Witches, a word that invokes fear, confusion and superstition. These feelings are well grounded in culture; from folklore to fairytale to play, witches appear as shadowy figures with a malevolent intent; or as noble and kind hearted individual who risk their all to save an innocent child. The witch can fit into either stereotype with ease. Some miles away an aged figure labours to birth a dying infant, sensing the baby's distress, he invokes the goddess and the deathly pallor is replaced by a vibrant pinkish hue. A full moon stares down from a blanket of infinite gemstones and passing beyond its face is the silhouette of a robed woman, with pointed hat, riding upon a broomstick. All of these are examples of the witch as he has been seen from a host of varied perspectives ranging from village elder to servant of dark forces. The Quintessential Witch is a sourcebook designed to add a new class to those presented in Core Rulebook I. Within this volume players and Games Masters alike will have at their fingertips the material needed to play a character that is on the one hand compelling and on the other despised.
The witch is more than a simple revision of one or more of the existing classes. Rather, he stands as the symbol of uncluttered beliefs, an intricate connection between mortal ingenuity and infinite divine power. The witch, as he is discussed here, blends arcane and divine magic into a vastly reconceived character that can be seamlessly integrated into any campaign. The witch is not a wizard, nor cleric nor even a druid although he has qualities of each. He holds that all instances of divinity, be it from pantheistic to monotheistic perspectives, are mere reflections of the two forces keyed to the notions of the masculine and feminine. By elevating these forces into deific persona, the god and the goddess, the witch indeed observes the harmony at work within the world as balances between two diametrical opposed powers that must work in unity. It is from this realisation that he can draw from the power of these forces to channel energy that is benevolent or malevolent depending on his larger goals and ethical beliefs. Hence, he is cleric, druid, wizard and more.
In this book a player will have the necessary information to construct a character that will stand apart from other spell-slingers in his group. Character concepts, like those in previous books in this series, individualise the character by offering the tools to develop an interesting background and personality. Prestige classes are the goals of most witches, as each offers an enhanced or further specialised aspect of this exciting new class. Herbs, brooms, seeing stones and other tools are added to the mix to help the witch restore the fragile balance between the competing forces of the masculine and feminine powers. No witch is complete without a collection of spells to buttress his already formidable arsenal of magic. When these spells are not enough, he can work with other witches to cast greater and more powerful spells called Ceremonies.
Furthermore, experienced witches enjoy heightened abilities when working in special places and at certain times of the year and phases of the moon. Seizing mastery over these places and times of power can mean the difference between life and death when facing the legions of inquisitors that thirst for witches' blood. These groups of witches often form more permanent associations such as secret societies, cults, and covens. The most potent witches can establish their own covens and orders, creating safe zones, magical glens, and other strongholds that will stave off the constant threat from those who lack the understanding of the true nature of the craft.