Cleric or Oracle, What one would you pick?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


This is just asked out of curiosity. My first (And so far only) pathfinder character is a Cleric. I dident know what to make, I knew nothing off the game and picked Cleric because every group needs support and healing, And I found I quite enjoy the Cleric. I can fight, Buff, Heal, Support, So much fun!

Later I found the Oracle, That seems to be a Spontanious Cleric with more flavor due to Mysteries and Curses. And I started wondering, What one od the two do people like best? Oracle or Cleric? What one would you pick for combat? What one would you pick for support? For healing?


Here are the main differences:

- Clerics are more flexible because they prepare spells, but Oracles have more skill ranks per level and have Revelations that help skills so they can provide a bit of extra utility to compensate.

- Clerics have good Fortitude saves, making them more durable in battle against the myriad of effects enemies can use on them, but Oracles have revelations specially suited for combat that save them the necessity to invest in specific feats like Heavy Armor Proficiency.

- Clerics have two Domains for a total of four domain powers... but Oracles have many Revelations, which are each more powerful than a domain power, usually.

- Both have the most boring archetypes out there though.

I prefer Oracles personally, because I prefer having skills over spontaneous abilities.


Oracle for combat, since there are many good options for boosting your combat performance. Cleric for a support/healing role - as an Oracle you are much more limited in your ability to cure conditions and so on. Casting something like Remove Curse during downtime is easy for a Cleric, but not for an Oracle.


I personally find Oracles more interesting, generally, but Clerics will end up being far more flexible and powerful because of their far larger available set of spells available on a daily basis.

Sure, Clerics have to prepare from day to day, but every day allows them to pick from the full Cleric spell list.

While I agree that the Oracle archetype list is underwhelming for the standpoint of being interesting, I actually really like several of the Cleric archetypes. The Elder Mythos Cultist is funny. The Herald Caller has a lot of flexibility. The Evangelist has interesting flavor and mechanics that actually support that flavor.


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Both are different and good. There are create combat domain options for cleric to match the good combat revelations of oracle.
In a general sense it's just spontaneous vs prepared.
In a close sense, it's if there's any specific feature you want, like seeing in fog.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As others have said. If you have one thing in mind and that is what you want to do, there is probably a version of Oracle that will be better at that than any Cleric.

If you want flexibility, and an overall more powerful (slightly) character, then Cleric is better.

And of course their is personal preference for spontaneous vs. prepared casting, which is a similar trade off.

At the end of the day though, it is pretty hard to go wrong with any class that has the full 9 levels of spells.


Clerics being a prepared caster means they have solutions on demand for the coming day. To me, that makes clerics really, really damn versatile and capable of evolving to adapt to specific situations given enough prep. Oracles don't get such a blessing, and mostly need to choose spells they know they will utilize frequently over situationally. This same dichotomy is present with all prepared/spontaneous casters.

What makes Oracles really great, however, is that their hyperspecialisation usually makes them really good at what they do. I've considered Oracles over other casters on multiple occasions, and I really, really love the variety within the class itself. Caster-martials, blasters, minionmancers, skill monkeys, and the single best combat healer option available? Oracles, whatever their 'thing' is, it's usually pretty strong.

As someone who likes making one-tricks, Oracles appeal to me. But I love clerics mostly because they are very reliable and have options open to them when they need them. And that they are pretty decent with magic item crafting feats!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I play both and find that they each have different strengths, as outlined by previous posters. Both classes make decent dips for extra versatility. Oracles are best if you are focusing on one thing, clerics are better for specialization with flexibility during down time.


Dave Justus wrote:

As others have said. If you have one thing in mind and that is what you want to do, there is probably a version of Oracle that will be better at that than any Cleric.

If you want flexibility, and an overall more powerful (slightly) character, then Cleric is better.

And of course their is personal preference for spontaneous vs. prepared casting, which is a similar trade off.

At the end of the day though, it is pretty hard to go wrong with any class that has the full 9 levels of spells.

a character that can put heroism on everyone as a swift action and summon in creatures as a standard action?

A character that can swift action enlarge person for their turns.

the ability to add 1d6 per odd level to an attack as a swift action against living things.


matter of flavor and what I want to do with the character... Not being an expert on religions, I may be a bit slanted toward the oracle, but the sheer versatility of the cleric is one huge asset.


I prefer oracle, but that is mainly because my current one has an animal companion (sorta) from Druid, Lay on Hands from paladin, Channel energy from cleric, and life link from Life Oracle.


I prefer the Oracle. Spontaneous casting is just easier for me to handle (else I agonize about what to prepare), curses are flavorful and fun to RP, and I prefer getting choices of revelations periodically as I gain levels rather than domain choices at level 1 which power up at a later level.

But the long and short of it is that I get more ideas for characters looking at Oracle mysteries than I do for anything associated with the Cleric.

Dark Archive

I prefer the Oracle. The mysteries are interesting enough that they make the class more enjoyable to play despite having fewer spell prep choices.

That said, the Cleric is a strong pick for a class to play and have excellent ability to prep for stuff if they generally know what they'll be going up against.

The Exchange

I prefer clerics, however clerics are often setting dependent, and if there's something weird about the gods and divine magic being outlawed, I'll do oracle. Or if I need the skill points.

Cardinal clerics intrigue me...I wonder if I can do a knowledge monkey out of them...a pity it doesn't stack with evangelist archetype.


Lore Oracles are cool because you can totally dump dexterity in favor of charisma using the revelation Sidestep Secret. If you can grab a mithral breastplate you can have a fairly high AC character.

And if you can convince your DM to allow the third party oracle curse of Aged, you've got one fairly powerful grandpa or grandma (Old people are more fun to roleplay than most people would think.) Play a Gnome to sure up your constitution and you are set.

I play a gnome dual cursed lore oracle with aged and clouded vision, which is extremely satisfying to drop oracle's burden on, considering we have a gunslinger in the group and he can just pick people off from outside the range of their vision.


I prefer oracles largely because I like spontaneous casting over prepared. In terms of RP, I find Clerics less interesting because they're so tied to their deities.

I also like that oracles get curses and revelations, which are more interesting to me than a cleric's domain powers. It really boils down to what kind of character I want to make, though.


Aside from prepared (whole list access) vs spontaneous, skill and save (fort) and armor/weapon proficiency...
EDIT: Clerics have killer Will Save and Good Fort, Oracles will be good at CHA skills and checks...

I say it comes down to mysteries have many powers around one theme and the bonus spells center around the same theme, and you will be more powerful in that theme than a Cleric.

With Cleric domains you get to choose 2 (from more options than Oracles have Mysteries), which you can also customize with sub-domains, and each of these come with bonus spell list, which lets you pull off a more diverse set of possibilities.

All Clerics also get channel, which only the ultra-healing focused Life Oracle gets. There is also a thing called Domain Channeling which is very cool, and only works with Clerics.

Of the 2, I honestly prefer Clerics, because I like engaging with the contextual level of how do I relate to the Deity and their church(es) and followers (or, how does their perspective serve the character's mentality), which needn't be a straight-forward answer. There also is potential to switch to worship of other deity... IMHO it is good idea to envision how the character's alignment might shift depending on turns of events, either within spectrum of 1 deity, or possibly considering alternate deities if things develop certain way. Really, that's productive to do with all characters, but it's extra important with Clerics. I tend to do "Caster" focus Clerics (or Oracles and Druids, for that matter), so don't really focus on Armor/Melee aspect, although having a nice Fort Save is always nice with Clerics. Ironically, I prefer Sorcerors to Wizards.

Shaman has also stolen the glory from Oracles for me.

I am obsessed with wanting Paizo to do more with Tian-Sha's Oracular Court, a theocratic cult of a dead god-emperor.


I like oracles because there are so many different ways you can take them. A cleric just has battle cleric (done that), caster cleric (ditto) and maybe some options based on channeling.


On the fluff side of things consider that clerics are to some extent bound to the dogma of their chosen deity and therefore have restrictions on their actions based on their deity's alignment - albeit not so strict as a paladin's code.

Oracles have no such burden and is free to behave however they wish without risk of their powers being taken away.

Not saying one is better than the other; just saying it's a different thing to roleplay within the confines of those restrictions. Can be more fun and interesting or it can be restricting and stifling, depending on your preference.


Combat: either, really. but you should look at Warpriest and Inquisitor if this is your focus.
there's 2 ways to get Rage via Domain/Sub-Domain, but only 1 enables Rage Powers AFAIK.
Support: either, I guess. just really look at bonus spells and powers of domains/mysteries.
Evangelist Cleric Archetype has Bardic Performance if you don't have Bard in party.
Healing: Life Oracle if you want to be 110% about healing, otherwise Cleric.
(Sun and maybe some other Domains have stuff that boosts anti-Undead effects of Channel)


I prefer oracles. The extra skill points are darn near needed. I've never been in a game with enough downtime to make access to the full spell list matter. I'm terrible at predicting what spells to prepare on a daily basis. Revelations are much better than domains, in my opinion.


oracle all the way. Have played about 8 to a variety of levels including finishing 3 AP
Tried to play a cleric. Just dull. Like many core book classes not have lots swift actions etc

Liberty's Edge

Cleric.

While Oracles have extremely strong flexibility in what they can build, Clerics have extremely strong flexibility in what they can actually do in a campaign. The spell list is just very painful to tie yourself down to spontaneous casting with. Both dip/multiclass well.

Not that I don't love the Oracle. Mysteries are really cool and have a bunch of unique options. But I've played a casty Lore Oracle and the spell limitation was agony. And while I do have a few fun ideas for more rounded or fighty Oracles, it means keeping my greedy fingers away from the 6/9 casters.


Clerics are more flexible and powerful than the Oracle.

Why?

1. Full access to a great spell list with no gp cost for spell prep.
2. Fast spell progression.
3. Able to instantly utilize any new spells released in an expansion.
4. Access to variant channeling with options to daze, confuse or nauseate opponents.
5. Access to Domains to pick up fun abilities like an Animal Companion which increases the Cleric's power and utility. Domains also allow access to useful spells not normally found on the Cleric's list.
6. Better summoning with Sacred Summoning.
7. Better saves with two good saves and Wisdom as the casting stat.
8. Better archetypes(example: Herald Caller).


Cleric. However, it is important to know that you will not, in most situations, know how to prepare perfectly, meaning your spells will by necessity be pretty focused on the immediately useful anyway. Add to this that unless you specialize heavily as a cleric, you become a generic buffer and second rate meleer, which will have you groaning in frustration both when your dear comrades rush into combat before you can buff AND when combat is over or nearly so as soon as your buffs are up.

If you take the time to focus your abilities, clerics are powerhouses.


I prefer Oracles I tend to feel directionless with clerics and any direction I do find I find I could do with more variety of related abilities with an oracle.

There is also nothing stopping you roleplaying an oracle as a preset of a certain religion, I maybe a time seer oracle who ended up a high priestess of Pharasma.

Shadow Lodge

My personal preference is Cleric, because I really like the divinely-empowered holy warrior/crusader concept the class is deigned on in the same way that others like playing martials, or controllers.

However, with that being said, I think that Paizo did a lot of damage to the fun factor for the Cleric as a class, and that the Oracle as a class, (all flavor aside), has much better design to it.

Most Domains are kind of crappy (with a few exceptions) and give you specific abilities at specific levels, while Revelations allow you to pick and choose multiple times as you like which powers you will get. Some are good and some are bad, but I feel like the discrepancy is much worse for Domains than it is with Revelation options.

Oracle get an extra 2 Skill Points just because, and also do not have to split stats up as much as Clerics do. They do loose out on Fortitude a bit, but, generally speaking also have an easier time putting more ability scores into what they want, so it can equal out fairly easily.

Clerics are sort of designed to be generalists, but they are the least fun to play when doing that, and it's difficult to really specialize that much. Oracles tend to be much easier to specialize, where they are at their best, and realistically chances are that they will be just as effective as a generalist (at the same time as specializing) as a Cleric who does no specialize. In my experience, in any given area, an specialized Oracle and a specialized cleric is hardly comparable. The Oracle just outdoes the Cleric in almost all ways that really matter, because they get a lot of unique toys and options that Clerics do not, and their options are just better than the Cleric's.

The basic idea is that Clerics, having free access to their entire spell list can be a lot more flexible. However, the catch is that only really matters if they just happened to have picked the perfect spells for the job. Oracles, because of their spells known limitation may not be effective in a given situation, (BUT, neither would the same Cleric who failed to prep the right spells), which is a lot more common than it might sound. Yes, leaving slots open is an option, but most of the time that you NEED a specific spell, you do not have time to wait and fill that, or multiple slots, so this generally doesn't help that much when it actually matters.

However, because the Oracle, with Spells Known, always plays within a more limited defined scope, it's a lot more likely that they would have gotten scrolls/wands/potions of those major spells that they know they will never have, while it's a lot more easy to fail to do this with the Cleric because of the false security that you can just prepare that spell tomorrow and everything will be fine.

As Sissyl mentioned, both classes will suffer from the action economy of the buffer, but Oracles tend to have more options not tied to their main spellcasting resource pool, so might not suffer as much, as often.

Clerics do not have a single thing that many other classes can not also do, (sometimes even better than the Cleric, too), while Oracles have plenty of those, or that are at least much less rare. This further reduces, in my opinion, the fun factor of the Cleric, but not the Oracle.

From a flavor/setting perspective, the Cleric is stifled while the Oracle is open. That is, the Oracle can be an atheist, a pantheonist, a follower of a philosophy, or the chosen priest of a specific deity that they follow or whatever, while a Cleric can follow a philosophy secondary to their deity, but is stuck having a single Patron. I consider that poor design since the Cleric doesn't really get any special treatment for it in most cases.

So, while I would generally choose Cleric, I do so more for personal preference reasons, knowing I could probably do the same thing, probably better and with more versatility (and less limitations) with an Oracle, kind of regardless of what build I'm going for, with a few exceptions, (like the Herald Caller), personally prefer the concept of the Cleric, especially from other edition's and historical models the class was originally built on.


DM Beckett: I don't know if I agree with many of your points. Those would be:

1) Prepared casting is a lot more powerful for the Cleric than spontaneous casting is for the Oracle as the Divine Spell list is packed with situational spells. This allows for the full suite of condition removal, divination and transportation spells that an Oracle would typically never choose to use. These spells will be often be used during the downtime of the adventure (between days) but are nevertheless extremely helpful.

2)Condition removal spells are level dependent and more powerful effects are not easily dealt with by consumable items.

3)Clerics (and Oracles) are not relegated to Buffing despite what many people think.

4)Clerics have many unique (or rare) abilities. Those include variant negative channeling, standard speed summoning, the ability to have an animal companion. Etc...

5)I agree with you and Sissyl that Clerics must specialize. However a specialist Cleric will always be able to be useful outside of his specialty due to the power and flexibility of the Cleric spell list.


I'm a big fan of clerics, but I enjoy playing up my character's faith, which may help.

To me, the versatility of a cleric spell list coupled with the ability to function as a secondary frontliner is just too good to pass up.

Not to mention the very real consideration that many adventure paths end at 17, so playing a cleric instead of an oracle can be the difference of whether or not you get your 9th level spells.

Shadow Lodge

Mage of the Wyrmkin wrote:
DM Beckett: I don't know if I agree with many of your points. Those would be:

That's perfectly fine. I'm only giving my opinion and experience, and I was not meaning any of it to be absolute, only more or less often or likely.

Mage of the Wyrmkin wrote:

1) Prepared casting is a lot more powerful for the Cleric than spontaneous casting is for the Oracle as the Divine Spell list is packed with situational spells. This allows for the full suite of condition removal, divination and transportation spells that an Oracle would typically never choose to use. These spells will be often be used during the downtime of the adventure (between days) but are nevertheless extremely helpful.

-
2)Condition removal spells are level dependent and more powerful effects are not easily dealt with by consumable items.

But, only if the Cleric actually has those spells prepped, and as you mentioned, because they are generally very level dependent, if the Cleric actually has enough of them prepared. This is also one of the things that can be a great strength to the Oracle, as a Cleric might have a given spell ready, (say Remove Curse), when they need it, and then botch the roll. With an Oracle, at least if they have the spell known, they can cast it as many times as they might need that spells per day allows. The key thing here is that the Cleric Spell list is a lot less filled with really good options than the Wizard one is, so a Sorcerer has a lot of hard choices to make. Not so much for the Oracle. There is some, but since there are significantly less options, it's not too hard to have most of the big status removals known around the time they start to pop up more frequently. But, generally, if you can wait for the Cleric to fill empty slots, or the reprepare their spells after resting (or it to heal naturally), than the big advantage that Cleric had goes down in importance pretty significantly. :P

Mage of the Wyrmkin wrote:
3)Clerics (and Oracles) are not relegated to Buffing despite what many people think.

I'm not saying they are. I was just pointing out one of the big issues with buffers.

Mage of the Wyrmkin wrote:
4)Clerics have many unique (or rare) abilities. Those include variant negative channeling, standard speed summoning, the ability to have an animal companion. Etc...

The point I was making is that multiple options exist for other classes to get Channel Energy, a Domain, Divine Spells, etc. . . Oracles, however, have a lot of things that are unique to them, including a few Spells that only an Oracle can cast.


DM Beckett: My point is that a Cleric makes an excellent utility caster while an Oracle does not. So even at relatively low levels (say 5) a Cleric will be able to resolve many of the long-term affliction that a party is suffering from while an Oracle will not. This is helpful when the adventure spans several days (or weeks) or the party is far away from civilization (and NPC healing). PC Clerics also tend to be good at the Heal skill (as it is a class skill and Wisdom based). This skill alone is invaluable at treating poisons and disease at low levels. Clearly utility casting is not limited to condition removal but this is a good example as it is the Cleric's forte.

An Oracle advantage in spamming spells can be helpful. But in practice I cannot see an Oracle knowing Remove Curse as that is a very niche spell that he is unlikely to use that often. He is much more likely to know Dispel Magic which has all sorts of uses.

In general it really comes down to focus. The design of the Oracle class pushes the player to choose a niche and stick to it while the Cleric class allows more flexibility in game play but requires more system mastery to generate a powerful character. A Cleric that is not well built will often feel generic and lack the punch of the Oracle.

Shadow Lodge

Sure. I guess what I'm suggesting is that "utility casting" sounds better on paper than it might actually be in game play. Remove Curse I sort of picked off of the top of my head, and I agree, it's a lot less likely that the Oracle would pick it. It's a bad example in some ways, as generally curses are not a very common threat. On the other, though, it's also a pretty good candidate for a spell that a Cleric is probably not going to have available on the spot when needed, (and that both should buy a few scrolls of), and it can be devastating to try to wait for the next day.

For instance, a Mummy is a CR 5 monster that I wouldn't consider too uncommon.

Mummy Rot (Su):
Curse and disease—slam; save Fort DC 16; onset 1 minute; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Con and 1d6 Cha; cure —. Mummy rot is both a curse and disease and can only be cured if the curse is first removed, at which point the disease can be magically removed. Even after the curse element of mummy rot is lifted, a creature suffering from it cannot recover naturally over time. Anyone casting a conjuration (healing) spell on the afflicted creature must succeed on a DC 20 caster level check, or the spell is wasted and the healing has no effect. Anyone who dies from mummy rot turns to dust and cannot be raised without a resurrection or greater magic. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Remove Disease:
School conjuration (healing)

I do not really disagree with you on them coming down to focus. I don't believe it's too difficult for an Oracle to remain a generalist to some degree and still be powerful/fun. (I'm more trying to focus on fun, as powerful can really depend on so many other factors). Similarly, Clerics can do just fine for being generic, but will feel significantly less interesting to play.

Oracles can fill more roles or functions easier than Clerics, I think, as well, especially with the more Skill Points and less need to spread those ability scores so thin.

Please keep in mind that I said I prefer Clerics to Oracles. I mostly just feel that Oracles have a better overall design, and the Cleric class could really use a good "unchaining" or something. :P

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