Why do people like the oracle so much?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Personally I liked playing an Oracle because I found that curses and revelations helped lend themselves to interesting backstories and personality traits. Can be fun to make a character complex and unique.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Eryx_UK wrote:

I prefer spontaneous casters because you can focus on the spell areas that you want and use scrolls and wands for your utility spells. Far less trouble and for me, more enjoyable to play.

The only element of the Oracle that I am not keen on are the curses. The old 3.X Dragonlance setting had effectively the same class (the Mystic) and that worked fine as a spontaneous caster without the need for a penalty.

Curses are not penalties, they're carefully balanced boons. That's why when they first showed up there were so many Barbarians dipping Oracle to get the Lame curse so they could rage cycle 8 levels early, or single classed oracles with natural weapons taking the Blackened curse so they could get a selection of cool fire spells with no actual penalty. Similarly, the Wasting curse is one of the few ways to get immunity to the crippling Nauseated condition. Curses just shut off some options, while opening up and empowering others far beyond what was lost.

Pipefox wrote:
Personally I liked playing an Oracle because I found that curses and revelations helped lend themselves to interesting backstories and personality traits. Can be fun to make a character complex and unique.

Very much this. Oracles have a lot more built-in flavor, and while they tend to need to specialize more than a cleric, they're usually much, much better at whatever they specialize in. Life oracles, for example, can generally beat the pants off the cleric in the healing department, and are fed most of the spells they need for the healer role for free so they can still effectively branch out into buffing, debuffing, etc. Battle Oracles tend to be much better at kicking butt in combat, Bones oracles have distinct advantages in being necromancers, etc.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Lack of MAD. Getting both casting and channeling off Cha is much better than having to split betwen Wis and Cha.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Good flavor, good mechanics, you can become a very good battle priest or very good caster easily, not as strong as the cleric flexibility but definitely better at their specialization.

Nowadays on top of it, the feat divine protection exists, making Oracle quite possibly one of the strongest class out there.


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Clouded vision battle oracles are a favorite of mine.


RJGrady wrote:
Clouded vision battle oracles are a favorite of mine.

We had one of those in our group for Serpent's Skull! He was awesome. Clouded Vision/Battle is a great combo.


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I love Oracle because I love the cleric chassis but I hate...

1) ...Prepared casting. It's tedious, and it's either way too powerful or incredibly frustratingly weak depending on your skill level and your willingness to put the effort into picking right. Prepared Casters are more self-sufficient in downtime and can adapt better to adventures they can see coming at least a day in advance. Spontaneous casters are more efficient with their slots. They are less likely to have exactly the right spell, but they are far less likely to ever waste a spell slot, either.

2) ...religion in Golarion and just about every fantasy setting I've ever played in other than my own (where I don't get to PC, obviously). Oracles get to sidestep that nicely, getting the same powers without the fluff restrictions.

3) ...having 2 skill points and a tiny class list.

4) ...Wisdom as a stat. I could rant for quite some time, but the short version is that I don't think it should even exist, never mind do the things it does. I do like Charisma, though, so, that's another plus.

So, basically, I like Oracle because it's a cleric that has none of the cleric's baggage.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Basically... It is a Spontaneous Divine Caster with a nice class ability and a curse that can be worked with over the character's career. I have one that is Haunted who uses "enchantments" to have his enemies fight each other and another that is a life oracle who is dual cursed. (This is in PFS)

The first is a Kitsune, I use the Incredible Mr Fox as his pic. The other is my Undine that talks in grasshopper speak. "I will be the wave of healing over oceans rough."

I like em so far, though the Planer Dark Tapestry mystery was a bit weak in the beginning.


I ran through the entirety of emerald spire and wardens of the reborn forge with my Lunar Oracle and his cat of doom. The cleric list contains a lot of junk, even without using the Human FCB it wasn't difficult to have a spell list which covered all of the major bases. Being a Spirit Oracle also meant access to a huge variety of other spell effects when required.

The only real issue was lack of SR: No spells but Clerics suffer the same issue there as the Cleric list is very lacking in those.

The Exchange

Oracles are awesome since you can pack your trapfinding, front line and condition removal guy all in one neat package.

Also awesome way to get divine casting without worrying about your deity alignment restrictions. Or how many times your GM expects you to pray everyday.


Ssalarn wrote:
Curses are not penalties, they're carefully balanced boons. That's why when they first showed up there were so many {. . .} single classed oracles with natural weapons taking the Blackened curse so they could get a selection of cool fire spells with no actual penalty. {. . .}

Wait, does that work?

Blackened Curse wrote:
You take a –4 penalty on weapon attack rolls, but you add burning hands to your list of spells known. {. . .}

It doesn't say only manufactured weapons.


It has been my experience that players like the Oracle because you have to make a drawback of some kind to gain some other unique advant#ge...

And the drawbacks are never any kind of drawback what so ever


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Curses are not penalties, they're carefully balanced boons. That's why when they first showed up there were so many {. . .} single classed oracles with natural weapons taking the Blackened curse so they could get a selection of cool fire spells with no actual penalty. {. . .}

Wait, does that work?

Blackened Curse wrote:
You take a –4 penalty on weapon attack rolls, but you add burning hands to your list of spells known. {. . .}

It doesn't say only manufactured weapons.

I am entirely certain that the penalty applies to natural attacks.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I want to say that it was clarified somewhere, but good luck finding it. ^_^

Even if so, it may have been a Titan Mauler scenario - just because the writer 100% intended it that way, doesn't mean that zero-interpretation RAW agrees.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Found it. ^_^


Kalindlara wrote:
Found it. ^_^

Nice find.


^So according to the linked post, the Blackened Curse only applies to manufactured weapons. That is what I would have liked, but I wasn't going to count on it until I saw something official to that effect.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Kalindlara wrote:
Found it. ^_^

Yep. I had originally thought it was even more restrictive and applied to rays as well (since they're treated as weapons for most effects), but the dev made it clear that it was only intended to affect manufactured weapons.

Dark Archive

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Cleric is powerful and hard to mess up, but is boring.

It's only as boring as you let it be. I've never had my clerics ever bore me.


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Kalindlara wrote:
Found it. ^_^

.... Huh. This makes Changelings even better in the Oracle role. Nice.

As for the actual question, Oracles have the cherry-picking of spells, Mysteries, and curses going for them. Pretty much like everyone else in the thread has said, they're very easy to customize.

Community Manager

Removed a post. Please be civil, thank you!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Cleric is numerically a better class, hands-down. It does everything you want in a Divine caster better than the other Divine classes do. But it's kind of dull to play, because all it does is beatstick with a Rogue's BAB, and cast Divine spells.

Oracles are a more interesting class to play. In exchange for giving up two domains and channeling, you get to pick your own menu of flavorful class features and a "flaw" that gradually gives you a minor benefit in the long run. You can actually play an armor-less Oracle if you wanted to. It's not a *great* idea, but it's more doable than an armor-less Cleric, and again, very flavorful depending on the Mystery that you choose.


spectrevk wrote:

Cleric is numerically a better class, hands-down. It does everything you want in a Divine caster better than the other Divine classes do. But it's kind of dull to play, because all it does is beatstick with a Rogue's BAB, and cast Divine spells.

Oracles are a more interesting class to play. In exchange for giving up two domains and channeling, you get to pick your own menu of flavorful class features and a "flaw" that gradually gives you a minor benefit in the long run. You can actually play an armor-less Oracle if you wanted to. It's not a *great* idea, but it's more doable than an armor-less Cleric, and again, very flavorful depending on the Mystery that you choose.

In fairness, aside from Fort saves, Shaman is numerically superior to the Cleric. That being said, Oracles can be numerically superior to clerics, thanks to their ability to be Super CHA character. Spirit Guide Oracles are also super flexible compared to Clerics.


The Shaman is pound-for-pound a better primary caster than a cleric due to her nigh-unlimited spell access, but I think I'd rather give a cleric a big sword than a shaman. There's certainly an argument to be made as to which class is truly better.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

In all fairness though, the ACG is where game balance goes to die :)


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spectrevk wrote:
In all fairness though, the ACG is where game balance goes to die :)

Uh... it's more balanced then the CRB. It only has 2 Tier 1 classes. And only 1 Tier 5 (alas poor swashbuckler). The rest are all solidly tier 3-4. Albeit not nearly as well edited.


Quandary wrote:

Given the new material granting bonus spells known that came out parallel / subsequent to Oracle (favored class, extra arcana, pages of spell knowledge, mnemonic best, ring of spell knowledge), the traditional limitations of spontaneous casting are a lot less tight. But yeah, most of the wow factor for Oracles revolves around class abilities.

Honestly, I'm not really super hot on Oracles, myself.
Ok, fine, Life Mystery's Energy Body (changing to Elemental with all associated abilities/ immunities) is da bomb.

I would say that over all I like Shaman much more, even if it isn't about POWER per se... but then I would have to admit that there is only 2 Shaman Spirits I can ever see taking as primary (Heavens and Life). While not perfectly balanced, I could at least see playing most Oracle Mysteries.

Just wanted to reply so I can look this stuff up later


There is that... an oracle can pretty much be the SADest character you can possibly make. If you really want to cheese it you can have CHA to saves, AC, HP, Spells, and to hit... yeah who needs other stats?


CHA to HP and to hit?


Oh never mind, HP was a 3.5 feat :P

as to hit,

if you take a dip into paladin you do get smite evil :P


If you instead take a dip into Antipaladin and become a vampire you can now smite good and no longer even have a constitution score to target.

I'm not sure if being a vampire prevents you from gaining levels but cha to HP is easily accomplished by becoming undead.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Undead oracle.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Anzyr wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
In all fairness though, the ACG is where game balance goes to die :)
Uh... it's more balanced then the CRB. It only has 2 Tier 1 classes. And only 1 Tier 5 (alas poor swashbuckler). The rest are all solidly tier 3-4. Albeit not nearly as well edited.

In the CRB, every class has a "thing", and the other classes generally don't horn in on their "thing" too badly.

Bloodrager is just better than Barbarian.

Slayer is just better than Rogue.

Investigator is also just better than Rogue.

Brawler, the "unarmed fighter" class, is arguably better with weapons than a Fighter due to Martial Flexibility and Brawler's Cunning.

The power level in ACG is (mostly) internally consistent, but it's inarguably higher than anything in the CRB or APG, with the notable exceptions of the Wizard and APG Summoner. If you're running ARG classes and aren't steamrolling standard PF scenarios/APs, you're doing something horribly wrong.


A undead Lore Oracle Antipaladin, because you got tired of Cha dumpers :P


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spectrevk wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
In all fairness though, the ACG is where game balance goes to die :)
Uh... it's more balanced then the CRB. It only has 2 Tier 1 classes. And only 1 Tier 5 (alas poor swashbuckler). The rest are all solidly tier 3-4. Albeit not nearly as well edited.

In the CRB, every class has a "thing", and the other classes generally don't horn in on their "thing" too badly.

Bloodrager is just better than Barbarian.

Slayer is just better than Rogue.

Investigator is also just better than Rogue.

Brawler, the "unarmed fighter" class, is arguably better with weapons than a Fighter due to Martial Flexibility and Brawler's Cunning.

The power level in ACG is (mostly) internally consistent, but it's inarguably higher than anything in the CRB or APG, with the notable exceptions of the Wizard and APG Summoner. If you're running ARG classes and aren't steamrolling standard PF scenarios/APs, you're doing something horribly wrong.

Bloodrager is not a better barb. Bloodrager is one of the few times where being a caster does not suddenly make you better...

Comparing something to the rogue is a poor argument... the rogue was horrible in Core... Oh and actually the Ranger and the Bard did rogue better than a rogue does rogue. Oh and so does the sorcerer with archetypes...

Brawler is more versatile but the fighter is the stronger combatant. Don't underestimate Weapon Training and having access to those fighter feats.

ACG was actually kinda meh in power. The Shaman was the one actually POWERFUL class (the Arcanist is powerful by virtue of being a full caster but honestly I feel still falls short of the wizard).


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
spectrevk wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
In all fairness though, the ACG is where game balance goes to die :)
Uh... it's more balanced then the CRB. It only has 2 Tier 1 classes. And only 1 Tier 5 (alas poor swashbuckler). The rest are all solidly tier 3-4. Albeit not nearly as well edited.

In the CRB, every class has a "thing", and the other classes generally don't horn in on their "thing" too badly.

Bloodrager is just better than Barbarian.

Slayer is just better than Rogue.

Investigator is also just better than Rogue.

Brawler, the "unarmed fighter" class, is arguably better with weapons than a Fighter due to Martial Flexibility and Brawler's Cunning.

The power level in ACG is (mostly) internally consistent, but it's inarguably higher than anything in the CRB or APG, with the notable exceptions of the Wizard and APG Summoner. If you're running ARG classes and aren't steamrolling standard PF scenarios/APs, you're doing something horribly wrong.

In the CRB, the barbarian, paladin, and ranger are all better than the fighter.

In the CRB, bard and ranger are also better than the rogue.

The "thing" of both the fighter and the rogue has been thoroughly horned in on since the CRB, and gotten even more so with more archetypes and class options, though the Unchained rogue is a bit better.


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Yeah, "X is better than the rogue" isn't much of an argument when even Paizo admitted that the Core Rogue was so bad it needed a do-over.


Oracle and Shaman are now veering into serious OP territory IMO


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Atarlost wrote:
Ipslore the Red wrote:
Loads of options for builds and it's got all that full-caster goodness. It's pretty nearly impossible to make an oracle that's actually bad, and only moderately difficult to make one good at a specific concept.
Really? They're a spontaneous caster. All you have to do is not take the right spells and you're useless. There are a number of curses that will completely wreck your character if they're enforced.

Pro Tip 1: Don't take the wrong spells.

Pro Tip 2: Don't take the bad curses.

I mean, this is like arguing that the fighter is awful at dealing damage because he could spend every feat on Skill Focus. Don't do that.


Dual-Cursed Life Oracle with Fey Foundling.
Possibly the best healer in the game, and doesn't waste their spells or actions to do it.


meatrace wrote:

Dual-Cursed Life Oracle with Fey Foundling.

Possibly the best healer in the game, and doesn't waste their spells or actions to do it.

Which two curses?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Blackened and Legalistic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Although the Oracle can be feat starved, being a Cha-SAD class makes it perfect for the Eldrich Heritage feat chain. I ran around with a N Life Oracle with a Nosai familiar. The thing could deliver touch spells to allies while invisible all the live long day, made breath of life really really easy to deliver.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Blackened and Legalistic.

I'm confused. How does that help you heal?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Blackened and Legalistic.
I'm confused. How does that help you heal?

Why does the curse need to help you heal? The Life mystery does everything you need for that.


So, I guess I'm the only one that thinks slayer is halfway between the core rogue and the fighter, and generally less impressive than the ranger.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

There is 3pp curse that gives you Lay on Hands. It's on the SRD.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Blackened and Legalistic.
I'm confused. How does that help you heal?

It doesn't, but being Dual Cursed gives you access to the Misfortune Hex, which is a NO SAVE immediate action forced reroll on anyone once per day per target (friend and foe alike, so, save your friends from 1s just as often as saving them from crits, or preventing the bad guys from making important saves). It's completely amazing. I wish the Misfortune witch hex was as good as that (instead of requiring cackle spam to get much use).

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

RJGrady wrote:
So, I guess I'm the only one that thinks slayer is halfway between the core rogue and the fighter, and generally less impressive than the ranger.

I'd mostly agree with that. It's vastly superior to the Fighter in out of combat functions with only a small loss in combat capability, and vastly superior to the Rogue in combat with only a small loss in out of combat capability. While it may not be quite as good as the Rogue or Fighter at their specialties, it's close enough that the difference is largely academic and is a much better class overall. Completely agreed that the Ranger still has the edge.

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