Oracle Curse: Thron's Torment


Homebrew and House Rules


Looking at brewing up an Oracle for an upcoming game, but I didn't really care for most of the curses. I wanted something that had an interesting mix of flavor and potential usefulness. Please offer constructive feedback\critique!

Oracle Curse: Thron's Torment

During the week of the full moon an Oracle inflicted by Thron's Torment forcibly assumes the form of a wolf at night.

Additionally, during times of stress, an Oracle beset by Thron's Torment is forced into the form of a wolf. When the GM deems that the Oracle is under undue stress, the Oracle must make a Will save; the base DC for this save is 15, although the GM may adjust appropriately based on the stressor. Upon failing the save, the Oracle is forced into the form of a wolf until the stressor is removed.

This shape-shifting effect is identical to the Polymorph spell, save that its effects lasts until the Oracle is no longer under stress. This means that she cannot cast spells that have somatic, verbal, or material components. Like any other transmutation (polymorph) effect, while the Oracle is in her forced wolf form she cannot be affected by other similar effects; this includes using Wild Shape.

At 5th level, the Oracle gains Natural Spell as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 10th level, she gains Wild Speech as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 15th level, although she is still forcibly transformed while under stress (and during the week of the moon) and cannot transform back, at other times she can transform willingly to and from her wolf shape. She can change shape in this manner a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier + 3.


I like what you're doing here but I would suggest changing the line about it being identical to Polymorph to it being identical to Beast Shape 2, as Polymorph refers you to that spell if you take the form of an animal; cut out the middle man.

I also think "times of stress" could use a little bit more clarification because that's a lot of leeway. Perhaps make it when damaged for at least X or when under so many HP?


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I actually had it as Beast Shape II in the original draft, but changed it. I'll change it back.

As to stressful situations, I wanted to ensure that it could occur in both combat and social encounters. Perhaps if I added some examples of appropriate stimuli?

Thron's Torment:

During the week of the full moon an Oracle inflicted by Thron's Torment forcibly assumes the form of a wolf at night.

Additionally, during times of stress, an Oracle beset by Thron's Torment is forced into the form of a wolf. When the GM deems that the Oracle is under undue stress, the Oracle must make a Will save; the base DC for this save is 15, although the GM may adjust appropriately based on the stressor. Upon failing the save, the Oracle is forced into the form of a wolf until the stressor is removed.

Some examples of stressful situations include when the Oracle:

-is reduced to 50% HP or below
-takes more than 25% of her HP in a single attack
-fumbles an attack roll
-fails a social skill check such as Diplomacy, Bluff, or Intimidate, or any other important skill check (at the player or GM's discretion)

This shape-shifting effect is identical to the Beast Shape II spell, save that its effects lasts until the Oracle is no longer under stress. This means that she cannot cast spells that have somatic, verbal, or material components. Like any other transmutation (polymorph) effect, while the Oracle is in her forced wolf form she cannot be affected by other similar effects; this includes using Wild Shape.

At 5th level, the Oracle gains Natural Spell as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 10th level, she gains Wild Speech as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 15th level, although she is still forcibly transformed while under stress (and during the week of the moon) and cannot transform back, at other times she can transform willingly to and from her wolf shape. She can change shape in this manner a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier + 3.


I think the examples help as it's nice to have more insight into RAI when things sound a bit vague. Overall I really like this.


Another member of my gaming group suggested that "until the stressor is removed" may be too confusing\complex. Should there be a more defined time limit on how long the transformation lasts? For combat situations, the end of the stressful situation is fairly clearly defined; for social situations, not so much.

[edit]
I think I'm going to rename this after Jezelda, the goddess of werewolves and mistress of the moon. More fitting, I think.


k, iteration 3 (possibly final, at least for me, but open to suggestions still):

Jezelda's Harrowing:
You have been cursed by Jezelda, goddess of the werewolves and mistress of the moon. In times of stress or when the moon is full, you are forced into the form of a wolf.

During the week of the full moon an Oracle inflicted by Jezelda's Harrowing forcibly assumes the form of a wolf from sundown to sunrise.

Additionally, during times of stress, an Oracle beset by this curse is forced into the form of a wolf. When the GM deems that the Oracle is under undue stress, the Oracle must make a Will save; the base DC for this save is 15, although the GM may adjust appropriately based on the stressor. If the save is failed, the Oracle forcibly assumes the form of a wolf on her next round as a full-round action.

Some examples of stressful situations include when the Oracle:

-is reduced to 50% HP or below
-takes more than 25% of her HP in a single attack
-fumbles an attack roll
-fails a social skill check such as Diplomacy, Bluff, or Intimidate, or any other important skill check (at the player or GM's discretion)

At the end of combat, or after five minutes (whichever comes first), the Oracle can attempt another Will save; if successful, she resumes her human form. Otherwise, she must remain in wolf form until the following sunrise.

This shape-shifting effect is identical to the Beast Shape II spell, save that its effects lasts until the Oracle is no longer under stress. This means that she cannot cast spells that have somatic, verbal, or material components. Like any other transmutation (polymorph) effect, while the Oracle is in her forced wolf form she cannot be affected by other similar effects; this includes using Wild Shape.

At 5th level, the Oracle gains Natural Spell as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 10th level, she gains Wild Speech as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites.

At 15th level, although she is still forcibly transformed while under stress (and during the week of the moon) and cannot transform back, at other times she can transform willingly to and from her wolf shape. She can change shape in this manner a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier + 3. Additionally, even if she fails the first Will save, the Oracle can shift back to her human form after five minutes without making a second will save.


Xaratherus wrote:

k, iteration 3 (possibly final, at least for me, but open to suggestions still):

** spoiler omitted **...

I think you only need "Beast Shape I" as that gives you access to medium sized animals. Beast Shape II does nothing additional for medium sized animals... it just gives you access to large and tiny.


Patricius wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:

k, iteration 3 (possibly final, at least for me, but open to suggestions still):

** spoiler omitted **...

I think you only need "Beast Shape I" as that gives you access to medium sized animals. Beast Shape II does nothing additional for medium sized animals... it just gives you access to large and tiny.

Beast Shape II is the spell referenced by Polymorph, and grants access to a number of racial features that Beast Shape I doesn't - specifically, alternate modes of movement are increased, darkvision distance is increased, and you gain access to the grab, pounce, and trip maneuvers if the creature normally has them.


This sounds like a great idea to me. Thanks for sharing it.

Heck, I might go so far as to have a Dual-Cursed Oracle with both this and Wolfscarred Face from Blood of Angels.


Eric Hinkle wrote:

This sounds like a great idea to me. Thanks for sharing it.

Heck, I might go so far as to have a Dual-Cursed Oracle with both this and Wolfscarred Face from Blood of Angels.

Always! If you happen to be a Hero Lab user, I have a .user file created for it as well, heh.


So I have now had a chance to playtest this curse.

It is an incredibly fun curse. It is also insanely unbalanced for one specific reason: Oracle's Burden.

The level 2 spell allows you to transfer your curse to another creature if it fails a Will save. The problem herein is this: We took on a large efreet and a huge earth elemental, and especially in the latter case it made the fight a joke.

Since I based this around the Beast Shape II spell, and it's a polymorph effect, the earth elemental lost its DR and a ton of natural AC (because they logically based on the creature's physical form), and quite a bit of strength. It took four attempts before it failed the spell, but once it did, the fight was over.

Even if you compare this against some of the other curses, like Blind, Lame, or Blackened, it's still just way too penalizing. It's essentially granting an Oracle able to cast 2nd-level spells the equivalent of a Baleful Polymorph (not permament, but permanent enough in many cases) on a failed Will save.

I'm open to suggestions on how to fix this, but the only way I can really think to fix it would be to make the spell just not function with this curse.


Xaratherus wrote:

So I have now had a chance to playtest this curse.

It is an incredibly fun curse. It is also insanely unbalanced for one specific reason: Oracle's Burden...

Oracle's Vessel would also be pretty messed up. The target gains all the advantages of becoming a wolf without becoming a wolf.


We discussed this a bit earlier. Patricius and I realized that we had been doing something wrong in regards to Oracle's Burden and the curse.

A failure on a Will save would not automatically inflct the curse upon the target, unless it happened to be nighttime and currently a full moon. Instead, it should have resulted in the target making a second Will save when the GM determined that the NPC was stressed.

In the case of the earth elemental, it would have likely never felt stressed; it had massive DR that we couldn't really bypass.

So we're going to do a second playtest allowing the spell and curse to function in this manner, and see how it pans out under second play.


good catch, and here i was going to suggest that those spells have exceptions written into the curse.


Re: Oracle's Vessel, the 'benefits' of the curse (compared to those in other curses) are really not going to be hugely useful either. It's basically going to grant Natural Spell and Wild Speech (at 5th and 10th); at 15th it will give the person the ability to shift into a wolf at will. That can have interesting tactical benefits, but it's still not hugely overpowered.


Xaratherus wrote:
Re: Oracle's Vessel, the 'benefits' of the curse (compared to those in other curses) are really not going to be hugely useful either. It's basically going to grant Natural Spell and Wild Speech (at 5th and 10th); at 15th it will give the person the ability to shift into a wolf at will. That can have interesting tactical benefits, but it's still not hugely overpowered.

so the primary beneficiaries are caster, but they don't see results until 15th level. Also other than the magus, I do see an actual wolf-form as only being a little beneficial to arcane casters in general.


Basically, you could use it to grant someone a bit of natural AC, a higher STR, and a natural attack.

You could potentially use it to grant a Druid the ability to cast in animal form - but by 15th level, are you really going to have even a Druid cohort who doesn't have Natural Spell?

It could be useful to a Ranger or other tracker class for the purposes of tracking, since you'd grant them the Scent benefit; it would grant low-light vision using a 2nd level spell, but you'd still have the trade-off of, well, being a wolf.

Actually, being able to disguise yourself as a wolf would probably be the only 'universal' benefit, and even then it would be only situational.

So with those two clarifications, I think that the curse still will function properly, even with Oracle's Burden still in place (functionally, two Will saves, and the second only triggers if the GM decides that the target has become stressed).

I probably won't be playtesting it in another session for a week or so, but I will post updates if people are interested.


Another suggestion: After reading Baleful Polymorph and reading the immunities of Undead (What? No, I'm not going to throw a bunch of undead at you tonight... ok... maybe a little bit of undead), I think the save should be Fortitude, not Will. I understand the thematic reason for Will... the Oracle struggling to retain his self control. Mechanically constructs and undead should be immune to the effects of this curse if you use Oracle's Bane on them, but both of those say that they are immune to effects requiring Fortitude saves (unless it specifically affects objects).

Just something to think about. : )


Well, it's not even so much struggling to retain self control. A Fort save would be acceptable, because it's not technically a mental effect but a physical one.

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