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


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Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
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.
But an "ugly" witch is terrifying and fills people with Fear, which is also a Charisma thing (Intimidate) and a Bard thing.

Think of the fairytales of the witch who wasnt invited to the celebration ... terrifying.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
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.
This gets us pretty close to Granny Weatherwax, whom I'd argue is probably what many folks are thinking of when they say D&D needs a "witch" class.

A whole lot of "headology," lots of arcane lore, subtle magic when required, no use for books or hierarchies beyond the maiden, the mother and the "other one."
 

Rellott

Explorer
I really like Mage Hand Press’s witch class ( Witch )

It’s a full caster with a familiar that’s focused on debuffs. It has some elements that remind me of my limited understanding of PF’s witch, and it does some things differently.
 

Greg K

Legend
Below are several witch classes for 5e that are worth checking out. The first three are at drivethrurpg or Dungeon Master's Guild and have been reviewed by Timothy Brannan, a reviewer and designer whom has not only worked on popular Witch classes for several OSR games, but has also worked on the Angel, Buffy, and Ghosts of Albion product lines. He has reviews on the drivethrurpg or DMsGuild site product page, but I have linked the reviews on his website. The last Witch that I included is by ENWorld poster @bmcdaniel

And, while I was disappointed with KibblesTasty's Occultist class and witch subclass that someone linked, it is still worth checking out and suggest you follow the poster's link.

Complete Witch (Mage Hand Press) $5.99 (49 pages): I have not seen this one, but it is on my to buy list. Timothy Brannan wrote "I had very high expectations and this product met and surpassed them all" and gave it 5 stars review . At Drivethrurpg 4.9/5 stars (11 ratings)

The Witch Class- A Character Class on Natural Arcana (Walrock's Homebrew) PWYW (29 pages recommended price $5) : TImothy Brannan wrote, "All in all, this is one of the best Witch Class books I have seen on DMSGuild so far. A significant cut above the rest. I would happily play one of these witches." He gave it 5 stars at Dungeon Masters Guild. His review at his website. At Dungeon Masters Guild, it has a 4.7/5 of 5 stars (67 ratings)
(Note: this has been expanded to 29 pages since his reviews).

The Witch (Player Class) (PCSpinner) PWYW (9 pages recommended $1.00). This was originally called the Hedgewitch, but the author had to take it down (I believe for using the word Voodoo). After making the change, he released it under a new name. It comes with only 3 subclasses called covens It has 4.4/5 stars at Dungeon Masters Guild (10 ratings). Tim Brannan gave it 5/5 stars at Dungeon Masters Guild. Four more covens are in his Covens (for the Witch) supplement.

Covens (for the Witch) $.50 (4 pages) is a supplement to PCSpinner's The Witch (Player class). This was originally called Covens (for the Hedgewitch), but the title was changed after PCSpinner changed his the title of the main book as noted above. Covens has a Dungeon Masters rating4.6/5 stars(5 ratings). Tim did not give it a review at drivethrugp
Tim's review of both books at his website

Also worth checking out is the Witch class by ENWorld Poster bmcdaniel
 
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Greg K

Legend
I really like Mage Hand Press’s witch class ( Witch )

It’s a full caster with a familiar that’s focused on debuffs. It has some elements that remind me of my limited understanding of PF’s witch, and it does some things differently.
I have not seen the Complete WItch, but I have heard good reviews. Based on the reviews that I have heard (most notably by Timothy Brannan), I included it in a list of witch classess to check out that I was putting together as you made your post.
 

Greg K

Legend
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.
Personally, I would like to see a witch class and a shaman class replace the druid, but I agree with the rest of what you wrote about the witch should be a class.
 
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Greg K

Legend
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:
Yeah, Tim has written a ton of Witch classes for OSR games and reviewed Witch classes for various editions of D&D. In a post downthread from your post( and upthread from this reply), I mentioned Tim and some of the 5e Witch classes that he reviewed on his website, drivethrurpg, and DMsGuild, and gave top ratings.
 
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TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I really like Mage Hand Press’s witch class ( Witch )

It’s a full caster with a familiar that’s focused on debuffs. It has some elements that remind me of my limited understanding of PF’s witch, and it does some things differently.
I'll second the recommendation for MHP's Complete Witch, it's my preferred option in my games.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
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?
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.
It feels like most of the arcane classes in D&D show up together in the thesaurus (is that where Gygax got the M. User level titles?). D&D seems ti have decided to establish "Wizard" as roughly a caster who gets spells from studying, a "Sorcerer" as one who gets spells by right of bloodline, and a "Druid" as a natural/elemental caster that isn't just a priest of the nature gods.

So, what is a witch? Does it differ in mechanics? fluff? Which of the Witches in Willingham's "Fables", Earthsea, or Poul Anderson's books should be captured by it. Does it differ in mechanical fluff from the existing classes (not book learning? not bloodline? pact like the PF Witch or 5e Warlock?), spell list, and/or extra powers?

Presumably one class won't capture all of the witch archetype (whatever it is) any better than M.User did for general magicky type back in the day.
 
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