Converting the Witchwarper to PF1: Paradigm Shifts (Part 2)

Another post working on our PF1 witchwarper. We’re working on paradigm shifts, having written their category rules yesterday.

I’m going to start with the paradigm shifts from the book the witchwarper originally appeared in. I was the developer for that book, and developed the witchwarper, so I have a strong grasp of the design intent behind all those abilities. Also, our Pathfinder version may drift in concept compared to its Sf roots, and beginning with a firm foundation of core abilities is the best way to make sure the end result feels like the original, without being beholden to every eventual power that class gained.

And, as if often the case with such projects, we run into a huge design consideration right off the bat. The very first 2nd level paradigm shift from that Sf book is disrupt attack, which lets you expend a Resolve Point for an ability. Our problem? Pathfinder doesn’t have Resolve Points. So, how do we balance powers with limited uses without having the original game system’s pool of points to do it?

We have some options.

We could make each power useable a number of times per day, such as once per day, or one plus one for every 4 witchwarper level. This is simple to write as a designer, but it has some tricky balance implications. At low levels, our Pf witchwarper won;t be able to use such paragim shifts as often as their Sf cousin, ebcause they’ll have very few paradigm shifts, each with its own hard limit. At higher levels, however, the Pathfinder witchwarper might have so many shifts with thier own uses/day that they never run out of options.

We could have shifts expend spell slots, like infinite worlds does. That has a note of elegance, tying into an existing class feature. But it also means we have to decide if low-level spell slots can do this at full power for higher-level witchwarpers. As currently defined, paradigm shift powers save DCs is based on class level, and if a 1st level spell slot can be expended for an offensive power with a save based on class level, that can be overpowering. Some Sf witchwarper powers do this (such as disrupt creature), but then generally tie the effectiveness of that power to the level of spell. Since none of the things originally fueled by RP have that scaling built into them, this becomes a good deal more design work.

We could create a pool of warp points, similar to an arcanist’s arcane reservoir. This has the advantage of creating a pool we can scale as we need for the right number of uses/day/level, and being easy to design and understand. It has the drawback that if a witchwarper doesn’t select a paradigm shift that has a warp point cost, their warp reservoir serves no function. On the other hand, we could allow warp points to fuel the witchwarper’s infinite worlds ability, which is currently powered purely by spell slots. That would be a bit of a power-up to classic witchwarper spell/infinite worlds balance, but very much in keeping with how arcanists and psychics (both late-era PF1 0-9th level spellcasters) handle such issues. We’d have to write the text for that… but we have good examples of how such abilities have been done in Pathfinder before.

Out of all these ideas, I like a warp pool of warp points the best. So, for our draft, let’s assume that’s what we are doing. When we bring the whole class together in the post-first-draft stage, we can change that chocie if it hasn’t gone how we’d like.

So, now we need a Warp Pool class feature, gained at 1st level.

Warp Pool (Su): A witchwarper has a pool of supernatural mental energy that he can draw upon to fuel his infinite worlds ability, and potentially powers gained through paradigm shifts. The maximum number of points in a witchwarper’s warp pool is equal to 1/2 his class level + his Charisma modifier. The warp pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours don’t need to be consecutive. Points gained in excess of the pool’s maximum are lost.

A witchwarper can expend a warp point from his warp pool, rather than expend a spell slot, to fuel his infinite worlds ability. When used for this purpose, the warp point functions as a spell slot with a spell level equal to half the witchwarper’s class level -1 (to a minimum of 1st level spell slot).

Okay, with that done, let’s look at how we want to adapt a couple of paradigm shifts.

Paradigm Shifts [2nd level]

Disrupt Attack (Su)
As a reaction when you or an ally is targeted with an attack originating within 100 feet, you can expend 1 warp point to impose a –2 penalty on the attack roll. If the attack is coming from a creature, that creature can attempt a Will saving throw to negate this effect. Once you’ve targeted an attacker with this paradigm shift, you can’t target the same attacker with this paradigm shift again for 24 hours. At 8th level, the penalty changes to –3, and at 14th level, the penalty changes to –4.

Disrupt Creature (Su)
As a standard action, you can expend a warp point to target a creature within 100 feet and swap in alternate physiologies (or gears, planar energy, or whatever the creature’s equivalent to physiology is) in its body in this version of existence, imposing the shaken condition for a number of rounds equal to 1/3 your witchwarper class level (minimum 1 round). The target is allowed a Fortitude save to negate this effect. This is not an emotion, fear, or mind-affecting effect, and it does not stack with other shaken or fear conditions. However, if you target a creature that has succeeded at a save against your disrupt creature ability in the past 24 hours, it takes a -2 penalty to its save if you target it again.

Okay, I like the look of both of those. Know we can start kicking out a few paradigm shifts a day in future blog posts and see how far we get.

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on April 6, 2022, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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