The Ebon Empire
A tattooed elf, veiled and cloaked, draws his obsidian dagger across the sand, calling forth from the lines a ghostly apparition to help him and his allies find their way. A trio of halfling hermits gather among candles and incense, chanting words of power to bait spirits from the shadows. The bejeweled human, dressed in exotic garb and golden chains bellows a spell which echoes with the voices of an army of lost souls, a fiendish glint in his eyes as blood drips from his palm. Witches harness the power of lost souls to protect themselves and allies, and debilitate their enemies. As a witch, you learn to summon powerful spirits and bind them to your will, gaining power and protection from them. As you attain higher levels, the circle you join grants you further abilities which extend the usefulness and power of these bonds in different ways.
The Power of Spirit
Witches may or may not have a level of respect for the spirits they bind, though one could say they should. Some witches tap into the residual energies of long-departed souls, while others use extant spiritual beings as conduits for their spellcasting. Either way and whether or not they wish, witches bind part of their own soul to those that surround them.
Witch spells mostly deal with manipulation of spiritual energies (both living and dead) and protections against the beings that supply those energies. As part of their connection to the spiritual world, they are also privy to information and secrets normally not meant for mortal minds. As such, witches are powerful enchanters, abjurers, and diviners.
Bonds of the Soul
Witches acknowledge that there is a spiritual connection between all things – forces that inexplicably and randomly bind beings and happenings together in a kind of mass, shared fate. They see other witches as brothers and sisters, and other classes as close cousins. As a consequence, witches are often fond of forming alliances. One kind of alliance is the circle that a witch belongs to.
The circle that a witch joins is the manifestation of a philosophy regarding the nature of spirits. Some, like the circle of power, believe in a supreme energy that extends beyond the physical world, weaving together magic and the collective conscience of all living things. Others, from the circle of blood for example, believe in a more intimate connection between the physical world and the other side. In this philosophy, each soul is tied to something close to it in the physical world – a body, an object, or location that was important to it when it was alive.
Creating a Witch
When deciding on the witch class, think about what led your character to tap into the spirit world. Maybe witchcraft is a tradition in the area, or your character comes from an area rife with a ghostly past. Superstition is also a good trigger for a fascination with spirits. What is your relationship with spirits? Is there a measure of mutual respect? Perhaps your character feels more like a servant to the spirit than the other way around, or maybe they possess the entitlement to dominate and extort spiritual beings.
How did your character come to be an adventurer? It could be that he or she was a pariah in their community due to contact with the other side, cast out and forced to fend for him or herself. Perhaps your character is even haunted by a particular spirit, and seeks away to control or be rid of it.
As a Witch you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per Witch level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + Constitution modifier per Witch level after 1st
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Herbalism kit
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, Animal handling, Deception, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a component pouch or (b) an athame used as an arcane focus
- (a) a priest’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
- Any simple weapon and two daggers
At 1st level, you experience the witch’s quickening where your powers begin to blossom. You become spiritually attuned to the presence of beings who have long passed, and may use your magic to interact with them.
You can detect the presence of spirits within one mile of you by expending one witch spell slot. This awareness lasts 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend. In addition, you may add your proficiency bonus to Investigation and Persuasion when dealing with spirits.
Your contact with the spirit world and intuitive knowledge of the magic which allows it to persist grants you the use of spells. See chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting and the end of this class description for the witch spell list.
Cantrips:You know two 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.
Preparing and Casting Spells: The Witch table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and above. To cast one of these witch spells, you must expend a spell 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, choosing from the witch spell list. When you do so, choose a number of witch spells equal to your Charisma 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 are a 3rd level witch, you have four 1st level and two 2nd level spell slots. With a Charisma of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell cure wounds, you can cast it using a 1st-level or 2nd-level spell slot. Casting the spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells.
You can also change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of witch spells requires time spent in communion and meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your witch spells, since your magic comes from bargaining with spirits. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a witch spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Ritual Casting: You can cast a witch spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
Spellcasting Focus: You can use an athame as a spellcasting focus for your witch spells.
At 2nd level, you can bind Benefactor Spirits to your service through a ritual that takes one hour. You can maintain a number of such bonds equal to your wisdom modifier when you gain this feature. You may also only ever have one spirit of each type bound at the same time. A bond requires a spell slot to be filled for as long as the spirit is bound. A spell slot filled in this way is not recovered after a long rest, and you may only restore the spell slot used to bind a spirit after a long rest once the spirit has been released. Depending on the type of spirit bound, you gain certain benefits while the spirit is in your power and when you release the spirit, as detailed at the end of the class description. Releasing a spirit is a bonus action, although some spirits allow release as a reaction.
Rite of Warding
At 3rd level, you gain the ability to perform a rite of warding as an action. The ward has a radius of 30 feet, centered on you, and is stationary for its duration. While inside the ward, friendly creatures cannot be charmed, frightened, or possessed by spirits and have resistance to all damage from spiritual sources (including the spiritual effects produced by other witches). Additionally, if a friendly creature would be reduced to 0 hit points inside the ward but not killed outright, the creature becomes stable. The ward lasts 10 minutes per level, or until you perform another rite of warding.
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 scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Rite of Exorcism
At 7th level, you gain the ability to perform a rite of exorcism. This ability functions as the banishment spell (page 217 of the Player’s Handbook) against spirits and incorporeal creatures. Unlike the banishment spell, the rite does not require concentration after casting, and the target does not return by default. Alternatively, you can use the rite to attempt to exorcise a living target’s own soul. On a failed Wisdom save, the target is dealt 6d8 necrotic damage and is stunned for one turn. On a successful save, the target only takes half damage. You may use this ability 3 times. Uses recover after a long rest.
Rite of Summoning
At 11th level, you gain the ability to perform a rite of summoning by spending 10 minutes in communion with spirits. The rite functions as the planar binding spell (page 265 of the Player’s Handbook), except that it summons a spiritual creature and the spirit makes its Charisma save before materializing. On a successful save, no spirit is summoned. The duration of the effect is 10 minutes per witch level. When the rite expires, the summoned spirit returns to where it was before being bound. Once you use this ability, you may not use it again until after a long rest.
Rite of Possession
AT 15th level you may cast Dominate Beast as the spell with the but you can target up to 3 beasts within 30 feet, and the duration of concentration, lasting up to 24 hours. You regain the use of this ability after a long rest.
Rite of Hexing
Cantrips Bladeward, Chill Touch, Friends, Guidance, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Minor Illusion, Poison Spray, Resistance, True Strike
1st Level Animal Friendship, Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Detect Poison and Disease, Faerie Fire, Hex, Longstrider, Prestidigitation, Protection from Evil and Good, Purify Food and Drink, Speak with Animals, Unseen Servant, Witch Bolt
2nd Level Crown of Madness, Darkness, Darkvision, Enhance Ability, Enthrall, Find Traps, Flame Blade, Hold Person, Lesser Restoration, Locate Animals or Plants, Locate Object, Misty Step, Moonbeam, Protection from Poison, Ray of Enfeeblement, Suggestion
3rd Level Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Fear, Fly, Gaseous Form, Hypnotic Pattern, Magic Circle, Major Image, Protection from Energy, Remove Curse, Tongues, Vampiric Touch, Water Walk
4th Level Banishment, Blight, Confusion, Dimension Door, Dominate Beast, Freedom of Movement, Hallucinatory Terrain, Locate Creature, Polymorph, Wall of Fire,
5th Level Antilife Shell, Awaken, Commune, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane , Contagion, Dominate Person, Dream, Geas, Greater Restoration, Hold Monster, Insect Plague, Legend Lore, Mass Cure Wounds, Modify Memory, Planar Binding, Reincarnate, Scrying
6th Level Arcane Gate, Circle of Death, Conjure Fey, Contingency, Eyebite, Find the Path, Flesh to Stone, Heal, Mass Suggestion, Sunbeam, True Seeing
7th Level Etherealness, Finger of Death, Mirage Arcane, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Plane Shift, Regenerate, Sequester, Symbol
8th Level Antipathy/Sympathy, Dominate Monster, Feeblemind, Power Word Stun, Sunburst, Trap the Soul
9th Level Astral Projection, Foresight, Imprisonment, Power Word Kill, Shapechange, True Polymorph, True Resurrection, Weird, Wish