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Cursed Power: Quark's Thoughts on the Oracle

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Quark

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Great Adventurer
Great Adventurer
I've done rather a lot of class musings now in quite a lot of depth, so I thought I'd make it slightly easier on myself and just do something which I've already done a fairly big chunk of in another one: The Oracle. You should check the spell list for the cleric included here somewhere.



Basics:

Skills, Saves, Proficiencies and BAB: Good will, medium BAB, 4 skills ranks/level and potentially a good selection of class skills. Proficiencies are basic, so you'll never be a combat powerhouse unless you grab weapon proficiency for something from elsewhere, but you should still go okay most of the time.

Spells: You're a spontaneous caster, but like all 9th level spontaneous casters, they're relatively generous with what they give you. There are some races which give you extra spells known as a favoured class bonus, so keep that in mind. The nature of the spell list is such that being spontaneous is a boon, because there aren't many super-must-have spells, and those that there are benefit a lot from having multiple castings. Nothing sucks more than dying of poison because the cleric only has one neutralise poison prepared.

Oracle's Curse: Basically, you take a drawback in exchange for some minor benefits. There's a surprisingly limited selection here. This will have its own section later.

Mystery: This is your big choice, and impacts a lot of the abilities and extra spells you get. This will have its own section later.

Final Revelation: The capstone, and is really covered in the mystery, which will reflect it as such.



Curses

I've got a simple rating system here of bold for very good, italics for just plain ol' good and ordinary for bad or otherwise unremarkable options. There's a surprisingly limited range of these, so just keep that in mind.

Blackened: You have a penalty on weapon attack rolls, but gain a bunch of fire themed spells. Obviously if you intend on casting spells more than attacking, this a fairly decent option, and it does help it along a lot.

Clouded Vision: You can't see very far, but you get to see very well in what you can see. This is probably one of the more obnoxious curses to take.

Cold-blooded Lizardfolk: Take a fairly harsh penalty against cold spells, in exchange for being less hungry, stronger against poison, and (the big highlight) get heaps of extra move actions! Try combining this will spells like Call Lightning! If the move actions came earlier this would be bold for sure, but since it's not until level 10 that they turn up it's less useful.

Consumed: Take 50% more damage in exchange for auto-stabilisation, being stronger against disease, poison and starvation and gain temporary HP when things get hit in melee. 50% more damage is just so horrible that you should honestly never, ever take this, unless for some reason you're a level 15 undead or something.

Deaf: Duh, you're deaf. That's basically a perception and initiative penalty. Your spells are all silenced, you get scent and tremorsense. They're very nice bonuses, but deaf is very impractical for a number of reasons. Still, if you're tossing up between this and clouded vision, this is probably a better option.

Haunted: It's slower to get items out of your bags and items fall a bit away from you if you drop them. In exchange, you get a bunch of fairly reasonable multi-puspose spells. A lot of the time this won't have much of an impact at all, so it's definitely one of the better ones.

Hunger: Sickened every combat until you hit something with your bite attack (that it gives you). You get a bite attack that gets progressively better. Sickened is an obnoxious, but not-too-bad penalty to have, especially if you're a melee type and want the extra attack. Or even if you just want to be always armed,  I guess. You can also just avoid the penalty by doing something dumb (and/or cruel) like having a cow follow you around to bite whenever combat starts.

Infested Goblin: Take substantial social penalties, in exchange for being... better against swarms? This is terrible.

Lame: Reduces your speed, but you don't slow down from being overloaded or wearing armour. You get to be immune to fatigue and exhaustion. The main reason I'd consider this would be for Rage Prophets for easy rage cycling, but otherwise it's not much of a tradeoff for what you lose.

Legalistic: Penalties if you break your word, but you get nifty bonuses like a +4 bonus on anything 1/day, good skill bonuses, long-term mind-affecting immunity (Probably too long to be useful, but hey) and ultimately give harsh penalties for things that break their word. Nice for intrigue, but even without it it's still quite reasonable, especially if you're good at wording things.

Powerless Prophecy: Uncanny dodge, but staggered in the first combat round. Bonuses to initiative and in surprise rounds afterwards. Seems terrible, but then, the Ring of Ferocious Action is a thing. I'm not really big on initiative, so I wouldn't consider this worthwhile.

Site-Bound: Stay near a specific area or Bad Things happen (including Sickness, Nausea and Death). You do get bonus caster levels though, for a total of 2. More levels let you get further away. Unfortunately, while the bonus is awesome, that penalty is... very nasty. Great for NPCs though, or even if you've got only a small area to be in.
In real measurement units, if you're looking it up, it starts at 450m, then 675m, then 900m, then 1,600m (1 mile is something random like 5,400 feet. Who came up with this stupid system and why is it even still in use?)

Tongues: When stressed, you speak in an extraplanar language, that you get as a free bonus language. You ultimately speak and understand all language. This is one of the best options in that the penalty is minimal and easily overcome. Sure, others give better benefits, but sometimes you just want to, you know, just not take any real penalty at all.

Wasting: -4 to charisma based skills in exchange for immunity to disease, sickened and nauseated. Dual-cursed oracle makes this combine well with Site-bound. As a charisma-based class, this isn't a huge penalty, but it's still unpleasant, since those skills are the most likely to save your life. The immunities are definitely very good.

Wolf-scarred face: 20% chance of verbal spells failing, but you get a bite attack and spells to enhance it. Dual-cursed oracles should consider combining this with deaf. It's certainly an obnoxious penalty, but if you're a more martial character with your spells to support you, this is worth looking at.

Wrecking Mysticism: Kitsune only. +50% duration of poison, sickened and nausea, get a few extra spells and can replace mystery spells with a Magical tail feat. On the one hand, if you bust all of your feats into this, you get dominate person a whole level early. Oh goody. On the other hand, you've just used all your feats to date on a not especially good selection of spell-likes. Dual cursed oracles might like to consider combining this with wasting.



Mysteries

Same rating system as before, excellent, good, boring. I'm going to give an overall rating to each mystery, then a rating for the skills it gives, spells, revelations and final revelation (although the final one won't be particularly strongly considered unless it's exceptional)

Ancestor:
Skills: You get a lot here, which is nice.
Spells: Kind of blah, the only notable ones are heroism and telekinesis.
Revelations: The big ones are Blood of Heroes and Sacred Council that are move action buffs. Not else much stands out.
Final: Probably large bonus to Will saves and blindsense, basically. It's nothing especially remarkable.

Apocalypse:
Skills: Nothing especially remarkable here.
Spells: Some pretty fun spells here, particularly at higher levels.
Revelations: There are a few rubbish ones, but things like Dust to Dust, Spell Blast and Unstoppable Overrun are good.
Final: Inflict a lot of extra negative levels if you inflict any (Vampires will love this, but also consider orb of the void) and auto-curse something if you crit. One of the best.

Battle:
Skills: Perception's always nice to get.
Spells: Nothing remarkable, and mostly spells from your own list anyway. What's the point?
Revelations: Some of these are impressive, ranging from those that give you a bunch of extra bonus feats to 'free' quickened spells to basically 'I go first in initiative'.
Final: Basically pounce, but very slightly better. If this is what you were wanting, just do another class.

Bones:
Skills: Just blah.
Spells: Lots of strong, cross-class spells here, and most of them are useful.
Revelations: These are almost all unremarkable and boring.
Final: At will 0 level spells. So strong. Also you auto-stabilise. Yay. Animate dead as an at-will spell like, and this is sort of funny. A slightly better 1/day power word kill. All up, uninspiring.

Dark Tapestry:
Skills: Nothing to see here.
Spells: Mostly useful and or cross class.
Revelations: Only remarkable thing is brain drain, which is still not fabulous.
Final: Curiously, one of the better ones. DR 5/-, immunity to acid, crits and precision. Also a free shapechange 1/day

Flame:
Skills: Nothing remarkable
Spells: Unsurprisingly, you have a bunch of fire spells. There's mostly cross class, so that's pretty good. Of course, these sorts of things are better with metamagics, but it does mean you won't need to waste other precious spells on damage ones.
Revelations: Ranges from passive speed boosts to colossal damage and area spells to basically being an elemental all the time. Very solid choices.
Final: Free +1 metamagic to fire spells. Unremarkable, really, but I guess it gets in on a large chunk of your spells.

Heavens:
Skills: Perception is always a good skill to get.
Spells: Mostly cross class, and all quite good, with a range of utility and combat.
Revelations: Most notably is the incredibly good Awesome Display, which will keep your basic colour spray (which you do get) relevant for ages. Seriously good. The others are... less impressive.
Final: Charisma bonus to all saves, immune to fear, auto-confirm all crits and basically immortal. Definitely one of the better ones.

Intrigue:
Skills: Nothing remarkable.
Spells: Most of the spells are useful, even if a number are on your list anyway.
Revelations: Most of these are very, very useful, and there aren't many I wouldn't like to take. Well worth looking at extra revelation for this mystery.
Final: Apply silent or still to any spell for free. It's... kind of disappointing.

Juju:
Skills: Blah.
Spells: Nothing particularly exciting, but mostly cross-class, so that's something.
Revelations: Yeesh, there's a lot of junk in here, but you are very good at zombies. Seems like a very good NPC mystery, really.
Final: Easy body possession, basically. Again, very much NPCish.



Here's a placeholder until I finish this!

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