Witches, hair, and what good they are


Rules Questions


Yes.
So my group is playing Wrath of the Righteous, and after getting bored with my Paladin, opted to play my backup, a White-Haired Witch, for the duration of the fifth book.
Now that we're about halfway through, the DM is getting fed up with me just snuffing everything out in one hit, one at a time.
Last session, we got into a big argument over what the hair actually does.
He decided, of his own volition, that
1. You cannot use touch spells with your hair.
2. You cannot start grapples with your hair.
3. Touch spells don't set off Grab.
Which would mean that at this point, my character would be completely neutered, since bad-touching people over twenty feet away and then choking them to death, with over six different debuffs on them at once was his biggest contribution to any given encounter.
I told him that was stupid, we had a back-and-forth shouting match before the session ended and we hung out for another hour.

So here I am now, asking for help.
I know that I have asked several times about the WHW, and even complained at length about it.
But if he's right, and my hair actually doesn't do anything I was informed about, then what in the world is even the point of this archetype, mechanically speaking.
Thank you for your time.


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You can use a natural weapon to deliver touch spells. A WHW's hair is a natural weapon.

Can't think of a rule reference but a natural weapon with grab should be able to start a grapple.

If you're attacking normal AC with the touch spell to deliver hair damage as well then grab should work. If you're attacking touch AC...your GM may be right here.


1. It isn't really specified what you can use to deliver touch spells as a melee touch attack. You could certainly hold the charge and use your hair as a natural attack to deliver the touch spell as part of a different action. That would target normal AC, but success would deal hair damage, deliver the spell, and give you a free grapple attempt.
2. You can't just up and grapple them with your hair using the grapple standard action. What you can do is hit them with your hair first (against normal AC) and then initiate the grapple as a free action. That's the very basis of the white hair (Su) ability.
3a. White-haired witch doesn't have grab, though white hair (Su) does act a lot like grab. I'll assume this is what you meant.
3b. You'll need to elaborate on this--what specific situation is in question here?


blahpers wrote:

1. It isn't really specified what you can use to deliver touch spells as a melee touch attack. You could certainly hold the charge and use your hair as a natural attack to deliver the touch spell as part of a different action. That would target normal AC, but success would deal hair damage, deliver the spell, and give you a free grapple attempt.

2. You can't just up and grapple them with your hair using the grapple standard action. What you can do is hit them with your hair first (against normal AC) and then initiate the grapple as a free action. That's the very basis of the white hair (Su) ability.
3a. White-haired witch doesn't have grab, though white hair (Su) does act a lot like grab. I'll assume this is what you meant.
3b. You'll need to elaborate on this--what specific situation is in question here?

The third question was the one part of the archetype that the DM and I were unable to figure out, being that whether or not delivering a touch spell through your hair allow you to then grab them.

As for 3a itself, DM ruled that since it sure as heck sounds like it gives you Grab, then you may as well just treat it like you have Grab.


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It sounds like your GM has house-ruled your character out-of-existance, and you should make a new character.


Per the rules, you can absolutely hold a touch spell, then discharge it with a natural attack. Core Rulebook under the Combat chapter, section "Actions in Combat," subsection Standard Actions, in case you want to point it out to him directly.

Cast a Spell

Touch Spells in Combat:
Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks. You can score critical hits with either type of attack as long as the spell deals damage. Your opponent’s AC against a touch attack does not include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. His size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) all apply normally.

Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren’t considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.

The relevant text: "If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge."


Xaimum Mafire wrote:

Per the rules, you can absolutely hold a touch spell, then discharge it with a natural attack. Core Rulebook under the Combat chapter, section "Actions in Combat," subsection Standard Actions, in case you want to point it out to him directly.

Cast a Spell

** spoiler omitted **...

But can I just touch someone with the hair itself?


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Spermy The Cat wrote:
blahpers wrote:

1. It isn't really specified what you can use to deliver touch spells as a melee touch attack. You could certainly hold the charge and use your hair as a natural attack to deliver the touch spell as part of a different action. That would target normal AC, but success would deal hair damage, deliver the spell, and give you a free grapple attempt.

2. You can't just up and grapple them with your hair using the grapple standard action. What you can do is hit them with your hair first (against normal AC) and then initiate the grapple as a free action. That's the very basis of the white hair (Su) ability.
3a. White-haired witch doesn't have grab, though white hair (Su) does act a lot like grab. I'll assume this is what you meant.
3b. You'll need to elaborate on this--what specific situation is in question here?

The third question was the one part of the archetype that the DM and I were unable to figure out, being that whether or not delivering a touch spell through your hair allow you to then grab them.

As for 3a itself, DM ruled that since it sure as heck sounds like it gives you Grab, then you may as well just treat it like you have Grab.

Grab has some extra stuff, good and bad, that this ability does not have (size limitation, the -20 thing, the +4 thing).

Conversely, this ability seems to smuggle in (without stating it) that grappling with the hair doesn't move the grapplee adjacent to you, else the "pull" option wouldn't make sense. I suspect the writer of this ability didn't completely consider the usual scenarios involving grappling with reach differences.


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Spermy The Cat wrote:
But can I just touch someone with the hair itself?

It's not spelled out in the rules, but I'd say yes. Replace "hair" with any other natural weapon. Can a bear just reach out and touch someone with one of its claws? Can a bird reach out and touch something with a wing or a talon?

Also, the fluff text for White-Haired Witch says, "A white-haired witch concentrates her mysterious powers on improving her prowess in melee, using feats of agility and her prehensile hair to deal extreme damage." Prehensile means capable of holding or grasping, so it doesn't make sense that you can reach out and grab someone, but you can't reach out an touch someone. That's like saying RAW doesn't allow you to point with your finger unless you're aiming a ray spell because there's no rule for it.


blahpers wrote:
Spermy The Cat wrote:
blahpers wrote:

1. It isn't really specified what you can use to deliver touch spells as a melee touch attack. You could certainly hold the charge and use your hair as a natural attack to deliver the touch spell as part of a different action. That would target normal AC, but success would deal hair damage, deliver the spell, and give you a free grapple attempt.

2. You can't just up and grapple them with your hair using the grapple standard action. What you can do is hit them with your hair first (against normal AC) and then initiate the grapple as a free action. That's the very basis of the white hair (Su) ability.
3a. White-haired witch doesn't have grab, though white hair (Su) does act a lot like grab. I'll assume this is what you meant.
3b. You'll need to elaborate on this--what specific situation is in question here?

The third question was the one part of the archetype that the DM and I were unable to figure out, being that whether or not delivering a touch spell through your hair allow you to then grab them.

As for 3a itself, DM ruled that since it sure as heck sounds like it gives you Grab, then you may as well just treat it like you have Grab.

Grab has some extra stuff, good and bad, that this ability does not have (size limitation, the -20 thing, the +4 thing).

Conversely, this ability seems to smuggle in (without stating it) that grappling with the hair doesn't move the grapplee adjacent to you, else the "pull" option wouldn't make sense. I suspect the writer of this ability didn't completely consider the usual scenarios involving grappling with reach differences.

You should check out the PFS forums about this.

Trust me, the discussions are worse.
If I remember right, it almost got banned because the mods were getting fed up with all the arguing when it first came out.

Scarab Sages

The archetype is poorly written in a couple of different ways. You can probably make the touch attack, but the grapple ability won’t trigger off that. To get the grapple, you have to “strike” an enemy with your natural attack. That’s different than making a touch attack.

You can also deliver a touch spell with a natural attack. You just can’t do it on the round that you cast the spell unless you’re a magus with the right abilities. Because casting a touch spell gives you a free touch attack, not a free melee attack of any kind. So you can cast on round 1, attack on round 2 with a normal hair attack, and if you hit, then attempt to start a grapple.

Also, keep in mind that the hair uses strength to attack and not intelligence, if you don’t already have that factored into the insanity. It gets INT to damage, but not to attack. If you’ve got weapon finesse, you could use DEX. (EDIT: You get INT to attack for the grapple, but not for the normal attacks with the hair. Like I said, poorly written in some ways).

But maybe some good news for you is that SKR posted a long time ago that you get 1 1/2x INT to damage if the hair is your only natural attack.


Alright, real talk.
The White-Haired Witch absolutely needs a rehaul.
It's the first thing I was introduced to when I started playing Pathfinder, five years ago.
It's a mess of rules and mental expectations that inevitably turns into a shouting match over the table.
But the sheer flavour of basically playing Sedusa from the Powerpuff Girls is just so appealing.
It just breaks my heart to see something so much character in it struggle to even get on its feet.

Ferious Thune wrote:

The archetype is poorly written in a couple of different ways. You can probably make the touch attack, but the grapple ability won’t trigger off that. To get the grapple, you have to “strike” an enemy with your natural attack. That’s different than making a touch attack.

You can also deliver a touch spell with a natural attack. You just can’t do it on the round that you cast the spell unless you’re a magus with the right abilities. Because casting a touch spell gives you a free touch attack, not a free melee attack of any kind. So you can cast on round 1, attack on round 2 with a normal hair attack, and if you hit, then attempt to start a grapple.

Also, keep in mind that the hair uses strength to attack and not intelligence, if you don’t already have that factored into the insanity. It gets INT to damage, but not to attack. If you’ve got weapon finesse, you could use DEX. (EDIT: You get INT to attack for the grapple, but not for the normal attacks with the hair. Like I said, poorly written in some ways).

But maybe some good news for you is that SKR posted a long time ago that you get 1 1/2x INT to damage if the hair is your only natural attack.

I'm not well-versed on the Magus stuff, so I'll leave that out of this response.

One of the first things we hammered out when I was building the character was to homerule that Int rolled off of everything; Attack, damage, CMB and CMD.
We both honestly feel like that was what was intended for the archetype to begin with, since it's kind of weird that you can be really good at starting a grapple and manhandling people, but really bad at keeping them still, or even hitting them to begin with.
But good news, I went to the DM's yesterday before the session started and talked it out.
He admitted he jumped the gun with the grappling and touch spells, and I agreed that setting off grab with touch spells was by and large too strong.
So I'm back to playing Dr. Badtouch, Samizdat Perestroika.
We're good now, thanks a lot for the help.

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