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D&D 5E 5e witches, your preferred implementation?

Voadam

Legend
D&D has had a history of doing different things to get a witch concept character, often creating specific casting classes and sometimes just using existing classes and flavoring.

Pathfinder 1e had a witch class that was an arcane full caster that made pacts with a mysterious themed patron, gained specific witchy powers, and used their familiars as spellbooks.

In using my homebrew mashup setting part of it includes the Pathfinder Golarion world with the land of Irrisen, a norse area conquered by Baba Yaga who set her daughters up to be witch tyrants for a century each then to be replaced by a new daughter, and the ruling class of the country are specifically winter witches, many of whom are descendants of Baba Yaga (the current ruler is winter witch very much in the form of Narnia's White Witch).

I could see doing 5e versions of the Pathfinder witches as 5e core classes (warlock, wizard, sorcerer, and even druid could fit well).

I expect there are a number of OGL or DMs Guild products that do specific new classes or subclasses or feat options to get a witch concept.

I also expect there are a number of NPC or monster stat block options that could be appropriate too.

What have you used to get a 5e witch feel and what are your preferred implementations?
 

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Dausuul

Legend
IMO, the best way to implement witches would be as a druid subclass. Druids hit most of the key themes for witches; shapeshifting and transformation (both of themselves and of others), animal allies, control over the natural environment, connections to the fey.

All the subclass needs to do is provide access to illusion and mind control spells, and some kind of potion-brewing power, and you've got yourself a grade-A witch.
 




cbwjm

Hero
I'm a little boring, I tend to just use the term witch as one of those used for women spellcasters, typically those out on the edge of civilisation. They could be wizards, druids, warlocks, bards, or clerics.
 



Blue Orange

Explorer

There was this whole thread discussing witches, along with why they never make it into official lore.

It was in Dragon mags 5, 20, 43, and 114 at least, it was used as a sample 'variant spell list' in the 3e DMG, and in Pathfinder as a core class, and I remember at least four d20 treatments of it (Citizen Games' "The Way of the Witch", Mongoose's "The Quintessential Witch", Green Ronin's "The Witch's Handbook", and The Le Games' "Unorthodox Witches"). There was a version of it in the Palladium RPG, an indie modern RPG called Witchcraft by C.J. Carella, the Verbena in Mage: the Ascension (and its possibly more relevant Dark Ages version) would certainly count, there's a witch class among many others in Shadow of the Demon Lord, and you could even count the Buffy RPG. So the topic's been popular over the years.

Tim Brannan's webpage has more witches than you can shake a +5 broom at:
 
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Greg K

Adventurer
The best treatment of witch class that I have seen for any edition was Steve Kenson's was in Witch's Handbook (Green Ronin) for 3e. However, the best witch that i have seen for 5e (and I have seen KibblesTasty's Witch and several others) has been by the Witch by Walrock's Homebrew which has a 4.7 out of 5 stars (67 votes) including a 5-star review from Timothy Brannan whom has written several popular witch classes for OSR games and worked on rpgs such as Angel, Buffy, and Ghosts of Albion.
 



Blue Orange

Explorer
From what I've seen the witch is usually somewhere between a druid and an enchanter-subclass wizard--outdoor-focused, some healing, lots of debuffs particularly of the mental variety.
 


Blue Orange

Explorer
I dunno. Bards are supposed to be charismatic, and in many cases the witch is an ugly (this is a big part of many tales), marginalized outsider.

So it kind of fits, like everything else.
 

I can't think of anything that normal witch lore has that is so "radical" it needs to be covered as a new class, the current ones can handle it just fine.
From a game design standpoint, "witch" occupies a much clearer conceptual space than "sorcerer" or "warlock" does and is more immediately familiar and understandable to a new player and the general public than almost any other class. (The general public will give you a blank stare when you mention "cleric" or "druid," for example.)

It might be that witches should have been introduced decades ago, and they've been elbowed out of the picture by this point, but they're arguably one of the biggest concepts in fantasy pop culture that doesn't have a clear specific analogue in D&D. (And no, "you can play it if you take something named something else and then adjust it in several ways a newbie wouldn't know how to do" isn't the same thing.)

For myself, I would prefer it be either a core class (replacing the sorcerer, perhaps, which has really lost a lot of its reason for being in 5E, with the wizard and warlock dividing up its 3E role) or as a PHB-level subclass of either the wizard, warlock or druid.

My wife is playing a transmuter hexblood, which is as close as she can get as a relative D&D newbie to capturing a classic Wizard of Oz wicked/Halloween witch vibe. It's not tremendously satisfying, honestly, so I might see if she's interested in playing a Witherbloom wizard instead. (She's got a real bias against druids after playing EverQuest.)
 

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