One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Returning to CanonFire! after many years away from the online GH community, I come by way of collecting the Pathfinder RPG for the past couple of years -- after my last GH campaign ended (set in Sterich, and using Greg Vaughan's Istivin Dungeon trilogy as a launch point), and then playing briefly in a home-brew campaign (which ended last year when I moved from the SF Bay Area to Miami).
I'm now designing a campaign about which I've thought a bit over the years, to be set in and around North Province (Kingdom) / Bone March / Ratik in an as yet undetermined time, e.g., before the fall of Spinecastle, CY 576, just before, during or after the so-called Greyhawk Wars, etc.
All that wind-up is to contextualize my query to you PathHawkers: how have you used the Witch character class, and/or how would you do so in your Alternate Oerth?
I've studied but neither played, nor DM'd the class, so I'm trying to understand its differences from the Wizard, in particular, although I invite any commentary and comparisons to other classes, e.g., Sorcerer, Druid, etc.
...I'm now designing a campaign about which I've thought a bit over the years, to be set in and around North Province (Kingdom) / Bone March / Ratik in an as yet undetermined time, e.g., before the fall of Spinecastle, CY 576, just before, during or after the so-called Greyhawk Wars, etc...
-I might be missing something here, but I think Spinecastle fell in CY 563.
First, though, jamesdglick, I didn't mean to suggest that Spinecastle fell in CY 576; rather, I meant to indicate that period (before Bone March fell) as one option, followed by another -- the 576 of the original WoG boxed set.
In past imaginings about a North Province/Kingdom campaign, I've been intrigued by the possible relations between Baron-General Shalaster, his predecessor, and the Imperial Highlanders with their former neighbors across the Teesar Torrent. Also, once Gary Holian began publishing on Spinecastle (and through the 'chat), I started thinking that it might prove interesting to start a campaign in the year before the fall of Bone March.
Back to Cebrion's article.
I found it very useful conceptually regarding the evolution and relationships between witches and clerics. For the Pathfinder Witch class, a player must choose a particular Patron, listed as a set of general, tailorable concepts, e.g., Agility, Plague, Trickery, Wisdom.
At first, I was perplexed by their generality, but your post helps me understand how I might create Witches whose Patron choices approximate the Domains or portfolios of a god or other power.
I also liked your response to a comment that your "see some covens culturally bound. Sort of like a group of clan wise-women or wise-men," and this raises my first question. IYC, how did The Coven interrelate with the Old Faith, Old Lore, Rhymers of Blackmoor, etc.
Perrenland has a history of witches. Iggwilv anyone? I have used witches from the 2e complete wizards handbook. I never liked eldritch blast as an ability for the witch. However, possible patrons for a witch can be hags, demons, devils, elemental princes, or animal lords. As far as deities go Incabulos has many covens which placate him, zuggtmoy could also be a possible patron.
I often don't think of Perrenland, but the 2e Complete Wizards witch kit interested me back in the day (as did the Dragon 114 class). (When it was published, I also enjoyed perusing Green Ronin's The Witch's Handbook, reviewed here, http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/9/9214.phtml.)
I'd be interested in us compiling a list of GH NPC witches, PC witches IYCs, as well as their patrons, following on the one you started:
hags, demons, devils, elemental princes, or animal lords. As far as deities go Incabulos has many covens which placate him, zuggtmoy could also be a possible patron.
Of course, Wee Jas immediately comes to mind, as does Cegilune (of 2e Monster Mythology). I'd also add Ehlonna (as a possible patron of "white witches" and following lunar influences that I've ascribed to her IMC). I think Nerull and Iuz would also patronize witches of the Flanaess. What do folks think about Beory or Obad-hai?
To start, I think making Cha the spell-casting ability is brilliant, particularly as paired with the Hindrances of the Pact (witch's mark) that you innovated. Int is the spell-casting ability for the PF Witch; I can't recall (or readily find) which ability the GR Witch used.
In addition to your choice (which I favor over Int), I like how you blended memorized and spontaneous casting with the "bonus witch spell," and also how you designed the bonus witch spell to make the class comparable to the wizard in access to new spell levels while mandating that the first castable new spell level be distinctively witch-y (and not merely a fireball, etc.).
As I recall, the GR Witch "felt" right in terms of spell list and class abilities, but it also felt distinctively less powerful than a standard PC class (more like the four NPC classes). I used the class for an NPC ally of the PCs in a campaign set in the southern Wild Coast, so it worked well for what I needed, but at times I wondered whether I shouldn't just make the NPC a Druid (hence my earlier question about the relationship of the Old Faith to The Coven).
The PF Witch lacks anything comparable to your Hindrances of the Pact, which I think is a great way to structure the 2e witch's mark. Thinking about it, I guess that the PF Witch approximates your Hindrances of the Pact by making the Witch extraordinarily vulnerable at the point of her familiar, which is the repository of her spells known, and if killed or kidnapped would severely disempower the Witch.
I'll have to think more about which I prefer, as distinguishing the wizard's reliance on a spellbook, from a witch's reliance on her familiar in this way is interesting, and both Cebrion's and the PF Witch can learn spells from scrolls or spellbooks (in contrast to the Sorcerer).
The Witch Addendum also partially answers my earlier question about the relationship between The Coven and the Old Faith, as it holds that a Witch may not multi-class as a cleric, druid or wizard (but can multiclass as a bard or sorcerer though any "multiclassed witches is discouraged [and] ... should be thought out very carefully with regard to her background.").
From this divide, I would expect the Old Faith and The Coven not to be allies and instead quite different traditions, possibly antagonistic.
I haven't used the PF Witch class yet, but THIS (and THIS) is how I have used Witches in Greyhawk in the past.
And then there is THIS (and THIS), if you want to use a somewhat different Witch class.
...I'll have to think more about which I prefer, as distinguishing the wizard's reliance on a spellbook, from a witch's reliance on her familiar in this way is interesting, and both Cebrion's and the PF Witch can learn spells from scrolls or spellbooks (in contrast to the Sorcerer)...
-For D&D 3.0/3.5, you could portray witches using sorcerers or adepts, or both, or multi-class. Both generally have a relationship to a "power," an dthey both get familiars (at 2nd level for adepts).
...Of course, Wee Jas immediately comes to mind, as does Cegilune (of 2e Monster Mythology). I'd also add Ehlonna (as a possible patron of "white witches" and following lunar influences that I've ascribed to her IMC). I think Nerull and Iuz would also patronize witches of the Flanaess. What do folks think about Beory or Obad-hai...
- Something about the witch's faith is supposed to be "wild" and "natural." Witches also tend to be the faith of the aboriginals or the old faith in a literal sense (The Old Faith would be an example in most places). That would be Flan or Elven deities. Both would work in the Bone March. Ehlonna popped into my head, too. I think one of Wee Jas' titles is "Witch Goddess" (or something like that), but she seems too "civilized" to me. Nerull would work, but Iuz seems wrong. Too prime material plane? I also don't see him having a following in Bone March circa CY 562 (i.e., when he was still in the pokie). I don't know. Vecna has the same problem. Argon mentioned Incabulous and Zuggtmoy. I hate to bring him up, because I think he's over-used, but how about Tharizdun?
It might seem an odd choce, but I have a sort of pacifistic NPC who is an adept of Zodal. The NPC isn't a "witch" (he lives in Flen), but a "wilder" version might work.
A witch from the lady of fate works well IMO Istus matches well. Witches to me use a mixture of intelligence and wisdom in learning their craft. Because of the pacts witch's gain access to spell power more quickly then a wizard. While a witch chooses which spells they will draw from a day, their patron has control over whether or not the witch can use those powers. As long as the witch makes good on her pacts she often won't suffer any set backs from her patron. Now many patron provide their witches with a familiar that acts as a medium between the patron and the witch. So savvy adventurer's might notice this link and think to go after the familiar. However, sometimes a familiar can be more dangerous then the witch herself. Most familiars are not what they seem often shape-changers in disguise, or something much worse. Remember unlike a wizards the witch is linked by her familiar to her patron and both offer protection for such creatures that serve them.
I remember cebrion's Witches of the coven article is was very well written around the time most of us were chatting up witches big time. While I disagree with a charisma approach for the witch I will say cebrion's article gives one much info for creating a believable approach to covens.
Returning to this thread, I found that Cebrion and I had already discussed my initial question about the relationship of The Coven with the Old Faith shortly after the series posted at the end of 2005. Ack!
As to witches in general and The Coven, they do ally with druids(if they have a common cause of course) more often than they do with clerics, but that is not saying much.
He also mentioned:
The exra-planar witches I find well suited to the base witch class, but one type of witch that does not conform so readily to the current format is the Wood Witch(and their HSO variant "The Fey Enchantress")- a witch allied to the Fey powers. An article on them will be forthcoming. Wood Witches often ally with servants of the Old Faith, at least as often as the Fey do. ...
At some point in time I hope to put all of the articles together in a more finished format which will probably come in at around 100 pages and include a more detailed version of the presented information, and a gazzeteer-style entry for The Coven and its base in the Hellfurnaces.
So, were the Wood Witch, The Fey Enchantress, or the gazetteer-style version ever published? I couldn't find the first two with a CF! search, but these seem like a promising redux and expansion for the CF! Crier, no?
Argon, would you mind explaining your disagreement "with a charisma approach for the witch"?
Thinking more about it, I wondered what it would be like to make Wisdom the spell-casting ability for a PF / Cebrion blended Witch class, as this would then distinguish witches, wizards, and sorcerers via Wis, Int, Cha - as well as their access to spellcasting - familiar/patron, spell book, blood.
Also, I've yet to start asking for folks' thoughts about the Summoner and Oracle PF classes, but these are all in the mix (for me) presently, as I imagine and design NPCs.
jamesdglick, when 3e launched, I used the adept from time to time -- usually for NPC humanoid shamans and witch doctors, and I definitely see how it could structure a NPC witch-esque character, but I'm glad to have several alternative classes from Green Ronin, Cebrion, and now Pathfinder. (The only one I never perused was by Mongoose.)
Also, I used a sorcerer / cleric combination for "witch-born" NPCs of Wee Jas. Now, however, I've started imagining the "witch-born" label to mean one born a Witch, i.e., with a familiar nearby. Likely, there would be a mixture of character classes that would receive this (often pejorative) label.
Regarding Wee Jas, Cebrion does a good job of explaining how she came to be associated with witches: basically her temples in the Suel Imperium era provided sanctuary during a time of witch persecution.
Regarding Iuz the Old, I've adopted an old origin sketch by rasgon that depicts him as a somewhat composite being -- a reborn old Flan power that attached to the zygote in Wilva's womb. This older being might be akin to a master of the hunt, hoofed, antlered and prowling the frozen steppes of the north. (He might have been related to Obad-hai and the Rhymers of Blackmoor.)
PS - I've started assembling folks' suggestions on Witch Patrons of Greyhawk and will eventually post them here for further discussion.
Since most of what we read about Witches leaves us to believe they are reclusive and lack many of the social skills found in society. Hence, their willingness to serve beings not normally accepted by most societies. They are outcasts of a sort and I do not see them as relying on their social graces charisma to gain power. I would prefer Wisdom or Intelligence to explain their knowledge of the obscure. Their lack of social skills may have been what lead them to witchcraft as opposed to more socially acceptable forms of magical study.
Everybody has their own take on Witches. I'm a long time Greyhawk fan and have always loved the Witch concept as a class. I tend to think of it as an interesting NPC class, more so than one likely to be a hit with adventurers, however it is also more powerful than the NPC classes (I dislike Adept).
My Witch cast spells Spontaneously like a sorcerer, but uses Wisdom for spellcasting (it is referred to as the Craft of the Wise I believe) reflecting them using guile and intuition. However many of their skills and some of their powers are enhanced by having high charisma scores (for example charm powers).
So you can hove viable witches with low charisma, but they wont specialise in charms (and they will probably have more cats than usual :-) )
PS: Side issue - this 3e forum doesn't have a high visit rate. Do any 3e specific articles get published on CF? I have a bunch of 3e specific material that I have created, especially prestige classes that could be useful to others?
Sure we post 3E articles. I've submitted a few of them myself (just look at the links I posted in this very thread). It has just been a while since somebody has submitted any. The site is not edition specific, which is why there are forums for each edition of D&D/AD&D, and even for "other game systems" as well. ALL articles are welcome, whether they are rules intensive, edition-specific, or not. Just keep in mind that some people are attached to certain rules systems, and really do not care about things outside of their own preferred rules system, but it is not like you are writing article for people who think of 3E as anathema, are you. It is all about posting what you want to share. Consider this- the Greyhawk community is very, very diverse, and somebody will not doubt appreciate your efforts. My only suggestion would be that you don't just post a block of rules that literally has no mention of anything Greyhawk in it. Include a bit of back story as to how those rules fit into the Greyhawk setting (i.e. how the crunch fits into/represents the fluff). _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
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