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D&D 5E So Where my Witches at?

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Bard works well: they don't need to use an instrument, but flutes, rattles and drums are there if you want them. You can definitely try to make a performance out of "maniacal cackling".

You could make a pretty good witch out of an Alchemist Artificer. In fact I think that most spellcasters could be successfully flavoured as witchy, with maybe the exception of Paladin (but even so, you might be able to pull it off with the right oath.)
Bard also works well because music could be replaced with ritual dancing, and the bard's charming and buffing fit a witch class quite well. But in my mind, a witch should also have a strong connection to nature. But perhaps that is where a druid subclass fits in.
Or ritual jumping over broomsticks, even. What's the difference between performance and ritual with an audience?
 

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Further, using Witch as a class name risks offending parts of the sometimes-quick-to-take-offense neo-Pagan movement if there's anything the least bit negative about the class; and I very much suspect WotC are well aware of this.
If it ends up being an issue, they could just use "Occultist" instead of "Witch". This would also fix the issue of warlock being the female version of witch.

(I have my own homebrew witch/occultist class. It's still a work in progress.)
 


Occultist has very different vibes than witch does. More seances and ley lines, fewer cauldrons and demonic familiars.
Why does every "Witch" have to use cauldrons or demonic familiars? That could be a subclass, or subsubclass (like Pact Boons). Like how not every warlock has to serve Asmodeus, use Hunger of Hadar, Hellish Rebuke, and have an Imp familiar. The class should incorporate those themes, but they shouldn't be required.

If someone wants to be a stereotypical witch, they can be an elderly Verdan with a pointy hat, hunched back, Broom of Flying, black cloak, and black cat familiar and call themselves Elphaba. However, there could also be a good witch named Glenda that blesses and protects others.
 
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'Occultist' I definitely see as a different thing from a witch. Witches are 'earthy', if that makes sense. They gotta have that nature-y vibe even if they're using demonic stuff, with potions and old remedies being in-built no matter what they're doing. Occultists however are the forbidden knowledge side, delving into ancient tombs and taking knowledge that should not be known
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
Publisher
This thread has inspired me to try creating a Witch class.

Will prob need to make about 30~ unique spells for its spell list, but I have an idea for this, with covens as its subclass themes. A Voodoo witch, Nature witch, Diabolical witch, Fate, Muse...there's some fertile ground for archtypes there!
 

'Occultist' I definitely see as a different thing from a witch. Witches are 'earthy', if that makes sense. They gotta have that nature-y vibe even if they're using demonic stuff, with potions and old remedies being in-built no matter what they're doing. Occultists however are the forbidden knowledge side, delving into ancient tombs and taking knowledge that should not be known
"Earthy" can be a subclass, as I did in my homebrew class.
 

Remathilis

Legend
This thread has inspired me to try creating a Witch class.

Will prob need to make about 30~ unique spells for its spell list, but I have an idea for this, with covens as its subclass themes. A Voodoo witch, Nature witch, Diabolical witch, Fate, Muse...there's some fertile ground for archtypes there!
As interesting as a voodoo witch sounds, the cultural minefield for that is (Vistani x Wiccan)^3.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
Publisher
Yep! Luckily I've done lots of studying on Voodoo, Voudoun, etc in college for various writing projects, and again in Grad School. I'm confident I can handle the material, some of which I practice, with care!
 

Remathilis

Legend
If it ends up being an issue, they could just use "Occultist" instead of "Witch". This would also fix the issue of warlock being the female version of witch.

(I have my own homebrew witch/occultist class. It's still a work in progress.)
Interesting take, though like others I tend to see occultist as a catch-all for a bunch of different phenomenon: demonology, mysticism, spiritualism, witchcraft, and psychic abilities. Might be cool if your class could mix some of that into it in the form of subs or such.
 

Brainstorming a wizard subclass...

School of the Hedgerows (a better name, please!)

Quiet Magics: At 2nd level, when you cast an evocation or conjuration spell that inflicts fire, cold, lightning, thunder, acid, or force damage, anyone affected by the spell has resistance to the damage it causes

Witch's Minion: At 2nd level, you gain the Warlock ability Pact of the Chain

Cauldron Mistress: at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to create a potion are halved

Hedge Magic: The following cantrips and spells are wizard spells for you
Cantrips: Druidcraft, Guidance
1st: Detect Poison and Disease, Bane, Hex, Speak With Animals, Goodberry
2nd: Augury, Beast Sense, Prayer of Healing, Protection from Poison
3rd: Plant Growth, Spirit Guardians
4th: Divination, Grasping Vine
5th: Awaken, Tree Stride

Evil Eye: At 6th level, you add the Bestow Curse spell to your spellbook if it isn't there already. For you, the Bestow Curse spell has a range of 30ft. You may cast it without expending a spell slot, and requiring only a bonus action to cast. Once you have cast it once in this way, you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest, though you can still cast it normally using a spell slot and requiring an action.

Witch's Companion: At 10th level, you gain the Voice of the Chain Master warlock invocation.

Create Poppet: At 14th level you may create an effigy that acts as a mystical link between you and another creature. You must have a body part (lock of hair, fingernail paring, etc) of the target in your possession. Creating a poppet takes 1 hour and requires materials costing 100gp. If you have a poppet in your possession, any enchantment, divination, illusion, or transmutation spell of 6th level or below that does not inflict hit point damage can be cast on the poppet and will affect the target creature regardless of range or line of sight. The target makes saving throws at disadvantage against spells cast in this way. You may only have a single poppet at any one time. If you create a second, the first one crumbles to dust and the body part used to create it may not be re-used.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I don't remember seeing anyone post this link in the thread so far, but once again we can look to our old friend Kibbletasty for covering this concept. They have created a class (Occultist) and subclass (Witch) that could possibly serve people's needs:

THE OCCULTIST
 

Some homebrew spells I use in my games that might be tangentially appropriate:

Rend - Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Transmutation cantrip (Note: gets around Eldritch Knight school restrictions because it isn't a leveled spell)
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Normal weapon reach
Components: V, S, F (a melee weapon)
Duration: Instantaneous

Magically or spiritually enhances a melee attack using a normal or natural (unarmed) weapon with which the caster is proficient. The caster makes one melee attack, optionally using the caster's casting stat for both attack and damage rolls. Damage is equal to the weapons damage die plus appropriate damage bonuses. The attack is NOT treated as magical unless the caster uses a magical weapon for the focus. Any magical bonuses and effects are applied normally for the attack. Casting this cantrip counts as using the attack action for purposes of other abilities, including making offhand attacks; although only initial attack made is treated as being enhanced by the cantrip.
The spell's damage increases by W when you reach 5th level (2W plus attribute bonuses), 11th level (3W + attribute), and 17th level (4W + attribute); where W equals the weapon's damage die or dice.

Charge Athame - Cleric, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
1st level transmutation (ritual)
Casting time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, DF, M (One dagger plus rare oils or unholy water worth 25 gp, which are NOT consumed upon casting)
Duration: Until discharged or profaned.

Transforms a dagger into a magically or spiritually charged athame for use in various spells and rituals. Upon casting, the dagger is treated as magic for purposes of attacks if it is not already. Furthermore, the athame may be used as an arcane or divine focus; and provides advantage on Religion checks made to perform ritual sacrifice. For purposes of spells (but NOT normal melee attacks), the athame's damage is treated as d8. It retains light and finesse properties as normal. The athame remains charged until it leaves the caster's possession, is dropped on the ground, or wielded by anyone other than the caster. Furthermore, the athame may become profaned and lose its charge if is subject to corrosion effects, spell effects from sources hostile to its wielder, and other abilities that might render the weapon spiritually unclean when intentionally inflicted upon the athame by hostile sources (i.e. the athame must be specifically targeted by a spell or other effect). "Spiritually unclean" in this case refers to something considered antithetical to the beliefs and powers of the caster; a caster who consorts with and worships fiends might consider an angelic blessing to be "spiritually unclean" whereas a nature cleric might consider something artificial to be so, and a wizard might find an antimagic effect to be antithetical.

Grow Talons - Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
1st level transmutation (ritual)
Casting time: 1 hour
Range: Self
Components: V, S, DF
Duration: Until removed by casting the spell again

Allows the caster to grow lethally sharp talons on any appendages that possess claws or fingernails. The talons are treated as magical for purposes of melee attacks, and possess the light and finesse properties. Base weapon damage is 1d4 plus the appropriate stat; however, if used for spells that allow the caster to make melee attacks (such as Rend, Booming Blade, Greenflame Blade) the talons may be treated as a melee weapon that deals 1d8 base damage instead. Talons are sharp and strong enough to cut various substances as mundane daggers, scissors, or shears would - but are long enough to impair activities that require fine motor coordination with the hands (/alternate appendage on which they have been grown); the caster suffers disadvantage on any sleight of hand, thieves tool, or artisan tool checks made with the taloned appendages. The spell may be cast again to remove talons that were previously grown. The caster is considered proficient with talons they have grown.
 
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Remathilis

Legend
why do witchs feel earthy to people I have no idea what they mean?
It stems from traditional witchy magic using a lot of herbs, plants, mushrooms and animal parts and brewing potions and poisons. It also is due to the fact that witches tend toward rustic areas and are sometimes described with similar ideas to druids (living in nature, but controlling or manipulating it). Last, I think it's that witchcraft is associated with folk or low magic, rather than the highly academic way wizards with their academia or clerics with their churches are viewed.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
It stems from traditional witchy magic using a lot of herbs, plants, mushrooms and animal parts and brewing potions and poisons. It also is due to the fact that witches tend toward rustic areas and are sometimes described with similar ideas to druids (living in nature, but controlling or manipulating it). Last, I think it's that witchcraft is associated with folk or low magic, rather than the highly academic way wizards with their academia or clerics with their churches are viewed.
okay I seem to have very different ideas of what earthy means, so we are looking at a sort of bard,druid and warlock thing right?
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Yeah, like with the Warlord, the Ninja, and the Arcane Gish, I don't see Witch as an independent class or archetype but a series of different archetypes or character builds within archetypes that belong to various classes. Building the "witchiest" witch class is going to step on a lot of feet, tell people that their Diviner Wizard witch or Tome Helllock witch or a Shadow Magic Sorcerer or Spores Druid witch or Creation Bard (be)witch(ed) or Alchemist Artificer witch "isn't a REAL witch," and is going to always be pigeonholed into a single concept of what witchiness is (and probably lean into very unfortunate and sexist tropes D&D has already associated with the monsters known as Hags).

And if you don't pigeonhole it, it ends up quite narrativeless as the Fighter is, since it's trying to be a Wizard and a Druid and Warlock and a Bard and a Cleric and an Artificer and a Sorcerer all at once. Either way, the concept is better represented by introducing a host of concepts within thosse already established classes.

And most of those concepts exist as is in the game, so there was no point to bring them into Tasha's (though, notably, Alchemist and Scribes Wizard and Spores Druid and Creation Bard WERE brought into the book and are all great witchy options).

Other witchy concepts will show up in future books. College of Spirits Bard seems relevant, for example.

This is the same problem of what is a Troll (aka ALL Trolls are Different). D&D Flame & Acid-weak Trolls are not the same as Tolkien Stone Trolls are not the same as Gem bellybutton Trolls are not the same as skinny Warcraft Vodoo Trolls etc. We can all agree that Dwarves are ALL the same, we can all agree that All Elves are holier than thou, and we can all agree that All Gnomes are Weirder. But there are some concepts in fantasy that are rarely ever agreed on how they should be represented in the fiction. Notably, a number of these concepts are rooted in hateful discrimination, and may or may not have been "reclaimed" by some segments of the population. You get into voodoo or witchcraft, or into orientalist fantasy tropes, or into orc alignments, you're stepping into unfortunate implications territory and have to tread very cautiously. Not all are, of course, like the aforementioned Trolls that have only ever been caught up in these problematic depictions in the Warcraft fandom, and Psionics are inherent disagreements despite representing nothing offensive other than "my version of the mechanics are better than yours" (lest, again, they stray into orientalist tropes).

Witches in fantasy cannot be untethered from sexist tropes against working women. That doesn't mean you can't have great fantasy that uses the witch tropes in a healthy, fun, and nonsexist way, but the history is intertwined, and using the witch archetype takes careful judgement in a table-by-table basis. Ultimately, the blowback of implementing poorly is not worth the potential profits to exploit by issuing an official witch class or subclass. And a diversity of options meets the needs and desires of the fanbase far more than a single, simple, WITCH subclass or class like we got in previous editions.

One last thing: someone mentioned that 3e didn't have a Witch class. That's not true, it was in the 3.5e DMG, but only in the same capacity that Eladrin and Aasimar are in the 5e DMG (examples of how to build your own homebrew material). So yes, the Witch has shown up in every recent previous edition. But that doesn't mean it needs to show up in 5e by name. It's easy enough to create a witch with the options available. I'd much rather have it show up in a book that gives different build ideas like the Fighter builds shown in Tasha's - built from existing options, but showing how you could build various archetypes from existing options, or approach an archetype in various ways. That would be an interesting and useful chapter in a future release book.
 
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GSHamster

Adventurer
Eye of wizard and toe of warlock, Wool of druid and tongue of bard...For a witch of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

That's an interesting question. If you have a class which has aspects from four other classes, you could make four subclasses or skins of the original classes that lean towards witch. Or you could combine them into one central class, and then have new subclasses that lean towards the original classes.

I think the fact that we're talking about four different classes, and not just one or two, means that a separate class is the best solution.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Eye of wizard and toe of warlock, Wool of druid and tongue of bard...For a witch of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

That's an interesting question. If you have a class which has aspects from four other classes, you could make four subclasses or skins of the original classes that lean towards witch. Or you could combine them into one central class, and then have new subclasses that lean towards the original classes.

I think the fact that we're talking about four different classes, and not just one or two, means that a separate class is the best solution.
I think better to make 4 different subclasses, like how we have the Assassin Rogue and the Way of Shadows Monk and College of Whispers Bard and Trickery Domain Cleric that all lean into "Ninja or Shadow Assassin" concept from different traditions. Or how we've got Arcane Archer and Eldritch Knight for Fighters, Arcane Trickster for Rogues, Battle Smith and Forge Adept and Armourer for Artificers, Oath of the Watchers for Paladins, College of Swords and College of Valour for Bards, Bladesingers and War Magic Wizards, and Hexblades and Blade Pact Warlocks, all leaning into the Arcane Gish. Theses are much more interesting ways of exploring the Arcane Warrior than creating an Arcane warrior class that has one subclass that leans Bard, one that leans Wizard, one that leans Artificer, one that leans Paladin, one that leans Sorcerer, one that leans Warlock, etc. It means that you don't need to define what the spell list is for the Arcane Warrior separate from these other classes and try to just give them everything, because there's tons of different ways to define the concept.

Witch is similar. The different versions of what a Witch is are so radically different from each other they're better given as subclasses that lean together without a core class that represents the concept they're leaning toward.
 

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