Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Postcards from the Flanaess
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
    The Witch
    Posted on Tue, August 16, 2005 by Dongul
    Cebrion writes "The Witch is an individual steeped in mystery, having made pacts with unknown powers that normal folk simply do not trust or understand. Consequently, the Witch is seldom trusted or understood as well. The witch serves as an agent in the real world for a supernatural power that is referred to as the witch’s patron. This patron grants the witch knowledge and power to aid her in doing her patron’s bidding. The patron views the witch as a servant, though the witch does not view herself in this role necessarily. The witch more often thinks of herself as an intermediary between her patron and the real world, helping her patron when she also has a vested interest in her patron’s goals.

    The Witch
    By: Brian McRae, aka Cebrion
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.


    Witches have the following game statistics.
    Abilities: Charisma determines how powerful a spell a witch can cast, how many spells she can cast, and how hard those spells are to resist. To cast a spell, a witch must have a Charisma score of 10 + the spell’s level. In addition, a witch gets bonus spells based on Charisma. The Difficulty Class of a saving throw against a witch’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the witch’s Charisma modifier. High Dexterity is helpful for a witch, who typically wears little or no armor, because it provides her with an Armor Class bonus. A good Constitution gives a witch extra Hit Points, a resource that she is otherwise very low on. Intelligence and Wisdom are also useful, as many of the witch’s skills are based on them.
    Alignment: Any.
    Hit Dice: d4.

    Class Skills
    The witch’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int). See the Player’s Handbook, Chapter 4: Skills for skill descriptions.
    Skill Points at 1st level: (2+ Int modifier) x 4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2+ Int modifier.

    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the witch.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
    Witches are skilled with the club, dagger, dart, knife, and quarterstaff. Witches are not proficient with any type of armor or with shields. Armor of any type interferes with a witch’s movements, which can cause her spells to fail (if those spells have somatic components). Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor or equipment carried.

    A witch can cast spells of a mostly arcane nature. She is limited to a certain number of spells of each level per day, according to her class level. A witch must prepare spells ahead of time by getting a good night’s sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the witch decides what spells to prepare and invokes the aid of her patron to help grant her the spell’s; magical power. To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, a witch must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell’s level. A witch’s bonus spells are based on Charisma. The Difficulty Class for saving throws against a witch’s spells is 10 + the spell’s level + the witch’s Charisma modifier.

    Witches prepare spells the same way as do wizards, with the exception of an additional bonus “witch spell” (denoted by an asterisk “*” on Table 1. Witch Spells) that the witch need not memorize. This special bonus witch spell may be cast spontaneously as a standard action (similar to how a bard or sorcerer casts spells), but this spell must be one that is either listed on Table 1: Witch Spells, or be a spell that is representative of the witch’s patron power (the DM is the final arbitrator regarding what spells are representative of the witch’s patron). Witch Spells may be memorized as normal using the witch’s regular spell slots, if she chooses to do so.

    A witch may not cast spells that are opposed to her alignment or patron. For example, a chaotic good witch allied to a power from the elemental plane of air cannot cast spells with a lawful, evil, or earth designation in their description. A true neutral witch may cast spells with good, evil, lawful, or chaotic descriptions so long as no other part of the spell’s description is opposed to their patron power. Unlike bards and sorcerers, witches may know any number of spells.

    The Pact: A witch, in her youth, usually has the spark of magical power hidden within her waiting to develop as she matures. For whatever reason, the individual has drawn the attention of a supernatural power of similar alignment that seeks to gain a representative in the real world. The supernatural power offers to gift the would-be witch with power and knowledge in return for the witch’s aid on behalf of said supernatural power. The witch acts as a medium for this power, her patron. Supernatural powers view mortals as servants and sometimes as playthings, depending on that power’s goals, morals, and ethical views. The witch may resist the wishes of her patron if they are contrary to her way of thinking, though not very often and not very easily. Supernatural powers are not fond of witches that take and do not give in return, at least some of the time, but they are patient with mortals in most instances as they understand that mortals do not tend to think of long term goals in the same way as immortals do.

    Benefits of the Pact: The witch gains many useful abilities from her supernatural patron, the first of which being the ability to speak the language of her patron and its servants. The witch also gains access to spells that other arcane spell casters do not have access to. These spells mostly have to do with minor healing and natural forces, though some are unique to witches alone.

    Bonus Language: In addition to any languages the witch gains due to her race, at 1st level the witch also gains a free language corresponding to the supernatural power she has made her pact with. For example, a witch who has made a pact with a demon would also speak Abyssal, whereas a witch who made a pact with the elemental forces of water would also speak Aquan. This additional language does not take up any language slots from any applicable Intelligence bonus or any skill points, having been magically gifted to the witch as part of the pact she has made with her patron.

    At 4th-level, the witch has proven her usefulness to her patron, such that it is in her patron’s interest that the witch continues to survive. The witch gains Resistance 5 to an attack form most appropriate to her patron, or to represent a type of resistance inherent to her patron. For example, a patron from the elemental plane of fire would grant the witch Fire Resistance 5. If the patron power is known to have many attack forms or immunities (such as many outer planar patrons do), the witch may choose which one of these that the resistance applies to. This resistance increases by 5 for every 4 levels the witch gains thereafter. In the case of patrons with multiple resistances, the witch may opt to increase the resistance of her original choice, or gain Resistance 5 to another attack form. For example, a 4th level witch devoted to a celestial power may choose to gain Resistance 5 against electricity, and at 8th level increase this to Resistance 10 or gain Resistance 5 to another appropriate attack or defense form. The witch may also apply this ability to attack forms that do not directly inflict damage and that their patron power is immune to, such as poisons and death magic. If this ability is applied in this way, the witch gains a +2 supernatural bonus on saving throws versus the specified attack form, which may be increased every four levels by a further +2.

    The final “benefit” of The Pact concerns the casting of summon monster spells. The witch may opt to substitute a creature associated with her patron in place of a creature listed under the appropriate summon monster chart as long as the Challenge Rating (CR) of the substitute creature is equal to or less than that of the creature being replaced. The witch’s patron would prefer that the witch make use of its servants rather than those of another power. Each witch usually keeps a list of formulae to summon such creatures in their grimoires. Even still, the witch’s patron is loathe to make its servants available to the witch without any strings attached, such as is the case with the spells lesser planar ally and planar ally, which the patron much more prefers the witch to use for obvious reasons.

    Hindrances of the Pact: Due to the nature of the witch’s relationship with her supernatural patron, she gains an unnatural presence. This might be something as simple as a piercing stare, or a hint of the witch’s patron power might suddenly manifest at inopportune times, at the whim of the patron power. For example, a gust of wind might suddenly blow, a candle might burn brighter, or the witch’s shadow might not move in conjunction with its owner. Animals and people are uneasy around her for no apparent reason. The witch only gains her Charisma bonus when interacting with other witches that are not opposed to her alignment or patron. The witch interacts with other spell casters without benefit of any applicable Charisma bonuses. Priests are very suspicious of witches. If a cleric is opposed to a witch’s alignment or patron, and this is known to the cleric, the cleric will react as if the witch’s Charisma bonus were a negative number. The witch interacts with non-spell casters as if her Charisma score were halved (rounding up). Spell casters usually know specifically why they do not like the witch, while others merely know that they sense something terribly wrong about her. In a witch’s presence, animals will either be fearful or hostile. Animals with fewer hit dice than the witch will cower unless there are multiple animals whose total hit dice exceeds twice that of the witch, in which case the animals will be hostile. As to the Intimidation skill, the witch’s Charisma modifier is always applied as a positive bonus to her skill roll, regardless of whom she is trying to Intimidate.

    Although witches may learn any spells available to wizards and sorcerers, it is difficult for them to learn spells not specifically listed in the Witch Spells list and cannot cast them with the same affect as a sorcerer or wizard of the same level. A witch is -10 on her Spellcraft roll when attempting to learn a spell that is not listed on Table 1: Witch Spells. Furthermore, any spell that the witch does know that is not on the Witch Spells list is cast at -3 levels. Any such spells that the witch could not cast at a minimum of 1st level cannot be learned at all. For example, a witch must be at least 4th level to learn a 1st level spell that is not on the Witch Spells list or that does not have a descriptor associated with her patron. These penalties do not apply to any spell that can be classified as representative of the witch’s patron power. For example, a witch with a patron from the elemental plane of air does not suffer these penalties when learning or casting spells with the Air/Electricity description. In the case of a patron power that has multiple influences, and thus a very broad choice of representative spells, the witch must choose one aspect of her patron to exemplify.

    A witch’s patron may choose to punish her if the witch has gone blatantly against her patron’s wishes (the DM decides when this has occurred). This punishment most often takes the form of a lessening of the witch’s link to her patron power to a small degree. This has the effect of disallowing the witch to memorize any spells representative of the witch’s patron, and all other Witch spells are cast at -3 levels( to a minimum of 1st level of ability). For example, a witch who was being punished by a patron of the elemental plane of fire would be unable to cast any spells with the Fire description. A witch who breaks her pact with her patron also suffers the above punishment automatically, in addition to any other penalties for breaking her pact, until she finds another patron(see “Breaking the Pact:” below).

    Breaking the Pact: A witch that breaks her pact loses all of the abilities listed under “Benefits of the Pact” and all “Hindrances of the Pact” remain. Until such a time as the witch reconciles with her patron (if possible) or seeks out a new patron, the witch gains no benefits of any kind. A witch may not seek out a new patron until the next New Moon and seldom will find themselves welcomed by a power that is allied with her old patron. Any special resistances that the witch previously had are not regained unless they could be provided by her new patron.

    Summon Familiar: A witch can obtain a familiar in exactly the same manner as a sorcerer. A witch’s familiar is usually a gift from their patron power, and usually has a template representing that power if applicable. The familiar also tends to be representative of the witch’s patron power in some manner as well. As an example, a witch allied to an elemental air power would most likely have a familiar that could fly, whereas a badger would be more suitable to a witch allied to an elemental earth power. A witch’s familiar also benefits from the same resistances the witch that it serves gains at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This protection stays in effect whether the familiar is touching the witch or not.

    Nature Sense: At 2nd level, the witch gains the ability to identify plants and animals (their species and special traits) with perfect accuracy. She can tell whether water is safe to drink or dangerous (polluted, poisoned, or otherwise unfit for consumption).

    Bonus Feats: At 4th, 6th, and 12th level, the witch gains a bonus feat. The only types of feats that may be chosen are item creation feats, metamagic feats, or feats that enhance familiars in some way.

    Wild Shape: At 8th level, a witch gains the spell-like ability to polymorph self into a Small or Medium-size animal (but not a dire animal) and back again once per day (see the polymorph spell on page 236 of the Player’s Handbook). Unlike the standard use of the spell, the witch may only adopt one form. As stated in the spell description, the witch regains hit points as if she had rested for a day. Note: the creatures available include some giant animals but not unnatural beasts. The witch may wild shape into a dog or giant lizard, for example, but not into an owlbear. The witch does not risk the standard penalty for being disoriented while in her wild shape (see the polymorph other spell on page 236 of the Player’s Handbook). The witch gains the ability to use wild shape an additional time each day at 13th level and 18th level.

    Timeless Body: After achieving 10th level, the witch no longer suffers ability penalties for aging (see Table 6-5: Aging Effects, on page 93 of the Player’s Handbook) and cannot be magically aged. Any penalties she may have already suffered, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the witch still dies of old age when her time is up.

    Alter Self: At 14th level, the witch gains the ability to alter self at will. This ability functions as the spell of the same name in all respects and is activated as a standard action.

    Fascination: At 16th level, the witch may use this supernatural ability to fascinate her opponents once per day. This standard action requires a Concentration check (DC 20) each round. If successful, one humanoid target at which she gazes must pass a Will saving throw with a Difficulty Class equal to 15+ the witch’s Charisma modifier. Failure indicates the victim will faithfully serve the witch for as long as the witch is able to concentrate. Service to the witch is absolute but is limited by acts qualifying as suicide. Any such command immediately breaks the effect. With regard to clerics and paladins, any command that would result in a “fall from grace” allows a further saving throw with a +2 bonus to break the effect.

    Longevity: Witches who achieve 20th level benefit from an extended lifespan. A witch’s maximum age is changed to equal the maximum age+ the maximum die roll possible; the total is then multiplied by 4. This is the witch’s new maximum age. For example, Ygrid is a 20th level human witch. Normally the maximum age for humans in the venerable category is 70+ 2d20 years. When re-figuring her maximum age, she treats the d20 results as 20s. So her new total is 70+ 20+ 20(for a sum total of 110). She then multiplies this result by 4, allowing her to reach 440 years of age before she will expire naturally.

    Random Starting Gold (gp): 3d4 x 10.

    Table 1: Witch Spells per Day

    *Author’s Note: The spells in this list are comprised solely from the Players Handbook (v.3.5). Additional spells from other sources that are suitable for witches may be added at the dm’s discretion. While charm and illusion magic are often used by the witch to obfuscate her foes, her true power lies in her ability to summon forth fearsome extra-planar allies to do her bidding. Other types of magical spells should be kept to a minimum. Keep this in mind when adding further spells from other books to this list.

    Table 2: Witch Spells
    0 Level:arcane mark, cure minor wounds, daze, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound, know direction, light, mage hand, mending, message, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue.

    1st Level: alarm, animate rope, cause fear, charm person, comprehend languages, disguise self, erase, featherfall, hold portal, hypnotism, identify, mage armor, Nystul’s Magic Aura, obscuring mist, protection from chaos/evil/good/law*, ray of enfeeblement, shield, silent image, summon monster I, true strike, unseen servant.

    2nd Level: alter self, arcane lock, bear’s endurance, blindness/deafness, blur, bull’s strength, cat’s grace, continual flame, cure light wounds, darkness, darkvision, daze monster, delay poison, detect thoughts, eagle’s splendor, false life, fog cloud, fox’s cunning, gust of wind, invisibility, knock, levitate, locate object, magic mouth, minor image, mirror image, misdirection, obscure object, owl’s wisdom, protection from arrows, pyrotechnics, restoration(lesser), scare, see invisibility, shatter, summon monster II, summon swarm, touch of idiocy, warp wood, whispering wind.

    3rd Level: arcane sight, blink, clairaudience/clairvoyance, deep slumber, dispel magic, displacement, fly, gaseous form, gentle repose, haste, heroism, hold person, Leomund’s Tiny Hut, magic circle against chaos/evil/good/law*, major image, non-detection, phantom steed, poison, rage, ray of exhaustion, secret page, sepia snake sigil, slow, snare, stinking cloud, suggestion, summon monster III, tongues, vampiric touch.

    4th Level: bestow curse, charm monster, confusion, crushing despair, cure medium wounds, detect scrying, dimensional anchor, fear, geas(lesser), globe of invulnerability(lesser), hallucinatory terrain, invisibility(greater), Leomund’s Secure Shelter, locate creature, minor creation, Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, polymorph, reincarnate, remove curse, rusting grasp, scrying, spell immunity, solid fog, summon monster IV.

    5th Level: baleful polymorph, blight, break enchantment, cloudkill, contact other plane, deathward, dismissal, dominate person, dream, false vision, feeblemind, hold monster, Leomund’s Secret Chest, magic jar, major creation, mind fog, mirage arcana, Mordenkainens’s Private Sanctum, nightmare, overland flight, permanency, persistent image, planar binding (lesser), seeming, sending, summon monsterV, symbol of pain, symbol of sleep, teleport, wall of force, waves of fatigue.

    6th Level: analyze dweomer, anti-magic field, circle of death, contingency, control weather, cure serious wounds, disintegrate, dispel magic (greater), eagle’s splendor (mass), eyebite, geas/quest, globe of invulnerability, guards & wards, legend lore, mass suggestion, mislead, Mordenkainen’s Lucabration, permanent image, planar binding, programmed image, repulsion, shadow walk, stone to flesh, summon monster VI, symbol of fear, symbol of persuasion, true seeing, veil.

    7th Level: arcane sight (greater), banishment, control weather, creeping doom, Drawmij’s Instant Summons, ethereal jaunt, finger of death, forcecage, hold person(mass), insanity, invisibility(mass), limited wish, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, phase door, planar ally, planeshift, power word blind, prismatic spray, project image, refuge, regeneration, reincarnate, repulsion, reverse gravity, scrying(greater), sequester, simulacrum, spell turning, summon monster VII, symbol of stunning, symbol of weakness, teleport(greater), teleport object, vision, waves of exhaustion.

    8th Level: antipathy, binding, charm monster (mass), clone, cure critical wounds, demand, dimensional lock, discern location, horrid wilting, iron body, maze, mind blank, moment of prescience, Otiluke’s Telekinetic Sphere, planar binding(greater), polymorph any object, power word stun, prismatic sphere, protection from spells, prying eyes(greater), scintillating pattern, screen, shout(greater), spell immunity(greater), summon monster VIII, symbol of death, symbol of insanity, sympathy, temporal stasis, trap the soul.

    9th Level: astral projection, dominate monster, energy drain, etherealness, foresight, freedom, gate, hold monster(mass), implosion, imprisonment, Mordenkainen’s Disjunction, power word kill, prismatic sphere, shapechange, soul bind, storm of vengeance, summon monster IX, teleportation circle, time stop, wail o’ the banshee, weird, wish.

    Table 3: The Witch
    1st+0+0+0+2The Pact, summon familiar
    2nd+1+0+0+3Nature Sense
    4th+2+1+1+4Bonus Feat
    6th+3+2+2+5Bonus Feat
    8th+4+2+2+6Wild Shape 1/day
    10th+5+3+3+7Timeless body
    12th+6/+1+4+4+8Bonus Feat
    13th+6/+1+4+4+8Wild shape 2/day
    14th+7/+2+4+4+9Alter self
    18th+9/+4+6+6+11Wild shape 3/day

    Regarding Prestige Classes

    When it comes to qualifying for a prestige class, a witch is considered to be both an arcane and a divine spellcaster. With some prestige classes, prospective members must be able to cast certain spells, or a certain level of spells as both an arcane spellcaster and a divine spell caster. As long as the witch is able to cast such spells, or spells of at least the level described for both the arcane and divine requirements, the witch qualifies for that prestige class. If a prestige class grants a level increase to both an arcane and divine spellcasting ability at any given level (as is the case with the True Necromancer prestige class, among others), the witch only gains a single level of spell casting ability.


    The Witch, by Bill Muhlhausen from Dragon #114, page 8.

    The Witch Class Kit, by Rick Swan, from The Complete Wizard’s Handbook, (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition), page 65, TSR 1990.

    Related Links
    · More about Power Groups & Organizations
    · News by Dongul

    Most read story about Power Groups & Organizations:

    The Horned Society

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 5
    Votes: 7

    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Very Good


     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    Associated Topics

    Greyhawk- D&D 3.0/3.5/D20/PathfinderPower Groups & Organizations

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: The Witch (Score: 1)
    by Crag on Thu, August 18, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Great article Cebrion
    There is so much here, glad you tried to make the class unique with specialist benefits and penalities rather simply use another class with different window dressing.

    Coming from an 2nd ed. background this is usable with minimal alteration, reminds me of a druid/ feral magic-user mix type. At first glance, this is very desirable, no longer is the witch, the poor man's wizard.

    However, some of the class gives me pause, perhaps it is my lack of 3.5 rules, if so disregard.
    1) 2nd lvl nature sense, could be expanded into medicinal healing similar to a druid but not as effective.
    2) The pact is a great tool but what about the sponsored powers providing a "witch's mark".
    3) Any Coven requirements?
    4) Priest and Paladins should have a lvl cap and graduated save bonus versus a witch fascination gaze, witch has to be higher lvl to attempt and +2 per 4 lvl.
    5) Longevity is an interesting idea but x4 seems a tad exterme, max out the die is enough for me, x2 at most, if GH PCs or people knew they could live 440 years with their health intact, everyone would be headed for the swamps and forests, imagine the social upheaval.

    Overall a very nice addition.

    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.38 Seconds