focus spells through kicking a lot or something. Witch Patrons can't give it to the Witch?

Nah. Monks get divine focus spells through faith. Most monasteries are devoted to a religion or a system of beliefs. It's more than just training to kick really hard.


What about faith in a concept?

Does it have to be a living god to have faith in it?


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Midnightoker wrote:

What about faith in a concept?

Does it have to be a living god to have faith in it?

No it really doesn't have to be a living god, because Oracle. I just don't see a witch as the faithful type really.


You know what the problem is here, people forget that the magic does not come from the witch, it's the familiar.

And the general vibe of the class is "some guy is hiring you on the down low"

So I am trying to think of a Divine familiar:

Angel/Devil has the issue of being Lawful, no working off the books there...

Demon/Daemon, yeah try to stop those guys from going rogue...

Now Arcane and Primal don't seem to take moral sides.

Occult seems to get off on being underhanded (and there's some elder god shenanigans going on in there too).

Now the issue with Arcane Witches, I would point to Lev Grossman's The Magician's for his version of Hedge Witches, they're a criminal/beggar element of magic society, and honesty Protection and Deceit really fit that vibe.

Now consider pathfinder's Wizard, Arcane Thesis... nuff said.


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RexAliquid wrote:
Because it makes more sense for characters with the blood of angels to cast from the same tradition as angels.

But it doesn't make sense for characters given magical patronage from angels to cast from the same tradition as angels?

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Part of why I think Witches should have access to divine comes down to three things.

1) It seems logically consistent that beings of tradition X grant magic of tradition X. This is how Clerics works (Deities being divine by definition) and this is how Sorcerers work (blood from an arcane dragon = arcane magic, even if you have a negative INT mod and call anyone who studies a nerd). I find it jarring that the Witch class would break this consistency by saying that 3 traditions of creatures would grant their associated magical tradition - but divine tradition creatures (like angels, devils, etc) would have to grant something else.

2) I see Witches (& Sorcerers) as being "Switch" casters due to high variability among how they gain their magic. Other casters gain their magic with methods/training that is mostly linked to to a specific tradition, and trying to do differently would result in a different class altogether. But a Witch's magic originates from a vague "Patron" which can easily be a being from any of the magical traditions (like how a Sorcerer's bloodline can be linked to a magical creature from any of the magical traditions).

3) If it becomes precedent for a class to offer a choice of three magical traditions - then I can already see players wanting classes to fill every combination of three traditions (& possibly every combination of dual traditions). I can also see players complaining about casters of the same tradition overlapping themes too much (considering that already happened with Sorcerer, etc.) Personally, I see 4 casters with the same tradition as fine as long as their other mechanics help differentiate them (bloodline, deity/domain, mystery, patron), but think that should probably be the limit.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Corwin Icewolf wrote:


Not really. The divine tradition describes itself being "steeped in faith, the unseen, and belief in a power source from beyond the material plane." But I never saw how the witch views their patron as a matter of faith. The patron teaches the witch magic for some reason, and the witch uses the magic they teach them because it's magic and thus why wouldn't you, magic is magic.

No reason that “power beyond the material plane” has to be a being, or even a concept. Divine casters draw on the power of the outer (but not far) planes. Witches can have confidence that their lessons teach them to harness that power, even if it doesn’t come as freely or as clearly as clerics get.

I would also prefer Witches as primarily occult casters that dabble outside based on their patron, but I can see divine witches. Perhaps because of all the anime I watched as a child. A magical girl anime character is close to how I’d imagine a divine witch, with a bonus of great costumes and fancy hats.

Edit: actually a “lesson of anonymity” that provided you an instant disguise would not be inappropriate. Witches traditionally tapped illusion magic and had many seemings.


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Hmm oh looks Azatas "chaotic good celestial who show up to help.

And have this excerpt in the wiki:

"Azata PathfinderWiki wrote:
The primary goal of azata society is to promote freedom and joy throughout the Great Beyond. They understand that these virtues cannot be enforced, but must spontaneously arise, and therefore prefer to act more as advisors than take direct action to confront evil and unyielding law. This allows the people they are helping to achieve their goals on their own, and not depend on the constant aid of celestials....

A group of individuals who: are celestial in nature, give advice, promote freedom, and occasionally offer help, and want people to grow strong and independent. Sounds like the perfect patron.

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I agree I would had liked occult Witch that got access to other spells via patron similar to how halcyon magic giving access to both primal and arcane.


AnimatedPaper wrote:


I would also prefer Witches as primarily occult casters that dabble outside based on their patron, but I can see divine witches. Perhaps because of all the anime I watched as a child. A magical girl anime character is close to how I’d imagine a divine witch, with a bonus of great costumes and fancy hats.

Magical girl divine witch? Well, I hadn't considered that angle. Something to think about... my only issue is most magical girls don't actually seem to have that many spells. Also most don't seem to be the sharpest lightbulbs in the crayon box while witches are int based.

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Edit: actually a “lesson of anonymity” that provided you an instant disguise would not be inappropriate. Witches traditionally tapped illusion magic and had many seemings.

And I agree with this, whether it's divine or not, lesson of anonymity needs to exist.


Witches learn their spells, they are not innate magic, nor are they granted abilities by their patrons.

Sovereign Court

Temperans wrote:

Well by that logic why did Sorcerer get divine spells? I mean they were Arcane caster with the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list.

Witch spells and themes at least fitted with primal, arcane, and occult.

* Also thanks for responding to comments and talking to us about the process.

The best reason I can think of for the Divine Sorcerer is all the stories about a divine parent in mythology. Hercules is just one of the most famous examples of the "hero whose parent is a god" trope.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

Hmm oh looks Azatas "chaotic good celestial who show up to help.

And have this excerpt in the wiki:

"Azata PathfinderWiki wrote:
The primary goal of azata society is to promote freedom and joy throughout the Great Beyond. They understand that these virtues cannot be enforced, but must spontaneously arise, and therefore prefer to act more as advisors than take direct action to confront evil and unyielding law. This allows the people they are helping to achieve their goals on their own, and not depend on the constant aid of celestials....

A group of individuals who: are celestial in nature, give advice, promote freedom, and occasionally offer help, and want people to grow strong and independent. Sounds like the perfect patron.

*************
I agree I would had liked occult Witch that got access to other spells via patron similar to how halcyon magic giving access to both primal and arcane.

sure but why wouldn't they try to make clerics? why witches. who are generally for getting things done on the down low.

mind you i don't really see any reason someone couldn't get a divine spell list, it just begs the question of why aren't they clerics (from a lore perspective)


Most Azatas are not gods or empyreal lords so how will they make clerics? So it makes sense they would instead teach Witches.

In this case it would not be a matter of secrecy, but simply not having the power to well just grant power. Which also explains why Clerics get the full list but Witches would only get a few at a time.


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The idea that divine magic can only be be granted is proven false by divine sorcerers.
Divine sorceres never needed to exist.
The fiends, celestial and other things that cast Divine spells, don't do so as full casters.
Why should it be that those of their bloodline do?
The same holds for sorcerers of every bloodline.
So why do a bunch of creatures with limited magical breadth and depth spawn casters with the potential to be godlike?
Editorial choice.
Why can an Oracle bypass the gods?
Editorial choice.
Why is it that philosopher clerics no longer exist?
Editorial choice.
If witches get access to the divine spell list or not will come down to an editorial choice.
The lore will bend anyway it needs to, because it's just made up stuff.
Pointing to lore as a reason to keep them away from the list is getting things backwards ,the lore is written and rewritten anytime a new class comes out.

All that being said, what is it about the Divine list that access to it is so important?
Do we really need it in order to make a devil sworn or angel allied witch?

Does anyone have a chart of what spells are exclusive to each tradition?

What do the spells that are exclusive to the divine list have in common?
From a short survey, they seem to be the Harm/Heal spells,spells tied to a relationship with a god and/or spells that have something to do with morality.
Is there something about those particular spells that a divine witch needs to have be true to their theme?

It seems more about the exclusion than anything.
If spells from the Arcane tradition swapped labels with those of the Divine tradition,but witches were still excluded from the Divine tradition, would proponents of the "divine witch " be satisfied?

Divine patrons seem to be explicitly included, but the relationship is on the down low.
Do we want the Divine power to "put a ring on it"?
Is access to The Divine Tradition that ring?


The Ronyon wrote:


What do the spells that are exclusive to the divine list have in common?
From a short survey, they seem to be the Harm/Heal spells,spells tied to a relationship with a god and/or spells that have something to do with morality.

Nope.

Heal isn't exclusive (it is also on primal)
Harm is, but it shows up on various other spell lists (like Undead bloodline)

Mostly the spells exclusive to Divine are the ones specifically focused on bopping undead.
And ripping open someone's mind with 'Crisis of Faith,' which is mostly just a mind blast.

Divine lance and Divine wrath are exclusive, but are just plain old attack spells, but require a deity and non-neutral alignment, because reasons.

Summon Fiend/Celestial are exclusive apparently to just cause compatibility problems, since a wizard chain-binding fiends is a fundamental archetype of the genre and the game.

There are a couple others, but mostly its themed summoning, bothering undead and blasting people with slightly obscure energy forms.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Temperans wrote:

Most Azatas are not gods or empyreal lords so how will they make clerics? So it makes sense they would instead teach Witches.

In this case it would not be a matter of secrecy, but simply not having the power to well just grant power. Which also explains why Clerics get the full list but Witches would only get a few at a time.

sure but they could teach them themselves or just have them start worshipping a useful deity and bam, you have a relatively stable beacon of power who can't turn and start using your lessons for evil.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The Ronyon wrote:


Does anyone have a chart of what spells are exclusive to each tradition?

I have a spreadsheet for the playtest spell lists. I haven’t redone the analysis for the CRB, but at some point I’ll get bored/curious enough.

Grand Lodge Designer

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Temperans wrote:

Well by that logic why did Sorcerer get divine spells? I mean they were Arcane caster with the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list.

Witch spells and themes at least fitted with primal, arcane, and occult.

* Also thanks for responding to comments and talking to us about the process.

I'm happy to do so as much as I can! I wish I had more time to respond more often, but I'm reading everything y'all have to say. (And the discussion has basically already addressed the question here, but let me know if you want me to peel that back more.)


The Ronyon wrote:

The idea that divine magic can only be be granted is proven false by divine sorcerers.

Divine sorceres never needed to exist.

There are two ways to get Divine spells (without getting cursed). Either innate spell casting like celestials and sorcerers or by being granted planar power from a deity.


RexAliquid wrote:
There are two ways to get Divine spells (without getting cursed). Either innate spell casting like celestials and sorcerers or by being granted planar power from a deity.

So there's three ways when before there was only two.

If tomorrow it was stated that a Witch could bind a demon patron to their familiar through a pact, and use that patrons power to cast divine spells, it would not conflict with any established lore for granted Divine power.

In fact, it would emphasize how clever an int based caster would be.

And in regards to the essences:

Arcane covers Mental and Material
Primal covers Spiritual and Material
Occult covers Mental and Vital

There are no restricted spells on any of the Occult or Primal lists

Therefore, Witches have the ability to learn spells of the Vital essence and of the Spiritual essence.

The Divine spell list is the Vital and Spiritual Essence list, so IMO the essence argument is completely out of bounds because they already cast spells of both those essences.


Witches are arcane casters, primarily. Just because they can push into the adjacent traditions, doesn’t mean it makes sense to get all the way to the opposite side of the continuum.


RexAliquid wrote:
Witches are arcane casters, primarily.

Gonna need a citation on this "primarily", because the spell list indicates otherwise.

3.5 introduced a Witch in the DMG, which was a combination of the Divine and Arcane spell lists.

Don't get me wrong, Paizo definitely made the Witch their own with Hexes and suitable support, but the concept of Witch or even the Class of Witch was at least in part inspired by such.

In PF1, the list was virtually identical to the described list in the DMG and they were classified as Arcane Casters, but that really only means something in the context of requirements.

That constituted they could not wear armor and were subject to arcane casting limitations and were treated as such for prestige classes and the like.

If you want to purely off of the spells they were able to cast, the classification doesn't really hold, since there are no real limitations on Arcane casters in PF2.

Unless of course a prerequisite for a feat/archetype specifically mandates they be Arcane, in which case a Divine Witch wouldn't qualify anyways.

But those limitations apply to Occult and Primal casters still, they cannot take feats/archetypes that have "arcane caster" as prerequisites.


Bandw2 wrote:
Temperans wrote:
sure but they could teach them themselves or just have them start worshipping a useful deity and bam, you have a relatively stable beacon of power who can't turn and start using your lessons for evil.

Azatas want people to be self sufficient and not depend on celestials, which technically include deities. So having Azatas make clerics for gods would be counter to their entire goal.

Also part of the reason why Azatas prefer to be advisors is that they dont believe evil can just be fought. So I dont think they would mind if a witch or two turned against good, as long as it was due to pursue of joy. Of course all of this would depend on the Azata in question.

Silver Crusade

Midnightoker wrote:
RexAliquid wrote:
Witches are arcane casters, primarily.

Gonna need a citation on this "primarily", because the spell list indicates otherwise.

3.5 introduced a Witch in the DMG, which was a combination of the Divine and Arcane spell lists.

Don't get me wrong, Paizo definitely made the Witch their own with Hexes and suitable support, but the concept of Witch or even the Class of Witch was at least in part inspired by such.

In PF1, the list was virtually identical to the described list in the DMG and they were classified as Arcane Casters, but that really only means something in the context of requirements.

That constituted they could not wear armor and were subject to arcane casting limitations and were treated as such for prestige classes and the like.

If you want to purely off of the spells they were able to cast, the classification doesn't really hold, since there are no real limitations on Arcane casters in PF2.

Unless of course a prerequisite for a feat/archetype specifically mandates they be Arcane, in which case a Divine Witch wouldn't qualify anyways.

But those limitations apply to Occult and Primal casters still, they cannot take feats/archetypes that have "arcane caster" as prerequisites.

Uh, that wasn't just requirements. They were Arcane casters in every way that mattered and in everything that interacted with them. Flavor-wise they were a nice blend of Arcane and Divine, but they were Arcane casters.


The per-class spell list system allowing for multiple versions of arcane casters really did help the witch a lot to sell the flavor while not needing extra rules.


Rysky wrote:
Uh, that wasn't just requirements. They were Arcane casters in every way that mattered and in everything that interacted with them. Flavor-wise they were a nice blend of Arcane and Divine, but they were Arcane casters.

In PF2, what is the difference between an Arcane Caster and any other Caster besides the spells on their list and the distinction itself?

You can argue they were "arcane casters in every sense" but the truth is "every sense" applies strictly to the limitations of arcane casting, mainly the arcane spell failure and archetype requirements.

They had heal. They had divine spells that other arcane casters did not have by default not because they picked a certain patron.

PF2 has no such distinctions and there are also two more disciplines of casting that were not present in the previous edition.

Using it as a definition for what the current class is, when no such definition has been imposed on the:

- Bard
- Sorcerer
- Druid

Is a bit disingenuous.

If you don't have a problem with the above not reflecting previous editions, how does stating "they were always arcane" (which has no classification of note outside of the actual list it represents) matter?

Edit: they were arcane, but to me that’s only technically correct, but nonetheless I’ll admit it is correct. The rest of my response explains why I think the nuance of my position.

Silver Crusade

Midnightoker wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Uh, that wasn't just requirements. They were Arcane casters in every way that mattered and in everything that interacted with them. Flavor-wise they were a nice blend of Arcane and Divine, but they were Arcane casters.
In PF2, what is the difference between an Arcane Caster and any other Caster besides the spells on their list and the distinction itself?
Pretty much everything that affects those Traditions.
Quote:
You can argue they were "arcane casters in every sense" but the truth is "every sense" applies strictly to the limitations of arcane casting, mainly the arcane spell failure and archetype requirements.
Why are you under the impression that Arcane Spell Failure was the only thing that differentiated Arcane, Divine, and Psychic? There were plenty of feats and abilties that took note of what type of caster it was. Also Archetypes were class specific.
Quote:

They had heal. They had divine spells that other arcane casters did not have by default not because they picked a certain patron.

They were still arcane casters.
Quote:
PF2 has no such distinctions and there are also two more disciplines of casting that were not present in the previous edition.

P2 has plenty, there's feats and monster abilities that give different affects vs different traditions.

Also Psychic/Occult was in P1. The only "new" Tradition was splitting Divine and Primal.

Quote:

Using it as a definition for what the current class is, when no such definition has been imposed on the:

- Bard
- Sorcerer
- Druid

Uh, what do you mean imposed? Bard's are Occult and Druids are de facto Primal casters (we don't talk about Sorcerer and their parents' kinky fun exploits).
Quote:
Is a bit disingenuous.
The only thing disingenuous is claiming all Traditions are the same and interchangeable with the only difference being the names.
Quote:


If you don't have a problem with the above not reflecting previous editions, how does stating "they were always arcane" (which has no classification of note outside of the actual list it represents) matter?

Druid hasn't changed in the slightest.

Sorcerer got tweaked to better align with their bloodlines.

Occult fits Bard better I feel, but you're a lot late to this argument, there was a bunch of people in the Playtest that didn't like the change to Occult.

Silver Crusade

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Note I'm saying this as someone who wanted the Witch's to be Occult when they were announced.


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Midnightoker wrote:
RexAliquid wrote:
There are two ways to get Divine spells (without getting cursed). Either innate spell casting like celestials and sorcerers or by being granted planar power from a deity.

So there's three ways when before there was only two.

If tomorrow it was stated that a Witch could bind a demon patron to their familiar through a pact, and use that patrons power to cast divine spells, it would not conflict with any established lore for granted Divine power.

Oracles are still in line with how divine magic works as explained on page 299 of the core rulebook. It's not clear that witches are.

Quote:
In PF2, what is the difference between an Arcane Caster and any other Caster besides the spells on their list and the distinction itself?

A studied, logical(but not necessarily formally academic like the wizard) approach to magic. Even arcane sorcerers study the power in their blood in this way apparently.

Quote:
They had heal. They had divine spells that other arcane casters did not have by default not because they picked a certain patron.

I considered letting this go because it seems like a minor issue, but in pf1 bards were arcane and had access to heal. So when witches first came out there was precedent for arcane healers.


Rysky wrote:
Note I'm saying this as someone who wanted the Witch's to be Occult when they were announced.

If we’re being totally transparent, I’d take occult only over pick a list except divine every single time. Sure, thatd mean no Primal list Witch, but I’d assume Shaman could fill that motif.

And I’ve respectfully withdrawn my assertion they weren’t classified as arcane, but to me calling them arcane in the strictest sense of the word is like calling a crepe a pancake. (IMO of course).

@Corwin

I would say bards weren’t exactly studied magic per say, but fair point on the Heal.


Bards have colleges and a few are quite famous. There are also bardic studies in a few universities.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The more I've thought and read and talked about this, the more I wish witches were purely occult casters at a base (getting some additional stuff through their patrons though). Either that, or allow them divine, or some weird hybrid access to any two. But three of four lists is just weird and seems slightly underenvisioned.

I'd rather see their core mechanics be more focused and unique rather than leaning on "they can choose between traditions at creation" to give the witch any particular new flavor. I honestly don't see any reason for their to be a second any-tradition caster, even if it's prepared v. spontaneous.

Instead of adding the divine list, I'd vote they tone down the lists to one, and use patrons to both give a targeted list of special spells (like a polymorphish witch, or an illusionist witch, etc.). Buff out hexes and fluff out their natural identity?


Rysky wrote:
Uh, that wasn't just requirements. They were Arcane casters in every way that mattered and in everything that interacted with them. Flavor-wise they were a nice blend of Arcane and Divine, but they were Arcane casters.
Rysky wrote:
Note I'm saying this as someone who wanted the Witch's to be Occult when they were announced.

I'm finding all the arguments about "Witches were originally Arcane" to be strange because of this. Witches were arcane in the same way that Bards were arcane - in that they shared a weird mix of typically arcane/divine spells and ended up classified as arcane overall since they could only pick one classification. And considering Bards got reclassified into the new Occult tradition, it'd make the most sense for Witches to do similar if you were forced to pick just 1 tradition. Heck, that's what many wanted before the playtest started and we still have some arguing for Occult-only now.

As such - if you really wanted to exclude a list for the PF2 Witch based on connection to essences like Lyz Liddell's comment, wouldn't it make more sense for Primal to be excluded? The class's PF1 origin seems to map closest to Occult - so that'd be Spirit & Mind essences. These overlap with the Arcane & Divine traditions - but not the Primal tradition which uses Life & Matter essences.

Of course, I say this mostly just to show how I disagree with the reasoning used to exclude divine in the Playtest. I don't see excluding Primal as a decent option considering how many themes related to witchcraft seem to perfectly fit within the tradition, not to mention the spells/mechanics Witches got in PF1.

RexAliquid wrote:
There are two ways to get Divine spells (without getting cursed). Either innate spell casting like celestials and sorcerers or by being granted planar power from a deity.

I've seen people argue this, but still don't see anywhere this is stated in the actual rulebook or any of the setting materials I've read. The divine tradition mentions "power sources beyond the material plane," which would include a lot more entities other than just deities (or demigods). Amusingly enough the PF1 description of the Witch seems to match up fairly well with this, mentioning how "the witch draws her magic from a pact made with an otherworldly power." Considering that, I imagine you could actually make a decent argument that Witches should be primarily divine casters if you really wanted to. Witches would be the ones drawing otherworldly powers from other planes and their related entities who are not powerful enough to reach deity/demigod status (like what Clerics worship) and thus can't manage the same quality of outright granting spells or creating large religions around themselves.

Silver Crusade

Charon Onozuka wrote:
As such - if you really wanted to exclude a list for the PF2 Witch based on connection to essences like Lyz Liddell's comment, wouldn't it make more sense for Primal to be excluded? The class's PF1 origin seems to map closest to Occult - so that'd be Spirit & Mind essences. These overlap with the Arcane & Divine traditions - but not the Primal tradition which uses Life & Matter essences.

*shakes head*

Witch living out in the woods, using the darker aspects of nature, is something that exists and has been used in folklore and media.

(Full disclosure I pretty much ignore the Essences, tried to learn em, didn't stick)

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