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D&D 5E So Where my Witches at?

cbwjm

Hero
Where I think "witch" differs from those other names is that it was a label used in the cause of torturing and killing people, usually women, and as such it is still used today as a pejorative for a woman who, well, doesn't conform to behaviors some men prefer. Upthread I linked to an example where feminists have (somewhat humorously) tried to re-claim the word, but in my mind that just emphasizes its loaded meaning.

So it's not that "witch" has historical meaning that we might get wrong, thereby offending people who follow certain religions, but that "witch" is specifically a word used for oppression, not just in history, or even in near memory, but in the present day.

I'll leave you with this, which I find quite funny and yet it illustrates the negative connotations of the word:

dilbert_witch.jpg
Even so, popular media paints a different picture of the witch. Yes, you have the wicked witch of the west, but also the good witch of the north. There is a comic I recall a while ago called W.I.T.C.H which was about 5 teenage girls with magical powers, defenders rather than the cackling evil witch. Sabrina has good representations of witches (both series do though one is definitely darker in tone). Bewitched had good witches, diskworld has granny weatherwax and his dark materials has some incredibly awesome witches and lets not forget the witches in Harry Potter. There might very well be complaints about the term witch and if WotC were going to create a witch class/subclass it might be enough for them to use a different name but I think in general those complaints are going to to get drowned out by all the popular media which have witches in them.
 

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Sabrina the teenage witch and Samantha from Betwiched are spellcaster-born not too different of faes and genies. Usually the wtiches are ordinary women who learn how to cast spells. The halliwell sisters from TV show "Charmed" are "sorcerers" with at-will power and special rituals to cast spells or to destroy the monster of the week.

The occultist classes from Pathfinder may show possible examples of "my PC witch is not a wizard, nor sorcerer neither a warlock".

The witch is closer to the druid than the wizards who can go to a expensive magical academy.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Even so, popular media paints a different picture of the witch. Yes, you have the wicked witch of the west, but also the good witch of the north. There is a comic I recall a while ago called W.I.T.C.H which was about 5 teenage girls with magical powers, defenders rather than the cackling evil witch. Sabrina has good representations of witches (both series do though one is definitely darker in tone). Bewitched had good witches, diskworld has granny weatherwax and his dark materials has some incredibly awesome witches and lets not forget the witches in Harry Potter. There might very well be complaints about the term witch and if WotC were going to create a witch class/subclass it might be enough for them to use a different name but I think in general those complaints are going to to get drowned out by all the popular media which have witches in them.
Oh, I don't think there's a problem at all with the various portrayals. But I can totally understand why WotC might want to avoid the use of a specific word which has so many misogynistic connotations.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
Even so, popular media paints a different picture of the witch. Yes, you have the wicked witch of the west, but also the good witch of the north. There is a comic I recall a while ago called W.I.T.C.H which was about 5 teenage girls with magical powers, defenders rather than the cackling evil witch. Sabrina has good representations of witches (both series do though one is definitely darker in tone). Bewitched had good witches, diskworld has granny weatherwax and his dark materials has some incredibly awesome witches and lets not forget the witches in Harry Potter. There might very well be complaints about the term witch and if WotC were going to create a witch class/subclass it might be enough for them to use a different name but I think in general those complaints are going to to get drowned out by all the popular media which have witches in them.
why do I know almost everything you just listed? the comic also mention has an animated adaptation.
 




Remathilis

Legend
Oh, I don't think there's a problem at all with the various portrayals. But I can totally understand why WotC might want to avoid the use of a specific word which has so many misogynistic connotations.
So would putting a sidebar stating this subclass represents the common fictional depiction of witches rather than any historic or real world connotation (akin to what was done in Xanathar for samurai and cavalier) be sufficient?
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'll leave you with this, which I find quite funny and yet it illustrates the negative connotations of the word:

Knowing what I know about about Dilbert creator Scott Adams, I think you are misreading the intent of the comic and who is supposed to be the victim. Hint: it's not Alice.

But that is probably not an Enworld appropriate topic.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
So would putting a sidebar stating this subclass represents the common fictional depiction of witches rather than any historic or real world connotation (akin to what was done in Xanathar for samurai and cavalier) be sufficient?
I don't think what Xanathar did for Samurai was sufficient. And WotC's gotten a lot of flack for it since then.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Knowing what I know about about Dilbert creator Scott Adams, I think you are misreading the intent of the comic and who is supposed to be the victim. Hint: it's not Alice.

But that is probably not an Enworld appropriate topic.

No, I think you are misreading my intent of sharing the comic. Of course Dilbert is the victim, and that's my point. (Also, that's not Alice.). Instead of being meek and demur she's aggressive and confrontational, if not very bright. You know, all the things a guy gets promoted for.

And for that she gets labeled a witch.

So, yeah, I don't think the problem with using the word "witch" is that it will insult wiccans by being historically innacurate. I think the problem is that the word has a second meaning which is pretty offensive.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
So would putting a sidebar stating this subclass represents the common fictional depiction of witches rather than any historic or real world connotation (akin to what was done in Xanathar for samurai and cavalier) be sufficient?
Why is that even remotely necessary? If the sidebar is required for people to make the connection, it would have to be a pretty poor representation of a very well-known archetype.
 

Remathilis

Legend
No, I think you are misreading my intent of sharing the comic. Of course Dilbert is the victim, and that's my point. (Also, that's not Alice.). Instead of being meek and demur she's aggressive and confrontational, if not very bright. You know, all the things a guy gets promoted for.

And for that she gets labeled a witch.

So, yeah, I don't think the problem with using the word "witch" is that it will insult wiccans by being historically innacurate. I think the problem is that the word has a second meaning which is pretty offensive.
Sorry, Scott Adams is a big opponent of "cancel culture" and I'm pretty sure the point is Dilbert uses a correct word (acute vs a cute) and is attacked for being sexist despite not at all making a reference to her gender. The punchline is that after explaining that, it happens again (which vs witch) which will start the fight all over again. Believe me, Adams is commenting on how people take offense to perceived slights in innocent usage of language, which is the opposite of what you are arguing.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I don't think what Xanathar did for Samurai was sufficient. And WotC's gotten a lot of flack for it since then.
So the solution then is to NOT put a samurai option in the game and continue the notion that D&D is based only on western fantasy tropes? That seems catch 22.
Why is that even remotely necessary? If the sidebar is required for people to make the connection, it would have to be a pretty poor representation of a very well-known archetype.
WotC probably wanted to give people an option that reflected Kurasowa films or samurai Jack, not the intricacies of the Edo period. Same with cavalier being more Arthurian Legend than historical reality. The fact we need to spell out that the Halloween witch is different than modern Wicca or historical hate crime victims is sad, but the alternative is seeing a lot of D&D archetypes gone due to fear of backlash.
 

Sorry, Scott Adams is a big opponent of "cancel culture" and I'm pretty sure the point is Dilbert uses a correct word (acute vs a cute) and is attacked for being sexist despite not at all making a reference to her gender. The punchline is that after explaining that, it happens again (which vs witch) which will start the fight all over again. Believe me, Adams is commenting on how people take offense to perceived slights in innocent usage of language, which is the opposite of what you are arguing.
. . . Are you saying that the term "Witch" is being cancelled? So called "Cancel Culture" only applies to people, not words. Replacing one term with another isn't cancelling, that happens all the time. Offensive terms fall out of use in most cases. I don't see anyone reclaiming the term "Witch" anytime soon.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

If this thread is going to dissolve into an argument about so called "cancel culture", some folks are not going to like the results.

Please stick to talking about classes to represent common fictional roles, before someone gets warning points and stuff.
 


Mind of tempest

Adventurer
My guess is I caught it when my nieces and nephews were watching it and I thought "hey, they've animated that comic." I would have likely sat down to watch with them.
can't really remember much of it as it was a girls show and I was sort of a typical boy so I only saw bits of it, it was some sort of water magical girl anime which is more than a single work exception some how.
 

What is the difference between a witch and an enchatress? five years of marriage.

The witch, like lots of fantasy tropes based in classic mythology and folklore has changed, evolutionated. Today the D&D witches are hags or female warlocks. And in lots of modern speculative fiction witches are more like a specie or bloodline. Other witches are only maho-shojo or magical girls from a grimmdark manganime title.

And today in the tabletop game the PC witches are magical-girls wearing sinister-gothic fashion clothing.

* I miss the vestige game mechanic of the binder class (Tome of Magic 3.5), where summoning a vestige you could use a little list of powers or snacks. It was as if a cleric could to choose a different domain everytime with only a time for a ritual.
 

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