November 19th, 2012

Joshua Zaback

Best in Class Archive

            Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of Best in Class, where we bring you the best in new archetypes and class features each and every week. By now you should have seen the resplendent announcement here on our website (or if you live locally, you will have surely heard us shouting from the rooftops) that triumphantly proclaims the long-anticipated release of the third installment of Advanced Arcana. In this truly epic and wonderful tome, you’ll find not only a veritable plethora of brand new spells to bring your casters to heights of which they haven’t yet dreamed, but also a number of other wonderful things. We have also created a special deluxe edition of Advanced Arcana III, filled with bonus material which I can assure you with great pride is more than worth the marginal increase in price. Two of the bonus sections included in this deluxe edition are even class-related, which leads me to the topic of today’s article.

            While both of these classy sections would make welcome additions to our little article here, one of them offers something that, if you’re like me, your gamer’s heart sorely aches for: new witch patrons. Now, understand that when I say “new witch patrons,” I don’t mean single oblique concepts such as “healing” followed by a list of bonus spells, and, if you’re really lucky, a list of recommended hexes. No, what I mean is new witch patrons, with faces and personalities and dangerous magical pacts, who require payment from the witch and demand services of her just like a real patron, and indeed, just as in much of the lore about the devils and goddesses which with witches allegedly conversed. The following witch patron is not from Advanced Arcana III, but is an example of the sort of new witch patrons you will find in that book.



New Witch Patron

The following text is taken directly from Advanced Arcana III:

            Instead of choosing a standard witch patron, a 1st-level witch may choose to take one of the following witch patrons. If she does so, in addition to the normal bonus spells a patron provides, she also gains a number of special benefits and drawbacks peculiar to her patron. These are described under the patron’s Pact Boons and Payments sections, respectively. Information is also provided on the background and general character of each of these patrons, as well as on the sorts of familiars they typically grant, and what sorts of services they require from those to whom they lend their magic.

            Some of the spells provided by these patrons do not appear on the witch spell list. In these cases, the witch treats the spell as though it were on the witch spell list at a spell level equal to 1/2 the witch level at which she receives it (so, in the case of a witch whose patron is leanan sidhe, who receives the spell glibness at 8th level, she would treat glibness as though it were a 4th-level witch spell).


Elindra, Lady of the New Forest
A gentle hand, a nurturing mother.

            Elindra’s true nature is much debated by her followers. At times she is considered to be a goddess, at others an ancient spirit of the natural world, and she has even been thought to be nothing less than the mythical queen of the fey. Regardless of her exact nature, Elindra is a powerful immortal being embodying feminine grace and motherly wisdom. Some believe that she may be the inspiration for the mother-earth figures common to folklore. She dwells in a demiplane of her own creation called New Forest, a verdant wonderland where the trees bear plentiful fruit and the sweet air makes visitors forget their worries.

            Whatever else Elindra is, she is an idealist and a force for good (or, at least, for her perception of good), and promotes peace and harmony above all other philosophy. She abhors and disdains violence and what she calls the wicked emotions of anger, fear, and hate, and seeks to create a perfect world free of those horrors.

            Spells: 2nd—goodberry, 4th—animal messenger, 6th—speak with plants, 8th— rusting grasp, 10th—awaken, 12th—transport via plants, 14th—transmute metal to wood, 16th—animal shapes, 18th—sympathy.

            Pact Boons: By taking Elindra as your patron, you gain a number of special boons, which those who serve other patrons do not receive. As you gain levels in witch, and your association with Elindra becomes stronger, you are granted additional boons, as outlined below.

            Ward of the Lady (Su): All witches who make pacts with Elindra are protected by the goddess’s influence and generally need not fear for their own safety. You are constantly treated as though affected by the spell sanctuary,except that the saving throw DC is equal to 10 +1/2 your witch level + your Intelligence modifier.

            Sactuary of the Nurturing Mother (Sp): Beginning at 11th level, you may beseech Elindra to grant you and those closest to you access to her sacred home. This ability functions identically to the spell plane shift,except that it can only target willing targets and the plane traveled to must be Elindra’s own demiplane, the New Forest. The New Forest is a beautiful realm with a number of beneficial effects for those who visit.

            First, all living things within the New Forest are protected by Elindra’s magic and are affected as though by the spell sanctuary with a DC of 35 to resist the effect. Second, each creature on the plane gains fast healing 1 for as long as they remain, and such creatures also heal 1 point of ability damage each hour. Finally, no character need eat or sleep while within the New Forest, and never suffers any penalty for starvation or fatigue.

            However, the New Forest is not without its dangers. First, the sweet air of the New Forest has an intoxicating effect which causes those who enter the realm to be forced to succeed on a DC 20 Will save each hour or be unable to perform any action other than to dance and sing for one hour. For each failed save, the subject receives a cumulative -1 penalty on the Will save to resist the effect for the next 24 hours. Secondly, time passes much more slowly in the New Forest, and for every minute which passes in the New Forest, one day elapses on the Material Plane. Unlike many planes, the New Forest cannot be reached from any plane other than the Material Plane.

            Payment: Elindra does not grant her boons for free, and in serving her you must make certain sacrifices, as outlined below.

            Peace of the Lady (Sp): Elindra is devoted to the pursuit of peace and harmony at all costs and demands the same of her followers. Those who make a pact with Elindra are forbidden from ever harming any living creature. This ban includes attacking said creatures, targeting or including said creatures in the area of a spell which deals hit point damage, ability damage, ability drain, level drain, or which has a saving throw entry not denoted as harmless (with the exception of spells of the charm and polymorph subschools, and any spell whose only effects include putting the target to sleep, or imposing a penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls, ability checks, or skill checks) as well as any other action likely to cause harm to the target (at the GM’s discretion).

            Elindra is capable of and often chooses to warn her followers if an action they are taking is likely to cause harm to a fellow creature. This ban only applies physical and psychic harm; damage done to a creature’s reputation or ego is not included, unless doing so would likely cause physical or mental injury to the target in a foreseeable way. The servant of Elindra must also take reasonable measure to limit the amount of harm those around her do to others, and attempt to persuade them to a path of peace. Elindra understands that her servants may not be always able to restrict or restrain those around her from causing harm, and typically will not revoke her boons if her servant fails in this aim, unless Elindra is of the opinion that the servant is abusing this policy. Typically, Elindra is satisfied if her servant prevents her allies from killing to the best of her ability.

            Call to Sanctum (Su): At 11th level, Elindra can summon one of her charges directly into her realm at will (DC 35 Will save negates). Though Elindra rarely chooses to make frequent use of this ability, she will typically call her servants once a year to spend some time in her realm. Though the motivation for this is unclear, it usually causes the witch’s absence from the Material Plane for a between one and four weeks. On occasion Elindra will use this ability more frequently, either because she is displeased with the witch, or because she feels she must impart further knowledge to her.

            Familiars: Elindra commonly grants her servants woodland animals to serve as familiars, most commonly foxes and badgers. Unlike other familiars, those granted by Elindra refuse to harm any creature and can never be commanded or compelled into doing so, except by magical means. Those witches who select the Improved Familiar feat may gain a nixie familiar at 7th level. This familiar arrives knowing all the spells her former familiar knew.

            Serving Elindra: Elindra is a devoted servant to peace and requires her followers to be the same. In addition to requiring that her followers do no harm to others, and that they try to prevent those closest to them from doing the same, she demands that her servants seek out opportunities to increase the peace and prevent violence. Typically, she asks her followers to do this by promoting cooperation and harmony through pleasant, nonviolent activities, including music, sex, and inebriation.
            In addition to her general mandate of peace through harmony, Elindra requires her servants undergo a pair of tasks for her. These tasks are usually very long and involved (running anywhere from 10-15 encounters) and occur once near the beginning of her career (levels 1-4) and once near the end of her career (levels 16-20). Though these tasks can be almost anything, they typically symbolize the beginning of the witch’s journey and its end, respectively, and after the witch’s second task it is usually only a short time before she enters the New Forest, never to return.

            Contact: In the early stages of the witch’s career (before 11th level), Elindra appears to her servants through natural phenomena, most often as a beautiful female face in the ripples of a forest pond. Once a witch has gained sufficient power to enter Elindra’s realm, she speaks to them directly within her own home, appearing as a gorgeous woman of middle age and supreme grace. It is unknown whether the being which speaks to the witches in the New Forest is actually Elindra, herself however, or merely an avatar she created.