Oracle, what's in a name...


Round 1: Cavalier and Oracle

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I'm probably alone in this, but I don't think the oracle class lives up to its name.
I'm not a history buff, so I could be wrong, but when I think of oracles I think of people who can see what others cannot. They're noncombatants (like the wizard) and gifted with vision (not to be confused with sight) and perhaps spell heavy (and by that I mean spell casters).
This class didn't do it for me.

Though I can see that the combat capabilities of the class are not high, to me the class should be more of a spell caster, perhaps a cleric version of the wizard or sorcerer and to do that it would need far more spells and less armor. Perhaps the class should have more visual abilities like see invisible or some kind of permanent detect magic (osirons already do something like that). The curses I have to say are nice and spot on for the flavour of the Oracle, but overall I have to say the class doesn't follow its name sake.

The only think I can offer without making a big change to the class is to change the name, but that's just my humble opinion.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BronzeSparrow wrote:

I'm probably alone in this, but I don't think the oracle class lives up to its name.

I'm not a history buff, so I could be wrong, but when I think of oracles I think of people who can see what others cannot. They're noncombatants (like the wizard) and gifted with vision (not to be confused with sight) and perhaps spell heavy (and by that I mean spell casters).
This class didn't do it for me.

Though I can see that the combat capabilities of the class are not high, to me the class should be more of a spell caster, perhaps a cleric version of the wizard or sorcerer and to do that it would need far more spells and less armor. Perhaps the class should have more visual abilities like see invisible or some kind of permanent detect magic (osirons already do something like that). The curses I have to say are nice and spot on for the flavour of the Oracle, but overall I have to say the class doesn't follow its name sake.

The only think I can offer without making a big change to the class is to change the name, but that's just my humble opinion.

I dont want to start up the argument again, but historically oracles were people of wise councel, not always prophets. Something like the oracle at delphi is probably the most iconic image of the oracle where drug induced visions put forth by the oracle shaped whole nations, but it could also be a wise old hermit sitting in the mountains giving advice. I think it makes a good argument for wisdom being its primary stat and not charisma, but oracles were often as much a political agent as they were religious, and for that reason I am pretty comfortable with them as they are.


Kolokotroni wrote:


I dont want to start up the argument again, but historically oracles were people of wise councel, not always prophets. Something like the oracle at delphi is probably the most iconic image of the oracle where drug induced visions put forth by the oracle shaped whole nations, but it could also be a wise old hermit sitting in the mountains giving advice. I think it makes a good argument for wisdom being its primary stat and not charisma, but oracles were often as much a political agent as they were religious, and for that reason I am pretty comfortable with them as they are.

Fair enough.

But everything you said supports the idea of an Oracle as a noncombatant. Armour and shields don't fit and so something else will need to be bolstered to replace the loss. And so we're back to my point of them being spell casters not combatants.

Dark Archive

Look up the definition of Oracle. I'm pretty sure it promotes them having some divine tie to a deity/deities and can speak on their behalf. It doesn't specify anything about fighting or not fighting. It does say wise council as well, but with multiple definitions to choose from, the designers could pick whatever they wanted.


I just point to the fact that there are Oracles in Campaign setting book. They are orcs. They seem to be basically the idea of the Oracle of Delphi, prophets or clairvoyant

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I also expected the Oracle would be more of a seer or fortune teller type class at first glance but, as I read through its abilities, I saw it's essentially just another spontaneous divine caster like the Mystic or the Favored Soul. You could just call it something else in your campaign without changing a thing about it if you're hung up on the name. I don't think Pathfinder needs a class who sits around in a cave all day high on opium telling other people about how the gods expect them to act so I'm glad it isn't what I expected.


I would like to see the class have a clairvoyant type class feature no matter the foci

The Exchange

MerrikCale wrote:
I would like to see the class have a clairvoyant type class feature no matter the foci

I think that would be an interesting addition to the class. A once per day/week or even just a random, spontaneous "vision" would be a great way for the DM to inject hints, red herrings or new plot hooks into the game that would not seem shoehorned by the DM. Since giving every PC/player a turn in the spotlight is the DM's responsibility, having something built into a character's class would make that easier, especially for less experienced players.

Of the two play-test classes, I definitely favor the oracle. However, I do think the class would work a bit better as a divine spell-caster with very limited melee weapons and armor, but more spells. The divine sorcerer concept, with foci and curses taking the place of a sorcerer's bloodlines, would be much more interesting than a Unitarian cleric.

As it plays now it feels like a non-denominational cleric with a few tweaks. It needs to feel more like you are playing a class that is tangentially related to clerics, but still be distinct on its own.
I want having a cleric and oracle in my group to feel like two separate classes rather than feeling like there are two clerics.

We've still got a few more sessions to play with the Oracle, but that is my first impression.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I too was thrown by the Oracle's lack of "oracular power." Don't get me wrong - I love the class, but the name doesn't match in its' current incarnation. It wouldn't be hard to fix - perhaps a general thread of Divination spells/powers made available in conjunction with the Focus spell lists, their "Universal School" if you will. If their Focus (or Curse) is tied to the Divination magic, it could get even more interesting: Flame focus needing fire, Bone focus needing a dead man's skull, etc, etc.

One of the things that I really love about the class is the "Oracle's Curse": I can think of few things amongst the class abilities that more clearly make this class different from the others. Makes me think of the blind old man Jason and the Argonauts are sent to for direction, who - though mandated by the gods to help them, refuses until they deal with his little "Harpy problem." Perhaps the Oracle's Curse can be tied in more as a cornerstone for divination spells or powers? As it stands, as much as I like them as written, every time I think up a character I get flashbacks to the super-powered exorcist monks from assorted Hong Kong action movies or animé, rather than the Oracle of Delphi (or any from western myth or fantasy).

Grand Lodge

1. (esp. in ancient Greece) an utterance, often ambiguous or obscure, given by a priest or priestess at a shrine as the response of a god to an inquiry.
2. the agency or medium giving such responses.
3. a shrine or place at which such responses were given: the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
4. a person who delivers authoritative, wise, or highly regarded and influential pronouncements.
5. a divine communication or revelation.
6. any person or thing serving as an agency of divine communication.
7. any utterance made or received as authoritative, extremely wise, or infallible.
8. oracles, the Scriptures.
9. the holy of holies of the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem. I Kings 6:16, 19–23.

Helping.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Just to give some Feedback :

I also expected more "prophecy" Abilities for the Oracle and were a bit disappointed - it's basically a cleric variant with no spells of it's own.

I hoped for some Divination, clairvoyance, fate and Prophecy spells or powers unique to them.

Heck - you could even throw in some Equilibrium Combat Powers of seeing the enemy act before he acts (which is actually close to the 1st Level cleric Spell "Guidance").

I really were intrigued by the Oracle class and the Possibilities for the GM of planting hints via dreams or visions.

Ever considered getting a vision in the midst of battle triggered by an unsuccessful Crit Threat followed by a Will Save?

I also think WIS would have been the better Base Attribute.

So - that's my opinion.

I'll try a Druid 1/Oracle 1 on a Con near me this Weekend.


Regarding the name ... that's also something I'd like to adress. Much of what the OP has said holds true, a short look at the meaning does actually verify this.

Oracle at etymonline

On the other hand, the description given is not exactly that of a oracle in ancient tradition and meaning either:

Quote:
Oracles do not usually associate with any one church or temple, instead preferring to strike out on their own, or with a small group of like-minded individuals.

I was working on a similar class for 3,5E when 4E happened by, one that worked much along the lines of the PF oracle. Away from the established churches, but also tied to the deities. Hence I gave it the name "Haethan" (singular & plural), coming from the Germanic (Old Germanic / Gothic) forms for "heathen"/"heiðinn". The latter not in the sence of being different of a true faith (in the original case: "not Christian"), but the "true version of the respective deity's faith as established by the respective church canons et al".


Just to add to the above (for I didn't find the EDIT option), my "Haethan" comes from the Anglo-Saxon version of the word (heathen), i.e. "hæðen".

Edit: at least not when I checked back just now, 2 hours after posting. For this reply the edit option was shown though.

Sovereign Court

Hi

I agree that there should be some Divination ability somewhere in the class, though Waves Focus does grant a Divining Pool Relevance.

Looks like a version of the Favoured Soul to me, with a few tweaks.

Glad to see they're allowing them in PFS games. I'll be running two Female Elf versions:
Storm - Wind Focus, Tongues Curse (Auran)
Fury - Battle Focus, Tongues Curse (Auran)

Some strange reason I can't get Ride of the Valkyries out of my head! :)

Cheers
Paul H


MerrikCale wrote:
I would like to see the class have a clairvoyant type class feature no matter the foci

I am a fan of both the historical definition of "oracle" and the current perception. Should a clairvoyant aspect be injected (and even if it is not), I think that a renown or reputation factor should be intjected. You have this wise person traveling around giving advice and making predictions. They are going to become famous/infamous the more successful they are. Depending on what type of person they are, this could be a blessing or a curse. Sure, this could be said about any class. Fame is gained the more you do, but with the oracle, people are hanging on your every word. What you say is very personal to them. You are the wise person, that is why they have sought your council. Great adventure hook.


To the OP, you're not alone. Ever since Paizo pitched the idea, there's been some vocal issues with the class. There are certain preconceptions built in to the word "oracle" that, while they may or may not mesh with the full definition on dictionary.com, do mesh with the majority of it and do not jive with the class as a whole. Paizo told us that once we saw the class, we'd get the relevance of the name, and there are those among us that still don't really see it. But Paizo has also said that they're not really listening to us on the name, either. They've made up their minds. We're not going to be able to influence it at all. So, we'll just have half a dozen different renamings of the class from campaign to campaign.

Personally, I'd rather see it called mystic, avatar, chosen, cursed, gifted, or some other variation than oracle. The only oracle that seems like they should be called oracle would be one with a focus/mystery of divination/knowledge, and they didn't even give us one of those to playtest right out the gate.


I originally agreed with this argument. However, at this point, I don't think they're going to change it, and everyone will still think of it as the Oracle even if they did. So I'm afraid that this is probably destined to be one of those circular arguments, guys -- my oracular powers are telling me that it's the oracle, and it's going to stay the oracle ;).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

As long as they a definitive nod relating to the Oracle's traditional role as a divine mouthpiece/messenger, I think the name itself is fine. I like the idea of the Oracle as a character being jerked around by the gods, either as an adventuring agent or an advisor to others, but they need something more than just the option of taking Divination spells. In D&D 3.0 we had Scry as a skill - kinda useless unless you had some magic to back it up - but you could at least start a character at 1st level with a role-play element to chew on. Perhaps a power/skill/ability similar to Bardic Lore ("Oracular Insight" or some such), which could provide hints and omens that the Oracle could read (or misread) and the GM yet another way to point the PCs in the right direction (or give them a red herring if they read the omen wrong).


I don't think any special prophetic power needs to be added to the Oracle for any reason, least of all to justify the name. Aside from the clairsentient and communicative Revelations in each focus (e.g. Voice of the Dead, the five sight-based Revelations in the other foci), the cleric spell list is replete with divinations* should the player want to go that route.

BronzeSparrow wrote:
Though I can see that the combat capabilities of the class are not high, to me the class should be more of a spell caster, perhaps a cleric version of the wizard or sorcerer and to do that it would need far more spells and less armor.

BronzeSparrow, I'm not sure I understand your objection. How is the Oracle not a divine version of the sorcerer? And how could you justify giving the class more spells per day when it already has six per spell level per day at 20th level? (Or did you mean more spells known? My response is the same either way, I suppose, but I'm not sure which you meant.)

__
* I once ran an all-cleric adventure where the divinations were by far the most commonly cast spells on my players' lists. Consider how much more freely the Oracle could use his Augury than the Cleric, given that he never need worry about using up valuable spell slots preparing potentially unneeded divinations!


Pope William T Wodium wrote:
I don't think any special prophetic power needs to be added to the Oracle for any reason, least of all to justify the name.

Shouldn't the name of a class at least vaguely define or present what the class is all about - at first glance? Take the base classes and you know exactly what they are about - by drawing a link to the general meaning of the word. Take the oracle and compare the general meaning/idea behind that word/denomination and compare it to the class. There's not that much oracle-ish in there, unless you take certain routes. It's somewhat like calling the rogue class "assassin".

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

I am going to be honest here. The class name is not going to change at this point.

When designing the class, I made sure to build at least one divinatory revelation into each list, although they have a widely different agenda depending on the focus.

Perhaps that is not a strong enough link... I am open to discussion, but not on the name.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I am going to be honest here. The class name is not going to change at this point.

When designing the class, I made sure to build at least one divinatory revelation into each list, although they have a widely different agenda depending on the focus.

Perhaps that is not a strong enough link... I am open to discussion, but not on the name.

Honestly, not sure what we can offer Jason. The name does nothing for me. I would love for it to be Mystic, with Mysteries as the name for focuses, but that is ruled out. I think that makes so much more sense.

How to fix the class to fit the name Oracle? That would require, to me, a complete rewrite of the entire class. Honestly.

Dark Archive

mdt wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I am going to be honest here. The class name is not going to change at this point.

When designing the class, I made sure to build at least one divinatory revelation into each list, although they have a widely different agenda depending on the focus.

Perhaps that is not a strong enough link... I am open to discussion, but not on the name.

Honestly, not sure what we can offer Jason. The name does nothing for me. I would love for it to be Mystic, with Mysteries as the name for focuses, but that is ruled out. I think that makes so much more sense.

How to fix the class to fit the name Oracle? That would require, to me, a complete rewrite of the entire class. Honestly.

Well, since it's useless to complain about the name, why don't we focus on mechanics. I am sure there is going to be a divinatory focus at some point. If you really don't like the name, change it in your home game as it obviously isn't going to change so, besides annoying Jason, I don't see what the point of arguing over it is.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Draeke Raefel wrote:


Well, since it's useless to complain about the name, why don't we focus on mechanics. I am sure there is going to be a divinatory focus at some point. If you really don't like the name, change it in your home game as it obviously isn't going to change so, besides annoying Jason, I don't see what the point of arguing over it is.

He asked for feedback on what changes he could make to the class that would make it fit better with the name. I responded that short of a complete rewrite, I couldn't think of any. I fail to see how that was supposed to be construed as an attempt to annoy Jason. I also fail to see the point of a class named for one of a dozen different specializations. It would be like calling the sorcerer The Arcanist after his arcane bloodline.


The name fits for me, what an Oracle is changes by both time the name was used and the culture that used the name.

I may be alone in this thread but I think the name is perfect for the class, I do not think all Oracles need to see into the future or give prophesies and predictions of events yet to happens. That is one type of an Oracle but not all of them, and I would hate to see the class pigeon holed into only that

Dark Archive

Lol. Sure you said that besides a complete re-write you didn't see it matching the name. That's fine. But you also harped again on the name needing to be changed and offered alternative names for both the class and the revelations. That was the part of your post I was referring to. You could have made your point about completely reworking the class without mentioning alternative names.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Draeke Raefel wrote:
Lol. Sure you said that besides a complete re-write you didn't see it matching the name. That's fine. But you also harped again on the name needing to be changed and offered alternative names for both the class and the revelations. That was the part of your post I was referring to. You could have made your point about completely reworking the class without mentioning alternative names.

I fail to see how that invalidates the statement. If you notice, you yourself used Mysteries, but that is just a changed name for the classes abilities. Currently, they are officially foci. I was simply pointing out that Mystic went with Mysteries much better than Oracle did. And again, I don't consider it harping. I consider it giving a response to an asked question. If you don't like the answer, that's fine, but continuing this argument is simply wasting bits.


mdt wrote:
I was simply pointing out that Mystic went with Mysteries much better than Oracle did.

Not to me, Oracle and Mysteries seem a better fit tto me, Mystic does fit Foci better however

Dark Archive

mdt wrote:
Draeke Raefel wrote:
Lol. Sure you said that besides a complete re-write you didn't see it matching the name. That's fine. But you also harped again on the name needing to be changed and offered alternative names for both the class and the revelations. That was the part of your post I was referring to. You could have made your point about completely reworking the class without mentioning alternative names.
I fail to see how that invalidates the statement. If you notice, you yourself used Mysteries, but that is just a changed name for the classes abilities. Currently, they are officially foci. I was simply pointing out that Mystic went with Mysteries much better than Oracle did. And again, I don't consider it harping. I consider it giving a response to an asked question. If you don't like the answer, that's fine, but continuing this argument is simply wasting bits.

Yeah. Sorry. I just see it like this:

Person A: I am buying a blue mustang.
Person B: I don't like a blue mustang, it should be red.
Person A: It is going to be a blue mustang. Any other things I could do to do make this mustang better?
Person B: It should be a red mustang. Otherwise you'll have to get a different kind of car.

I just don't see that as helpful. Anyway, we both see the comment differently and that's cool. I've just seen a ton of long threads on this when Jason has already said it was highly unlikely to be changed. Now it definitely won't be changed. I just think there are other things we could be commenting on that would be of more relevance to making the class better.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I may be alone in this thread but I think the name is perfect for the class, I do not think all Oracles need to see into the future or give prophesies and predictions of events yet to happens. That is one type of an Oracle but not all of them, and I would hate to see the class pigeon holed into only that

No, you're not alone, I'm still amazed that people still obsess over the name. I think it works fine the way it is.


Grendel Todd wrote:
As long as they a definitive nod relating to the Oracle's traditional role as a divine mouthpiece/messenger, I think the name itself is fine.

I think it is: PF oracles are speakers for their chosen ideal. The Speaker of Wisecracking will be about prophecies and that stuff, but what do the Powers of Battle want with divination? They want their mouthpiece to speak their language, which is CHAAAAARGE!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

KaeYoss wrote:
Grendel Todd wrote:
As long as they a definitive nod relating to the Oracle's traditional role as a divine mouthpiece/messenger, I think the name itself is fine.
I think it is: PF oracles are speakers for their chosen ideal. The Speaker of Wisecracking will be about prophecies and that stuff, but what do the Powers of Battle want with divination? They want their mouthpiece to speak their language, which is CHAAAAARGE!

What does "speaking for battle" even mean? Battle isn't a sentient thing, so it isn't as though you're making pronouncements on behalf of an entity called Battle.


Keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily make any sort of difference what the name is. Just like the name rogue, I doubt anyone's going to introduce themselves as "Theodore the Rogue", whereas "Theodore the silent" or "Theodore the skilled" depicts what sort of character concept he's going to play.

If you want to play an Oracle like a seer, don't feel like you're locked in to a specific title, and play your character like you want him or her to be portrayed.


Callous Jack wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I may be alone in this thread but I think the name is perfect for the class, I do not think all Oracles need to see into the future or give prophesies and predictions of events yet to happens. That is one type of an Oracle but not all of them, and I would hate to see the class pigeon holed into only that
No, you're not alone, I'm still amazed that people still obsess over the name. I think it works fine the way it is.

Speaking only to explain, here (Jason has said the name won't change, so I won't waste any more effort in that regard):

Think of what your reaction would be if the Fighter class had the mechanics of the Wizard class. You'd (I'm guessing, but it seems a safe bet) be confused, because the name of the class promises something (being able to fight in physical combat) that the mechanics and flavor of the class don't follow through on. That's the same way some people see the Oracle, although I did exaggerate the difference between promised and delivered content.


BronzeSparrow wrote:
I'm probably alone in this, but I don't think the oracle class lives up to its name.

Well, it's still better than "Monk", so that's something. :-)


While I haunt these boards because I think Pathfinder is the best thing to happen to tabletop roleplaying in a LONG time, I by no means include everything the game has on paper in my settings. I guess what I'm saying is that for those who don't like a class or feel it doesn't work how they would have intended you have the option to not include it. I pick and choose very carefully what I allow or don't. This isn't WoW where I have to deal with everyone and their 3rd cousin once removed playing Deathknights. I just say there's no such thing :)

I understand this won't work for those who are unhappy with the class but WANT to include it. I'm just sayin' is all...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Jason Bulmahn, Lead Designer wrote:

I am going to be honest here. The class name is not going to change at this point.... I am open to discussion, but not on the name.

Jason,

Let me ask a question, because I think the answer is an important facet to the Oracle class. The gods use their churches among the mortal races as their agents, furthering their will and advancing their causes. They empower clerics with supernatural powers to guide the churches in the gods' ways and to assist them in their missions.

To what purpose do the gods empower Oracles?

I'm not looking for any responses like "Nobody knows; it's a great enigma." I'm not asking what the residents of Golarion understand about the gods' purposes. I'm asking the Lead Designer as a member of his playtesting team: what do the gods want with these guys?

It may be complicated: "There's a trickster spirit that steals the power of the gods and hides it within mortal shells. Neither the gods nor these 'oracles' have much say in the matter. The gods don't know how this being is stealing their power, and many of them would likely resist him if they could."

It may be straightforward: "By claiming a Domain, a goddess acts as a channel herself, bridging the endless gulf between the superlunary ideals of creation and the mortal realm. But once breached, the gulf is uncontrollable even by the gods, and oracles are the result of direct transmissions from a realm beyond even the gods; their bodies or minds are shattered by the sheer alien forces they contact. The gods might find these oracles regrettable, but they're "the cost of doing business" with the mortal realms.

It might be a plot point: "Rovagug found his plight paradoxical. To escape, his plan called for a marshaling of divine powers, but the gods themselves would all resist and bar their servants from working on his behalf. So he reached own and twisted the skein of reality just enough, so that divine power fell on those who did not ask for it, who did not abase themselves before any deity, who owed no allegiance to the powers celestial nor abyssal. These 'oracles' would be his keys to freedom."

However you answer that question will give us a lead as to how to tweak the class, to make it more consonant with your vision.

One other note: in Golarion, what's the history of these people? Does every race have oracles? Were there oracles before Aroden died? Were they more plentiful back then?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zurai wrote:
Think of what your reaction would be if the Fighter class had the mechanics of the Wizard class. You'd (I'm guessing, but it seems a safe bet) be confused, because the name of the class promises something (being able to fight in physical combat) that the mechanics and flavor of the class don't follow through on. That's the same way some people see the Oracle, although I did exaggerate the difference between promised and delivered content.

I understand what you're saying (although I agree that it's an exaggerated example in relation to the Oracle), I'm just always amazed by people who can't let it go. They make their same points over and over despite the fact that it's not subject to change. It just gets tiresome to see again and again.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

You should sell the naming rights to a new class.

Sparkly Hero of Rainbow Justice has a nice ring to it...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sebastian wrote:

You should sell the naming rights to a new class.

Sparkly Hero of Rainbow Justice has a nice ring to it...

Except people would want to change it because Justice clearly doesn't have anything to do with rainbows, a yellow moon or green clover would do much better IMO.


Zurai wrote:

]

Speaking only to explain, here (Jason has said the name won't change, so I won't waste any more effort in that regard):

Think of what your reaction would be if the Fighter class had the mechanics of the Wizard class. You'd (I'm guessing, but it seems a safe bet) be confused, because the name of the class promises something (being able to fight in physical combat) that the mechanics and flavor of the class don't follow through on. That's the same way some people see the Oracle, although I did exaggerate the difference between promised and delivered content.

That's really a small group by the look of it, and nothing they can say will change that. We still have folks that hate the name "fighter" and want warrior, or "cleric" in place of priest and "Mage" not wizard

To me it hits the head on what I think of when I hear Oracle. I don't always see a mystic in a cave talking riddles of the end of days.

Saying they must be that way is telling the fighter player"No, longsword and shield only ..your a fighter damnit no ranged weapons" or the cleric"Healing spells only, act like a damned cleric" or the wizard only allowed to do damage spells or the Rogue only allowed to ever be a thief

Why should a Oracle be more pigeonholed then any other class?

Scarab Sages

I was a little dubious of the name before I saw the playtest, but once I saw the abilities, it really clicked for me. The way I think of them is as a mortal incarnation of a particular concept or ideal, a living manifestation of a primal supernatural force. Now that it's clicked for me, I really REALLY like the name.


hogarth wrote:
BronzeSparrow wrote:
I'm probably alone in this, but I don't think the oracle class lives up to its name.
Well, it's still better than "Monk", so that's something. :-)

True enough! Still can't help but smile about the concept of female "monks" (or rather "nuns"?) which becomes especially apparent in the German versions of the class. The 3.xE PHBs really topped that when they had a female monk and thus "she's" in the description of the class.

Well, since we don't need to bother about the name as such, there should be something "oracle-ish" in any oracle, no matter whom or what s/he follows, something that justifies the name. And it doesn't need to be a great thing, but something universal.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

One good way to help ease the debate here is to take a good hard look at the intended role of the class in game vs. how that lines up with the role the Oracle plays both historically and in myth. Much of the character write-up, with Foci, Curses, weapon and armor and Sorcerer-like divine spell casting seems all fine to me. Where it falls flat is in how it looses its sense of mythic role. When we think of an Oracle, we're not thinking of the manifestation of a god or a god's will, we're thinking of a messenger - a messenger who may be happy with his lot, may be happy to receive the revelations the god (or gods) provide, OR a messenger who feels they've been cursed and wishes desperately the gods would leave them alone and take a hike. This is where they can be really interesting, and really different. But key here is to make the divine insights a core feature, NOT an option. Each Focus has a divination-like feature? Great! Front-load it from first level onward. We can wait for the supernatural ass-kicking powers granted by gods after our Oracle has gotten a few levels under our belt. But the Oracle-as-messenger needs to be clearly demarcated as a key element of the class. Even if the character ends up multi-classing down the road, that pipeline to the gods that take an interest in them (like the curse that comes with it), will never go away. They'll always be getting some inkling of what the gods may want, and thus will always find themselves being hounded by others who want that clue, wether they want to be the one giving it out or not. That's their role.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed some random edition-wars posting. Let's try to keep the playtest productive.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Chris Mortika wrote:


Let me ask a question, because I think the answer is an important facet to the Oracle class. The gods use their churches among the mortal races as their agents, furthering their will and advancing their causes. They empower clerics with supernatural powers to guide the churches in the gods' ways and to assist them in their missions.

To what purpose do the gods empower Oracles?

I'm not looking for any responses like "Nobody knows; it's a great enigma." I'm not asking what the residents of Golarion understand about the gods' purposes. I'm asking the Lead Designer as a member of his playtesting team: what do the gods want with these guys?

Oracles are not directly empowered by the gods themselves at all. The gods contribute their divine power to certain ideals (part of their portfolio). In some cases the gods have interests that overlap with each other, even if they do not share a similar view about how that ideal should be put forward or advanced. In any case, the ideal itself can manifest through mortals that have some link to it, either through a strange omen at their birth, the divine event, or some other reason. In this case, these mortals become a conduit for the divine power that fuels that ideal, becoming oracles.

The gods themselves have an odd relationship with the oracles. They cannot control them or dictate whether or not they get their powers, but the gods vie to sway them to their view of the ideal. The oracles on the other hand, are trapped in the middle, trying to understand why they have this power and making sense of the ideal that provides the strange powers that they possess.

I hope that makes some sense..

This is how I see their powers working. How this is tied to Golarion, I will let the folks who spend all day on that side of the wall answer.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Until the oracle is set in stone, I'm not ready to reveal how they function in Golarion. We'll be doing SOMETHING someday that talks about how ALL of the APG classes fit in to Golarion though.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I wanted to say that I like the name. Okay, so it doesn't match the most common peception of the meaning of the word, but as many people have pointed out, it does match many definitions of the word that aren't as common today, but that are closer to the roots of the word. For me, this is a good thing, a) because injecting more real world associations and meanings is a good thing, just like when Paizo monsters have close ties to real world myth, and b) I for one think that learning something beyond what you already know is a feature, not a bug. If the oracle class happens to educate players on what oracle has meant historically beyond just a seer, then that's a good thing. Hopefully the class description provides enough links to the origins of the name to provide this.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I'd be fine with the name if the oracle had a way to actively receive revelations in play, as opposed to just gaining revelations upon advancing in level and then using them at will.

As I've pointed out before (an unnecessary number of times, I'm sure), a rounds-per-day mechanic where the oracle falls into a trance in which she receives access to otherwise inaccessible revelations would work.

So would changing the name the existing revelations to 'granted abilities,' then adding a new once-per-day 'revelations' ability which allows the oracle to temporarily add an additional spell to her list of spells known. (This also helps give her access to more of the situational condition-removal spells that are prevalent on the cleric spell list.)

Essentially, the oracle needs some ability that she picks and/or swaps out during play. It's somewhat odd that an oracle is stuck using a list of spells known and a selection of revelations that are all set in stone for every encounter. If the oracle is supposed to be a mouthpiece for the divine, she needs to be able to change up the message she's receiving from time to time instead of just repeating the same fixed things over and over again.

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