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Pathfinder - Witch Patrons Breakdown

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. 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: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Patrons

The Witch's patron is much like the Sorceror's bloodline: it adds new spells which may not otherwise be available to the Witch, and can define a major portion of the Witch's spell list.

Many patrons provide one or more Polymorph spells. Polymorph is not normally on the Witch spell list, and polymorphing is something that you need to be built for if you want to be good at it. See my Practical Guide to Polymorph for suggestions.

Agility

The Agility domain provides some good buffs and a splash of polymorph. The spells are a great selection, and provide some excellent options. Unfortunately, because you only get a few polymorph spells, its hard to justify devoting your character to polymorphing with this archetype.

Ancestors

The Ancestors patron introduces several essential buffs from the Cleric spell list, giving the Witch a lot of excellent Support options. If you have a Bard or Cleric in the party, skip this option.

Animals

The Animals patron adds some animal-related spells, but because animals are such a small subset of encounters, it's largely useless. If you like animals so much, play a Druid.

Death

While the low level spells are situational, the high elvel spells are excellent save or die spells.

Deception

The Deception domain has some very good spells, but most are very situational.

Elements

The Blaster Witch's go-to option. With the exception of Wall of Ice, every spell in the list is a damage spell, and the list includes many of the best Blaster spells around.

Enchantment

The Enchantment school is one of the most powerful schools of magic, and includes some very powerful save or suck spells. The first few spells aren't great, but you get several fantastic high level options.

Endurance

The Endurance patron provides a collection of defensive buffs, Greater Restoration for some reason, and finished with Miracle. Altogether it's a passable support patron, but it doesn't have anything especially exciting.

Healing

Despite the name, the Healing patron provides surprisingly little actual healing. If you have access to hit points from a wand or something, this patron allows you restore other status conditions which hit points alone won't fix.

Insanity

The Insanity domain contains a lot of bad options, and only a few truly good options.

Light

The Light patron is difficult to assess purely due to the inclusion of Sunbeam and Sunburst. The other options are generally good.

Moon

Despite a very strong start, the Moon patron is mostly a collection weird situational spells chosen solely because they are vaguely moon-related.

Occult

The Occult patron is a really cool collection of spells. It involves things that are creepy, weird, and generally... well, generally occult. Many of the spells are very good, especially at higher levels.

Plague

"Rot" might be a more appropriate name for this patron since only two spells (Contagion and Giant Vermin) could be considered plagues. This patron centers mostly on the creation and control of undead.

Portents

The Portents patron provides a list of useful Divination spells, combining some good buffs with information-gathering spells.

Shadow

The Shadow domain is largely defined by the Shadow Conjuration/Evocation spells. By preparing these spells, you open up huge portions of the Wizard spell list, which adds a lot of versatility to the Witch, who otherwise would be required to guess which spells they will need at the beginning of the day.

Spirits

Many of the spells provided by the the Spirits patron are very good, but they are also very situational.

Stars

An excellent mix of good, bad, and situational spells. Several great options for handling invisibility.

Strength

The Strength domain would be really fantastic if you were something like a Cleric, which makes sense because most of the spells are from the Cleric spell list.

Time

Almost every option provided by the Time Patron is great, including the more situatinal options.

Transformation

The Transformation patron is a polymorph spell list. You get all of the best self-polymorph spells, which is really all that you ever need. Beast Shape gives you all of the good animal forms, and Dragon Shape fills out your high level polymorph options.

Trickery

The Trickery patron is primarily devoted to illusions. Illusions can be very powerful in the hands of a creative player with an equally creative GM, but if your GM tends to be uninpsired or rules lawyer-y, your illusions may not work as well as they probably should.

Water

Like most water-themed options, the Water patron is mostly useful when in, on, or around water. Otherwise, you will find that many of the spells are useless.

Vengeance

Most of the spells are weak or situational. The only good options are very high level.

Winter

Despite a couple of poor low-level open, the Winter patron provides a nice mix of damage and area control spells, making it a good choice for a Witch who needs to succeed in a variety of roles.

Wisdom

The Wisdom patron provides several excellent defensive buffs.