There were a few attempts to bring out a Witch character class for Dungeons & Dragons 3e, but now that Paizo have added one to the Pathfinder RPG, witches are now integrated into the ruleset... and ripe for development and expansion, as here. Now Pathfinder witches are powerful wielders of magic, not cuddly modern Wiccans but a spellcasting force to be reckoned with, a match for any wizard or sorcerer and able to hold their own in play.
While you will need to read the full class in the Advanced Player's Guide before you start to use this book, it begins by giving an overview of the specific strengths of this character class. In some ways they are similar to wizards with spell lists, familiars, and 'at will' powers at their disposal; but the differences are quite profound. Witches tend to be more generalist, and their familiars can act as a repository for their magical knowledge, a sort of 'living spellbook' which means that, as written, it's probably not a good idea to allow your familiar to brawl too often. The real fun comes with the hexes that they can cast, these 'at will' powers give the witch some of the flavour and potency of the most feared mediaeval legend. Just as well, as they are not very physical and need to rely on defensive and healing magic in combat situations.
The class summarised, we move on to the real meat of this work, a full 30 new feats designed to make the most of the witch class, building on her strengths and addressing at least some of the weaker areas. Many are available to any character who can meet the prerequisites, but they are designed with the witch in mind. There are some nice ones to enhance your familiar - perhaps it too can cast hexes or concentrate to maintain a spell freeing you to do something else - and many improve or allow variation in spells. For example, there's the Discriminating Spell metamagic feat, which lets you choose to have one specific race or creature type either targeted by or immune to the spell you wish to cast. Indeed there is a wealth of neat ways to hone your witch's abilities through these feats.
The work rounds off with three witch 'builds' - suggested ways of planning and developing a witch character from first level on. One is the arch-witch, a magic specialist who dominates other spellcasters, demanding knowledge and power from them. Then there's the white witch, who defys the usual image of an evil cackling crone casting curses, specialising in healing both the injured and the world as a whole. And if you'd rather be traditional, there's a wicked witch as well!
Overall, if you want to play a witch this work has some useful suggestions for making the most out of the class, playing to the strengths and exploiting potentials.
Return to Advanced Feats: The Witch's Brew page.
Reviewed: 30 September 2010