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Prestige Class: Sascrian Witch Hunter

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Sascrian Witch Hunter

Hit Dice: d8


Alignment: Any Evil

Recruitment: A Witch Hunter must be recruited and trained by the Sascrian magocracy, or by its agents if outside Sascria.  Witch-Hunters are never recruited from among divine casters, and are almost always Bards, Sorcerers, Summoners or Wizards.

Skills: a Craft skill at 3 ranks, Knowledge: Arcana 3 ranks, Spellcraft 3 ranks

Special: (revised) The Witch Hunter must also sacrifice their ability to cast spells, if any, to the Sascrian Magocracy.  In exchange, the Witch-Hunter gains the ability to steal and use the spellcasting power of those she hunts.

Divine casters: forbidden from becoming a Sascrian Witch-Hunter

Non-casters: 1 mote for every character level before becoming a 1st level Sascrian Witch-Hunter

Bards: 2 motes for every spellcasting level sacrificed

Summoners: (they retain their Eidolon) 2 motes for every spellcasting level sacrificed

Sorcerers and Wizards: 3 motes for every spellcasting level sacrificed

When this sacrifice is made, for every level of spellcasting class the Witch-Hunter had, she loses the ability to cast those spells but gains the ability to absorb bonus motes of arcane energy equal to twice her spellcasting levels.  For each level of Sascrian Witch-Hunter gained after that point, the character gains the ability to store 2 more motes.

A character who becomes a Witch Hunter of Sascria can never again gain levels as a spellcasting class.

Class Skills

Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Planes, Perception, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Stealth, Survival, Use Magic Device

Skill Points at each level: 4

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Max Spell Level
1 +0 +2 +2 +2 Tracking, Spell Theft 2
2 +1   +3   Craft Soul Prison, Wtich-Hunter Strike 1/day 2
3 +2   +3   Urban Tracking, Bonus Feat 3
4 +3   +4   Arcane Sacrifice 3
5 +3   +4    Bonus Feat 4
6 +4   +5    Witch-Hunter Strike 2/day 4
7 +5   +5    Bonus Feat 5
8 +6   +6    Swift Tracking 5
9 +6   +6    Bonus Feat 6
10 +7   +7    Witch-Hunter Strike 3/day 6


Class Features

Weapon and Armor proficiency: Sascrian Witch-Hunters gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.  However, Witch-Hunters can case spells from their own spell-list while wearing light armor and carrying a buckler or light shield.

Spell Theft: Whenever a Witch-Hunter is targeted with a spell directly, she has a chance to absorb the energy of that spell if her saving throw is successful.  After a successful saving throw, the Witch-Hunter uses a swift action to attempt to steal the spell's energy with a Spellcraft check.  The DC to steal spell energy is the same as for the saving throw.  If successful, the Witch-Hunter now has one mote of spell energy per spell level used against them.

A Witch-Hunter stores motes of spellcasting energy.  Each mote of energy corresponds to one spell level she can cast.

Tracking: Witch-Hunters receive the Tracking Feat at 1st level for free, and they receive Urban Tracking at 3rd level, even if they do not satisfy the requirements for these Feats.

Craft Soul Prison: At 2nd level, the Witch-Hunter is able to craft the Soul Prison she will use in her work serving Sascria.  She does not need to make the Soul Prison alone, but she does need to be involved in every stage of it's construction.  The Soul Prison is created as any magic item, or an existing magic item can be upgraded to become a Soul Prison.  The cost of upgrading an existing item is 4000gp in materials.  The cost of creating the Soul Prison from scratch is listed below.  Depending on what item is chosen as a Soul Prison (any durable magic item will do) there are different effects that the Prison will have when it is used.

Weapon: A Soul Prison weapon deals 1d6 extra damage to any target with spells or spell-like abilities.  This damage is doubled on a critical hit.

Armor: Soul Prison armor (either a piece of a suit of armor or a shield) grants Spell Resistance equal to 10 + Witch-Hunter level + Con bonus.  If a spell fails due to Spell Resistance, it's energy can still be stolen as if the Witch-Hunter made a successful saving throw.

Ring: A Soul Prison ring enables a Wtich-Hunter to store more motes of arcane energy than would normally be possible.  The ring itself is able to store arcane motes equal to the Witch Hunter's level, in addition to other motes she is able to store normally.

Rod: A Soul Prison rod grants the following powers that only apply to the Witch-Hunter's spells: Sudden Empower 1/day, Sudden Enlarge 1/day, Sudden Extend 1/day

Staff: As a standard action, a Soul Prison staff can be readied to be used to reflect a spell back on the caster.  If successful, the spell takes effect with the caster as it's target or with the caster at the center of it's area of effect.  The roll to reflect a spell is a Spellcraft roll against the spell's save DC

Wondrous Item: The special effect of a Soul Prison wondrous item should be negotiated with the DM based on what wonderous item is being used

Witch-Hunter Strike: As a swift action, a Witch-Hunter designates one opponent for her Strike ability.  All of the Witch-Hunter's attacks against this opponent add her Intelligence modifier to the attack roll and her Witch-Hunter class level to the damage dealt.  This ability only works against opponents with spells or spell-like abilities.

Bonus Feats: Witch-Hunters can take any of these bonus Feats as long as they meet the requirements: Iron Will, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Improved Disarm, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Persuasive, Weapon Focus, Armor Proficiency (light)

Arcane Sacrifice: When a Witch-Hunter is in a position to kill an arcane spellcaster, or has just landed a blow that kills a spellcaster, she can either choose to steal as much arcane energy as possible or to entrap the caster's soul in her Soul Prison.  Either is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.  The Witch-Hunter rolls a Will save against a DC equal to 10 + the dead caster's level /2 + their Wisdom modifier.  If successful, the Witch-Hunter either steals motes for every spell slot the caster had available that day (up to the Witch-Hunter's limit) or draws the caster's soul into the Soul Prison where it remains until it is transferred to a new prison or is used up.



Witch-Hunter Spell List

1st level

Alarm, Cause Fear, Comprehend Languages, Detect Secret Doors, Disguise Self, Endure Elements, Hold Portal, Mount, Ray of Enfeeblement

2nd level

Alter Self, Arcane Lock, Blindness/Deafness, Darkness, Darkvision, Daze Monster, Detect Thoughts, Invisiblity, Misdirection, Scare, See Invisibility, Knock, Web, Whispering Wind

3rd level

Arcane Sight, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Deep Slumber, Dispel Magic, Hold Person, Nondetection, Phanton Steed, Ray of Exhaustion, Slow, Suggestion, 

4th level

Arcane Eye, Black Tentacles, Crushing Despair, Dimensional Anchor, Enervation, Greater Invisibility, Locate Creature, Scrying

5th level

Dismissal, Passwall, Prying Eyes, Hold Monster, Sending, False Vision, Seeming, Waves of Fatigue, Telekinesis

6th level

Greater Dispel Magic, Repulsion, Getaway, Analyze Dweomer, True Seeing, Mass Suggestion, Mislead, Unwilling Shield, Enemy Hammer


Three notes.

Couple notes here:

First, you may want to add spellcraft to class skills, since the spell-theft ability works on it.

Second, we need a detailed entry for motes. What are they? How are they converted into spells? How many base motes does the character get? There's a section about bonus motes, but I didn't see anything about the base number of motes per level.

Oh, and finally, if you're allowing the summoners to keep their eidolons, then you might want to add in the eidolon healing spells from the summoners list to the witch-hunters list of spells.

This needs to be clarified I

This needs to be clarified I can see, but the basic concept is that the WH receives motes based on how many caster levels s/he sacrifices to become a WH - that's listed in the write-up.  As the WH levels, s/he does not automatically gain any motes - those are always gained through spell theft.  The maximum spell level limit is the main limitation on how motes are used.

As to how they are converted into spells, a mote is identical to a level one spell per day; two motes identital to a level two spell per day, and so on.  They're converted into spells however casters normally do it - the fiction is that they store inner energy and prepare rituals and so on, so they still do that, they just use motes as their in-game resource to tell them how many spells they can cast.

We might need to add a maximum number of motes at one time, so that a WH doesn't, I dunno, have allies cast spells at her for days and days, building up ten thousand motes, and then cast spells day and night for weeks.  I can definitely see that being a possible exploit.

Yeah, I was thinking

Yeah, I was thinking something similar.


I might suggest dividing the mote system up into two parts, current and maximum. The maximum number of motes a WH can hold at one time might be 2*level, or 2*level+int modifier. Or possibly 2*level+the number of caster levels sacrificed to become a WH. 

Alternatively, you could add a line to the mote section. "Spells cast by an ally can never result in the WH gaining a mote." Or something like that. Most abilities have maximums, though being able to stock up on motes might be an interesting and unique class feature.

mikeb's picture

Inquisitor Archetype?

Now that we have the Archetype paradigm for base classes from the APG, what do you think about turning the Witch Hunter into an Archetype of Inquisitor? Inquisitors normally cast spells as divine, but we could make them be considered arcane. We could also create a new Domain with spells that operate around the soul and necromancy and cross-over with the Wizard/Sorcerer list. Replace the detect good/evil/law/chaos at will ability to be detect magic. Replacing healing, purity, and smiting judgments with other abilities.


I personally like it as a

I personally like it as a prestige class rather than a base class.  I like that it maps to an actual organization.

I think, though, that we could also look at an Inquisitor Archetype and see how that looks too.  It's possible, with some tweaking, to have both - the Inquisitors being a  new manifestation, and the Witch Hunters being more established.

mikeb's picture

What do you mean by new?

What do you mean by new? Theoretically the witch hunters didn't come into existence until after the Collapse because their purpose would have been unncessary. Or are you thinking something different?

Raemann's picture

Moirah does not like ...

Moirah, she simply does not like witch hunters. But she has personal reasons.


Needs significant work

Working on Jarvia Clavis, I realized two things.

1. Sascrian Witch-Hunter is a baddass choice for an ex-Bard.

2. I need to work on the mechanic behind sacrificing normal casting ability so that it balances out between a Bard making the change and, say, a Sorcerer or Wizard.

mikeb's picture

It's coming along very well.

It's coming along very well. It need to have a requirement that the character is initiated into the organization. In other words, some random person can't become a witch hunter, it's restricted to agents of the Sascrian magocracy.

Also, I realized that I need

Also, I realized that I need to decide which ability Witch-Hunters use to cast. I'm thinking of Intelligence, since both Bards and Rogues will tend to be good at that, and those are the most obvious two precursor-classes.

Thoughts on spells?

Done. I'm not sure about what offensive spells to give them in their list, though. Spells for finding people, protecting them from spells, etc. are obvious, but right now they really only have necromantic spells aimed at weakening their foes. I figured this made the most sense, since they were aimed at capturing people for sacrifice...thoughts?

mikeb's picture

I think losing all previous

I think losing all previous spell-casting ability is a bit much. I'd rather see them maintain their spell casting ability but gain special abilities around detecting and countering the magic of others. For example, I believe there's a feat that allows you to counterspell using any spell from the same school rather than using the exact same spell. It would lend itself towards a Witch Hunter specializing in hunting specific types of casters.

Or look at it as...

Maybe another way to look at is is that they have to block off their internal source of energy so that it does not become corrupted/taken over by the energy they are stealing from the other person - the little instance when the two souls touch and fight for dominance. The requirement to drain magic energy would also give a vulnerability - they can not act first. They then might need some stealth ability to remain hidden until the witch reveal themselves with magic.

More like replacing their spellcasting ability

Well, they don't give up all spellcasting ability - it's just that the way they cast spells changes. They essentially have to steal energy in order to be able to cast spells. I had this to highlight the difference where magic is concerned in the DGA; also to make sure that a Witch Hunter has to...hunt witches in order to be able to cast spells.

There might be a better way to go about it, though - or as you said, to keep spellcasting and have a simpler solution. I do like their altered spellcasting method, though...