Witch Class - Am I Missing the Point?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

151 to 200 of 637 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

Some people were talking about what patrons should had been. And someone wasn't sure how the PF1 patron worked.

Well the PF1 Patron is literally the same as the known spells Sorcerer's get from their bloodline. Many people disliked those patrons because it was too broad. Paizo's response was adding unique patrons. This gave a free hex, a choice from a selection of patron themes, changed some patron spells around, and gave witch some negative condition/requirement.

The problem going into PF2 is that they went in with the pick-a-list from the start along with the lesson mechanic giving you only 3 hexes. Everything was and still is built around those two mechanics. The patrons didn't provide anything and was just lore in the playtest. When they fixed patrons to provide something they just shifted the "you gain this when you first gain a lesson" into the patron: But didn't really add anything to anyone out side the rare patron.

Now sure you get 1 extra hex, but the whole things still feels a bit disjointed.

***************
* P.S. AONPRD still has this as part of the class initial proficiency:

Spells wrote:

Trained in spell attack rolls of your spellcasting tradition, determined by your first lesson

Trained in spell DCs of your spellcasting tradition, determined by your first lesson

despite the fact its no longer the case.


18 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In the survey responses about the witch we could choose "Fewer spells like a bard, but with more [something about more or better hexes]"

That choice won out, but they failed to deliver on the hex end. The implication when that question was asked, and during the discussions on the topic, was that cantrip hexes should be as powerful as bard options, and the selection should be expandable. The loss of armor, weapon proficiency, and HP compared to bard was supposed to pay for the familiar.

Hexes came out SUPER limited for no good reason. Not only was it tied to your patron and spell list, each one had nowhere near the strength, versatility, and reliability of Inspire Courage. The 1 minute lockout per target, the single target nature, the sustain requirement, all of it stacked up to making very underwhelming options. The fact that they never added other hex cantrips you could acquire down the line made it too distasteful for me to play. I would much rather reflavor a bard.

Now, some people have been enjoying them just the way they are, particularly those who happen to like the cantrip and spell list combos available. If placed in a party who can work with them, and built specifically around their single cantrip hex, they can be useful to a party that can cover for their other downsides. The fact that they're playable, some people are enjoying them, means I'm not sure if they're going to get a ton of built in changes.

Perhaps the underperforming or niche hex cantrips might get direct buffs, but those are also low priority.

What I want to see is a class archetype that gives you more hex cantrips so you have versatility like in PF1. That archetype could also depower or remove familiars altogether, since not everyone wants to play a familiar witch. If it decoupled cantrips from patrons, I'd be ecstatic.

I'd also like to see more hex cantrip options that have more raw power, on the order of a single target Inspire Courage. I still can't imagine how a single target Inspire Courage is too strong. If that's outside the realm of possibility then Bards should be straight up nerfed. These new hex cantrips should be available through feats to even non-archetyped witches.

Lastly, I'd like to see new patrons introduced with these new, beefier hex cantrips on offer. These can be uncommon, so individual tables can decide whether they want the extra power or not.


Lightning Raven wrote:

The Patrons were just a random vague name and a few spells attached to them. Hardly something one could call a class feature.

What I had in mind was structuring Patrons something along the lines of Source, Relationship, Deal/Bargain, Benefits, Constraints and Payment.

That sounds like flavor. Flavor away.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:

Perhaps the underperforming or niche hex cantrips might get direct buffs, but those are also low priority.

What I want to see is a class archetype that gives you more hex cantrips so you have versatility like in PF1. That archetype could also depower or remove familiars altogether, since not everyone wants to play a familiar witch. If it decoupled cantrips from patrons, I'd be ecstatic.

I'd also like to see more hex cantrip options that have more raw power, on the order of a single target Inspire Courage. I still can't imagine how a single target Inspire Courage is too strong. These new hex cantrips should be available through feats to even non-archetyped witches.

Lastly, I'd like to see new patrons introduced with these new, beefier hex cantrips on offer. These can be uncommon, so individual tables can decide whether they want the extra power or not.

Yeah, 100% agree. This would be fantastic.

Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm on the side of those who prefer a rework because I think just giving the class more options or giving it an archetype isn't going to fix the current design of patrons. However, if there really are any changes coming up for the class it will probably only be announced after book of the dead. Then we will have to wait a little longer. We've all had time to play as a Witch and so discussions like this are starting to pop up.

Maybe there won't be any change and that's it! rock n Roll! haha ha. I think it will depend on how many are bothered by how the class currently stands.

I wonder if any member of the Paizo team is also bothered with the Witch class?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:


Perhaps the underperforming or niche hex cantrips might get direct buffs, but those are also low priority.

What I want to see is a class archetype that gives you more hex cantrips so you have versatility like in PF1. That archetype could also depower or remove familiars altogether, since not everyone wants to play a familiar witch. If it decoupled cantrips from patrons, I'd be ecstatic.

I'd also like to see more hex cantrip options that have more raw power, on the order of a single target Inspire Courage. I still can't imagine how a single target Inspire Courage is too strong. If...

I'd always like to see more options. Paizo has had lots of hits and misses but they have also come up with a number of really different and good options.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Romão98 wrote:

I'm on the side of those who prefer a rework because I think just giving the class more options or giving it an archetype isn't going to fix the current design of patrons. However, if there really are any changes coming up for the class it will probably only be announced after book of the dead. Then we will have to wait a little longer. We've all had time to play as a Witch and so discussions like this are starting to pop up.

Maybe there won't be any change and that's it! rock n Roll! haha ha. I think it will depend on how many are bothered by how the class currently stands.

I wonder if any member of the Paizo team is also bothered with the Witch class?

Probably. I mean in the end its just a design decision. the designers have to go one way or the other and sometimes for a good reason they are going to go in a direction some of us (and some of the other designers) don't like. I expect that management has sometimes overruled the designers too.

I'd prefer a few better hex options. The witch has quite a weak chasis it could do with something better. But I really like the flavour of the class.

There are plently of other things I don't like eg fulll Vancian casting by default (but there is an option to get around that), strongly level scaled ( but I can work around that via the proficiency without level variant). I'd perfer that bards weren't full casters; to me the current bard is not anything like any bard in fiction or history I've ever read about. I see as a bard as something else - I'd prefer more of a mixed rogue/bard hybrid - and for this a multiclass is not going to cut it. I'm pretty sure that the Summoner comming up is a good concept, but again not what I'd see as a classic Summoner like the old PF1 master Summoner. I'm probably going to still want another class there.

In the end you just have to get over it. Adapt what is important to you and move on. There is plenty of really good stuff in the game and no one is ever going to be fully happy with it.

Customer Service Representative

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have removed a post and a few that quoted it. Do not try to get around the profanity filter.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:

In the survey responses about the witch we could choose "Fewer spells like a bard, but with more [something about more or better hexes]"

That choice won out, but they failed to deliver on the hex end. The implication when that question was asked, and during the discussions on the topic, was that cantrip hexes should be as powerful as bard options, and the selection should be expandable. The loss of armor, weapon proficiency, and HP compared to bard was supposed to pay for the familiar.

Hexes came out SUPER limited for no good reason. Not only was it tied to your patron and spell list, each one had nowhere near the strength, versatility, and reliability of Inspire Courage. The 1 minute lockout per target, the single target nature, the sustain requirement, all of it stacked up to making very underwhelming options. The fact that they never added other hex cantrips you could acquire down the line made it too distasteful for me to play. I would much rather reflavor a bard.

Now, some people have been enjoying them just the way they are, particularly those who happen to like the cantrip and spell list combos available. If placed in a party who can work with them, and built specifically around their single cantrip hex, they can be useful to a party that can cover for their other downsides. The fact that they're playable, some people are enjoying them, means I'm not sure if they're going to get a ton of built in changes.

Perhaps the underperforming or niche hex cantrips might get direct buffs, but those are also low priority.

What I want to see is a class archetype that gives you more hex cantrips so you have versatility like in PF1. That archetype could also depower or remove familiars altogether, since not everyone wants to play a familiar witch. If it decoupled cantrips from patrons, I'd be ecstatic.

I'd also like to see more hex cantrip options that have more raw power, on the order of a single target Inspire Courage. I still can't imagine how a single target Inspire Courage is too strong. If...

They really didn't need the 1 minute lockout with the inherent sustain limitation.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Heather F wrote:
I have removed a post and a few that quoted it. Do not try to get around the profanity filter.

I noticed it was my post.

If these were grounds for deletion I would like to clarify that I did not try to get around the profanity filter. I wrote the word and let it get filtered. I did not do anything about the it, so if it came out like me getting around it, it wasn't from anything I did.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Focus Cantrips don't require focus points and are class unique as well as at-will, I'm pretty sure they were what lost the Witch the extra slots.

If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?


Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Focus Cantrips don't require focus points and are class unique as well as at-will, I'm pretty sure they were what lost the Witch the extra slots.
If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?

Hexes and Compositions do not use focus points. But they only work if you have at least 1 point (if I remember correctly).

Also the Witch has the same number of spells as the Bard. But mus fewer and relatively weaker at-will focus cantrips.

So no, just getting focus cantrips does not explain the lack of power. In fact, the Witch's curses became even worse. Evil eye went from 1 on a success and 3 on a crit failure, to 0 on a success and 3 on a crit failure. At best its now a slightly better intimidate, without any upgrade potential.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:

In the survey responses about the witch we could choose "Fewer spells like a bard, but with more [something about more or better hexes]"

That choice won out, but they failed to deliver on the hex end. The implication when that question was asked, and during the discussions on the topic, was that cantrip hexes should be as powerful as bard options, and the selection should be expandable. The loss of armor, weapon proficiency, and HP compared to bard was supposed to pay for the familiar.

Hexes came out SUPER limited for no good reason. Not only was it tied to your patron and spell list, each one had nowhere near the strength, versatility, and reliability of Inspire Courage. The 1 minute lockout per target, the single target nature, the sustain requirement, all of it stacked up to making very underwhelming options. The fact that they never added other hex cantrips you could acquire down the line made it too distasteful for me to play. I would much rather reflavor a bard.

I agree with basically all of this. In the survey I agreed with "fewer spells like a bard, but better hexes" and I hoped that the Witch could (like a bard) grab a bunch of hexes (some that cost focus, some that did not via feats. A bard can grab a composition (some of which are cantrips) with their class feats ever even level from 2 through 14, a witch can get three (none of which are cantrips).

Trading the armor, weapons, HP etc. for the familiar stuff seems fair but I really hope they fix the "your hex toolbox is really limited" via more feats they print.

It's weird that they limited this so much because one of the reasons they stopped printing "extra foo" feats in PF1 was because many, many witches would take the "extra hex" feat over and over again. Which might have been a problem, but should have indicated a desire for a bunch of hexes.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Focus Cantrips don't require focus points and are class unique as well as at-will, I'm pretty sure they were what lost the Witch the extra slots.
If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?

"Composition cantrips are special composition spells that don't cost Focus Points, so you can use them as often as you like."

"Hex cantrips are special hexes that don't cost Focus Points, so you can cast them as often as you like, though you can still cast only one hex each round."

So, while they're an off-shoot of Focus Spells, they're still cantrips and can be used as much as you'd like without costing Focus Points.

Sovereign Court

Midnightoker wrote:
roquepo wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
And as far as the popularity of Pets goes, I haven't had a game where at least one person didn't have a pet and several games where multiple people do.

Not sure where you get that pets are so popular, but from what I have seen with how companions and familiars are approached...it seems to me that 2e is trying to push them out of play. For instance, in the 2 groups that I actually take part in (play/GM) animals are rarely seen. And when they are, they are rarely used.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ezekieru wrote:
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?

"Hex cantrips are special hexes that don't cost Focus Points, so you can cast them as often as you like, though you can still cast only one hex each round."

So, while they're an off-shoot of Focus Spells, they're still cantrips and can be used as much as you'd like without costing Focus Points.

So, they would be treated more like innate spells then, as opposed to actual Focus Spells?


Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?

"Hex cantrips are special hexes that don't cost Focus Points, so you can cast them as often as you like, though you can still cast only one hex each round."

So, while they're an off-shoot of Focus Spells, they're still cantrips and can be used as much as you'd like without costing Focus Points.

So, they would be treated more like innate spells then, as opposed to actual Focus Spells?

They're just Class-specific cantrips, unlike Spell Tradition ones (arcane, divine, primal, occult and divine) that are common to several classes.

They work exactly the same as other cantrips, they are infinite and scale with your levels, but only those classes can have them.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, to offer my 2 cents. I played a couple of Witches in 1e in larger parties, it was one of my favorite classes as I heavily enjoy playing utility classes in games. I played a 2e Witch until level 7 and wound up asking my GM to rebuild the character as I was underwhelmed by the character.

My main complaint with the Witch is that it lacks an element to really make it shine compared to any other spell casting class. Hexes feel like an inferior version of most other focus spells. It can pick which spell list it can use, but has fewer spells than the Sorcerer. Shoot, even the Hex mechanic was watered down since you'll only ever get one that can be cast without consuming resources.

I felt my playtest version of the class was playable, but somewhat low on the power scale. I felt like I'd been nerfed across the board when the final version was released. Through creative use of archetypes (my group plays with Free Archetypes) I was able to recreate similar abilities on a Sorcerer to what my Witch build had used throughout the campaign and these abilities were stronger.

The class needs more access to hex cantrips via feats. Hexes that cost focus points shouldn't suffer further penalties or restrictions. Many of the launched hexes need to be reworked. As things stand the class is certainly playable, but much like the 1e Core Rogue, I don't know why you'd want to play one.


I'm watching a level 3 witch in action in the game I'm GMing (Extinction's Curse).

Evil eye doesn't connect particularly often, though this may be due to my will save rolls being a bit above average. Even when it does, the monster doesn't survive many rounds anyway for the hypothetical 1 minute duration to really matter.

The best thing that's happened is final sacrifice, which is pretty amazing at level 3 - it one-shot an encounter on round 1 turn 1.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
Ezekieru wrote:
Andrew the Warwitch wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
If it is called Focus, does that not mean they are powered by focus points?

"Hex cantrips are special hexes that don't cost Focus Points, so you can cast them as often as you like, though you can still cast only one hex each round."

So, while they're an off-shoot of Focus Spells, they're still cantrips and can be used as much as you'd like without costing Focus Points.

So, they would be treated more like innate spells then, as opposed to actual Focus Spells?

One problem with that: innate spells are cast using Cha as the casting stat, while focus spells use the class-defined stat (Cha for champions, Wis for rangers, normal casting score for casters, etc.). Having a witch having to split between using Int for class spells and Cha for hexes would be a higher tax than other classes have to use their native features.

Paizo could have made a different exception ("Hex cantrips are innate spells, but you use your Intelligence modifier to cast hex cantrips instead of your Charisma modifier."), but making them focus spells that don't require spending a focus point keeps the categorization cleaner (as a class feature instead of an inherent ability; innate spells usually come from ancestry, skill feats, or magic items).

On the broader issue, I agree that there should be more hex cantrips. Maybe we could get some additional Lessons that include or focus on granting hex cantrips.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm aware that this isn't really the spot for posting homebrew but i thought i would share how i went about updating witch in my home games.

The way i have it set up, instead of a single patron, you make two choices each representing a different aspect of your patron. this gives you two different traditions, and two different starting hexes. this tends to give them very... unusual spell lists. To prevent them just having all the spells though their familiar can only remember so many at once in a table i wont bother trying to Illustrate here and at times they may need to forget old spells to learn new ones. it works out to a "repitour" that is roughly 4 times the size of a spontanious caster


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

The Witch just looks that bad because it was released along the Swashbuckler (a hit from the start), the Oracle (terrible in the playtest but much better in the release) and the Investigator (one of the best classes in terms of concept and essence of an investigator, but awful mechanics in the playtest, it ended up quite solid on release) and it is directly competing against Bard with one of its core mechanics.

It's a tough challenge for the Witch and it would've been far easier to swallow if the Paizo elected to fully realize the patrons and integrate it with the class as a whole and the setting, similar to the overhaul they did with Oracles. They kept it all vague like it was in the playtest with just a couple more features tied to the patron that aren't that interesting at all.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

What are you talking about? An ungodly number of summons? you mean 2? Summons are weak and nearly useless, so not even sure why you bring them up as though that is a good or viable use of spells.

There are ways to optimize the witch. Summoning is not one of those ways for any class.

They cannot melt enemies with stacking debuffs. Not sure where you are getting this. Status penalty debuffs do not stack. What method do they have of providing circumstance penalties? Not really seeing it.

You hit the opponent with frighten or synesthesia if Occult, you're pretty much done there.

The bard can do this while adding buffs. That is what is works really, really well in PF2. You debuff something with a status penalty, then buff the party with a status bonus. Get a circumstance flanking bonus, then things start to melt.

The witch has certain optimal builds.

1. Fervor divine build for buffing damage and healing.

2. Occult fear/synesthesia build for debuffing.

3. I think a blasting build might work with the blizzard hex.

Not sure much else would be very optimal. They certainly aren't melting people any more than any occult caster with some fear.


Lightning Raven wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

The Witch just looks that bad because it was released along the Swashbuckler (a hit from the start), the Oracle (terrible in the playtest but much better in the release) and the Investigator (one of the best classes in terms of concept and essence of an investigator, but awful mechanics in the playtest, it ended up quite solid on release) and it is directly competing against Bard with one of its core mechanics.

It's a tough challenge for the Witch and it would've been far easier to swallow if the Paizo elected to fully realize the patrons and integrate it with the class as a whole and the setting, similar to the overhaul they did with Oracles. They kept it all vague like it was in the playtest with just a...

The witch looks bad because the PF1 witch was so powerful. PF1 witch was a massively powerful game destroying class. Sleep hex alone messed up a ton of encounters and ended them before they started.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Too be fair there were literally only a handful of spells that were actually that strong. Which is what made it easy for most Witches to pick one and run with it.

Most of them were either flavor, or average.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
voideternal wrote:
Exocist wrote:

I’d say occult is the best list. It’s focuses are in what the game wants magic to do (buffs and debuffs) but it also has healing and even damage if you want it. Reflex isn’t really a problem - blast spells are kind of bad anyway, AoE incapacitation spells (sleep 4, calm emotions, etc.) are much better at doing what blast spells want to do, and occult has a very strong reflex targetting debuff in Resilient Sphere. The only thing I really miss from Arcane is wall spells - most other juicy things you can get with Trick Magic Item and a wand (e.g. longstrider, contingency).

The edge it has over arcane (to me) is the inbuilt decent healing spell in Soothe. Arcane is going to struggle to get a good combat healing spell, although the edge in that regard is pretty minor - just enough to push it slightly over arcane in my opinion.

Both are much better than primal/divine though.

I like blast spells in 2e. A lot of late-game monsters have reflex as lowest save. Their AoE tends to be big enough to cover a lot of layouts. IMO sleep / calm emotions / resilient sphere work kind-of okay in early game, but taper off mid-game or late game. Sleep and calm emotions both have small AoEs, and creatures with an area attack can wake up all their companions in a few actions (more common in mid-game / late-game). Resilient sphere doesn't have a heightening clause, and a lot of low-reflex monsters are huge or bigger, thus not fitting in the sphere.

IMO what makes occult the best spell is singularly synesthesia. That spell works in so many encounters and is extremely powerful even on a standard success. It's honestly broken.

I think divine is the weakest tradition. Arcane has a good balance of spells and the power words. Primal also has a good balance, access to heal, and competent polymorphs, which go well with a d8 health pool class. Divine has... heal, bless/heroism, summon celestial for inspire courage, divine aura. Divine casters can do stuff and help, but there's just not much in the divine...

I'd agree Divine is the weakest tradition, but I think you're underselling Sleep (4) here by quite a lot. The small area is an issue, I'll grant you. But if the enemy wants to AoE their own allies to wake them up, then they're making the save against (presumably) the reflex based AoE at a -4 penalty, and they're still prone + dropped weapons (if that's relevant) afterwards. Same with attacking your own allies, they have a -6 penalty to AC, so monsters (which generally have a high hit bonus and do a lot of damage) are likely to crit their own allies... and they're still prone with dropped weapons afterwards. Plus you denied actions forcing them to hit their own allies, plus the positional benefits.

Calm Emotions is the same in terms of action denial - if they're hitting their own allies to snap them out of Calm, then they have to waste an action doing so and be in range to attack them (which might require another action commitment, and put them in a positionally beneficial state for the party).

Dataphiles

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

What are you talking about? An ungodly number of summons? you mean 2? Summons are weak and nearly useless, so not even sure why you bring them up as though that is a good or viable use of spells.

There are ways to optimize the witch. Summoning is not one of those ways for any class.

They cannot melt enemies with stacking debuffs. Not sure where you are getting this. Status penalty debuffs do not stack. What method do they have of providing circumstance penalties? Not really seeing it.

You hit the opponent with frighten or synesthesia if Occult, you're pretty much done there.

The bard can do this while adding buffs. That is what is works really, really well in PF2. You debuff something with a...

Summoning bad? Summoning is great, you just have to know what to summon. Though I'll agree the Witch isn't a particularly good summoner because you want a large amount of top slots for summoning - much better suited for a wizard (who can have 6 with DBI, spell blending and conjuration school) than a witch (who has 3). Getting more summons on the board isn't generally very useful - there's only one summon combo I've found.

Taking just summon animal, for instance, try these summons

Level 1 - Skunk - DC16 fort save (1-2 below your DC) to inflict sickened 1 on a success or sickened 2 on a failure. In a 10ft line (which might as well be just one adjacent creature), but much better than most other first level spells that aren't Magic Weapon.

Level 2 - Giant Skunk - Upgraded skunk - DC17 fort save (now 2 lower than your DC, 3 lower at character level 4) but the failure has been upgraded to sickened 3 and its a 15ft cone.

Level 3 - Giant Ant - Repositions enemies around the battlefield, wasting actions quite well.

Level 4 - Giant Whiptail Centipede - Huge reach and knockdown, good for control.

Level 5 - The Lion Visitant from ExC is common and has a lot of good abilities. But level 5 spells should use Animate Dead to summon a Bone Croupier (also common from ExC) which is the most broken summon in the game... and evergreen. You can use it just as well at level 9 as you can at level 20 (in fact it probably gets better).

Level 6 - The Empress Bore Worm + Elephant can combo to do insane amounts of damage.

Level 7 - Roc is very good as a control tool.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

What are you talking about? An ungodly number of summons? you mean 2? Summons are weak and nearly useless, so not even sure why you bring them up as though that is a good or viable use of spells.

There are ways to optimize the witch. Summoning is not one of those ways for any class.

They cannot melt enemies with stacking debuffs. Not sure where you are getting this. Status penalty debuffs do not stack. What method do they have of providing circumstance penalties? Not really seeing it.

You hit the opponent with frighten or synesthesia if Occult, you're pretty much done there.

The bard can do this while adding buffs. That is what is works really, really well in

...

I have not seen a single person make summoning work. Now you're calling it great. Yet we have no idea what your definition of great is.

Sorry, it's not great. It's terrible and far behind what the summoned creatures attack and just keeps on getting worse as you level. That is my experience watching multiple attempts at making summons effective.

I have one player that keeps on trying to make an effective summon work. But it never does much. Misses way too often with attacks.

And as far as Emperor worm and elephant? Where you fitting in that in a dungeon? Or is this some outdoor summon that worked once?

Most of what you listed as actions taken would not only be mostly unfeasible, but ruin the actions of your own party members. "My giant ant strode 25 feet after maybe hitting, using an action to grab, surviving the attacks from the monster it grabbed, and then moving it out of position so my party members have to move to attack it."

You do know that is how it works? The ant has to hit using an action. Then use a grab action. That means both of its 2 actions are used. Then it can use Ant Haul next round if the creature is still held. Then what? Try to attack it?

That's what you consider a good use of a spell and actions? I don't consider that great at all.

Just like I don't think spending 3 actions to summon a skunk to apply sicken to maybe 1 or 2 creatures great.

On top of this you actually have to hit first as well. I have yet to see a summon spell outperform other spells of equivalent level.

How is a Bone Croupier broken? Because it can cause a single failure once a day? As a free action, which begs the question can it do this on another character's turn? Summons can't use reactions, but can you do free actions on another character's turn? One is left to wonder. On top of that, a failure isn't that bad. A critical failure is bad, but a regular failure is often just ok. A Bone Croupier prevents a roll from being a critical failure making a roll just a regular failure.

Dataphiles

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I have not seen a single person make summoning work. Now you're calling it great. Yet we have no idea what your definition of great is.

Sorry, it's not great. It's terrible and far behind what the summoned creatures attack and just keeps on getting worse as you level. That is my experience watching multiple attempts at making summons effective.

I have one player that keeps on trying to make an effective summon work. But it never does much. Misses way too often with attacks.

And as far as Emperor worm and elephant? Where you fitting in that in a dungeon? Or is this some outdoor summon that worked once?

Most of what you listed as actions taken would not only be mostly unfeasible, but ruin the actions of your own party members. "My giant ant strode 25 feet after maybe hitting, using an action to grab, surviving the attacks from the monster it grabbed, and then moving it out of position so my party members have to move to attack it."

You do know that is how it works? The ant has to hit using an action. Then use a grab action. That means both of its 2 actions are used. Then it can use Ant Haul next round if the creature is still held. Then what? Try to attack it?

That's what you consider a good use of a spell and actions? I don't consider that great at all.

Just like I don't think spending 3 actions to summon a skunk to apply sicken to maybe 1 or 2 creatures great.

On top of this you actually have to hit first as well. I have yet to see a summon spell outperform other spells of equivalent level.

How is a Bone Croupier broken? Because it can cause a single failure once a day? As a free action, which begs the question can it do this on another character's turn? Summons can't use reactions, but can you do free actions on another character's turn? One is left to wonder. On top of that, a failure isn't that bad. A critical failure is bad, but a regular failure is often just ok. A Bone Croupier prevents a roll from being a critical failure making a roll just a regular failure.

I know a lot of people are underwhelmed with summons. Either because they look at the numbers and think “that’s awful” or they try to summon a bear once, see it fail miserably and think “wow what a waste of a top slot”. That’s because they’re not actively hunting for the best creatures of that level, nor are they seeing any other value the summon provides

Take the skunks. You don’t think they’re great. What are they competing with, aside from Magic Weapon? The skunk is far far better than a reach goblin pox for instance. The sicken value on a fail is higher, it has the capability to affect 2 creatures (although that’s rare), you can summon into to immediately flank, providing support for the party on top of the sicken (although you’ll need diagonal flanking to get both). If they leave it alive, it contributes a bit of damage (small but not insignificant) and if they attack it you’ve also effectively inflicted slowed 1 + given them MAP. That’s actually very good.

The giant ant is similar. It has a +11 hit bonus, only 3 lower than a martial at that level. You can summon it straight into flanking, so that’s effectively +13. Then, if it hits, it grabs the opponent. The opponent has an option. They can escape the grab, which costs actions and gives them MAP (much better than the success effect of slow), or they can not escape and you just reposition them so now they’re forced to escape. Or they can attack the Ant. AC18 is 4 lower than a regular character at this level, so it does get crit more often, but 30 hitpoints isn’t dying to an average crit. If they want to attack it they’re wasting a lot of actions (and getting MAP) which is huge value for a level 3 spell.

And for the bone croupier…. The key is it doesn’t matter what spell you use or your enemy’s save bonus. That +4 boss who only fails on a natural 1? You just cause him to fail automatically, stick him with your best debuff. Synesthesia for a round is great. Guaranteed synesthesia for a minute wins the fight.

You have a right to be skeptical of course. One of my friends thought the same - summoning is awful - until I told him to just give it a try with some good monster options. He came back and reported some great success. The key is in understanding the power of control and action denial. If you measure they solely by damage of course they’re going to suck.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Lightning Raven wrote:
It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others.

Don't get me wrong, I love Paizo all the way back from when they took over the magazines.

I am just struggling to find characters that I want to play from a mechanical standpoint.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
The Tage wrote:

I was thinking of playing a witch but after reading this thread I don't think I will bother.

I keep hearing the argument, or maybe just a general sentiment/hope, that "they should get better with more supplemental material."

This is reminding me of all the times I want to get a new video game on release but then I read about how it is missing features or is buggy and everyone says "wait for the first few major patches and it will be great." I don't want Paizo to have to patch their classes before they become playable.

It's fair to be disappointed in a piece of work from a company when it fails to hit the mark. However, Paizo hits the mark FAR more reliably than other companies, recognizes when their customers are unhappy and work to improve the situation instead of staunchly refusing to acknowledge issues, and even when they miss the mark the result is still better than others. The Witch is, in fact, playable and even strong in certain circumstances. For example, they can be built to absolutely melt enemies with stacking debuffs, or have an ungodly number of summons with careful cackle usage.

As one of the most vociferous detractors of the Witch, I HIGHLY encourage you to not let it color your impression of the system as a whole.

The Witch just looks that bad because it was released along the Swashbuckler (a hit from the start), the Oracle (terrible in the playtest but much better in the release) and the Investigator (one of the best classes in terms of concept and essence of an investigator, but awful mechanics in the playtest, it ended up quite solid on release) and it is directly competing against Bard with one of its core mechanics.

It's a tough challenge for the Witch and it would've been far easier to swallow if the Paizo elected to fully realize the patrons and integrate it with the class as a whole and the setting, similar to the overhaul they did with Oracles. They kept it all vague like

...

Slumber Hex was responsible for my party being able to survive the most broken encounter ever our GM threw at us, the enemy were five level 7 weresharks against our party of 6 level 4 PC's. They had insane damage and good AC, but the low will had them at the mercy of slumber, which then became a coup de grace fest, which the party doing their best to weather the damage and the witch using slumber every round. It was OP as hell.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Exocist wrote:

I know a lot of people are underwhelmed with summons. Either because they look at the numbers and think “that’s awful” or they try to summon a bear once, see it fail miserably and think “wow what a waste of a top slot”. That’s because they’re not actively hunting for the best creatures of that level, nor are they seeing any other value the summon provides

Take the skunks. You don’t think they’re great. What are they competing with, aside from Magic Weapon? The skunk is far far better than a reach goblin pox for instance. The sicken value on a fail is higher, it has the capability to affect 2 creatures (although that’s rare), you can summon into to immediately flank, providing support for the party on top of the sicken (although you’ll need diagonal flanking to get both). If they leave it alive, it contributes a bit of damage (small but not insignificant) and if they attack it you’ve also effectively inflicted slowed 1 + given them MAP. That’s actually very good.

The giant ant is similar. It has a +11 hit bonus, only 3 lower than a martial at that level. You can summon it straight into flanking, so that’s effectively +13. Then, if it hits, it grabs the opponent. The opponent has an option. They can escape the grab, which costs actions and gives them MAP (much better than the success effect of slow), or they can not escape and you just reposition them so now they’re forced to escape. Or they can attack the Ant. AC18 is 4 lower than a regular character at this level, so it does get crit more often, but 30 hitpoints isn’t dying to an average crit. If they want to attack it they’re wasting a lot of actions (and getting MAP) which is huge value for a level 3 spell.

And for the bone croupier…. The key is it doesn’t matter what spell you use or your enemy’s save bonus. That +4 boss who only fails on a natural 1? You just cause him to fail automatically, stick him with your best debuff. Synesthesia for a round is great. Guaranteed synesthesia for a minute wins the fight.

You have a right to be skeptical of course. One of my friends thought the same - summoning is awful - until I told him to just give it a try with some good monster options. He came back and reported some great success. The key is in understanding the power of control and action denial. If you measure they solely by damage of course they’re going to suck.

Summons only being good except for 1 or 2 creatures per level, at best, still makes it a very bad spell, and really is only good for minmaxers who actively research the creatures. This would also make sense if the characters actually are aware such creatures exist. A Skunk is probably valid without research since it is a basic animal well-known in nature, similar to a Troll, but a Bone Croupier, even if it's common in-game (debatable) and a valid creature to summon, doesn't mean a character in-game is aware of such a creature and can validly choose it to summon. I had to look up what a Bone Croupier is because A. I never heard of it before, and B. IDK what the hell a Croupier even means.

Even disregarding that, for a game meant to be simple to play and keep non-minmaxers relevant in a game with minmaxers means Summons shouldn't even exist given their whacky power scaling, which is "So good not to do compared to X" due to unique special abilities and "So bad that you're wasting resources on something more simple and effective, like X" due to bad stat scaling that gets worse with spell level availability. When you're slinging 10th level spells, what good are level 15 creatures going to do, abilities be damned, against monsters that are 5+ levels higher than you? It's an objectively bad spell for that reason.


Exocist wrote:
voideternal wrote:
Exocist wrote:

I’d say occult is the best list. It’s focuses are in what the game wants magic to do (buffs and debuffs) but it also has healing and even damage if you want it. Reflex isn’t really a problem - blast spells are kind of bad anyway, AoE incapacitation spells (sleep 4, calm emotions, etc.) are much better at doing what blast spells want to do, and occult has a very strong reflex targetting debuff in Resilient Sphere. The only thing I really miss from Arcane is wall spells - most other juicy things you can get with Trick Magic Item and a wand (e.g. longstrider, contingency).

The edge it has over arcane (to me) is the inbuilt decent healing spell in Soothe. Arcane is going to struggle to get a good combat healing spell, although the edge in that regard is pretty minor - just enough to push it slightly over arcane in my opinion.

Both are much better than primal/divine though.

I like blast spells in 2e. A lot of late-game monsters have reflex as lowest save. Their AoE tends to be big enough to cover a lot of layouts. IMO sleep / calm emotions / resilient sphere work kind-of okay in early game, but taper off mid-game or late game. Sleep and calm emotions both have small AoEs, and creatures with an area attack can wake up all their companions in a few actions (more common in mid-game / late-game). Resilient sphere doesn't have a heightening clause, and a lot of low-reflex monsters are huge or bigger, thus not fitting in the sphere.

IMO what makes occult the best spell is singularly synesthesia. That spell works in so many encounters and is extremely powerful even on a standard success. It's honestly broken.

I think divine is the weakest tradition. Arcane has a good balance of spells and the power words. Primal also has a good balance, access to heal, and competent polymorphs, which go well with a d8 health pool class. Divine has... heal, bless/heroism, summon celestial for inspire courage, divine aura. Divine casters can do stuff and help, but

...

It would be a -6 wouldn't it? -4 status from unconscious and -2 circumstance from flat footed.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Guntermench wrote:
Exocist wrote:
voideternal wrote:
Exocist wrote:

I’d say occult is the best list. It’s focuses are in what the game wants magic to do (buffs and debuffs) but it also has healing and even damage if you want it. Reflex isn’t really a problem - blast spells are kind of bad anyway, AoE incapacitation spells (sleep 4, calm emotions, etc.) are much better at doing what blast spells want to do, and occult has a very strong reflex targetting debuff in Resilient Sphere. The only thing I really miss from Arcane is wall spells - most other juicy things you can get with Trick Magic Item and a wand (e.g. longstrider, contingency).

The edge it has over arcane (to me) is the inbuilt decent healing spell in Soothe. Arcane is going to struggle to get a good combat healing spell, although the edge in that regard is pretty minor - just enough to push it slightly over arcane in my opinion.

Both are much better than primal/divine though.

I like blast spells in 2e. A lot of late-game monsters have reflex as lowest save. Their AoE tends to be big enough to cover a lot of layouts. IMO sleep / calm emotions / resilient sphere work kind-of okay in early game, but taper off mid-game or late game. Sleep and calm emotions both have small AoEs, and creatures with an area attack can wake up all their companions in a few actions (more common in mid-game / late-game). Resilient sphere doesn't have a heightening clause, and a lot of low-reflex monsters are huge or bigger, thus not fitting in the sphere.

IMO what makes occult the best spell is singularly synesthesia. That spell works in so many encounters and is extremely powerful even on a standard success. It's honestly broken.

I think divine is the weakest tradition. Arcane has a good balance of spells and the power words. Primal also has a good balance, access to heal, and competent polymorphs, which go well with a d8 health pool class. Divine has... heal, bless/heroism, summon celestial for inspire courage, divine aura. Divine casters can do

...

Flat foot doesn't give a reflex save penalty, I mentioned -6 for attacks though.

Dataphiles

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Summons only being good except for 1 or 2 creatures per level, at best, still makes it a very bad spell, and really is only good for minmaxers who actively research the creatures. This would also make sense if the characters actually are aware such creatures exist. A Skunk is probably valid without research since it is a basic animal well-known in nature, similar to a Troll, but a Bone Croupier, even if it's common in-game (debatable) and a valid creature to summon, doesn't mean a character in-game is aware of such a creature and can validly choose it to summon. I had to look up what a Bone Croupier is because A. I never heard of it before, and B. IDK what the hell a Croupier even means.

Even disregarding that, for a game meant to be simple to play and keep non-minmaxers relevant in a game with minmaxers means Summons shouldn't even exist given their whacky power scaling, which is "So good not to do compared to X" due to unique special abilities and "So bad that you're wasting resources on something more simple and effective, like X" due to bad stat scaling that gets worse with spell level availability. When you're slinging 10th level spells, what good are level 15 creatures going to do, abilities be damned, against monsters that are 5+ levels higher than you? It's an objectively bad spell for that reason.

I totally agree with you, summons should be templated like battleforms. I've had this conversation on the discord with a lot of different people. Almost all of them acknowledge that it would be better for balance if they were templated, but the ones in favour of the current version also say that it wouldn't feel right if they weren't picked from the bestiary.

So we're left in a conundrum where they have to be weak because the best case summon right now is actually still pretty good, due to the somewhat broken abilities monsters get which can easily spiral out of control in the hands of a player if they had good numbers, while the average case is garbage (because brute type enemies scale badly).

Also there's the issue of 19 and 20 with summons and incapacitation spells where they just randomly become really bad due to the mechanics of how 10th level spells work. You go from having 6 competitive summons as a focused conjurer wizard to... 1 or 2.

As for knowing the creature exists and whatnot, it isn't really stated anywhere that you need knowledge of the creature, and I suggest no one actually plays with requiring you know about the creature because then it gets really janky the higher level you go. High level creatures, even if the statblock says common, are rare in the game world, because they'd be immensely threatening to any form of civilisation if they weren't, which makes summoners have a hard time knowing about them... unless they only need a passing familiarity from a book...


Exocist wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Summons only being good except for 1 or 2 creatures per level, at best, still makes it a very bad spell, and really is only good for minmaxers who actively research the creatures. This would also make sense if the characters actually are aware such creatures exist. A Skunk is probably valid without research since it is a basic animal well-known in nature, similar to a Troll, but a Bone Croupier, even if it's common in-game (debatable) and a valid creature to summon, doesn't mean a character in-game is aware of such a creature and can validly choose it to summon. I had to look up what a Bone Croupier is because A. I never heard of it before, and B. IDK what the hell a Croupier even means.

Even disregarding that, for a game meant to be simple to play and keep non-minmaxers relevant in a game with minmaxers means Summons shouldn't even exist given their whacky power scaling, which is "So good not to do compared to X" due to unique special abilities and "So bad that you're wasting resources on something more simple and effective, like X" due to bad stat scaling that gets worse with spell level availability. When you're slinging 10th level spells, what good are level 15 creatures going to do, abilities be damned, against monsters that are 5+ levels higher than you? It's an objectively bad spell for that reason.

I totally agree with you, summons should be templated like battleforms. I've had this conversation on the discord with a lot of different people. Almost all of them acknowledge that it would be better for balance if they were templated, but the ones in favour of the current version also say that it wouldn't feel right if they weren't picked from the bestiary.

So we're left in a conundrum where they have to be weak because the best case summon right now is actually still pretty good, due to the somewhat broken abilities monsters get which can easily spiral out of control in the hands of a player if they had good numbers, while the average case is...

I don't think it's impossible to do that. Battleform templates really only change numeric values, not special abilities and such, unless they either grant them or remove them, but simple clauses would fix that. But really, the problem is that the levels don't scale properly. A monster that is 1 or 2 levels lower than the party can still be a threat or of use against a monster that is at or 1-2 levels above the party.

As for broken special abilities, I find that the Summon rules take care of a lot of those, but not all or even enough of those, and really that's the problem; the weird corner cases. Between losing reactions (would be an awesome feat for a Summoner-type to utilize their own reaction to command the reaction of a summoned/minion creature under their control) and having written restrictions, it creates the "only 1-2" good summon creatures for a given level paradigm.

As for summon choice restrictions, I'd be allowing any Beastiary creatures, but anything Uncommon+ or AP-specific, probably not unless they've already encountered them prior.


No. They're proficient with daggers.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not going to argue about the efficacy of the creatures you can summon, but I'd argue that Witches are some of the best summoners in the game because of the Cackle Focus spell. One of the big drawbacks of summoning is the fact that you need to spend an action every turn maintaining the summon. Having the ability to get that action back on a turn you need to reposition and cast another spell, a trick you can potentially pull off at level 1, is something that a lot of other casters can't do until their levels hit double digits.

Dataphiles

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ventnor wrote:
Not going to argue about the efficacy of the creatures you can summon, but I'd argue that Witches are some of the best summoners in the game because of the Cackle Focus spell. One of the big drawbacks of summoning is the fact that you need to spend an action every turn maintaining the summon. Having the ability to get that action back on a turn you need to reposition and cast another spell, a trick you can potentially pull off at level 1, is something that a lot of other casters can't do until their levels hit double digits.

Witches are pretty mediocre summoners. Summons (aside from the croupier and maybe a couple others) are only good out of your top slots. Make no mistake, the math on them isn’t great at level-4, but you’re buying some powerful abilities you can’t get anywhere else. At level -6 the odds are too far stacked against them.

To that end, the witch doesn’t have enough top slots to be a competitive summoner. Cackle is neat but unnecessary. It sucks when you need to move and can’t sustain + cast another spell in the same round, but you can always just MC witch for cackle if you really want it. A witch can’t MC to double their top level spell slots.


Lets not forget that even though the monsters are indeed very underleveled compared to the enemies you're party is facing, they're still monsters, they still have their status a bit higher than the players of the same level, which closes the gap a little bit.

Summons have been really nerfed in the transition, but they still can provide some of their benefits from before, such as extra HP, flanking and occasional utility. Not that bad, even though they're not the effortless free extra bodies from before.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

A player of mine tried to take Cackle once, then got rid of it very quickly.

Now sure how some on here believe the Cackle mechanic works, but spending a focus point to sustain a spell one time as a free action is not a good use of a focus point.

If Cackle were a hex cantrip allowing you to sustain two spells with one action, it would be pretty useful. But it's not. It requires a focus point to sustain an additional spell once per focus point for one round.

Focus points that could be spent on other focus spells. Cackle is not good. Not a game changer. Not worth taking. And if it disappeared from the witch options, wouldn't even be noticed. Whereas cackle was enormously good in PF1. A cornerstone power of the witch.

That is the problem with the witch. It went from one of the more powerful classes in PF1 to a class with some of the worst class feats and powers in the game, while retaining some of the limitations like the 1 minute lockout of hexes that is completely unnecessary given the other limitations in PF2.

The bard has no such innate limitation for greater powers. It doesn't make sense as to why they put these limitations on the witch, not on the bard. The power of hex cantrips is insufficient to warrant the legacy 1 minute limitation on hex cantrips given the new game paradigm.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've found Cackle okay on a lower level Witch. Natural ambition to grab cackle at 1 lets you cackle twice in one combat and once per day otherwise... it's not like you're going to use phase familiar much.

Then grab basic lesson at 2 and you've got three focus points you can dump into a big encounter. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I wouldn't really call Cackle a selling point, especially since your Hexes are really the main and only draw of the class otherwise.

I might like it more if it didn't prevent you from casting another Hex and I can't really imagine spending a level 2 or 4 feat to grab it if I'm not human.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lightning Raven wrote:

Lets not forget that even though the monsters are indeed very underleveled compared to the enemies you're party is facing, they're still monsters, they still have their status a bit higher than the players of the same level, which closes the gap a little bit.

Summons have been really nerfed in the transition, but they still can provide some of their benefits from before, such as extra HP, flanking and occasional utility. Not that bad, even though they're not the effortless free extra bodies from before.

I’ve always made the assumption that they don’t get attacked, because if they get attacked it’s immediately worth it (unless they just happen to be in an AoE that would have been the optimal shape anyway). A spell that causes slowed 1 and MAP with no save is obviously pretty good, and that’s what a monster attacking your summon does at minimum. Higher level summons won’t die to an average crit, and even lower level ones (2+) tend not to die to an average hit.

So when you look at the other benefits - you can immediately summon it into flanking which may or may not be good depending on party comp (if you have an odd number of melees it’ll give an extra flank). And then there’s the other abilities. Monsters have some of the strongest control abilities in the game. Freely repositioning your opponents across the battlefield is something that spells just aren’t capable of until much higher levels. Swallow whole is a gamechangingly powerful ability, and monsters with it tend to have an athletics bonus above even their attack bonus. Grab is a great ability - sure a monster’s MAPless attack can escape easily, but they just lost an action and their MAPless attack to do it. Spellcaster monsters might have bad DCs, but when you’re effectively casting those spells for one action they look a lot better, and of course non attack/DC spells don’t care about level difference.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Exocist wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:

Lets not forget that even though the monsters are indeed very underleveled compared to the enemies you're party is facing, they're still monsters, they still have their status a bit higher than the players of the same level, which closes the gap a little bit.

Summons have been really nerfed in the transition, but they still can provide some of their benefits from before, such as extra HP, flanking and occasional utility. Not that bad, even though they're not the effortless free extra bodies from before.

I’ve always made the assumption that they don’t get attacked, because if they get attacked it’s immediately worth it (unless they just happen to be in an AoE that would have been the optimal shape anyway). A spell that causes slowed 1 and MAP with no save is obviously pretty good, and that’s what a monster attacking your summon does at minimum. Higher level summons won’t die to an average crit, and even lower level ones (2+) tend not to die to an average hit.

So when you look at the other benefits - you can immediately summon it into flanking which may or may not be good depending on party comp (if you have an odd number of melees it’ll give an extra flank). And then there’s the other abilities. Monsters have some of the strongest control abilities in the game. Freely repositioning your opponents across the battlefield is something that spells just aren’t capable of until much higher levels. Swallow whole is a gamechangingly powerful ability, and monsters with it tend to have an athletics bonus above even their attack bonus. Grab is a great ability - sure a monster’s MAPless attack can escape easily, but they just lost an action and their MAPless attack to do it. Spellcaster monsters might have bad DCs, but when you’re effectively casting those spells for one action they look a lot better, and of course non attack/DC spells don’t care about level difference.

Summons have too many negatives to balance out possible positives.

1. Summons spells are three actions.

2. Summoned monsters can't use reaction abilities or 3 action abilities or spells above the level of the spell.

3. Range is 30 feet. Which may or may not allow you to put them in attack position or flank position.

4. Attack rolls are low and keep getting comparatively worse as you level and the level between the creature you summon and the creature you are fighting grows bigger. So much of the math of PF2 is level based.

5. Incapactiation effects hammer summoned creatures. So any auras, gazes, AoE spells, or innate abilities are going to require a big save and will affect them fully.

6. Requires a sustain action to maintain the spell which limits your ability to move and cast for likely less reliable damage and effects than a flaming sphere or something similar.

My group has tried quite a few times to make summons work. They don't. They always do inferior damage, inferior effects, and aren't worth casting in place of some other spell. Even magic missile is far more reliable damage for 3 actions. They've tried animate dead, summon animal, summon dragon, summon elemental, and summon giant. Every time they have used it with a max level slot, it has been dramatically underwhelming.

Personally, I find it sad to see spells that were very cool in PF1 reduced to nearly useless spells that are very suboptimal to take.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

There's no reason for monsters to use their highest attacks on summons. They can just swipe them with second or third attack due to how comparatively weak in level they are.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Deriven Firelion wrote:

1. Summons spells are three actions.

2. Summoned monsters can't use reaction abilities or 3 action abilities or spells above the level of the spell.

3. Range is 30 feet. Which may or may not allow you to put them in attack position or flank position.

4. Attack rolls are low and keep getting comparatively worse as you level and the level between the creature you summon and the creature you are fighting grows bigger. So much of the math of PF2 is level based.

5. Incapactiation effects hammer summoned creatures. So any auras, gazes, AoE spells, or innate abilities are going to require a big save and will affect them fully.

6. Requires a sustain action to maintain the spell which limits your ability to move and cast for likely less reliable damage and effects than a flaming sphere or something similar.

My group has tried quite a few times to make summons work. They don't. They always do inferior damage, inferior effects, and aren't worth casting in place of some other spell. Even magic missile is far more reliable damage for 3 actions. They've tried animate dead, summon animal, summon dragon, summon elemental, and summon giant. Every time they have used it with a max level slot, it has been dramatically underwhelming.

Personally, I find it sad to see spells that were very cool in PF1 reduced to nearly useless spells that are very suboptimal to take.

These are solid points, the thing is that this kind of thinking can be applied to almost every other spell as well, so it's not like only summoning is an outlier in this regard. Magic spells as a whole were nerfed and they have much more limitations now than they previously did.

Unless the GM is blatantly metagaming, odds are, that the summons will be a target if they are enough of a threat and in difficult situations when the math is heavily stacked against the party and the summon, it means that the action economy is stacked against the enemy, so any bit of advantage helps. An extra body for flanking, lesser cover, a potential target, a small amount of damage or even some combat maneuvers.

The thing is that summoning was by far, and a long margin, the best playstyle in PF1e because didn't require any brains whatsoever and the builds that could exploit it just granted you a ton of stuff to work with and low effort in combat beyond having the most bogged down turn at the table.

It is a huge drop and it is impossible to achieve the same kind of results with the tamer versions in PF2e, but very much like everything else related to magic in this edition, you have to adjust your frame of reference to PF2e and forget your preconceived notions from PF1e.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
NemoNoName wrote:
There's no reason for monsters to use their highest attacks on summons. They can just swipe them with second or third attack due to how comparatively weak in level they are.

If they're using a second or third attack, chances are they aren't critting (summon AC isn't that bad), which means they need to commit multiple attacks to actually kill it. Which is effectively giving slowed for multiple rounds, while your summon still does other stuff. That's still pretty good...

Dataphiles

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:

1. Summons spells are three actions.

2. Summoned monsters can't use reaction abilities or 3 action abilities or spells above the level of the spell.

3. Range is 30 feet. Which may or may not allow you to put them in attack position or flank position.

4. Attack rolls are low and keep getting comparatively worse as you level and the level between the creature you summon and the creature you are fighting grows bigger. So much of the math of PF2 is level based.

5. Incapactiation effects hammer summoned creatures. So any auras, gazes, AoE spells, or innate abilities are going to require a big save and will affect them fully.

6. Requires a sustain action to maintain the spell which limits your ability to move and cast for likely less reliable damage and effects than a flaming sphere or something similar.

Let's address these points

1. 3a vs 2a isn't really that big of a difference for wizards, because they basically don't have anything good to do with the 3rd action anyway (unlike those pesky cha casters who get all the good stuff).

2. Sure, whatever. My assessment of good summons never included these.

3. 30 feet is the standard range of pretty much every spell in the game, most spells will require you be that close to enemies, and unless they're at the very edge of your range (and your melee is positioned badly) summoning into flanking shouldn't be an issue.

4. Ye, attack rolls are consistently low... but they're still monsters which have effectively fighter or fighter-1 hit bonus. That still turns out to be approx 45-50% hit rate on their first attack.

5. It would have to be a very specific encounter for this to be relevant and also not equally hammer the party badly. Creatures that are lower level than you with incapacitation effects are generally a joke anyway, so there's no point blowing a top slot on them. If they're equal or higher level than you, your summon is only as good as you are with regard to incap.

6. It's not about damage. It's about effects. If you wanted just damage, you'd use flaming sphere, which is not very good anyway. You get repeatable control with all the other minor benefits of an extra body (space blocking, flanking, etc.).

151 to 200 of 637 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Witch Class - Am I Missing the Point? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.