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

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
I know that a lot of people have an impulse to create a new class for every slightly divergent concept, but I wouldn't want to see that. There are already too many classes, especially caster classes. Mechanics and lore gets diluted too much. I'd rather see a small number of relatively broad but coherent classes with a decent amount of customisation. To me shamans are druids, witches are warlocks and warlords are fighters. Just add more customisation options either via subclasses or in other ways to allow building these concepts better.
I agree. In my homebrew setting which draws heavily on fairy tales, I have eliminated the warlock class and included the witch instead. I've been considering eliminating sorcerers as well, but they're a good fit for several "magical child" type stories.
 

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MGibster

Legend
You really can't make a Witch class that's very good at fitting a lot of different conceptions of what a witch is in fiction and throughout history. It's not like we expect the Wizard or Sorcerer to conform to every fictional example we can find and the Druid, well, I don't even know where to start with the Druid. You just gotta pick one idea and say, "This is what a Witch is in D&D."

And then you've got to decide whether or not this Witch you want to create really brings anything to the table that isn't already there. I could take the Wizard and pretty much play a classic witch if I wanted to. I wouldn't have access to healing spells but I could create a Wizard with the Healing skill who was knowledgeable about herbs and whatnot. So what role are you trying to fill with a Witch class that isn't already there in D&D?
 

Dausuul

Legend
Sure, you can invest only a small amount into Eldritch Blasting if you want to. In that case, I don’t see how this interferes with your ability to make a witch. Is it not a witch if you have an effective attack spell?
When I said that a lot of the warlock's power is tied up in EB/AB, what I meant was that the class allocates a huge amount of its "power space" to that combination. The warlock chassis is built around a powerful at-will attack, a couple of spell slots, and a smattering of minor tricks.

You can replace the powerful at-will attack with a weaker one, but all you get in exchange is one more minor trick (the invocation that you didn't devote to Agonizing Blast). You can play a bladelock and have a different powerful at-will attack. But no matter how you slice it, you're playing a class whose primary function is smacking people for damage. All other warlock features are competing for the leftovers. Even hex, the warlock's signature "curse" spell, is mostly just a way for you personally to deal more damage. The skill debuff is occasionally useful, but as curses go, it's no great shakes.

And that's not a bad thing! Plenty of classes smack for damage as their main function. It's a perfectly fine way to design a class. But I don't think it's a good way to design a witch.

When I think of a witch, I imagine brewing potions that weaken your enemies and strengthen your allies. I imagine turning yourself and other people into animals, and calling upon animals and plants to aid you. I imagine laying curses to confound your enemies, bewildering them with illusions, or outright controlling their minds. What I don't imagine is "smack for damage," and that is why I see the warlock as a poor fit: Too much of the class is devoted to doing a non-witchy thing.

(Although in the course of writing this post, I have more than half convinced myself that the best chassis is bard rather than druid.)
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
I was typing up a post to ennumerate witch tropes, and @Dausuul had to go and do some of the heavy lifting for me.
When I think of a witch, I imagine brewing potions that weaken your enemies and strengthen your allies. I imagine turning yourself and other people into animals, and calling upon animals and plants to aid you. I imagine laying curses to confound your enemies, bewildering them with illusions, or outright controlling their minds.
Yeah, those, and the following trappings:
  • one or more familiars
  • brewing things in cauldrons (poisons, potions, storms, mischief -- this might have its origins in the Scottish play)
  • covens and ritual magic, with a possibility of group spellcasting for greater power
These would be a good start.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I was typing up a post to ennumerate witch tropes, and @Dausuul had to go and do some of the heavy lifting for me.

Yeah, those, and the following trappings:
  • one or more familiars
  • brewing things in cauldrons (poisons, potions, storms, mischief -- this might have its origins in the Scottish play)
  • covens and ritual magic, with a possibility of group spellcasting for greater power
These would be a good start.
Warlock with the Pact of the Tome casts Find Familiar and takes skill proficiency in Alchemy.

Tome allows you to do Rituals with your coven (Group spellcasting). Find familiar is obvious. And then Alchemy for some boiling toiling trouble.

Grab the Fey Pact for some Charming effects and glamours, invest in a Broom of Flying. Off you go!
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Warlock with the Pact of the Tome casts Find Familiar and takes skill proficiency in Alchemy.

Tome allows you to do Rituals with your coven (Group spellcasting). Find familiar is obvious. And then Alchemy for some boiling toiling trouble.

Grab the Fey Pact for some Charming effects and glamours, invest in a Broom of Flying. Off you go!
I mean, why do you need a warlock at all? My fighter takes Magic Initiate to learn find familiar, and then takes proficiency with the Herbalism kit and Deception skill! Done!

EDIT: On reread, that was a little snippy. Of course you can reskin. You can use reskinning to justify excluding almost every class in the game beyond the Core Four. But the name of the thread was "Your preferred implementation," and I felt the need to chime in.

EDIT 2: On thinking about it more, you could probably use reskinning to justify removing all classes except for a Core Two: Fighter and Magic-User. Use multiclassing and reskinning to remove the Cleric, and use judicious Skill choice and reskinning to remove the Rogue. Hmmm... BRB, going to go write my 2-class D&D retroclone.
 
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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I mean, why do you need a warlock at all? My fighter takes Magic Initiate to learn find familiar, and then takes proficiency with the Herbalism kit and Deception skill! Done!

EDIT: On reread, that was a little snippy. Of course you can reskin. You can use reskinning to justify excluding almost every class in the game beyond the Core Four. But the name of the thread was "Your preferred implementation," and I felt the need to chime in.
Oh, it's fine!

I just used Warlock 'cause it also had some limited spellcasting, the "Dark Master" angle, and the option of doing Fey/Nature stuff which is often attributed to witches when they're not being treated as Satan's Wives.

My own preferred implementation is actually the Warlock with a curse-focused pact and pact-boon. Something where you can continually put various minor curses on people, spend invocation slots to bring them harm, and so forth.

I really am sad that 5e just has Hex and Bestow Curse as their only core options. Guess they were really focused in hard on making sure there were enough "Fire" spells at every level.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Oh, it's fine!

I just used Warlock 'cause it also had some limited spellcasting, the "Dark Master" angle, and the option of doing Fey/Nature stuff which is often attributed to witches when they're not being treated as Satan's Wives.

My own preferred implementation is actually the Warlock with a curse-focused pact and pact-boon. Something where you can continually put various minor curses on people, spend invocation slots to bring them harm, and so forth.

I really am sad that 5e just has Hex and Bestow Curse as their only core options. Guess they were really focused in hard on making sure there were enough "Fire" spells at every level.
I like a lot of the stuff in 5E, but there's some head-scratching decisions made at various levels of development. Just as a minor example, there's a distinct lack of non-Fire elemental magic in the PHB and in the two supplements that added spells. There have been various homebrews that put more elemental spells in, but it's as if in playtest they had someone go, "Yep, I tested the elementalism aspect of gameplay with my Pyromancer, we're all good here! No need for more development on that!" Reskinning fireball to iceball can be done, but the lack of cold-related side effects leaves reskinned spells feeling a little flat. That's one reason I want to see a robust witch implementation; for those of us who want such a thing, we don't want it to feel flat and tacked-on.

For those who want a witchier-feeling warlock, there's a Pact of the Cauldron from Reddit that might work for you. And there's witchy subclass options Wizard, Cleric, Druid, and Sorcerer. But I want a full, flavorful class.

So, there's The Witch by Walrock Homebrew which adds jinxes as an interesting power type, The Complete Witch by Mage Hand Press which gives each witch a curse they suffer and a mechanical effect to cackling, and The Witch by EinarTheBlack where the witch binds spirits in addition to spellcasting. Of the 5E options I reviewed, those are the ones I liked the most.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
For those who want a witchier-feeling warlock, there's a Pact of the Cauldron from Reddit that might work for you. And there's witchy subclass options Wizard, Cleric, Druid, and Sorcerer. But I want a full, flavorful class.

So, there's The Witch by Walrock Homebrew which adds jinxes as an interesting power type, The Complete Witch by Mage Hand Press which gives each witch a curse they suffer and a mechanical effect to cackling, and The Witch by EinarTheBlack where the witch binds spirits in addition to spellcasting. Of the 5E options I reviewed, those are the ones I liked the most.
And the best part is, you can use any or all of those, AND also allow a character to reskin a warlock, a wizard, or a druid to be more witch-like. Having more tools in your toolbox to nail down an exact character concept is a good thing.
 

And the best part is, you can use any or all of those, AND also allow a character to reskin a warlock, a wizard, or a druid to be more witch-like. Having more tools in your toolbox to nail down an exact character concept is a good thing.
Perhaps in your home game, but officially published material needs to maintain some sort of archetype coherence or classes end up being meaningless mechanical messes and that's a deathblow to a class based system.
 

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