Advice on building a samsaran dark tapestry Oracle healer / controller


I have a concept for a character for a group I was just invited to join, but I don't know much about Pathfinder and could use some help fleshing it out (i.e. spell picks, feats, etc.). The party wants more healing but not necessarily a heal-bot. Aside from that, I want to build this character to be a controller. I've read that the heaven mystery is better for this, but dark tapestry fits the concept better. This character won't multi class and will start at about level 4. Is there anything else you need to know to advise? Thanks.

I should mention, if it matters, we're allowed to use anything in the Masterwork Tools Pathfinder Open Reference android app.

Dark Archive

Tell them to buy a wand for healing. In combat healing besides the Heal spell wont outpace damage.

Infernal healing and murderous command are good 1st spells. Infernal healing you can use to top off party members at the end of the day.

Admonishing Ray has 4d6 damage at your level. It is nonlethal but that might be a plus for you.
Divine Trident will let you hit touch ac.
Darkness is an ok battlefield control spell.

For feats you could snag crafting feats. The boost in effective WBL is nice and you can provide a lot of help once you get craft wondrous item.

Are you set on playing an Oracle?

A cleric with full access to the spell list could fill this niche better and can channel for healing.

Knowing the other characters would be useful.
Also is it level 4 or about?

I'm very much not a fan of doing spell prep every day and the whole fire and forget magic system. If I'm playing a spellcaster, I'm doing either a sorc or Oracle and a divine theme works better with this concept. I think a character stronger at disabling (vs. buffing) with a talent for shadows/illusions would fit the concept better and just be more fun, anyway. He'll also probably take that prophet background so I can try and convert NPCs and whatnot over to my faith.

I figure I'll also get a ton of extra spell picks being samsaran (extra spell picks of any divine) and with the Oracle favored class (one extra pick a level).

I think I'm technically starting at level 3, but we'll be level 4 by the end of my next session.

I don't know why they don't just do the CLW wand thing. Based on what they've been telling me, their resources are stretched pretty thin just trying to stay alive.

It might help if I elaborate more on the concept. As long as I can stay true to the concept and fulfill my role in the party, I'm pretty open.

Basically, my character believes that all of reality (his world, the other planes, everything) is an illusion. What dictates reality is some unknown force outside of the universe. While an Aasimar/Heavens mystery might be able to ring this bell, Dark Tapestry gives this philosophy a much darker tone, which is what I'm going for. The idea that we don't really exist should be a little jarring. I figured an oracle, more so than a sorceror, fit the bill for this. The only bloodline that the sorceror has that might work would be Dreamspun or -maybe- destined, but dark tapestry fits so much better. Even the idea of a mystery fits much better than the idea of a bloodline.

I'm leaning towards a samsaran because their reincarnation element helps The idea is that in between lives, my character spent time in a limbo (not to be confused with the Plane of Limbo) where he somehow became aware that reality, as he knew it, was merely the extension of the will of extra-universal beings. His understanding now is that everything is an illusion. For example, should he cast a cure light wounds spell, he's not �healing� wounds, just helping others realized the wounds never really existed to begin with. To clarify, illusion spells are not particularly special to him. They are just illusions within an illusion.

That being said, I want this character to be a straight up field controller. I'm not even worried much about healing after my last convo with the DM. As much as the Oracle fits the theme, I looked through the first few levels of spells and I see a lot of buffs, a lot of contextual spells, but not much for control. Also, the DM reports that teamwork isn't the greatest with this group, so I'd like to make sure I can protect myself. I don't necessarily mean be able to take on mobs single-handedly, being able to effectively escape is just as valuable here.

Burst of Radiance is a good debuff spell. Barbed Chains or Shadow Trap are 1st level spells you might use for control. Given that dark tapestry oracles get dust of twilight I wouldn't bother with darkness.

If you need to escape then Sanctuary is the spell you want.

I don't have any of those spells except sanctuary.

Because he's samsaran, he gets to choose a number of bonus divine spells from any class (I'm thinking druid must have some good control spells). Any suggestions?

Any one class, yeah. Entangle is the basic druid control spell (or something along those lines like sickening entanglement), ice slick works, stone call is useless for damage but the difficult terrain created (without needing plants in the area) is handy.

Are you asking about spells you could use now or higher level spells you could get in future?

Both. From what I understand of the samsaran's racial ability, I can grab a number of divine (as a Oracle) spells equal to 1 + my spellcasting modifier even if I can't cast them yet. But I don't want to just pick a bunch of level 9 spells that I won't see forever. I want to augment my control abilities as best as I can with these picks.

OK. Plant growth is a druid spell which does control and can be cast well in advance. It's also a handy spell to have if you want to make friends with farmers or noble landlords. Some other druid control spells of note: explosion of rot, control winds (a must have if you're taking from the druid list), transmute rock to mud, various wall spells (though clerics/oracles get some wall spells so you might not bother with these.)

On the cleric/oracle list: Wind wall, holy ice or unholy ice, wall of stone, blade barrier, earthquake, dimensional lock. Also note that magical fear effects stack so you could cast say vision of hell and pick enemies off with doom, or cast aura of doom so that the area of the two spells overlaps.

And what would you say are must have feats for this build?

Don't pick the druid list, pick the hunter list. It gives you druid and ranger spells to pick from. That opens up things like named bullet.

Persistent spell can keep lower level spells useful for longer, and fleeting spell is handy situationally, especially if your fellow party members have difficulty figuring out how to work with you.

Besides that control isn't something that absolutely requires any feats. If you use monster summoning as a means of control as some do then you might want feats which boost that (e.g. augment summoning, expanded summon monster.) Improved Initiative is good for getting control in place before the enemies are next to you.

The hunter list isn't much for control (OK, spike stones as a 2nd level spell maybe) but if you might want some ranger buffs it could be handy.

I could see summoning being handy, but I'm not sure how well that works with an Oracle that has to make spell picks. Lower level summonings become obsolete pretty quickly I would think. Sure, you can swap out every few levels, but there's a lot of summoning spells to choose from.

One of your posts suggested a different understanding, so I thought I should clarify that the Samsaran Mystic Past Life alternate racial trait adds spells to your class spell list, but NOT to your spells known.

"Mystic Past Life (Su) You can add spells from another spellcasting class to the spell list of your current spellcasting class. You add a number of spells equal to 1 + your spellcasting class’s key ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, and so on). The spells must be the same type (arcane or divine) as the spellcasting class you’re adding them to. For example, you could add divine power to your druid class spell list, but not to your wizard class spell list because divine power is a divine spell. These spells do not have to be spells you can cast as a 1st-level character. The number of spells granted by this ability is set at 1st level. Changes to your ability score do not change the number of spells gained. This racial trait replaces shards of the past."

Basically, you'll pick a bunch of spells from another divine class list and add them to the Oracle list, but you will still need to choose them as spells known through the usual course. (Mystic Past Life is often considered a bit OP, and this is one of the only significant checks on that power.)

That makes sense. You're already getting an extra spell known per level from the favored class. But still, even if it counts as a pick, that's fine. I still want to know what's worth taking for a controller.

For me, I really like Wall of Thorns (5th) from the Druid list. It has incredible potential to ruin an enemy's day if they don't have a good way to bypass it (look at the time it takes to hack through or burn through, even with magical fire -- and those STR checks are *hard*).

Entangle(1st)/Sickening Entanglement(2nd)/Thorny Entanglement(3rd) can all be effective, as well, though now we might be moving towards a more "nature-oriented" set of spells than you might prefer.

Other control options from the Druid list:

- Snowball (1st) - modest damage, but a nice effect rider
- Fog Cloud (2nd) - vision hampering can be effective (esp if you later spec to see through it yourself)
- Aggressive Thundercloud (2nd)/Flaming Sphere (2nd) - mobile, round-over-round damage, which can create impediments or disincentives to certain enemy movement or tactics
- Stone Call (2nd) - modest damage, but creates difficult terrain, with no SR
- Aqueous Orb (3rd) - fantastic spell, IMO, very good for picking up enemies and messing with their day
- Ash Storm/Sleet Storm (3rd) - similar spells, but slightly different, but both involve messing with vision and terrain
- Ice Spears (3rd) - primarily for damage and trip potential, but can also create cover
- Spike Growth (3rd) - terrain impediment and some damage (especially against dumb enemies who might continue walking all over the place)
- Ball Lightning (4th) - see Aggressive Thundercloud/Flaming Sphere, but better
- Ice Storm (4th) - damage plus terrain impediment... but still not great at this level, IMO
- Slowing Mud (4th) - multiple effects on unlucky enemies, and while it can be removed fairly easily, it ties up enemy actions that could otherwise be spent trying to kill you

That's all I can offer for now (I've run through my lunch break), but there are obviously a decent number of options to consider. I really like Aqueous Orb, and you could fashion a decent water/ice-themed approach here, if that had any resonance for your character theme (I have an idea for this sort of character using an Oracle with the Spirit Guide archetype to pull some neat abilities from the Shaman's Waves spirit, but I'm not sure that fits the bill for you.)

Halek wrote:
Tell them to buy a wand for healing. In combat healing besides the Heal spell wont outpace damage.

I haven't heard this one in a long time.

What about regular Oracle spells? I've been going through the list and they are pretty crappy for control (at least compared to a sorcerer). I'm really tempted to respec this character as a sorc, though I'd have to find a way for it to fit the concept.

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In terms of Oracle spells, decent options include:

Barbed Chains (1st) - options for attack and tripping, combined with shaken condition

Command (1st) - very useful control spell when it sticks, maybe to get enemies to go prone, or run away and trigger AOOs

Shadow Trap (1st) - cool flavour and can restrict enemy movement-- classic control stuff

Admonishing Ray (2nd) - not control exactly, but decent damage potential if you don't mind non lethal

Burst of Radiance (2nd) - good option for some damage and a possible debuff against evil enemies

Cloud of Seasickness (2nd) - decent little option to apply some cover and possibly a debuff (though this might have some race or religion restrictions as I recall)

Darkness (2nd) - can be a good control spell in the right circumstances and possibly 'on theme' for you

Hold Person (2nd) - limited, but very effective when it works (especially if you have an ally ready to coup de gras)

Oracle's Burden (2nd) - a neat trick potentially, depending on your chosen curse

Silence (2nd) - strong anti caster potential

Sound Burst (2nd) - minor damage (though bypasses a lot of resistances), but a chance to stun which is something (especially against foes who might also drop their weapon)

Archon's Aura (3rd) - I like the constant debuffs an aura can provide (esp on a more martial oracle or cleric) but this has limitations and may make you a bigger target than you'd prefer

Bestow Curse (3rd) - not control exactly and requires touch but such an amazing Debuff when it sticks

Chain of Perdition (3rd) - can be useful for some combat maneuvers but I don't think it scales all that well into higher levels (though you could always swap it out)

Deeper Darkness (3rd) - see Darkness above, but it is both more effective and mole as likely to be compatible with your allies

Draconic Malice (3rd) - a nice spell if you want I use a fear inducing effects (see Aura of Doom at 4th, which I really like)

Aura of Doom (4th) - did I mention I really like this? Long duration, wide aura and can trigger multiple saves. It will make other spells easier to land if you get enemies shaken, and could be combined with other fear effects to make them frightened (my read is that this includes Intimidate, which is something you could be quite good at as a CHA based caster)

Okay, once again I have to tap out without going through all levels, but I think you'll find that you have multiple options at every level. Maybe not quite the same multiplicity of great options as a wizard or sorcerer, but the advantage is that you can leverage the conditional removal and healing stuff in a pinch, if necessary, which a sorcerer cannot readily do.

What about a Witch? I've only started reading about them, but they seem like 80% arcane and 20% divine. Would this class make for a more viable controller than a divine caster?

As we've gone over above, divine casters do make viable controllers. I'm not sure why the oracle list, dark tapestry mystery spells plus some druid spells aren't enough for you.

A witch has hundreds of options (literally) to debuff the enemy via spell or hex which can make it a better controller but they're light on defences compared to an oracle. Really light. You can take the trickery patron to get mirror image but I'm not sure that matches your desired theme, entropy seems more likely. Without that your possible defensive spells are mage armor, ironskin, heroism (for saves), spite (reactive defence), and fly ... and that's it. They're also poor with buffs and direct damage if that matters.

Some of the spells mentioned aren't in the materials we are using. All I have is what's in the Masterwork Android app. With the Oracle, I'm seeing a lot of will save spells and a lot of spells that pretty much boil down to +/- x to saves and combat. The witch seems to have more creative options, and I could use the few wizard picks I get from being samsaran to get those especially awesome arcane spells of which a witch doesn't have access normally. I'm fine with being poor with buffs and defense. Her concept is more geared towards the idea that reality isn't really real, though with a more darker metaphysical bent than illusionist one.

I don't know the contents of the app you're using, so I was reviewing the available options on th PFSRD. I'm sorry my efforts seem to have been in vain. I still think you could create a very effective build with what is typically available from Oracle (plus select Druid spells), but then again, maybe the app contents are much more limited than I was expecting.

In terms of theme, what you've laid out can really work with anything. If reality isn't real, it would be fair game to pull in all kinds of different effects, as he can just mess with 'reality' in whatever ways he sees fit, with no regard for maintaining consistency.

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