Witch Finder

To Prestige Classes

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"Witch Hill" or "The Salem Martyr"Thomas Slatterwhite Noble, painter

"Witch Hill" or "The Salem Martyr"Thomas Slatterwhite Noble, painter

Liber Mysterium

The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”.
Exodus 22:18
The Bible, KJV

Abraham Klosterheim was satisfied. Like all present witnesses in the city’s fair, he was happy to see the warlocks burning at the stake. However, only he knew the condemned never had anything to do with demonology, nor any sort of magic. Well, at least not like the onlookers believed it; not like he, Abraham, had sworn during the trial to have witnessed it. But was it an unjust punishment? No, not for Klosterheim. In the eyes of the Witch Finder it was rather a deserved retribution for their hateful behavior. For the peoples now agonizing in the blaze were also witches hunters. Furthermore, they weren’t the cold efficient professional Abraham Klosterheim had become over the years, while pursuing his vengeance. No, they were those heinous, stupid fanatics who had wrongly accused his family years before. These narrow minded murderers had refused to listen to his mother when she had tried to explain she and her daughters were simple, poor peasants with no knowledge of sorcery. The imbecile fanatics who were so proud of murdering innocent women in the name of their god. Today was their turn.

Witch Finders make a living at hunting users of magic, and thus will persecute any spellcaster or magical creature, provided they are paid for it. Witch Finders are before all mercenaries, even if the less scrupulous will play on the population’s fears to justify their sometimes criminal trade; or even if some of them are real fanatics bent on destroying all magic, or kill all heretics. Note by the way, that the not so rare Witch Finders who are fanatics bent on destroying “evil” magic-users and heretics for the sake of money, and without any morality (adding to “fiends and witches” anyone whom they take a dislike), are those who gave the profession its bad reputation. Otherwise, several Witch Finders also pursue this trade because of revenge. Usually a warlock, demonologist, or fiend, etc. wronged the Witch Finder in some manner, but wrongdoer need not necessarily be such a base being. For example, the wrongdoers may be those who had one’s family executed for being suspected of sorcery. There was one historical Witch Finder whose own family was accused of witchcraft and killed. He thus became a Witch Finder and went after all of the people who accused his family, and had them executed for witchcraft….

Whenever a community is plagued by a supernatural creature, or fears the wrongdoing of a nearby necromancer, it will typically turn to a Witch Finder to get rid of it. In some other places with intolerant regimes, Witch Finders can make 10 to 50 gp per “witch” turned over to the local magistrate. Otherwise, many a solitary Witch Finder travels the land in search of work, extending his trade to anyone with a supernatural bent, when income is low. Witch Finders are not dissimilar to bounty hunters in spirit, but are nonetheless much specialized in ability. For instance, they do not reject magic despite “hunting” it. Quite contrarily, as real professionals Witch Finders learn about magic, and how to deal with, or use it. Those fanatical Witch Finders will even insist they can only “fight evil with evil”.

Candidates for the Witch Finder trade may come from any class, although only non-good characters may join. For example, some southern desert Barbarians become “wizardslayers” known as Isangoma. Many Witch Finders will come from the rogue or ranger class.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Witch Finder, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Alignment: Witch Finders may only be of nongood alignments, as they make a living at hunting people, and are often motivated by fanaticism and revenge.

Moreover, those who hunt anyone with “magical abilities” without discrimination are always of evil alignments.

Base Attack bonus: +4
Gather Information: 4 ranks
Knowledge (religion): 4 ranks or Witchcraft: 4 ranks
Feats Required: None
Suggested: Iron Will, Track.
Special: the character must be have combated magic-using foes before, and also must have somehow suffered from their magic (as determined by the GM).

Class Skills

The Witch Finder's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Bluff* (Charisma), Concentration (Constitution), Disable Device* (Intelligence), Gather Information* (Charisma), Hide (Dexterity), Intimidate (Charisma), Knowledge (Arcana, Local, the Planes, Religion) (Intelligence), Listen (Wisdom), Move Silently (Dexterity), Search (Intelligence), Sense Motive* (Wisdom), Spellcraft (Intelligence), Spot (Wisdom), Use Magic Device (Charisma).

Witch Finder Progression
  Spells per day
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special 0 1 2 3
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Turn undead ; Use magical scrolls 1
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Sneak attack (+1d6) 1
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Bonus save vs. magic (+1) 1 0
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Penetrating attacks (1/day) ; Scribe Scrolls 1 1
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Bonus save vs. magic (+2) 2 1 0
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Sneak attack (+2d6) 2 1 1
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Bonus save vs. magic (+3) 2 1 1 0
8th +6 +6 +2 +6 Penetrating attacks (2/day) ; Brew Potions 2 2 1 1
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Bonus save vs. magic (+4) 3 2 1 1
10th +7 +12 +6 +12 Sneak attack (+3d6) 3 2 2 1

Skills Points at each level: 4 + Intelligence modifier. (* Same skills, new uses: Bluff enables the Witch Finder to entice mobs to participate into witch-hunts – see later–; Gather Information to know about sorcery in the area; Disable-device to better desecrate magical things –see later–; and Sense-motive to determine if an accused witch lies or not.)

Class Features

All the following are class features of the Witch Finder prestige class:
Hit-Die: d8.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Witch Finders are proficient with all simple weapons, plus one martial or exotic weapon of their choice. They do not gain any new armor proficiencies.

Spells: Witch Finders are so focused on magic and its practitioners (even if for the purpose of combating them), that they find useful to learn how to use it themselves. As such, they can cast arcane spells, doing so exactly like wizards (with spell-book, preparation, DCs based on Intelligence modifier, access to any sorcerer/wizard spell, restriction on armors, etc.). Note that when the Witch Finder gains 0 spells of a given level, such as 0 1st-level spells at 3rd level, the Witch Finder gains only bonus spells. A Witch Finder without a bonus spell for that level cannot yet cast a spell of that level, i.e. for the purposes of metamagic feats such Extend spell.

Spells: Witch finders cast spells as an arcane spellcaster. To better understand the nature of their prey the witch finder has access to arcane spells of witches (no coven based spells).

1st level: Turn undead: Their combat against not only spellcasters, but also any supernatural creatures, of course lead them to undead (along with evil necromancers). As such, at 1st level, Witch Finders gain the Turn-undead (but not Rebuke) ability exactly as clerics. If they already had it from previous levels, these stack with the Witch Finder’s level for determining its power. This is ability to turn is despite the witch-finder’s alignment.

1st level: Use Magic Scrolls: As the Witch Finders study both magic and practitioners of magic, they learn how to use magic. Although it appears that Witch Finders normally shouldn’t have access to divine magic, Witch Finders can use any magical spell-scroll as if they were of the relevant class and of a level in that class equal to their Witch Finder level. For example, a 5th level Rogue/9th level Witch Finder could cast spells from magical scrolls as if he was a 9th level spellcaster of the appropriate class (9th level cleric for divine spells, and 9th level wizard for arcane spells).

This ability is independent of any spellcasting class the witch-finder may also have.

2nd level: Sneak Attack: at 2nd level, Witch Finders gain this special ability of rogues. If they already had it from previous levels, these stack with the Witch Finder’s level for determining its power. At 2nd level they add 1d6 of damage, then 2d6 at 6th level, and 3d6 at 10th level.

3rd level: Bonus Save vs. Magic: the Witch Finder gains a bonus to all their saving throws against spells and magical effects of +1 at 3rd level. This bonus increases to +2 at 5th level, then +3 at 7th level, and +4 at 9th level.

4th level: Penetrating Attacks: this supernatural ability enables the Witch Finder to temporarily improve the efficacy of his weapons against damage-reduction defenses. The Witch Finder must first study his opponent for a full round. Then for the full duration of his subsequent combat against this particular opponent, all the weapons she may use against it will be enhanced with a +1 magical bonus, with respect to overcoming damage-reduction defense only. As such, a non-magical weapon or missile will be able to hit as if +1, then a +1 magical weapon will be able to hit as if +2, etc. Witch Finders may use this ability once per day at 4th level and then twice per day at 8th level. If the weapon in question is already enchanted then these bonuses stack.

4th level: Scribe Scrolls: The Witch Finder knows that magic is a much important asset when combating spellcasters and fiends. However, the Witch Finder's own spellcasting capability is somewhat limited. For that reason, as soon as she can, the With-hunter learns to prepare himself in advance. As such, at 4th level she gains the Scribe Scroll item-creation-feat, enabling him to create spell scrolls (see core-rulebooks I and II). Note otherwise that this feat works normally and is independent from the Use Magic Scrolls ability.

8th level: Brew Potions: As for above, at 8th level the Witch Finder gains this Item-creation-feat, enabling him to create magic potions (see core rulebooks I and II).

Class Hindrance

Karma: Witch Finders expose themselves to retaliation for their doings. Angry magic-users and wronged peoples (whether they deserved it or not), will try to avenge themselves of the Witch Finder at every opportunity. Of course, this could be the perfect basis for an adventure. Furthermore, as a special hindrance it means that: in all random encounters where there are evil spellcasters or evil supernatural creatures, the encounter will always degenerate into battle. Then, during the combat, the Witch Finder will always be the primary target of the enemies’ attacks. Note that successful use of Diplomacy or Disguise won’t change this in any way. It’s fate.

New Use of Skills:

desecrate Magic (Disable Device): Witch Finders can destroy a place or thing holy to a witch, mage, or cultist, etc. in 2d10 minutes (adjusted as needed). This ability depends on the Witch Finder being able to identify the object in question (i.e. knowing the difference between an Athame and a normal dagger), with use of the proper skill (Spellcraft, etc.). Any object or place so defiled becomes thereafter unusable magically or ritually. The GM as appropriate should adjust DC.

Entice Mob (Bluff): The Witch Finder can convince a mob of angry or fearful individuals to support him in his hunt. In fact she knows what to tell to incite the listeners to fear or anger, especially when it comes to simple peasants who “do not know what lies beyond the next hill”. Thus the Witch Finder could convince them to tell him who has supernatural powers in the vicinity; then that such character or creature is certainly a threat; and so that they must help (and pay) him to get rid of it. A much persuasive Witch Finder could even go as far as convince them to accompany him on the hunt.

• Telling about evil witches stories and the like to somehow frighten the listeners: DC=12. If successful gives a +2 bonus to get some information about nearby witches, supernatural monsters, and the like, using the Gather-Information skill.

• Convincing listeners that a nearby witch, or else, is a threat which must be dealt with quickly: DC=20. Subsequent use of Entice-Mob to also agree to a payment for the job: DC=17.

• Convincing the listeners that they should join the hunt, and fight along the Witch Finder: DC=25. If successful, the mob will follow the Witch Finder for 1d4 hours, but will thereafter calm down. Subsequent Entice- Mob rolls will be at a cumulative +2 increase in DC to continue. Note moreover, that a mob which participates in such a hunt will want their share of the bounty, and may be much more difficult to convince of a subsequent payment (DC=22).

Note: the Witch Finder may only use Entice- Mobs against nearby witches and other things she is hunting, or people and things that the people being bluffed do not really know, nor have relationships with. In turn, any successful use of Sense-Motive will unmask the attempt, resulting in a well-produced, adverse reaction with respect to that character. Lastly, the above DC may get some appropriate modifiers according to circumstances.

New Tool: Witch pricker. This device is used by witch-finders to “test” witches. It is believed that witches have an insensitive area on their bodies that identifies them as a witch. The Witch Finder will then show that a person is a witch by poking them with this small device. The device, witch looks like a small dagger or bodkin is sharp, but has a concealable or retractable blade.

Mathew Hopkins, Witch Finder General

Matthew Hopkins, Witch Finder General. From a broadside published by Hopkins before 1650

Matthew Hopkins, Witch Finder General. From a broadside published by Hopkins before 1650

Of all of history's witch hunters, none are more famous, or infamous, as Matthew Hopkins. It is claimed that in one year alone, 1645 to 1646, he sent more “witches” to the gallows in England than any one man before or since.

He was named “Witchfinder General,” by the Church of England and given the support of the courts. An accusation from Hopkins usually meant a death sentence. He is believed to be responsible for the torture and deaths of several hundred accused witches before his own death in 1646.

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