Witch, 2nd Variant (5e Class)
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Witches channel the energies that bind all things, living and non-living. They draw power from the borders between realms like the fey and shadow, astral and ethereal, life and death. They combine this with their knowledge of the natural properties of mundane objects to create synergetic reactions. They are a conduit for the magic that exists everywhere, not by mystical birth, divine intervention or studying arcane science. No, the witches gained their knowledge through thousands of years or anecdotal practice, trial and error. Witches often experienced more error than success resulting in accidents and causing normal people to fear them. Witches were once common in almost every town and practiced their herbalism and channeled their magic in the open. Religious leaders feared their power and hated that some people looked to the witches instead of the church and they set out on a crusade to discredit and then destroy the witches. Drawing on peoples own fears as well as in any lot, some witches used their power for evil. That as well as the accidents gave the churches all the propaganda they needed. They claimed all witches to be servants of evil and tainted the name “witch” across the lands. Now witches operate in secret. If they use their powers in the open some will claim to be sorcerers, clerics, or merely herbalists to hide their identity. Rumors and old wives tales spread by the church of witches being cursed and said curses being contagious led to most people avoiding and mistrusting them.
Covens are secretive groups of witches that bind together to aid each other in all things from the mundane to the magical. They may exist in the middle or normal communities’ right under the noses of religious elders that would have them cast out, keeping secret to avoid detection, or hiding far into the uncharted wilds. Each coven will subscribe to a single tradition (sub-class) but that tradition may have witches of many differing alignments. There are good infernal witches that bind fiends to force them to do good deeds. Witches tend to be lawful to the coven, but chaotic witches have been known to exist. A coven can be a single witch, a single family, a few small families or as many as 1000 organized people holding secretive services hidden in a large city. Their knowledge is only passed down within a coven, usually to a child, sibling or family member. Though on rare occasion an orphan will be adopted or a lost outsider will be brought into the ranks to learn their ways. Given the secretive nature and the mistrust of outsiders finding a coven is near impossible. If you are wanted, they will find you. The coven is not un-like an informal guild or school, training their apprentices from a young age to follow in their footsteps. Due to this it is highly unusual for an individual to multiclass into witch without an unusual set of circumstances. Some witches on a rare occasion have been known to give up their calling and take up more normal professions later. It is much easier for a witch to find a wizard or fighter school than a wizard or fighter to find a witch’s coven.
Creating a Witch
How did your character come to practice witchcraft? Is it a local or a family tradition? Were you born into the coven, or were you accepted into it at a later time in your life? Were you healed by a witch as a child, and were inspired to take on the same craft to help others?
How did your character start adventuring? Were they cast out of their own society as being a heretic? Are they on a pilgrimage to continue their witch training? Is there some rare ingredient or elusive spirit they are searching for? Are they fulfilling the last wish of their people?
- Quick Build
You can make a Witch quickly by following these suggestions. First, Wisdom should be your highest ability score, followed by Intelligence. Second, choose the hermit or sage background. Third, choose a , a component pouch, and a scholar’s pack for your starting equipment.
As a Witch you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: club, daggers, darts, blowgun, sickle, quarterstaffs.
Tools: Herbalism Kit or a Poisoners kit
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Medicine. Nature, and Survival.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a quarterstaff or (b) a dagger
- (a) a component pouch or (b) a Spellcasting Focus
- (a) a scholar’s pack or (b) a priest's pack
- A Grimoire (spellbook)
|Cantrips Known||Features||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||3||Spellcasting, Ageless Witch||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||3||Coven Tradition Feature||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||3||One with the Spirits||4||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||4||Ability Score Improvement||4||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||4||Coven Tradition Feature||4||3||3||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||4||Ability Score Improvement||4||3||3||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+4||5||Coven Tradition Feature||4||3||3||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|12th||+4||5||Ability Score Improvement||4||3||3||3||2||1||—||—||—|
|14th||+5||5||Coven Tradition Feature||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||—||—|
|15th||+5||5||Broom of Flying||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||—|
|16th||+5||5||Ability Score Improvement||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||—|
|19th||+6||5||Ability Score Improvement||4||3||3||3||3||2||1||1||1|
As a Witch you call upon your inner strength as well as the power in or near all things to channel spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and the Witch can choose any spell from the Witch spell list below.
At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the witch spell list. You learn additional witch cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Witch table.
- Your Grimoire (Spellbook)
A witch creates a Grimoire during their training. The spells that you add to your Grimoire as you gain levels reflect the rudimentary trial and error you practice with the items you find and the energies of the border realms, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had about the nature of the multiverse. You might find other spells during your adventures. You could discover a spell recorded on a scroll or in another witches, Grimoire or example, or in a dusty tome in an ancient library. Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a Witches spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your Grimoire if it is of a level for which you have spell slots and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it. Copying a spell into your Grimoire involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the witch who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your Grimoire using your own notation. For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells. Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own Grimoire into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your Grimoire. This is just like copying a new spell into your Grimoire, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell. You need spend only 1 hour and 10 gp for each level of the copied spell. If you lose your Grimoire, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new Grimoire. Filling out the remainder of your Grimoire requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal. For this reason, many witches keep backup Grimoire in a safe place. The Book’s Appearance. Your Grimoire is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous Grimoire in a mishap.
- Grimoire (Spellbook)
At 1st level, you have a Grimoire containing six 1st-level Witch spells of your choice.
- Preparing and Casting Spells
The Witch table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. You prepare the list of witch spells that are available for you to cast. To do so choose a number of witch spells from your Grimoire equal to your Intelligence modifier + your witch level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For example, if you're a 3rd-level witch, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination, chosen from your Grimoire. If you prepare the 1st-level spell magic missile, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells. You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of witch spells requires time spent studying your Grimoire and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
- Spellcasting Ability
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your witch spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a witch spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
- Ritual Casting
You can cast a witch spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your Grimoire. You don't need to have the spell prepared.
- Spellcasting Focus
You can use an arcane focus (found in chapter 5) as a spellcasting focus for your witch spells. A Witches focus is usually a mundane item like a totem, chicken foot, hat, spoon or a mangled stick like wand. Be creative.
- Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher
Each time you gain a witch level, you can add two witch spells of your choice to your Grimoire. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Witch table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your Grimoire.
A witch's practices manifest in their outward appearance based on their coven. You can't be aged magically. Your lifespan is extended and you only appear to age 1 year for every 2 years that pass. You suffer none of the frailty of old age. You will eventually still die of old age, however.
When you reach 2nd level, you choose a Coven tradition, shaping your practice of magic through one of three schools: Herbalist, Fey, or Infernal, all detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.
One with the Spirits
Beginning at 3rd level, casting divination spells comes so easily to you that it expends only a fraction of your spellcasting efforts. When you cast a divination spell of 2nd level or higher using a spell slot, you regain one expended spell slot. The slot you regain must be of a level lower than the spell you cast and can’t be higher than 5th level.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability s cores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Broom of Flying
At 15th level as part of a short rest the witch can fashion a special broom and cast a ritual spell over it (10 minutes) granting only your witch the power to use it for flight. It grants a flight speed of 30 feet per round and can carry the witch, items carried by them and additional load equal to their own bodyweight.
At 20th level a witch can fashion a doll out of normal objects of cloth, straw, thread buttons and the like somewhat resembling the target creature. If they include parts from an individual creature (like hair, teeth, nails, skin) and cast the ritual over the doll under the light of the moon they will create a link between the doll and the creature. That night the creature will have a dream of themselves being bound, encased, or imprisoned in some form and make a Wisdom saving throw against the witch’s spellcasting DC. If it fails the doll is linked to the creature. Damage done to the doll will do a corresponding 1 point of damage to the same location on the creature. The witch can also target the doll with a spell even if the creature is out of range and the spell will affect the creature as long as it is on the same plane of existence. At the end of any round the target takes damage from the doll or is targeted by a spell form the doll it get another saving throw. A successful save with break the link. Burning or destroying the doll breaks the link.
The Herbalist Tradition (or fairy tale “Good Witch”) focuses on natural properties existing in nature for healing and divination. They seek to aid and guide mortals to help them find the light on their own.
- Witches Brew
At 2nd level using your Herbalism Kit you can create a potion, stew, or food item (like an apple) which can cure or cause one of the following conditions; blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned. Anyone consuming the brew must make a Constitution saving throw or be afflicted by the condition for 24 hours or until cured. Creating a witches brew takes 10 minutes. The brew loses its potency in 24 hours if not consumed. Once you use this ability you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.
- Ward Pouch
At 6th level you gain the ability to create a ward pouch. This is a small canvas or cloth pouch of a size that can fit in a pocket. The pouch may contain herbs, leaves, crystals, stones, earth or sand particular to the magic the witch is protecting against. The pouch grants its abilities to anyone that carries it and it lasts for 24 hours. Creating a ward pouch takes 10 minutes. When you do this you cannot create another pouch until you finish a long rest. There are 2 types of Ward Pouches:
- Elemental Ward Pouch
When created the witch chooses a single source of power listed below. The pouch grants resistance to that source. Sources are: Cold, Fire, Force, Lightning, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, Radiant,
- Ward Pouch of the Planes
When created the witch chooses a single creature type listed below. The pouch grants protection from that type of creature. If a creature of the type protected attacks the target they do so at disadvantage. Creature types are: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.
- Witch's Incense
At 10th level, if you have a ward pouch or a witch’s brew potion or food item you can set magical fire to the item while chanting the incantation and toss it up to 30 feet. When it lands it instantly emits smoke and fumes in a 20’ diameter sphere. All creatures within the sphere are granted the effects or curse of the original item (brew or ward pouch) for 1 minute. Unwilling creatures make a Constitution saving throw against the witch’s DC. The smoke obscures vision.
- Spirit Knowledge
At 14th level the Herbalist witch can conduct a séance ritual using special incense and candles and commune with the spirits to gather mundane information about any person or creature. The knowledge is general and not specific. You would not know where they are right now or what their plans are but you would know what foods they like or how they dressed. This general information qualifies at “familiar” knowledge when scrying.
The Fey Tradition (or fairy tale “Wood Witch”) has a deep connection to nature and the fey. They tend to be recluses or hermits living away from people and caring for their forest, grove, mountain or beach they call their own. They have no inclination to help or harm people but may aid or harm based on the impact the creatures are having on the area they call home.
- Nature Step
- Fey Companion
- Fey Sight
Starting at 10th level, you can use your action to increase your powers of perception. When you do so, choose one of the following benefits, which lasts until you are incapacitated or you take a short or long rest. You can’t use the feature again until you finish a rest.
- Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet, as described in chapter 8.
- Ethereal Sight. You can see into the Ethereal Plane within 60 feet of you.
- Greater Comprehension. You can read any language.
- See Invisibility. You can see invisible creatures and objects within 10 feet of you that are within line of sight.
- Greater Fey Companion
At 14th level the fey witch can cast conjure fey without expending a spell slot. Once they have cast it they cannot cast it again until after they finish a long rest.
The Infernal Tradition (or fairy tale “Evil Witch”) desires a connection to the infernal realm. They cavort with fiends and seek power and guidance from them. This fosters a general dislike for mortals. They begin to view them as lesser beings than witches. They will seek to disrupt the plans of non-witches as they want to look more powerful to their infernal masters.
- Infernal Companion
At 2nd level, an infernal witch adds the spell find familiar to their spellbook if it is not already there. When cast they gain the option of summoning an Imp or Quasit as a familiar option.
- Fiendish Knowledge
At 6th level through your research and bargaining with fiendish accomplices, you have deduced the true name of a demon. Summoning said demon with the 4th level summon greater demon spell and knowing his true name gives you advantage on the saving throw to control the fiend.
- Fiendish Friends
At 10th level the infernal witch can cast planar binding at its lowest level without using a spell slot. If you do so you cannot use the ability again until you finish a long rest.
- Devil’s Talisman
At 14th level you can fashion a devil’s talisman. Construction takes 30 days and the cost of components is 5,000 gp. This talisman is unique to a particular devil. This will aid you in casting, summoning and command the Devil per the infernal Calling spell (Xanathar’s 5th level).
Witch Spell List
chill touch, control flames, create bonfire, dancing lights, encode thoughts, friends, frostbite, guidance, gust, infestation, light, mage hand, mending, message, minor illusion, poison spray, prestidigitation, resistance, shillelagh, spare the dying, thaumaturgy, toll the dead
- 1st Level
absorb elements, animal friendship, bane, beast bond, bless, catapult, cause fear, charm person, command, comprehend languages, create or destroy water, cure wounds, detect evil and good, detect magic, detect poison and disease, disguise self, entangle, false life, faerie fire, feather fall, find familiar, fog cloud, grease, goodberry, healing word, hellish rebuke, hex, identify, illusory script, inflict wounds, necromancy, protection from evil and good, purify food and drink, ray of sickness, sanctuary, silent image, sleep, speak with animals, unseen servant, witch bolt
- 2nd Level
aid, alter self, animal messenger, arcane lock, arcanist's magic aura, augury, barkskin, beast sense, blindness/deafness, blur, calm emotions, continual flame, crown of madness, darkness, darkvision, detect thoughts, enthrall, earthbind, enhance ability, enlarge/reduce, gentle repose, gust of wind, heat metal, hold person, invisibility, knock, lesser restoration, levitate, locate object, magic mouth, maximilian's earthen grasp, mind spike, mirror image, moonbeam, pass without trace, phantasmal force, protection from poison, ray of enfeeblement, see invisibility, shatter, silence, skywrite, snilloc's snowball swarm, spider climb, suggestion, warding bond, warding wind, web, zone of truth
- 3rd Level
animate dead, bestow curse, call lightning, clairvoyance, conjure animals, create food and water, daylight, dispel magic, enemies abound, fear, feign death, fly, gaseous form, glyph of warding, haste, life transference, magic circle, major image, nondetection, protection from energy, remove curse, revivify, sending, sleet storm, slow, speak with dead, stinking cloud, summon lesser demon, tongues, vampiric touch, water breathing, water walk, wind wall
- 4th Level
arcane eye, banishment, blight, charm monster, confusion, conjure woodland beings, control water, death ward, divination, dominate beast, elemental bane, black tentacles, freedom of movement, giant insect, grasping vine, greater invisibility, hallucinatory terrain, ice storm, locate creature, faithful hound, resilient sphere, phantasmal killer, polymorph, sickening radiance, stoneskin, summon greater demon
- 5th Level
antilife shell, cloudkill, commune, commune with nature, contact other plane, contagion, control winds, danse macabre, dawn, dispel evil and good, dominate person, dream, enervation, flame strike, geas, greater restoration, hallow, hold monster, immolation, infernal calling, insect plague, legend lore, maelstrom, mislead, modify memory, negative energy flood, planar binding, telepathic bond, reincarnate, scrying, seeming, skill empowerment, synaptic static, telekinesis
- 6th Level
circle of death, conjure fey, contingency, create homunculus, create undead, disintegrate, instant summons, eyebite, find the path, flesh to stone, forbiddance, globe of invulnerability, guards and wards, harm, heroes' feast, investiture of flame, investiture of ice, investiture of stone, investiture of wind, magic jar, mass suggestion, mental prison, irresistible dance, planar ally, primordial ward, programmed, soul cage, sunbeam, transport via plants, true seeing, wall of thorns, wind walk
- 7th Level
- 8th Level
abi-dalzim's horrid wilting, antimagic field, antipathy/sympathy, clone, control weather, dominate monster, feeblemind, illusory dragon, incendiary cloud, maddening darkness, maze, mind blank, power word stun, sunburst, telepathy
- 9th Level
astral projection, foresight, imprisonment, invulnerability, mass polymorph, power word kill, psychic scream, shapechange, storm of vengeance, time stop, true polymorph, true resurrection, weird, wish