D&D 5E Let's talk about Witches

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Guest 6801328

Guest
What defines a Witch? Can you make a really good Witch using current classes (and multiclassing?) If it were a multi-class, which base class is it? Or do we need a new base class? If so, what else goes under that class?

Here are the Witch features that I see already covered by existing classes, mostly Wizard
- Divination spells
- Enchantment spells
- Familiars
- Polymorph
- Gaseous Form?
- Curses & Hexes: (Ray of Enfeeblement, Bane, Ray of Sickness)

But there are some features not covered:
- Crafting of potions and charms
- More & better curses and hexes

Still, could probably make do with Wizard. However, I see two "flavor" problems:
1) All the existing Wizard sub-classes correlate to schools of magic. Will we ever see Wizard subclasses that don't fit that pattern. (If the answer is "no" it means we'll never see new subclasses.)
2) Witches just don't strike me as the sort who learn their craft through study and research.

Sorcerer doesn't quite fit, either, because I see Witches as having a broad range of abilities, not just a handful of spells.

Is it possible that Witch, Shaman, and Witch-Doctor are all sub-classes of a spirit-based caster class? Or am I off in the weeds with that one?

It's tempting to want to make Witch the base class, and "Wicked Witch" and "Good Witch" the sub-classes...
 

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I think "witch" is a pretty generic term that can be applied to any of the arcane classes and possibly even the divine ones.

For me, the three iconic witches etched into my brain from my childhood are Snow White's unnamed Evil Queen, Maleficent, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

The Evil Queen goes down into her dungeon, pulls down a book of magical disguise spells from her shelf, and performs an elaborate ritual to cast the spell transforming her into a peddler women. You don't get much more D&D-wizard than that.

Maleficent is something not entirely human (a wicked fairy in the original tale) who calls on "the powers of Hell". Pretty obvious warlock. (Also her Charisma is through the roof.)

The Wicked Witch of the West doesn't conform quite so easily to a D&D class (and there's no reason why she has to), but her magic seems vaguely ritualistic and she extensively uses and covets magical items, which gives me a wizardly vibe again.

In pop culture, "witch" really just means "evil female magician". And you can scratch the "evil" part in a lot of newer stuff like Harry Potter. There's no real consistency on the source of the magic or its technique, which are what would define the archetype as a new or existing class in D&D. The closest you get is with the "witch' of Early Modern European lore, which is exactly what the D&D warlock is supposed to model, and the, shall we say, alternative interpretation of the modern Wiccans, which is very much a D&D druid.
 


MechaPilot

Explorer
What defines a Witch? Can you make a really good Witch using current classes (and multiclassing?) If it were a multi-class, which base class is it? Or do we need a new base class? If so, what else goes under that class?

I think it would be helpful to spell out what you want the witch to be before going on. I saw the list of class features you're thinking of, which is nice and a little helpful, but I need to know more about the in-world theme. Is the witch you are trying to create more of the villainous witch of Christian Europe, who is sort of akin to a hag? Or, are you aiming for the pagan religious caster with an often extensive knowledge of natural and herbal healing techniques? Or, are you aiming for something that can encompass both of those concepts?
 



Greg K

Legend
What defines a Witch? Can you make a really good Witch using current classes (and multiclassing?) If it were a multi-class, which base class is it? Or do we need a new base class? If so, what else goes under that class?
In my opinion, relying on multi-classing for a fantasy archetype for the witch is a failure. Multi-classing is optional and not welcome in all groups, but many groups that don't use MC might use a base class

Here are the Witch features that I see already covered by existing classes, mostly Wizard
- Divination spells
- Enchantment spells
- Familiars
- Polymorph
- Gaseous Form?
- Curses & Hexes: (Ray of Enfeeblement, Bane, Ray of Sickness)
Spells affecting animals, plants, and weather
Spells that Bless, remove curse, healing (short of raising the dead)


But there are some features not covered:
- Crafting of potions and charms
- More & better curses and hexes
A spell of deep slumber (i.e., Briar Rose, Snow White, etc.)
A spell of steal youth
Good with herbs
Candles
Covens

.
Is it possible that Witch, Shaman, and Witch-Doctor are all sub-classes of a spirit-based caster class? Or am I off in the weeds with that one?

Personally, I would make two classes: The Witch and the Shaman.

The shaman would a religious leader that deals with controlling, persuading, intimidating spirits (non-corporeal undead, non-corporeal outsiders, fey, totem spirits, ancestral spirits, familiar spirits, etc. ) to get them to intervene on behalf of the community unlike clerics whom serve their deity. The Shaman would be able to turn/rebuke noncorporeal undead and outsiders, and fey, but not animated undead. They would also see and speak with spirits. The would have a totem spirit or ancestral spirit guide and be good would be good with herbs and healing. Spells would involve blessing, cursing and removing curses, healing, divination, dealing with spirits ( detecting spirits, binding spirits, summon spirits, using spirits to inflict damage), entering the spirit world, and spells dealing animal, plants. weather. Evil shamans would also have spells for inflicting diseases


It's tempting to want to make Witch the base class, and "Wicked Witch" and "Good Witch" the sub-classes...
If that is what you want, you might want to look at @bcdaniels witch class under homebrew.
 
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The latter would a religious leader that deals with controlling, persuading, intimidating spirits (non-corporeal undead, non-corporeal outsiders, fey, totem spirits, ancestral spirits, familiar spirits, etc. ) to get them to intervene on behalf of the community (unlike clerics that serve their deity).
I've been toying with the idea of an "occultism" alternate magic system that would use some sort of robust diplomacy mechanic to dicker with supernatural entities. In addition to a shaman class, the system would also be really good for the traditional Faustian demonologist -- 3E's binder.
 

hecetv

First Post
I liked 2e witches, and warlock is pretty damn close so I really think a girl warlock in 5e is for all intents and purposes a witch.

That said the word witch isnt something that has one definition, so I could see an argument made for pretty much any caster class. Hell it wouldn't even need to be an argument, if someone said my character is a witch, and its X class I'd just be like okay.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Here are the Witch features that I see already covered by existing classes, mostly Wizard
- Divination spells
- Enchantment spells
- Familiars
- Polymorph
- Gaseous Form?
- Curses & Hexes: (Ray of Enfeeblement, Bane, Ray of Sickness)

But there are some features not covered:
- Crafting of potions and charms
- More & better curses and hexes

Thematically the Warlock is the closest to a Witch in the sense of gaining powers from a powerful entity through a pact.

Functionally, does the Warlock spells list include the above options, or at least something reasonably similar? If that's the case then Warlock is already what you are looking for.

As for the "broad range", that depends on whether you want a broad range immediately or can wait for a higher level. Clearly the Warlock has a lot smaller range than a Wizard, but whether this is too little in absolute terms, is not the same thing. It could be simply that a low-level Witch has to cope with a limited range until higher level.

Crafting potions and charms is at the moment practically missing from the game for everyone.
 

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