Archive for May, 2021

D&D Did You Know’s: The Witch Spell List (D&D 3E)

May 29, 2021

As a character class, the witch has had a hard time getting off the metaphorical ground in Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, it’s notable that the most notable instances of a witch class come from various third parties, such as Mayfair Games and Paizo Publishing.

But, in a bit of sleight of hand that a lot of people overlooked (helped by it never getting included in the SRD), D&D slipped a witch class into its Third Edition, right there on pages 26-27 of the 3.0 Dungeon Master’s Guide and page 175 of the 3.5 DMG (the latter of which is depicted below).

Okay, so that’s just a spell list rather than a full class presentation. Indeed, this is the example that’s presented as what a customized spell list could look like; the section on developing entirely new classes (though it largely discusses this in terms of variations of an existing class) is actually the one right after that. Still, the text accompanying the witch spell list says that a witch “[…] casts spells as a sorcerer, using the sorcerer’s Spells per Day table […] and her spells are based on Charisma.” From there, it’s not hard to make the leap that in 3.5, a witch character uses the sorcerer class in all ways, save for using the above spell list instead of the standard sorcerer/wizard one in the Player’s Handbook.

It might have been a bit of a bait-and-switch, but the witch found her niche.

The 3.0 Witch Spell List

One thing that’s interesting to consider is how the witch spell list in 3.0 differed from its 3.5 counterpart. For the most part they’re identical (or at least, they are after you apply the errata). However, there are a few differences between them, which you can reintroduce if you want a witch character to feel slightly more different from her spellcasting counterparts.

Make speak with animals a 2nd-level spell.

Make baleful polymorph a 4th-level spell.

Add animal growth to the witch’s 5th-level spells.

Make greater scrying a 5th-level spell.

Finally, consider deleting the spells crushing despair (4th), good hope (4th), and rage (3rd), instead replacing them with emotion as a 4th-level spell. Emotion was removed from the 3.5 version of the game (with several of its effects becoming their own spells), but bringing it back just for the witch can be a good way to make the class a little more unique.

For pricing the witch spell list as a magic progression in Eclipse: The Codex Persona (page 11), I’d recommend making it equal in cost to the bard, cleric (no package), and druid progressions.

Third-Party Support: Multi-Dimensional Strike

May 14, 2021

It’s a sad truth that, even in the realm of digital publishing, things can go out of “print” and be lost to the public. While we tend to think of electronic products as being enduring, it’s all too easy for them to vanish, with no hope of them turning up on secondary markets the way used books do. This is the case for plenty of smaller RPG publishers; while many leave their catalogue up on DriveThruRPG and other storefronts, there are some who quietly take their products down and disappear from the face of the Internet.

One of those companies was Silven Publishing. Formally formed in 2004, they published a handful of supplements, but stopped putting out new products right around the time D&D 4th Edition came out. Exactly when they folded is unclear, but eventually their products were picked up by another published called 12 to Midnight. While they still have an active storefront, and an extant webpage, most of their products no longer available, including almost all of the Silven Publishing offerings.

I bring all this up because, even years after reading it, I recall a distinct product that Silven Publishing put out called NPCyclopedia: Psionics.

As the title suggests, this was an NPC book, one containing eleven different characters, each with a full stat block for them at each level from 1 to 20. A GM’s resource, it allowed you to pull out a particular type of character at whatever level you required. Nor was it limited to psions, psychic warriors, or other psionic classes. It had monk characters who multiclassed into the psychic first prestige class. Wizard/psion cerebremancers, and several other interesting combinations. They were quite useful if you wanted something a little unusual without being too outre.

Of course, there was some new crunch in there too. Not much, bit still a few items that weren’t found anywhere else. A psionic feat that let you pay extra power points to keep your psionic focus when enhancing a power with a metapsionic feat, for instance. Or a ring that allowed you to treat your manifester level as being +2 greater, but only for the purpose of calculating how many power points you could spend when manifesting a psionic power. But the one that stuck with me most was the book’s sole new power: multi-dimensional strike.

Fortunately, the declaration of Open Game Content for the book was quite generous, and it includes the entirety of the power. As it stands, the below corrects a typo or two, and fixes some minor formatting issues (e.g. a line break between the last line of statistics and the first line of the description), but is otherwise the full text of the power:

Multi-Dimensional Strike
Psychoportation (Teleportation)
Level: Nomad 5, psychic warrior 5
Manifestation Time: See text
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Points: 9

You instantly teleport yourself to several places in succession each time stopping just long enough to strike an enemy. You must be able to see all the location you want to reach, and will always arrive at the desired local. You cannot manifest multi-dimensional strike through a solid object; even a curtain will stop you. If you attempt to manifest this power in a way such that it would take you through a solid object without realizing it, the power fails, but your power points are expended as normal. You cannot bring along more than a medium load carrying capacity, nor can you bring more than 20 pounds of living matter.

Manifesting this power can only be used in conjunction with a full-round attack. You make up to one jump before, between each, and after every attack you make (including attacks granted by multiple weapons, magic effects and the like). While using this power you may effectively flank a target by yourself. You must be able to appear in two squares that would be considered to flank the foe. The first attack made in conjunction with this power is not considered to be flanking, but all successive attacks effectively flank the target, and all the benefits of flanking apply. You only run the risk of provoking an attack or opportunity in the space where you initiate this power. All jumps must be in range from your starting location. Thus a 14th-level psion could not make two jumps of 50 feet each in a straight line, because the second jump would take the psion 100 feet away, out of the powers range. While it does not function exactly as a swift action, it does count towards your limit of one swift action per round.

Personally, I think the idea of a character teleporting rapid-fire around an enemy, delivering lightning-fast attacks is a very cool image! One that’s stuck with me for quite some time, despite this product being over fifteen years old. It’s the sort of thing that makes a psionic combatant feel different from other types of “sword-and-spell” characters, and it definitely deserves to be remembered instead of quietly fading away.