Winter Witch (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Winter is a cruel season of hardship and death, but it is also a trial and those that survive emerge stronger. Winter witches embody this attitude, constantly testing themselves and all things near them for survival.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype. The winter witch trades spells for winter powers.

Prestige Class: Winter witch from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige with elements of the winter witch archetype from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Magic.

Build Class: Witch.

Role: A winter witch masters the cold environment, hindering those unprepared for the harsh reality of winter to give herself and her allies an advantage.

Alignment: Any. A winter witches draw on the powers of winter and spread winter around them in an unholy cycle. Not all winter witches use this power for evil and oppression, but most do.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills

The winter witch's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

These are all the class features of the winter witch.

Arctic Familiar

At 1st level, a winter witch forms a close bond with a familiar, a creature that teaches her magic and helps to guide her along her path. Familiars also aid a winter witch by granting her skill bonuses, additional spells, and help with some types of magic. This functions like the wizard's arcane bond class feature, except as noted in the Witch’s Familiar section.

A winter witch must commune with her familiar each day to prepare her spells. Familiars store all of the spells that a winter witch knows, and a winter witch cannot prepare a spell that is not stored by her familiar. A winter witch’s familiar begins play storing all of the 0-level winter witch spells plus three 1st level spells of the winter witch’s choice. The winter witch also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to her Intelligence modifier to store in her familiar. At each new winter witch level, she adds two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new winter witch level) to her familiar. A winter witch can also add additional spells to her familiar through a special ritual.

Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions. Traditionally, this limits winter witch familiar choices to bat, cat, fox, hawk, owl, rat, raven, or weasel. A winter witch who gains the Improved Familiar feat can select any familiar she desires, save for familiars with the fire subtype.


A winter winter witch casts arcane spells drawn from the witch spell list up to level 6. Spells of level 7 or higher are not on the winter witch's spell list. A winter witch must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time.

To learn or cast a spell, a winter witch must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a winter witch’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the winter witch’s Intelligence modifier.

A winter witch can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Winter witch. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). A winter witch may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour communing with her familiar. While communing, the winter witch decides which spells to prepare.


Winter witches can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Winter witch under “Spells per Day.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again. Cantrips prepared using other spell slots, due to metamagic feats for example, are expended normally.

Cold Flesh (Ex/Sp)

At 1st level, a winter witch gains lowlight vision, immunity to snow blindness, and constant endure elements (sp), but only against cold temperatures. At 4th level, she gains cold resistance 5. At 9th-level, this increases to cold resistance 10, and at 14th level, it becomes immunity to cold. All these abilities except endure elements are exceptional.

Hyperboreal Patronage

At 1st level, when a winter witch gains her familiar, she must also select a witch's patron. This patron is a vague and mysterious force, granting the witch power for reasons that she might not entirely understand. While these forces need not be named, they typically hold influence over one of the listed forces.

At 1st level, and every three levels thereafter, a witch’s patron adds new spells to a witch’s list of spells known. These spells are also automatically added to the list of spells stored by the familiar. The spells gained depend upon the patron chosen. Each patron is listed by its theme. Its actual name is up to the GM and the witch to decide. Winter witches only gain patron spells up to level 6.

A winter witch must choose her patron from one of the following patron themes: ancestors, deception, enchantment, endurance, moon, occult, portents, stars, transformation, trickery, water, winter, or wisdom.

A winter witch’s patron reveals an additional icy aspect. A winter witch adds the following spells to her spell list at the following spell levels, but does not automatically learn them:

Zero—ray of frost
3rd—wall of ice
5th—icy prison
6th—freezing sphere

Ice Magic

When a winter witch casts a spell with the cold descriptor, the save DC of the spell increases by +1. Any spell for the fire subtype that deals fire damage instead gains the cold subtype and deals cold damage for the winter witch. Such spells can never cause anything to burn. The winter witch cannot learn or cast other spells of the fire subtype.

Winter Hexes

Winter witches learn a number of magic tricks, called hexes, that grant them powers or weaken foes. At 2nd level, a winter witch gains one hex of her choice. She gains an additional hex every 2 levels attained after 2nd level, as noted on Table: Winter Witch. A winter witch cannot select an individual hex more than once.

Unless otherwise noted, using a hex is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The save to resist a hex is equal to 10 + 1/2 the winter witch’s level + the winter witch’s Intelligence modifier.


These are the same as the witch's hexes. A winter witch can select the following additional hexes:

Frozen Caress (Su) Whenever the winter witch casts a touch spell, she can infuse the magic with cold as a swift action. This grants the spell the cold descriptor, and adds 1d4 points of cold damage to the spell’s effect. This damage is affected by a successful save as other effects of the spell are.

Freeze and Thaw (Su)

At 3rd level, a winter witch can freeze water or melt ice and snow with a touch. As a standard action, a winter witch can melt an adjacent 5-foot cube of ice or a 10-foot cube of snow. Melting snow produces a volume of water equal to 10% the snow’s volume. Alternatively, a winter witch can freeze 5 cubic feet of water into solid ice. This freezing takes place gradually over 1 round, making it almost impossible to trap a creature unless it’s helpless. This cannot affect water within a creature. One cubic foot of ice contains roughly 8 gallons of water and weighs about 60 pounds.

This ability works on fresh water and saltwater, but has no affect on water creatures; on liquids (frozen or otherwise) other than water; or on magical water, ice, or snow. A winter witch can use this ability a at will.

Skate (Su)

At 3rd level the winter witch can move across snow and icy surfaces without penalty and does not need to make Acrobatics checks to run or charge on ice. She moves at double speed on flat ice or snow terrain and at four times her normal speed downslope.

Unnatural Cold (Su)

At 5th level, whenever a winter witch’s spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability deals cold damage, treat affected creatures as having half their normal cold resistance when determining the damage dealt.

Sculpt Ice and Snow (Sp)

At 7th level, a winter witch can sculpt ice and snow into any shape that suits her purpose (as stone shape, but with ice). This ability also works on snow, doubling the volume affected. At 13th level, this ability functions on ice or snow like the fabricate spell, increasing the volume manipulated and allowing a higher degree of craftsmanship. The winter witch must succeed at appropriate Craft checks to form complex items or ones with fine detail, and gains a bonus equal to half her caster level on such Craft checks. Items created by the fabricate version of this ability solidify into ultra-hard ice (hardness 5, 10 hit points per inch of thickness) that does not melt. The ice remains in this ultra-hard state for 1 day per class level before returning to normal ice. A winter witch can use this ability at will.

Major Winter Hex

Starting at 8th level, and every two levels thereafter, a winter witch can choose one of the following major hexes whenever she could select a new hex. Whenever a winter witch can choose a major hex, she must choose from the following hexes:

  • ice tomb
  • icy eyes
  • hoarfrost
  • numbing chill (see below)

Once the winter witch has selected two major winter hexes, she may thereafter choose any major hex she meets the prerequisites for.

Major Hexes

These are the same as the witch's major hexes. A wither witch has access to these additional major hexes.

Icy Eyes (Su): Whenever the winter witch casts a ranged spell, she can infuse the magic with cold as a swift action. This grants the spell the cold descriptor, and adds 1d4 points of cold damage to the spell’s effect. If the spell allows a saving throw, a successful save negates this additional cold damage.

Numbing Chill (Su): Whenever the winter witch casts a spell that deals cold damage, she can imbue the spell with a debilitating eldritch chill as a swift action. She chooses one of the spell’s targets or a creature within the spell effect. If that creature takes cold damage from the spell, it must also succeed at a Fortitude save or take 1d4 points of Dexterity damage and be staggered for 1 round. The creature need only make this saving throw once per spell, even if the spell deals damage multiple times.

Inexorable Cold (Su)

At 9th level, a winter witch casts spells with the cold descriptor that allows a saving throw, the save DC is increased by two. This bonus supersedes (does not stack with) ice magic, above. In addition, she gains a +1 bonus on caster level checks to counterspell, dispel, or penetrate spell resistance with these spells, and the DC to counterspell or dispel these spells increases by +1. This bonus increases to +2 at 14th level and +3 at 17th level.

Blizzard Sight (Su)

At 11th level, a winter witch can see normally in natural or magical rain, sleet, hail, fog, snowstorms, blizzards, and similar weather conditions.

Unearthly Cold (Su)

At 15th level, a winter witch’s spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities that deal cold damage become horrendously cold. Half the cold damage caused by these effects comes from an otherworldly power and is not subject to being reduced by resistance or immunity to cold-based attacks.

Grand Hex

Starting at 18th level, and every two levels thereafter, a winter witch can choose a grand hex whenever she could select a new hex.

Iceglide (Su)

At 19th level, a winter witch can move effortlessly at her base land speed through ice or snow.

This leaves behind no tunnel or hole, and doesn’t create any ripple or other sign of passage. While icegliding, a winter witch can breathe normally. A control water spell cast on an area containing an icegliding winter witch flings her back 30 feet in a random direction, stunning her for 1 round unless she succeeds at a DC 15 Fortitude save. A winter witch can use this ability for 10 minutes per day. This time need not be consecutive, but must be spent in 1-minute increments. Activating this ability is a swift action.

Avatar of Winter

Upon reaching 20th level, the winter witch become an avatar of winter. Her body permanently transforms into living ice, as the ice body spell. In addition, her mastery of winter magic is such that any of her attacks that deal cold damage bypass cold immunity or cold resistance.

Table: Winter Witch

Base Attack
Special Spells per Day
1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Arctic familiar, cantrups, cold flesh (endure elements), hyperboreal patronage, ice magic 1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Hex, winter hexes 2
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Skate 3
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Cold flesh (5), hex 3 1
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Freeze and thaw 4 2
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Hex 4 3
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Unnatural cold 4 3 1
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Hex, major winter hex 4 4 2
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Cold flesh (10), inexorable cold +1, sculpt ice and snow 5 4 3
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Hex 5 4 3 1
11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Blizzard sight 5 4 4 2
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Hex 5 5 4 3
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Inexorable cold +2, sculpt ice and snow (fabricate), unearthly cold 5 5 4 3 1
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Cold flesh (immune), hex 5 5 4 4 2
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Icy eyes 5 5 5 4 3
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Hex 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Inexorable cold +3 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Hex, grand hex 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Iceglide 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Avatar of winter, hex 5 5 5 5 5 5

Summary of Changed Class Abilities

These abilities of the original class are lost or modified in this archetype:

  • Class Skills
  • Spells
  • Patron Spells
  • Witch’s Familiar
  • Major Hex
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