What would you want from a Witch rework?


Homebrew and House Rules


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I've been vocal on the forums before about how I'm less than satisfied with the Witch class. Because of that, I've had the need to rework the class rattling around in my head for a while (no promises it gets done if the workload exceeds what I'm capable of, but I wanted to try).

But I wanted to get people's opinions on what they see as the biggest weaknesses of the Witch so I know where to focus my efforts. The main goals I already have are rebalancing and improving hex cantrips, as well as adding more of them, along with finding a way to improve the familiar. A smaller thing I'm looking at is feat support for rituals. I'm looking to keep them a full spellcaster, but if necessary for the power budget I would consider making them a 2 slot per level caster like the upcoming psychic.

So, to reiterate the title, what would you want from a Witch rework?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My main thing for witch is that they need to get access to more and better hex cantrips, basically at any cost. In PF1 that was what I loved about them, their spellcasting was almost secondary.

In order to lean into the hexes, I would even sacrifice the familiar and Patrons as whole, because you could get so much Witch flavor out of your hex selection. Familiars are okay but not the selling point, and Patrons I really prefer to de-emphasize anyway. I prefer Witches to have a whole lot of their capability not tied to any outside source, not least because it's more palatable for real world witches and better aligns with my fantasy for Witches in game.

My attempt to fix the Witch for myself when it first came out was this:
Google Link


More focus spells. And not only for the Witch: I think that everytime a class gets a focus spell from a school, bloodline or something like that, it should get a couple of them instead - and I don't mean a choice between two, I mean that it should get both.
I'd make an exception for those focus spells that are individually obtained via specific feats, and maybe (maybe!) for the Oracle and the Bard.

Liberty's Edge

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Most Hex Cantrips need to be unlimited usage (with per creature/object daily restrictions) without consuming Focus Points like the Bard.

There needs to be at least 3x as many Hex Cantrips and all new ones MUST NOT be coupled to Patron exclusivity.

There needs to be slightly more powerful Hex Cantrips that DO Cost Focus Points that are at LEAST as impactful as the free literally always on Bard Inspire Courage Comp Cantrip.

That's it, that's all I'd do.


The tinkering that I have rattling around in my head isn't so much a rewrite as it is a bit of fixes.

Either: buff the hex cantrips, or allow getting more of them. Probably not both. Having more hex cantrips available to choose from would also be nice.

Replace Phase Familiar with Basic Lesson. Basic Lesson stays as a class feat (so that it is available to the Witch Archetype) but is given for free with the Patron benefits (which the Witch Archetype doesn't give). Phase Familiar becomes a level 1 feat that can be chosen.

The non-redundant feats in Familiar Master archetype become 'Additional Feats'. Have them available a couple levels earlier than the archetype gives them at. So getting Familiar Conduit as a level 2 Witch class feat, for example.

The Lesson feats give a choice of spells learned based on a trait. So Lesson of Life could teach any spell with the Healing trait for example.

Create a couple or three witch-specific familiar abilities. Not sure what those would be though. Especially with Familiar Master's Mutable Familiar being available already.

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Benefits: Adds power to the unique things rather than the generic spellcasting.

From level 1 you have a good focus point hex as well as a hex cantrip. Taking an archetype at level 2 becomes viable again. Including class archetypes. And you don't have to play through level 1 having a focus point that you have nothing to use it on.

You can in-class actually have the best Familiar in the game.

You can poach spell slot spells from other traditions more freely than Divine Font gives and for more spells than Sorcerer Crossblooded and Greater Crossblooded allow.


1st. Get rid of the entire "lessons" concept, Witches get their hexes directly from their patron and there are zero lessons going on there. Prepared casting is enough for "learns spells through studying".

2nd. Make all hexes unlimited use 1/per/day. You can add other spell abilities that aren't hexes cost focus points, but don't label them hexes. The name "hex" really should be the witch equivalent of "composition cantrip".

3rd. Add more hexes and fix the ones that are already in the game.

4th. Cackle should just be a Hex that lets you spend an action to extend the duration of a hex for 1 round. You can add restrictions like only working with level 0 hexes and add feats to make it better, but it should not be used as a way to stack more hexes but to extend existing ones.

5th. Yeah, familiar could use some love, but there is just so many things affecting them...

6th & 7th. I personally always though that Witch should be an Occult only caster, and then have archetypes change the tradition while adding flavorful feats. So, I would do that instead of the Patron granting a spell list, them granting a list of bonus spells would be more fitting. If you want patrons to have more impact them giving a relevant lore would be better. For example: Fate could give a "divination lore" while curse would give a "curses lore", something that is not mechanically relevant unless you and the GM create a back story around it.


Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.

For the patron rework just make the hex cantrips stronger, and let the granted spell poach something interesting from another spell list.

A cool direction for the hex cantrips would be making them get better each time they're sustained, like evil eye increasing the frightened condition by 1 each time you sustain it, or stoke the heart's damage bonus increasing each time. Would make witches a caster who excel in extended fights.

For the lessons just make better options for the most part. Theres a few that can stay, like elemental betrayal and life boost, but the rest could be pumped up a bit.

There's a few other odds and ends that could be adjusted too, like first lesson being a class feature, adding more feats, and making the hair/nails feats more appealing somehow.


Ganigumo wrote:
Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.

You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?


My ideal witch would have no daily slots at all, lean reasonably hard into the cantrips, and have the familiar be actually useful in combat in some fashion. Not sure how. That's not the one you're building, though.

For the one you're building... it would be nice to have feats like Living Hair and Eldritch Nails be actually useful for actual witches, rather than being something that's potentially worth poaching, but not worth taking in the base class.

Similarly... Take a look at the Witch's Murksight and the Druid's Stormborn. It's honestly kind of insulting.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
Ganigumo wrote:
Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.
You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?

I'm still kind of surprised they didn't change Clinging Ice with the errata with what buzzing bites does.

Rare = better is a paradigm that they're supposed to be avoiding.


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Squiggit wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Ganigumo wrote:
Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.
You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?

I'm still kind of surprised they didn't change Clinging Ice with the errata with what buzzing bites does.

Rare = better is a paradigm that they're supposed to be avoiding.

Tell that to literally every single rare option being straight up upgrades.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I did a huge analysis of this a while back, and the shortened version is this,

The Witch is a 3-slot caster who is built like a 4-slot caster. It has the HP and saves like the Sorcerer or Wizard, and only really gets two "things" outside of their spellcasting and other basic class stuff, the Improved Familiar and the Hex cantrip (and Phase Familiar, but that isn't actually a thing to do that adds to the party's capabilities, just a way to stop your familiar from dying as quickly).

Wizard gets 3 things, but also only two that really advance your party's progression very well, the Thesis and the Arcane School. Drain Bonded item I feel is meant to make up for the limitations of the 4th slot that Wizards get being restricted, or just gives the Wizard their 4th slot for Universalist. Sorcerer also gets 2 things really, the Initial Bloodline Spell and the Blood Magic. Then they have Signature Spells which also helps to compensate for the weakness of their casting style.

Meanwhile, other 3-slot casters have much better chassis, and more things that they get outside of their spellcasting. Druids get their Order's Focus spell, a level 1 feat, Shield Block, and Wild Empathy. Bards get Counter Performance, Inspire Courage, and a level 1 feat from their Muse. Cloistered Clerics kind of break this mold by only getting 2 things, Divine Font and the Domain Spell, but Divine Font is so insanely powerful that I think it can safely be counted as worth two abilities from the other classes.

Now, I don't want Witch to be a boring, alt-flavored Wizard with 4 spells per day, so the answer seems to be, improve their Chassis and give them more things.

To this end, I'd replace Phase Familiar with a Basic Lesson of their choice, not tied to their Patron (since the Witch is supposed to be flexible in their flavor). Turn Phase Familiar into a level 1 feat. Add a level 2 feat that lets them take a second Hex Cantrip (the Bard can do it, so why not the Witch?).

And since the Witch has 3-slot casting, give them a 3-slot casting body. 8 HP per level, and better saves. I am partial to Fortitude getting Expert at 3 and Master at 17. Reflexes get Expert at 7. Will Gets Master at 9.

And then, while most of the Hex cantrips are fine and, in fact really good, Wilding Word and Nudge Fate should probably be buffed and Shroud of Night should upgrade to advanced darkness at some point.

I know that some people really want a Witch that goes more off the rails when compared to other casters, but this objectively brings them in line with what we know Paizo currently considers to be balanced.

That said...I would still be happy to see a more...out there Witch as well...he he he.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My IDEAL Witch, is more like this.

2-slot caster. Like the Psychic. Significantly less spells, but in return you get a crap-ton of extra things out of the Witch.

2 Hex Cantrips right off the bat, one from your own patron and one other of your choice. Level 2 feat to take a 3rd one.

Basic Lesson right off the bat of course. Phase Familiar would be a level 1 feat.

Patrons would have granted spells beyond just the level 1 ones, similar to the Sorcerer Bloodline granted spells.

Each Patron would also give a Familiar unique ability that would be just a bit better than the normal familiar abilities. Winter would give your Familiar resistance to all cold damage and immunity to cold damage from your own spells, Curse would allow you to cast Evil Eye from your Familiar as if it was the one casting it, ect.

And then You'd get a free level 1 feat depending on your Patron's spell list. Cackle for Occult, Wortwitch for Primal, Counterspell for Arcane, and Phase Familiar for Divine. Occult and Divine might need new ones though, since I don't like two of the four lists starting off with an extra Focus point for free...

And then, the Witch would also have the enhanced chassis of the 3-slot casters like I laid out before.


Great suggestion I had from a player was to make cackle work like lingering composition, in order to make it more interesting.


breithauptclan wrote:
You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?

Yes, but for more of them, although I'm not buzzing bites is enough to save the class, even if its a pretty useful tool.

Poaching spells could be an interesting angle too, like an arcane patron that grants heal/harm/soothe.

Witch is pretty fixable without a full rewrite.

Squiggit wrote:
Rare = better is a paradigm that they're supposed to be avoiding.

I suspect its probably intentional for the witch, since its pretty much agreed upon that its a bit underpowered. I wouldn't be surprised to see new patrons slowly creep up the power a bit until they hit a sweetspot.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
For the one you're building... it would be nice to have feats like Living Hair and Eldritch Nails be actually useful for actual witches, rather than being something that's potentially worth poaching, but not worth taking in the base class.

The witch nails are pretty bad, in order to save them you'd need to do something like being able to apply any hex (cantrip included) with them, which might be a bit much.

When it comes to the hair feats I wonder if the writer thought finesse + maneuver traits let you use dex for maneuvers. I know the Oct 2019 errata made it clear that doesn't work, but before that the rules implied the opposite (with a dev statement from the pf2e playtest confirming thats how it worked). The APG playtest was released a few weeks before the errata. In the playtest the hair had agile, disarm, grapple, parry and trip, while the released version had agile, disarm, finesse and trip traits (so it lost grapple and parry, but gained finesse).
The feat (and the uncommon chain that probably should've been part of the base class) certainly becomes far more interesting for witches if they could use dex on the maneuvers, since dex isn't as much of a stretch for witches to invest in as strength.

The timing of the errata and witch development/playtest (and the fact that the main writer left at some point) may have just led this to fall through the cracks.

Liberty's Edge

Witch Nails being good would ALSO require them to be able to have Runes applied to them while they aren't physically present, as it stands, it is next to impossible to functionally have Runes added to them because you need to personally be present for the ENTIRE crafting process so the Crafter can apply the Runes.


Themetricsystem wrote:

Witch Nails being good would ALSO require them to be able to have Runes applied to them while they aren't physically present, as it stands, it is next to impossible to functionally have Runes added to them because you need to personally be present for the ENTIRE crafting process so the Crafter can apply the Runes.

It's an unarmed attack. You can just use handwraps. It might look funny, but it'll totally work.


breithauptclan wrote:
Ganigumo wrote:
Just a rewrite to patrons and hexes and witch is good. It could actually be done through new content instead of a rework, but then the older stuff would still be weak.
You mean like Mosquito Witch and Buzzing Bites vs Winter Witch and Clinging Ice?

That and a basic lesson instead of phase familiar


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Very little about the class works well

It has d6 hitpoints when every other caster with 3 slots get d8 hitpoints

Cackle is a Hex focus spell so its get caught up in the limit of number of hex spells that can be cast per turn. Which really limits it.

Only a few of the hex cantrips are effective, too many are poor value and its really the defining feature of the class. They are also restricted to one per turn. I'm not really sure why as they aren't super powerful in the way the Bards cantrips are.

Every time players have tried to make familiars actually useful Paizo have stomped on it. Familiars needs some sort of a bump

Cauldron is a flavourful class feat, so are Temporary Potions. The problem is they arrive too late and you can't make many. To the extent that you are better off multiclassing into alchemist instead.

Nails and hair are nice, but they don't really have a point. All you are getting are reflavoured weapons that you could have got elsewhere without paying for them with feats. They need to have a couple of special abilities to make them worthwhile. But then again they are on a character with d6 hit points so why are you investing in your melee abilities? I think they need to have some defensive value. Perhaps some sort of hair twirl that gives you concealment or similar.

So to start with I would make Cackle a class feature not a hex. Make Temporary Potions a level 4 feat, and add in another improved feat at level 10. Not sure about the rest....


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Here are the changes i made to the class:

1. My view of the Witch in 2e is it should be a cross between the sorcerer and the bard. Patrons work like bloodlines but the class itself identifies more like a bard in play style.

2. It is an occult only caster but gains a themed spell every level dependant on the starting patron similar to the sorcerer.

3. Cackle is now the witch's iconic class feature that cannot be grabbed by MCing into it. As an action you can sustain all spells with the hex trait. I changed the name of the original cackle focus spell and made it a higher level option that buffs your normal cackle for 1 round.

4. You gain your first lesson for free at level 1.

5. i removed phase familiar and made it a first level feat that also grants you a converted version of the old dragon magazine spell, familiar enhancer. A first level spell that gives your familiar an extra ability with some caveats.

6. A rebalance of all the hexes so they are in the same ball park as each other and the bard's focus spells.

7. A rework of the original feats that suck as well as a slew of new ones converted over from 1e and just some new ones i thought up.

8. I use a lot of homebrew and Midnightoker's excellent fabled familiar content to upgrade the experience of familiars across the board.

In all this gives the witch a very strong opening package to make up for being a 3 spells only caster with a 4 spell caster's proficiencies.


Thanks for the responses everyone! Reading these as they've come in has been interesting. I've read a lot of these ideas on the forums before, but having them in one place but not being spread across a few hundred posts in a dozen threads is super helpful.

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