Does psychic invalidate occult witch ?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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With the new class coming out, I find myself looking back over my currently running games and thinking to myself "wouldn't this character be better as a psychic instead of an occult with?"

The three characters I have in mind are:

Occult patron tengu who's a paranormal detective in a legend of the 5 rings style game.

Haughty elf witch who's known as a darkmaster to her elf peers, currently a curse elf witch.

Upcoming night curse fetching shadow caster witch, but the player is considering not playing witch cause psychic is so interesting.

So in all of these cases the answer is that I do want to play the psychic for that character role more than the witch. I did not necessarily want a familiar with all of these and it's not like familiars are unique to the witch class anyways (fetchling shadow caster build wanted a shadow familiar but shadow caster provides it...)

And outside of the familiar the witch class provides.... Very little.

Aside from that it was very synergistic with its INT key ability and occultism synergy but now... Well two of the subconscious minds have int as key ability, and psychic casts occultism and has better skill synergy with occultism through class abilities.

So I'd say that the occult witch has very much been made irrelevant by the psychic, who delivers a weird, dark take on occult casting and reliable, repeatable powers and focus point usage that the witch just fails at delivering.

Which leaves the witch with 3 more familiar powers. Don't get me wrong, I like familiars...but they don't make a class by themselves.

Also 1 spell slot more per level, which isn't that bad since you can use class feats as a psychic to even out, and the class feats are overall better too, giving you near spell abilities.

Share your thoughts.


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Well, no. One major factor is that the Witch is a prepared caster, while the Psychic is spontaneous. The witch is still the only class that can cast prepared occult spells. Their hexes are also different than the Psychic's amps. Not better or worse, but definitely different. The thematic underpinning of both classes are also different. One is learning magic from an inscrutable teacher while the other has found a way to unlock the power of their mind.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

While I wish the Witch was a tad stronger, and pyshic is a very powerful occult caster i think witch still fulfills a lot more witchy ideas. The psychic can probably replicate some types of witch vibes. But if I wanna play a spooky gal who communes with her cat I'm still gonna pick a witch.


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As far as power level goes, I think Psychic is definitely much more on-par with the other classes. Witch is just a tad under par.

The other class to compare it to is Bard. Since both are spontaneous Occult tradition casters.

Between the three, I don't think I could handle playing a Bard. The flavor of the class just isn't for me.

I like Witch. Though I do wish there was a way to trade out the Familiar for something else - I don't always want to have a Familiar as part of my character concept. But even a class archetype wouldn't work well since I need to use the 2nd level class feat to get Basic Lesson - pretty much required in my opinion to only have the class be mildly under par.

I haven't actually played a Psychic. I do have one in a game that we just started. Haven't really seen it in action yet. But from what I have read, I really like it.

But like pixierose says, some characters are going to be better represented by Witch and others by Psychic. The two don't step on each other's toes too terribly much.


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Yes, we all know the witch is an underpowered class. No this doesn't mean we aren't going to have fun with it because it's still packed with thematic stuff to build around.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think the Spontaneous vs Prepared makes the Witch a better Occult caster that also has room in their Spellbook(Familir) for utility/non-combat magic where as limited spells known makes a Psychic specialize. While the Psychic cantrips with amps are cool, the limted nature of a Spontaneous repertoire means they will be better in focused cases, but a witch will have a wider breadth of options will still having standard cantrips and focus spells for their all day options. While I think a witch could be a more powerful combatant with some tweaks they are a great class that can server a lot of roles. At least what I have so far read of the Psychic they don't have as much general utilities as classes like Wizard, Witch and Bard, but wouldn't take the spot as primary caster in most parties like a witch can.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've found spontaneous vs prepared does not favor prepared casters in actual play nearly as much as forum discourse would suggest.

That said, prepared does let them learn more weird spells that might not always be relevant, and the value of that extra slot is genuinely pretty nice.

As ever, the Witch is held back by an underlying weakness in its basic options, but it's not really that big of a deal and I wouldn't really call the baseline psychic a powerhouse anyways.

The biggest draw of the psychic, imo, is being able to leverage some of its innate options to build an occult blaster, which puts them in a different occupational space than the witch. If you put them head-to-head as occult support casters... they both get trashed by the bard anyways so eh.


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I think spontaneous vs. prepared is more of a personal preference thing. Some people like having a big toolbox of spells at their disposal, and some people don't like the mental overhead of figuring out "okay, which ones am I preparing today".

Like I'm going to play the spontaneous caster even if I know it's a weaker option.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
I've found spontaneous vs prepared does not favor prepared casters in actual play nearly as much as forum discourse would suggest.

It is highly situational and I will give you that in combat heavy games I would take an Arcane list Sorc over a Wizard and a Psychic over a Witch.

In a game were the world and GM reward research and prep, the Prep caster with more options and slots wins out.

PF2E's nature of each player being better with their group really decides what is better where however. So I can definitely forsee party comps where I would take Witch over Psychic or vice-versa.

Also the Psychic really feels like the fullest actual blaster in 2E and the occult witch a blaster is not so the comparison widens there.

So the short answer to the title in this case(imo) becomes a clear NO.


I fully agree that being prepared is the dividing line here.

An issue with prepared casters though that I have mostly only recently come to understand (and read the tier list thread to see just how much I understand the advantages of being a prepared caster) is the drop in purchasing power.

Learning spells in your spellbook costs a lot of money, vs spontaneous spellcasters who will need to use the learn a spell activity like 3-4 times in their career. Half of the wealth of the witch in my iron gods game has gone to making their familiar lick the pages clean of the spellbooks the group has found.

They're very versatile! But it's cost a lot ..


About OP.

Not even close! The only similarity of Witch is that they are spellcasters! Thematic and mechanically they are a complete different classes.

The thing you are notice (a thing that every player that do a cold analisis between witch and other spellcasters) is that the witch chassis is terrible. As discussed many times around the forums the witch is basically a nerfed familiar wizard with less spellslots with mediocre hexes and this make you think that even the more coolest thematic witch in the best situation is just mee compared to other spellcasters.

About the comparison of spontaneous vs prepared is another kind of discussion is basically a comparison of a spellcaster with unlimited know spells potential (specially true for clerics and druids) but that are forced to try to guess what they will need that day and how many times or restrict it's choices to most general use spells VS spellcasters that have a limited spell repertoire but can use them freely along the day.
IMO is just more a question of strategy and choice than really a so killing difference. And of course in PF2 these mechanics are not really full written in a stone, the Wizard has a thesis that allows it to change spellslots along the day and the prepared casters can take Flexible Spellcaster class archetype and bard/sorcerers can have the option to choose part of their repertoire from spellbooks.

breithauptclan wrote:
The other class to compare it to is Bard. Since both are spontaneous Occult tradition casters.

IMO is the inverse. Bards is what more closely that we have to witch than psichic due some similarity with some composition spells and some hexes but ends here because even the hexes in many cases are parody of some composition spells, full of senseless immunities, mediocre effects and the bard's chassis is incomparable to witch.

In the end this full topic will be another "People! I noticed that the witch in general is worse than class X" full of responses remembering that the witch is a completely subpar class.


I usually feel when playing psychic that I would be probably stronger as a Sorcerer though...

Specially considering how easy is to steal stuff from the class and that the Psychic AoE amps needs to be unleashed to have around the same damage as the other classes AoE focus spells.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The fact that a bunch of characters you made are better represented by the psychic than the witch does not mean all characters are. If you want someone who deals with a shadowy patron or has a familiar as a core part of their identity, the witch is the better thematic fit. It just doesn't sound like those were considerations when you made your character concepts, and you just wanted a smart occult character. (Which bard still does pretty well if you put some boosts into INT.)

AlastarOG wrote:

I fully agree that being prepared is the dividing line here.

An issue with prepared casters though that I have mostly only recently come to understand (and read the tier list thread to see just how much I understand the advantages of being a prepared caster) is the drop in purchasing power.

Learning spells in your spellbook costs a lot of money, vs spontaneous spellcasters who will need to use the learn a spell activity like 3-4 times in their career. Half of the wealth of the witch in my iron gods game has gone to making their familiar lick the pages clean of the spellbooks the group has found.

They're very versatile! But it's cost a lot ..

Magical Shorthand helps with that, especially if you get lots of downtime. Strength of Thousands takes place over years, for example, so one can learn plenty of spells. And I've found the familiar as a scouting drone creates plenty of opportunity to actually prepare the right spells.


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Does the Psychic invalidate the Witch? No.

Does the Psychic make me wish the Witch was anywhere near as customizable and interesting as it? Absolutely.


keftiu wrote:

Does the Psychic invalidate the Witch? No.

Does the Psychic make me wish the Witch was anywhere near as customizable and interesting as it? Absolutely.

Yeah I guess this reaches my sentiment more precisely.


The thing with learning spells is that you don't try to learn spells of your highest spell level unless you really need that spell or otherwise it will be expensive.

I usually go for the spell level-2 rule, like if I have lvl 3 spells at the highest then I will mass learn lvl 1 spells as I will crit success almost all of them.


Kyrone wrote:

The thing with learning spells is that you don't try to learn spells of your highest spell level unless you really need that spell or otherwise it will be expensive.

I usually go for the spell level-2 rule, like if I have lvl 3 spells at the highest then I will mass learn lvl 1 spells as I will crit success almost all of them.

But at the same time as a prepared caster only having 2 spells for your 2-3 spell slots can be somewhat limiting, especially if you're picking one that's situational cause you need it right now (like turning level 7 and really needing the veil spell cause you're about to go on an infiltration mission)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
AlastarOG wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

The thing with learning spells is that you don't try to learn spells of your highest spell level unless you really need that spell or otherwise it will be expensive.

I usually go for the spell level-2 rule, like if I have lvl 3 spells at the highest then I will mass learn lvl 1 spells as I will crit success almost all of them.

But at the same time as a prepared caster only having 2 spells for your 2-3 spell slots can be somewhat limiting, especially if you're picking one that's situational cause you need it right now (like turning level 7 and really needing the veil spell cause you're about to go on an infiltration mission)

That's not totally accurate because you can also prepare heightened versions of lower level spells. Which usually won't be as strong as highest level spells but can certainly fit a lot of utility niches.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

Does the Psychic invalidate the Witch? No.

Does the Psychic make me wish the Witch was anywhere near as customizable and interesting as it? Absolutely.

Yup.

I will say that the psychic’s souped up cantrips is a direction they might have gone with on the witch. Hexes are better (thematically if not mechanically), but I wish hexes were designed closer in power level to the new cantrips psychics get.

That is probably the one thing I’d say invalidates anything on the witch.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

... You know it's kind of weird and funny from a mechanics perspective.

We have three full casters that can use the Occult tradition, and the only one of them that doesn't have a collection of unique at-will abilities they can use is the class whose PF1e counterpart was entirely designed around that idea.


I mean... psychic unamped cantrips sucks a lot with like 2 exceptions.

Liberty's Edge

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Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I've found spontaneous vs prepared does not favor prepared casters in actual play nearly as much as forum discourse would suggest.

It is highly situational and I will give you that in combat heavy games I would take an Arcane list Sorc over a Wizard and a Psychic over a Witch.

In a game were the world and GM reward research and prep, the Prep caster with more options and slots wins out.

PF2E's nature of each player being better with their group really decides what is better where however. So I can definitely forsee party comps where I would take Witch over Psychic or vice-versa.

Also the Psychic really feels like the fullest actual blaster in 2E and the occult witch a blaster is not so the comparison widens there.

So the short answer to the title in this case(imo) becomes a clear NO.

Note : in PFS, where knowing in advance what you will face next day is pretty rare, prepared has far fewer advantages.


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Part of the issue with trying to find how good/bad being spontaneous vs prepared is that a large part of what made prepared good has been removed. So now its a matter of "how willing is you GM to give you cheap spells that are useful".

It makes it worse given that Clerics and Druids know all their spells (at least all the common ones). But then Wizard and Witch have to pay exorbitant amounts of gold for something that most of the time wont even be useful.

* P.S. Maybe in the future if Paizo releases actual support for caster then Witch will be fine. Until then that is in life support.

*******************

Having said that, the psychic doesn't "invalidate" the witch. It just send the witch down to tier 5 with the alchemist.

Ignore the tiny rant about pick-a-list witch being a horrible idea from the start:

Seriously, witch was a class that should had been so easy to nail down and throw out of the park. You add some curses, some ways to modified dice rolls, a few odd ball hexes, it would had been cool.

But no, they wanted to make it pick-a-list. Even though people showed concerned about it being too spread out and unfocused and how that would lead exactly to the current situation they still released it. Then promptly didn't give any of the list any support (really wish for more support for existing classes).


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Temperans wrote:
Having said that, the psychic doesn't "invalidate" the witch. It just send the witch down to tier 5 with the alchemist.

But the witch wasn't already there? ;D


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YuriP wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Having said that, the psychic doesn't "invalidate" the witch. It just send the witch down to tier 5 with the alchemist.
But the witch wasn't already there? ;D

Before it was borderline. Now its guaranteed.


Squiggit wrote:
full casters that can use the Occult tradition, and the only one of them that doesn't have a collection of unique at-will abilities they can use

... Sorcerer is 'the class whose PF1e counterpart was entirely designed around that idea'?

Because it's definitely Sorcerer that has the least number of unique at will abilities.


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Temperans wrote:
It makes it worse given that Clerics and Druids know all their spells (at least all the common ones). But then Wizard and Witch have to pay exorbitant amounts of gold for something that most of the time wont even be useful.

I shudder to imagine how tight your games have to be that half, or quarter, the price of a scroll of equivalent level to learn a spell is considered "exorbitant."


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Errenor wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
full casters that can use the Occult tradition, and the only one of them that doesn't have a collection of unique at-will abilities they can use

... Sorcerer is 'the class whose PF1e counterpart was entirely designed around that idea'?

Because it's definitely Sorcerer that has the least number of unique at will abilities.

I forgot the sorcerer existed for a second, whoops.

General point was that it was kind of interesting to me that the Bard and Psychic do "arsenal of special at-will abilities" so much more than the Witch.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
full casters that can use the Occult tradition, and the only one of them that doesn't have a collection of unique at-will abilities they can use

... Sorcerer is 'the class whose PF1e counterpart was entirely designed around that idea'?

Because it's definitely Sorcerer that has the least number of unique at will abilities.

I forgot the sorcerer existed for a second, whoops.

General point was that it was kind of interesting to me that the Bard and Psychic do "arsenal of special at-will abilities" so much more than the Witch.

I think the witch should be a stronger class if they had feats that let them take more hex cantrips. Though the witch already has tough competition for class feats.


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Perpdepog wrote:
Temperans wrote:
It makes it worse given that Clerics and Druids know all their spells (at least all the common ones). But then Wizard and Witch have to pay exorbitant amounts of gold for something that most of the time wont even be useful.
I shudder to imagine how tight your games have to be that half, or quarter, the price of a scroll of equivalent level to learn a spell is considered "exorbitant."

I am not calling a single spell exorbitant. I am calling the total sum of all those spells that people expect prepared casters to have exorbitant.


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Temperans wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
Temperans wrote:
It makes it worse given that Clerics and Druids know all their spells (at least all the common ones). But then Wizard and Witch have to pay exorbitant amounts of gold for something that most of the time wont even be useful.
I shudder to imagine how tight your games have to be that half, or quarter, the price of a scroll of equivalent level to learn a spell is considered "exorbitant."
I am not calling a single spell exorbitant. I am calling the total sum of all those spells that people expect prepared casters to have exorbitant.

It really adds up! The level 9 witch in iron gods is easily 700-900 behind other PC's in gold because I've been generous on the spellbooks.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Errenor wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
full casters that can use the Occult tradition, and the only one of them that doesn't have a collection of unique at-will abilities they can use

... Sorcerer is 'the class whose PF1e counterpart was entirely designed around that idea'?

Because it's definitely Sorcerer that has the least number of unique at will abilities.

I forgot the sorcerer existed for a second, whoops.

General point was that it was kind of interesting to me that the Bard and Psychic do "arsenal of special at-will abilities" so much more than the Witch.

I think the witch should be a stronger class if they had feats that let them take more hex cantrips. Though the witch already has tough competition for class feats.

Not only the need stronger hexes too. Many of it's hexes near or completely jokes. For example, Spirit Object is a nerfed mix of Mage Hand and Telekinetic Projectile and even the famous Evil Eye is basically a sustainable demoralize.

AlastarOG wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:
Temperans wrote:
It makes it worse given that Clerics and Druids know all their spells (at least all the common ones). But then Wizard and Witch have to pay exorbitant amounts of gold for something that most of the time wont even be useful.
I shudder to imagine how tight your games have to be that half, or quarter, the price of a scroll of equivalent level to learn a spell is considered "exorbitant."
I am not calling a single spell exorbitant. I am calling the total sum of all those spells that people expect prepared casters to have exorbitant.
It really adds up! The level 9 witch in iron gods is easily 700-900 behind other PC's in gold because I've been generous on the spellbooks.

The secret is kill other spellcasters than sold their formulas kkkkk


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YuriP wrote:
For example, Spirit Object is a nerfed mix of Mage Hand and Telekinetic Projectile and even the famous Evil Eye is basically a sustainable demoralize.

Spirit Object is more interesting than it seems at a quick look: for instance, doesn't have the limitations Telekinetic Projectile on traits or magic properties. This means you can send your Bloodthirsty, Disrupting, Keen silver shuriken that you poisoned [contact] to attack someone: you just have to make sure that it doesn't reference a Strike. Or send a blackpowder keg off into the middle of some foes then light the trail of powder behind it. Add to that the ability to flank [it makes a melee spell attack] and the ability to move 1 bulk items [and levels +1/level vs mage hand +1 at 3, 5 and 7] farther [25'vs20'] for a single action [vs mage hands 2].

Overall, I've found it a pretty interesting and fun hex cantrip that has a lot of uses if you play around with it. Heck, even just the ability to move around a 10 bulk item 3 times a round for 25' per move had a lot of utility. Heck a Traveler's Chair is only 3 bulk and a walking backpack can outperform a Floating Disk [it maxes out at 5 bulk].


Lol people still not looking past the numbers on how to leverage an ability


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Psychics don't invalidate occult witches mainly because bard can do nearly all of what both classes can do better than both classes.

So occult witch was already cursed by being directly comparable to the strongest class in the game.

Scarab Sages

Last I checked, a psychic can’t give you fast healing for 4 rounds equal to 2x your level so, not really invalidated, no.

Also something to be said for prepared casters that can just memorize remove curse on the day if they need it.


VampByDay wrote:

Last I checked, a psychic can’t give you fast healing for 4 rounds equal to 2x your level so, not really invalidated, no.

Also something to be said for prepared casters that can just memorize remove curse on the day if they need it.

Yah and restoration, remove disease, etc etc. They can also easily prep utility like tongues, teleport, shadow walk, lock, glyph of warding, etc.

And lessons of life IS clutch


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VampByDay wrote:
Last I checked, a psychic can’t give you fast healing for 4 rounds equal to 2x your level so

It's 2x spell level, not 2x your level. Still great, of course.

But the thing is, the Psychic can actually do this by level 4 if he wants to. Other than Hex Cantrips (which aren't great overall) and a few extra familiar abilities, the whole witch class is completely available for everyone to pick since all of her good stuff comes from feats. You can even get a Major Hex just by having the Witch archetype (albeit with a very hefty delay).

More than anything, the witch lacks distinct class abilities unique to the class and unavailable to anyone else.

Scarab Sages

Blave wrote:
VampByDay wrote:
Last I checked, a psychic can’t give you fast healing for 4 rounds equal to 2x your level so

It's 2x spell level, not 2x your level. Still great, of course.

But the thing is, the Psychic can actually do this by level 4 if he wants to. Other than Hex Cantrips (which aren't great overall) and a few extra familiar abilities, the whole witch class is completely available for everyone to pick since all of her good stuff comes from feats. You can even get a Major Hex just by having the Witch archetype (albeit with a very hefty delay).

More than anything, the witch lacks distinct class abilities unique to the class and unavailable to anyone else.

I mean, you CAN, but that not only cuts into your spell amps but also prevents you from getting your focus points back.


VampByDay wrote:
I mean, you CAN, but that not only cuts into your spell amps but also prevents you from getting your focus points back.

It doesn't prevent you from getting your points back. It just makes it take longer. The Refocusing of the Psychic only cares about what you've spent focus points on since your last refocus. So you can blow both points on hexes, refocus for 1 point, use any amp cantrip and refocus again back to two cantrips.

Also, there's Familiar Focus once per day.

And yes, using focus spells cuts into your amps. You'll have to decide for yourself if that's worth it. But my comment was meant more in general. Any other class can also pick up hexes and many of those either have no focus abilities of their own or just inferior ones.


Also ultimately.... Yes you can cast lifeboost in combat but it's best use is to heal max spell level*8 every 10mins outside of combat.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I also agree that the Psychic doesn't *invalidate* the Occult Witch so much as it makes me as an Occult Witch a little jealous. Like, gee Psychic, your mom lets you have TWO Focus Points at level 1? AND automatic Focus Point progression? AND feat-free Focus Point spending choices??? AND A LEGENDARY SAVE? All I got was Wizard progression with forced Improved Familiar Attunement for 1 less spell slot per level.

But in reality the spontaneity of Psychics (and their crippling half-slots) does set them apart enough for Occult Witches to still shine, even if those moments are more niche than most would probably think in a vacuum. Not to mention their focus (heh) on blasting for a good portion of their identity with utility being mostly relegated to the 2-slots a day.

Witches are much closer compared to Wizards since they literally have the exact same progression in everything including slots (before school slots). This is why the "Arcane Witch is just diet Familiar Thesis Wizard" comes up a lot, though those arguments tend to forget the feat lists for the classes being meaningfully different enough to matter.

While I don't wanna go on another of my monthly Witch rants (I already used it up in a Reddit thread this month!) the Psychic's plethora of in-built features did make me look a little jealous, even though I immediately knew why it was the case once I saw those slots per level. I just want Basic Lesson to be a 1st level class feature, man. When the wheat-bread poster boy *Wizard* gets more choices for uniqueness than you at 1st level then it feels a little bad (no offense Wizards, y'all are cool).

Dark Archive

I feel dumb because I've never built wizard or witch so I have to ask:

How does wizard get more spellslots than witch? Don't they both have max 3 slots per level?

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:

I feel dumb because I've never built wizard or witch so I have to ask:

How does wizard get more spellslots than witch? Don't they both have max 3 slots per level?

Wizard's either get an extra slot per spell level for their preferred school of magic or as a Universalist, they get an extra use of Drain Bonded Item per spell level.

Dark Archive

John R. wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:

I feel dumb because I've never built wizard or witch so I have to ask:

How does wizard get more spellslots than witch? Don't they both have max 3 slots per level?

Wizard's either get an extra slot per spell level for their preferred school of magic or as a Universalist, they get an extra use of Drain Bonded Item per spell level.

Ah that explains it xD

I don't really take much part in the "class tier" conversation, but I really wanted to clarify this one because I was like "if all prepared casters secretly had way to have more spells than spontaneous ones, I'm baffled that I missed it" x'P


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, all of the base casters (the ones from CRB and APG) get 3 slots for every spell level 9th and below except for Sorcerers, who get 4. Wizard gets a 4th on a technicality because of its Arcane School giving an extra slot for spells of that school specifically, or because Universalist gives you Drain Bonded Item 1/day for every spell level, basically equal to a 4th slot.

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