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Pathfinder - The Witch Handbook

Last Updated: October 15, 2018


I support a limited subset of Pathfinder's rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder player options not covered here, please email me and I am happy to provide additional assistance.

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Paizo has recently discontinued support of their official SRD. From this point forward SRD links on RPGBOT.net will instead link to d20PFSRD.com. While Archive of Nethys is now Paizo's officially licensed partner for the purposes of serving the Pathfinder SRD, Archive of Nethys is a horribly designed website and it simply doesn't match d20PFSRD's ability to keep pace with published content and d20PFSRD's search functionality.

If you encounter any links which still point to the old SRD, please email me so that I can correct them. I also recently added a page explaining my supported content which you may find helpful. --September 15, 2018


The witch is, in many ways, very similar to a wizard. They're intelligence-based prepared arcane spellcasters with a potentially infinite pool of "known" spells. Their spell list is long and diverse, and they can make a spectacular save-or-suck caster. The Witch is distinguished from the wizard by a flavor and by their Hex abilities. Hexes provide non-spellcasting options for a class which is honestly good enough at spellcasting that they don't strictly need other abilities beyond their spellcasting.

Like the Wizard, the Witch can excel in a long list of roles in the party depending on your build and spell list. Unlike the Wizard, the Witch has healing spells on their spell list, and with the right patron a witch can even make a passable replacement for a divine spellcaster.

Witch Class Features

Hit Points: d6 hit points is bad, but standard for full casters.

Base Attack Bonus: 1/2 BAB, and nothing to complement it. Fortunately you should very rarely need to make attacks.

Saves: Will is the Witch's only good save, and the Witch has no dependence on other abilities. Fortunately the Witch is very SAD, so you have room to improve abilities which fuel your saves.

Proficiencies: Simple weapons, and no armor or shields. Fortunately you shouldn't really need any weapons, and Haramaki and a Mithral Buckler don't require proficiency.

Skills: 2+ skill ranks is very meager, but the Witch needs high Intelligence for spells, so you should get plenty of skill ranks. Unfortunately the Witch's skill list is very slim, and only has a few important options. 20 Intelligence will easily allow you to maximize all of the Witch's important skills.

Spells: Witch's get spells and spells per day at the same rate as a Wizard, and can learn new spells in much the same way. The biggest distinctions are the Witch's spell list and the fact that Witches store their spells in their Familiar instead of in a book.

Cantrips: Fantastic and versatile.

Hex: Hexes are fantastic supplements to the Witch's spells. For help selecting Hexes, see my Witch Hex Breakdown.

Witch's Familiar (Ex): Familiars are always fantastic, and their ability to store your spells is a cool part of the Witch's flavor.

Patron: Much like the Sorcerer's bloodline, the Witch's Patron provides bonus spells of each spell level one level after you gain access to that spell level. Many of these spells are no on the Witch's spell list, and it is often a good idea to build your Witch to complement your Patron spells. For help selecting a Witch Patron, see my Witch Patron Breakdown.

Major Hex: See Hex, above.

Grand Hex: See Hex, above.


The Witch's abilities are largely identical to the Wizard's.

In addition to normal ability considerations, Witches can also make excellent use of the aging rules. Being middle-aged gives you a -1 penalty to your physical abilities, but gets you a pleasant +1 to your mental ability scores. However, this can be a problem for your already low reflex and fortitude saves.

Str: Dump to 7 unless you're polymorphing.

Dex: Important for Reflex saves and the Witch's meager AC.

Con: Important for Fortitude saves and hit points.

Int: The Witch's spellcasting ability. As a full caster with no martial options, Intelligence is everything.

Wis: Helpful for Will saves, but not particularly important because Will si the Witch's only good save.

Cha: Dump to 7.

25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 18
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 18
  • Wis: 11
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 18
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 15
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 10


Intelligence bonuses are crucial. Other racial abilities are nice, but can't compete with an Intelligence bonus.

Dwarf: Nothing useful for the Witch.

Elf: Bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence are fantastic, and the Elf's racial bonuses work well for any full caster. The Elf favored class bonus grants additional spells, but Witches' familiars can learn more spells from other familiars in much the same way that Wizards can add additional spells to their spellbooks.

Gnome: A decent choice if you want a small Witch or a Witch focused on illusions, and the Gnome favored class bonus grants additional Hexes.

Half-Elf: The flexible ability bonus is great, but the Half-Elf can't quite match the Elf. The Half-Elf has the same favored class bonus as the Elf, and it's still not great. Half-Elves can take the Human favored class bonus, but that's also the same as the Elf's.

Half-Orc: The same issues as the Half-Elf, but their favored class bonus adds skill ranks to your familiar. Familiars use their master's skill modifiers if their master's modifier is higher, so it makes more sense to add the skill ranks to yourself. Half-Orcs can take the Human favored class bonus, but it's not particularly good.

Halfling: Similar to the Gnome, but better for Stealth than for illusions. The Halfling favored class bonus adds a Caster Level bonus to your Patron spells which can be very powerful if your Patron's spells are strongly affected by caster level.

Human: A flexible ability modifier and a bonus feat are fantastic on any character. The bonus skill ranks are nice, but with 20 starting Intelligence you're probably already running out of useful class skills.



This section does not cover metamagic feats or item creation feats feats. For help with metamagic feats, see my Practical Guide to Metamagic.



If you need AC, you're doing something wrong. Still, it doesn't hurt to get some cheap protection. Keep in mind that Mage Armor is generally your best bet when you need AC, but Mage Armor isn't always on.

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order. Magic armor is covered below in the Magic Items section.

Magic Items





It's difficult to recommend specific staffs without knowing your individual character, so instead I want to make a general endorsement of the concept of magic staffs in Pathfinder. If you are a 3.5 native, go read Pathfinder's rules for staffs because they have improved dramatically.

Staffs are a reliable, rechargeable source of extra spellcasting that can give spellcasters easy and reliable access to spells from their spell list which they might not want to learn, or which they might like to use so frequently that they can't prepare the spell enough times in a given day. On days when you're not adventuring (traveling, resting, etc.) you can easily recharge any staff even if you can only cast one of the spells which the staff contains.

Wondrous Items

Cross-Classing and Prestige Classes

Don't, unless you have a specific concept in mind. If you must multiclass, try very hard to not give up spellcaster levels. Also keep in mind that classes which give you spellcasting do not allow you to learn spells for free when you gain levels.