Witcher, Variant (3.5e Class)
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A Witcher is unique in that it's not simply a class or profession; it is a way of life. Witchers are made, not born, and once molded into what they are, they can never go back. Through secret Human experimentation, extensive biological augmentation and chemically induced modifications, a Witcher is born. They are extremely hardy beings, made by Humans for the sole purpose of combating monsters and beasts; and for that purpose, superhuman strength, endurance and speed is required. They far exceed any Human in their physical prowess, but then again, Witchers aren't entirely Human anymore....
IMPORTANT OOC Preface: This is a class I made taking materials from the original "The Witcher" class from this wiki, and the Epic 6 variant created by "jmbrown", as well as various other features from other classes. To keep in mind, this class was made for a custom campaign between friends, and was made to play in a party of extremely powerful PCs. So, take what you see here with a grain of salt. If you are playing in a regular campaign, I suggest tweaking the class to match your party (changing BAB progression and saves, scaling dies up or down - duration, damage, costs, etc).
Edit: I've now added a "Suggested Balance Changes" section underneath the Class Features section. Pretty self explanatory.
Also, as Witchers are considered as both a class and a race, for the sake of organization, I shall indicate which of the various features scattered around the level progression are "natural" features of a Witcher, gained for being what they are, with a (R) tag.
Making a Witcher
Though a Witcher is usually self-sufficient, by no means does this mean they can't work in a group. They serve as an effective front line vanguard, and flexible enough to deal with most situations.
Abilities: Dexterity and Wisdom are the primary ability scores of this class, though a few Witchers opt for a more Strength based approach over Dexterity. Constitution and Intelligence are important secondary ability scores; they dictate a Witcher's hardiness and mastery of specific skills to assist them in their task at hand.
Races: Witchers are both a class and a race.
Alignment: Any. Most Witchers are heavily Neutral (and almost all start out so), but Witchers are mortals too - their ideals and values may change over time.
Starting Gold: 6d6x10 Gold
Starting Age: Moderate
|Saving Throws||Special||Enhanced Speed Bonus|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+2||Heightened Awareness(R), Witcher Signs||+0 ft.|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+3||Deflect Projectiles, Monster Lore, Witcher's Resistance(R)||+0 ft.|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+3||Armor Training 1, Enhanced Speed(R), Tools of the Trade||+10 ft.|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+4||Tactical Fighter, Witcher Styles||+10 ft.|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+4||Mutagen Consumption +2, Vigor Proficiency||+10 ft.|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+5||+5||Tough as Nails, Witcher's Metabolism(R)||+20 ft.|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+5||Armor Training 2, Weapon Versatility||+20 ft.|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+6||+6||Improved Witcher Styles, Swift Tracker||+20 ft.|
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+6||+6||Advanced Witcher Signs, Improved Deflect Projectiles||+30 ft.|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+7||+7||Mutagen Consumption +4, Witcher's Step||+30 ft.|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+7||+7||Armor Training 3, Vigor Mastery||+30 ft.|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+7||+7||+7||Veteran Witcher||+40 ft.|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+8||+8||Intensify Witcher Signs||+40 ft.|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+8||+8||+8||Impromptu Adaptation||+40 ft.|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+9||+9||Armor Training 4, Mutagen Consumption +6||+50 ft.|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+9||+9||+9||Expert Witcher Styles||+50 ft.|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+10||Rapid Signs||+50 ft.|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+11||+11||Improved Evasion||+60 ft.|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+12||Grandmaster Witcher Styles, Mutagen Consumption +8||+60 ft.|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Witcher.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Witcher is proficient in all simple and martial weapons, light armor and medium armor, but are not proficient with shields.
Heightened Awareness (Ex): A Witcher's eyes are special - becoming a slightly lighter shade of its original color, and glowing slightly. Their pupils are thin vertical slits, allowing them to adjust the amount of light entering their eyes. Witchers are immune to the effects of dazzle, gain +4 to Spot and Search, the benefits of Uncanny Dodge, and the ability to add their level to Survival rolls made to follow tracks.
Witcher Signs (Su): Signs are supernatural extensions of a Witcher's will. As they are without magic, they have to rely on these few signs to help turn the tide of battle... or for daily convenience. Signs draw upon a pool of energy from within the Witcher, called Vigor. A Witcher's Vigor pool is equal to his Wisdom modifier. It requires 1 Standard Action to replenish 1 point of Vigor. The DC to resist a sign and its effects (if at all possible) is equal to 10 + half the Witcher's level + Wisdom modifier. Below shows the combat application of signs, but remember, signs aren't only useful in combat, and are versatile tools in the Witcher's daily life.
- Aard: A telekinetic thrust of force. Targets a single creature, does 1d4 damage per level, and pushes back the target 1d4 x 5 feet. Reflex negates.
- Igni: A wave of flame. Deals 1d4 fire damage per level in a 15 foot cone (Reflex save halves the damage), and if the creature(s) fail their save, they take the Witcher's level in fire damage for 1d4 rounds. The fire can be put out as a Standard action.
- Yrden: A snaring trap. Sets down a 30 foot radius trap (centered on the Witcher), and lasts for up to 2 hours until triggered. Upon being triggered, enemies in the trap are entangled (no save). Trap disappears in 1d4 rounds.
- Quen: A shield of warding. Grants immunity to physical damage for 1 round for every 2 Witcher levels (minimum 1). Each successful non-magical attack reduces the duration by 1 round. If the attack was a melee attack, the ward reflects back half the damage, Reflex negates. While under the influence of the Quen sign, the Witcher may not use any other Signs, and may neither expend nor regain their Vigor pool.
- Axii: A charm sign. Confuses a single target for 1d4 rounds, Will save negates. When not in combat, you can influence the target and their thinking upon a failed Will save.
Deflect Projectiles (Ex): The Witcher learns how to deflect incoming projectiles with his hands or weapon. As per the Deflect Arrows feat, but usable with a weapon, and includes projectiles generated by a natural attack, such as a Manticore's spikes.
Monster Lore: To a Witcher, preparation is half the battle, and knowing your enemy is just that. They can make any Knowledge check made to identify a monster, and gain a bonus equal to 4 + the Witcher's class level on such checks.
Witcher's Resistance (Ex): A Witcher is naturally tough, and their skin is harder than most material in order to ward off the natural immense strength of most monsters. The Witcher gains DR/- equal to half the Witcher's level. At 7th level, this DR applies against energy attacks and damage. At 12th level, this DR applies against Spell-Like Abilities. At 17th level, this DR applies against spells.
Armor Training (Ex): Overtime, with experience (and the assistance of their enhanced physical abilities), a Witcher grows accustomed to moving around in his armor. He reduces the Armor Check Penalty of armor by 1 (minimum 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 2. Every four levels after (7th, 11th, and 15th), these bonuses increase each time, to a maximum of -4 reduction in Armor Check Penalty and a +8 increase to maximum Dexterity bonus allowed.
In addition, the Witcher can move at his normal speed in medium armor.
Enhanced Speed (Ex): In order to combat monsters, Witchers are made to be supernaturally fast - speed is both their defense and offense. They gain a bonus to movement speed, scaling as seen in the class table above.
Tools of the Trade: Witchers gain a competence bonus equal to their level on Craft (Alchemy) checks. They also unlock the ability to craft custom Witcher potions, oils and bombs. (List pending)
Tactical Fighter (Ex): Witchers are intelligent and intuitive fighters, and only suffer half the penalty from using Power Attack and / or Combat Expertise feats.
Witcher Styles (Ex): The backbone of Witcher combat is their exquisite and complex swordplay, only achievable via a combination of their superhuman strength, heightened senses and reaction times, and supernatural speed. There are two basic combat styles: (Note: I know I excluded the Group Stance. Considering if I want to add it as a 3rd stance.)
- Agile Stance: Quick and accurate, the Agile Stance is all about outmaneuvering the opponent. Gain half the Witcher level as an attack bonus.
At 8th level, the Witcher also gains a +4 dodge bonus to AC, and 2 extra Attacks of Opportunity per round. At 16th level, they get an extra attack at full BAB, and reduce the penalty from using Combat Expertise by half (stacks with Tactical Fighter).
- Strong Stance: Strong and steadfast, the Strong Stance seeks to triumph through sheer force. Gain half the Witcher level as a damage bonus.
At 8th level, the Witcher also deals 1d6 Constitution bleed damage (Fortitude halves, minimum 1, DC = 10 + 1/2 the Witcher's level + Wisdom modifier). At 16th level, the Constitution bleed damage is increased to 2d6, and reduce the penalty from using Power Attack by half (stacks with Tactical Fighter).
Mutagen Consumption (Ex): Having consumed the mutagens of the monsters previously slain thus far, the Witcher's own mutagenic transformation is further boosted. Gain a +2 bonus to the Witcher's physical ability score. This bonus increases to +4 at level 10, +6 at level 15, and +8 at level 20.
Vigor Proficiency (Su): The Witcher is now proficient in the usage of their Vigor pools. Their finer control allows them to regain 1 point of Vigor as a Move action, and 2 points of Vigor as a Standard action.
Tough as Nails: Through a combination of their inherent sturdiness, hardening battle scars, battle experience and will power, the Witcher has become extraordinarily hard to keep down. The Witcher gains both the Endurance feat and Diehard feat as bonus feat this level.
Witcher's Metabolism (Ex): Witchers at this level have finally mastered control over their own bodies. They are now fully immune to all natural and magical diseases, and they gain the benefits of any substance they consume, but never the dependency (or addiction). They gain a +8 bonus to save against poisons, and no longer require sleep - instead, they can get by if they meditate for at least 14 hours a week, in any increments they desire. They can go for without water a number of days equal to half their Constitution score, and a number of days without food equal to their Constitution score. After being rendered unconscious, they regain consciousness within an hour, and can heal naturally as normal.
Weapon Versatility (Ex): The Witcher's familiarity with their weapon(s) grow; they can now, as a free action, shift their grip on their weapons so that it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage as desired.
Swift Tracker (Ex): The Witcher can now move his normal speed when following tracks without taking any penalties. They take only a -10 penalty when moving twice their normal speed when tracking.
Advanced Witcher Signs (Su): The Witcher's basic Signs are now upgraded, and they can now cast an alternative form of their basic Sign for 2 points of Vigor.
- Aard: Basic Aard now does 1d6 damage per level, and pushes back 2d4 x 5 feet (no save), and the creature must make a Reflex save or fall prone.
Alternate Sign Cast: Aard now targets creatures in a 15 foot cone, does 1d4 damage per level to each, and pushes back 1d6 x 5 feet (Reflex half, round up).
- Igni: Basic Igni now deals 1d6 fire damage per level (Reflex to halve the damage), and burn duration increased to 1d6 rounds (Reflex half, minimum 1 round).
Alternate Sign Cast: Igni can now be concentrated on a single creature. It deals 1d8 fire damage per level (Reflex to halve the damage), and always sets the target on fire for 2d4 rounds.
- Yrden: Basic Yrden duration increased to 2d4 rounds, and the area to a 60 foot radius.
Alternate Sign Cast: Yrden now saps the opponent's strength overtime - enemies that end their turn in a Yrden trap suffers a cumulative -2 penalty to all rolls related to physical activity. Leaving Yrden's radius decays the effect, and they restore the penalties at a rate of 1 round per -2 penalty.
- Quen: Basic Quen now also staggers melee attackers (Will negates), and the damage reflect now reaches even ranged attackers.
Alternate Sign Cast: Weakens the shield, but spreads it over a 10 foot radius. Allies within the barrier take 50% less damage if successfully attacked, and the damage is redirected to the Witcher. A quarter of the total damage is sapped by the barrier, and converted into healing energy that the Witcher can distribute as he pleases to creatures within the barrier. This is a channeled ability, for up to as many rounds as half the Witcher's level, and may be used as an immediate action.
- Axii: Basic Axii duration has been increased to 1d6 rounds, and a successful Will save halves the duration (minimum 1 round).
Alternate Sign Cast: Strengthens the charm; as per basic Axii, but even on a successful roll of 1-25, the target creature may not act, but must instead reroll until they get a result higher than 25.
Improved Deflect Projectiles (Ex): Deflect Projectiles can now be used multiple times a round; each additional usage past the first counts as an Attack of Opportunity, and you may use this a number of times equal to the number of Attack of Opportunities you have. Magical and unorthodox attacks may be attempted to deflect; this works as Evasion.
Witcher's Step (Ex): The Witcher is light on his feet, and moves with a feline grace. They ignore difficult terrain and can leave no tracks, if they wish.
Vigor Mastery (Su): The Witcher has now fully mastered their control over the Vigor pool. They can now regain a point of Vigor as a Swift action (once a round), 2 points of Vigor as a Move action, and 3 points of Vigor as a Standard action.
Veteran Witcher (Ex): The Witcher now fights like a veteran, having wised up from past experiences and conflicts. Add the Witcher's Wisdom modifier to their attack rolls, damage rolls, AC (dodge bonus), initiative and saves.
Intensify Witcher Signs (Su): The Witcher's signs are now inherently more powerful; their Signs are intensified by 25%. They may expend a point of Vigor to intensify the next Sign cast by 50% as a free action. This works as per the feat Empower Spell, but only in regards to DC and duration. DC is calculated as: (1/2 the Witcher's level + Wisdom modifier) x Intensity (1.25 or 1.5) + 12, round up.
Impromptu Adaptation (Ex): Having fought countless battles at this point, the Witcher has gained the ability to adapt to the situation at hand on the fly, cutting down on their usual preparation time. Whenever the Witcher takes a move action, they may, as a free action, interact with their equipment and / or gear (such as pulling out / drinking a potion, preparing a bomb, oiling their blade) as much as a move action would usually require. Absolutely no offensive action can be taken with this ability (throwing the bomb, etc).
Rapid Signs (Su): For the Witcher, weaving a Sign is as easy as breathing now; the Witcher may now cast two Signs as a full-round action, or spend a point of Vigor to cast a Sign as a Move action.
Improved Evasion (Ex): The Witcher is now extraordinary keen to danger and even lighter on his feet than ever before; the Witcher takes no damage on a successful Reflex save, and only half damage on a failed Reflex save.
Stalwart (Ex): The Witcher has reached the peaks of mental and physical fortitude both; if the Witcher makes a Fortitude or Will save with a reduced effect on a successful save, the Witcher instead ignores the effect entirely.
Grandmaster Witcher Styles (Ex): The Witcher's proficiency with stances has reached the level of a Grandmaster; they can now have both stances active, but can only choose one stance to benefit from the Expert Witcher Styles ability, with the other operating at the level of Improved Witcher Styles.
Suggested Balance Changes
This section is a list of suggested adjustments for those who wish to play a Witcher in a typical D&D game.
Hit Dice: Change from a d12 to a d10.
BAB progression: Change to a 3/4 BAB progression, ending with a +15/+10/+5 BAB at level 20.
Saves: Scale Will save progression down to a +6 at level 20.
Witcher Signs: No sure way to balance this across every campaign. Scale accordingly to your party's combat efficiency. Good rule of thumb is that AoE should not do more than 1/2 the damage the PCs can do at their level, and single target no more than 3/4. Igni should always do more damage than Aard. Yrden and Quen duration may be adjusted accordingly if needed. Axii's effect and duration may be changed too.
Witcher's Resistance: As is, and keep the bonus at level 7, but remove the level 12 (DR applies against SLAs) and level 17 (DR applies against damaging spells) benefits.
Enhanced Speed: Remove Enhanced Speed progression, and have it provide a flat 20 feet speed bonus.
Mutagen Consumption: Halve the bonuses at each level of benefit, ending at a +4 bonus to physical ability scores at level 20.
Vigor Proficiency: Change to "Standard actions made to recover Vigor now recovers 2 points of Vigor".
Witcher's Metabolism: Change the save bonus against Poison to +4.
Weapon Versatility: Completely optional freebie. May remove if desired.
Vigor Mastery: Change to "May now use a Move action to recover 1 point of Vigor".
Rapid Signs: Change to "May spend a point of Vigor to cast two Signs as a full-round action."
Playing a Witcher
Religion: None. A Witcher is a professional monster hunter for hire, and as such approaches folk lore and legends with a professional, methodical approach - deities are simply beings of a higher power than most can comprehend, similarly as to how an ant will never fully understand the entity known as a bear.
Other Classes: Differs largely on each individual's view. Most, however, treat Witchers as mercenaries - and some may see their mutation as an abomination of life, though others might see it as a successful experiment.
Combat: Front liners. Witchers have absolutely no magical capabilities, nor ranged combat proficiency - though they can defend against them well enough, and handle themselves in melee very well. Their defense and versatility with signs, as well as various knowledge and tools of their profession (bombs, potions and oils) makes them the perfect vanguard when coming up against a monster or beast.
Advancement: It's impossible for someone to multiclass -into- the Witcher class and race, but it's possible for a Witcher to stray from the traditional path and seek other ways to perform their duties. It is worth noting that a Witcher must have at least 6 levels in the Witcher class before they can multiclass, and even then, can take absolutely no class levels that grant them the ability to cast spells, utilize Ki or a similar resource pool.
Witchers in the World
|“||I'm a witcher. I'm here for the contract - tell me what you know. And half up front.||”|
|—Witchers in general|
Anywhere there's a monster problem, so, pretty much everywhere. Witchers travel far and wide to fulfill contracts and earn coin, and veterans would go to no ends when travelling to find a protege to succeed them, as Witchers aren't exactly the most numerous of people.
Daily Life: Travelling for days to the next village, and picking up a contract for some local troubles - a monster infestation, or a particularly big, bad creature that wandered near the villages, causing panic, lost of lives, and / or destruction of property. They will investigate, gather accounts from witnesses, look for clues, and draw a conclusion - after confirming the monster is what they suspected, they oil their blades, prepare potions and bombs effective against the creature, and go do their job like professionals. Should they live through it, well, there's always the next village.
Notables: The most famous (or infamous) Witcher isn't even half as often heard of as your regular 10th level spell slinger, with their abilities to seemingly bend reality. Their relative methodical approach to their job and professionalism dampens the impact they make on the world, so at most, you only hear passing rumors or some old story.
Organizations: There is no official organization in which they belong, though amongst their profession, they freely share knowledge, for two purposes - encouraging the flow of information so as to make their own life easier, and to pool together their resources so that one might draw upon the collective knowledge of Witchers past and present when raising their own protege to succeed them.
NPC Reactions: Most common villagers are rather superstitious, so a Witcher's unnatural appearance might earn them some ire, fear, and / or distrust. On the other hand, as paid professionals that works for small communities when their own Lord can't (or won't) mobilize their own guards to deal with local problems, others might hear of them and be slightly more welcoming.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History, Local) can research Witchers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Witchers are professional monster hunters for hire.|
|10||Witchers employ the usage of supernatural powers regularly.|
|15||Witchers have considerable skill and mastery in alchemy, and use such skills extensively in their field of work.
The special potions they brew is so toxic even a drop can kill an ordinary man.
|20||Witchers use five distinct Signs, and each has varying effects. They are the result of heavy Human experimentation.
They gain their strength and speed from undergoing alchemically-induced mutations.