Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heroes of the Feywild: The Witch

So I picked up the Heroes of the Feywild a while back.  I had been looking forward to this one for a while, especially when I saw that the Witch was going to be one of the character class options.
I then spent some time working on various witch characters and builds (and yes I did them all by hand). Here are my insights.

In General
Like Heroes of Shadow, Heroes of the Feywild assumes that these characters are either from or have strong ties to their "homeland" in this case the Feywild.  IF you have any interest at all in the Feywild or any sort of land of the Faerie (such as Avalon, Alfheim or any number of others) then this is a good book.  While not really compatible with older editions of D&D there is still plenty that can be used.  The feats even are written that they could even be used with Pathfinder or D&D 3.x.  I found plenty I can use for my current 3.x game that I run with the kids and Ghosts of Albion.  I actually ended up liking this book more than the Heroes of Shadow book out earlier.

The Witch
The witch is a new "sub-class" of wizard that basically learned in the Feywild.   On one level I didn't like this since the witch isn't really a type of wizard.  But in reading it I can get past it since the witch is only a type of wizard "mechanically", she uses the same rules as a wizard and thus all the same powers, feats, magic items, Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies the wizard can use.  In this respect it makes her more like what I have done in the past where wizards and witches are both a type of "magic-user".   It gives the witch a lot of power to choose from.

The witch has two builds or covens she can choose from, a Full Moon Coven and a Dark Moon Coven, or if you prefer a good witch and a bad witch.  The covens have some powers associated with them, but the witch is still free to choose powers as she sees fit.
Only Paragon Path is given, the Legendary Witch, and it focuses on the two covens.  It lacks any strong thematic element, but this is a complaint I have had of the Paragon Paths of the post Essentials line.
The Epic Destiny, the Witch Queen, though is quite good.  I had done something similar as a Prestige Class for 3.5.  This one is different but there are some interesting powers and effects.

Powers and Spells
What sets this witch apart from another Wizard or a Warlock are her spells and powers.  The witch relies on her familiar to learn magic.  Something I have seen more and more of late in FRPG versions of the witch. Her magic has a distinct feel to it different than that of the warlock, even if there seems to be some overlap.  Witches do get a minor healing power from the Full Moon Coven, and her magics in general are more subtle. She does not for example have a fireball like spell, but she can change monsters into other animals and they take damage for it.  Heavy on the charms and transformations.  Lots of powers with the Psychic key-word.  Some are similar in theme to the Warlock; Horde of Puckish Sprites is not too different, save in level, than Pixie War Band.

I would like to see more on the relationship of Witches and Warlocks.  Especially given the Fey commonalities and interactions with Patrons.  I think I'll have to write that myself.

Non-Witch Material
There are three new races to play that are well suited to a Feywild/Faerie World sort of game.  The Hammadryad, the Satyr and the Pixie. All have something very interesting about them and I'll stat up some witches for each race as well.  There are other class builds as well the Berserker (Barbarian), Protector (Druid) and Skald (Bard).  All great for a psuedo-Celtic themed game of D&D.  Just add Player's Handbook 2 to the mix to get the base Bard and Gnome and you are set.  Honestly there is enough here to run a high-magic game and never leave the Feywild.

Overall I am very pleased with this witch class.  It's not perfect, but it is very, very close.  I might try a multi-classed warlock, but that might be splitting my roles a bit too much.


Theodric the Obscure said...

From what I've seen of 4e, there are two ideas I really like, and the Feywild is one of them.

Rhonin84 said...

I read through it and I can see that the fluff would be useful but as I read the At-Will, Daily and Encounter powers I began to easily remember why I have given up on 4E.

Really is to bad though because I can see what you are saying about the background material...

Keith Davies said...

@Theodric, have you ever looked at the Faeries supplement by Bastion Press? They present a fey realm and rules for fey characters that looked like they'd work well.

As I recall that was the only d20 supplement I read and decided that yes, I would use it as written, rather than hacking it up and taking the bits I liked.