Question on Witches, Spells & Hexes


Rules Questions


I am running a Sylph Witch in our pathfinder game. I am confused about Hexes. How many can I cast at first level? I have looked through everything I can find on the Witch online and don't see where it says "at level one the witch can cast x number of hexes per level..."

I have been running her as being able to only cast one Hex (at level 1; "Evil Eye"). Unfortunately this makes her weak as a regular mage (except for the additional Hex), shoot her two spells (18 INT) and one Hex and run... Of her two spells "Mage Armor" is mandatory in order to stay alive which only leaves one other offensive spell.

Her list of spells is severely limited. "Sleep" and "Web Bolt" are the only two real offensive spells/ Both of which are pretty limited.

Any suggestions on helping me play a better witch would be helpful. I know at higher levels she will be a lot better, I just need to keep her alive till then.


There is no use limit unless specified.


Well, hexes aren't spells so you don't "cast" them. Additionally, unless the hex states otherwise you have unlimited use of whatever hexes you have. In terms of how many you get

Hex wrote:
Witches learn a number of magic tricks, called hexes, that grant them powers or weaken foes. At 1st level, a witch gains one hex of her choice. She gains an additional hex at 2nd level and for every 2 levels attained after 2nd level, as noted on Table 2–10. A witch cannot select an individual hex more than once.

evil eye does not state that its use is limited in anyway, so if you wanted to, you could use it every round against any enemy within range.


You can use hexes repeatedly all day long, but most of them can only be used once per target per day.

They're what makes a witch more than a wizard with a worse spell list plus cure spells.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gomezaddams51 wrote:
Any suggestions on helping me play a better witch would be helpful.

Get the Cackle hex. With that you can extend various other effects (e.g. Fortune, Misfortune, Protective Luck, Evil Eye, etc) indefinitely to buff your allies and debuff your enemies.

Protective Luck + Cackle on the party tank in every combat is a huge advantage. Extending it to the rest of the party, either one round at a time or all at once via the Soothsayer hex, makes the group very difficult to defeat.


Gomezaddams51 wrote:
I am running a Sylph Witch in our pathfinder game. I am confused about Hexes. How many can I cast at first level? I have looked through everything I can find on the Witch online and don't see where it says "at level one the witch can cast x number of hexes per level..."

Unless otherwise specified in the hex, it is once per target per day. To put it simply, you can use each hex you know on everyone you meet once per day... sometimes that is a LOT of hexes.

Gomezaddams51 wrote:
I have been running her as being able to only cast one Hex (at level 1; "Evil Eye"). Unfortunately this makes her weak as a regular mage (except for the additional Hex), shoot her two spells (18 INT) and one Hex and run... Of her two spells "Mage Armor" is mandatory in order to stay alive which only leaves one other offensive spell.

Evil Eye is *fantastic* it is one of those exceptions. Each stat you affect counts as a separate hex, so you can spend multiple rounds reducing the target's AC, Attacks, Saves, Skill Checks, and Ability checks. Then you can move on to the next target and repeat. With Evil Eye you will run out of targets long before you run out of hex options.

Gomezaddams51 wrote:
Her list of spells is severely limited. "Sleep" and "Web Bolt" are the only two real offensive spells/ Both of which are pretty limited.

Yes, Witch spell list is severely limited, hexes more than make up for it. If you like sleep, pick up Slumber hex as your next one, it is *amazing*. Save or suck effect basically starting from level 1 as it is not limited by target's HD unlike the spell.

Gomezaddams51 wrote:
Any suggestions on helping me play a better witch would be helpful. I know at higher levels she will be a lot better, I just need to keep her alive till then.

I've been playing in a campaign with a Witch player for a bit over a year now and we've learned a few things about a witch:

You are not a damage dealer, forget about trying. There are a few damage spells that a Witch has access to that can be fun to fling out from time to time, but damage will not be your primary role.

Where a witch shines is making your enemies wish they never faced a Witch. Imagine the following scenario when fighting a boss monster so you know the fight will last long enough for you to deploy your full power:
round 1. Apply Misfortune so that the enemy hates their life, Cackle
round 2. Apply Evil eye against saving throws, cackle
round 3. Apply a save or suck spell on the boss who now takes -2 to their saves and needs to roll twice and take worse result.

At level 3 your spell of choice is Hold Person (yes, the above is doable at level 3), at level 7 it becomes Phantasmal Killer.

If you don't have time for a single target, the Witch excels at debilitating effects spread across the enemy group (can also help own party, but is significantly better at making the enemy useless). Access to Bestow Curse at level 5 is just an icing on the cake (try to deliver it with a familiar though since it's a touch spell).

Important note: Get Stone Familiar magic item as quickly as you can. Your familiar is incredibly useful, but also incredibly frail and if your familiar bites it, you lose all your spells. This hurts a lot.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lady Asharah wrote:
Unless otherwise specified in the hex, it is once per target per day. To put it simply, you can use each hex you know on everyone you meet once per day... sometimes that is a LOT of hexes.

I want to point out here that, though a lot of hexes specify "once per target per day," there is no general rule to this effect. It's a handy assumption but a lot of hexes aren't restricted in this fashion.

For example, the Misfortune hex states "Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day," that's pretty much crystal clear, as is the Healing hex with its statement that "Once a creature has benefited from the healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours." There is no such times-per-day restriction in the text of the Evil Eye hex, so you can invoke the Evil Eye on any given target as many times in a single day as you want.

Many hexes do specify "once per target per day," but they specify it because it's not a general rule.


TheOrganGrinder wrote:
Lady Asharah wrote:
Unless otherwise specified in the hex, it is once per target per day. To put it simply, you can use each hex you know on everyone you meet once per day... sometimes that is a LOT of hexes.

I want to point out here that, though a lot of hexes specify "once per target per day," there is no general rule to this effect. It's a handy assumption but a lot of hexes aren't restricted in this fashion.

For example, the Misfortune hex states "Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day," that's pretty much crystal clear, as is the Healing hex with its statement that "Once a creature has benefited from the healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours." There is no such times-per-day restriction in the text of the Evil Eye hex, so you can invoke the Evil Eye on any given target as many times in a single day as you want.

Many hexes do specify "once per target per day," but they specify it because it's not a general rule.

Sorry, yes, I got it the other way around. What I meant to say is that generally what, 90% of hexes are restricted to 1/day/target and those hexes have it written in text.

Evil Eye is a bit special since it doesn't have a 1/day/target clause, but there's an FAQ that explains Evil Eye is still limited to 1/day/target but it applies separately to each effect Evil Eye can cause. (so it's more like 5/day/target)


Lady Asharah wrote:
Evil Eye is a bit special since it doesn't have a 1/day/target clause, but there's an FAQ that explains Evil Eye is still limited to 1/day/target but it applies separately to each effect Evil Eye can cause. (so it's more like 5/day/target)

If you mean this FAQ. It states that no such limit exists and that if you apply the same penalty instead of it stacking it just resets the duration.


Serves me right for not reading the whole thing properly.

Looks like I read this:
"As long as you apply a different penalty with each use of the hex (AC, ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, or skill checks), you can have multiple penalties on the same target." and completely skipped the following sentence

"Applying the same hex penalty to a target just resets the duration to the most recent use of the hex."

Which is I think bad rule writing. The initial sentence says "as long as you apply a different penalty with each use of the hex"


Lady Asharah wrote:
What I meant to say is that generally what, 90% of hexes are restricted to 1/day/target and those hexes have it written in text.

According to my spreadsheet, 42 out of 104, or 40%, actually.

Lady Asharah wrote:
Which is I think bad rule writing.

Not if you don't read something into it that isn't there. There is no mention of a daily or 24h limit in the FAQ, and thus there is no way that the FAQ can possibly create one. The FAQ is about debuff stacking, and the answer is to be understood within that context. That the sentence is easy to misunderstand if taken out of context is no problem.

Lady Asharah wrote:

round 1. Apply Misfortune so that the enemy hates their life, Cackle

round 2. Apply Evil eye against saving throws, cackle
round 3. Apply a save or suck spell on the boss who now takes -2 to their saves and needs to roll twice and take worse result.

At level 3 your spell of choice is Hold Person (yes, the above is doable at level 3), at level 7 it becomes Phantasmal Killer.

This makes absolutely no sense. If the Misfortune sticks, so would a Hold Person spell have. Evil Eye+Cackle first is OK, because it works even if the target saves, but if the goal is to take out the target, Misfortune is a waste of an action/turn. Even more so when you have Accursed Hex and have two chances of Slumbering a target.

In my opinion, the worst (as in least useful) a Witch can do with with spells is cast a single target will save-or-suck spell, especially if it's a mind-affecting compulsion - that's exactly what you have Slumber for!

The Sleep spell, on the other hand, is one of the most powerful things in the game at 1st level. Yes, it will be useless after just a few levels, but until then, it's a powerhouse, because it can take out an entire encounter. There are other spells like that on the Witch list that are liekwise good, e.g. Glitterdust, Euphoric Cloud, Web, Barrow Haze, Sleet Storm, Stinking Cloud, Confusion, Web Cloud, Fear, Cloudkill, Waves of Fatigue, Mass Suggestion, Waves of Exhaustion, Polar Midnight, and Mass Suffocation.

Lady Asharah wrote:
Your familiar is incredibly useful, but also incredibly frail and if your familiar bites it, you lose all your spells

It's not as endangered if you don't send it out to deliver touch spells... seriously, if you want to use Bestow Curse, wait two levels and use Conditional Curse instead.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Derklord wrote:
Lady Asharah wrote:
Your familiar is incredibly useful, but also incredibly frail and if your familiar bites it, you lose all your spells
It's not as endangered if you don't send it out to deliver touch spells... seriously, if you want to use Bestow Curse, wait two levels and use Conditional Curse instead.

Or select the Beast of Ill-Omen hex to impose bane on the first enemy to see the familiar (within 60 ft of the familiar). The familiar can be up to 60 ft from the witch when the effect is placed on the familiar and the effect is like a "held charge" until activated (so later movement by the enemy and/or the familiar can trigger the effect). Bane isn't a tremendously powerful spell, but it will last an entire combat and Beast of Ill-Omen works with Split Hex.

If you want to curse enemies at range, magus with the eldritch archer* and hexcrafter** archetypes (both can be taken) and Accursed Strike, Reach Spellstrike, and Distant Spellstrike magus arcana might be a better choice long term. It's not as good of a caster as a witch, however.

*- changes/replaces Class Skills; Arcane Pool; Spell Combat; Spellstrike; Counterstrike
**- changes/replaces Spell Recall


Gomezaddams51 wrote:

I have been running her as being able to only cast one Hex (at level 1; "Evil Eye"). Unfortunately this makes her weak as a regular mage (except for the additional Hex), shoot her two spells (18 INT) and one Hex and run... Of her two spells "Mage Armor" is mandatory in order to stay alive which only leaves one other offensive spell.

Her list of spells is severely limited. "Sleep" and "Web Bolt" are the only two real offensive spells/ Both of which are pretty limited.

Any suggestions on helping me play a better witch would be helpful. I know at higher levels she will be a lot better, I just need to keep her alive till then.

The witch’s speciality is messing the other side up, with hexes and debuffing spells. You do have some direct damage, but it’s not really your thing. Your big weakness is that a lot of your best spells are mind -affecting.

This may sound like heresy, but I wouldn’t bother with Mage Armour, because the amount of AC it gives you is so small that it rarely makes a difference. Hypnotism or Obscuring Mist will deal with a group of enemies, and that is a much more effective use of your spell slot than casting ia defensive spell on the offchance you might get hit.

When you get to level 3 there are a lot of good second level spells out there - Lipstitch and Vomit Swarm are two of my favourites.

Also, at first level do not ignore your cantrips. Daze is good against humanoids, and if you have nothing better to do, cast Guidance on the party damage dealer.


Neriathale wrote:
Gomezaddams51 wrote:

I have been running her as being able to only cast one Hex (at level 1; "Evil Eye"). Unfortunately this makes her weak as a regular mage (except for the additional Hex), shoot her two spells (18 INT) and one Hex and run... Of her two spells "Mage Armor" is mandatory in order to stay alive which only leaves one other offensive spell.

Her list of spells is severely limited. "Sleep" and "Web Bolt" are the only two real offensive spells/ Both of which are pretty limited.

Any suggestions on helping me play a better witch would be helpful. I know at higher levels she will be a lot better, I just need to keep her alive till then.

The witch’s speciality is messing the other side up, with hexes and debuffing spells. You do have some direct damage, but it’s not really your thing. Your big weakness is that a lot of your best spells are mind -affecting.

This may sound like heresy, but I wouldn’t bother with Mage Armour, because the amount of AC it gives you is so small that it rarely makes a difference. Hypnotism or Obscuring Mist will deal with a group of enemies, and that is a much more effective use of your spell slot than casting ia defensive spell on the offchance you might get hit.

When you get to level 3 there are a lot of good second level spells out there - Lipstitch and Vomit Swarm are two of my favourites.

Also, at first level do not ignore your cantrips. Daze is good against humanoids, and if you have nothing better to do, cast Guidance on the party damage dealer.

+4 ac isn't very much AC? That's a 20% chance of not getting hit. I mean, you could well argue that it's better to invest in offense than defense especially in a witch, and just get either an armored kilt or a hamakiri (not a big fan of this, but it's not relevant). But mage armor is basically like getting a free chain shirt with no ACP and no ASFC.


Mage armour is great. It could increase most witches ac by a great deal. Even with a dex of 14 that would be a 33% increase. Hardly small.


If you do nothing else for AC then mage armor eventually becomes the difference between being hit on a 2 and being hit on a 2. It takes a number of levels though.

Silver Crusade

Witches have access to arguabley the best 1st lvl spell in the game: Ill Omen. At 9th lvl, they can cast Quickened I'll Omen + Save or Suck spell!


Witches seem to be really good at debuff spells. However, they have access to some of the good arcane buffs too. Many of these you need to touch the recipient to deliver.

A Valet familiar can move, deliver your harmless touch spell (like a buff or Cure spell for another PC in the party), and then move again. Plus they help you create magic items, use Prestidigitation and get some utility at 7th level with Aid Another.

Another good way to use your familiar is to keep it on you, get it's UMD up high enough to wield wands, and then have it use wands for extra spells you can unleash in a round.

If you want to be successful with a witch long term using the debuff, save-or-suck route of spells and hexes you really need to push those DCs up high and find ways to cut through SR. Hexes are SU so they aren't subject to SR, but some of your spells may be.

Outside of hexes yes, your spells/day will be limited. There's consumable magic items you can use to up that. Wands, scrolls and potions are useful for extra utility spells for the day.

Also... protect that familiar. Like, a lot. Mage Armor and Resistance at level 1, more defenses as you advance. Remember that you could even make it wear tiny little leather barding for +2 Armor bonus if you really wanted to.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Question on Witches, Spells & Hexes All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.