Image by mutedoracle and taken from www.deviantart.com
Featuring TFPC staffers Jason Linker and Kiel Howell
Questions about Class! This is a special series dedicated to answering
questions about classes that we here at The Flying Pincushion are releasing a
post, the Into the Breach: Oracles book is close to being released into the
wild. Fellow Pincushioner Jason Linker has volunteered to answer some questions
and just explain the Oracle class to me. I’ll admit, I didn’t understand the
class but after chatting with Jason I am a little excited to try and build an
with an archetype from the upcoming release of the Into the Breach: Oracles
Kiel Howell - Hi
Jason,thanks for coming and let’s talk Oracle!
Jason Linker - So do you
hate the Oracle?
Kiel Howell - Hah! Good
question, but no I don't hate them. I honestly just don't understand what they
are. As presented in literature, oracles are generally people who tell the
future via riddles or self serving prophecy.
Jason Linker - Well you
can be that kind of Oracle. The Lore Mystery is great for that.
Kiel Howell - Interesting.
Jason Linker - But you
don't have to be. The point is making someone that is closer to an ideal than
the cleric is. Take fire for example…
Kiel Howell - That's a
part where I get confused. Clerics are supposed to almost be icons of their
Jason Linker - I didn't
mean for this to end up as a plug but here we go anyway.
Kiel Howell - Plug away!
Jason Linker - I've been
working with TPK [Games] on an expansion of their Reforged books that focuses
on classes instead of feats. Cleric just came out.
Kiel Howell - Which can
be found at DriveThruRPG and similar places :)
Jason Linker - One of the
changes we made was that instead of spontaneously casting cure or inflict
spells, clerics could spontaneously cast domain spells. A cleric of a god of
fire gets one fireball per day
that's it. Boo!
Kiel Howell - Ooo seems
harsh. Is that a stock PRD [Paizo Reference Document] cleric?
Jason Linker - Right. Not
in a Reforged cleric. A Reforged Cleric prepares his buffs and cures but swaps
them out for fire [domain] spells as needed to be more like a real avatar of
Kiel Howell - Almost like
a pool mechanic.
Jason Linker - Sort of.
It's basically just a twist on the way 3.5 and thus Pathfinder handles Cleric's
Kiel Howell - Ok, so
let's tie that back in to how Oracles work
Jason Linker - Basically
that IS how Oracles work. Oracles get bonus spells related to the idea or ideal
that they follow. They get revelations that improve and expand on that idea.
Kiel Howell - Ok, so they
get hyper-focused on their deities ideal?
Jason Linker - Well,
Oracles don't necessarily have a deity.
Kiel Howell - Hah!
Jason Linker - They might
have one, several, or none. The IDEAL is the important thing, not its deific
incarnation. A Cleric of death has to specify the kind of death, Pharasma or
Norgorber for example.
Kiel Howell - Ok I get
Jason Linker - Guidance to
the afterlife and anti-undead or murder and assination...An Oracle can just
follow death in all its forms.
Kiel Howell - Ok, let's
get a little technical then. They are both a d8 Hit Die class, 3/4 BAB. The
Cleric gets better saves overall while the Oracle gets more spells per day
overall. It almost seems like the Oracle is what a Cleric should be...ala the Reforged Cleric.
Jason Linker - Yep.
Howell - Granted, Channel Energy (and damage
dealing to undead) is a staple of Cleric-ness. So what would be the impetus to
choose a Cleric over an Oracle?
Jason Linker - Clerics
also have the advantage of a huge number of spells that they can prepare.
Kiel Howell - Talk about
that for a moment. Don't they both have access to the Cleric spell list?
Jason Linker - Yes, but
Clerics "know" every spell on the list. They can prepare a wide
number of spells to deal with changing situations. Oracles are going to be much
more limited in spells known and will have to plan carefully to ensure a good
variety. The advantage being that they'll be able to probably keep it limited
to a lot of very flavorful spells for whatever Mystery they have which may
enhance their RP experience.
Kiel Howell - I see.
Let's switch over to Mysteries.
Jason Linker - I love
Kiel Howell - These
Jason Linker - I'd call
them mostly full blown abilities. Most of them are really cool.
Kiel Howell - Ok, walk me
through a Mystery and a typical build. Let's say Bones.
Jason Linker - Handy,
because I had a player using that mystery. Getting something like armor made of
bone or raising a quick skeleton for a fight or becoming incorporeal and spying
on enemies behind a door is so very flavorful.
Kiel Howell - Whoa! You
can go incorporeal?!
Jason Linker - Oh yeah!
Spirit Walk lets you become invisible and incorporeal so you can move around
and check out your surrounding and scout. Since you get a new revelation every
other level you can do all three of those things and a bunch more. That's a lot
more than you get in domain powers.
Kiel Howell - Ok, I'm
starting to see the appeal! Seriously, domain powers are great and all…
Jason Linker - Going back
to the kind of Oracle you were talking about in the vein of foretelling and
Kiel Howell - Yes...I
have some game balance and GM headache concerns about those types…
Jason Linker - Yeah, as a
player and a GM I try to stay away from too much fortune telling but there is a
lot to love in this Mystery. Like going into a trance to get a +20 bonus on a
Kiel Howell - This would
be the Lore Mystery yes?
Jason Linker - Yeah. Brain
draining telepathy, knowledge checks and some augury and divination make the
kind of Oracle that can be a real help to the party.
Kiel Howell - I'm really
starting to see what all the fuss is about. Now let's get to the
Jason Linker - It's not
really much of a tradeoff for being called curses, they sure give a lot of
Kiel Howell - So these
are...what? Some kind of flavorful semi-curse with good bonuses?
Jason Linker - Exactly. You
might have clouded eyes and be unable to see beyond 30 feet but eventually
you'll compensate with blind sense and blindsight. Although, you might have a
bum leg from the Lame curse, you’re immune to the fatigued and exhausted
Howell - Ahh yes, the Lame curse. It gives a dwarf
racial trait (never slowed by armor) plus more!I see that some, like the Haunted curse, even give bonus spells at
certain levels. That's a pretty good bonus for a standard action to retrieve
items and any dropped item landing 10 feet away.
Jason Linker - Yeah, I
think the Haunted curse is the lightest burden to carry.
Kiel Howell - Have you
personally banned or been at a table where Oracles, or certain Curses/Mysteries
Jason Linker - Never. I'm
a balance nut for the most part and I don't have a problem with any of the
Mysteries or Curses. Some are arguably more powerful than others but nothing is
over the top.
Kiel Howell - Cool, I
know that I've done CRB only games but that's just because it is so much easier
to GM that book only! Ok, let's switch gears a bit and talk about the
Inquisitor vs. Cleric vs. Oracle. I don't want to get too in depth about the
Inquisitor here, but what role would the Oracle fill that and Inquisitor and/or
Jason Linker - Well, for
the most part, the Inquisitor is always going to be at best a secondary healer
but is primarily
badass. That's another class I love. Clerics and Oracles fill
about the same role within the party of being a healer. The difference is
basically one of how much your want to be pinned to a specific ideal. Gods in
Pathfinder aren't really just about fire.
Kiel Howell - True, they
have whole portfolios associated to them.
Jason Linker - Right, Gods
with fire in thier portfolio range from Sarenrae to Asmodeus. If you choose the
Flame Mystery, expect to be about fire in a big way.
Kiel Howell - Ok...ok I
can see that now.
Jason Linker - Hope I've
helped make the Oracle a more appealing an interesting choice for your next
Kiel Howell - You really
have. I'm seeing the possibilities. Thanks so much for your time!
Jason Linker - Thank you
for taking the time, too!