Witch Doctor (3.5e NPC Class)

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Witch Doctor[edit]

Witch doctors are primitive magic workers. They live among remote tribes whose knowledge of magic is more myth than truth. In a world of stone spears, their magic is "powerful" and "unopposable." They usually rise to positions of power, second only to the great tribal chiefs.

What little magic that witch doctors actually know is related to spirits. To them, every effect is achieved by helping or hurting a person's spirit. The world is ruled by spirits. Everything happens because of spirits. Their tribes believe that spirits abound in the world. They look to the witch doctor to keep bad spirits away and good spirits with the tribe.

Witch Doctors are an NPC class.

Table: The Witchdoctor
Hit Die: d8
Level Base
Fort Ref Will Special
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Gain Spell 0
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Gain Spell 0
3 +2 +1 +1 +3 Gain Spell 1, Craft Primitive Item
4 +3 +1 +1 +4 Gain Spell 1
5 +3 +1 +1 +4 Gain Spell 1
6 +4 +2 +2 +5 Gain Spell 1, Evil Eye
7 +5 +2 +2 +5 Gain Spell 1
8 +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Gain Spell 1
9 +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Gain Spell 2
10 +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Gain Spell 2
11 +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Gain Spell 2
12 +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Gain Spell 2
13 +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Gain Spell 2
14 +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Gain Spell 2
15 +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Gain Spell 3
16 +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Gain Spell 3
17 +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Gain Spell 3
18 +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Gain Spell 3
19 +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Gain Spell 3
20 +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Gain Spell 3

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level; ×4 at 1st level)
The witch doctor's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Local, Religion)(Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

Class Features[edit]

Witch doctors are proficient with simple weapons and light armor.

All of the following are features of the witch doctor class:

Gain Spell: Witch doctors cast divine spells based on Wisdom. For each level of witch doctor, they gain the ability to cast one specific divine spell per day. They may pick from the list below. They may pick a spell multiple times. They may pick a spell from a lower level.

The spells of witch doctors are primitive compared to modern spells. Each witch doctor spell takes ten minutes per spell level to cast. Level 0 spells take one minute to cast. Witch doctors cast all spells at their full class level.

Spell 0: alarm, cure minor wound, detect magic, guidance, know direction

Spell 1: bless, cause fear, charm person, command, magic weapon, detect animals or plants, endure elements, cure light wounds, calm animal, magic fang, hypnotism, animal messenger

Spell 2: speak with animal, augury, bear's endurance, bull's strength, cat's grace, animal messenger, barkskin, lesser restoration, pass without trace, see invisibility, whispering wind

Spell 3: animate dead, bestow curse, cure blindness/deafness, dispel magic, locate object, speak with dead, remove disease, neutralize poison, clairaudience/clairvoyance, suggestion

Craft Primitive Item: At level five, the witch doctor gains the Craft Primitive Item feat. Example primitive items include Voodoo Doll, Beast Costume, Warpaint, Spirit Bag, Feather of Magic Weapon, Talisman of Invulnerability, and Skull Mask.

Evil Eye: Once per day, a witch doctor may cast one of his spells as a silent, still spell. In addition, this spell only takes a full round to cast. The spell must give non-beneficial effects to the target.

Example Witchdoctor[edit]


CR 4

Male human witch doctor 8
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init/Senses +0/Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Common, Infernal
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 52 (8 HD); DR 2/— against wood, stone, or natural weapons
Fort/Ref/Will +2/+2/+6
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee human thighbone club +6/+1 (1d6) with feather of magic weapon or
Melee stone knife +5/+0 (1d4−1)
Ranged human thighbone club +7/+2 (1d6) with feather of magic weapon or
Ranged stone knife +6/+1 (1d4−1)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+5
Special Actions evil eye
Combat Gear primitive warpaint of barkskin, primitive warpaint of bull's strength
Abilities Str 8, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 15
Feats Craft Primitive ItemsB, Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill FocusB (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Intimidate), Skill Focus [Knowledge (religion)]
Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +20, Disguise +2 (+4 acting while observed), Heal +14, Intimidate +23, Knowledge (religion) +15, Listen +14, Sense Motive +14, Sleight of Hand +13
Possessions combat gear plus talisman of invulnerability, human thighbone club with feather of magic weapon, stone knife, bear costume of Constitution, one dried human heart, four shrunken human heads, two human skulls
Evil Eye Once per day, Tinangaj may cast one of his spells as a silent, stilled spell. In addition, this spell only takes a full round to cast. The spell must give non-beneficial effects to the target.

Tinangaj is a witchdoctor of the remote Mumbajumbato tribe. He dislikes any stranger who could disrupt his position as the right-hand man of the chief. He is extremely distrustful of all strangers, causing him to turn the chief's heart against them. Time and again, he will oppose the stranger's sweet words. Should the chief be swayed, he will again argue against the strangers once they leave. Should the strangers prove powerful enough to notice, he will steal a bit of their spellcaster's gear and make a voodoo doll. He will then sap the spellcaster's spell-dependent attribute with his curses. He will lift his voodoo curse if the stranger confesses that Tinangaj is the superior spellcaster and admits defeat before his powerful and unopposable magic.

Tinangaj gets his magic from the evil spirits that speak to him in infernal.

If Tinangaj is encountered in a social context, he is CR 8, as he will prove a challenging social villain. If Tinangaj is only encountered in combat, he is CR 4.

Using the Witch Doctor[edit]

Witch doctors work best in the following circumstances:

  • Character levels 4-10
  • Moderately to highly social campaign
  • Lower magic to standard magic campaign

The true challenge of the witchdoctor comes not from combat, but from the social trouble that they cause the characters. The witch doctor uses his bravado and stature to convince the characters that he is more powerful than he really is. By the time push comes to shove, and combat ensues, the witch doctor should go down fast.

The witch doctor should tolerate characters at first, and once he sees that they are capable, use them for his own political maneuvers. Once he realizes that the characters are more powerful than he is, he will use every trick that he has to make their lives miserable. This trickiness is what makes the witch doctor a challenge. Often enough, he will play both sides of the game. He will cause their trouble, offer to solve if, and thus put the characters into his debt.

Killing the witch doctor should be an invitation to trouble. The tribe will be incensed if the witch doctor is killed in cold blood and go on the warpath. The characters should fully believe that they will face hundreds of foes, and possibly have the primitives starting a war far beyond what the characters can control. Even if they use stealthy means, the primitives are smart enough to figure out which group of strangers to blame.

The trick to this situation is to find some way to eliminate the primitive in a way that the tribe will accept, or shifting the blame to somebody that they don't like.

If the players eliminate the witch doctor with great prejudice, if not glee, then you know that you have used the witch doctor well in your campaign.

Witch doctors do not work in all campaigns. Witch doctors are inappropriate for the following campaign or player styles:

  • High powered
  • High magic
  • High levels
  • Combat focused

In these games, the players are not interested in the social tensions that the witch doctor creates. These players are savvy enough to quickly assess the witch doctor's weaknesses and eliminate him.


Tinangaj (3.5e NPC)

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