Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Scarred Witch Doctor

The Scarred Witch Doctor (SWD) is an archetype for the Witch class. What is most interesting about this archetype and unique to Pathfinder is that it uses Constitution as its casting stat.

Why does this matter? Casters have a few weak points but the biggest tends to be their Fortitude save. In our current campaign, the PC wizard suspected an enemy wizard was present, picked him out hiding invisibly, and cast Polymorph Other. The wizard rolled ok but it wasn't enough and he turned into a sheep (someone plays too much WoW). With one stroke the battle swung towards the PCs and the sheeped wizard's companions no longer stood a chance. Smart casters (and wizards should be nothing but) will always target what should be the lowest saving throw. Getting petrified, polymorphed, poisoned, etc is not much fun as a player.

So a SWD has little reason to put points into Str, Int or Cha. Bump Dex up to 14 to boost your Reflex save from awful to merely crappy and help you aim your ray spells. Put Wis up to 14 so your Will save is decent, and then focus everything else into Con. You are boosting your hitpoints (you will have tons), your Fort save, the number of bonus spells you get, and your spell DCs. Score!

Since you really only have to focus on Con you can really go all out. Other arcane casters have to put points in non essential stats like Cha or Int but you can focus on the three stats that boost your saving throws.

For an extra boost of awesomeness take a single level of Urban Barbarian with a focus on Con. A couple feats dedicated to Extra Rage and you can rage most battles. I am pretty sure since Urban Barbarian allows you to use mental skills while raging that includes casting. You can easily get your Hex and spell DCs almost to 30 by level 15 which means few things will be able to resist your power.

Now I admit the Witch spell list is not the best. It loses a lot of the wizards versatility but does borrow a few tricks from druids and clerics (Heal!). Most of this is made up for by Hexes. I played a Witch in the Kingmaker campaign and I was both grossly overpowered and nearly useless depending on what type of enemy we were facing. The Sleep hex is nasty and trivialized many encounters especially when it follows an Evil Eye/Misfortune combo. The Witch really is King/Queen of the debuffs. With an insane number of bonus spells from crazy high constitution and a carefully chosen patron I think the Witch can replace the Wizard in many parties.

Knowing that we are likely going to be playing the Mythic campaign Wrath of Righteous in the next year, I've been adding Mythic to my character builds to see how they behave. Most builds do quite well from a mythic power-up but not all (my Smartest Orc in the Universe didn't gain much). Like most arcane casters the SWD becomes even more awesome driving up spell and hex DCs into the stratosphere. Only BBEGs have any chance to make the saving throw.

Here's a semi finished level 15 SWD

Scarred WitchDoctor
Half-Orc Barbarian (Urban Barbarian) 1/Witch (Scarred Witch Doctor) 14
NG Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 10 (+5 Dex)
hp 259 (1d12+14d6+194)
Fort +24, Ref +17, Will +22; +2 vs. effects that cause pain or have the [pain] descriptor
Defensive Abilities scarshield
Speed 30 ft.
Special Attacks hexes (cackle, evil eye, flight, fortune, ice tomb, misfortune, slumber), rage (31 rounds/day)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +15)
   At will—feather fall (self only) (DC 11)
   14 minutes/day—fly (self only)
   1/day—levitate (self only)
Witch (Scarred Witch Doctor) Spells Prepared (CL 15th; concentration +27):
1st—mage armor
0 (at will)—detect magic, light, putrefy food and drink (DC 22), read magic
Str 10, Dex 20, Con 35, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 10
Base Atk +8; CMB +8; CMD 23
Feats Extra Rage, Extra Rage, Extra Rage, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Raging Vitality, Spell Penetration
Traits magical knack
Skills Heal +7, Intimidate +4, Perception +10, Spellcraft +18, Swim +4, Use Magic Device +18; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ controlled rage, controlled rage: constitution, controlled rage: dexterity, crowd control, fetish mask, hex scar, orc blood, patron spells (time), weapon familiarity, tireless rage
Other Gear belt of physical might (dex & con +6), cloak of resistance +5, headband of inspired wisdom +6, 89,000 gp
Special Abilities
Cackle (Su) As a move action, extend the duration of other hexes by 1 rd.
Controlled Rage (Ex) May gain lesser bonus split as desired, but without normal drawbacks.
Crowd Control (Ex) If 2+ foes adjacent, +1 to hit & AC. Unslowed by crowds & bonus to intimidate.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Evil Eye -4 (15 round(s)) (DC 29) (Su) Foe in 30 ft takes penalty to your choice of AC, attacks, saves, ability or skill checks (Will part).
Fetish Mask (Su) +2 to Heal, Intimidate & save vs pain while wearing the mask. Can enchant the mask
Fortune (2 round(s)) (Su) Ally in 30 ft can roll 2d20 for an attack, save, ability, or skill check (and take higher) once/rd.
Hex Scar You must scar your flesh for every hex you learn.
Ice Tomb (DC 29) (Su) A storm of ice and freezing wind envelops the creature, which takes 3d8 points of cold damage (Fortitude half). If the target fails its save, it is paralyzed and unconscious but does not need to eat or breathe while the ice lasts. The ice has 20 hit
Magical Knack (Witch [Scarred Witch Doctor]) +2 CL for a specific class, to a max of your HD.
Misfortune (2 rds) (DC 29) (Su) Foe in 30 ft must take the lower of 2d20 for rolls (Will neg).
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Rage (31 rounds/day) (Ex) -2 Str, -2 Con, +2 to Will saves, -2 to AC when enraged.
Raging Vitality +2 CON while raging, Rage does not end if you become unconscious.
Scarshield +7 (14 minutes/day) (Su) +1/2 level to AC for a number of minutes per day equal to your level.
Slumber (14 rds) (DC 29) (Su) Foe in 30 ft falls asleep for duration, or until damaged or roused by ally (Will neg).

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nessus said...

two words:
Mythic. Hexes.
you think sleep trivialized fights before? Try "you are affected by my hex for 1 round before you even GET to roll a saving throw.

Erik-Jan said...

I don't think you get that many rage rounds though. You only get 2 per level for a barbarian level.

Julix said...

You also can't cast while raging.

However you could use a spear:

However, if you find a way to get dex to hit and damage (such as unchained rogue after 3 levels) you could use it to a more devistating effect given the high dex... *kidding* - never lose spellcasting levels! -- However weaponfinesse could be worth it, and hope to trip on an attack of opportunity.