The Deaf Oracle is Cripplingly Unplayable


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THIS IS EXTREMELY LONG. Just warning you.

I've thought this out for a long time and argued it out for a long time and have finally considered posting on the forums about it. I would really like to hear what people think-- if people have played deaf oracles, how their experience was, what their DM did to try to alleviate their curse, what tricks you used to even function at a capable level along with the rest of the PCs in the party.

(I'd also like to say that I'd love to play a deaf oracle because I see it as D&D Ultra Hard Mode, and that in a capacity they can be played and are playable but that almost everything they do is wracked with difficulty and irritance.)

It's in my opinion that the deaf oracle is the most difficult and irritating class to play in the entire game and requires annoyance and rules lawyering at every turn, from both the player and the DM, which is in total contrast to the usually amazingly well written Paizo material.

Let me elaborate on that in seven points.

1) Clouded Vision (Blindness) is Stupid... Stupid Good

Spoiler:

There are many curses for the oracle to choose from.
Deafness is by and far the worst one.
But, that's just a flippant statement-- how can you buy into that without me showing you another curse and letting you see for yourself? I won't show you the Tongues curse-- which is a "curse" only because the game says it is-- or the Lame curse, which only reduces your movement speed by 10ft.
The easiest thing to compare deafness to would be blindness, and as the way goes, the most similar curses ARE the blindness curse and the deafness curse. After a quick overlook of the clouded vision oracle, we'll see what the deafness oracle has to offer in comparison.
He's not blind, by the way-- his vision is just clouded. This means he just has less vision range than other oracles-- only 30ft. If you were a blind oracle, you can still talk, walk, eat, dance, move at full speed, fight, etcetera. No DC 10 acrobatics to trip while running full speed or permanent flatfootedness for you.
The downsides to being a clouded vision oracle is your sight range-- 30ft. Anyone at 35ft. or more can cast magic on you while keeping you unaware, you automatically can't see all the way down most hallways, etcetera etcetera. At the same time, having your vision restricted can be powerful-- a monster 35 ft. away reveals a symbol of stunning on his shield, or a dragon wings overhead, afflicting shaken and panicked across the entire group as you wheel around trying to figure out what the heck just flew by.
And at the same time, clouded vision keeps you from being killed by a rogue, arguably the first thing anyone thinks of when considering the curse. It's 30ft-- the maximum distance a rogue can be with a bow and still sneak attack, keeping you safe from that possibility.
At level one, the clouded vision oracle gains a powerful boon for any non-dwarf/halfling/half-orc race-- darkvision 30ft. While other characters are completely blind in the darkened temple, you're their guide. Sure, you can't see past 30ft., but an entire new opportunity has opened up for your character.
At level 5, your vision range doubles, alleviating your curse. Your darkvision travels with it. You're losing some of the power of your handicap-- now the dragon skims your vision range and you can become shaken as well, and the symbologist is stunning you with the rest of the party, but now you can see the end of the trap-filled hallway and the boulder coming towards you, and you can see almost all kinds of enemies coming towards you one round earlier. It's an extension of your power. It's a good thing.
At level 11, you gain something extremely powerful. Instant success. You automatically perceive all creatures within 30ft., instantly negating surprise through invisibility. You no longer have to take actions to locate invisible opponents, though you still suffer their miss chance. If you are asleep, you automatically know when creatures enter your blindsense and do not have to make a perception check to notice them and wake up. Your characters, like most characters and unlike most people, has the choice to wake up when he wants, but now he has the choice to wake up automatically if he thinks he may be getting surprise attacked. Because of this instant perception, your character is now completely immune to the assassin's death attack for the rest of his life.
At level 15, you gain blindsight fifteen feet. You are now immune to close-range gaze attacks, blinding attacks such as sunburst, miss-chance granting abilities such as blur, mirror image and concealment as well as invisible opponents-- all as long as they never leave fifteen feet, making this an exceptional ability for a meleeist. You can be susceptible to deafening attacks or statuses (ie, silence, a roar, explosions, etc.) that could cancel your blindsight, but because of the vagueness of the entry, you can say you rely on vibrational abilities or smell. Stillness does not thwart blindsense and therefore you are no longer vulnerable to any change of environment that could cancel your blindsense.
Well, holy crap! That's awesome! I wonder what a deaf oracle gets?

2) Deafness until Level 11...
Spoiler:

At level one, a deaf oracle casts all spells via silent spell. Wait-- silent spell?
At least that doesn't cripple his ability to cast, but that's not at all a bonus. That just makes the character playable. Even if the spell is a verbal component only, you still have to make a concentration check to cast a spell while grappled, meaning that this ability is completely situational-- underwater, while entangled, verbal only while paralyzed-- unless he's under the effects of silence! I guess that's a pretty solid tactic-- the deaf oracle could silence himself and then run up to caster enemies and then stand there like a deer in the headlights with his 3/4 BAB, medium AC and level 1 divine spells. A battle oracle could honestly be great at this-- if there were no other casters in the group. Otherwise this becomes an exercise in dismissing your spell as a standard action-- sometimes, the fight location is too cramped to even consider casting such a large area buff near the other casters. He could try to run forward to get to the caster only to be tripped by a mook and ruin the party's casting situation completely, either forcing the casters to retreat out of line of sight of the bad guys or forcing them into base-to-base combat as they run past our tripped, silenced oracle buddy to try to cast within the room they're breaching. As a team character, this tactic can either work beautifully or ruin the arcanist's fun. As a solo BBEG, this is fantastic. Does this mean, like Coven, this curse is only supposed to be taken by the bad guys?
Also consider that, well... silence is a 2nd level spell, meaning you can't even rock this tactic until 4th level.
In return for still spell, he gets... a -4 to initiative, and a -4 to opposed perception checks. That sucks. Wait, wait-- immunity to language-dependent effects and sonic effects! He's immune to things like suggestion, command, uh, sound-based illusions, monsters roaring, shatter, shout, blasphemy, wail of the banshee... and, to make sure it's not too good, all bard bonus effects that rely on hearing... well, that's a nice trade off. Hope your bard dances! Well, 30ft. vision is pretty bad, too, so I wonder what he'll get at 5th level.
At 5th level, he gets a +3 to perception checks that don't rely on hearing and a reduction of his initiative penalty to -2. I guess that's similar in spirit to the clouded vision oracle's ability, darkvision in their vision range, lessening the impact of my crippling handicap, but the clouded vision oracle has something we don't-- an upside. Sure, our deaf oracle friend can function in areas of total silence or when he's gagged, but consider this-- how often do you enter areas of total silence? How often are you gagged or have your mouth bound but are not tied up? Now, how often do you go underground (to the place, in Golarion, called the DARKLANDS), indoors, into dark castles? How often are the dark places you enter also cramped areas? How many monsters have darkness as a spell-like ability, and how many have silence? In addition to that, the oracle's ability to see in the dark is useful for twelve hours every single day-- when the sun sets and night begins. How often does the deaf oracle get a sock shoved in their mouth?
Well, that's besides the point. For now, he'll eat the net -1 to opposed perception and -2 to initiative. Maybe at level 11 we'll get something that can really knock the socks off of the bad guys.

3) Scent for Survivalists
or
The Long Section
Spoiler:

At level 11, a deaf oracle receives scent and I press my palm into my face. While the clouded vision oracle can now automatically make all perception checks to see creatures within 30 feet, a deaf oracle is now privileged enough to take a move action to locate creatures within smelling distance with a perception check. Strong smelling creatures are located at double or triple the range, which is awesome-- until you realize that this is relegated to a simple few enemies, all but one far below your APL, as defined by the bestiary. Otyughs and wolverines double the scent range while ghasts, harpies, troglodytes, dark creepers and hezrou demons triple it. It's a small list. On top of that, your move action to locate the creature can be completely invalidated if the monster moves more than five feet after you locate its square. The monster could also be upwind, which drops its perception radius while invisible to 15 ft.-- an invisible rogue could stealth within full attack range if he moved diagonally from upwind.
The weakness of blindsense-- concealment and nondetection of incorporeal opponents-- also applies to scent, but blindsense is better in every other conceivable way.
The scent ability, in addition to its flaws, isn't an automatic one-- it doesn't allow you to automatically sense enemies, or it would call that out in the description of scent. You have to make a perception check (albeit with a +8 bonus) to detect that stealthing, invisible rogue. Thanks to new Perception skill ( andthe only downside of the consolidation of listen and spot and search I could possibly think of-- thank you, paizo), detecting the rogue's scent (or sound) at an easier DC than visibly seeing him is not in the rules as is and is one of the first occurrences of the lack of a rule for a deaf oracle's ability. This means that a deaf oracle with scent who likely does not have perception as a class skill (only two mysteries gain it) and likely has wisdom as a low stat (10-14) will get to make an impossible check to detect the invisible rogue, whose bonus from invisibility adds to the DC to smell him.
Oh, and it's at -1 since it's opposed, since he's deaf.
I guess that's useful. It's like the flinch before someone hits you in the face. A good warning.

Scent comes with benefits, and it'd be unfair to not mention them as well. The scent ability allows you to track opponents through any kind of terrain or visibility-- the bad guy kidnaps the princess and one DC 10 survival check (likely made very easily if you're good at survival) and you're right after him (preferably not sniffing the ground, but it depends on if the DM lets you keep your dignity). The DC goes up by *2* for every *hour* the trail is cold-- not bad!-- and since Survival is more prevalent than Perception in the mysteries, you're likely to not be too shabby in it.

Wait. Here's the thing-- because of how tracking with scent works and how it is described (working just as tracking with survival), if you are not trained in survival, you can't roll it to track anyone if the DC to track them is above 10. Unless you're interrupting the monster's getaway, you might as well ball this new curse bonus up and throw it away. This is only usable by three mysteries. Cool.

We'll just assume we are a Heavens, Nature or Stone oracle in order to continue even considering this new curse bonus to be useful in any way, shape, or fashion.

The rules for tracking are the same except you have this overpoweringly strong bonus to your checks-- it's always a DC 10 if it's not gone cold, and even someone who has been gone for 7 hours only means the DC is 24 (and if you're trained, you can take a 10- 11+3+1=15+10=25) to track him, meaning that, at level 11, the deaf oracle is probably one of the best immediate scent-based trackers in the game. Right up there next to the druid's animal companion, or the summon nature's ally I riding dog.
What a prestigious status that you can beat out the summoned dog the druid created (using his rod of extend metamagic and burning something like comprehend languages spontaneously for summon nature's ally I) just for the purpose of using track.

Wait.

If you're adding +15 to your roll for survival, couldn't you just take a ten to get a 25 to track that same someone _normally?_

Assuming the person the deaf oracle is using scent to sniff out is a medium creature who has left within the last 7 hours through the plains (firm ground), your DC is 15. Unlike a scent-user, like the deaf oracle, the DC doesn't go up by 2 for every hour he's gone-- it goes up by 1 for every 24 hours he's gone. If he's hiding his trail and moving at half speed, which wouldn't matter much to a scent-using character, it's 20. You take a 10 for a 25 and then move normal speed (+5 to the DC). It was a higher DC for the deaf oracle to find him with smell after 7 hours than it was for him to track a single person running across the plains alone hiding his trail. The scent-using character would also have had to pass at half-speed to track him to even make that DC, gaining no ground-- otherwise, he'd spend an entire hour trying to pick up his scent again, and more than likely, the running man would lose his pursuers.
Again, a concession-- scent is always generally the same or simply calculated DC despite conditions such as visibility or ground status, which is good when, say, you're tracking down a pixie across the rock desert. But in terms of visibility-- if the survivalist can make it when he takes a 10 at night, he could then wait until the next morning, take a 10 and not even add 1 to the DC. This would remove the +3 to +6 for it being an overcast night and also avoid the pitfalls of, you know, running across the monster-infested plains at night. In terms of ground effects-- since scent always ignores ground effects (which ignores things like a person hiding their tracks) it also means it ignores the easier DCs-- assuming similar time frames, the tarrasque moving through a bog is just as hard to locate via scent as a single medium humanoid moving across a mountain hiding his tracks is, except the tarrasque going through that bog raises the DC of the check from 10 to 20 since the bog smells bad.
Which brings it back around to-- if you are good at survival, scent is almost always completely invalidated by survival. You must be good at survival to use scent, at all or to its fullest, meaning its requirements for use are invalidated by its prerequisites. The only good thing about scent is that it allows you to make an immediate response perception check against invisible or unseen opponents, where the DC is their stealth result. Good luck pinpointing those targets in melee combat with your move action.

Oh! You also have a net -1 to that perception check because you have that wonderful penalty to opposed perception checks.

Maybe we can finally act before them so that they don't get two full attacks off before we stop being flatfooted now that we've lost our initiative penalty.


4) Tremorsense is Too Late
Spoiler:

At level 15, the deaf oracle gains tremorsense, and...
Wait, tremorsense is awesome. I have nothing to complain about! Tremorsense is great. Tremorsense is amazing. It gives you all of the benefits that blindsight gives you at a 30ft. range instead of a 15ft. range, making it superior to the clouded vision oracle for once. It gives you immunity to all of the things that blindsight does, and one more thing-- It lets you automatically perceive anything that's on the ground. That's right-- blindsight gets you creatures while tremorsense gets you things. A deaf oracle walks into a bank and knows exactly how much money is in the bank because they automatically make their perception check because the foundation is on the ground with the floor tiles on top of them and the shelves are on the floor tiles with the money in them. The money's in contact with the ground and so _he knows._ He doesn't even need line of sight-- why? Because blindsense states you do and tremorsense doesn't mention it, mostly because tremorsense is the sense most commonly found in blind worms that dig through the dirt.
"Hey-- there's another room past this wall." When you hear that, you don't say, "Maybe there's a secret door." Do you know why? Because the tremorsensing deaf oracle either just opened it or will tell you with exact certainty there is no secret door. Why? Because the walls are on the foundation which are in contact with the ground.
Sweet. Oh, my god, so sweet. So awesome.
Oh, and if the oracle is one of the two mysteries that give perception, he gets a +8 perception checks against things that touch the ground outside of his tremorsense. Consider this a close-to permanent +8 bonus to perception outside of 30 ft.-- unless it is flying, everything on top of everything is in contact with the ground, and therefore, he automatically perceives it within 30 ft.
Unless, I guess, it smells weird or something.
With tremorsense, you too become invincible to death attacks. The assassin moves close, and the oracle just sees him. He'd also know what weapon the assassin was holding (a syringe spear), what's in it (a potion of deep slumber), how much money he's carrying (14pp, 135g, 12s, 44c) and whether or not he prefers boxers or briefs (briefs).
That's right.
The deaf oracle knows if you're wearing boxers or briefs because he automatically makes his perception check without line of sight.

Of course, does it make up for the last 14 levels?

For mysteries without perception, yes. They just gained an autosuccess on all rolls of this type for the rest of their character's life. They gained blindsight plus. This definitely makes up for scent.

Wait, doesn't that just...

Yes. It does.

Tremorsense invalidates scent in almost every single way possible, leaving you with two penalty appeasements and a single powerful constantly-applicable bonus. That sounds alright from a balance standpoint, but from a playtest standpoint, nobody really wants to play the character who suddenly becomes awesome after gaining terrible bonuses and negligible minuses for fourteen levels. While scent would allow you to smell an invisible opponent coming or to track someone across the rocky plains, you can now automatically perceive all things in contact with the ground-- including tracks, or invisible people. Why do you even gain scent then?

I guess he can still smell flying invisible wolverines.


5) Lip Reading, Dissociative Mechanics and Zone of Silence
or
How a Level 1 Oracle Can't Understand Their Party Reliably
Spoiler:

There are no real rules for lip reading.

The only "rules" for lip reading in the entire book are from the spell Zone of Silence.

Zone of Silence wrote:

Note, however,

that a successful DC 20 Linguistics check to read lips can still reveal
what’s said inside a zone of silence.

So, going off of what we've learned-- the only piece of information in the book about lip reading-- a deaf oracle has to make a DC 20 Linguistics check to lip read someone. Lip reading isn't ever defined in the terms of the rulebook. There's no way to use this skill and it's one of the only instances of the word "lip" (the other being "flip" in the paragraph describing how to use acrobatics to tumble) in the entire Pathfinder Core Rulebook. There's no bonus to DCs for having a moustache, or a minus to the DC for speaking slowly. It's all adjucated by the DM.

As the divine support-based caster, having to make a DC 20 check at level one to understand language in an untrained skill is a fun and interesting proposition.

Let's see-- level one. No oracles are trained in linguistics-- even the Lore oracle, who I thought would definitely be, is not. At first level, your skill is 1 plus your intelligence modifier.

So, between 1 to 3, considering 15 or 20 point buy.

There's a trait for this, of course. You can get a +1 trait bonus and treat Linguistics as a class skill.

If you are a gnome.

Gnomes of Golarion wrote:

Etymologist (Gnome)P

When you, like all other young gnomes, were taught the hodgepodge Gnome language, you became curious about the original meaning of each word and what language it was derived from. Anytime you come across a new language, you are immediately absorbed by both how it works and what words you can co-opt from it for the Gnome language. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Linguistics checks, know one additional bonus language, and treat Linguistics as a class skill.

This is the only linguistics trait that exists in Pathfinder.

Unless the oracle is a gnome, to understand their party, or anyone else they can either roll (hoping for a 16-19 on their dice) or take a 20. (For a gnome, of course, you could have a +7 at first level-- still not enough to take a ten, but close!)

This means that a deaf oracle, reliably listening in the most active way possible, can understand six seconds of conversation if they have the person speaking take 2 minutes to speak it out for them.

I'm already frowning.

Wikipedia wrote:

Other difficult scenarios in which to speechread include:

* lack of a clear view of the speaker's lips. This includes obstructions such as moustaches or hands in front of the mouth; the speaker's head turned aside or away; bright light source such as a window behind the speaker.

This means that anyone who wears a magic helmet or full plate has their mouth obscured. If you can't see their mouth, you automatically fail on your hearing-based perception check and can never understand the Hellknight barking orders at you from across Summoning Street. What does he want?!

Quote:


* group discussions, especially when multiple people are talking in quick succession.

Any time the party ever has a discussion, I would think that you get a -1 penalty to lipread for each person participating in the conversation unless they all speak clearly and slowly. Of course, it's not really a problem. This'd be a rule even I would ignore.

There are no rules for learning sign language. The only sign language that exists in any kind of capacity, now that I think of it, is drow sign language. Even then, I don't know what to say for that. How do I sign in-combat? Can I do that while holding a sword? Do I need one hand free or two? Is my deaf oracle limited to being gestured at for the rest of my combat life? How do I charade "I'm poisoned" or "give me bull's strength"?

Using linguistics to determine lip reading skill also means something else that is just making me upset. It means that a deaf oracle, by level 10, is a master of many spoken languages. Wherein most deaf people would, I imagine, find learning to speak a whole new language spoken by strange and sometimes otherwordly or lipless creatures extremely difficult, a deaf oracle is required to do it to even function in society. They can also lip read any language they know-- so not only does the deaf man know at least 11 languages, he can reliably lip read every single one of them now, even if he's having a conversation with a fire elemental, a derro and a frost giant at the same time. Of course, he can't hear the fire giant, but the frost giant (who is also a deaf oracle) translates for him. And he speaks it out for him in Ignan.

Because you can never take 10 in combat or in a stressful situation, things quickly become stupid once you enter combat for the support based caster. Because they are distracted, you know, being shanked by goblins and all, they take a -5 to their perception, like everyone else, but this opens up a new possibility for them. Because they fail all hearing based checks, they can't hear, say, a friend calling out for help, someone screaming as they're crushed to death, or someone shouting "I've been poisoned!"-- a DC 0 check-- they can, more often than any PC ever should in the history of D&D, roll and get below the 0 DC to notice their friend dying.

It's annoying to even have that negative. It's dumb. It irritates me more than anything else in this rant.

6) Minutia

Spoiler:

A deaf oracle has a -14 on perception to wake up from sleep, assuming that the thieves outside can still continue to roll stealth against the oracle while being perceived by the people outside, which is something I don't even think is covered by the rulebook. Note that the deaf oracle fails all sound based checks, the most common check to see if you wake up or not (a DC 0 to wake up from combat while sleeping). They have to be woken up by taking damage or a standard action. They will reliably sleep through all surprise attacks. If their party loses... they die. They have to sleep in the same tent as someone else and have that person wake them up if there's a surprise attack to function in this regard.

A deaf oracle is primed to go last with their initiative penalties until level 11, which is something you do not want to do as a casting class.

Is a deaf oracle intimidated the same way as a normal person? Assume that the person is standing in shadow. Can they roll against me if they're just using intimidate verbally?

Can a deaf oracle lip-read with their hand in the dark? This is why the only character I could think of for a deaf oracle is a beautiful woman-- who would want a dwarf man pressing his ale-stinking hand into your lips to know what you're saying?

A deaf oracle can never benefit from roleplaying their reaction to the BBEG's rant and is the most likely character to just get bored of staring at him gesturing wildly and interrupt with a crossbow bolt. I mean, really-- it's just chilling out, unable to understand the lich in the corner who looks evil. Wouldn't you shoot him too?

A deaf oracle can never be pulled in by the hook "You hear something strange over there."

A deaf oracle can take ranks in perform (wind) and play their flute music perfectly. A bard, on the other hand, gets a 20% failure chance to starting their performance. A deaf oracle has no failure chance to speak in combat, but a deafened bard has a 20% chance to screw up telling a joke when deafened. Why is this?


7) In Conclusion
Spoiler:

There are so many things that are difficult for a deaf oracle that none of the other curses even compare. A lame oracle moves 10ft slower, but he doesn't have half of the negatives a deaf oracle does-- he can wake up during surprise attacks, he doesn't have a skill tax, he doesn't get a penalty to initiative and perception (the most oft-used skill) and automatic failures to detect invisible opponents until level 11. A tongues oracle gives his entire party a skill tax of one point in linguistics to learn their language, but they don't have half of this many downsides to their curse bonuses-- so little downsides, in fact, that I've permanently deigned Tongues as "the powergamer's curse" since it gives nothing but positives and forces others to take negatives.
I played a clouded vision oracle in a game. In the early levels, I paired off with a friend who I would ask to describe things to me. When we acted in a play, I had to work off of his cues in order to act reliably in accordance with the audience's perceptions. I was charmed from beyond my vision distance and ambushes were ruined because I couldn't see far enough and others had to announce danger to me. During a fight in the wilderness versus an army, I had to engage in melee with enemies while others were blasting fireballs around and dropping far-reaching walls of fire and cones of cold. There were benefits and detriments, but I never had to sleep through an entire fight.
The other curses have downsides, but deafness has so many it's unplayable. The curse goes back and forth, unable to decide what it wants and giving paltry bonuses until it gives tremorsense-- which is so amazing that I can't gush enough about it. It's insane.

Please, consider making the deafness curse a hard of hearing curse. Please consider giving it bonuses that aren't still penalties. Please consider giving the deaf oracle something more before 15-- to go from a characters who sniffs the ground with a penalty on perception vs. stealth to automatically succeeding all checks on all things within 30ft. is wildly unbalanced.

At least tell me that you guys already thought about all of this before I saw pictures of the finished APG on the blog just right now.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

EH WOT?


You may as well have said "first!"

I'd been thinking about this for a while, but it's a recent thing. To be honest, I didn't even give it my time until after the APG playtest had been finished and closed. My players threatening to play deaf oracles to spite me (after I ranted about all of this in real life-- I'm just as wordy here as I am there, believe me) finally had me look completely into everything, where I found the scent for survivalists and the rule-- just rule-- for lip reading and became even more dismayed.

Oh well.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can't fault your arguments. I would prefer that the Oracle be hard of hearing.

Something about constantly finding hilarious rhymes whenever the PCs speak.

Rogue: "I found a trap."

Oracle: "Eh whot? You shoulda went before we come down the dungeon!"


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I can't fault your arguments. I would prefer that the Oracle be hard of hearing.

Something about constantly finding hilarious rhymes whenever the PCs speak.

Rogue: "I found a trap."

Oracle: "Eh whot? You shoulda went before we come down the dungeon!"

My favorite one came from wikipedia.

Cleric of Sarenrae: "Where there's life, there's hope."

Deaf Oracle: "I don't know. I don't have any lavender soap. Ask the bard?"


I had a player using the Clouded Vision curse, which was bad enough in the day-to-day activities.

I had to constantly pick apart what I was describing because there are no published adventures that have descriptions based on a player having 30' vision (or even 60' later on).

Right in the first combat of the whole campaign, the enemies threw a thunderstone at the "caster looking people", and the mostly blind player became also deaf for an hour.
What a welcome to the game... "hey, you're playing a new class, let's see how this works ou-AGH! You are DEAF AND BLIND!!"

The level of metagaming the player had to try and ignore was monumental. When he went deaf too, I seriously considered asking him to leave the room when it wasn't his turn and people weren't within his vision...

.

I think both the Blind and Deaf curses could be toned back... A LOT.

These are things that make good "flaws" from unearthed arcana... but not a class feature.

Blind: It should not be "blind" so much as "everything is fuzzy beyond 30'". Which means you can still see the shapes of the carriage and building on the other side of the street. But reading the name of the building might be either impossible, or have a -10 or higher penalty.

Deaf: It should be a penalty to hearing things, not outright deafness. And while were at it, there needs to be rules for alternative forms of communication if you are going to include someone who can't work well at communicating normally.
Maybe a sidebar on rules for lipreading or sign language (possibly as simply a single point in linguistics to make a single language already known into sign language, making it a sort of skill tax on others that Tongues does).

I have no idea what would be appropriate to beefen up the Deaf curse's benefits, but this needs to be equivocal to picking Lame (also known as "becoming a dwarf").
There's no cochlear implant for the deaf like there is a horse for the lame.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

The blindness curse could work this way:

Beyond 30ft you are not permitted to make Perception checks to spot creatures, traps, or other oddities that you would rely on sight to notice. Also, you may not use Knowledge or Spellcraft skills to identify creatures or spell effects beyond your range of vision. You can detect motion and general shapes but are unable to pinpoint or identify what you see. All creatures and targets beyond your range of vision effectively have total concealment (50% miss-chance). Area-effect spells are not impacted by your poor vision.


I don't know Guys. I'm more peeved at the tounges curse.

You can't speak. except when not in combat. and your friends can accidentally already know your language, or can optionally burn a skill point in linguistics.

I guess this means you can't understand your foes begging for mercy then....

Batts

Sovereign Court

I'm sorry, but you are seriously underplaying the value of free silent spell on every oracle spell you cast. Regular casters can't stay hidden while buffing because they have to speak in a strong clear voice. You don't have to worry about revealing your location if you go invisible to cast. There are lots of situations where being able to cast every spell silently for free is just awesome, and yes they're situational, but just because a benefit is situational if there are tons of situations where you can make use of it then its a good benefit.

Now I don't like curses as they are, they are top heavy which discourages multiclassing with the oracle. I would much rather all curses were as progressive as their bonuses, so with deaf you start with a penalty, when the benefit gets better, the curse gets worse, so say for death you start with a -4 penalty to hearing, and then when you get your final benefit you go completely deaf. But I don't agree with your premise that free silent spell is not really a huge friggin benefit as I think it's one of the best for curses, and as someone who is hearing impaired yes I know what a pain it is to have hearing problems.

Also scent like blindsense allows you to know something invisible is within 30ft.

prd wrote:

creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

So even if you aren't sure where exactly they are, you know they are there, which means you can warn the guys with good perceptions before a possible surprise attack.


I dig the tongues curse, but if I were playing a tongues Oracle my speech in combat/stressful situations would be ... well, very unhelpful. It's the tongues curse, the character would be a conduit for useless pseudo-prophetic drivel.

In any case, about the deafness curse, if it were up to me I'd say that deafness curse Oracles use perception instead of linguistics to read lips. Same DC, just a different skill.

In 3.0 Read Lips was a skill, in 3.5 it was folded into Spot. Not that much of a stretch in my opinion. And, yes, Linguistics ranks as a deaf person is maybe a little silly. Of course, just because you're deaf doesn't mean you can't speak. Depending on how long you've been deaf you may not be able to articulate well, but you're a D&D Adventurer, you do things that are actually ridiculous in real life all the dang time. If it were up to me, I'd give a deaf character a DC, say, 10 Linguistics check to clearly articulate themselves. If failed, I'd allow others to make a Perception check DC 5+Margin of Error to understand.

But that may just be me.


I don't like the curses for the Oracle. I find they are too much of hindrance. Like if you decided to multi-class. No other class has a negative like this where you have to rise in level to get some minor benefit from it. I think I'm going to make the curse optional. I can see some wanting it but others not.

Sovereign Court

I suggested this in another thread as a means to mitigate the curses discouragement of multi-classing, but the discussion didn't go anywhere really

also long:
lastknightleft wrote:

Anyways, I was wondering what if we instead make the curses progressive.

I.E. instead of just giving a bad penalty right from the get go, both the penalty and the benefit grow with level, that way you could also judge the strength of an oracle based on the level of their weakness.

so for example rather than starting out with 30ft vision and ending up with 60' vision and blindsense. You instead start with a perception -5 penalty and darkvision 30'. Then when you hit level 5 your vision reduces to the 60' range and your darkvision extends to match that distance but you no longer take a penalty to perception within your range of vision. Then at 10th level your vision restricts to 15' but you get blindsight out to thirty. And then it ends with you going blind, but you gain blindsense out to 15'

With deaf same thing, you start with a -3 penalty to perception (and can we please stop attempting to seperate perception by sight and sound and instead treat your perception score as the accumulated ability to notice things with your 5 senses?) and gain sign language as a bonus language. At 5th level this penalty increases to -5 and you gain scent. At tenth level you cannot make perception checks to notice invisible creatures but gain tremorsense out to 15 feet. and at 15th level your penalty to perception increases to -10 and you are now completely deaf, however all spells cast by your character are modified as if by the silent spell feat this however does not increase the spell level.

For lame, start with a negative 5 penalty to movement instead of -10. At 5th level difficult terrain costs you triple instead of double. At 10th level your movement penalty increases to -10 feet (small characters and dwarves do not gain a penalty to move speed but instead take a -2 to initiative). at 15th you cannot take a 5 foot step.

For haunted it would start with just the penalty of a move action to draw any stored item, for the spells gained. at 5th level whenever you drop anything, it lands 5 feet away, gain spells, at 10th it lands ten feet away, add spells, at 15th level whenever you are bullrushed or overrun, you move an additional 10ft as the spirits drag you along. in the case of bullrush this movement is in the same direction the enemy moves you, in the instance of overrun it is in a random direction.

For wasting, just start with a -1 and progress to a -4 with each increase.

Tounges is the hard one, however lets try. keep level 5 the same. at 5th level you gain an additional language, however you speak a pigdin of the two languages, anyone who speaks one but not both languages must make a DC 10 linguistics check to understand you every time you speak, this check can be made untrained. No check is needed if both languages are known. at level 10 you gain the listed benefit, and you choose another language to speak during combat. A character who speaks all three languages can understand you however if only two are known it requires a DC10 linguistics check and if only one language is known a DC15 check. at 15th level you can speak and understand any language, however your speach during combat becomes an indecipherable pigdin of all known languages.

I wasn't locked in on my suggestions, I was really just hoping to steer the discussion of front loaded curses and more towards progressive penalties that get worse as the benefits increase.

I like the concept of the curses, I just don't think they were executed well, especially since I've seen how they mess with multiclass characters forcing them to chose specific curses because they know they'll never get the higher end benefits so they have to pick one with a lesser penalty. Expect every multi-class oracle to be either lame or haunted *rolls eyes*

The Exchange

I played a deaf Oracle in a one off game with some friends - GM was kind enough to give me a minor magic book + inkpen for communication purposes. Whoever held the inkpot could think what they wanted written and it would write it in the book. Helpful for communication and it was generally assumed that if I paid attention to somebody talking in front of me I would be able to read their lips - if I survived 20+ years as a deaf person I better have a rudimentary ability to read lips.


lastknightleft wrote:
I'm sorry, but you are seriously underplaying the value of free silent spell on every oracle spell you cast. Regular casters can't stay hidden while buffing because they have to speak in a strong clear voice.

Most characters can't stay hidden while buffing because, if they're in 30 ft., it's a DC 20 perception check to get the feeling that something is invisible nearby. Most characters who are good at perception can make that with an 11 at level one, and it only becomes easier when magical items or effects boost a character's wisdom or perception.

Now, locating them? Why, it's right here-- in combat or speaking for -20 DC, which leaves us with a DC 20 to pinpoint where the enemy is as a move action.

Silent Spell is hardly amazing. They'll still know you're there with a DC20, except they won't know you're a caster until you attack.

Quote:
You don't have to worry about revealing your location if you go invisible to cast. There are lots of situations where being able to cast every spell silently for free is just awesome, and yes they're situational, but just because a benefit is situational if there are tons of situations where you can make use of it then its a good benefit.

I'm sure there would be many amazing benefits to being able to cast spells silently if you didn't also have to gesticulate wildly and present a divine focus or say, a stick of butter, for many of them. Going by the earlier logic ("We've walked into a room and someone we can't see is casting spells... it's an invisible enemy priming for a battle! Go go go!") seeing a deaf oracle waving his arms around would also be a pretty good indicator of what's about to happen.

I took the liberty to find all of the V-only cleric spells:
1st/ - Command (which you must actually speak the command)
2nd/ - Blindness/deafness
6th/ - Word of Recall
9th/ - Blasphemy
Holy Word
Dictum
Word of Chaos

Now, command and blindness/deafness are awesome as silent spells. But, that's it. You've given up so much and have to do so much in order to still function as a characer in the game and what you have received in return is the ability to cast blindness/deafness without alerting others at 4th level.

Surprisingly, a great majority of all V-only spells are teleports and 9th level spells like time stop and prismatic sphere. Wonderful. I'd never considered the possibility of grappling the wizard and then suddenly being in the center of an obliteration rainbow.

Quote:


Now I don't like curses as they are, they are top heavy which discourages multiclassing with the oracle. I would much rather all curses were as progressive as their bonuses, so with deaf you start with a penalty, when the benefit gets better, the curse gets worse, so say for deaf you start with a -4 penalty to hearing, and then when you get your final benefit you go completely deaf.

Agreed. Oracle is one of the only classes I can think of that should always be single-classed, just because of the curse.

Quote:


Also scent like blindsense allows you to know something invisible is within 30ft.

prd wrote:

creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

So even if you aren't sure where exactly they are, you know they are there,...

I've italicized the important lingo in the paragraph for you. Now, check out the important lingo in my paragraph.

Blindsense and Blindsight, pg.560-561 wrote:


Some creatures possess blindsight, the extraordinary
ability to use a nonvisual sense (or a combination senses)
to operate effectively without vision. Such senses may
include sensitivity to vibrations, acute scent, keen hearing,
or echolocation. This makes invisibility and concealment
(even magical darkness) irrelevant to the creature (though it
still can’t see ethereal creatures).
This ability operates out to
a range specified in the creature description.

Other creatures have blindsense, a lesser
ability that lets the creature notice things it cannot see,
but without the precision of blindsight. The creature
with blindsense usually does not need to make Perception
checks to notice and locate creatures within range of its
blindsense ability, provided that it has line of effect to
that creature.

Scent does not call out these things-- the word "can" denotes that it is possible, not that it is automatic, such as blindsight which makes "invisibility and concealment... irrelevant" or blindsense which says "the creatures with blindsense usually does not need to make perception checks to notice ... creatures." Scent on the other hand _does_ say that when you are within 5ft of an invisible creature, you automatically pinpoint its square when you use your move action to sense for it. In that capacity, it's like having clouded blindsense 5 ft.

On the other hand, talking about noticing creatures within the "hunch" aura of invisibility, let's see why even with scent the deaf oracle is not going to make that check.

Perception, pg.102 wrote:


Notice a creature using Stealth ----- Opposed by Stealth

Action: Most Perception checks are reactive, made in
response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching
for stimulus is a move action.

Okay. It's normally DC 20 perception check to know an unstealthing invisible person is within 30 ft. of you. It's a completely untyped perception check, described as "a hunch." It's the exact same thing for someone using scent-- unless they're in full-attack range of the invisible creature, they can also make a perception check (DC20 with +8) to get the exact same hunch. I'd go so far as to even say that they can roll for that hunch twice-- once normally and once for scent. The problem is when the creature who is invisible moves downwind-- they can walk within 15ft of the sniffing oracle with generally no problem assuming an open area. The oracle still gets a DC20 perception check for their "hunch", but the problem with this comes when you realize that stealth is an untrained check.

Since you notice a creature using stealth by using perception-- an opposed perception check-- because the person who is invisible is now _rolling stealth,_ the oracle has a net -1 to sense them because of their -4 on opposed perception checks offset by their +3 on all other perception checks. The DC could also become anywhere from 15 (assuming a person untrained in stealth wearing full plate with a dex of 10 rolls a 1) to 41 (an equal-level rogue trained in stealth with a high dex rolls a 20) to ~80 or something else inane (from a very high level creature or character with stupid stats). Because the oracle is more than likely not trained in perception, yes, they get their reactionary perception roll, but since the DC is so high on a skill only some mysteries have trained, it is likely that they will not make it.

Because searching for stimulus intentionally is a move action, most deaf oracles won't be constantly declaring they use their move action to search for invisible creatures-- it's like a munchkin denoting that they cannot be surprised because they're always ready for combat. Unless the oracle makes the check to get the hunch to think an invisible opponent is nearby, the oracle has no in-game reason to begin to use scent to search out invisible creatures until it's too late and the invisible attacker can five-foot-step and full-round attack them.

Scarab Sages

Scent, as far as I can tell, does not require a Perception check to detect invisible creatures.

From "Invisibility" in the Glossary:

Quote:
A creature with the scent ability can detect an invisible creature as it would a visible one.

So long as the creature is within 30 feet (or other modifiers based on wind, strong scent, etc.) then the creature with scent can tell what direction they're in. As soon as they're within 5 feet, they pinpoint them.

No perception needed.


Karui Kage wrote:

Scent, as far as I can tell, does not require a Perception check to detect invisible creatures.

From "Invisibility" in the Glossary:

Quote:
A creature with the scent ability can detect an invisible creature as it would a visible one.

So long as the creature is within 30 feet (or other modifiers based on wind, strong scent, etc.) then the creature with scent can tell what direction they're in. As soon as they're within 5 feet, they pinpoint them.

No perception needed.

Hm, there we go.

So now what happens when you're stealthing near someone near scent? Can they not stealth now because they're being observed? The dog near you smells a bad guy and suddenly the rogue's perception DC to notice him drops from 52 to 20-- how is this explained? How do you pinpoint specific scents as dangerous and non-specific scents as non-dangerous? If you're walking through a city, you can smell invisible opponents but how do you pick certain smells out from other smells? Can scent be foiled by illusory scents?

Are there modifiers or different rules for, say, going into the wizard's house and pinpointing him using scent even though the entire house more than likely smells like him? If that is true, it means that a character with scent can stand in the middle of a sewer overflow in pitch-black darkness and detect exactly where and what squares an Otyugh is in at 60ft., even if they're unaware of the existence of those squares.

Scarab Sages

Simple, scent isn't an observation. It's scent. Observing someone would seem like a purely visual act in D&D terms, and is actually supported by the mechanics. You could still feasibly hear or smell someone that had cover or concealment, but they are still allowed to stealth within it.

In game terms, just track the scent creature differently from others. The Stealth DC never goes down, it just so happens that the creature with scent never has to roll against it. And once he pinpoints the location a creature is in, others can use that as the basis and just trust the creature instead of rolling their own perception checks.

As for areas that smell like the person it's in, I'd say it's GM discretion then. I'm sure *some* smells are too powerful, but the smelling capabilities of a dog (for example) are pretty amazing. I'd say it'd definitely be easy enough for a dog to find a person in their own house, even if the house smelled like him. The thing emitting the smell would almost always be stronger then areas they've been in.

Scarab Sages

ARGH, just lost my whole freaking post. Damn boards.

In short, it doesn't seem like scent is really an 'observation'. After all, you could still smell or hear someone in cover or concealment, but that doesn't stop them from using Stealth. So the Stealth DC never changes, it just so happens that the creature with scent never has to make their Perception check. They just know the general direction a creature is in, and once within 5 feet, they pinpoint.

Other people around this creature could use this as a basis for their own attacks, but that doesn't mean they're succeeding on their Perception checks. It'd be like if one high Perceptive creature pinpointed the invisible guy on their own even if everyone else failed, they're just attacking the spot he is. In this case, the creature with scent just doesn't need to roll Perception.

As for the house/sewer example, I'd say the scent creature had a good chance at finding the person, even if their domain smelled like them. Could a dog find the owner of a house by following his scent inside the house? I'd say so. In a sewer? Maybe? Dogs (or other creatures with scent) are supposed to have pretty powerful scent glands, so while the sewer IS a powerful stench I'd have to imagine the otyugh had an even more powerful one.

GM discretion would tell whether a scent was too overpowering for creatures with scent to really be effective or not. Otherwise, they're very good for tracking invisible creatures down.


I can see where you're coming from and I think I agree in a fashion, but it still requires a lot of rules finagling that isn't at all present in the book itself. It turns the GM into the adjucator of the ability, unable to really decide what it wants scent to be able to do in the actual material. If you pitched the above to me in the middle of a session when the subject came up, I'd agree generally, but there are a lot of small details that make your claims stretched once you can look over the book. Smelling the direction of someone who is within 30ft is a move action in the description of scent. Using a move action to perceive is described as "intentionally searching for stimulus." It just doesn't really add up how you (or I, for that matter) think it should work and requires a lot of CTRL+F PDF fondling.

Also, "If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth." And if someone can be heard but remained stealthed, it means (with fast stealth, just for the image) I can run at you screaming "INVISIBLE OPPONENT COMING RIGHT FOR YOU FOR THE SURPRISE ATTACK GET READY" and you'd be just as flatfooted as if I had crept up silently. :P So, I would say that yeah, if you can smell someone, that person suddenly can't catch you by surprise nor can they stealth near you, but that makes no sense in many different contexts. The scent character can learn the smells of each of his party members, I would say, so that he can tell, for instance, Joe the Barbarian from Cleo the Cleric and both of them from a werewolf or a dire tyrannosaurus, but what if the person sneaking up on you wears the same cologne the bard does? It all comes back again to the GM who gets to make a call completely unsupported by the rules.

Other results due to instant perception with scent:
Druids are now invisibility destroyers starting at 3rd level. Drop one spell, 1d3+1 riding dogs, handle them to swarm the invisible person and then attack. Of course, you've still got your animal companion, all of which but the crocodile have the scent special quality and empathy. Druids can never be surprised by invisible creatures. That's a really weird connection to make, but wouldn't it be generally true assuming the rest is also true?

Sovereign Court

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Ice Titan wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
I'm sorry, but you are seriously underplaying the value of free silent spell on every oracle spell you cast. Regular casters can't stay hidden while buffing because they have to speak in a strong clear voice.

Most characters can't stay hidden while buffing because, if they're in 30 ft., it's a DC 20 perception check to get the feeling that something is invisible nearby. Most characters who are good at perception can make that with an 11 at level one, and it only becomes easier when magical items or effects boost a character's wisdom or perception.

Now, locating them? Why, it's right here-- in combat or speaking for -20 DC, which leaves us with a DC 20 to pinpoint where the enemy is as a move action.

Silent Spell is hardly amazing. They'll still know you're there with a DC20, except they won't know you're a caster until you attack.

Quote:
You don't have to worry about revealing your location if you go invisible to cast. There are lots of situations where being able to cast every spell silently for free is just awesome, and yes they're situational, but just because a benefit is situational if there are tons of situations where you can make use of it then its a good benefit.

I'm sure there would be many amazing benefits to being able to cast spells silently if you didn't also have to gesticulate wildly and present a divine focus or say, a stick of butter, for many of them. Going by the earlier logic ("We've walked into a room and someone we can't see is casting spells... it's an invisible enemy priming for a battle! Go go go!") seeing a deaf oracle waving his arms around would also be a pretty good indicator of what's about to happen.

I took the liberty to find all of the V-only cleric spells:
1st/ - Command (which you must actually speak the command)
2nd/ - Blindness/deafness
6th/ - Word of Recall
9th/ - Blasphemy
Holy Word
Dictum
Word of Chaos

Now, command and blindness/deafness are awesome as silent spells. But, that's it. You've given up so...

and there are lots of times where you are in a place where you can't be seen, but can be heard, enemies are around a corner etc. And the other benefit is hey, in order to conceal your spells you only need 1 feat and an increase of 1 level instead of the two feats (silent and still) and two levels your other buddy needs. I'm sorry I just see this ability as way more useful and feel you aren't trying to think of ways to make it useful to back your forgone conclusion. Is it worth being stone deaf, that's debatable, as once again someone who has a hearing impairment (I can hear, but I'm partially deaf enough to the point that I couldn't actively enlist in military service) I wouldn't as a person take that trade off, but I think as far as the statistics go the tradeoff seems pretty decent IMO. I certainly don't agree with your conclusion that it's "Cripplingly Unplayable". Maybe the problem is that instead of a simple "the costs don't equal the benefits", you chose to veil it in a language of polarizing extremes.

Which is funny because you overstate the advantages of tremorsense as well, he can tell theres a liquid in the syringe spear, not what type of liquid, he can tell how many bill shaped pieces of paper are in the safe if its within 30ft, not what denominations the bills are etc. You make it even more powerful, but then say it comes to late? And then you say that tremorsense invalidates scent, unless you know, they're flying in any way which at that level what doesn't have flight in some form.

I'd also like to know what you think of my idea of progressive curse penalties instead of top loaded ones, if you didn't go stone deaf until you got tremorsense, would it still be cripplingly unplayable? is tremorsense worth the penalties you describe if they came at the same time?

Liberty's Edge

The only Oracle I've played thus far was a deaf one. He played quite well, actually. He was good at bluffing and disguise, so he simply played as a bit spacey (to explain situations where he doesn't react to voice right away). I gave him some ranks (not full, just some) in linguistics and the DM gave me an ad-hoc +2-4 (can't remember) because the character had been deaf his whole life in a world without sign languages.
I also gave him ranks in stealth. Given that he was small size (kobold) he did a good job of getting off "stealth-spells". Sure, handwaving can attract attention, but an invisibility spell/ring/cloak fixes that quite easily. Then again, my DM let me use stealth while casting if I didn't move, so that helped. I'd be seen if the spell effect was obvious, but I could buff quite safely and get one spell against their flat-foot.

Much of the fun of the character was RP-based to be sure, but it was far from unplayable.
With good perception you don't *have* to hear something to notice it anyway. People have something like 6 senses, and you only lose one. You still have sight, olfactory (smell and taste), temperature, pressure/touch and balance. You can still sense the vibration of a large creature landing or (if very perceptive) running up to you, or the rush of air of a creature with wings flying above you, etc. You may have to point these things out to the DM, but if they keep this in mind and you invest heavily into perception then most of the negatives of being deaf go away.

More difficult than the other curses? Definitely yes. Unplayable? Not even close.

One last comment: Silence is a wonderful spell for a deaf person to cast. Suddenly everyone else (nearby) is deaf too; You're used to it, they aren't.


lastknightleft wrote:


and there are lots of times where you are in a place where you can't be seen, but can be heard, enemies are around a corner etc. And the other benefit is hey, in order to conceal your spells you only need 1 feat and an increase of 1 level instead of the two feats (silent and still) and two levels your other buddy needs. I'm sorry I just see this ability as way more useful and feel you aren't trying to think of ways to make it useful to back your forgone conclusion. Is it worth being stone deaf, that's debatable, as once again someone who has a hearing impairment (I can hear, but I'm partially deaf enough to the point that I couldn't actively enlist in military service) I wouldn't as a person take that trade off, but I think as far as the statistics go the tradeoff seems pretty decent IMO. I certainly don't agree with your conclusion that it's "Cripplingly Unplayable". Maybe the problem is that instead of a simple "the costs don't equal the benefits", you chose to veil it in a language of polarizing extremes.

Nietszche isn't famous for writing "Guys, Stop Talking About God, It's Old Now". :P

Quote:
Which is funny because you overstate the advantages of tremorsense as well, he can tell theres a liquid in the syringe spear, not what type of liquid, he can tell how many bill shaped pieces of paper are in the safe if its within 30ft, not what denominations the bills are etc. You make it even more powerful, but then say it comes to late? And then you say that tremorsense invalidates scent, unless you know, they're flying in any way which at that level what doesn't have flight in some form.

If a monster flies, it leaves no tracks and therefore cannot be tracked by smell. I did notice just now that you can use survival untrained with scent, but the best you could ever do reliably is still an immediate, 0-hour-old trail, since it's a survival roll and you get no bonuses to survival from scent. A riding dog can still do better than that.

Also, this is D&D, not D20 Modern-- vaults have gold coins in them, not bills. :P

You're right though, tremorsense can't discover the denomination of every coin in the vault. Tremorsense can only locate the exact number of coins in the vault. Which is close, I would say, and a lot of my arguments definitely rely on connectivity, but the wording of tremorsense is just as loose as, say, the wording of scent.

Quote:
I'd also like to know what you think of my idea of progressive curse penalties instead of top loaded ones, if you didn't go stone deaf until you got tremorsense, would it still be cripplingly unplayable? is tremorsense worth the penalties you describe if they came at the same time?

I think that if you took a -6 on hearing-based perception checks and on initiative until 5-- say, with a max cap of being able to make perception checks to hear within, say, 30ft... then, still a -6 to hearing with a +6 to all other perception checks, a -3 init with a max cap of 60ft for hearing distance... then a -0 for init at 11, with maybe "tremorsense" ... and then the full "tremorsight" at 15... would be much more doable than beginning as deaf or slowly winding down to deaf. I like the idea of a curse becoming progressively worse, but the general style of most of the curses is to become progressively more workable. Nobody wants to dread levelling up, or for instance, feel pressured into multiclassing another class at level 15 to avoid becoming wholly blind, deaf or mute.

Scarab Sages

Ice Titan wrote:

I can see where you're coming from and I think I agree in a fashion, but it still requires a lot of rules finagling that isn't at all present in the book itself. It turns the GM into the adjucator of the ability, unable to really decide what it wants scent to be able to do in the actual material. If you pitched the above to me in the middle of a session when the subject came up, I'd agree generally, but there are a lot of small details that make your claims stretched once you can look over the book. Smelling the direction of someone who is within 30ft is a move action in the description of scent. Using a move action to perceive is described as "intentionally searching for stimulus." It just doesn't really add up how you (or I, for that matter) think it should work and requires a lot of CTRL+F PDF fondling.

Also, "If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth." And if someone can be heard but remained stealthed, it means (with fast stealth, just for the image) I can run at you screaming "INVISIBLE OPPONENT COMING RIGHT FOR YOU FOR THE SURPRISE ATTACK GET READY" and you'd be just as flatfooted as if I had crept up silently. :P So, I would say that yeah, if you can smell someone, that person suddenly can't catch you by surprise nor can they stealth near you, but that makes no sense in many different contexts. The scent character can learn the smells of each of his party members, I would say, so that he can tell, for instance, Joe the Barbarian from Cleo the Cleric and both of them from a werewolf or a dire tyrannosaurus, but what if the person sneaking up on you wears the same cologne the bard does? It all comes back again to the GM who gets to make a call completely unsupported by the rules.

Other results due to instant perception with scent:
Druids are now invisibility destroyers starting at 3rd level. Drop one spell, 1d3+1 riding dogs, handle them to swarm the invisible person and then attack. Of course, you've still got your animal companion, all of...

I'll give you the shouting guy and being able to hear a stealthy opponent, my bad. And I do agree that the rules for Scent are kind of wonky. Still, I think your initial bit about requiring a Perception check is a bit much. Think of Scent as just another exception to the rule, as that's really what the whole game is. When a creature is stealthing or invisible, people must make Perception checks to detect them. In the case of a creature with scent, it doesn't need to roll to know which direction they lie in, nor does it need to roll when it's within 5 feet.

As for the druid... yeah. :) It's a subtle tactic but a good one on handling an invisible opponent once you know about it. It's still not going to negate that 50% miss chance, the important part, but it helps.

Though considering that a bard or someone can cast Glitterdust at low-level too, there's already means in place to counter invisibility.


StabbittyDoom wrote:

The only Oracle I've played thus far was a deaf one. He played quite well, actually. He was good at bluffing and disguise, so he simply played as a bit spacey (to explain situations where he doesn't react to voice right away). I gave him some ranks (not full, just some) in linguistics and the DM gave me an ad-hoc +2-4 (can't remember) because the character had been deaf his whole life in a world without sign languages.

I also gave him ranks in stealth. Given that he was small size (kobold) he did a good job of getting off "stealth-spells". Sure, handwaving can attract attention, but an invisibility spell/ring/cloak fixes that quite easily. Then again, my DM let me use stealth while casting if I didn't move, so that helped. I'd be seen if the spell effect was obvious, but I could buff quite safely and get one spell against their flat-foot.

Much of the fun of the character was RP-based to be sure, but it was far from unplayable.
With good perception you don't *have* to hear something to notice it anyway. People have something like 6 senses, and you only lose one. You still have sight, olfactory (smell and taste), temperature, pressure/touch and balance. You can still sense the vibration of a large creature landing or (if very perceptive) running up to you, or the rush of air of a creature with wings flying above you, etc. You may have to point these things out to the DM, but if they keep this in mind and you invest heavily into perception then most of the negatives of being deaf go away.

More difficult than the other curses? Definitely yes. Unplayable? Not even close.

One last comment: Silence is a wonderful spell for a deaf person to cast. Suddenly everyone else (nearby) is deaf too; You're used to it, they aren't.

I'm glad you found it playable. This is the kind of stuff I want to hear-- going back and forth about scent is close to on-topic but not the point of the thread. How did the DM treat communication with the other players? Did you sign to them and have them make linguistics checks, or did you make checks to read their lips or did the DM just kind of handwave it?

Also, yeah, I agree with the senses and how they interact, it's just that the most common checks are sight and sound. Almost all other checks are DC 0-- things anyone can instantly know, usually not even rolled in the context of the game, like the monster flying just above you or a monster so large it shakes the ground. Everyone gets these, and the deaf oracle is no different-- except, well, he's different in that I'd describe those kinds of things more and directly to the player when evoking imagery in my scenes as DM. In terms of perception, I'm just arguing that the deaf oracle is cannon fodder for any invisible or sneaky opponent until level 11, where either he becomes immune to stealth forever or continues to be cannon fodder with a higher perception check.


Karui Kage wrote:
As for the druid... yeah. :) It's a subtle tactic but a good one on handling an invisible opponent once you know about it. It's still not going to negate that 50% miss chance, the important part, but it helps.

Faerie fire's got that covered. Demoralizing violet glow and everything. And you hit your dogs with it too, so you can make them glow blue or something. A rainbow of melee party members and summons.

I do see what you mean though, and yeah, I'm coming around to your side. I'm certain my dog could tell the difference between me and someone else, and there are probably changes in pheromones or other subtle biological changes when something's heart is pounding as it creeps up full of ill will. I can see that, and it works.

Grand Lodge

I think this one boils down to a matter of personal taste. I can see playing a deaf character as a fun challenge. Many of the crippling disadvantages that are stated are mitigated by so many other factors that the deafness curse is often flavor for a character.

BUT I dislike the curses in general. In no way shape or form am I going to play a Fighter and ever even consider dipping into Oracle. A Rogue/Oracle? Just throw away your character now and make a new one that one suck please. How about a Bard/Oracle! You are just banned from my games now.

I suppose there is SOME combination of curses and powers that work with multiclassing, but I am just not interested. Nice concept, but poor execution on this class.

HOWEVER! Just because I do not like it does not mean it isn't good I suppose. Not everyone plays the same way, not everyone has the same preferences for characters. It just spreads out the options. This class is not really an option for me, but obviously is a great choice for many others.

Liberty's Edge

Ice Titan wrote:
StabbittyDoom wrote:

The only Oracle I've played thus far was a deaf one. He played quite well, actually. He was good at bluffing and disguise, so he simply played as a bit spacey (to explain situations where he doesn't react to voice right away). I gave him some ranks (not full, just some) in linguistics and the DM gave me an ad-hoc +2-4 (can't remember) because the character had been deaf his whole life in a world without sign languages.

I also gave him ranks in stealth. Given that he was small size (kobold) he did a good job of getting off "stealth-spells". Sure, handwaving can attract attention, but an invisibility spell/ring/cloak fixes that quite easily. Then again, my DM let me use stealth while casting if I didn't move, so that helped. I'd be seen if the spell effect was obvious, but I could buff quite safely and get one spell against their flat-foot.

Much of the fun of the character was RP-based to be sure, but it was far from unplayable.
With good perception you don't *have* to hear something to notice it anyway. People have something like 6 senses, and you only lose one. You still have sight, olfactory (smell and taste), temperature, pressure/touch and balance. You can still sense the vibration of a large creature landing or (if very perceptive) running up to you, or the rush of air of a creature with wings flying above you, etc. You may have to point these things out to the DM, but if they keep this in mind and you invest heavily into perception then most of the negatives of being deaf go away.

More difficult than the other curses? Definitely yes. Unplayable? Not even close.

One last comment: Silence is a wonderful spell for a deaf person to cast. Suddenly everyone else (nearby) is deaf too; You're used to it, they aren't.

I'm glad you found it playable. This is the kind of stuff I want to hear-- going back and forth about scent is close to on-topic but not the point of the thread. How did the DM treat communication with the other players? Did you sign to them and have...

It was a DC15 linguistics check to sound "good enough" when talking, and DC20 to "sound about right". Similarly for lip-reading. I had a few ranks in the skill, some int bonus, and an ad-hoc +4 to those checks for being a life-long deaf (basically a trait bonus). I was also allowed to take 10 on this (outside of combat, of course) so I usually sounded right and usually understood people, but at least one person saw through one of my disguises by saying something while they covered their mouth.

I also had a sign language, which I taught the other players after a couple sessions (a point in linguistics from each, as normal for a language) so that we could communicate without checks and without sound (when being stealthy).
It was tough, but by taking abilities that allowed me to better use my other perceptions (such as the flame oracle ability to see through smoke) I could make my enemies worse off than me to compensate. Nothing like being in your normal state while the enemies are blinded by smoke and deafened by silence.

Again, it took a good bit of extra thought on my part, but it was definitely fun and definitely effective.

Facing my character would've been a lot like this fight. (skip to 4:25-4:35 ish) Except without the "losing" part ;)
"How is it? This world of pure darkness where there is no light or sound.."
To this end my character even made a magic item that triggered a blind/deaf area effect ability (true seeing could see through the blinding part, but not the deaf part, and the caster has spell failure from the deaf part). I only used this tactic if the rest of the party was made mostly impotent (via a multi-grappling creature that miraculously failed against me in one case) so as not to be a complete dick.
The campaign ended with the character at about level 11 (started them at level 3). It ended because of a near TPK (I was the only survivor).

EDIT: I forgot to mention, my character also had a cloak that gave continuous pass without trace (no scent or tracks).

Liberty's Edge

Btw who says a character is an oracle all their life? Why can't a character be a regular joe until something big happens in their life and they find themselves chosen to follow the path of an oracle? As far as I can tell nothing says the character had to be deaf their whole life before becoming an oracle with that curse. Just a thought.

Liberty's Edge

Liquidsabre wrote:
Btw who says a character is an oracle all their life? Why can't a character be a regular joe until something big happens in their life and they find themselves chosen to follow the path of an oracle? As far as I can tell nothing says the character had to be deaf their whole life before becoming an oracle with that curse. Just a thought.

It was just how I played *my* character. I wasn't meaning to imply that all deaf oracles started that way. It was also a good excuse for the +4 to lipreading/speaking check trait shpeel.


The inability to speak with and understand party members is the problem here that bothers me most. My suggestion would be to give them the Telepathy ability at some point.


StabbittyDoom wrote:
A lot of really cool stuff

Damn. That's awesome. I like a lot of the stuff you were able to do with the class and from what you said I want to play a deaf oracle even more after reading it.

I love that he pretended to be able to hear. I don't know why, but not giving up that piece of information and then just flipping it on his enemies with the magic item and his tactics is really cool. It definitely makes what I considered to be the weakest revelations (the sight-based smoke/wind/water revelations) much more interesting and useful than I thought.

Liberty's Edge

Ice Titan wrote:
StabbittyDoom wrote:
A lot of really cool stuff

Damn. That's awesome. I like a lot of the stuff you were able to do with the class and from what you said I want to play a deaf oracle even more after reading it.

I love that he pretended to be able to hear. I don't know why, but not giving up that piece of information and then just flipping it on his enemies with the magic item and his tactics is really cool. It definitely makes what I considered to be the weakest revelations (the sight-based smoke/wind/water revelations) much more interesting and useful than I thought.

I'm glad I was able to convince you they were playable ^.^

That particular character was one of my favorites. He also at one point disguised himself as a pimp, so +2 badass for that alone :)
He also made pseudo-sunglasses. It was really a small metal band that went across the back of the head. All they did was summon non-magical smoke into a small wall of force that was suspended in front of your eyes (so only I could wear them and still see). I was intending to enchant them with awesome effects, but never got around to it.
I should dig up/recreate that character sometime, actually...

Anyway, I can't see how any DM would make lipreading a particularly difficult activity for someone who was willing to spend even a trait to compensate.

I will also admit that my DM didn't take advantage of my deafness much, and the "seeing through the disguise" thing was one of the few times it came up (and a similar trait could be used for others, not just deaf people). Another time I didn't hear a monster that was in front of me in a magically dark area and almost got eaten by it (quite literally WALKED INTO ITS MOUTH). Luckily that monster didn't like how fireballs taste (i had the fire resist revelation too, and fireball was a Flames mystery spell). The last time was an invisible assassin dude that did kill me (but I got revived). I guess the BBEG didn't like me much.

Any DM that makes an oracle curse have a huge drawback more than once every couple of levels is probably just being a dick. It doesn't have to come up much to be balanced, it just has to happen enough to say you took a significant enough impact from it. Luckily my DM understood this and I was able to play a fun character.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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1) The rules aren't final. They won't be until the APG is out. Things can and will change.

2) Not all character options should be equally viable. If everything was perfectly balanced, there'd be no reason to give choices, since equally balanced = identical. Some players might want the challenge of playing a deaf character. Some GMs might want the option to build a deaf NPC oracle. Just because an option is available doesn't mean you have to take it, or that you're a bad person for thinking it's sub-par. There's nothing wrong with some choices being obviously better than others, because in most cases, what's obviously better will change depending on who you ask.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
StabbittyDoom wrote:
Then again, my DM let me use stealth while casting if I didn't move, so that helped. I'd be seen if the spell effect was obvious, but I could buff quite safely and get one spell against their flat-foot.

Yeah, as a DM I'd let someone cast a spell while hidden; it's not more obvious than anything else you can do while Stealthed. You can drink potions, draw weapons, etc. Fair enough!


After reading all this, I think I will houserule that Oracles in my local game have no curses nor any benefits of the curses, until I can get a look at the APG. It's far too much hassle for both the player and DM.


I really like the idea of progressive weaknesses/benefits. It means there is continuous trade-off for being an oracle and keeps multiclassing from too much of a crapshoot. I really hope that gets adopted into the class when the AGP gets published.

Lip reading seems like a good way of making a deaf oracle more playable with the rest of the group. At least you can tell what other people are saying, for the most part. I would make some house rules that incorporate lip reading with the weakness, and if using progressive weaknesses start the DC at maybe 10 (so that one can normally take 10 and ignore rolling when not in combat) and increase the base lip reading DC to 20 eventually. Seems reasonable that someone would have to spend points on linguistics as they continually loose more and more hearing.

Sovereign Court

Anburaid wrote:

I really like the idea of progressive weaknesses/benefits. It means there is continuous trade-off for being an oracle and keeps multiclassing from too much of a crapshoot. I really hope that gets adopted into the class when the AGP gets published.

Thanks, I really appreciate the support for my idea, the methods I actually detailed were just to exemplify how i wanted it to work, I'm not even wedded to the suggestions I made, I just wanted to provide examples so that it was clear what I was suggesting. I also prefer progressive penalties. While I understand the OPs point about possibly encouraging multi-classing at higher levels, I don't think it's as much of a worry because when you get that worst penalty you're also getting the best power/benefit, so choosing to multiclass is more of a preference choice and not a necessity, whereas multiclassing right now with the oracle is just awful, forcing you to either accept a weaker curse so as not to screw your character or just screwing your character without an appropriate benefit to balance it.

Right now people don't want to multiclass oracles because no matter what your getting a big screw you, progressive curses would negate that allowing players to choose the class without being punished for it. And it keeps the flavor of Oracle curses while providing equal benefit making it a player choice to fit their character rather than one made to not screw their character over.

Sovereign Court

To prove the point in my game I have a multiclass sorcerer/oracle we've been playtesting. When he got his oracle level we had a discussion about curses. For his character, the one that made the most sense was deaf, as he had one of his ears hacked off in battle earlier in the game. However as he's planning on mystic theurge, he knows he'll only get to level 4 in oracle so being deaf was a huge penalty, after talking it over with me he chose lame curse instead and all of a sudden he had to be hobbled, we went with it, but pretty much everyone felt that it was off. If curses were progressive then it wouldn't have been a problem because the penalty received would have been = to the benefit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There are core classes that lend themselves by thier nature to multi-class. And there are character concepts which scream to be left alone to progress as an inherent specialty and focus. The Paladin used to be one of these as multi-classing carried the penalty of being forever outcast from your order and not able to advance.

The Oracle I think is another one of those classes that's so iconic.. given it's origins that it screams to be played as a single.

There's also the fact that mystic theurge is clearly meant for studious prepatory characters, not wild casters who may have never read a book in thier lives.

Sovereign Court

LazarX wrote:
There are core classes that lend themselves by thier nature to multi-class. And there are character concepts which scream to be left alone to progress as an inherent specialty and focus. The Paladin used to be one of these as multi-classing carried the penalty of being forever outcast from your order and not able to advance.

Yeah and you'll note specifically that they dropped that from pathfinder.

LazarX wrote:
The Oracle I think is another one of those classes that's so iconic.. given it's origins that it screams to be played as a single.

I have no idea where you get that from, considering how much screaming there was that the name Oracle didn't fit this class.

LazarX wrote:
There's also the fact that mystic theurge is clearly meant for studious prepatory characters, not wild casters who may have never read a book in thier lives.

Um no, there's not a single thing in the class that says it's meant for prepatory classes, you get to join it two levels earlier with those classes, but there's nothing in its flavor text or abilities that are clearly meant for prepatory characters, not to mention that it's completely irrelevant to the discussion, I could have named any PrC as the one he was going into. If I had said pathfinder chronicler instead of mystic theurge the point would have been the same.

The only thing that should be a discouragement from multiclassing is that you want the better powers of your straight class, not stupid things like huge drawbacks with little to no payback. Multiclassing should be discouraged by the fact that your missing out on certain abilities not by the fact that you're getting huge negatives for doing so.


lastknightleft wrote:
While I understand the OPs point about possibly encouraging multi-classing at higher levels, I don't think it's as much of a worry because when you get that worst penalty you're also getting the best power/benefit, so choosing to multiclass is more of a preference choice and not a necessity, whereas multiclassing right now with the oracle is just awful, forcing you to either accept a weaker curse so as not to screw your character or just screwing your character without an appropriate benefit to balance it.

Definitely agree. Multiclassing oracle right now leaves you in a very bad spot, both in intent and in character satisfaction. You can either have a cool curse and feel that the character is interesting in a way you like-- and also be permanently crippled by the same interesting curse-- or you can take the easy out and rock tongues. Like you said, your player who was missing an ear didn't want to go deaf so he became crippled. That's not his fault-- I'm not going to say "stop powergaming." It's just that right off the bat their curses hurt so much that it just sucks to have them.

Fricking tongues.

I hate tongues. I can't say that enough. So much!


James Jacobs wrote:


2) Not all character options should be equally viable. If everything was perfectly balanced, there'd be no reason to give choices, since equally balanced = identical.

I'm not sure whether to face palm or emphatically explain why that is completely wrong.

Sovereign Court

Cartigan wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


2) Not all character options should be equally viable. If everything was perfectly balanced, there'd be no reason to give choices, since equally balanced = identical.
I'm not sure whether to face palm or emphatically explain why that is completely wrong.

Explain why it's wrong because I agree with the sentiment James is expressing.


Equally balanced = equally balanced. Equally balanced = identical is a fallacy and a terribly obvious excuse to not try too hard balancing classes and choices against one another. If it turns out that one class/power/ability is incidentally too powerful, ie unbalanced, that is one thing. Moreover, it is often nerfed as a result, so there we have evidence that equally balanced does not equal identical because things too far balanced towards 'crazy powerful' are often brought back in line. As a matter of fact, many changes were made to the 3.5 OGL content in order to better balance Pathfinder compared to 3.5. Are all classes identical in Pathfinder because now the Polymorph subschool is no longer as extremely powerful as it was in 3.5? Why was the Polymorph subschool nerfed if equally balanced equals identical? There is no practical reason to make any attempt at balance if you are going to insult balance as an attempt to destroy choice.

Is James saying that class choices were created inherently unbalanced because, you know, that makes the game better? Sure, the role-playing aficionados or people who like a "challenge" (ie, do something because they can) may pick a subpar choice, but anyone who wants to play in a decent game is going to pick either the overpowered choice or at least the balanced choice in a list of choices.

This was obviously an attempt - a bloody poor attempt - at a broadside against 4e. It not only failed to disparage 4e, since anyone here that likes 4e will see through it and everyone else is unfriendly towards it, but it also manages to make Pathfinder look poorly designed and poorly balanced. And WotC is doing enough with bad design and balancing that Paizo doesn't need to do it.
And what exactly is the design of 4e detracting from the game itself? I can tell you right here and now that no one hardly ever picks the same class in the same set (leader, controller, striker, defender). and if they do, they are very unlikely to pick the same subchoices, which are effectively identical again. Being identical is therefore obviously not a detriment to choice

If anything a detriment to choice, it is poor balance. Who wants to play the choice weak in every respect when there are multiple choices that are significantly better?

Face. Palm.

Dark Archive

With all of that said, let's look at what being the deaf oracle does for you:

*Cast silence on self, get around other casters, and keep casting. Obviously good.
*Play a stealth / scout cleric. Having all of your spells silenced makes it easy to stay quiet in espionage situations.
*Invisa-summon without any real chance of being noticed. Where are all of these guys coming from?

It's a much more powerful effect than the blindsight cleric, there is a reason it ups levels by 1. The downside is not so bad... when did clerics care about perception checks / initiative?

Overall I'd say they are fine; it's a new take on cleric (stealthmaster), but would be fun.


Thalin wrote:
when did clerics care about perception checks / initiative?

The same time Rogues, Fighters, Monks, Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, et al did?

Quote:
Overall I'd say they are fine; it's a new take on cleric (stealthmaster), but would be fun.

Only two mysteries get Stealth as a class skill, Use Magic Device is never a class skill, and Invisibility isn't a Cleric spell and can only be used by the Wind Mystery - 1 minute per day/per level at 3rd level.

Yeah, I'm sure the Wind Oracle is a decent Stealth Master. What are you going to do with the rest of the Deaf Oracles?

Quote:
*Play a stealth / scout cleric. Having all of your spells silenced makes it easy to stay quiet in espionage situations.

I doubt you will be a very good scout with your deafness taking away from your ability to see and smell things, never mind Perception isn't a Wind class skill.

Sovereign Court

Cartigan wrote:
Thalin wrote:
when did clerics care about perception checks / initiative?

The same time Rogues, Fighters, Monks, Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, et al did?

Quote:
Overall I'd say they are fine; it's a new take on cleric (stealthmaster), but would be fun.

Only two mysteries get Stealth as a class skill, Use Magic Device is never a class skill, and Invisibility isn't a Cleric spell and can only be used by the Wind Mystery - 1 minute per day/per level at 3rd level.

Yeah, I'm sure the Wind Oracle is a decent Stealth Master. What are you going to do with the rest of the Deaf Oracles?

Quote:
*Play a stealth / scout cleric. Having all of your spells silenced makes it easy to stay quiet in espionage situations.
I doubt you will be a very good scout with your deafness taking away from your ability to see and smell things, never mind Perception isn't a Wind class skill.

Um you know that the only difference between a class skill and a non-class skill is +3 right? I don't get how something not being a class skill somehow makes it impossible. UMD isn't a class skill but it is a Cha skill meaning most Oracles are gonna have a 3-5 bonus from cha alone, then add ranks, and maybe a feat or two, oh and a trait, and suddenly perfectly reasonable.


lastknightleft wrote:
Um you know that the only difference between a class skill and a non-class skill is +3 right? I don't get how something not being a class skill somehow makes it impossible. UMD isn't a class skill but it is a Cha skill meaning most Oracles are gonna have a 3-5 bonus from cha alone, then add ranks, and maybe a feat or two, oh and a trait, and suddenly perfectly reasonable.

I keep forgetting certain aspects of Pathfinder's streamlining or skills.

It's not necessarily perfectly reasonable because of the way skill acquisition was limited but without changes to the difficulty of skill checks, but it is slightly more reasonable.

But really, the entire focus is going to be on trying to Stealth because you can cast Silenced Spell? That's going to be the entire purpose of a Deaf Oracle? I don't see any counterpoint to the original complaint in the thread. Congratulations, you are gimped into only being good at doing one thing - hiding somewhere away from the main group while casting indirect spells so your invisibility won't be blown.

Sovereign Court

Cartigan wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Um you know that the only difference between a class skill and a non-class skill is +3 right? I don't get how something not being a class skill somehow makes it impossible. UMD isn't a class skill but it is a Cha skill meaning most Oracles are gonna have a 3-5 bonus from cha alone, then add ranks, and maybe a feat or two, oh and a trait, and suddenly perfectly reasonable.

I keep forgetting certain aspects of Pathfinder's streamlining or skills.

It's not necessarily perfectly reasonable because of the way skill acquisition was limited but without changes to the difficulty of skill checks, but it is slightly more reasonable.

But really, the entire focus is going to be on trying to Stealth because you can cast Silenced Spell? That's going to be the entire purpose of a Deaf Oracle? I don't see any counterpoint to the original complaint in the thread. Congratulations, you are gimped into only being good at doing one thing - hiding somewhere away from the main group while casting indirect spells so your invisibility won't be blown.

Being deaf doesn't invalidate any other concept you want to create either, it's maybe optimized for a stealthacle but it isn't forced. The question is if the penalty is worth the advantage, and while I don't think it is, it doesn't make the deaf oracle unplayable. just different, in the end, its a perception and initiative penalty, two things i don't think are that difficult to work around. Since in most parties the Oracle wouldn't put more than a few ranks in perception anyways as there's usually one person who max's it and warns the rest of the party. The communication difficulties are things you work out in game and are more of a characterization problem than a horrible drawback. I'm not arguing that I don't think the curses need to be reworked. But I do disagree that a deaf oracle is unplayable.


Thalin wrote:
The downside is not so bad... when did clerics care about perception checks / initiative?

Going first on initiative is imperative for every casting character in the game. Casting first before the rest of the party goes is always better than having the party delay to your init so you can put buff spells on them. Going first also lets you be proactive instead of reactive. Fire? Resist energy. Fighter? Hold person. Giant? Enlarge person. Horde? Sanctuary. Start your bardic music. Drop a hypnotic pattern to mesmerize the monsters so they waste their first turn being fascinated. Erect a wall of stone so that your party can take cover behind it before the dragon breathes. Haste the party. Drop a heavy AoE damage spell in the middle of the weak monsters to thin the herd-- if the monsters can't take turns, they can't do damage.

He who draws last gets shot. In D&D, we duel with disintegrates.

A high perception lets you not be caught unaware. A cleric, with his high wisdom, is decent at perception even if its untrained. He won't be caught unaware often until around 6th level and then he'll need to buy a perception boosting magical item to keep in the game, but at least he can keep in the game. A deaf oracle fails most perception checks based on hearing automatically and is probably forfeiting almost every single one of his surprise rounds. That's a pretty hefty penalty.

Unless they and, say, the ranger both take Lookout. Then the oracle can go even if he failed his check. That's not a bad 1st level feat for a deaf oracle now that I think about it.

Cartigan wrote:


Yeah, I'm sure the Wind Oracle is a decent Stealth Master. What are you going to do with the rest of the Deaf Oracles?

It also doesn't have survival and is worse than a riding dog at tracking by scent. So he kind of sucks at scouting, too.

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