Witch Doctor (3.5e Class)
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A wild mage of less civilized cultures, the witch doctor is a force to be wary of. Her spells and curses can quickly turn the tide of any battle.
Making a Witch Doctor
As a spellcaster, the witch doctor need not engage in direct combat. In fact, since many of her abilities have no visual manifestation, her abilities make her best suited for stealth and debuffing while supporting her team.
Abilities: The witch doctor's spells are based off of Wisdom while the save DCs and many of the witch doctor's skills are based off of Charisma. Constitution and Dexterity help the survivability of the somewhat frail witch doctor in combat.
Races: Any race who lives in a tribal society is perfect for the witch doctor
Alignment: Any nongood
Starting Gold: 4d4×10 gp (100gp).
Starting Age: Complex
|Spells per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Turn Spirits, Cursed Doll, Voodoo Curse||1d4||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Often a shaman of more primitive cultures, a witch doctor's skills reflect their abilities to lead and their knowledge of the world. All of the following are class features of the witch doctor.
Witch doctors are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. (A witch doctor may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. See the ironwood spell description) Witch doctors are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only wooden ones.
A witch doctor who wears prohibited armor or carries a prohibited shield is unable to cast spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.
Spells: A witch doctor casts divine spells from the shaman spell list. She can cast any spell she has prepared, much like a druid or cleric. A witch doctor must choose and prepare her spells in advance (see below).
To prepare or cast a spell, the witch doctor must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a witch doctor’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the witch doctor’s Wisdom modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a witch doctor can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Witch Doctor. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score. She does not have access to any domain spells or granted powers, as a cleric does.
A witch doctor prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though she cannot lose a prepared spell to cast a cure spell in its place (but see Spontaneous Casting, below). A witch doctor may prepare and cast any spell on the shaman spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.
Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A witch doctor can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity’s (if she has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions.
Turn or Rebuke Spirits (Su): Any witch doctor, regardless of alignment, has the power to affect spirits creatures by channeling the power of her faith through her holy (or unholy) symbol (see Turn or Rebuke Undead). In this case, spirits are any of the following:
- Incorporeal Undead
- Extraplanar Outsiders
- Creatures in astral form or with astral bodies (but not a creature physically present on the Astral Plane)
- Creatures with the spirit subtype
A good witch doctor can turn spirits. An evil witch doctor instead rebukes such creatures. A neutral witch doctor must choose whether her turning ability functions as a turn or rebuke. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. A witch doctor may attempt to turn spirits a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier. A witch doctor with 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (religion) gets a +2 bonus on turning checks against spirits. Turn or Rebuke Spirits counts as having Turn or Rebuke undead for the purpose of prerequisites.
Cursed Doll (Su): At first level, a witch doctor learns the art of creating dolls. A doll is typically constructed of clay, cloth, or some other simple material such that its cost is negligible and it has no defining features other than a basic anatomy. It's through these dolls that the witch doctor casts her curses. These dolls are typically created during downtime, but can be crafted as a full round action using spell components and material on hand if the need arises.
As a full round action, a witch doctor may attempt to use the doll to curse a target within short range that she can see. Said creature must make a will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 caster level + Cha) or be bound to the doll such that magical effects (both positive and negative) cast on the doll also affect the bound creature. A creature that successfully saves against being cursed is immune to that witch doctor's cursed doll ability for 24hrs.
This is not a mind affecting ability thus mindless creatures are not immune to it although creatures with the swarm subtype are. If affected by the curse, the creature remains affected even if they move out of short range. Abilities targeted at a creature have their range increased by one level. Touch spells can affect a cursed creature through the doll within close range. Close range spells function over medium range, medium range spells function over long range, and long range spells function over 1 mile/caster level. A creature remains bound to the doll for 10 minutes/CL after which time they are freed. Remove curse instantly frees a creature from a witch doctor's curse and destroys the doll she was using. Similarly, destroying a witch doctor's doll frees the person bound to that doll. Destroying the doll with normal weapon damage works fine, only a witch doctor's magical abilities and the pins used by the witch doctor (see below) can affect the cursed creature when targeting the doll. All of the aforementioned methods of breaking the curse does not render the creature immune to future curses.
When attempting to affect a cursed creature through a doll with a magical, spell like, or supernatural ability (with the exception of the voodoo curse ability), if it allows a save then the cursed creature gets a +2 bonus on whatever saving throw is involved. If the ability doesn't allow a save, then the creature gets a will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 cater level + Cha) to negate the effect. Regardless of the area or number of targets usually allowed by a spell, when targeting a doll, only the cursed individual is affected. E.g. a fireball would deal damage as normal to the bound creature but wouldn't affect nearby creatures (aside from them being startled by the cursed creature spontaneously igniting).
Initially, only one target may be cursed at a time, regardless of how many dolls are in the witch doctor's possession. As she advances witch doctor may have a number of curses equal to 1/2 her caster level active at once.
Voodoo Curse (Su): True to the legends of voodoo magic told about the land, a witch doctor carries a set of small pins or needles, which are typically crafted of wood, bone, etc., that have been imbued with their power. As a free action. a witch doctor may stab one of these needles into a doll she has created. Any creature bound to that doll takes 1d4 points of magical piercing damage each turn the needle remains in the doll. A DC = 10 + 1/2 level + Cha fort save reduces the damage by half each turn. Creatures do not get a +2 bonus on this save. The damage dealt by the curse increases as a witch doctor gains levels. Any prestige class that increases a witch doctors effective level stacks to determine how much damage voodoo curse deals. Regardless of how many creatures a witch doctor has cursed, she can only affect one at a time with the damage from voodoo curse.
Curse damage is magical in nature and overcomes DR related to material (e.g. mithril, adamantine, cold iron), but not alignment (e.g. good, lawful, chaotic, or evil) or DR/-. The effective enhancement bonus of the needles is equal 1 + 1/5 the witch doctor's CL. This is for the purpose of damaging a creature that has damage reduction based on weapon enhancement. For example, at 11th level, the effective enhancement bonus of the pins would be +3 and would thus overcome the corresponding damage reduction.
Advanced Learning (Ex): At 3rd level, a witch doctor can add a new spell to her list, representing the result of personal study and experimentation. The spell must be a druid or wizard spell of the necromancy, or illusion school, and of a level no higher than that of the highest-level spell the witch doctor already knows. Once a new spell is selected, it is added to that witch doctor's spell list and can be cast just like any other spell she knows. If a spell is both a druid spell and a wizard spell, use the lower of the two spell levels (when different) to determine what level the spell is for a witch doctor. A witch doctor gains an additional new spell at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.
Blood Component (Su): At 4th level, a witch doctor can substitute a drop of their own blood for a spell's material component (if any), and in so doing increase the spell's power. The pinprick or minor knife cut to draw the requisite blood is a free action (just like using a material component) that becomes a normal part of casting the spell. Using this ability deals 1 point of damage to the witch doctor but raises the spell's caster level by 1. Damage reduction doesn't apply to this damage. If a spell has a costly material component (greater than 1 gp), the witch doctor must still provide it but can use this ability to enhance the spell she desires. She can similarly enhance a spell that has no material component.
Omen (Sp): At 6th level, a foreboding sense of doom travels with the witch doctor, candles are extinguished, a chill fills the air, or a strange smell fills the area. A witch doctor can use her spell-like abilities granted by Mumbo Jumbo as a swift action instead of the normal standard action.
Effigy (Su): At 8th level, A witch doctor can incorporate bits of a target's possessions or body into a doll to enhance its effectiveness. Based on what item is used, the target takes the associated penalty on saves vs. curses from that specific doll.
|Connection||Will Save Modifier|
|Likeness or picture||–1|
|Possession or garment||–2|
|Body part, lock of hair, bit of nail, etc.||–4|
If the doll is destroyed, the physical part or possession of the target inside the doll is also destroyed. Additionally, the curse from a cursed doll utilizing this ability cannot be broken by a remove curse spell unless the caster's caster level is equal or greater than that of the witch doctor at the time the curse was placed.
Blood Metamagic (Su): At 10th level, witch doctors learn the secret of how to apply a metamagic feat they know to a spell by paying an additional cost in blood. By draining her own blood, a witch doctor can enhance her spells without using a higher-level spell slot. The cost is a number of points of Constitution damage equal to the spell slot adjustment of the metamagic feat. A witch doctor cannot enhance a spell to a level higher than she can cast. She may also not use the blood of an unwilling creature for this ability though allies' blood may be used. A witch doctor cannot select an ally immune to Con damage or an ally without a Constitution score. For purposes of this spell, a witch doctor cannot designate a summoned or charmed being as an ally. This ability's usage is limited by its witch doctor's constitution and cannot be used to apply more levels of metamagic than the witch doctor's Con-10 each day. For example, a witch doctor with 15 Con may enhance up to five levels of metamagic each day, even if she restores her constitution back to its normal max. Spells like bear's endurance also do not increase a witch doctors daily uses of blood metamagic, but a persistent effect like an amulet of health would.
Blessed Pins (Su): At 12th level, the pins used by a witch doctor's voodoo curse overcome damage resistance related to the witch doctor's alignment (law, evil, and/or chaos).
Curse Eternal (Su): At 14th level, a creature cursed by the witch doctor's cursed doll ability remains that way until the curse is broken. An affected creature may make a save at the beginning of every day to free themselves of the curse. The other methods of curse removal still work, the curse just won't expire with time.
Destroy Doll (Su): At 20th level, Cha times per day (minimum 1), a witch doctor may cause a doll bound to a creature to turn to ash in her hands. The creature bound to said doll must make a will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 level + Cha) or be affected as if they'd failed the fortitude save of a finger of death spell. Creatures destroyed this way spontaneously drop dead. A single creature may not be affected by this ability more than once per day. This ability destroys the doll and frees the affected creature from the associated curse.
A witch doctor who ceases to revere the spirits or switches to a prohibited or alignment loses access to the Turn/Rebuke Spirits, Mumbo Jumbo, Blood Component, Blood Metamagic, and Omen abilities and may not continue advancing until they're of appropriate alignment again. Additionally, witch doctors cannot multiclass as devoted religious classes such as the Cleric or any Paladin variants without losing the abilities listed above as well as Voodoo Curse and its derived abilities. If she ceases to revere nature she must also be the the subject of an atonement spell from a nature worshiping cleric or druid before she can continue progressing as a witch doctor.
Epic Witch Doctor
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Voodoo Curse: A witch doctor's voodoo curse continues to increase in power every three levels after the 18th.
Epic Witch Doctor Bonus Feat List: Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Combat Casting, Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Epic Rod, Craft Epic Staff, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Efficient Item Creation, Enhance Spell, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Familiar Spell, Forge Epic Ring, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Scribe Epic Scroll, Spell Focus, Spell Knowledge, Spell Mastery, Spell Penetration, Spell Stowaway, Spell Opportunity, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic. In addition to the feats on this list, the witch doctor may select any item creation feat or metamagic feat not listed here.
Playing a Witch Doctor
Religion: Witch doctors worships spirits and thus might not derive her divine power from standard deities. She may acknowledge the existence of more gods but to her they're nothing more than very powerful spirits.
Other Classes: Given their background, witch doctors typically get along best with classes like barbarians, druids, and rangers. They might be more neutral towards rogues, fighters, and bards and they view the more devoted religious classes like clerics and paladins with outright confusion.
Combat: The witch doctor is a powerful spellcaster who boasts several abilities capable of debilitating the enemy. They work best in the back of the group using their curses and spells from a safe distance.
|“||Civilization is just another tribe of beasts hiding in their dens for fear of what the forest holds||”|
|—Beral Spiritsight, Human Witch Doctor|
Witch Doctor Lore
Characters with ranks in knowledge (religion or nature] can research witch doctors to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||They say that the savage tribes on the edges of civilization host powerful spellcasters capable of commanding the spirits of the dead|
|15||Witch doctors are the respected shamans of savage cultures who are skilled at reading the land|
|20||These priests are masters in the art of voodoo magic which they use to great effect in battle|
|25||Witch doctors most often channel their curses through cursed dolls. If you destroy the you can break the curse.|
Witch Doctors in the Game
Adaptation:The witch doctor is a somewhat of a cross between the druid and the traditional cleric designed to represent the superstitious nature of primitive cultures. With the permission of the Dungeon Master, one could easily substitute witch doctors to create a more sinister villain than a cleric or druid.