My situation:

  • I'm rolling up a 10th level Pathfinder witch, using all Paizo products
  • standard starting wealth (62K GP) plus and the ability to choose Scribe Scroll if it turns out to be worth the cost of a feat
  • a ratling familiar (with the ability to cast any spell of any class/level from a scroll, no UMD needed. Note that this compares reasonably well to a Rod of Quicken Spell since the ratling and the PC can both cast in the same turn. Ill Omen is particularly useful for this sort of role...but there must be more good options (on any class spell list) that folks have thought of and can share.)
  • joining an existing party where the only other casters are a blaster-sorcerer, a master summoner, and some paladins with wands of CLW (no full divine casters).
  • Heading into the Worldwound on a crusade (not based on any published AP) where I expect a broad mix of evil foes including demons, giants, dragons, plus plenty of random others.
  • In terms of quantities, we can expect to be out of town for weeks at a time...though I'll know Teleport if needed.

This is my first time playing a witch, and my first time playing any full caster at this level. I plan to focus on battlefield control and debuffing but want to provide useful general utility as well.

The classes of scrolls I'm considering so far:

  • ones I'd like my ratling familiar using while I'm taking other actions (e.g. I'm considering crafting many Ill Omen scrolls for my familiar to use immediately before I cast a save-or-suck spell.)
  • ones that typically aren't worth preparing but are very handy in niche cases (e.g. maybe something like Neutralize Poison or Dismissal?)
  • important divine spells that the party won't otherwise have access to (but that could be used as scrolls by the ratling).

I'm looking for:

  • specific scroll suggestions (e.g. "one or two of A & B, and ten+ of C & D") and
  • general principles for how to make these decisions (e.g. "In addition to the three reasons for bringing scrolls you mention, I'd also be thinking about X")
  • feel free to suggest ones that are of any level and/or on any class list, since the ratling can use scrolls from any class, and if you believe a single use high level scroll is worth the cost I'd like to know.

Since it seems folks may be put off by the time investment needed to answer this comprehensively, let me add:

  • a brief answer with a few great ideas may be better than a comprehensive one so don't feel that your choices are answer comprehensively or not at all.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you want 7-9th level scrolls included? \$\endgroup\$
    – Guest
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @guest, if there are A couple you'd recommend given the cost, feel free. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 21:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You are a level 10 wizard, you have more than enough spells slots to last for the day. Buying consumables will reduce your personal wealth (available gold) with items without lasting value (they are used up). \$\endgroup\$
    – Mala
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 18:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Given that this has been answered several times (and a bounty awarded) I think doing a substantive rewrite of the question would be unfair. If that means it stays On Hold, I think that's still the right thing to do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 6:01

4 Answers 4


Let's start with the easy ones:

  • Protection from Evil (Communal). There is also a "Magic Circle" variant but it's more expensive and it only has a range of 10ft around you. Yes you can definitely memorize this spell, but it's not always easy to memorize "enough".
  • Invisibility Purge is very situational, when you need it, you really need it. If your familiar can be mobile and hide behind the paladins, this may be even more useful on it :) Faerie Fire only works for one Cleric domain and Glitterdust only works for Arcane casters.
  • Death Ward is absolutely huge around evil monsters. It is quite likely that you will memorize one of these, but when you need multiple, it's nice to have extras around.
  • Restoration spells. Again it is quite likely that you will have one or more of these memorized, but it really sucks when you "run out".
  • Take a look at Breath of Life and Raise Dead (note raise dead scroll is +5k gp). Honestly, Breath of Life is pretty good and you may just memorize it anyways. But it is annoying to burn a 5th level slot on Raise Dead that's only useful if somebody dies. At 10th level, the odds are pretty good that somebody is going to die, but you never know if that's going to be today or tomorrow or next week. Because of Raise Dead's cost, it's typically the type of thing where the party pitches in for the scroll, so feel free to ask the party to help fund this scroll.
  • The removes: Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Neutralize Poison. These are all great to have when you really need them, but they are annoying places in which to "burn slots". Again however, these spells are all really to the party's benefit. This is the type of thing that you may want the party to pitch in for. Note that two of these are accessible to the Sorcerer who may want a copy as well, you should coordinate.
  • Delay Poison is handy fail-safe compared to the 4th level spell Neutralize Poison. The Delay is "hours/level". So it's enough to clear a fight or possibly two before getting to safety or casting the full version.
  • Speak with Dead is great way to gather information, but again you're never going to memorize it for that one day the mystery starts.

@Jacob Proffitt has a very extensive list, but that's also a lot of cash on Scrolls. I would start with this smaller list as the odds of using any of these scrolls within a few levels is pretty high.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Gates, I like this as a list of scrolls for niche cases. Thanks! Do you have any thoughts about scrolls that are handy to have a ratling (or other familiar that can use scrolls reliably) cast during combat? (It's probably a similar question to a list of the best spells to quicken) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 0:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Delay Poison is simply a waste in most cases, since you still have to do the same healing. In combat, soaking the damage is usually better than wasting the casting action for this, and out of combat, there's no real gain at all outside of a few edge cases. Excluding that one, is there any reason why a single one of the spells on this list ever couldn't simply wait til morning and be prepared to order? Is your group simply so impatient that they'd rather run a suicide mission in 3 days than take 4 days and survive the attempt? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 18:32

I like scrolls for storing potential—mainly for things that are situation-specific that you don't want to clog up a regular spell slot for. I also tend to steer clear of offensive spells (mostly because bought scrolls DCs are on the low side).

I think Scribe Scroll is a decent feat for a witch as you can build up your scroll supplies over time, plus you use your own stats for spell DCs. That said, remember that scribing a spell above the base caster level needed for the spell affects the material cost for the scroll (so again, offensive spells have a different utility/cost trade-off). Bear in mind that you're essentially cutting your scroll costs in half with the feat and if you use a lot of scrolls, that can be quite valuable. The flip side of that, of course, is that if you have/use a lot of scrolls, it doesn't take long to tie up (and eventually burn) a substantial amount of cash in them.

If you're looking at how to evaluate, here's my weight list for the Witch spell list for level 2 through 5 spells. Bear in mind that I'd filter this by party needs and utility so the numbers here are more of a weight than a purchase suggestion.


  • Break Enchantment — 2 to 5
  • Overland Flight — 1 or 2
  • Prying Eyes — 1 or 2
  • Truespeak 1 or 2


  • Arcane Eye 1 or 2
  • Death Ward 6+ (when useful, generally useful for much of the party)
  • Dimension Door 2 or 3 (this might be better as a personal spell)
  • Divination 2 or 3 or 6+ depending on GM tolerance for revealing their hand
  • Locate Creature 3 to 5
  • Neutralize Poison 2 or 3
  • Ride the Waves 0 to 2
  • Secure Shelter 1 to 3 (unless things are really bad, but then you might be better with a wand)
  • Shadow Step 0 to 3
  • Threefold Aspect 0 to 2
  • Tongues, Communal 6+ (unless your party isn't into the talky-talk)
  • Wandering Star Motes 0 to 2 (this is just a fun effect)


  • Clairaudience/Clairvoyance 2 to 5
  • Countless Eyes 0 to 6 depending on how your party benefits
  • Delay Poison, Communal 2ish (not going to want it often, but when you do...)
  • Fly 3ish (for emergencies — if you want fly more often, use your own)
  • Locate Object 3 to 6 (creative use of this one can be extremely useful)
  • Rage depends on if your party can/will use it
  • Remove Curse 2 to 4
  • Remove Disease 3 to 6
  • Seek Thoughts 1 or 2
  • Speak with Dead 2 to 6 (if you use it a lot, consider keeping one of your own loaded)
  • Tongues 2 or 3
  • Water Walk 3 to 6
  • Witness 0 to 3 (consider using with your allies)


  • Alter Self 2 to 6 (don't forget this is a good way to pick up scent, swim, or darkvision)
  • Carry Companion 0 to 3 depending on if you have willing beasts
  • Delay Pain 2ish
  • Delay Poison 4 to 6+
  • Detect Thoughts 2ish
  • Fog Cloud 2ish (depending on usefulness in party tactics)
  • Gentle Repose 2 (any more is begging for disaster)
  • Glide 2ish (better/cheaper than fly if all you want is down)
  • Glitterdust 3ish (this is the perfect scroll—useless to have memorized all the time, but extremely useful when faced with something invisible)
  • Levitate 3ish (like glide only going up)
  • Mount, Communal 3ish again, useful when needed, but not often needed
  • See Invisibility 2ish
  • Soothing Word 1 to 6 depending on how irked the party is by condition effects
  • Squeeze 2 to 6 depending on how often you're in relevant circumstances
  • Touch of Idiocy 2 to 5 (I know, I said no attack spells. This one has no save, though)


You get the idea and I'll leave the first level spells to you. Bear in mind that if you use them a lot, wands are more cost effective.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Glitterdust is useless to have memorized at all times? What? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mala
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mala: How do you find it useful on a consistent basis? I'd love if you have a consistent use, but don't see it, myself. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's of course at it's best vs invisible foes, but I've seen it be worth memorizing as an area of effect blindness effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Blindness with a will save is nice, but a save every round kind of neuters its effectiveness. And the area effect is large enough to be inconvenient around allies but small enough that it takes a really unwisely grouped foe to leverage the area much. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 15:03
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't realize it was PF not 3.5. My bad. And in 3.5, Glitterdust is amazing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mala
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 19:30

None. Magical consumables are extremely and universally overpriced in D&D 3.x, and Pathfinder inherited this problem in full. They're fine for casual play, and can be very thematic depending on the character and the world, but for any game with even very moderate optimization levels, the only consumables people should be carrying are ones that are to be used with a specific ability combo (and if that combo doesn't involve making them non-consumed, give it a real thorough review for gp efficiency), and maybe a couple of healing potions to revive the healer in extreme emergencies if you don't have a group full of people with just enough incidental healing ability to cover that kind of situation.

All of this, of course, assumes that you are playing with by-the-book prices and that the GM bases treasure rewards on the treasure guidelines rather than the wealth ones. In the first case, obviously, if your GM reduces consumables prices enough, then they will cease to be overpriced and may become worth using. In the latter case, if the GM gives treasure by looking at your current total wealth and giving the amount that will bring you up to the guidelines, then the total value of all your gear is effectively immutable, since every scroll you read will cause coins equalling its replacement cost to magically materialize in the next pile of treasure you're destined to come into possession of. In that case, there's little reason to ever conserve cash in any way. Just ignore your spells per day, buy 10 scrolls of every spell you ever use and 50 of the staple spells, per day you expect to be out, and blast away.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Matthew, it seems you're thinking of this entirely as "adding one more slot". That may not be worth the money, but what about "to allow 2x as many spells / turn (given a familiar who can reliably use scrolls but doesn't know any spells on its own)"? Or even just "having that rarely-needed-but-occasionally crucial" spell around for the one day where it's game-changing...without having to have it memorized every single day? Those can be worth a ton of money. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeffFry You're partially right: I hadn't though much of the action economy aspect. I did address the rarely-needed-but-occasionally-crucial issue with my mention of healing potions to revive the healer, which I hold to be the only such case both crucial enough, and time-sensitive enough, to do so. (Pretty much everything else that's being recommended for can wait til morning.) As for action economy, even two spells per turn, as amazingly good as that is, it's still only worth it rarely if at all. You don't seem to be understanding the staggering degree to which these things are overpriced. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 3:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say that spending gold to get two spells/turn seems "only worth it rarely if at all" do you apply the same logic to quicken metamagic wands? They cost 35K and last forever...but when a scroll of Ill Omen costs 25GP per pop one has to use that overpriced consumable 1,400 times before it costs as much as the rod...and I know many people consider a quicken rod one of the best to buy once one can afford it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ And yes, it's not really a simple 1:1 comparison, there are (dis)advantages of both options, but I don't think you can discount 2x spells/turn as rarely worth it unless you are writing off the rod too. In fact, if you truly only quicken spells rarely the scrolls are a way better value (assuming one has the good fortune to have a ratling familiar). Heck, get the rod and some scrolls for the familiar and get 3x spells/turn at crucial moments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do consider that Rod to be way over-hyped. I don't write it off entirely, it's actually pretty good, just less so than the hype. Still, the characters I consider it a good idea for will use it far more than 700 times in their entire careers (you get to sell the rod back when done with it, not so with scrolls, so 700, not 1400, is the relevant number), or are using it to make some trick work (see the non-heal-pot exception line from my original answer). 700 looks like a really big number, but start counting actions you take in combats, things add up quick. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 7:58

A few additional spells/scrolls, divided by situational, and ratling taking action while PC otherwise focused.


  • Allfood(Ranger2/APG)
  • Tiny Hut(Sorc/Wiz3/Core)
  • Protection from Arrows Communal(Sorc/Wiz3/UC)
  • Protection From Energy Communal(Sorc/Wiz4/UC)
  • Nap Stack(Cleric3/APG)


  • King's Castle(Paladin4/APG)
  • Control Summoned Creature(Sorc/Wiz4/UM)
  • any of the cure mass spells

The situational are mostly defensive or intended to give a party a chance to rest/heal in greater safety while the Ratling are offensive(King's Castle+Ratling Burrow=flanking full attack) or intended to mess with demons who tend to like to summon more demons to the fight. The mass cures are simply to replace/supplement the lack of burst healing(Without taking offense away from the paladins).

In addition, two rather critical spells to have are Restoration and Lesser Restoration. Demons(with poison) tend to rather painfully affect ability scores(at least they do to my characters)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for specifically breaking out scrolls that're useful for the familiar vs general handy situational ones. I don't understand what you mean by "King's Castle+Ratling Burrow=flanking full attack". Can you say more? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ King's Castle let's the caster switch spots with an ally. The Ratling has the burrow move ability. These combined mean the Ratling can burrow to the far side of an opponent(large ones that are otherwise difficult to get passed especially), switch places with a fighter-type to let two fighters flank(and full attack) an otherwise difficult foe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Guest
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Happy to help. Answering the questions also get me looking at oblique approaches so helps me at the same time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Guest
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:57

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