Excerpts Archive | 10/24/2011
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The Witch
Heroes of the Feywild Excerpts
Bart Carroll

T he Feywild is a realm of magic; this much anyone who has ever heard a fairy tale knows. The very substance of the plane is infused with arcane magic, and many of the creatures that inhabit the realm are so tightly bound to arcane power that it is a natural and instinctive part of their very being. As such, it should come as no surprise that those who hail from, and venture into, the Feywild often develop a natural aptitude for arcane magic.

However, the Feywild is also a wild and verdant place where primeval natural landscapes remain untouched since their creation. Moreover, the influence of the Feywild spills over into the mortal world at fey crossings. Many of those who live on the borders of the Feywild and the natural world develop a rapport with primal spirits, emboldened by the verdant growth the Feywild fosters.

Some of the material in this chapter is for use with classes found in other books. The barbarian and the bard appear in Player's Handbook 2, the druid appears in Player's Handbook 2 and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, and the wizard material is for use with either the Player's Handbook or Heroes of the Fallen Lands.

Chapter 3 of Heroes of the Feywild includes the following material:

  • New powers for the barbarian, as well as alternate class features for the berserker subclass.
  • New powers for the bard, as well as alternate class features for the skald subclass.
  • New powers for the druid, as well as alternate class features for the protector subclass.
  • New powers for the wizard, as well as alternate class features for the witch subclass.

In today's preview, we look more closely at the witch subclass, initially revealed in our In the Works column:


Part religion, part ritual, and all mystery, witchcraft is an ancient practice that came about in an age before arcane magic was studied, institutionalized, and etched in writing, when monstrous titans ruled over creation and the secret of making fire was yet undiscovered. In this chaotic dark age, the gods had little influence on the titans' world. Instead of seeking their aid, the primitive peoples called out to the night for protection and power, and a voice from the darkness answered. Those who accepted its arcane gifts became the first witches, and they wielded such power as only immortals had known—seen by some jealous gods as an affront that they have never forgiven.

Witches gain their power from a patron who instructs them by way of a mystical familiar that comes and goes as it pleases, unbound by the strictures of the material world. The most prevalent patron among witches—the original voice from the darkness—is the moon goddess Sehanine, referred to by witches as simply the Goddess. Other entities have since seen the advantage of imbuing mortals with power, and so your patron might be an archfey, a god, an angel, a primordial, a demon lord, a devil, or another legendary being that believes it can benefit by imbuing you with a gift of arcane prowess. It might prefer to remain anonymous.

The circumstances by which you obtained your gift can vary widely. Some witches seek out the gift in order to fulfill a personal desire or vendetta, while others were brought up in a coven. Some receive their power after making a pact with a devil, as a warlock might do, and others have it bestowed upon them by a fairy godparent or a witch queen.

Though witches are common among the fey races in the Feywild, as a witch in the natural world you must be mindful of whom you trust. In the world, common folk fear your kind. Envious wizards refuse to acknowledge you as a peer and would see your wondrous powers vanish from the world, while clerics of jealous gods decree you an unholy menace, sending witch hunters to track you down and destroy you.

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Beast Switch
Some polymorph spells can transform a creature from one form to another for a moment, and others for all time. Beast switch contains only the barest essence of a transformation spell, ideal for transforming a foe just long enough to confound it and take advantage of its disorientation.

Foe to Frog
In stories and folk tales, witches transform unfortunate mortals into toads, mice, and other tiny animals. Foe to frog turns a powerful threat into a tiny, harmless creature of the wizard's choice.

Savage Transformation
When you cast savage transformation, you turn your target into a bestial, half-humanoid monster driven by savage instincts. Use this power when your target is surrounded by its allies, forcing your enemy to choose between movement and taking damage from its friends. A brute is an especially good target for this power.