Iconic Design – A Healing Gambit

After reading last week’s Protector Healer by Vanessa, I started thinking about my recent witch PC, primarily his role as the party healer in Rise of the Runelords. He was *not* a front liner, but did he have range!

Hello there, I am pitching in this week on Iconic Design to bring to you a healer that is able to keep the party on their feet while also keeping the enemy on their heels. My intention with this character was to build a character that was fairly simple to run, had plenty of healing, but also fun style and versatility.

Build Concept

Any information important to the build or its roots goes here.

  • Race any
  • Class witch (cartomancer) 5
  • Ability Scores (Int 18+, Dex)
  • Feats Point Blank Shot (1st), Precise Shot (3rd), Extra Hex (every other feat)
  • Class Features
    • Witch Patrons (choose one, my order of preference)
      • Healing, Mercy, Protection, Recovery
    • Cartomancer (for reference)
      • Spell Deck (1st), Deadly Dealer (2nd), Deliver Touch Spells (3rd)
    • Witch Hexes (my order of selection)
      • Healing, Evil Eye, Cackle, Fortune, Misfortune
    • Witch Spells
      • Curative/restorative required, charms handy, inflicts and harms optional

Gameplay

The core of this healer is the ability to heal your allies … without ever getting into trouble. The ability to use a card as a touch attack to deliver spells is amazing. As such, you will want to ensure that you have a least a small bonus to your Dexterity (I think my PC only has a 12 Dex) but going higher can only help, especially when you starting throwing cure spells at enemy undead (or inflict/harm if that is your jam). The super high intelligence is a must for any witch, really, as the DCs go up and you get bonus spells. Point Blank and Precise shot are imperative to being able to reliably target your tanks while they are in combat, and getting them right away ensures you are ready when you get Deliver Touch Spells at 3rd.

The base of any witch is the use of hexes, and most often that is evil eye. It is for this reason that I chose to use Human as my build so that I would gain an extra feat, letting my first level witch have healing hex, evil eye, and point blank shot. Since 1st level doesn’t provide a ton of spells, and the healing hex only works once per target per day, evil eye allows you to have something you can do every. single. round. Standard procedure for our group was to lower AC first, then lower attack second … as we want our hits to happen more than their hits fail. It also depended on how many targets there were and how we were fighting them, but generally hitting them is better than them not hitting you. To be fair, the point blank seems wasted during the first two levels, but I made sure to carry a crossbow make sure I was ready in that moment I could use it and get some extra damage.

3rd level is really where the magic happens. You gain second level spells, you and now deliver with touch, and you have precise shot to avoid the high ACs you normally encounter when targeting allies in melee. Because you are targeting touch, keep an eye on your allies’ AC so that you are away of you chances to miss. At 3rd level with 14 Dex (+2), +2 BAB, +1 Deadly Dealer, and +1 Point Blank Shot you should be looking at a +6 to hit Touch AC … meaning you likely only need a 4 or more for your tankiest of tanks … but that is still a 15% miss chance at best. If you are offsetting this with a higher Dex (or other means) then you don’t have to worry much within the 20 feet range increment of the cards, but if you step outside 20 feet you being to lose your bonuses quickly (-2 per 20 ft range increment, -1 Point Blank outside 30 feat). As you generally need to be close to an enemy for evil eye, expect to be sitting a couple feet behind the line like any good quarterback.

By 5th level, you will have your 3rd level spells, and hopefully the cackle and fortune hexes. This is where everything becomes really run. You can open an encounter with an evil eye to lower AC as the party gets into place (I would often delay my initiative to properly time a cackle) and then next round fortune your heaviest hitter and cackle. Fortune provides them the ability to choose an attack and roll 2d20 and take the better. Cackle extends every active hex within range by 1 round, as a *move* action. At this point, you continue to fortune/evil eye as needed/available while cackling, using ye olde 5 ft adjust to move/reposition as needed. When you finally do need to heal, you can do so at range with our old friend deliver touch spells so that you can stay in place and continue to cackle. I would *highly* suggest you make an audio recording and just have it queued up, you will use it a *lot*. 6th level is where you would gain another hex for the listed misfortune, which I consider to be the next choice in line, but it isn’t as important as the others.

I chose 5th as a target for this build because that provides 3rd level spells and the bulk of the primary abilities that I consider “required” for this build. I personally chose fly as a hex for my character, as I really liked the mobility options it gave me earlier to staying above/out of combat or moving to and from allies/enemies while staying out of reach. I also had the cauldron hex and chose charms spells like beguiling gift against enemies that made it to me to make them drink potions of sleep or the like. The later levels show just how insane this build can be when you are standing equidistant between two tanks fighting insane monsters and you can throw back to back HEAL spells from 30 feet away while cackling to extend their fortune and the enemy’s misfortune to ensure that your team is going to stay in the fight for the long haul. I am well aware that there or more efficient healers, and Vanessa has shown us an extremely sturdy healer, but I like to consider this one of the most versatile healers you are going to play. I also admit, that I went to a lot of trouble to give him a personality that would be such a build from being a “boring healer” … but the raw healing and hexing powers of the witch are not to be overlooked.

Randal Meyer

As a lover of crunch (rules and numbers), Randal is always tinkering with rules options. His love of magic users has led him to always fuss with the mechanics of magic and magic items. Years of GMing on the fly have given him vast amounts of ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, playing with his kids, bowling, or running a PF campaign, Randal is likely writing some new mobile web app to enhance the experience of playing Pathfinder!

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