I've been working on a homebrew Oracle curse for a buddy of mine and have come to one that I think may work pretty well, but I'm looking for helpful feedback.
Obsession*: At 1st level, pick an obsession with a particular thing (person, place, thing, activity, drug, etc.).** You may choose more than one obsession, but the bonuses and penalties only apply once (i.e., you can not stack obsessions of many obscure things to get crazy results). You must carry 1 to 2 tokens of your obsession on your person at all times (GM’s discretion if this applies to when the Oracle is bathing, etc). Failure to engage with/look at/talk to the object of your obsession for the requisite number of times/hours per week results in the Oracle retaining all curse penalties and only the bonus to Will saves; he loses all other bonuses until he returns to the object of his obsession.* You take a penalty on all Perception rolls equal to your Charisma modifier. When engaging with/looking at/talking to the object of your obsession, the Oracle also becomes temporarily Fascinated (CRB 567) for the duration. Your obsession clouds your mind so much, you take a -1 penalty to your AC. Also, you are never able to act in a Surprise Round when you are the one being surprised regardless of feats or class features gained from other classes. You gain a permanent +1 bonus to Will saves. You gain Rage, as the barbarian class feature, with the following exceptions. You can only Rage for 4 rounds per day and entering Rage is a swift action. The Oracle does benefit from an increase of 2 hit points per Hit Dice in temporary hit points that disappear when the rage ends. The number of rounds of rage per day, like the barbarian class feature, cannot be increased due to temporary increases to your Constitution, nor by any other means – the number of rounds per day is fixed.
If the Oracle’s obsession is destroyed or killed and he learns about it (either through direct observation or believing the report of an eyewitness), the Oracle immediately uses any/all remaining rounds of rage for that day. When his rage ends, he loses that feature until his obsession is restored, 30 days have gone by with a shift to a new obsession, or the Oracle gains a level (whichever comes first). If, conditional on the destruction or death of the Oracle’s obsession AND the passage of 30 days (or the Oracle gains a level, whichever comes later), he or she wishes to change curses, he may do so, but the new curse’s bonuses and penalties begin in that moment as the level 1 version of the curse. For example, if a 6th level Obsession-cursed Oracle changes to the Lame curse, he only gains the 1st level reduction in base speed; he will gain the immunity to the Fatigued condition at 10th level, as that is 4 levels after the first level of the curse, and he gains the benefit of speed never being reduced by armor at 15th level, and so on.
At 5th level, the Oracle’s rounds of rage increase to 8 rounds/day. The Will bonus increases to +2. The Perception penalty increases to the Oracles’s Charisma bonus + 2. The Oracle must now carry 4-5 tokens of the obsession on his person at all times. Also, while raging, the Oracle becomes proficient in whatever weapon he is holding at the time. If he is holding two objects, the Oracle may choose the one with which he gains proficiency. He gains a +1 morale bonus to all damage rolls while raging.
At 10th level, the Oracle’s rounds of rage increase to 12 rounds/day. The Will bonus increases to +3. The Perception penalty increases to the Oracle’s Charisma bonus + 4. The Oracle’s morale bonus while raging increases to +2. The Oracle must now carry 7-10 tokens of the obsession on his person at all times.
At 15th level, the Oracle’s rounds of rage increase to 16 rounds/day. The Will bonus increases to +4. The Perception penalty increases to the Oracle’s Charisma bonus + 7. The Oracle’s morale bonus to damage while raging increases to +3. The Oracle must perform a special ritual regarding his obsession to gain the 15th level increase. While this is subject to GM approval, such a ritual could be getting a large tattoo in honor of the obsession on the Oracle’s back, regularly consuming a totem of the obsession (some of the person’s hair, pieces of bark from the trees in that forest, etc; something odd that would not normally be consumed by a sentient being) though this may not need to be as frequent as the usual weekly number of times/hours engaging with the object of the obsession, or securing the object of the Oracle’s obsession away completely for his own enjoyment.
*The nature of the obsession is subject to GM approval, as is the number of times/hours the Oracle must adequately engage with his or her obsession each week in order to count as having sated the Oracle’s appetite for it. Yes, this Curse is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it could actually work.
1) A memory. The Oracle’s engaging activity is to recreate the memory every week. It can come in different forms each week, but the memory represented is always the same. For example, the memory could be of a ship at sea. He draws it in the dirt with his finger, paints it on a canvas or mural, carves it into a wall, builds it with colored stones, etc.
2) A game. The Oracle carries the game (and, in later levels, variant editions) around with him. His engaging activity is to play that game for a number of hours each week. Even if he plays by himself, the Oracle cackles in glee when he succeeds and moans in despair when he fails.
3) Writing. It could be a historical work, a new play, or a corpus of poetry. Each engaging activity is a new writing session, whether that is new material or editing the work over and over.
4) Physical appearance. The Oracle is obsessed with getting his body to look just the way he wants, whether that means exercising whenever the PCs pick a camp site, or filling every gap of his skin with tattoos/piercings/scarification, or dabbling in Drow fleshcrafting.