Idea for replacement to Cackle.


Witch Playtest


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I'm in the camp that Cackle is ripe to be changed and that the Witch class needs SOMETHING to differentiate it in actual play (patrons only really change how you build, not anything on screen.) So here is my rough idea.

Infectious Hex
Auditory, Mental, Concentrate
Your Hexes are pernicious, with a cackle, malevolent curse, snap of your fingers or some other flourish you pull your magic from defeated foes to spread among their allies.
Reaction Trigger: An enemy under the effects of one of your Hexes dies or otherwise becomes an invalid target.
Effect: You pull the lingering magic from your old target and apply it to a new target. Choose a new target for the Hex as if it was a fresh casting of the spell for all purposes except duration.

This I think gives the witch a new way to get more out of their Focus spells in a flavorful way. It also gives them something to do with their Reaction, which is a nice buff.


Isn't that really similar to a Warlock ability from that other game? That doesn't make it bad by any means.

I think having whatever Cackle winds up being called as a reaction would be a vast improvement. Maybe something like...

Spread Unease - your eccentricities unnerve your foes and your hexes linger on them. This can take the form of a cackle, an obvious twitch, an involuntary curse or any number of other things.

Trigger: An enemy affected by one of your hexes with a sustain duration begins its turn.

Effect: Sustain the hex affecting that enemy until the end of that enemy's next turn

It's not perfect but I think it's an improvement. And you could have feats that allow you to affect multiple creatures affected by your hexes until eventually it's "Sustain all affects you have active for one additional round"


So why does Cackle need to be changed? I would agree Witch needs a little something else, but why should it remove Cackle?


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I kinda hope that becomes a Class Feat but idk if it makes sense as a baseline.


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Dubious Scholar wrote:
So why does Cackle need to be changed? I would agree Witch needs a little something else, but why should it remove Cackle?

Mostly because not everyone wants to be a cackler. It was an optional hex you could take in 1E, a pretty good one but still optional, but now it's become a core part of the class and to some, myself included, the idea that we'll all be cackling feels a bit restrictive and/or goofy.


Dubious Scholar wrote:
So why does Cackle need to be changed? I would agree Witch needs a little something else, but why should it remove Cackle?

As written cackle is a sustain spell action but with next to no benefit and a significant downside to it.

Better to roleplay it out or explain how witches often cackle while sustaining spells.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dubious Scholar wrote:
So why does Cackle need to be changed? I would agree Witch needs a little something else, but why should it remove Cackle?

For me its a few things.

As a "unique class action" it does basically nothing.

It takes up quite a lot f space for an ability that 95% won't make a lick of difference to your standard witch (its great for witch/barb multiclass but that is a weird position for a mandatory level 1 class feature.)

As noted its imposed flavour that many folk don't like.


Midnightoker wrote:
I kinda hope that becomes a Class Feat but idk if it makes sense as a baseline.

Yes I could get on board with that. I'd still want it to be more powerful if I'm going to spend a feat on it though. And would you want to replace that with a different baseline feature? If so, what?


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I, too, was down on Cackle, until I realized it applies equally well to insane-evil-genius, milking-the-giant-cow maniacal laughter. Now I'm on board with the theme, but it does need mechanics that aren't so edge-case.


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Ross Orion wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
I kinda hope that becomes a Class Feat but idk if it makes sense as a baseline.
Yes I could get on board with that. I'd still want it to be more powerful if I'm going to spend a feat on it though. And would you want to replace that with a different baseline feature? If so, what?

I was actually speaking specifically about Malk_Content's proposed change.

Which I like, but not as a default class feature.

Really hope they go with some form of "Witch Inflection" for free. The issue isn't that Cackle comes in by default, it's that the flavor of Cackle doesn't fit every witch (it's also a little boring and weak).

- Cackle - When sustaining a spell on a single target and the target can hear you, they receive a -1 to Will saves from spells you cast.

- Violent Gesture - When sustaining a spell with the somatic component and that spell deals damage against a target, they take additional damage equal to the level of the spell cast. This additional damage is the same type as the damage from the spell.

- Pendant Shake - When sustaining a spell that has a material component, you may sustain that spell as a free action on the round follow its casting. You may replace the somatic components of Witch Spells with the material component.

....

The idea is provide multiple nuanced differences to the Sustain a spell action, and since Witches primary ability hinges on sustaining, these seemed both thematic and helpful.


I'm fine with broadening the flavor of Cackle to include more options. My point was more that if something new is added it shouldn't be at the expense of Cackle (or whatever its called).

Sovereign Court

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Dubious Scholar wrote:
I'm fine with broadening the flavor of Cackle to include more options. My point was more that if something new is added it shouldn't be at the expense of Cackle (or whatever its called).

My thought was to give the witch a Cackle form of Eschew Materials. You can replace material components with a verbal one instead of a somatic one. Then have a class feat called "lasting cackle' or "echoing cackle" that extends a spell duration for a round.


I think it needs something more exciting all together. A lot of the proposals feel too mechanical. Replacing one type of component with another might be useful, for instance, but it's a tad boring. Something best saved for a non-iconic feature.

Hexes in my opinion should still be the selling point of the witch. "You don't have to rely entirely on spells, your magic is much more than that."


MadMars wrote:

I think it needs something more exciting all together. A lot of the proposals feel too mechanical. Replacing one type of component with another might be useful, for instance, but it's a tad boring. Something best saved for a non-iconic feature.

Hexes in my opinion should still be the selling point of the witch. "You don't have to rely entirely on spells, your magic is much more than that."

I think they could remove the full action block for it and just be a blurb that "Witches can sustain a spell with cackling or vocalizations, when doing so they replace Concentrate with Auditory" if needed, but I do like it being called out.

Cackle is on the level of sorcerers not needing a spell component pouch. The issue is that Witch basically has spell slots+hexes+class feats right now, and then Cackle is called out. And people are then jumping on it as "too weak", etc. because there's nothing else big and shiny there (there's a lot of stuff on the familiar and patron because they're important, but they don't provide action options the way something like Rage does).

Now truthfully, Sorcerer actually isn't much more than that. They get their spell slots, bloodline, and eschew materials. And that's it. The key difference really is that bloodlines are a bundle of things - bonus spells (which Witch gets via Lessons), focus powers (Lessons), and bloodline arcana (no equivalent). Bloodlines feel meatier because it's a single big choice though that affects a lot of things as a package.

I don't want to bundle lessons up that way though, as the flexibility is nice. I do agree Witch needs something else, because it does feel a little hollow at the moment - in part because hexes don't really feel a lot different from other focus spells. Replacing Cackle I think comes more from it being the only obvious thing to replace, but that makes the flawed assumption that something has to be removed in order to add something new.

The other issue hexes have though is that they compare very unfavorably to Bard's compositions. 1e bards had limited (but lots of) party-wide buffing. 2e bards have an unlimited supply (albeit having to always sustain it, though they had to in 1e as well). 2e witches are going from unlimited hex ammo for debuffs to 1/battle at level 1.

In that vein, as a global Witch option:
Minor Jinx, 1 action (Concentrate)
Duration: 1 round
Target creature suffers a -1 status penalty to saves and DCs. After it is the target of an attack or makes a saving throw this effect ends and it is immune for one minute.
When you apply Minor Jinx, you may Cackle as a free action.


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Dubious Scholar wrote:


Cackle is on the level of sorcerers not needing a spell component pouch. The issue is that Witch basically has spell slots+hexes+class feats right now, and then Cackle is called out. And people are then jumping on it as "too weak", etc. because there's nothing else big and shiny there (there's a lot of stuff on the familiar and patron because they're important, but they don't provide action options the way something like Rage does).

Eschew materials is wayyyyyy more useful than cackle and opens up options that are more likely to come up in play. I am not saying it is a powerful option, just that cackle is that bad.

As for familiar options, I am not sure I count the things the familiar gets as options since any witch is essentially required to invest their extra choices into suitability options for the familiar. Lest it be killed in a stray AoE (no familiar satchel).

Sovereign Court

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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Dubious Scholar wrote:


Cackle is on the level of sorcerers not needing a spell component pouch. The issue is that Witch basically has spell slots+hexes+class feats right now, and then Cackle is called out. And people are then jumping on it as "too weak", etc. because there's nothing else big and shiny there (there's a lot of stuff on the familiar and patron because they're important, but they don't provide action options the way something like Rage does).

Eschew materials is wayyyyyy more useful than cackle and opens up options that are more likely to come up in play. I am not saying it is a powerful option, just that cackle is that bad.

As for familiar options, I am not sure I count the things the familiar gets as options since any witch is essentially required to invest their extra choices into suitability options for the familiar. Lest it be killed in a stray AoE (no familiar satchel).

That's why I suggested changing the cackle class feature into a unique form of Eschew Materials using a verbal component rather than a somatic one. They can still leave the extend duration abilities for class feats, and it either can be a verbal effect, or something like "Heightened Familiar Bond: Your close relationship with your familiar allows it to spend 1 of its actions sustaining a spell you have cast for 1 additional round"


I'd like to see it just dropped and Witches just Sustain their hexes/spells, and apply whatever non-annoying flavor they want.


Voss wrote:
I'd like to see it just dropped and Witches just Sustain their hexes/spells, and apply whatever non-annoying flavor they want.

Basically this. I would love to see the option remain (and was really just suggesting we needed more rather than calling for the removal of the option prior) but it should by no means be a main thing. Literally just a random thing you can do if you want, no pressure, no required assumptions about your character.


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Idea: What if Witches had an action to refocus mid-combat?

Cackle: 1 action
Requirements: A Hex has ended since the start of your last turn
Effect: Refocus. You may only regain focus spent on Hexes this way

The hexes-only clause is to avoid any abuse cases of doing a quick hex and dropping it to reload focus for other classes' focus spells, but I'm not actually sure it's necessary if the hexes can't be used more than once per target.

A hex ending would include any of the following:
1) The hexed target dies (or otherwise becomes invalid)
2) The hex hits its max duration
3) You choose to let the hex drop

Edit: As this would allow witches to build for multiple hexes at once, I'd add: "Whenever you cast a Hex, you may sustain all your other hexes" under some appropriate name, to allow hitting 3 hexes at once going (at which point you'd be spending your whole turn maintaining them all, but I kind of like the mental image of a mage doing that to lock down enemies)

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