Categorized | RPGs

Visions of the Oracle (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on March 4, 2011 by Megan

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    What is more mysterious than an Oracle? It is the turn of the Oracle character class to come under the microscope: no mere list of feats but a detailed look at the potentials and options available to players who fancy being an Oracle.

    We begin with an overview of the class as a whole, discussing the salient points of an Oracle. It’s an interesting class, a spontaneous caster but divine rather than arcane (the answer to those of us who mutter that surely our deities would never let us choose the wrong spells for the day…), with many opportunities for the role-player as they tend to be good socially as well as with that air of mystery! Speaking of mysteries, your choice here sets the flavor of the whole character, affecting him in terms of game mechanics as well as laying the seeds for role-playing and characterization. As they are so important, there’s a thumb-nail sketch of each one, to aid your choice based on just what kind of oracle you would like to play. Oracles are well set up for defense, if offensive capability is desired crafty choices of mystery (Battle is good, or an elemental one) can prove an advantage. Oracles will tend to specialize in something, but that thing they can generally do very well indeed.

    On to the feats, a full 30 of them. Many can, of course, be taken by any character although they are aimed at oracles. Some present novel variations to combat – for example Armed Touch Casting allows you to extend the range of a ‘touch’ spell by using a melee weapon to deliver it, with the added bonus of doing the normal weapon damage as well as whatever effect the spell has! (Shades of a wizard I knew back in AD&D days, who delivered shocking grasp down a staff carefully prepared with bands of copper along its length.) A grumpy Oracle might enjoy the Mystic Retribution feat, which allows you to lash out with residual magical energy at anyone who disturbs your concentration whilst you are spellcasting. And for those who want to take the title ‘oracle’ literally (and whose GM agrees) there’s a Prophetic Dreamer feat, as well as the ability to make ordinary divination spells more effective. Overall, the feats are combat-oriented, and careful choices can enhance your Oracle’s capability considerably. There are interesting notes about the inclusion and design of several which make fascinating reading especially if you enjoy devising your own feats, giving you points to ponder.

    Finally, the suggested ‘builds’ taking your Oracle in a path from 1st level depending on what you intend him to become as he gains more power. The options presented are a Visionary Healer, the Phoenix and the Savage Seer. The Visionary Healer is better than most clerics at healing, and adds the divinatory powers and other abilities of the class, definitely a good build for a strong role-player who cares about the people encountered in his travels, or seeks to champion the people of a township in which he settles. The Phoenix utilizes the elemental power of fire, and can do damage any pyromanic would be proud of, while having considerable social skills – well beyond the “It was on fire when I got here” that most use to evade responsibility for the blazes that they have caused. The Savage Seer is a battle-monster, dealing tremendous amounts of damage with both weapons and spells. Great potential for a memorable character in any of these, or inspiration in planning your own career as an Oracle.

    Well up to the standard of earlier books, and invaluable if you want to play a well-developed Oracle in a lasting campaign.

    Review by Megan Robertson

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