By Thilo Graf
This pdf by Open Design is 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 11 pages of content.
The pdf, as all advanced feat books, opens with a introduction and discussion of the class.
After this short discussion, we get the meat of the book, 30 new feats for Witches. The feats are:
- Ability Damage Resistance: Reduce all ability damage by 2 points
- Counterspell Feedback: Damage casters when countering their spells
- Craft Magic Tattoo: Tattoo yourself and others with spell effects
- Delay Spell: Delay the effect of a spell
- Discriminating Spell: Alter a spell to affect or not affect a chosen race or creature type
- Dispel Mastery: +3 bonus to dispel checks
- Expert Healing: Heal 1d4 damage using a healer’s kit
- Extra Familiar: Summon an additional familiar
- Familiar Concentration: Familiar can maintain spell concentration
- Familiar Development: Familiar gains abilities as if 2 levels higher
- Familiar Feat: Familiar learns a feat
- Familiar Focus: Familiar’s abilities are based on your character level
- Familiar Range Extension: Familiar’s range extends to 100 miles
- Familiar Reincarnation: New familiars know the spells of former familiars
- Familiar Training: Familiar can utilize your feats
- Guarded Casting: Fight defensively while casting spells and activating magic items
- Hexing Familiar: Familiar performs hexes
- Improved Caster Level: Increase CL by 4, up to character level
- Infer Spell: Learn spells from spell trigger or spell completion magic items
- Linked Resistance: Gain your familiars spell resistance for 1d4 rounds
- Mass Effect Spell: Single target spells affect multiple targets
- Opportunity Counterspell: Counterspell without a readied action
- Potent Hex: +1 to hex DC
- Rememorize: Change a prepared spell in 1 hour
- Robust Health: +4 to saves against poison and disease
- Seduction: Gain bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Charm spells
- Serve Two Masters: Gain a second set of patron spells
- Signature Focus: Create an expensive item that replaces costly spell components
- Soul Mate: Sense when your soul mate is in danger and gain a bonus to skill checks used on them
- Touch Mastery: Use spellcasting ability score on touch attacks
- Usurp Spell: Gain benefits of spell countered
Comments on the feats:
- Ability Damage Resistance: Ok, why does this not have a prerequisite? 2 points ability damage less? That’s a godsend at lower levels! Why doesn’t it explain how this resistance comes about? A little fluff-blurb would have gone a long way to make this feat feel less “metagamey”.
- Counterspell Feedback: Cool idea, neat balancing. I would take it.
- Delay Spell: Another very good and strategic idea I like. Players will LOVE this.
- Discriminating Spell: Another feat I like, as I use the mechanic already in my rather dark and grim home-campaign, where I’ve substituted alignment-based attacks with character belief-based ones. Neat.
- Expert Healing: A godsend for low-magic campaigns that don’t feature your med-kit cleric/druid at every corner.
- Familiar Development feats: I liked them, as they make the witch feel more unique and her familiar different from e.g. the Wizard’s one. It also forces hard choices on the PC: Use the familiar and risk it being hurt? Etc.
- Infer Spell: While I like the idea, I somewhat have a mild disdain for the execution – learning spells from any items with one check seems wrong to me, but that is just my personal preference.
- Mass-Effect Spell: Gold for buff/debuff casters and a nice alternative to all the mass X spells.
- Opportunity Counterspell: Steep requirements, cool payoff. Never build your high-level caster without it.
- Rememorize: Nice feat if you don’t use the alternative rules of replacing spells in 15 minutes.
- Robust Health: Great idea to help against poisons etc without conferring immunity.
- Seduction: Just up my alley, this is a roleplaying feat as in opposed to roll-playing. Plus: I like some potentially adult themes in my games. Nice.
- Serve Two Masters: This feat screams “character backstory”-development. I like it.
- Usurp Spell: Complimentary to “Parry Spell”, this feat is a good idea.
The pdf also has three sample builds, the Arch Witch, the White Witch and the Wicked Witch.
Editing and layout are top-notch, gone is the parchment-like printer-unfriendly layout of “Secrets of the Alchemist”. I didn’t notice any typos. The cover artwork is the only one in the file and nice, although it didn’t impress me either. All in all, I felt that this instalment of Advanced Feats is superior to the one on the alchemist, mainly because I didn’t find any feats I considered unsalvageable/broken. While “Rememorize” collides with the alternative rules I use and while “Ability Damage Reduction” still feels plain wrong to me, my overall impression is that this book focuses more on the Witch and making the class more unique, make her stand out more etc – i.e., it is more focused. Due to this focus and the overall improvement of both content and layout, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars. While not perfect or as good as “Cavalier’s Creed”, this is a worthy addition to any Witches arsenal.
Advanced Feats: The Witch’s Brew is available from: