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D&D 5E So Where my Witches at?

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I like the Bard option.

I'd love to see an Unearthed Arcana with witch-like subclasses for Druid, Warlock, Bard, and Wizard, each addressing another variant of the witch archetype.
I think this (along with several others who have said things along similar lines) basically "makes the case" for the Witch as an independent class, with their own subclasses for the various flavors of "witch."

Class: Witch.
Potion making. Hexes/Hexing power (buff/debuff that increases with level). "Spell Focus" options (choose familiar or item or, how 'bout "Alignment: Good, Neutral, Evil" as a focusing ideal/power? "Are you a Good witch or a bad witch?" ), maybe determined by subclass. "Craft powers" determined by subclass. + feature 1, feature 2, feature 3, whatever else.

Mixed "Witch's spell list" of nature magic, illusions, charms, abjurations, limited "big/blasty" offsense.

Witch's Craft: (the subclasses)
  • Hedge/Green Witch (the druid one): extra access to charms and nature magic, limited shapeshifting, more/better potions/healing, fae or druid-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Dark/Black/"Wicked" Witch (the warlock one): extra access to offensive magic, more detrimental options for curses and hexing, hag or demon-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Moon/White Witch (the bard one): extra access to more illusions and abjuration magics, "inspirational" healing, counter-spelling and un-cursing, maybe a bit more "psychic" stuff, celestial or cleric-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Blood/Red Witch (the wizard one): extra access to blasty wizard spells and ceremonial/ritual magics, better item crafter/enchanter (poppets, potions, talismans, etc...), "blood magic," dragon or wizard-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
 
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Remathilis

Legend
I think this (along with several others who have said things along similar lines) basically "makes the case" for the Witch as an independent class, with their own subclasses for the various flavors of "witch."

Class: Witch.
Potion making. Hexes/Hexing power (buff/debuff that increases with level). "Spell Focus" options (choose familiar or item or, how 'bout "Alignment: Good, Neutral, Evil" as a focusing ideal/power? "Are you a Good witch or a bad witch?" ), maybe determined by subclass. "Craft powers" determined by subclass. + feature 1, feature 2, feature 3, whatever else.

Mixed "Witch's spell list" of nature magic, illusions, charms, abjurations, limited "big/blasty" offsense.

Witch's Craft: (the subclasses)
  • Hedge/Green Witch (the druid one): extra access to charms and nature magic, limited shapeshifting, more/better potions/healing, fae or druid-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Dark/Black/"Wicked" Witch (the warlock one): extra access to offensive magic, more detrimental options for curses and hexing, hag or demon-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Moon/White Witch (the bard one): extra access to more illusions and abjuration magics, "inspirational" healing, counter-spelling and un-cursing, maybe a bit more "psychic" stuff, celestial or cleric-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Blood/Red Witch (the wizard one): extra access to blasty wizard spells and ceremonial/ritual magics, better item crafter/enchanter (poppets, potions, talismans, etc...), "blood magic," dragon or wizard-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
Heck, you could theoretically just make four subclasses for the druid/bard/warlock/wizard using the same ideas, if you weren't willing to do a full class.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I think this (along with several others who have said things along similar lines) basically "makes the case" for the Witch as an independent class, with their own subclasses for the various flavors of "witch."

Class: Witch.
Potion making. Hexes/Hexing power (buff/debuff that increases with level). "Spell Focus" options (choose familiar or item or, how 'bout "Alignment: Good, Neutral, Evil" as a focusing ideal/power? "Are you a Good witch or a bad witch?" ), maybe determined by subclass. "Craft powers" determined by subclass. + feature 1, feature 2, feature 3, whatever else.

Mixed "Witch's spell list" of nature magic, illusions, charms, abjurations, limited "big/blasty" offsense.

Witch's Craft: (the subclasses)
  • Hedge/Green Witch (the druid one): extra access to charms and nature magic, limited shapeshifting, more/better potions/healing, fae or druid-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Dark/Black/"Wicked" Witch (the warlock one): extra access to offensive magic, more detrimental options for curses and hexing, hag or demon-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Moon/White Witch (the bard one): extra access to more illusions and abjuration magics, "inspirational" healing, counter-spelling and un-cursing, maybe a bit more "psychic" stuff, celestial or cleric-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Blood/Red Witch (the wizard one): extra access to blasty wizard spells and ceremonial/ritual magics, better item crafter/enchanter (poppets, potions, talismans, etc...), "blood magic," dragon or wizard-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
Why do we need to reinvent the wheel?

Why is potions making, hexes/healing power, and spell focus core class features? Why are theses not just Druids, Warlocks, Bards, and Wizards?
 

Remathilis

Legend
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?
Basically. I think the archetype could borrow a little from each (or mix and match if we're doing multiple) a little druidic nature magic in the wizard, a druid with some curses and stuff, etc. A bard focused on the old magics of dancing around the fire, etc. There is definitely more than one way to do this. I just wish they had at least given us one of them.
 


Faolyn

Hero
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.
They don't have to have cauldrons or demonic familiars. All I'm saying is that the words occultist and witch have very different connotations. They could easily be different archetypes of a single class, although what that class is is up for debate.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
One of the problems is that the term "witch," perhaps more so than any other D&D class (or at least just as much), is a title well known by the general populace, with slightly different meanings and attendant cultural baggage. Are you looking for a cackling, cauldron brewing and broomstick riding type? Trying to eat Hansel & Gretel? There has been a tendency in some fantasy quarters to associate the title with some form of black magic, with the Tolkien's Witch King and such as well. Probably covered by the MM Hag types better, a little too much baggage for a PC. Despite the relatively recent addition of the darker themed Warlock class to D&D, the designers have taken pains to not burden PCs overmuch with this baggage in play. Then of course there's the Harry Potter "female wizard" niche.

Want a hedge mage that crafts love potions and does some spells on the side? A Druid with a hermit background does this alright, along with the many shaman type classes/sub-classes that have come up over the years. As to the spell caster who largely debuffs, curses and such, it seems to me that in order to do this, you have to create some thing that is not only thematic, but a class/sub-class that is a viable adventuring PC across all levels of play: we've seen the old "just choose spells that fit your theme" argument before, though. It may not be very satisfying, but it is an option. Personally, it seems to me that PCs will choose the best spells available to them as the situation and circumstances dictate.

Someone up thread mentioned that surely they could do a Witch sub-class rather than something as esoteric and off-the-wall as a Wild Magic Barbarian, and I would tend to agree, with one caveat: the Barbarian is already a well established class with devotees playing it and I'm sure WOTC feels obligated to produce some amount of new sub-classes for it. Though I would say a witch-themed barbarian is at least as viable as a Wild Magic themed one. I will admit that the Barbarian class is not where most of us would choose to start designing witch sub-classes though.

Personally, I think a re-flavored chain-pact warlock could do the trick, especially if you re-flavor Eldritch Blast as an "Evil Eye" type power with the same mechanics. If the dearth of Warlock spell slots is a problem, and I agree that the invocations that require a Warlock spell slot are a bit much, then a re-flavored Bard, Druid, or Wizard could do. WOTC could also go psionics route and try to create a witch themed sub-class for multiple classes, but each of them would probably have to contend with more cultural baggage than most other sub-classes due to the witch moniker. This is added to by the possibility of of Neo-pagon and other groups being offended as well.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Why do we need to reinvent the wheel?

Why is potions making, hexes/healing power, and spell focus core class features? Why are theses not just Druids, Warlocks, Bards, and Wizards?
I was just coming up with things off the top of my head. The core class features could be "whatever."

As far as "reinventing the wheel," the "Base Class: different themed/focused subclasses" structure seems to be the wheel on which we are all spinning. No?

Why isn't a Lore Bard a Cleric or Wizard subclass? A Valor bard a Fighter? A jester bard a Rogue?
Why isn't a Blade Warlock a subclass of Paladin? Why isn't Elemental Sorcerer a subclass of Druid? Why aren't all Warlocks and Sorcerers subclasses of Wizard? Barbarians and Monks not Fighter subclasses?

If there are sufficient different flavors, unified by some overall themes and probably with some simple, but independent, mechanic, that substantiates a separate "archetype" of fantasy character. That's all D&D and Pathfinder, and most other fantasy RPGs is/are.

Given the diversity of cultural, mythological, literary, and RPG materials, "Witch" -as separate and apart from a Sorcerer, Wizard, Mage, Warlock- clearly more than meets the criteria for its own class vs. being shoe-horned into other existing classes.
 
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Accaris

Explorer
Publisher
I combine folkloric witches, elements of paganism/"Wicca," and pop culture witches in our Witch class, which is for our 5E setting book. Highlights not only include hexes/curses, but also wand-making, shapechanging, flying broomsticks, and an emphasis on nature magic. You can check out the entire chapter here, but keep in mind it's still kind of a draft with a few things that need to be fixed for the final version. The Chronicles of Aeres Preview: The Witch Class - Dueling Dragon Adventures | DriveThruRPG.com
 

Blue Orange

Explorer
I think this (along with several others who have said things along similar lines) basically "makes the case" for the Witch as an independent class, with their own subclasses for the various flavors of "witch."

Class: Witch.
Potion making. Hexes/Hexing power (buff/debuff that increases with level). "Spell Focus" options (choose familiar or item or, how 'bout "Alignment: Good, Neutral, Evil" as a focusing ideal/power? "Are you a Good witch or a bad witch?" ), maybe determined by subclass. "Craft powers" determined by subclass. + feature 1, feature 2, feature 3, whatever else.

Mixed "Witch's spell list" of nature magic, illusions, charms, abjurations, limited "big/blasty" offsense.

Witch's Craft: (the subclasses)
  • Hedge/Green Witch (the druid one): extra access to charms and nature magic, limited shapeshifting, more/better potions/healing, fae or druid-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Dark/Black/"Wicked" Witch (the warlock one): extra access to offensive magic, more detrimental options for curses and hexing, hag or demon-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Moon/White Witch (the bard one): extra access to more illusions and abjuration magics, "inspirational" healing, counter-spelling and un-cursing, maybe a bit more "psychic" stuff, celestial or cleric-oriented "Craft" powers/features.
  • Blood/Red Witch (the wizard one): extra access to blasty wizard spells and ceremonial/ritual magics, better item crafter/enchanter (poppets, potions, talismans, etc...), "blood magic," dragon or wizard-oriented "Craft" powers/features.

Now you need a Blue Witch that uses psionics. ;)
 


Zaukrie

New Publisher
The biggest impediment to a witch type class is that most magic using classes can do almost everyting......there is not much to really differentiate the classes, imo. A game where a wizard, sorcerer, witch, psion, etc had really distinct spells and abilities would make it more viable. At this point, a witch is a warlock in 5e, at least for me.

Gygax' Mythus game is an example of a game where different spellcasters had vastly different spells.....

There have been some good witch classes/books over the years for D&D, but I've only used one as an NPC....
 



G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I would like to see a witch class do things that the other classes cannot. I think there is plenty of room given the roles that already exist in 5e, for a class with a new role.
Aye, there's the rub. And the question is, are those "things that the other classes cannot" do mechanical or flavorful? In some ways this is the psionics debate, right? The spellcasting system can be refluffed for psionics, but many posters felt that if that's all it is then it's not really psionics.

So maybe, to pick an example, Witches derive their powers by befriending/manipulating some kinds of spirits (or demons or whatever). That's the fluff. What's the mechanics? Spell slots?

Or we could come at it from the opposite direction. Start with some kind of design idea....maybe "no spell slots, only cantrips and invocations". Then let's apply that to a Witch class.

But...is that mechanic really Witch-like, or are we hoping that it eventually becomes Witch-like because people get used to those rules?

As an example, when I came back to D&D after skipping 3e and 4e, I discovered...much to my surprise...that people felt a Warlock class had to have "eldritch blast". It was so iconic as to be a requirement. Without eldritch blast, it wasn't a Warlock. This struck me as totally arbitrary and asinine and not even remotely related to the theme of "deriving powers through a pact with a powerful patron". Really just another blast spell with some fluff. Some random demon can grant this power to its warlock minions, but not to its own priests? So all the gods and demons and extra-planar beings and fey lords and everybody else just kind of agree...maybe at the annual "Pan Planar Conference for Might Beings"...to only give this ability to a certain class of followers? Maybe as some kind of running gag? It's dumb. But, there you have it.

So maybe we should stop worrying about what the true essence of a Witch is. All that's needed is some interesting new mechanics that would be fun to play, some fluff to make those mechanics fit various witchy archetypes, a few subclasses to build out those archetypes, add to the cauldron, stir, let simmer for a couple years, and badda-bing-badda-boom....iconic Witch class.
 

So maybe we should stop worrying about what the true essence of a Witch is. All that's needed is some interesting new mechanics that would be fun to play, some fluff to make those mechanics fit various witchy archetypes, a few subclasses to build out those archetypes, add to the cauldron, stir, let simmer for a couple years, and badda-bing-badda-boom....iconic Witch class.

Agreed. Personally, hexes/curses, along with some form of area control could be interesting. I'd like the witch to not be just another healer, but a powerful aid in combat that helps improve what the other classes do (or some sort of combos).
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
Publisher
Give me about a week and I'll post my "Witch Class" response to this thread as a google doc. Won't be 100% balanced the first pass, but pretty sure I can make something that hits a lot of "ideas" here while proving that it "deserves" to be its own class.
 

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:
While I do like ol' Kibble's stuff, the problem I have is there's been stand-alone Witch classes for yonks and I think it does have its own design space. A quick search gets me at least 5 of them, two of which I know are fairly well liked and the rest I haven't had much interaction with (but seem to have good reviews)
 

Agreed. Personally, hexes/curses, along with some form of area control could be interesting. I'd like the witch to not be just another healer, but a powerful aid in combat that helps improve what the other classes do (or some sort of combos).
I built this into my homebrew Occultist class. There's an "Unearthly Path" that you choose at level 2, which is basically your Pact Boon, but it determines a bit more than a Pact Boon does. There's the Black Path, Grey Path, and White Path, which determines what playstyle your character is. Black Magic practitioners hex and curse enemies, Grey Path practitioners ward and protect themselves, and White Path practitioners heal and protect allies.

Later, Occultists get "Binding Charms", which are separated into 3 categories: Malisons (Black Path), Wards (Grey Path), and Favors (White Path). They're essentially Eldritch Invocations that are determined by your Unearthly Path and can allow you to curse others, ward yourself, or heal/protect others.

That would fill the stereotypical evil witch (Wicked Witch of the West), allow for a good witch (Glenda), and neutral witches.
 

Remathilis

Legend
While I do like ol' Kibble's stuff, the problem I have is there's been stand-alone Witch classes for yonks and I think it does have its own design space. A quick search gets me at least 5 of them, two of which I know are fairly well liked and the rest I haven't had much interaction with (but seem to have good reviews)
Yeah there is an abundance of takes from other designers. I guess I would've liked WotC's official stamp of approval, but I'm pretty sure that there is a good 3pp version or two or there.
 

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