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Channeling the Cosmos: A guide to the Oracle


Advice

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Lantern Lodge

Rory wrote:
Soullos wrote:
I have a life oracle and I was reading that section of your guide and it gave me some good ideas. I was surprised Life Link getting such a good rating. When I first read that ability I immediately thought, "I'm not a tank per say, I'm going to die faster." and didn't choose it. I'm not much of a risk taker. Why have the healer risk his life in such a way? Having read your guide, I can see the benefits, essentially fast healing 5 for everyone linked (auto-heal bleed and stabilize is great stuff), but I still have the feeling of "I'm going to die quickly" thought. Is there something I'm missing?

Yes.

Life Link is a standard action to set up. That means you can put it up in combat, but most of the time it will be established outside of combat.

Life Link is an immediate action to remove. You can remove Life Link at anytime, even not on your turn, to control precisely how much damage you will be taking (and healing others).

Life Link damage happens at the start of your turn. You know exactly how much you will be taking. You know how much healing you can do that round if needed. You know if there is a better option than healing, that you can snip the link if needed.

You end up with too much control for Life Link to be dangerous.

**********************************************

Potential Multi-Class Oracle Option:

1 level of Life Oracle (choose Life Link as the revelation)
X levels of any other class that yields Fast Healing

You instantly become the out-of-combat inifinite healer for the entire party.

Life link does have some situational cons. If you are under the affects of the confusion spell you only have a 25% chance of controlling your actions. I have been in a very real situation where between life link and confusion I bled myself to nearly dead. (-CON +1). Basically the party kept force feeding me potions and hoping I got to 1 and rolled the 25% to control myself to cut the linkages.

I still swear by the ability, but I'm much less likely to link the whole party.


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Galnörag wrote:

Life link does have some situational cons. If you are under the affects of the confusion spell you only have a 25% chance of controlling your actions. I have been in a very real situation where between life link and confusion I bled myself to nearly dead. (-CON +1). Basically the party kept force feeding me potions and hoping I got to 1 and rolled the 25% to control myself to cut the linkages.

I still swear by the ability, but I'm much less likely to link the whole party.

Well, on the other hand, this is exactly the sort of delicious chaos that you hope to get from the confusion spell.


how you feel about the juju mystery? no one seems to ever talk about it...


Lunamaria Hawke wrote:
how you feel about the juju mystery? no one seems to ever talk about it...

I've been doing all of my review based on the SRD. Where is this Juju oracle?


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Lunamaria Hawke wrote:
how you feel about the juju mystery? no one seems to ever talk about it...
I've been doing all of my review based on the SRD. Where is this Juju oracle?

Serpent's Skull Part 3 City Of Seven Spears page 66


Lunamaria Hawke wrote:
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Lunamaria Hawke wrote:
how you feel about the juju mystery? no one seems to ever talk about it...
I've been doing all of my review based on the SRD. Where is this Juju oracle?
Serpent's Skull Part 3 City Of Seven Spears page 66

Ah, I don't have that book. I've made a point of trying to keep the review only on the core line of Pathfinder books and avoid the accessories.

I did a quick google and wasn't able to find the mystery so I can't really offer my opinions on it.


I've gone over the Juju Mystery and I've gotta say its pretty good. Sort of a combination of Bones and Nature, the revelations are mostly good, the bonus spells are a little above moderate, and the skills are fine.


Personally, I'd still make an archery oracle, despite the fact that it isn't the most optimal choice. I have a few reasons for this:

1) You don't need to have a high strength composite bow. Sure, ideally you'd want one; but want and need are two different words. Being the best possible DPR is the BSF's job, not mine. He'll always be miles past me no matter what I do anyway.

2) Keeping the above statement in mind, I don't need to have high strength either. I'm comfortable just having high dexterity and charisma. See the next reason below for more details.

3) High dexterity means using lighter armor while still having a workable AC. This lets me not only benefit from Acrobatics, but it also significantly reduces my weight load, making strength even less necessary. A Handy Haversack will cover my other weight concerns. I didn't say I'd dump strength, mind you. Just saying that 10 works for me.

4) I'll have far fewer problems full-attacking. The target is across the field? The target is flying above me? None of this matters much if I wield a bow. This solves numerous tactical issues, and gives an invisible bump to my DPR. I say an "invisible bump" because you have to consider the difference between charging and getting only 1 hit, versus standing my ground and getting several; and enemies aren't always positioned well for a cleave. I'm weaker on paper, but I'm getting some compensation in the form of needing to move a lot less often to keep contributing. High damage may not be my forte, but the consistency of my damage is top-notch.

5) Don't have to take every single archery feat to make it viable. I'll take the highest priority ones and take the others as I see fit. I double as a spellcaster, remember? My archery isn't up to the fighter's level, but his battlefield control isn't up to mine. I'm still filling a solid party role; and I'm skilled enough as a player to make sure my presence at the table is both known and appreciated.

6) My reflex save suddenly became good. My initiative is nothing to sneeze at either.

7) I'm farther away from the things that want to kill me. The full-time frontline characters are a lot less squishy than any oracle. I'll let them soak up the hits while I hang back and manipulate the battlefield and/or take shots with my bow.

All that being said, I'm not gonna pretend that the archery route is better. But I'll still choose it pretty often for my preferences as a player; I think its a little better than you guys give it credit for.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Kazejin

That is some very dangerous thinking, i have played with people who had the same thinking as you and they ended up contributing very little, surely they weren't dead weight but they weren't helping much either.


Kazejin wrote:
Arguments for Archery

This was exactly my opinion when I started writing the guide. Archery is a powerful option for players and shouldn't be discounted in terms of effectiveness, even if only at "half power."

As I worked through my guide I eventually came to the opinion that, for most players, the investment for archery is simply too high. You need two feats just to stop being terrible at your job (point blank, precise) and another to make sure your arrows hurt (deadly aim). Those three feats are required just to make sure you're actually worth everyone's time while you roll your attacks at the table. You'll also need to get access to martial weapon proficiencies, which isn't difficult but is another obstacle. You're going to want to pick up rapid shot for sure, and eventually manyshot to continue to compete with the melee focused Warrior type.

And all of that is completely ignorant to the fact that you're still a full time spellcaster and haven't done much to make your spellcasting better. The guide is all about being an effective character, and the most effective Warrior type isn't emulating a fighter or barbarian; she's combining her ability to go toe-to-toe with powerful spells and battlefield support. The simple fact of the matter is that a melee oriented Warrior type has a low cost entry into her role as a hybrid caster, while the archer will spend a third of her career coming into the role. It's not impossible, or even a necessarily bad option, but the investment makes it much less optimal than it's companion build.


@leo: I never said my choice was for everyone. I know my own abilities as a player and I make decisions based on that. I know I can do it; which means its far from impossible, and shouldn't be taken so lightly in the hands of an experienced player. Less experienced players are a different story though.

For Sean:

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
You need two feats just to stop being terrible at your job (point blank, precise) and another to make sure your arrows hurt (deadly aim). Those three feats are required just to make sure you're actually worth everyone's time while you roll your attacks at the table.

But compare that to needing feats like Cleave, or even the Step Up line to ensure that you even get the opportunity to multi-attack on your turn; because if you only get one attack you aren't contributing much either. There's a lot of crafty DMs and a lot of slippery monsters. It's not always a safe bet to think that your melee weapon will always reach the intended target without you having to move first. Personally, I'd say skipping those feats and instead getting PBS and Precise Shot is a fair trade for me to be able to full-attack nearly all of the time, every combat.

As for Deadly Aim... didn't you rank Power Attack blue? I see no loss here, as any decent melee oracle would take Power Attack eventually. I'm just replacing that with Deadly Aim.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
You'll also need to get access to martial weapon proficiencies, which isn't difficult but is another obstacle.

There's more than enough ways for me to do this. Simple weapons suck on the melee end too, so even if I wasn't ranged I'd still have some issue. And even if I can't fix the concern right away, crossbows will suffice until I have a spare feat, or the Skilled at Arms revelation, or some such. I can always Heirloom Weapon myself a bow at first level if I'm hard pressed to start with one.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
You're going to want to pick up rapid shot for sure, and eventually manyshot to continue to compete with the melee focused Warrior type.

I still don't view this as a heavy loss, considering that any good melee oracle will be investing feats to improve his melee ability as well. Even if I do come out a feat behind, I can deal.

Besides, that statement is assuming the melee oracle was able to full-attack every round. If he wasn't, but I was, guess who's starting to pull ahead?

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
And all of that is completely ignorant to the fact that you're still a full time spellcaster and haven't done much to make your spellcasting better.

The same can be said of melee-focused oracles. Again, fighting in melee has its own sets of disadvantages, the biggest of which being that full-attacks may not always happen. Either way, you're burning up feats to compensate for the weaknesses of your build. I just have a different set of weaknesses than you. The harsh truth is that being melee still requires a lot to actually be good at it. They may not feel like they're completely necessary, but by all means, go right ahead and make a melee-focused oracle who doesn't burn feats on it. See how well you do.

The point I'm making here is that the feat difference isn't as extreme as you may think. Mine may feel a little more necessary than yours, but its not like you aren't basically doing the same at the end of the day: burning up several feat slots to be good at your goal. That being said, to reiterate a previous point: I do not need every single archery feat to make it viable. The fact that I'm still functioning as a caster, the fact that I have more freedom in my armor, and the fact that dexterity is a far better ability than strength, are all compensating factors. Dexterity is a boon.

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
The guide is all about being an effective character, and the most effective Warrior type isn't emulating a fighter or barbarian; she's combining her ability to go toe-to-toe with powerful spells and battlefield support. The simple fact of the matter is that a melee oriented Warrior type has a low cost entry into her role as a hybrid caster, while the archer will spend a third of her career coming into the role. It's not impossible, or even a necessarily bad option, but the investment makes it much less optimal than it's companion build.

Archery is far from ineffective. Just because it isn't top-tier doesn't mean a guide shouldn't feature it.


Kazejin wrote:
Archery is far from ineffective. Just because it isn't top-tier doesn't mean a guide shouldn't feature it.

If its an optimization guide, this statement is not necessarily true.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
If its an optimization guide, this statement is not necessarily true.

Optimization does not equal maximized DPR. Optimization is the act of building to meet a goal, and using the correct tools to accomplish this. The statement should generally hold true if you aren't trying to pidgeonhole players into thinking in only one form.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kazejin wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
If its an optimization guide, this statement is not necessarily true.
Optimization does not equal maximized DPR. Optimization is the act of building to meet a goal, and using the correct tools to accomplish this. The statement should generally hold true if you aren't trying to pidgeonhole players into thinking in only one form.

As you have said this is an option that can't be employed correctly by everyone, so by including it in this guide there might be quite a few players who might think that they can be contributing and in fact not do so.

By the way heirloom weapon can't really help you because in PFS you can't make the weapon masterwork and outside of PFS you can't increase the STR rating allowed by the bow.
So unless you want to add a two page essay on how to make an oracle use archery at half power then by all means do so but if not then the option is better left off this guide.


leo1925 wrote:

By the way heirloom weapon can't really help you because in PFS you can't make the weapon masterwork and outside of PFS you can't increase the STR rating allowed by the bow.

So unless you want to add a two page essay on how to make an oracle use archery at half power then by all means do so but if not then the option is better left off this guide.

The STR rating isn't an issue to my approach, if you read my previous posts. Regardless though, I stated it as an option if I really felt it necessary to start with a bow (which also isn't necessary), but had no other options (which won't happen), as a temporary solution until I got the necessary proficiency from other means. I'm merely using it to illustrate the point that the breadth of options for compensation makes proficiency a rather minute issue. And that's before we even start talking about the simple fact simple melee weapons suck too. Being truly good at martial ability, regardless of if you're melee or ranged, will require you to compensate for proficiency anyway; so why is it such a problem for the archery build?

As for comparing the strength build to the archery build in your attack damage comparisons, try to keep a simple point in mind -- your DPR assumptions are just that: assumptions, and they take one very large variable for granted: movement.

The enemy flew a fair distance above you, and you can't fly? You have 0 DPR this round, congrats. The enemy is out of your charge distance? You have 0 DPR this round, congrats. It's only within charge distance? You only get one attack, since I see no realistic way for you to pounce. You don't have to move far, but still farther than 5 feet? You can Vital Strike (if you bothered with that feat), or you can cleave two creatures (if there actually is two there, and if they're set up properly... more variables to consider). If you can do neither, you probably still only got one attack and one damage dice.

The guy with the bow? He full-attacks in every single one of the above scenarios. Who's DPR is pulling ahead then? I might be giving up raw DPR but I'm compensating by being able to deliver in a significantly larger span of possible scenarios. And again, stop and consider how many feats you use up to make being a warrior oracle worth anyone's time. If you don't burn up several feats, you aren't doing much more damage than me, are you? But if you do burn those feats, then you don't have much of a feat advantage on me. The feat difference really isn't so extreme.

--Edit: Obviously in the above, I'm comparing weapon to weapon, since your spells are a constant variable for both; and are thus not too relevant to the comparison--

Ultimately the trade-off is higher (but conditional) damage versus damage that's a lot harder to hinder because it has a huge range... oh, and armor that doesn't slow me down, and being able to use Acrobatics, and other useful dex skills, and having better initiative, and having better reflex saves, and having better touch AC...


Kazejin wrote:
Counterarguments for Archery

I honestly see where you're coming from, but I disagree.

Yes, Power Attack and Deadly Aim are identical. They're both absolutely necessary for making your weapon strikes worthwhile. If I included archery it would also be blue.

But Power Attack is all a Warrior type needs to be good at melee. Feats like the Step Up line and Stand Still aren't about free attacks and bonus damage; they're about shutting down enemy movement and preventing opponents from getting away from you for whatever purpose (like spellcasting or drinking a potion). Feats like Cleave are really great for skirmisher types because it validates a previously lame battlefield tactic. Nearly everything in the archery line is about doing enough damage to matter.

Yes, you can get your full attack off very often, and you can potentially pump out some decent damage. The goal of a melee Warrior type shouldn't be to hang out in melee and hit things. It should be to maneuver tactical advantages for her team and support her allies. You're never going to be a good as a true martial type, so that shouldn't be the goal. A melee Warrior can bring so much more to the table than simply hitting things, and she should strive to. A ranged Warrior will just swap between attacking and casting spells.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Kazejin
After playing a switch hitter ranger for 16 levels (in Kingmaker) i have to say that being able to be half decent in melee is quite easy (the simple weapon morningstar helps with that) but being half decent in archery is quite difficult if your DM knows and uses the cover rules.

Also who doesn't keep a few potions of fly with him?


Yay! I was against archery for Oracles before it was popular! : P

In all seriousness, I see your points about archery and that for the most part Dex > Str. However, archery is simply too feat intensive when by comparison all melee really needs is Power Attack.

Another point against archery goes back to proficiencies. Yes, all simple weapons suck. However, melee types have a great option for that: Skill at Arms. That gives all martial weapons and heavy armor proficiency. If you use that for archery, you've wasted half a Revelation. There are other ways to get access to a longbow (be an elf or Heirloom Weapon or half-elf with a weapon proficiency instead of skill focus or +2 Will), but none of those options are as efficient.

Besides, let's just face it. If you're an optimized archer Oracle, you probably took the Wood Mystery for Wood Bond (+1 competence to attack with a bow, +1 per 5 more levels), and that doesn't have Skill at Arms in the first place.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Kazejin wrote:
Counterarguments for Archery
I honestly see where you're coming from, but I disagree.

I agree with Kazejin.

Ranged combat is an important aspect in the Pathfinder game. Dismissing it wholesale seems egregious to the good "guide to oracles" you are creating.

You can have a fairly competent ranged oracle around level 3. That doesn't seem that bad to me.


Rory wrote:
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Kazejin wrote:
Counterarguments for Archery
I honestly see where you're coming from, but I disagree.

I agree with Kazejin.

Ranged combat is an important aspect in the Pathfinder game. Dismissing it wholesale seems egregious to the good "guide to oracles" you are creating.

You can have a fairly competent ranged oracle around level 3. That doesn't seem that bad to me.

Your Ranged Oracle has Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot at level 3. If they're Human, they have Rapid Shot OR Deadly Aim. At level 5, they'll have achieved their basic feat line for decent damage. They get to look forward to picking up Manyshot to maintain this.

At level 5, the human melee Oracle has Power Attack and 3 other feats of his choice to make him better at being an Oracle, and is set for life for melee proficiency if he wants to be.

Thats a huge difference. Especially early on.

Nobody's saying Ranged Oracles aren't playable, but I can't imagine they are nearly ever going to be optimal.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
But Power Attack is all a Warrior type needs to be good at melee.

I disagree. By the token of your next statement, you contradict this. To use the advantages that you list in my next quote, clearly Power Attack isn't the only feat you need for the goal you're setting up. If you do give up the other melee-based feats, what on earth are you in melee for?

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Feats like the Step Up line and Stand Still aren't about free attacks and bonus damage; they're about shutting down enemy movement and preventing opponents from getting away from you for whatever purpose (like spellcasting or drinking a potion). Feats like Cleave are really great for skirmisher types because it validates a previously lame battlefield tactic.

I can't argue against Stand Still, its quite potent; but Cleave and other skirmish feats are still subject to my previous counter-points.

But suppose its one of many enemies that either doesn't want to escape you (after all you aren't the tank, and he's not nearly as afraid of you), or just doesn't need to. If your goal is to hold him in place for the tank's benefit... then I must wonder why the tank isn't doing that himself. It's part of his job, after all. For me, there's other ways to accomplish this and other goals without me needing to subject myself to my enemy's full-attack every round. I'd rather cover my bases for control from a safe distance, without that distance inhibiting my attack potential when I need it.

But meh, salt to taste. Like I said, it's not for everyone. I don't consider it any less effective just because it requires me to be a smarter player to pull it off; I like being smart.


Archery IS awesome. For Fighters. Or Rangers. Or Paladins. Or even Barbarians now because of the Urban archetype. It's just not awesome for Oracles. They have far too much potential to be awesome at magic to use up a ton of feats on archery. If they want to use a weapon, melee is far more efficient. Power Attack and you're done. MAYBE Furious Focus after the penalty gets steeper. If you can't get to them with your weapon, that's what spells are for.

If you want to be an archery focused divine spellcaster, just play a Ranger or Paladin. Seriously. Rangers even get bonus feats. Inquisitor is a better option too for that matter.


nategar05 wrote:
If you want to be an archery focused divine spellcaster, just play a Ranger or Paladin. Seriously. Rangers even get bonus feats. Inquisitor is a better option too for that matter.

Totally on the spot.

Inquisitors are the way to go for sure for Divine Archer. Their class mechanics (Judgement and Bane, in addition to the same divine buffs oracles get) both hugely favor stacking raw numbers of attacks to benefit from them as many times as possible, which Archery heavily favors for its investment (and unlike ITWF, your extra attacks from manyshot are not at a penalty).

Oracles do not get a lot that benefits extra attacks. They dont get tons to benefit melee either, but again, there is a smaller investment for base proficiency so its definately the more efficient option. Stuff like Cleave and Step Up are nice melee perks, but Power Attack is all you need to be a decent threat.


Kazejin wrote:
I disagree. By the token of your next statement, you contradict this. To use the advantages that you list in my next quote, clearly Power Attack isn't the only feat you need for the goal you're setting up. If you do give up the other melee-based feats, what on earth are you in melee for?

My point wasn't that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle would want, but that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle needs to deal competitive damage with a weapon. A ranged character needs 3.

Quote:

I can't argue against Stand Still, its quite potent; but Cleave and other skirmish feats are still subject to my previous counter-points.

But suppose its one of many enemies that either doesn't want to escape you (after all you aren't the tank, and he's not nearly as afraid of you), or just doesn't need to. If your goal is to hold him in place for the tank's benefit... then I must wonder why the tank isn't doing that himself. It's part of his job, after all. For me, there's other ways to accomplish this and other goals without me needing to subject myself to my enemy's full-attack every round. I'd rather cover my bases for control from a safe distance, without that distance inhibiting my attack potential when I need it.

This might be where we differ in our approach to the game. I don't see the game in terms of "tanks" and "casters," but rather "melee presence," "ranged presence," and "magical support." The idea of having one person in the group whose job is to take all of the attacks is somewhat alarming to me. In a video game, sure, but Pathfinder is a different beast. The Warrior oracle is a significant melee presence and can have defenses nearly a good as her martial counterparts. If she's able to keep an enemy going toe to toe with her it means she's not bee-lining for your fragile arcanist. If she's able to get in the face of an enemy spellcaster and prevent it from casting anything, she's doing even better.

Quote:
But meh, salt to taste. Like I said, it's not for everyone. I don't consider it any less effective just because it requires me to be a smarter player to pull it off; I like being smart.

You seem to be getting really frustrated, and I apologize for that. I don't think that anyone here is trying to tell you that you're wrong in how effective archery can be. The overall theme seems to be that archery isn't a great choice for the oracle when better options are available. But just because a player chooses to pursue a stronger option that the class builds towards doesn't mean that she isn't smart. It may just mean that you enjoy a particular playstyle and don't mind the challenge.

I've amended the roles section to include my opinion on ranged combat and why I specifically see it as a worse choice for the oracle.


KrispyXIV wrote:
Oracles do not get a lot that benefits extra attacks. They dont get tons to benefit melee either, but again, there is a smaller investment for base proficiency so its definately the more efficient option. Stuff like Cleave and Step Up are nice melee perks, but Power Attack is all you need to be a decent threat.

If you aren't worried about any of the feat-intensive perks of melee fighting, you don't need to be in melee at all. Your contribution here is subpar anyway, if that's your approach. This is the issue none of you are addressing properly. If I took the same approach to ranged combat, I'd still need two feats: PBS and Precise Shot -- so yes, you are one feat ahead of me. But trading a single feat and some mediocre damage in exchange for less restrictive armor, better reflex saves, better touch AC, better initiatives and more freedom in my full-attacks. It's not a bad trade by any means. You can attack for more damage, and I can attack from a safer distance with way more freedom of action. I'd call it a fair trade even if it puts me one feat behind. All the advantages I just listed can't be replaced by a single feat. Therefore, by definition, my choice can not be subpar: I give up a feat for a total set of advantages that together surpass what any single feat can do. If you're not focusing on the damage aspect, Power Attack alone isn't making you that much better when you have to move between targets still.

Edit: I was making my post when Sean replied -- Don't worry, I'm not getting frustrated. (It takes a lot to actually frustrate me). I'm moreso settling for the concept that clearly I have a different approach to my playstyle; which is likely the result of the people I'm used to playing with and the like. I can make it work for me, and I accept that its not the best option for everyone. (And also trying to avoid frustrating anyone else with my trademark persistence) ;P


Kazejin wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
Oracles do not get a lot that benefits extra attacks. They dont get tons to benefit melee either, but again, there is a smaller investment for base proficiency so its definately the more efficient option. Stuff like Cleave and Step Up are nice melee perks, but Power Attack is all you need to be a decent threat.
If you aren't worried about any of the feat-intensive perks of melee fighting, you don't need to be in melee at all. Your contribution here is subpar anyway, if that's your approach. This is the issue none of you are addressing properly. If I took the same approach to ranged combat, I'd still need two feats: PBS and Precise Shot -- so yes, you are one feat ahead of me. But trading a single feat and some mediocre damage in exchange for less restrictive armor, better reflex saves, better touch AC, better initiatives and more freedom in my full-attacks. It's not a bad trade by any means. You can attack for more damage, and I can attack from a safer distance with way more freedom of action. I'd call it a fair trade even if it puts me one feat behind. All the advantages I just listed can't be replaced by a single feat. Therefore, by definition, my choice can not be subpar: I give up a feat for a total set of advantages that together surpass what any single feat can do. If you're not focusing on the damage aspect, Power Attack alone isn't making you that much better when you have to move between targets still.

Critical thing you're ignoring here when you bring up moving as a detriment to melee combat; If Full Attacks are an issue (IE, I'd have multiple attacks), I probably also have access to Standard Action options which are good uses of my time, like spells. I can move and contribute very well. I dont have to take a Full Attack to contribute, and I'm probably not overly worried about it.

Being proficient in melee however, allows me to capitalize when it does come up, and it provides signficant advantages that you are ignoring. For instance; my melee proficieny helps me outside of my turn by threatening AOO's. Can your ranged build do that? It can... with another how many feats invested?

As well, my melee proficiency hits harder per swing (doing better vs. DR), benefits from more buffs (Righteous Might, I believe is the main one that comes to mind), and adds additional combat options (maneuvers and flanking for instance).

Ranged has perks yes, but it doesn't have all the perks.

And I"m not saying ranged Oracle's aren't valid or fun characters; I'm just saying its not in any way optimal.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
Critical thing you're ignoring here when you bring up moving as a detriment to melee combat; If Full Attacks are an issue (IE, I'd have multiple attacks), I probably also have access to Standard Action options which are good uses of my time, like spells. I can move and contribute very well. I dont have to take a Full Attack to contribute, and I'm probably not overly worried about it.

The reason I'm not calling this out is because its equally relevant to either build. Neither build has a superior set of spells, so its moot to depend on the spell usage as the difference-maker. Yes, you can cast a spell to help contribute when you can't melee. So can I. This does not put you ahead of me. Going to my only real point in this discussion, below.

KrispyXIV wrote:
Being proficient in melee however, allows me to capitalize when it does come up, and it provides signficant advantages that you are ignoring.

Not ignoring them. I'm saying that this road has two directions. Whichever way the person takes, there's a different set of advantages or disadvantages waiting for them. You contribute more damage when the situation is favorable to it. I contribute more damage when the situation isn't. I'm comparing the two to emphasize that its a trade-off. One set of pros and cons for another.

What I'm saying is that I don't consider spending an extra feat for all the perks that a dex-bow build presents as a subpar choice. I never claimed it to be superior to the melee build; in fact I stated in my original post that I'm quite confident that it wouldn't be superior. It's an option and its miles from a bad one. It gives the user more flexibility in several regards, and flexibility is never a bad thing. Not saying the flexibility here is outright better. Just saying that its not only viable, but can indeed be preferable depending on how you play it.

I'll spend a feat for that. It's fine if others don't. I'm just saying, the build deserves just a little more credit than it was initially getting. It doesn't deserve all the hate being thrown at it; as there are reasons for it to exist. Of course, like everything else, party cohesion is a factor. Maybe your party is more amenable to the presence of a ranged oracle, and maybe not. I'll agree that usually melee is probably a better choice here, as it probably is more easily placed in a lot of party set-ups.

Am I making a little more sense now?


Sean, I'm curious why you put a Str 14 and Wis 8 as optimal for a caster Oracle? Why do you feel that a caster Oracle need such a high Str score?


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Kazejin wrote:
I disagree. By the token of your next statement, you contradict this. To use the advantages that you list in my next quote, clearly Power Attack isn't the only feat you need for the goal you're setting up. If you do give up the other melee-based feats, what on earth are you in melee for?
My point wasn't that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle would want, but that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle needs to deal competitive damage with a weapon. A ranged character needs 3.

When counting feats, don't forget to discuss that melee oracles will need more defenses.


FallingIcicle wrote:
Sean, I'm curious why you put a Str 14 and Wis 8 as optimal for a caster Oracle? Why do you feel that a caster Oracle need such a high Str score?

Armor is heavy. Besides, early on it's nice to have melee options before you have enough spells per day to cast all day long. Also, armor is heavy. : P

I know you asked him, but I'm pretty sure that's what he'd say.


nategar05 wrote:
FallingIcicle wrote:
Sean, I'm curious why you put a Str 14 and Wis 8 as optimal for a caster Oracle? Why do you feel that a caster Oracle need such a high Str score?

Armor is heavy. Besides, early on it's nice to have melee options before you have enough spells per day to cast all day long. Also, armor is heavy. : P

I know you asked him, but I'm pretty sure that's what he'd say.

Get out of my head!

Lol, directly from my guide:

Quote:
When looking at stats you’ll quickly find that allocation gets a bit complicated. An oracle needs a strong charisma score to cast spells, and a decent strength score because armor is heavy. You’ll also spend a good amount of time relying on a weapon early on in your career. Wisdom is about the only stat we can reasonably dump.


Rory wrote:
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Kazejin wrote:
I disagree. By the token of your next statement, you contradict this. To use the advantages that you list in my next quote, clearly Power Attack isn't the only feat you need for the goal you're setting up. If you do give up the other melee-based feats, what on earth are you in melee for?
My point wasn't that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle would want, but that power attack is the only feat a melee oracle needs to deal competitive damage with a weapon. A ranged character needs 3.
When counting feats, don't forget to discuss that melee oracles will need more defenses.

You're absolutely right. Oracles come equipped with shield proficiencies, which can bump up their armor when they need it. My ideal warrior oracle uses a one-handed weapon with two hands with a buckler strapped to her arm. If things get dicey she swaps to sword and board and only takes a small penalty to her damage.

I also really favor the oracles who can summon their own weapons because it's easy to drop and forget about those.


When I click on the link to the Spells Guide, it takes me to a Google thing that I don't have an account for. What's up with that?


nategar05 wrote:
When I click on the link to the Spells Guide, it takes me to a Google thing that I don't have an account for. What's up with that?

Oh, that would be because I'm an idiot. I just adjusted the permissions.


It's ok. Thoughts, so far anyway:

1. Oracles get all Cure or Inflict spells as they level for free.

2. I'd rate Guidance higher than Resistance because it has value for much longer. You can always use it out of combat on skill checks. More importantly, Resistance doesn't stack with the cloaks that everyone will likely have by 5th level.

3. Use Deathwatch to check up on Schrodinger's cat. At least if you can get around the line of effect thing anyway. : P


Deathwatch is a situational spell, but it does have some uses. Want to know if there are any vampires in the room? Want to know if the guy you're talking to is undead? Want to know if the corpses littering the area are just dead, or will get up and try to eat you? Want to know if that statue over there is just a statue, or a construct? Want to be sure your enemy is really dead or is just feigning death? It's probably not the best spell for an Oracle, with their limited spells known, but it is definitely worth having on a scroll.

I'm not sure if this is intended, but it also seems like a handy way of detecting nearby invisible creatures.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great guide, but a few suggestions.

1. Heavens: Dazzling display is so cool its broken. Get Heighten spell and boost your charisma - (and keep boosting it) you will be ending combats left and right. Your charisma is doubly leveraged - subtracting hd and adding DC. VERY powerful.

thanatopic spell to let you affect undead.

Moonlight bridge is *blue*. Need a forcecube to protect a party member - check. Need a ladder, stair, slide? Check. Need to block a door? Check.. Need the the slide to disappear while the enemies are on it? Check. Barrier to arrows.. check.

Cmon man. Its a forcewall at ridiculous low level.

2. You have underrated Deaf. Deaf is freaking awesome. First there are a lot of ways around the down sides... read lips, telepathic bond, detect thoughts - hand languages.

Second... you are immune to wail of the banshee. sonic lance. Silence.
Immune to harpies, and cmd. the list is huge.

You can use a silence spell with impunity - not to mention thunderstones.

3. Miscellaneous

You are, if anything understating how much healing an oracle can do. Usually healing is a losing idea. However, when the extra healing stacks as temp hp.. its soundly ridiculous.

Toughness on the other hand should be orange or red. 1 HP a level just nothing to right home about.

Step up & Strike .. disrupt .. is not going to work with a caster worth his salt. Familiar activates a wand of mount then caster steps back - and you cannot step forward.

Great guide.


cp wrote:

Great guide, but a few suggestions.

1. Heavens: Dazzling display is so cool its broken. Get Heighten spell and boost your charisma - (and keep boosting it) you will be ending combats left and right. Your charisma is doubly leveraged - subtracting hd and adding DC. VERY powerful.

thanatopic spell to let you affect undead.

Moonlight bridge is *blue*. Need a forcecube to protect a party member - check. Need a ladder, stair, slide? Check. Need to block a door? Check.. Need the the slide to disappear while the enemies are on it? Check. Barrier to arrows.. check.

Cmon man. Its a forcewall at ridiculous low level.

2. You have underrated Deaf. Deaf is freaking awesome. First there are a lot of ways around the down sides... read lips, telepathic bond, detect thoughts - hand languages.

Second... you are immune to wail of the banshee. sonic lance. Silence.
Immune to harpies, and cmd. the list is huge.

You can use a silence spell with impunity - not to mention thunderstones.

3. Miscellaneous

You are, if anything understating how much healing an oracle can do. Usually healing is a losing idea. However, when the extra healing stacks as temp hp.. its soundly ridiculous.

Toughness on the other hand should be orange or red. 1 HP a level just nothing to right home about.

Step up & Strike .. disrupt .. is not going to work with a caster worth his salt. Familiar activates a wand of mount then caster steps back - and you cannot step forward.

Great guide.

I was well on my way through my own Oracle guide when he posted his, so I've looked into the class thoroughly. Here's my opinion:

1. Indeed, Awesome Display is great. I can see a Heightened Color Spray being quite good, though Persistent may be better. The only real kicker is the very short range. I don't know about Thenotapic, but I assume it'd be good in an undead heavy game. I, however, disagree with your thoughts on Moonlight Bridge. The way it reads they intended it to be more circumstantial than that. I don't think it's supposed to be able to be custom shaped to that extent. It's called Moonlight BRIDGE after all. The game designers wouldn't give such a good ability from the beginning of the game. It'd probably be a 7th or 11th level ability if it could do everything you say it can. If it could be, it's blue. The way I read it, though, it's green.

2. I thought that way initially too, and I still think it definitely has its uses. However, his older sister is deaf so he knows firsthand what social situations with deaf people are like. It's nice to be immune to a lot of things (presumably including language dependent mind effects unless lip reading counts), but he knows what he's talking about when it comes to social and other limitations. I suppose it'd also depend on the GM. Besides, let's just be honest here. Thunderstones aren't really all that good. Silence on the other hand...

3. Spirit Boost deserves an orange rating for the exact reasons he said. Out of combat, it doesn't last. In combat, it's not worth your actions except in case of emergency. That emergency being someone about to die. In that case, Spirit Boost wouldn't have an effect anyway.

Toughness is really good at 1st level. Oracles are MAD enough as it is without needing a really high Con. It's nice having characters survive.

You may have a point about Step Up And Strike. However, saying that someone built well enough could counter something you can do doesn't stop it from working against a bunch of the people not built well enough. Many casters are content to 5 ft. step and cast spells. Not me, of course. I teleport. But others do.


nategar05 wrote:

It's ok. Thoughts, so far anyway:

1. Oracles get all Cure or Inflict spells as they level for free.

2. I'd rate Guidance higher than Resistance because it has value for much longer. You can always use it out of combat on skill checks. More importantly, Resistance doesn't stack with the cloaks that everyone will likely have by 5th level.

3. Use Deathwatch to check up on Schrodinger's cat. At least if you can get around the line of effect thing anyway. : P

1. Right, which I suppose could have been clearer in my assessment of Cure Light Wounds.

2. That's a decent point. As an orison I feel like they lose most of their value past level 5, so I didn't even consider stacking. The use on skill checks outside of combat will bump it up to green, but only barely.

3. lol


FallingIcicle wrote:

Deathwatch is a situational spell, but it does have some uses. Want to know if there are any vampires in the room? Want to know if the guy you're talking to is undead? Want to know if the corpses littering the area are just dead, or will get up and try to eat you? Want to know if that statue over there is just a statue, or a construct? Want to be sure your enemy is really dead or is just feigning death? It's probably not the best spell for an Oracle, with their limited spells known, but it is definitely worth having on a scroll.

I'm not sure if this is intended, but it also seems like a handy way of detecting nearby invisible creatures.

Those are good points on the use of deathwatch, but I don't think that any of them warrant a bump up from red. In specific campaigns, sure, but not really on the whole.

Using it to detect invisible creatures is pretty underhanded, and might get slapped down by a DM.

I'll make a note about all of this in the spell.


cp wrote:

Great guide, but a few suggestions.

1. Heavens: Dazzling display is so cool its broken. Get Heighten spell and boost your charisma - (and keep boosting it) you will be ending combats left and right. Your charisma is doubly leveraged - subtracting hd and adding DC. VERY powerful.

thanatopic spell to let you affect undead.

I agree, Awesome Display is the entire reason I'd even want to play a Heavens oracle. Thanatopic spell would indeed let you affect undead, but it's a significant investment for a potentially sporadic circumstance. I'd really rather just go with a different "undead friendly" spell at that point.

Quote:

Moonlight bridge is *blue*. Need a forcecube to protect a party member - check. Need a ladder, stair, slide? Check. Need to block a door? Check.. Need the the slide to disappear while the enemies are on it? Check. Barrier to arrows.. check.

Cmon man. Its a forcewall at ridiculous low level.

Nategar touched on this already, but the reading of Moonlight Bridge seems very clear that this is creating a horizontal plane, though it doesn't explicitly state this (and it probably should). A liberal interpretation of this revelation would make it bright blue, but RAI seems pretty obvious to me.

Quote:

2. You have underrated Deaf. Deaf is freaking awesome. First there are a lot of ways around the down sides... read lips, telepathic bond, detect thoughts - hand languages.

Second... you are immune to wail of the banshee. sonic lance. Silence.
Immune to harpies, and cmd. the list is huge.

You can use a silence spell with impunity - not to mention thunderstones.

My older sister is deaf, so like Nategar mentioned, I've got some first hand experience with this. With a DM that was willing to play down your disability it could be worthwhile, because you're right, it does provide a lot of bonuses. For the average player it's losing a lot to gain a little. This is only my opinion though.

Quote:

3. Miscellaneous

You are, if anything understating how much healing an oracle can do. Usually healing is a losing idea. However, when the extra healing stacks as temp hp.. its soundly ridiculous.

Before the mass cure spells, I see this as absolutely worthless. When you get them and have need to cast them, it's a modest way to make sure all that extra healing isn't going to waste.

Also, I had sworn that temporary HP doesn't stack with itself, but I can't find a ruling either way.

Quote:
Toughness on the other hand should be orange or red. 1 HP a level just nothing to right home about.

You will never be able to convince me that more hitpoints are a poor choice. It's the equivalent to a +2 boost to constitution, and the difference between an oracle and a fighter. Everything about that sounds like it's worth it.

Quote:
Step up & Strike .. disrupt .. is not going to work with a caster worth his salt. Familiar activates a wand of mount then caster steps back - and you cannot step forward.

For a Wizard or Witch, or the odd archetype, absolutely. But against clerics, druids, oracles, sorcerers, bards, inquisitors, rangers, paladins, alchemists, or any monster with innate spellcasting and spell-like abilities? It's a solid choice. You're far more likely to fight a caster who doesn't have a familiar, and that's just speaking statistically.

Quote:
Great guide.

I'm really glad you like it! It ended up being a lot more effort than I figured it might be. Stupid me and my ego.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
You will never be able to convince me that more hitpoints are a poor choice. It's the equivalent to a +2 boost to constitution, and the difference between an oracle and a fighter. Everything about that sounds like it's worth it.

This is why I was surprised when you said that False Life is "rarely worth the effort to cast it." False Life gives 1d10 + 1/level HP, which is equal to what Toughness gives you plus 1d10 on top of that! It also lasts for hours, and even once those temp HP are lost (which they probably will be), as an Oracle you can cast the spell again whenever needed.


FallingIcicle wrote:
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
You will never be able to convince me that more hitpoints are a poor choice. It's the equivalent to a +2 boost to constitution, and the difference between an oracle and a fighter. Everything about that sounds like it's worth it.
This is why I was surprised when you said that False Life is "rarely worth the effort to cast it." False Life gives 1d10 + 1/level HP, which is equal to what Toughness gives you plus 1d10 on top of that! It also lasts for hours, and even once those temp HP are lost (which they probably will be), as an Oracle you can cast the spell again whenever needed.

Wow, you're totally right. I think somewhere in my head I had decided that False Life was Vampiric Touch. Gonna go adjust that now.


It is my official opinion that first level cleric spells suck. It's a good thing the spell list gets better.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
It is my official opinion that first level cleric spells suck. It's a good thing the spell list gets better.

That's fine. Clerics think Oracles suck at all levels.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
It is my official opinion that first level cleric spells suck. It's a good thing the spell list gets better.

Yeah, the Oracle's limited spells known doesn't feel like such a hindrance at that level, since there's so few spells I would want anyway.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:
It is my official opinion that first level cleric spells suck. It's a good thing the spell list gets better.

Here's my list of Core decent ones:

Cause Fear - guaranteed debuff for one round even on save, failed save removes foe from combat effectively (sub out for Command later), and you can extend this to be an auto 2 round debuff effect

Lesser Magic Weapon - a solid low level buff (sub out for Divine Favor later)

Divine Favor - starting around 6th, and works awesomely with weapon oracles with Quickened Spell feat at 10th and up

Bless - Fabulous for the level

Protection From Evil - always good (the communal version rocks much better at 2nd level)

Shield of Faith - a very solid AC buff for a long time

Obscuring Mist - good tactical spell

There aren't that many that are great for the long run I agree.

- Obscuring Mist
- Comprehend Languages (just to simplify inventory)
- Divine Favor
- Cure Light Wounds

Qadira

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
cp wrote:

Great guide, but a few suggestions.

1. Heavens: Dazzling display is so cool its broken. Get Heighten spell and boost your charisma - (and keep boosting it) you will be ending combats left and right. Your charisma is doubly leveraged - subtracting hd and adding DC. VERY powerful.

thanatopic spell to let you affect undead.

I agree, Awesome Display is the entire reason I'd even want to play a Heavens oracle. Thanatopic spell would indeed let you affect undead, but it's a significant investment for a potentially sporadic circumstance. I'd really rather just go with a different "undead friendly" spell at that point.

Quote:

Moonlight bridge is *blue*. Need a forcecube to protect a party member - check. Need a ladder, stair, slide? Check. Need to block a door? Check.. Need the the slide to disappear while the enemies are on it? Check. Barrier to arrows.. check.

Cmon man. Its a forcewall at ridiculous low level.

Nategar touched on this already, but the reading of Moonlight Bridge seems very clear that this is creating a horizontal plane, though it doesn't explicitly state this (and it probably should). A liberal interpretation of this revelation would make it bright blue, but RAI seems pretty obvious to me.

Quote:

2. You have underrated Deaf. Deaf is freaking awesome. First there are a lot of ways around the down sides... read lips, telepathic bond, detect thoughts - hand languages.

Second... you are immune to wail of the banshee. sonic lance. Silence.
Immune to harpies, and cmd. the list is huge.

You can use a silence spell with impunity - not to mention thunderstones.

My older sister is deaf, so like Nategar mentioned, I've got some first hand experience with this. With a DM that was willing to play down your disability it could be worthwhile, because you're right, it does provide a lot of bonuses. For the average player it's losing a lot to gain a little. This is only my opinion though.

Quote:

3. Miscellaneous

You

...

One of my chars at the moment is a deaf oracle of heavens. I don't mean to minimize the experience of your sister - but this is a game where *magic* exists - and solutions in game are way more prevalent than in real life.

I play him as so attuned to the music of the heavens that he literally cannot hear the world he's in. August Rush meets DnD!

As for curing - a couple of examples.
An 11th level oracle can cast a Magical Lineage Empowered CLW as a 2nd level spell - and cures on average 22 hp. And he can cast those on a healthy character for use as bonus HP. Not having your wizard's go down and lose an action is WAY worth it.

Or do it with a 2nd level cure and a lesser rod of maximize for 58.. Its pretty strong...


cp wrote:

One of my chars at the moment is a deaf oracle of heavens. I don't mean to minimize the experience of your sister - but this is a game where *magic* exists - and solutions in game are way more prevalent than in real life.

I play him as so attuned to the music of the heavens that he literally cannot hear the world he's in. August Rush meets DnD!

This is a really interesting concept.

Quote:

As for curing - a couple of examples.

An 11th level oracle can cast a Magical Lineage Empowered CLW as a 2nd level spell - and cures on average 22 hp. And he can cast those on a healthy character for use as bonus HP. Not having your wizard's go down and lose an action is WAY worth it.

Or do it with a 2nd level cure and a lesser rod of maximize for 58.. Its pretty strong...

This is making a few assumptions that I'm not comfortable with. First, you assume that the wizard will be hit within those few rounds that the temporary HP is active. Second, you assume that spending your action so that the wizard might not lose her action is a worthwhile trade-off. Third, this relies on traits, which are optional rules and not always employed. And finally, I'm not really sure where the 58 HP is coming from on Cure Moderate Wounds.

I don't think that the ability is worthless, otherwise I would have rated it red. I do think that it encourages a poor use of your resources (actions and spells) and doesn't provide nearly enough for what you essentially give up. In specific instances you can obviously trick it out, but I try not to focus on those cases. Specializing in a tactic is always going to make it much stronger than if you had simply gone with the low-entry option.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:


This is a really interesting concept.

But not entirely unique. One nature ORacle I've seen played literally saw nothin but the perfection of nature, the world as it would be without the influence of humanoid races mucking it up.

I played with an earth oracle dwarf who was literally half stone for his ugly curse.

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