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

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
My issue with this idea is that which witch is which?
The same argument, of course, can be made about a number of D&D classes. The D&D wizard has almost no relationship to many of the other wizards in fiction and myth. Bards and druids differ greatly from their inspirations. Warlocks and sorcerers likewise are a very gamist specific take that doesn't necessarily line up with myth and legend.

"Witch" is not somehow a harder nut to crack than any of these others, especially when they can be modified and branched out with subclasses.

The reason we don't have it is almost certainly that TSR was first sexist (the attractive witch in the little white booklets wears a translucent top, because of course she does) and then scared of stirring up the Satanic Panic further.

Only people on ENWorld seem confused about what constitutes a pop culture witch, something any 7 year old can describe to folks in detail, if they want clarification.
 

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Dausuul

Legend
Just experimenting with subclass features...

Cauldron Magic: When you cast a spell, you can imbue it into a magical brew rather than having it take effect immediately. Doing so takes 10 minutes and requires a cauldron. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action, bonus action, or reaction, and target a single creature.

When you use this ability, you fill a vial or flask with the magical brew. A creature can drink this brew as an action. As soon as it does, the spell takes effect as if you had cast it on that creature. If the spell requires concentration, the drinker must concentrate to maintain it.

The brew loses its powers the next time you complete a long rest. You can prevent this by expending mystical herbs worth 100 gp per spell level; a brew created this way lasts until it is drunk. For spells of 6th level or above, the cost is 1,000 gp per spell level.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
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.
This entire discussion only applies to home games. You don't think WotC is actually going to publish more classes, right?
 


Remathilis

Legend
I wrote a thread on this referenced earlier. I ended up doing a wizard subclass to bridge the gap for spooky spellcaster. It's a take on the 2e witch kit, and any feedback is appreciated.

 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
I wrote a thread on this referenced earlier. I ended up doing a wizard subclass to bridge the gap for spooky spellcaster. It's a take on the 2e witch kit, and any feedback is appreciated.

I like this one better than the other 5E Wizard tradition I saw. Mind if I link in my blog post?
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Here was the level advancement chart & work-in-progress class features I worked up for my conversion/adaptation of the witch from Dragon #114.

LevelProf.Class FeaturesCantrips KnownSpells Known1st2nd3rd
4th

5th
6th7th
8th
9th
1+2Spellcasting, Magical Mark, Witchspeak242
2+2Coven, Witch's Sight253
3+2Uncanny Familiarity2642
4+2Ability Score Improvement3743
5+3Brew Potions38432
6+3Coven feature39433
7+3Uncanny Familiarity3104331
8+3Ability Score Improvement, Witch's Sight Improvement3114332
9+4Witch's Curse31243331
10+4Coven feature41443332
11+4Brew Potions, Uncanny Familiarity415433321
12+4Ability Score Improvement415433321
13+5Witch's Sight Improvement4164333211
14+5Coven feature, Uncanny Familiarity4184333211
15+5Sympathetic Magic41943332111
16+5Ability Score Improvement41943332111
17+6Brew Potions420433321111
18+6Guise of Many Faces, Timeless Body422433331111
19+6Ability Score Improvement422433332111
20+6Fascination422433332211


Cantrips (16 vs. druid’s 18, and 2 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 4)
Blade Ward
Friends
Guidance
Light
Mage Hand
Mending
Message
Mind Sliver (TCoE)
Minor Illusion
Prestidigitation
*Produce Flame (formerly druid-only)
Resistance
*Spare the Dying (formerly cleric-only)
True Strike
*=Befuddle (target has no allies)
*=Reflected Image (display scene in a willing touched creature’s mind upon a reflective surface)

1st Level (21 vs. druid’s 21, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1 entangle)
Beast Bond (XGtE)
Ceremony (XGtE)
Charm Person
Detect Evil and Good
Detect Magic
Detect Poison and Disease
Disguise Self
Faerie Fire
*Find Familiar (wizard-only)
Fog Cloud
Healing Word
*Hex (warlock-only)
Identify
Protection from Evil and Good
Purify Food and Drink
Sleep
Speak with Animals
Tasha’s Caustic Brew (TCoE)
Unseen Servant
Witch Bolt
*=Minor Geas (affects HP worth of opponents as per sleep who are sent on an imaginary errand away from the caster)

2nd Level (25 vs. druid’s 22, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1 flame blade)
*Augury (cleric-only)
Calm Emotions
Crown of Madness
Darkness
Darkvision
Detect Thoughts
Enhance Ability
Enthrall
Hold Person
Invisibility
Lesser Restoration
Levitate
Locate Animals and Plants
Locate Object
Mirror Image
Misty Step
*Moonbeam (druid-only)
Phantasmal Force
Protection from Poison
Ray of Enfeeblement
See Invisibility
Suggestion
Summon Beast (TCoE)
Tasha’s Mind Whip (TCoE)
*=Hidden Missive (select targets hear something different than what you say)

3rd Level (26 vs. druid’s 18, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1 call lightning)
Bestow Curse
Catnap (XGtE)
Clairvoyance
Conjure Animals
Counterspell
Dispel Magic
Enemies Abound (XGtE)
Fear
Fly
Gaseous Form
Hypnotic Pattern
Magic Circle
Major Image
*Mass Healing Word (cleric-only)
Protection from Energy
Remove Curse
Speak with Dead
Speak with Plants
Summon Lesser Demons (XGtE)
Summon Fey (TCoE)
Summon Shadowspawn (TCoE)
Tongues
Vampiric Touch
Water Breathing
Water Walk
*=Mystic Rope (conjure rope which moves of its own accord, can be commanded to grapple or attach)

4th Level (18 vs. druid’s 21, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1 giant insect)
Banishment
Blight
Charm Monster (XGtE)
Confusion
Conjure Minor Elementals
Death Ward
Dimension Door
Dominate Beast
Freedom of Movement
Greater Invisibility
Hallucinatory Terrain
Locate Creature
*Phantasmal Killer (wizard-only)
Polymorph
Summon Elemental (TCoE)
Summon Greater Demon (XGtE)
*=Mystic Wall (hard to pass through for Medium or smaller creatures, distorted images/sounds prevent targeting through wall, creatures in wall take 3d6 force damage, caster and allies can pass through safely)


*=Lightning Shield (30’ burst of 2d8 lightning damage, then acts like fire shield vs. metal weapons within 30’ but deals 2d8 lightning) Druid, Sorcerer

5th Level (20 vs. druid’s 18, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 2 maelstrom & reincarnate)
Animate Objects
*Antilife Shell (druid-only)
Awaken
*Commune (cleric-only)
Conjure Elemental
Contact Other Plane
Contagion
Dawn (XGtE)
Dominate Person
Dream
Geas
Greater Restoration
Hold Monster
Insect Plague
Legend Lore
Modify Memory
Planar Binding
Scrying
Teleportation Circle
*=Spiritform (turn incorporeal, gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons & gain Incorporeal Movement, bypass resistances of creatures with Incorporeal Movement like banshees, shadow demons, ghosts, specters, and will-o’-wisps; but your attacks deal no damage to corporeal creatures)

6th Level (15 vs. druid’s 16, and 3 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 5 bones of the earth, druid grove, transport via plants, wall of thorns, wind walk)
Arcane Gate
Circle of Death
Conjure Fey
*Contingency (wizard-only)
Eyebite
Find the Path
Flesh to Stone
Guards and Wards
Heal
*Magic Jar (wizard-only)
Mass Suggestion
*Primordial Ward (XGtE) (druid-only)
True Seeing
*=Greater Bestow Curse (cancel life level/worship/love/sleep of ages)
*=Magic Mirror (see a creature and ask 3 questions about it from entity conjured into the mirror)

7th Level (9 vs. druid’s 6, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 0)
Etherealness
Finger of Death
Mirage Arcane
Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion
Plane Shift
Regenerate
*Sequester (wizard-only)
Summon Fiend (TCoE)
Symbol
*=Witch Queen’s Charm (control group of fey, goblinoids, lycanthropes, or undead of CR 3 or less)

8th Level (8 vs. druid’s 7, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1)
*Animal Shapes (XGtE) (druid-only)
Antipathy/Sympathy
Dominate Monster
Feeblemind
*Maze (wizard-only)
Power Word Stun
Trap the Soul
*=Quickening (age control / wasting or youth)

9th Level (10 vs. druid’s 4, and 1 class-exclusive vs. druid’s 1)
Astral Projection
Foresight
Imprisonment
Mass Polymorph (XGtE)
Power Word Kill
Shapechange
True Polymorph
*Weird (wizard-only)
Wish
*=Spell Reflection (1 min. shimmering field, when targeted by spell can spend spell slot of that spell’s level to cause spell to rebound back at caster)

Overall Comparison to Druid:

Witch gets access to 168 spells vs. Druid’s 151 – this is tempered by the witch having Spells Known they must select, and may be further refined with some spells being moved to Coven sub-class based bonus spell lists

Witch has 12 class exclusive spells, whereas Druid has 18 class exclusive spells

Impact on Class Spell Lists Overall:
  • Witch gains 4 cleric-exclusive spells
  • Witch gains 5 druid-exclusive spells
  • Witch gains 1 warlock-exclusive spells
  • Witch gains 7 wizard-exclusive spells
  • Introduces 1 new spell for druids/sorcerers (lightning shield)

Hit Points
Hit Dice
: 1d6 per witch level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 4 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per witch level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor
: None
Weapons: Clubs, daggers, darts, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, slings, spears
Tools: Herbalism kit or poisoner’s kit (choose one)
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Charisma
Skills: Choose three from Arcana, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion, and Survival

I didn't have all the features worked out, but these were my notes...

Magical Mark
Every witch has a unique mark or characteristic that removes all shadow of a doubt about their magical nature. Choose one of the following marks at 1st level:
  • Bonded Talisman: You have a unique witch's focus (like an arcane focus) which takes the form of a broom, cauldron, hat, cloak, or some other household item or wearable item. You always know where your bonded talisman is, even on other planes of existence. You can summon your bonded talisman to hand as an action. Additionally, your bonded talisman can animate and perform menial tasks for you as per an unseen servant whenever you command it as an action; similarly you can command it as an action to cease animation.
  • Divine Mark: You bear a birthmark resembling a deity’s holy symbol. You may use magic items as if you were a cleric and you may create holy water. Additionally, choose one 1st-level cleric spell and add it to your Spells Known.
  • Familiar Bond: Add the find familiar spell to your Spells Known, without counting against your total. You have a particularly powerful bond to your familiar, and once per day you may whisper its name as an action while touching it and regain one spell slot of up to 3rd level. However, should your familiar ever die, you cannot replace it with a new one, and you must wait one week before you can cast find familiar again to summon it. While on your person or within 5 feet of you, your familiar can use your AC and saving throws, or its own, whichever are better. Additionally, your familiar adds your witch level to its hit points.
  • Hagborn: You are either a changeling child swapped for a human child, or a human child taken by a hag who left a changeling in your place. As an action you may change your physical appearance in one minor way to more resemble the hag you are descended from (e.g. perpetually dripping cold skin might mark you as a sea hag’s child, while a violet hue to your skin might mark you as a night hag’s daughter). Additionally, you can use hag magic items (like hag eyes, heartstones, and soul bags) and join hag covens, and you have advantage on any checks to detect a hag’s presence or identity.
  • Moon Magic ?: (magic tied to lunar phases & ability to swap your coven subclass between game sessions according to lunar phase)
  • Reverse Aging: You age in reverse, and magical effects (e.g. a curse, ghost, potion of longevity, or quickening* spell) can never alter your age. This may be due to a curse at birth or it may be a mystery. If you appear elderly, you’re actually young; gain a +1 bonus to your Dexterity or Constitution (your choice). If you appear young, you’re actually quite old; gain a +1 bonus to your Wisdom or Charisma (your choice).
  • True Namer ?: (learn # True Names and use to impose disadvantage on saves vs. your spells)

Witchspeak
You know Witchspeak, the secret language of witches. You can speak the language and use it to leave hidden messages for fellow witches in general or specifically for witches of your coven. Others spot the message’s presence with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check but can’t decipher it without magic.

Coven
At 2nd level, you are initiated fully into a coven reflecting one aspect of the Triple Goddess that you seek to emulate: the Maiden, the Mother, or the Crone. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.

Broadly, these subclasses cover the following themes:
  • Maiden = nature, the wilds, fey, enchantment, inception, expansion, promise of new beginnings, birth, youth and youthful enthusiasm, the waxing moon
  • Mother = civilization, community, ripeness, fulfillment of purpose, fecundity, stability, power, healing, the full moon
  • Crone = darkness, mystery, seers, visions, wisdom, self-reflection, cunning manipulation, repose, death, endings, the waning moon

Witchsight
Starting at 2nd level, you gain the ability to peer into your surroundings and perceive what others cannot. As a bonus action, you can activate your witchsight until the start of your next turn. At 2nd level, your witchsight allows you to see into the Ethereal Plane within 60 feet of yourself and to detect possessed creatures (e.g. a NPC inhabited by a ghost) within 60 feet, so long as you can see the creature.

At 8th level, your witchsight also allows you to see invisible creatures within 60 feet of yourself and to detect charmed creatures (e.g. victim of a charm person spell) within 60 feet, so long as you can see the creature.

At 13th level, your witchsight also allows you to see ## within 60 feet of yourself and to detect cursed creatures (e.g. victim of a bestow curse spell) within 60 feet, so long as you can see the creature.

Uncanny Familiarity ?
Witches can gain familiarity with a subject/place (for the purposes of certain spells) far more easily than other casters, thanks to dreams/visions, their familiar spying, or consorting with otherworldly entities.

Brew Potions
Once per week, you may brew a potion without spending any money or downtime. This may be any common or uncommon potion. At 11th level this may be any rare potion, and at 17th level this may be any very rare potion.

Witch’s Curse ?

Sympathetic Magic ?

The more familiar a witch is with you (e.g. by possessing a lock of your hair), the more potent his/her curses are against you. And all witches, even the kindest moon priestess, has the power to issue mighty curses...but only when they follow fairy tale cursing rules (i.e. the witch or their allies must have been wronged, and there must be an "out" to the curse).

Guise of Many Faces
At 18th level, you can cast disguise self as an action at will without the need for verbal or somatic components.

Timeless Body
Starting at 18th level, the primal magic that you wield causes you to age more slowly. For every 10 years that pass, your body ages only 1 year.

Fascination ?
 
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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Magical Mark
Every witch has a unique mark or characteristic that removes all shadow of a doubt about his or her magical nature. Choose one of the following marks at 1st level:
  • Bonded Talisman: You have a unique witch's focus (like an arcane focus) which takes the form of a broom, cauldron, hat, cloak, or some other household item or wearable item. You always know where your bonded talisman is, even on other planes of existence. You can summon your bonded talisman to hand as an action. Additionally, your bonded talisman can animate and perform menial tasks for you as per an unseen servant whenever you command it as an action; similarly you can command it as an action to cease animation.
  • Divine Mark: You bear a birthmark resembling a deity’s holy symbol. You may use magic items as if you were a cleric and you may create holy water. Additionally, choose one 1st-level cleric spell and add it to your Spells Known.
  • Familiar Bond: Add the find familiar spell to your Spells Known, without counting against your total. You have a particularly powerful bond to your familiar, and once per day you may whisper its name as an action while touching it and regain one spell slot of up to 3rd level. However, should your familiar ever die, you cannot replace it with a new one, and you must wait one week before you can cast find familiar again to summon it. While on your person or within 5 feet of you, your familiar can use your AC and saving throws, or its own, whichever are better. Additionally, your familiar adds your witch level to its hit points.
  • Hagborn: You are either a changeling child swapped for a human child, or a human child taken by a hag who left a changeling in your place. As an action you may change your physical appearance in one minor way to more resemble the hag you are descended from (e.g. perpetually dripping cold skin might mark you as a sea hag’s child, while a violet hue to your skin might mark you as a night hag’s daughter). Additionally, you can use hag magic items (like hag eyes, heartstones, and soul bags) and join hag covens, and you have advantage on any checks to detect a hag’s presence or identity.
  • Moon Magic ?: (magic tied to lunar phases & ability to swap your coven subclass between game sessions according to lunar phase)
  • Reverse Aging: You age in reverse, and magical effects (e.g. a curse, ghost, potion of longevity, or quickening* spell) can never alter your age. This may be due to a curse at birth or it may be a mystery. If you appear elderly, you’re actually young; gain a +1 bonus to your Dexterity or Constitution (your choice). If you appear young, you’re actually quite old; gain a +1 bonus to your Wisdom or Charisma (your choice).
  • True Namer ?: (learn # True Names and use to impose disadvantage on saves vs. your spells)
I quite like this as an alternative to having 20 subclasses.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I quite like this as an alternative to having 20 subclasses.
Yeah, the objective was to present something evoking myths & (positive) cultural consciousness around witches in a way reminiscent to warlock's Eldritch Invocations but without making it this whole sub-system.

The trick with these sorts of 1st level abilities is that they need to be designed to discourage multi-class cherry-picking (e.g. if a witch 1, wizard 3 does "being a wizard" better than wizard 4, then that is a design failure).

For example, Moon Magic and Familiar Bond are interesting and could apply to certain character concepts, but they're rooted in things we associate with witches & aren't going to break the game. Whereas what I've outlined for True Namer is probably too broadly appealing – who doesn't want to impose disadvantage on monsters' saving throws? – and needs to be refined at both the narrative & mechanical levels.
 

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