Witches With No Familiars


Witch Playtest


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I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?


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I feel pretty much the same, however at this point I can work with what they have if it doesn’t happen. I still think it would be nice to get a weapon in place of a familiar but I have really been reading the Elric books and may just be hung up on Stormbringer.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I do feel the same. Familiars can be fun, but I'm really here for the hexes and unique spell lists.

No-familiar and no-patron options would be nice to have, even if they end up being class archetypes.


What if Hexes were feats?
How about a caster class that can pick from all lists, with prepaored/spontanious and casting stat being the players choice?

I'm not just being provocative, I see the different visions of what a witch should be as a design problem that might not be answerable by a single well defined class.

Familiars and patrons, as written, can be safely ignored most of the time, yet they bug the crap out of some people.
Full casting of divine magic could be acquired via three other classes, but some people really want witches to get it as well.

Cackle is maybe meh, and some people still don't want to be "forced" to do it.

To me, a witch without a familiar and a patron is a wizard with a different spell list and some hexes.
Maybe a generic spellcaster should exist,allowing us to add whatever extras we want, and leave off what we find unwelcome.

Open question in my mind.
Right now,rather than Archetypes that modify a class be a subclass we use Muses,Lessons, Schools, Bloodlines, etc, but things could be different.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

the magaamyan archetypes let you get a familiar that's a mask.


There were a few 1e archetypes that allowed you to swap out the familiar for a more thematic item. Personally I'm in favour of most witches having familiars but also it makes sense to have a certain flexibility for concepts where the familiar doesn't work.

Cartomancers were a distinctly Varisian-themed witch which used a Harrow deck to commune with the spirit of the Harrow/ancestors or something rather nebulous (which is a reason why I don't think patrons can/should be specific, singular entities)

I don't remember the name but I believe half-elves had an ancestry-specific archetype where their familiar was represented as a bonded item. Though it was my least favourite example of an archetype arbitrarily specific to a particular ancestry, I liked the basic concept.

Actually as I think about it there was also the Orc witch doctor also had scarred masks used for their familiars, in line with those Magaambyans mentioned above


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:

I do feel the same. Familiars can be fun, but I'm really here for the hexes and unique spell lists.

No-familiar and no-patron options would be nice to have, even if they end up being class archetypes.

I would welcome those class archetypes, but feel as a baseline witches should have familiars.

I’m actually a little surprised I feel that, given my favorite witch character was a mirror witch in Strange Aeons, but here we are.


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MGX wrote:
I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?

Very, very much so. I hate the familiar rules, I despise the concept (especially if they're effectively intelligent creatures, as it effectively becomes a form of slavery), and can't stand the vulnerability in play.

To riff off a quote: "I haven't named any of my other class features." And they can't be stabbed in the face until I lose spells.

Grand Lodge Designer

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The Ronyon wrote:

What if Hexes were feats?

*trim*

Actually, lots of the things First Edition witches could do as hexes are now feats, because they really functioned in the role feats hold in Second Edition. We've tried a few of them here—prehensile hair and claws, wortwitch, swamp witch, witch's bottle, and so forth—to see how that pans out in this edition. (Even more, after first level, your other hexes are also effectively feats, as you gain them via class feats.)

Sovereign Court

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MGX wrote:
I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?

That's like saying "I want a wizard that doesn't have a spellbook!" "Ok, your wizard lost his spellbook and can't prepare his spells anymore. Happy? If not, look into a sorcerer, they don't need a spellbook."

Sovereign Court

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Voss wrote:
MGX wrote:
I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?

Very, very much so. I hate the familiar rules, I despise the concept (especially if they're effectively intelligent creatures, as it effectively becomes a form of slavery), and can't stand the vulnerability in play.

To riff off a quote: "I haven't named any of my other class features." And they can't be stabbed in the face until I lose spells.

I don't see it as slavery, it's a form of pet. Except for the witch it's kind of reversed, the witch is the familiar's pet...


Lyz Liddell wrote:
The Ronyon wrote:

What if Hexes were feats?

*trim*
Actually, lots of the things First Edition witches could do as hexes are now feats, because they really functioned in the role feats hold in Second Edition. We've tried a few of them here—prehensile hair and claws, wortwitch, swamp witch, witch's bottle, and so forth—to see how that pans out in this edition. (Even more, after first level, your other hexes are also effectively feats, as you gain them via class feats.)

To be more clear, I was suggesting that hexes become available as feats for every class, or every spell casting class.

Add the idea of a generic spellcaster and you can have the Witch come out anyway you would like.

Grand Lodge Designer

Ah, I see what you're saying!


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Familiars are ridiculously vulnerable.

Bringing them into an encounter is like setting down one's spellbook in every battle and having to kick it out of the room for safety before the AoEs start dropping. And that's not accounting for environment, enemies trailing you, or a recurring enemy informing minions that the familiar is a valuable & easy target.

As rude as it is to attack a Wizard's spellbook, at least they tend to keep it stowed, perhaps even having a backup or travel version (and in the lore, often trapped, warded, and so forth).
Yet if Witches simply stow their familiars, the familiars still take AoE damage unless there's magic involved, often which means the familiar simply becomes "buddy inside item I bought to keep my faux-spellbook, I mean buddy, safe" which ultimately means (IMO) there shouldn't be such items (because "must-have" items are avoided in PF2 when possible) or that an item as familiar should be a initial option for Witches (partly because I know I'd be racing to get an item that could stow my buddy).

I think the idea of a sentient object is pretty cool, perhaps with it having part of the Patron's essence or some other link. Sure, maybe you couldn't upgrade it or get bonus spells or whatnot, but those are for those willing to have their spellbooks wandering about.


Samurai wrote:
Voss wrote:
MGX wrote:
I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?

Very, very much so. I hate the familiar rules, I despise the concept (especially if they're effectively intelligent creatures, as it effectively becomes a form of slavery), and can't stand the vulnerability in play.

To riff off a quote: "I haven't named any of my other class features." And they can't be stabbed in the face until I lose spells.

I don't see it as slavery, it's a form of pet.

A sapient pet that can talk and make decisions. That crosses a line from domestication to slavery.

Silver Crusade

Voss wrote:
Samurai wrote:
Voss wrote:
MGX wrote:
I hope they come out with an alternative to having a Familiar, for those of us who don’t want an animal companion. Anyone else feel the same?

Very, very much so. I hate the familiar rules, I despise the concept (especially if they're effectively intelligent creatures, as it effectively becomes a form of slavery), and can't stand the vulnerability in play.

To riff off a quote: "I haven't named any of my other class features." And they can't be stabbed in the face until I lose spells.

I don't see it as slavery, it's a form of pet.
A sapient pet that can talk and make decisions. That crosses a line from domestication to slavery.

I’ve always seen them as being a partnership.

With Witch even more so, since they’re closer to being in charge.


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Familiar could easily and thematically be changed to a crystal that speaks to you (give spells) etc, effectively a witches bonded item. This is why I think witch subtypes should be based on your relationship to your patron.

Stealing power vs deliberate pact with known entity vs mysterious pact.

Thematically that would change a lot about the witch, give different options about the familiar or other 'source of pact magic' item. Could have different feats or hindrances. I think what is missing with witch, and this thread supports is the relationship options with the patron and limitations/drawbacks. This bakes in the no patron option 'I steal power - has no conditions to it but there are risks' vs 'I have made a deal with Uugalaf the Great Old One who has direct demands' or 'I get power but have some shady things I need to do from time to time, I don't really know whose ends I am working for but its worth the price to achieve my goals.'

I do agree with others familiars right now are a massive liability. Familiars probably need to be a little more robust than they currently are. This is worse for witches than for wizards because they also function as the spellbook. Who wants to risk the (fragile) source of their power for scouting/spying or many of the other things familiars are traditionally used for?

I would also like a non-familiar option, a crystal or other bonded item concept would probably be fine. A living implant of some description would also be tasty.


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Definitely agree. Picking a certain class shouldn't mean being obligated to run a second stat block. That's why the P1E changes to the Druid, Ranger, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Wizard (specifically, the ones that let you trade away your animal companion/mount/familiar for literally anything else) were so welcome.

Sovereign Court

Castilliano wrote:

Familiars are ridiculously vulnerable.

Bringing them into an encounter is like setting down one's spellbook in every battle and having to kick it out of the room for safety before the AoEs start dropping. And that's not accounting for environment, enemies trailing you, or a recurring enemy informing minions that the familiar is a valuable & easy target.

As rude as it is to attack a Wizard's spellbook, at least they tend to keep it stowed, perhaps even having a backup or travel version (and in the lore, often trapped, warded, and so forth).
Yet if Witches simply stow their familiars, the familiars still take AoE damage unless there's magic involved, often which means the familiar simply becomes "buddy inside item I bought to keep my faux-spellbook, I mean buddy, safe" which ultimately means (IMO) there shouldn't be such items (because "must-have" items are avoided in PF2 when possible) or that an item as familiar should be a initial option for Witches (partly because I know I'd be racing to get an item that could stow my buddy).

I think the idea of a sentient object is pretty cool, perhaps with it having part of the Patron's essence or some other link. Sure, maybe you couldn't upgrade it or get bonus spells or whatnot, but those are for those willing to have their spellbooks wandering about.

You could then have a witch say "Mirror, mirror, use this divination spell for me and show me..." It could be Augury, Clairvoyance, Prying Eye, etc. Maybe give the witch 1 magic object per school of magic, as a version of a 2e Occultist.

I think it would make a lot of sense to merge the Witch and Occultist classes into one for 2e! Just say that the first object comes with, and is home to, the familiar, who teaches the witch/occultist to use magic and hexes. All the spells knowledge is stored in that object, so even if the familiar dies, it can be recreated with a 1 hour ritual and no magical knowledge is lost! And if the DM is wanting to challenge the characters, he could have 1 of the witch's objects get stolen or broken, and she then couldn't cast spells from that one school until she finds, fixers, or replaces it, but the ret of her magic still works.


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Mentioned this in another thread: Not to copy too much from 5e, but maybe make it so if a familiar is killed it isnt necessarily dead. Maybe it has a pocket dimension it can stay in, that it can be pulled in or out of as an action. When it hits zero it returns there, but with a wounded condition that lasts a week. If it hits dying 4 from that it is truly gone, needs a ritual to rebind, and comes back less willing/able to share spells.

Then it has some durability, can be used for recon without risk of disabling your caster on a bad roll, and gives the witch something unique. As for why anyone would have their familiar on them at all times, maybe they give a bonus to you for having it on you. That would also help those who don't want a familiar, as they could just have it restore their spells in the morning and then send it away.


Samurai wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

Familiars are ridiculously vulnerable.

Bringing them into an encounter is like setting down one's spellbook in every battle and having to kick it out of the room for safety before the AoEs start dropping. And that's not accounting for environment, enemies trailing you, or a recurring enemy informing minions that the familiar is a valuable & easy target.

As rude as it is to attack a Wizard's spellbook, at least they tend to keep it stowed, perhaps even having a backup or travel version (and in the lore, often trapped, warded, and so forth).
Yet if Witches simply stow their familiars, the familiars still take AoE damage unless there's magic involved, often which means the familiar simply becomes "buddy inside item I bought to keep my faux-spellbook, I mean buddy, safe" which ultimately means (IMO) there shouldn't be such items (because "must-have" items are avoided in PF2 when possible) or that an item as familiar should be a initial option for Witches (partly because I know I'd be racing to get an item that could stow my buddy).

I think the idea of a sentient object is pretty cool, perhaps with it having part of the Patron's essence or some other link. Sure, maybe you couldn't upgrade it or get bonus spells or whatnot, but those are for those willing to have their spellbooks wandering about.

You could then have a witch say "Mirror, mirror, use this divination spell for me and show me..." It could be Augury, Clairvoyance, Prying Eye, etc. Maybe give the witch 1 magic object per school of magic, as a version of a 2e Occultist.

I think it would make a lot of sense to merge the Witch and Occultist classes into one for 2e! Just say that the first object comes with, and is home to, the familiar, who teaches the witch/occultist to use magic and hexes. All the spells knowledge is stored in that object, so even if the familiar dies, it can be recreated with a 1 hour ritual and no magical knowledge is lost! And if the DM is wanting to challenge the characters, he...

The Occultist did come to mind for me too. :)

I think some of the aspects of spell acquisition would overlap, though there's a lot more to an Occultist re: imbuing & what would be like focus spells in PF2. I don't think having that and the hexes would suit one class. I'd be open to attempts though.

Sovereign Court

Castilliano wrote:

The Occultist did come to mind for me too. :)

I think some of the aspects of spell acquisition would overlap, though there's a lot more to an Occultist re: imbuing & what would be like focus spells in PF2. I don't think having that and the hexes would suit one class. I'd be open to attempts though.

My thought was that the witch/occultist (need a better name for the combination proposal) could have a spell list of all spells from the Arcane, Occult, and Primal lists, but only in a few schools of magic. They could start with 2 schools, and get more as they level up. Maybe choose a new school at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels? That would mean being able to pull from a total of 6 schools of magic by the end of her career, but no more spells than a normal caster. I think that sounds pretty fair. And each school uses a different infused magic item to draw on. It could be a mirror for divination spells, a wand for evocation, a mini-cauldron for conjuration, a mask for illusions, etc. The player can decide what each item is as she gets it, and she would need to be holding or wearing the item in order to cast spells from that school.

Hexes could be more innate powers, like the claws, living hair, an evil eye, etc that doesn't need an item to work, she could always use her hexes, but they look strange and different: the hair is always moving on it's own even if there is no wind, the claws are on her hand, the 1 eye has a different, strange appearance (bright purple color, no iris, etc).

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