Wisps of purple smoke and dancing shadows rise from the ritual as the young human with strange magical markings tattooed across her hands whispers words in a language long forgotten, calling forth ancient powers.
Black wings beat as a raven lands on the outstretched hand of an ancient elf, his eyes as black as the raven’s. Soft words are spoken, and the elf nods in agreement.
The mysterious hin gives a knowing smile, his unseeing eyes focused on you. He knows what you’ve come for, and tosses a handful of incense into the fire; what does he sees in there? Your fate? Your destiny? As he speaks, it is only in riddle.
Witchcrafters follow the old ways, a path of ritual and wisdom long known yet oft forgotten. Rather than force magic to obey, they bind it, twist it, coerce it, and compromise with it. They follow ancient agreements and techniques to produce results that few fully understand, even those that use them, but they know it will work, for it always has.
Witchcrafters following ancient traditions. Their path to magic involves unearthing ancient secrets, old ways, and knowledge gleaned from intermediaries. Witchcrafters often personify aspects of their magic in ways that other casters find odd, coaxing and manipulating magic forces by ancient laws and bargains. Witchcrafters treat those whom they glean their knowledge from with cautious respect for their domains, asking for what they take, and carefully giving thought to their actions. Each tradition is an ancient legacy of magic, found deep within folklore and story. Every villager could tell you stories of witchcrafters and their traditions, and they are often seen in this context. Though villagers and the superstitious might fear them and their magic, they may be more likely to turn to them than a mage, for at least a witchcrafter makes sense to them, even if their powers can be more frightening.
A witchcrafter’s magic passes through intermediaries of the old gods, the new gods, spirits of the air, land, woods, and seas as well as creatures of power such as celestials, devils, elementals, ghosts, and other spirits. A witchcrafter is fundamentally tied into the greater magical world, being neither a source of magic nor an academic researcher of it, but wielding it through intuition, attunement, and tradition. Frequently, a witchcrafter may call upon their magic through the intermediaries quite directly, even having names for the intermediaries they call to bring about certain magical effects. They might call upon a spirit to work the effect they wish, use an invocation of their ancient bargain, or use words in a language that binds or persuades.
Creating a Witchcrafter
When deciding on the witchcrafter class, think about what led your character to tap into the these ancient magics. Maybe witchcraft is a tradition in the area, or your character comes from an area rife with a ghostly past. What is your relationship with the intermediaries? Is there a measure of mutual respect? Perhaps your character feels more like a servant to the intermediaries than the other way around, or maybe your character possesses the entitlement to dominate and extort the intermediaries.
How did your character come to be an adventurer? It could be that they were a pariah in their community due to contact with intermediaries, cast out and forced to fend for themself. Perhaps your character is even haunted by a particular intermediary, and seeks away to control or be rid of it.
Choose an archetype, which grants you features.
A witch can be many things, and most often refers to someone that villagers find scary and weird, but at the heart of every crazed story there’s a sliver of truth, and that truth is that witches do indeed exist. Some may live openly as what they are, while others may be the last person the superstitious villagers might expect. Varied in their powers, designs, and traditions based on their coven, generalizing about a witch is challenging, but they are most often defined by the varied utilitarian magic, hexes that make crossing them unwise, and powerful intelligent familiars.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
(a) a quarterstaff or (b) a dagger
(a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
A grimoire and alchemist’s supplies if you know how to make concoctions
The coven that a witchcrafter swears by relates to their philosophy. When entering a coven, a witchcrafter is granted abilities which align with these core philosophies. Though witchcrafters of different covens may produce similar results, it is important to think on how each coven’s teachings shape your character’s attitudes.
Choose a Coven
Choose a coven, which grants you features.
The black coven specializes in inflicting pain, curses, and eventual agonizing death.
|Level||Proficiency bonus||Features||Invocation||Catalysts||Catalyst Limit||Mana||Mana Limit|
|1st||+2||The Old Ways, Second Wind||2||1||1||1||1|
|2nd||+2||Agonizing Curse, Blackened Familiar, Familiar, Feat (1), Hex, Master of Curses, Ritualist, Witchcraft (1/rest)||4||2||1||2||1|
|3rd||+2||Abilities Increase (1), Skilled (1)||6||2||1||2||1|
|5th||+3||Skilled (2), Extra Action, Focused Concentration||10||4||2||4||2|
|6th||+3||Feat (3), Resilient||12||5||2||5||2|
|7th||+3||Witchcraft (2/rest), Abilities Increase (2), Skilled (3)||14||5||2||5||2|
|10th||+4||Feat (5), Resilient||20||8||3||8||3|
|11th||+4||Abilities Increase (3), Skilled (5)||22||8||3||8||3|
|15th||+5||Abilities Increase (4), Skilled (7)||30||11||4||11||4|
|17th||+6||Hex, Ritualist, Witchcraft (3/rest), Skilled (8)||34||13||5||13||5|
|19th||+6||Abilities Increase (5), Skilled (9)||38||14||5||14||5|
The Old Ways
Your magic passes through intermediaries of the old gods, the new gods, spirits of the air, land, woods, and seas as well as creatures of power such as celestials, devils, elementals, ghosts, and other spirits. You are fundamentally tied into the greater magical world, wielding magic through intuition, attunement, and tradition.
A grimoire has 100 blank vellum pages suitable for recording spells and concoctions, a concoction takes up one page per catalyst cost, and a spell takes up one page per mana cost.
With your grimoire in hand, you can cast any spell it contains as a ritual. You can’t cast the spells except as rituals, unless you’ve learned them by some other means.
Copying a ritual into the book. If you come across a spell in written form, such as a witch’s grimoire or a mage’s spellbook, you can add it to your grimoire if it has the ritual tag, you can decipher the unique system of notation used to write it, it costs equal to (or less than) your mana limit, and if you can spare the time and costs to copy it. For each mana cost of the spell, the process consumes 5 mana, takes 8 hours, and costs 100 sp. The cost represents materials you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.
Copying a recipe into the book. If you come across a concoction recipe, such as a recipe that says to add toad slime, two red mushrooms, and 2 dragonflies to create a concoction, you can add it to your grimoire if it is from a theme you know, it costs equal to (or less than) your catalyst limit, and if you can spare the time and costs to copy it. For each catalyst cost of the concoction, the process consumes 5 catalysts, takes 8 hours, and costs 100 sp. The cost represents materials you expend as you experiment with the concoction to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.
Losing your grimoire. If you lose your grimoire, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to replicate it into a new grimoire that matches the old in every way as the previous grimoire turns to dust. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest.
Your grimoire’s appearance. Your grimoire has its own appearance, decorative flourishes, and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient grove, or even an heirloom passed down to your from your ancestors.
You have been given or have created a grimoire, a magical book where you record rituals and concoctions.
You prepare the list of concoctions that are available for you to create. To do so, choose a number of concoctions from your grimoire equal to your Wisdom + the amount of concoctions you can prepare based on your Invocation choices.
For example, if you are level 3 with 3 Wisdom and you have chosen 3 concoctions, your list of prepared concoctions can include six concoctions. Creating the concoction doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared concoctions.
You can change your list of prepared concoctions when you finish a short or long rest. Preparing a new list of concoctions requires time spent brewing chemical bases which catalysts can be added to: at least 1 minute per catalyst cost for each concoction on your list.
You gain two invocation as shown on the Invocation column of the Witch table. An invocation grants one of the following options:
- Learn a new theme and a cantrip from it if the theme is from your power source.
- You can prepare an additional concoction when you finish a short or long rest. Additionally, add a new concoction from a theme you know to your grimoire. The concoction is added to your grimoire without expending any sp, though you still must spend time writing it. The concoction must cost equal to, or less than, your catalyst limit. If the concoction costs 2 or more catalysts, you must know a number of feats, concoctions, or spells from the concoction’s theme equal to the concoction’s catalyst cost minus 1.
- Learn two cantrips from the themes you know.
- Learn a new spell from a theme you know in your power source. The spell must cost equal to, or less than, your mana limit. If the spell costs 2 or more mana, you must know a number of feats, concoctions, or spells from the spell’s theme equal to the spell’s mana cost minus 1.
When you gain a level, you gain two additional invocation and you can choose a cantrip you know and replace it with another cantrip from a theme you know or you can choose a spell that costs 1 or more mana and replace it with another spell that costs 1 or more mana from a theme you know. You cannot replace a cantrip if you would then know zero cantrips from that theme and your choices must follow the restrictions above.
Starting Concoctions and Spells
You know three cantrips, one concoction, one spell, and one concoction or spell from the themes you know. Your grimoire contains the concoctions you know.
Concoctions are inherently short lived. If a concoction is not used or consumed within 24 hours of being created it loses its power. A character can expend resources to add preservative chemicals which make it last much longer as detailed on Alchemical Creations.
The Witch table shows how many catalysts you have to create concoctions. To create a concoction, you must expend catalysts based on the concoction’s cost.
You regain half your total catalysts when you finish a short rest and all expended catalysts when you finish a long rest. If you have any unused concoctions, you regain fewer catalysts equal to the amount of catalysts unused.
The Witch table shows how much mana you have to cast spells. To cast a spell, you must expend mana based on the spell’s cost.
You regain half your total mana when you finish a short rest and all expended mana when you finish a long rest.
Catalyst Limit and Mana Limit
There is a limit on the amount of catalysts you can spend to create a concoction and mana you can spend to cast a spell. The limit is based on your level, as shown on the Catalyst Limit and Mana Limit columns of the Witch table.
High catalysts concoctions and high mana spells
Concoctions using 4 or 5 catalysts and spells using 4 or 5 mana are particularly taxing to create and to cast. Once you create a concoction using 4 catalysts or cast a spell using 4 mana, you can’t create another concoction using 4 catalysts or cast another spell using 4 mana until you finish a short or long rest. Once you create a concoction using 5 catalysts or cast a spell using 5 mana, you can’t create another concoction using 5 catalysts or cast another spell using 5 mana until you finish a long rest.
Wisdom is your alchemical ability for your concoctions since you learn your concoctions through ancient traditions and following the old ways. You use your Wisdom whenever a concoction refers to your alchemical ability. The Alchemy skill describes how to create a concoction.
Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your spells, since your magic comes from your ability to attune with intermediaries. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. The Occult skill describes how to cast a spell.
You can cast a spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.
You have a limited well of energy that you can draw on to protect yourself from harm. As an action, you can spend up to half your Health Dice (minimum 1). For each Health Die spent in this way, roll the die and add your Constitution. You can decide to spend an additional Health Die after each roll. You regain health equal to the total.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
When you hex a creature, you can cause it to take necrotic damage equal to half your level + your Wisdom.
As a reaction, which you use when you force a creature within 5 meters of your familiar to make a saving throw, you can have your familiar distract the creature. Subtract 1d4 from the creature’s saving throw. You can use this before or after the saving throw is made, but before any effects of the saving throw are applied.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.
You gain the service of a familiar that watches over you. You have a familiar as outlined in the find familiar spell, though your familiar has additional health equal to your level + your Wisdom, has an Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma of at least 0, and has the ability to speak one language that you speak. Your familiar always appears in the same form. If your familiar drops to 0 health, it reappears next to you after you finish a long rest or if you expend your Witchcraft to bring it forth.
A feat represents an area of expertise that gives a character special capabilities. It embodies training, experience, and abilities beyond what a class provides.
You gain a feat of your choice from the general feats or from a theme you know.
You gain additional feats at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th level.
When you gain a level, you can choose one of the feats you know and replace it with another feat that you could have learned when the replaced feat was chosen.
Once on your turn, you can place a curse on a creature that you can touch or see within 10 meters. For 8 hours the target has disadvantage on ability checks.
A remove curse cast on the target ends this feature early.
Once you hex a creature, you can’t use hex again until you finish a short or long rest unless the target drops to 0 health before this feature ends or you expend your Witchcraft to use it again.
At 17th level, you can hex all creatures of your choice within 10 meters.
Master of Curses
You have advantage to maintain concentration on any spell that curses a creature.
The ritual version of a spell takes you 5 minutes longer to cast than normal instead of 10 minutes. Additionally, choose two spells that cost 1 mana and have the ritual tag from any theme and add them to your grimoire.
At 17th level, you unlock ancient secrets and techniques to master rituals. Any spell you know that has a casting time of an action or longer, costs 2 or less mana, and does not restore health becomes a ritual spell for you. When you cast a spell as a ritual that is not normally a ritual, it requires additional consumed material components worth 10 sp for each mana of the spell.
You gain the ability to channel magical energy through an intermediary to fuel magical effects. You start with three such effects.
When you use your Witchcraft, you choose which effect to create. You must then finish a short or long rest to use your Witchcraft again.
Some Witchcraft effects require saving throws. When you use such an effect from this class, the Difficulty equals your spell save Difficulty.
You learn an additional effect at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th level level. Beginning at 7th level, you can use your Witchcraft twice between rests, and beginning at 17th level, you can use it three times between rests. When you finish a short or long rest, you regain your expended uses.
You gain the ability to make a creature unaware of your magical influence on it. When you cast a spell affecting one or more creatures, you can alter one creature’s understanding so that it remains unaware of being affected.
Additionally, if the effect charmed, frightened, or confused the creature, you can use an action once before the effect expires to try to make the chosen creature forget some of the time it spent affected. The creature must succeed on a Will saving throw against your spell save Difficulty or lose a number of hours of its memories equal to 1 + the mana expended to cast the spell. You can make the creature forget less time, and the amount of time can’t exceed the duration of your spell.
You bargain with nearby spirits of nature, the elements, or other spirits, to reach untapped power. On a long rest you can choose 1 spell you know and replace it with another spell from a theme you know, which must cost equal to, or less than, your mana limit. Once you use Bargain, you can’t use it again for 7 days.
You can cast confusion without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast fear without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
Gaze of Two Minds
You can cast gaze of two minds without expending mana.
You can cast hypnotize without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast instinctive charm without expending mana.
Mask of Many Faces
You can cast disguise without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
Mire the Mind
You can cast the slow portion of the haste/slow spell without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast image without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast alter self without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast striding and springing without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
Patron of Five Fates
You can cast bless without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
As an action, choose a spell you know that has a casting time of an action or longer, costs 3 or less mana, and does not restore health. You can cast the chosen spell as a ritual until you finish a short or long rest.
Sign of Ill Omen
You can cast bestow curse without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast sleep without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can attune your senses to determine if any supernatural creatures lurk nearby. Choose up to two creature types from the following list: aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, monstrosities, oozes, undead, or creatures with the (shapechanger) tag. By spending 1 uninterrupted minute in concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), you can sense whether any creatures of those types are present within 2 kilometers of you.
This feature reveals which creature types are present and the creatures’ general direction from you. If there are multiple groups of enemies within range, you learn this information for each group.
The Third Eye
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.
Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 10 meters. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 10 meters.
Ethereal Sight. You can see into the Ethereal Plane within 10 meters of you.
Greater Comprehension. You can read any language.
See Invisibility. You can see invisible creatures and objects within 2 meters of you that are within line of sight.
Thief of Five Fates
You can cast bane without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
You can cast twist fate without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
Whispers of the Grave
You can cast speak with dead without expending mana. You can augment it further by expending mana.
Increase two abilities of your choice by 1 and one of your lowest two abilities by 1. If multiple abilities are tied for one of your lowest abilities, you can choose any of them. As normal, you can’t increase an ability above 5 using this feature.
Increase your abilities again at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.
Choose any skill to improve your proficiency with. If you are untrained, you become capable. If you are capable, you become proficient.
There are some limits for what can be done with two actions. See Actions in combat section.
You can use two actions on your turn instead of one.
If you fail a saving throw to maintain your concentration on a spell, you can use your reaction to reroll the saving throw.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again.