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    The Coven- An Indepth Look
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    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    From: So. Cal

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    Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:25 pm  
    The Coven- An Indepth Look

    I have been working on a few things regarding The Coven and the Witch class lately. It started out as a followup article, but has expanded into three articles.

    The first article will be "The Witch" Addendum, that will cover spells from sources other than the PH 3.5, and a few other questions about how certain aspects of the class work, and why I chose to include, and not include, certain class abilities.

    The second article will be a much more indepth look at The Coven- its history, its practices, how a witch joins The Coven, some of its secrets, and how it relates to and interacts with the Flanaess as a whole.

    The third article will be the "Witch of the High Secret Order" prestige class, that will contain information on all such organizatons, High Secret Order spells, and a few other things.

    I would like to know if anybody has any specific questions about the witch class, The Coven, or the High Secret Order prestige class that I might be able to address in this series, and that I might not have covered yet. Or is there something that you would like to see expanded or see more detaied information on?

    Let me know what you want to know, and I'll make every effort to make sure that the answers make it into the final draft.

    And last, but certainly not least, please feel free to leave any comments regarding the "Witches of Greyhawk" or "The Witch" articles, even if it is just to say "What the hell were you thinking?!"

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    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
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    Sun Sep 04, 2005 2:03 pm  

    Hey Cebrion. I've begun reading your articles and have a few general questions.

    First, "What the hell were you thinking?"

    J/K. ;)

    But seriously, I appreciate that you're investigating this aspect of the Flanaess.

    My first real question is whether you care for Green Ronin's The Witch's Handbook. I found it pretty good but not 100% what I need for my campaigns.

    I joined the online GH community in the summer of 1998 and recall fondly a post to the old AOL boards, where the author asserted the importance of having hedge magicians and witches. I've recently posted again (in The Planes folder of CF!) about my concerns about the lack of a "spirit world" of Oerth...

    While I enjoyed 2e's witch kit and remember Dragon 114's "The Witch" article and NPC class, I've never quite understood how to connect ideas of the witch to the Flanaess, i.e., the idea of witches seems dominantly to involve sexism or misogyny. Contra neo-Wicca, and the witch kit.

    As I review your initial posts, I wonder if any of us can come up with a textually-based, i.e., canon, reason for including witches in the Flanaess. Some people might cite to Iggqwilv, but as others have argued convincingly, she is altenatively a demonologist, necromancer, or demi-goddes. (Baba-Yaga & Louhi, et al.).

    I want to create a significant "space" for witches in the Flanaess--something different than mere low-level sorceresses, druids, or sorcereress-clerics, but aside from Dragon 114, I've yet to see a clear example of this kind of beldame.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:06 am  

    I immediately rifled through a couple of OGL witch books (one by Green Ronin and another by a company that I cannot recall) upon their release, hoping to find the "perfect solution" to my witch class dilemma. There may have been a third book, but I can't remember as this was at least 2 years ago? In any event, while at least one of them was pretty good, none completely suited what I was looking for.

    My goal in creating my version of the witch was to

    1. Not have to introduce a new magic system to my campaign, which would be something difficult for my single witch player to learn.

    2. Create a witch that wasn't just some curvy vamp using sex specific Seduction I-VIII spells and similar magics, though I didn't want to necessarily exclude a witch of that type as I went through the design. As I say, to each his own. Make every type of witch available and let the player make their own character.

    3. I wanted to create a witch class that could pretty much have any type of patron and/or affinity, and gain abilities representative of that patron.

    You mention Iggwilv as being thought of as a demonologist, necromancer, and demi-goddess (as cited in various sources). Under my interpretation of the witch, Iggwilv began her career as the servant of a demonic patron- Grazz't. So she has the demonologist connection. Necromancy spells are not off limits to an evil witch with a demonic patron. Iggwilv could learn Necromancy spells and at higher levels gain a mastery of them on par with the most powerful of necromancers. She would have to achieve 20th level as a witch to gain access to 9th level Necromancy spells not on the Witch Spells list, but she could have them. So, in this way, both Iggwilv's demonologist and necromancer aspects are covered. I would say she is first and foremost a demonologist however.

    As to the demi-goddess (or perhaps hero- or quasi-deity status) aspect, I see this coming about as follows:

    Iggwilv rose to heights of power unforeseen as a witch. I imagine her to have gained all 20 Witch levels, all 10 Witch of the High Secret Order levels (a forthcoming PrC; it is done, I just need to convert the High Secret Order spells Happy ), and even some additional Epic Witch levels(See the soon to be posted “The Witch Addendum” for details) besides those. She is a witch who is not beholden to a patron. This came about as part of the bargaining she conducted with her patron Grazz't during the time she had him in her power. They "came to an agreement", forced on Grazz't's part, that Iggwilv would maintain her granted powers, while not being under Grazz't's dominion. She would still be his ally, but on her own terms. Grazz't agreed, as he didn't have much choice. But of course Grazz't would agree, and have his revenge later on, which he did. Iggwilv eventually discovered the secrets of immortality, which she later shared with her son Iuz (The Sould Husk Caverns), and became a quasi-deity: immortal, but still able to be killed; similar to Keoghtom or Heward.

    Is Iggwilv the "Mother of All Witches"? No. Witches did not originate with her. Baba-Yaga(who I view as not originating from Oerth) predates her, but do witches begin with Baba-Yaga? No to that as well. Witches begin with the dawn of human kind and their initial relation with the otherworldly powers, whether one wishes to call them elemental powers, spirits, demons, deities. or whatever. Baba-Yaga is a quasi-deity to my mind- a truly immortal and unique being, and she has always been that. Iggwilv was a human who has become much more than human.

    I didn't really have Iggwilv in mind when I created The Witch class, but the flexibility I built into the class can suit most any type of witch, including Iggwilv.

    Thanks for your interest and feedback. It always helps me in formulating ideas when I get a different persective on things.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 01, 2004
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    From: France

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    Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:25 am  

    These are the links to all of Cebrion's excellent articles about the Witch:

    The Witch

    The Witch addendum

    Witch of the High Secret Order Prestige Class

    Of Witches and the Rise of The Coven

    POSTFEST: Witches of Greyhawk - The Coven

    The Conversion to D&D 3.5 is a great job, I say "bravo"!

    From Bill Muhlhausen's article in Dragon #114, the main difference is the pact with a patron. This pact is mandatory.

    If you multiply the number of patrons, you have also a multiplicity of witches as a sort of specialist spell-caster. But, the pact can explain that witches can deal with an Archdevil, for example. The witch can replace cleric for devils who cannot grant clerical spells.

    By the way, witches are something like prehistoric clerics before civilization. But I'd rather make them linked to druidism, and spell-caster attuned to Nature or the Mother-Goddess, and not the servant of a single patron.

    Could we imagine that witches become Night Hags (if evil) or Feys (if good) in their afterlife?

    For the Greyhawk background, it is a very good work. The Hellfurnaces are becoming a place more and more interesting to visit! Wink

    Last edited by Galliskinmaufrius on Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:10 pm  

    first off I want to say this is great stuff, and I am going to add it to my campain.

    but I was wondering about warlocks, is it your intent that warlocks are male witches and use the same class or do they use the complete arcane class?

    im just asking cause I am a fan of the (CA) class Shocked

    maybe a Warlock of the Secret High Order PRC would need to be created tho

    just some thoughts
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3831
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    Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:30 pm  

    That is pretty much it. Male witches can be refered to as either "witches" or "warlocks", though the term "warlock" is more in vogue(and sounds cool too).

    I only site one example of a warlock, that being Sedric Zafier who is the only male member of the High Secret Order of "The Coven". There are certainly other male witches, but they are not very common. The most likely reason for this is that most extra-planar entities that a witch would make a pact with are predominantly portrayed as male personas, and females bond more readily with them(sometimes literally to produce a half-"something" offspring) because of it. Women have the power of creation on the prime so to speak, and that is certainly not something to be overlooked by an extra-planar patron(regardless of what sex their persona is portrayed as).
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