: Alchemy is alright. Basketweaving has been known to destroy campaigns and is often banned.
: You will be flying a lot. Possibly on a broom.
: A one point wonder.
: If you optimize for multiple round duration, shaken is a handy debuff to setup your save or lose spells. You can demoralize from 30 ft away.
: May as well max it.
: One point wonder.
: See arcana.
: See arcana.
: Not even worth a point 95% of the time.
: Int synergy, lets you know what enemy casters are doing, ID items, and is used for item crafting. Max it.
: It's one of the best skills in the game, and your spell list is kinda all over the place, you may need this. Best for a (Improved) Familiar to double your casting per round.
: It's the best skill in the game; it's worth maxing always.
: I think tumble DCs are near impossible, but you'll probably have more skill points than you know what to do with, and when in trouble, some chance is still better than no chance of avoiding an AoO.
: Most if not all are worth dropping a rank into just so you can make checks beyond DC 10.
As a Witch, your class features mainly boil down to spellcasting and hexes. The only other aspects to decide on are familiar and your patron, which works like a Sorcerer’s bloodline in that it gives you a specific set of bonus spells every other level. Hexes and then spells are in the following two posts. This post will cover Familiars and Patrons.
This is your one big chance to grab some nice spells not on your spell list. Don't blow it! The patrons will have an overall ranking, as well as ranking the spells they grant. For the purpose of this class feature, it is INCREDIBLY suboptimal to take a patron that grants you spells you could have gotten anyway. Any such spells will automatically be labeled red, without exception, and an asterisk (*) will be placed next to the spell to denote this as the reason for its ranking (although the spell itself may also suck on its own merits). Patrons from APG are unlabeled, patrons from UM are denoted where applicable. Finally, as with the spells section, the spells are ranked for usefulness to the Witch. Which may make it more or less valuable than it would be to a Wizard or other caster.
Agility: Hexes do not depend upon form (save for a few, like Prehensile Hair and Nails), so polymorphing spells shouldn't hose you as much as they do a wizard.
2nd—jump, 4th—cat's grace, 6th—haste, 8th—freedom of movement, 10th—polymorph, 12th—cat's grace (mass), 14th—ethereal jaunt, 16th—animal shapes, 18th—shapechange
Ancestors (UM): Blessing of Fervor, Prayer, and Bless are all great buff spells, but aren't enough to carry this patron. Refuge is 2 levels lower than normal, but on your list regardless (and not very good). I have to take a moment to rail on how GODAWFUL heroism as a 6th level spell is. I'm assuming it's supposed to be greater heroism, but in either case, it's on your spell list already (heroism as a 3rd level spell!). Atrocious.
2nd—bless, 4th—aid, 6th—prayer, 8th—blessing of fervor, 10th—commune, 12th—heroism*, 14th—refuge*, 16th—euphoric tranquility, 18th—weird
Animals: Antilife Shell is absolutely amazing. While you lack the animal friends to utilize some of the spells well and the lower half of the list is poor, the high level spells are rather good. As above, regarding polymorph spells.
2nd—charm animals, 4th—speak with animals, 6th—dominate animal, 8th—summon nature's ally IV, 10th—animal growth, 12th—antilife shell, 14th—beast shape IV, 16th—animal shapes, 18th—summon nature's ally IX
Death (UM): Look at all those asterisks! And they're all pretty bad spells anyway. This is the worst patron ever!
2nd—deathwatch, 4th—blessing of courage and life, 6th—speak with dead*, 8th—rest eternal*, 10th—suffocation*, 12th—circle of death, 14th—finger of death, 16th—symbol of death*, 18th—power word kill*
Deception: Invisiblity and Time Stop are both great additions. I like the idea of using Ventriloquism while invisible to have your cackles emanate from somewhere else.
2nd—ventriloquism, 4th—invisibility, 6th—blink, 8th—confusion*, 10th—passwall, 12th—programmed image, 14th—invisibility (mass), 16th—scintillating pattern, 18th—time stop
Elements: Blasting isn't very good, and this offers an awful lot of fire spells. Still, at least they're not spells on your list already. If you want to use Dazing Spell feat a lot, this patron is green or perhaps even higher. Fireball for a 6th level 20 ft radius save or lose or Flaming Sphere for a 5th level single target save or lose (maybe; 2 rounds dazed might not be enough) that you can keep putting on new people as a move action once/round.
2nd—shocking grasp, 4th—flaming sphere, 6th—fireball, 8th—wall of ice, 10th—flame strike, 12th—freezing sphere, 14th—vortex, 16th—fire storm, 18th—meteor swarm
Enchantment (UM): This is just a sliver less terrible than Death. At least you get Unnatural Lust early...
2nd—unnatural lust*, 4th—calm emotions, 6th—unadulterated loathing*, 8th—overwhelming grief, 10th—dominate person*, 12th—geas*, 14th—euphoric tranquility, 16th—demand*, 18th—dominate monster*
Endurance: Miracle is awesome! The rest of the spells, not so much. Don't even consider this unless you're starting at level 18, and even then I wouldn't do it.
2nd—endure elements, 4th—bear's endurance, 6th—protection from energy, 8th—spell immunity, 10th—spell resistance, 12th—bear's endurance (mass), 14th—restoration (greater), 16th—iron body, 18th—miracle
Healing (UM): Even the good spells are just seldom used utility items. I was very dissapointed breath of life was not on here. That spell alone could make a patron worth taking, for saving your familiar w/o costly components. *sigh*
2nd—remove fear, 4th—lesser restoration, 6th—remove disease*, 8th—restoration, 10th—cleanse, 12th—pillar of life, 14th—greater restoration, 16th—mass cure critical wounds*, 18th—true resurrection
Insanity (UM): How witches don't already have hideous laughter is beyond me. Overwhelming Presence isn't bad considering the compulsion and save each round ends parts.
2nd—memory lapse, 4th—hideous laughter, 6th—distracting cacophony, 8th—confusion*, 10th—mind fog*, 12th—envious urge, 14th—insanity*, 16th—symbol of insanity*, 18th—overwhelming presence
Light (UM): The middle and upper levels are pretty good, but the low levels and 9th are awful.
2nd—dancing lantern*, 4th—continual flame, 6th—daylight, 8th—rainbow pattern, 10th—fire snake, 12th—sirocco, 14th—sunbeam, 16th—sunburst, 18th—fiery body
Moon (UM): Darkness as a level 1 is nice if you have racial darkvision. Overall pretty abysmal when only the 1st and 9th level spells aren't complete fail, though.
2nd—darkness, 4th—darkvision, 6th—owl’s wisdom, 8th—moonstruck*, 10th—aspect of the wolf, 12th—control water, 14th—lunar veil*, 16th—horrid wilting*, 18th—meteor swarm
Occult (UM): This patron is very similar to Plague, but has more witch spells and is thus worse. Create Undead is poorly ranked due to lack of a way to control them.
2nd—detect undead, 4th—command undead, 6th—twilight knife*, 8th—black tentacles*, 10th—snake staff, 12th—create undead, 14th—waves of exhaustion*, 16th—trap the soul*, 18th—gate
Plague: Again, creating undead w/o a way to control them isn't very useful. Negative levels are great, but Energy Drain is so very inferior to Enervation...
2nd—detect undead, 4th—command undead, 6th—contagion, 8th—animate dead, 10th—giant vermin, 12th—create undead, 14th—control undead, 16th—create greater undead, 18th—energy drain
Portents (UM): Ding ding ding! We have a new loser! Aside from blood biography (which is totally redundant w/ speak with dead): Every. Single. Spell. Is. Already. On. Your. List. W.T.F.?
2nd—ill-omen*, 4th—locate object*, 6th—blood biography, 8th—divination*, 10th—contact other plane*, 12th—legend lore*, 14th—vision*, 16th—moment of prescience*, 18th—foresight*
Shadow: Either we finally found another good patron, or my standards have just been lowered so much at this point that anything without witch spells excites me. Probably both.
2nd—silent image, 4th—darkness, 6th—deeper darkness, 8th—shadow conjuration, 10th—shadow evocation, 12th—shadow walk, 14th—shadow conjuration (greater), 16th—shadow evocation (greater), 18th—shades
Spirits (UM): This is slightly less good than Deception, the other invisibility-granting patron, too many of the spells are of very limited use. Spiritual Ally uses your BAB and Wis mod for attacks. Yeah... Planar Ally is in an 8th level slot for a 6th level spell, maybe they meant it to be greater planar ally?
2nd—ghostbane dirge, 4th—invisibility, 6th—speak with dead*, 8th—spiritual ally, 10th—mass ghostbane dirge, 12th—shadow walk, 14th—ethereal jaunt, 16th—planar ally, 18th—etherealness
Stars (UM): A few good low level spells, then a lot of trash. You have a hex if you want Dream.
2nd—faerie fire, 4th—dust of twilight, 6th—guiding star*, 8th—wandering star motes*, 10th—dream, 12th—cloak of dreams*, 14th—circle of clarity, 16th—euphoric tranquility, 18th—astral projection*
Strength: Oh, goodie. A patron to celebrate your non-existent melee prowess.
2nd—divine favor, 4th—bull's strength, 6th—greater magic weapon, 8th—divine power, 10th—righteous might, 12th—bull's strength (mass), 14th—giant form I, 16th—giant form II, 18th—shapechange
Time (UM): Good for a low level game, has some nice high level picks but too much trash along the way. RAW no one has to hear your cackling, so being in silence isn't so bad, note that PF nerfed the duration and casting time, unfortunately (I had this as Blue till I noticed that). Disintigrate is worth extra to a Witch for undead-killing potential. Expend is oddly not compulsion, and is Green if it actually requires the victims to waste actions expending their magic. If dispel magic couldn't undo it, I'd almost say it would be worth 5000 gp to make your familiar unkillable w/ Stasis.
2nd—ventriloquism, 4th—silence, 6th—haste, 8th—threefold aspect*, 10th—teleport*, 12th—disintegrate, 14th—expend, 16th—temporal stasis, 18th—time stop
Transformation: Again, you should be able to hex while polymorphed, so utility forms are decent. The spells are extremely redundant, though. Would've been nice to have more variety.
2nd—jump, 4th—bear's endurance, 6th—beast shape I, 8th—beast shape II, 10th—beast shape III, 12th—form of the dragon I, 14th—form of the dragon II, 16th—form of the dragon III, 18th—shapechange
Trickery: This is a solid patron overall. Mislead is the closest your spell list is going to get to Greater Invisibility. Hallucinatory Terrain just feels redundant and unnecessary next to Mirage Arcana.
2nd—animate rope, 4th—mirror image, 6th—major image, 8th—hallucinatory terrain, 10th—mirage arcana, 12th—mislead, 14th—reverse gravity, 16th—screen, 18th—time stop
Vengeance (UM): The 9th level spell is cool, but not nearly enough to pick this patron.
2nd—burning hands*, 4th—burning gaze*, 6th—pain strike*, 8th—shout, 10th—symbol of pain*, 12th—mass pain strike*, 14th—phantasmal revenge, 16th—incendiary cloud, 18th—winds of vengeance
Water: Note that slipstream is not an enhancement bonus to speed. This can be an alright patron in an aquatic game, but it's not very good otherwise. Water Breathing can be replicated with Water Lung hex.
2nd—bless water/curse water, 4th—slipstream, 6th—water breathing, 8th—control water, 10th—geyser, 12th—elemental body III (water only), 14th—elemental body IV (water only), 16th—seamantle, 18th—tsunami
Winter (UM): Cold only resist energy? Seriously? Most of these patron spells are already on your list or are mediocre blast spells.
2nd—unshakable chill*, 4th—resist energy (cold only), 6th—ice storm*, 8th—wall of ice, 10th—cone of cold, 12th—freezing sphere, 14th—control weather*, 16th—polar ray, 18th—polar midnight*
Wisdom: A pretty good patron, the stand-outs are magic vestment and spell turning. Again, there's a hex if you want to use dream. Disjunction isn't nearly as treasure-destoying as in 3E, though still dangerous around artifacts.
2nd—shield of faith, 4th—owl's wisdom, 6th—magic vestment, 8th—globe of invulnerability (lesser), 10th—dream, 12th—globe of invulnerability (greater), 14th—spell turning, 16th—protection from spells, 18th—mage's disjunction