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By Joseph Wright of Derby -, Public Domain,, Venefica
By Joseph Wright of Derby –, Public Domain,

Liber Mysterium
The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Description: Venefica are witches who specialize in the creation of philters and potions. While all witches have some alchemic skills, Venefica perfect them. The Venefica are second only to a true alchemist in this art. Venefica vary from one locale to the next; the urbane alchemist, the traveling herbal – -doctor-, or even the rural -medicine man- or -witch-wiggler- are all roles for the Venefica.

Humans and Gnomes swell the ranks of the Venefica Tradition, followed by elves, half-elves and Halflings. Elves and Halflings often have their own racial viewpoints on the Tradition, but these are essentially the same as what is given here (halfling Venefica are referred to in their communities as -Herb Women.). Dwarves and half-orcs are extremely rare to non-existent in this Tradition.

Role: It would be a great injustice to say the Venefica lives to create potions. Venefica live to understand magic, and they believe this understanding can be obtained via the understanding of alchemy

The Venefica believes creating potions aids her knowledge of magic. The Venefica may work as a researcher, much like an alchemist, or they may choose to sell their creations to those in need or who can afford them.

The Venefica must live somewhere she can have access to equipment and ingredients. Common locales are large cities, farms, swamps or near graveyards (for mosses and grave dirt, Venefica very rarely have anything to do with the dead or necromancy). Among the witch traditions, Venefica have the least strict alignment restrictions. Venefica may be of any alignment. Good Venefica often use their creations for the betterment of others, while evil ones are sometimes referred to as ‘prisoners.’ Venefica with chaotic and evil tendencies will often come to towns or villages and hand out potions of love, hate and confusion for free just to watch the ensuing chaos.

Joining this Tradition: Initiates usually join as apprentices to old Venefica; during this time the teacher determines if the child has the potential to become a good alchemist or not. Those students who do well in alchemical training often proceed for a while, unaware of the differences between a mundane alchemist and a Venefica witch. If the apprentice hears the Call or if his or her teacher feels they are ready then learning becomes oriented to the ways and beliefs of the witch. Strong potential candidates who do not hear the Call, or do not wish to become a witch progress in their knowledge, usually with another teacher, to become alchemists or wizards.

Venefica have stronger ties with their own covens than to the Tradition. They follow their own coven’s holy days and religious beliefs. Venefica meet in great conventions to discuss alchemical theory with other Venefica, alchemists, wizards and artificers (wizards who specialize in the creation of magic items). While these are often full of heated discussions, all sides admit to learning something from the others, even if it is just confirmation they are doing it correctly and others are still wrong!

Leaving this Tradition: Any witch that abandons the teachings of this tradition obviously loses the ability to create potions, powders or any other alchemical product. The means of this knowledge is very integrated with the practice of these witches. So despite what skills or feats the witch might have, she must retake them in order to continue to perform alchemy.

To return the witch may have to spend several days or even weeks in study and contemplation. They will receive a sign from the Patrons when they are allowed to return.

Skills & Feats: Venefica receive Knowledge: Nature as a class skill. They also begin play with the feat Brew Potions, instead of the Craft Magical Talisman’s feat.

Occult Powers

  • Minor: 7th Level: Poison Resistance. At 7th level the venefica gains a +4 bonus vs. the effects of all poisons.
  • Medial: 13th Level: Poison Immunity. At 13th level, the venefica is completely immune to all types of poisons.
  • Greater: 19th Level: Master Brewer. A Venefica may reduce the cost of brewing potions by 50%.

Special: Any venefica who has access to their alchemical lab, can make an Alchemy check DC 20 + the potions caster level to Identify any potion, as per the spell. She gains an additional +4 bonus to her alchemy check if it is a potion that she created before.

Special Restrictions: At 3rd level the constant exposure to dangerous chemicals and noxious fumes have begun to take their effect on the witch. The Venefica suffers a ·2 penalty on all reactions rolls and Diplomacy checks.

Equipment: The Venefica requires all of the alchemical tools necessary to conduct research. The initial set up costs for the Venefica will be 100 GP. This will also cost the Venefica 10 gp per level each time they advance in level, of total levels, which determine her spell casting ability. Thus, a 10th level Venefica / 3rd Level Hermetic Mage must pay 130 gold when she advances to 13th level) to maintain. This does not cover the cost of special ingredients the witch might need.

The most common ritual tool of the Venefica is the Mortar (which represents the Goddess) and Pestle (which is the masculine tool of the God).

Coven Domains: Healing, Plant

Preferred/Barred Covens: This tradition is suited to all covens. Though Venefica typically avoid diabolic and demonic covens. Venefica are free to join any coven that will have them.

Relationship to the Goddess/Patron: Venefica seek understanding of the universe, their place in it, magic and the Patron. By invoking their names the Venefica both pleases and empowers the Patron. In return the Patron make available more knowledge and guidance.

Source/Views of Magic: Magic is an Alchemical function. Only by understanding the alchemical-magical properties of objects will you begin to understand the universe.

Unlike arcane alchemists, wizards or artificers, Venefica tend to use more mundane items for their creations. Instead of needing magical artifacts (teeth of a dragon, eye of a beholder) or symbolic ones (wail of a banshee, tear of an Iron Golem), the Venefica uses items that have normal or natural occurrence, such as herbs, or special waters. Granted some of these items may be very difficult to get, so often the Venefica witch must either purchase them at great prices or go out adventuring to get them for herself.

Wealth: Venefica start with the normal amount of wealth allotted to a witch. She may supplement her wealth by adventuring or selling her creations.

Other: Venefica find their potions and mixtures are in high demand, thus they get along well with most other witches and classes in general. While there is often heated debate on the means of their magic, some Venefica find it useful to pick up study as a wizard for a while. More rural Venefica will often do the same with druids or rangers. Non-adventuring (NPC) Venefica may also multiclass as Experts (Alchemists).

Venefica tend to avoid Demonic covens and as a result there are very few Venefica-Warlocks. However many Venefica find welcoming in the various lodges of the Hermetic Mages. Generally, due to their long training, Venefica start out as Venefica and not some other class.

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