Speculation about the Oracle


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From Monday's blog:

"Unsurprisingly, when we surveyed the player base about what classes see the most play, the alchemist rose right to the top (along with the oracle, but more on that in a later preview)."

Since the oracle is not one of the core classes in the upcoming playtest, what do you all think will be said about that class in a future preview? Will it be a cleric archetype, a sorcerer archetype, or something else completely?

(In my best Jessica Chobot voice) Let's discuss!


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I am ride or die on "the oracle should be a class unto itself rather than an archetype of something else". PF1's oracle had some of the coolest flavor out of all the classes, so even if the cleric and co. are going to encroach on the oracle's mechanics, I would prefer to preserve the concept of the oracle and give it different mechanics.

Best outcome would be "they decided to put the oracle in the CRB" but I would much rather wait, years if need be, for a PF2 version than have it be an archetype. I believe Clerics becoming an Oracle Archetype would make much more sense than the other way around.

If the Oracle were made an archetype, this would be the first PF2 decision I find genuinely baffling and disappointing.

Silver Crusade

I would need to go back and listen to the Erik + Logan Know Direction interview to be sure, but if I recall correctly:

(1) they talked about wanting to be careful about turning popular classes into archetypes (no promise not to do it, but indicating that they'd hesitate) (this should be around 24:00 ff.?);

(2) they commented that the Oracle and the Witch were very very popular in PF1 and almost made the cut for the Playtest book (as the Alchemist Blog reiterates for the Oracle!).

Add in the thought (related to #1) that it's always easier to add something new than take something away ... And we have at least the possibility that the Oracle will be added to the Playtest as a Core class. That's my best guess, putting everything together.

Scarab Sages

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My guess:

The Sorcerer is going to have an Arcane (PF1 Sorcerer) and Divine (PF1 Oracle) option.


With the way that all classes are going to be getting Class Feats, I'm mostly sad to see things like Mysteries(/Spirits) and Bloodlines go the way of the dinosaur.... I'm sure there will be the same old options in there as feats, BUT they're not going to be grouped into thematic packages, and you'll probably have to Flavor them yourself for the kind of Sorcerer/Oracle/Shaman you wanna be. That to me is losing a lot of the flavor of these classes.

Scarab Sages

Dracala wrote:
With the way that all classes are going to be getting Class Feats, I'm mostly sad to see things like Mysteries(/Spirits) and Bloodlines go the way of the dinosaur.... I'm sure there will be the same old options in there as feats, BUT they're not going to be grouped into thematic packages, and you'll probably have to Flavor them yourself for the kind of Sorcerer/Oracle/Shaman you wanna be. That to me is losing a lot of the flavor of these classes.

I'm not so sure about that. Because based on the Alchemist preview blog, the Alchemist gets things that aren't feat based. (the elixir thing).

We have yet to see how spellcasting works, but I'd wager that there will be sorcerer options that are thematic packages that are not dependent 100% on feats.


Tallow wrote:

My guess:

The Sorcerer is going to have an Arcane (PF1 Sorcerer) and Divine (PF1 Oracle) option.

I just don't see any reason why the oracle (among the most beloved of base classes in PF1) would be the first class to be rolled into another class. Like, you could make that decision eventually but "before the playtest, let's axe a bunch of people's favorite divine caster" seems like a baffling decision.

Like a Swashbuckler should become a kind of Fighter, an Arcanist should become a kind of Wizard, the Cavalier should become a kind of Fighter, a Bloodrager should become a kind of Barbarian, or an Investigator should become a kind of Rogue well before the Oracle gets made into any kind of anything else.

One could make a strong case for all of the hybrid classes getting the axe (and some of the occult ones) but all the base classes (except possibly the Vigilante, which could become a universal archetype) should be ported to PF2, even as much as I loathe the summoner.


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Mysteries seem to be more in line with the new game philosophy than bloodlines or domains would be, as mysteries give you further choices as you level, unlike the other two. I could easily see them setting things up so that crossing over to a different mystery or other theme than what you started out with is slightly less efficient than taking every revelation, feat, power, or whatever that you can from your original selection.


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“Unsurprisingly, when we surveyed the player base about what classes see the most play, the alchemist rose right to the top (along with the oracle, but more on that in a later preview).“

More on that, not more on the Oracle. I suspect it’ll be talk about the decision or on future classes.


If nothing else it seems reasonable for Paizo to investigate-

- Why was the Oracle more popular than the Cleric
- How much of this was because of the Oracle's mechanical advantages over the Cleric, which might inspire ways to change the Cleric, and how much of this was because of the Oracle's flavor and conceptual differences from the Cleric, which should remain the province of the Oracle exclusively.

Like the one thing we shouldn't do is change the concept of classes. Change the mechanics all you want, but strong concepts can be reproduced with a number of different mechanics.


My best guess/hope
PF2 Advanced class guide will be published about a year after the CRB, and they are already thinking about the second tranche of characters in parallel with the initial playtest to ensure that the mechanics for those characters work.

That's how I'd do it - I wouldn't necessarily have a set of witch hexes, oracle mysteries, cavalier challenges or whatever ready to playtest, but I would be thinking 'how do I incorporate mysteries in the new character design, and what do I leave out of the CRB because I want to make it an Oracle thing?"

Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

If nothing else it seems reasonable for Paizo to investigate-

- Why was the Oracle more popular than the Cleric
- How much of this was because of the Oracle's mechanical advantages over the Cleric, which might inspire ways to change the Cleric, and how much of this was because of the Oracle's flavor and conceptual differences from the Cleric, which should remain the province of the Oracle exclusively.

Like the one thing we shouldn't do is change the concept of classes. Change the mechanics all you want, but strong concepts can be reproduced with a number of different mechanics.

I reread the blog since I've been seeing this all over, and realize the blog is pretty misleading in one regard: alchemist and oracle were the most popular non-core classes. I don't have the data in front of me, but I recall it was something like most of the core classes were significantly more popular (the cleric was among the top of all classes, period), then there was a series of drop-offs where the last few core classes, alchemist, and oracle lived, then another drop-off.


I said this in the Alchemist blog post, but if (and this is a pretty big "if") the Oracle is a part of the core rulebook and it's rolled in with the Cleric, I'd imagine it'd only be because the Sorcerer is being rolled in with the Wizard in the same way, since they both share the same spell list.

It'd be pretty similar to how the Sorcerer was treated in 3.5 with it just being tied together with the Wizard. Granted, both the Wiz and Sorc in 3.5 had little to no class features to speak of, but what with the advent of class feats it's a solid work around.

Silver Crusade

Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

If nothing else it seems reasonable for Paizo to investigate-

- Why was the Oracle more popular than the Cleric
- How much of this was because of the Oracle's mechanical advantages over the Cleric, which might inspire ways to change the Cleric, and how much of this was because of the Oracle's flavor and conceptual differences from the Cleric, which should remain the province of the Oracle exclusively.

Like the one thing we shouldn't do is change the concept of classes. Change the mechanics all you want, but strong concepts can be reproduced with a number of different mechanics.

I reread the blog since I've been seeing this all over, and realize the blog is pretty misleading in one regard: alchemist and oracle were the most popular non-core classes. I don't have the data in front of me, but I recall it was something like most of the core classes were significantly more popular (the cleric was among the top of all classes, period), then there was a series of drop-offs where the last few core classes, alchemist, and oracle lived, then another drop-off.

Interesting. Thanks!


My guess: Cleric design is more like oracle, where domains have a list of powers as class feats with domains restrictions. Possibly a spontaneous caster, or with spontaneous casting akin to shaman (where they know and can cast a few domain spells as well as preparing most spells).

Sorcerer bloodlines will be more oracular, thematic groups with modular choices, spells known coming in at the level the spell is obtained.

Oracle will be a new class somewhere down the line that introduces the curse, and focuses more on the curses/mysteries than spellcasting. Or cursed will be an archetype for a broad number of classes that let's you select a curse and a series of benefits based on the penalties you acquire.

Don't have any particular reason for this, it is all just a hunch.


It just seems like far and away the most sensible thing for Paizo to do is:
- figure out what classes are going in the playtest/CRB
- punt on making decisions about all the other classes, deciding to cross that bridge later.

If they do eventually decide class X should go away, become an archetype, or whatever... that decision can wait until a later book.


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I would really Love to see the numbers on that Mark cuz to me, the Cleric was one of the most Boring 1E classes, all it had was a couple of domain powers, Channeling, and Spells, it didn't even have a capstone.


Dracala wrote:
I would really Love to see the numbers on that Mark cuz to me, the Cleric was one of the most Boring 1E classes, all it had was a couple of domain powers, Channeling, and Spells, it didn't even have a capstone.

I figure all the core classes are the most popular since the core rulebook is the one book everybody has. Plus some people ran "core only" games but nobody ran "no Core whatoever" games (But, hey that's an idea for a sendoff to PF1!).


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I love the Oracle and would be bummed to see it be a simple archetype. I think it has maybe the best flavor of any class. Buuuut... A spontaneous caster using the cleric list suffers a little from the reactive nature of said list. In particular, an oracle does a really poor job of being able to stand in for a cleric as a condition removal service. At least without using a specific magic item and/or a crap ton of scrolls. Don't get me wrong, oracles can still be hella powerful, and don't inherently need a boost in comparison to most classes. It just bothers me that a party will usually suffer at some point for having an oracle instead of a cleric.

That maybe says more about the cleric being too good though. I am not sure any class feels as universally needed as the cleric does. In PF1 you can substitute any of the other 3 iconic party classes (fighter, rogue, wizard) with a whole parade of other options and be just peachy. Not so with the cleric. Which is kind of a shame, because the cleric as is lacks much root in popular culture, has a lack of interesting class features, and runs counter-intuitive to newbies since healing isn't usually an efficient role in combat.

I think this is an opportunity to reexamine how both the cleric and the oracle work in relation to each other and the party dynamic as a whole. We know clerics are going to get more class features that they can trade out for archetypes. We aren't entirely sure how resonance will impact the utility of a dedicated healer. I'm not sure if rolling the oracle into the cleric is the answer or if it means somehow narrowing the gap between flavor and function for the two classes while making them still feel distinct.

Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Dracala wrote:
I would really Love to see the numbers on that Mark cuz to me, the Cleric was one of the most Boring 1E classes, all it had was a couple of domain powers, Channeling, and Spells, it didn't even have a capstone.
I figure all the core classes are the most popular since the core rulebook is the one book everybody has. Plus some people ran "core only" games but nobody ran "no Core whatoever" games (But, hey that's an idea for a sendoff to PF1!).

Alchemist didn't even lose out to all of the core classes, either, which is pretty impressive. But cleric, fighter, and rogue were in their own league (if you only count single-classed characters, wizards, fighters, and rogues were in their own league and clerics were in another, higher league of their own).

Liberty's Edge

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Sorcerer/oracle as a single class based on Cha-based, spontaneous casting derived from a somewhat mysterious link to a nondescript magical origin makes a lot of sense to me. Bloodline or mystery is more a matter of set dressing than anything else.


If you gave a sorcerer a curse, what would they even get out of it?
If oracles where rolled into a sorcerer archetype, would they get support in later releases?
Could a witch curse oracles to establish a magical pyramid scheme for their patron?


I would rather see Sorcerers as an Archetype of Oracle (the thing which granted you access to fundamental universal forces is in your genes/blood) rather than the other way around. Makes much more sense to me.

Since the thing about oracles is that they somehow received direct access to fundamental forces and deep truths (and it kinda messed them up) whereas the thing about sorcerers is that they have special blood. An archetype of sorcerer with perfectly ordinary blood doesn't really make sense.


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I doubt they're going to make the Oracle an archetype, as it has too much great flavor to not be a class of its own. I honestly think that the bit in the blog was just referencing their eventual reveal of oracles, but possibly of clerics if they were influenced by them.

I DO think that the design of the cleric should draw some inspiration from the Oracle in that the 1e cleric is pretty bland, mechanically speaking. I don't think clerics should steal from oracles, exactly, but they definitely need something to spice them up beyond domains.


If they do what I hope they're going to do with sorcerers and give them Kineticist style non-casting based on their bloodline rather than almost but not quite wizards it would be a lot harder to archetype that into an Oracle. Though thinking through the implications of that it could be a very interesting version of the class.

Literally channeling some basic force of the universe should really feel different than spell casting.


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As far as the sorcerer goes, I'm still hoping they end up an independent spellcaster whose spell list is based on their bloodline. So dragon bloodline would get Arcane casting, celestial bloodline would get Divine casting, fey bloodline would get Nature casting, aberrant bloodline would get Psychic spellcasting, and so on.

If they are ALSO merged with the kineticist so much the better. But I honestly don't think they're going to put any version of kineticist in the CRB, as cool as that'd be. Instead we're more likely to get bloodline abilities that feel more iconic to the creature type in question, with hopefully less limitations and less pre-emptive nerfing than PF1. I think they could use and build on a more flexible version of the 3.x Dragon Shaman as the chassis for this, fleshed out with a spectrum of attack, defense and miscellaneous abilities flavored to the bloodline. This means less bloodlines in the CRB because of the space required to realize each one, but that's fine; more can come in the APG.

- - - - - -

Now as to the Oracle vs the Cleric... Hm. I want the cleric's Domains to basically be just like the Mysteries of the Oracle, being broader things with associated skills, and abilities you can actually select from as you level up. This does step a lot on the oracle's mechanical side, though... But not the oracle's flavor. Which can be manifested in a different kind of way.

Oracles in PF1 do not feel very... Oracular. An oracle, from the very name and the historical and mythological connotations attached to it, should be someone who mediates with the spirit world and sees into the future and manipulates fate. Oracles of legend, like the famous Oracle of Delphi, were said to enter trance where the gods and spirits spoke through them.

Basically, I think the Oracle should completely absorb the Medium, but as a Divine caster instead of a Psychic one. Replace the psychic flavor text with divine flavor text, and save the seance fluff for the eventual reappearance of the Spiritualist; the oracle Exalts instead, and it is centered on him or her instead of being a thing the party shares in like a seance.

Instead of being flavored after the six Mythic Handbook archetypes, the spirits are linked to the oracular Mysteries. An oracle chooses one or two of the Mysteries as his or her primary path(s), and is stronger within them due to the path abilities gained as they level, but can still channel other divine forces. They are, after all, not a cleric - their divine power comes from elsewhere, they are not constrained to a single deity.

This would be a pretty significant mechanical rework. But I feel it preserves a lot of the oracle's flavor while enriching it with the feel of oracles and similar characters from real world myth. And it opens the route for the cleric's domains to be made much more significant and flavorful by inheriting the chassis of the old oracle class's mysteries.

Silver Crusade

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Small bit of news from the Know Direction livestream that's happening right now. Jason says flat out: "The Oracle is not in the playtest rulebook."

He also says, when asked about the teaser in the blog, "I'll have to go ask Stephen what he meant by that. I have no idea what he was talking about."

And adds: "But there are some very interesting implications [for the Oracle] that will play out" from what's forthcoming


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So my guess now is that some design decision for another class (most likely the cleric) was made in such a way as to leave design space open for the oracle in a future book.


Personally, I would love to see Divine Magic get the overhaul and cast like an arcanist, but maybe I'm crazy.


^Even if you're crazy, it doesn't mean you're wrong. I'd certainly be up for a divine Arcanist-style caster (before the news of Pathfinder 2nd Edition came out, I was rooting for a d6, 1/2 BAB, 9/9 divine Arcanist-style caster).


My prediction: It will be an archetype of Sorcerer. If you assume that the Sorcerer will be built with a ton of "pick from the menu" bumps along the way (as seems to be the case) then this seems a safe guess to me.
Just have a L1 archetype that says "instead of picking from the Wizard list, pick from the Cleric list, oh, and here are a few other tweaks (curse, for example)".
I suspect that one being an archetype of the other would be a fairly minor distinction.
Making two classes would just waste space.

EDIT
Seeing Joe's post suggests that I'm wrong... So be it.

Dark Archive

Albatoonoe wrote:
Personally, I would love to see Divine Magic get the overhaul and cast like an arcanist, but maybe I'm crazy.

I would not mind seeing a divine class that cast like the Arcanist but I do not think that all divine should be moved to that system. That would then limit the design space for all divine caster classes.


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The archetypes that come with the play-test are going to be broad rather than focused. So there was never a chance for the Oracle just to become an archetype for the Cleric with the first release. Now an archetype for everyone... that's a loaded question.

I already aired my... worries about the Archetypes potentially following a "Replace X numbers of Class Feats at Y level with Z power" structure. While on one hand that would be a lot better than the Starfinder Archetypes since the Class Feats are designed to be choices that are optional for the class to begin with and therefore won't gimp a class, it still feels... shallow compared to when you get get down into what are now considered Class Talents and fiddle with the soul of the class just a bit.

But then I looked at certain class features like the Oracle's Curse and wondered if maybe something like that would be more fun if applied to any class you wanted. Clouded Vision Rogues, Deaf Wizards, Haunted Alchemists, or Lame Fighters... the various combinations you could make would be interesting. And of course we won't know how close such a archetype could come to recreating the Oracle itself until until we see the spell casting classes. ( I have a similar idea with the Cavelear Orders, if only because it makes a certain amount of sense for such orders to have all manner of warriors like Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Rogue, or Gunslinger who are willing to uphold their code. )

And if any of those ideas end up being prophecy and in turn make you angry... well this not a new release we're counting down to but a playtest. Testing something out, seeing if it works, and speaking up if it doesn't is the entire point. Change can still happen.

At the very least thinking this over makes me see how the archetype system (as I see it most likely taking shape based on the modular nature of the classes) could actually be a deep ocean rather than a shallow pool. So thank you for that.


Wouldn't clouded vision rogues, deaf wizards, haunted alchemists, etc. be something that could be done with a VMC system? Like I hope it's not the only multiclassing, but I *really* hope PF2 has a robust VMC system.


^The current VMC Oracle does that, although in most cases you will really suffer for choosing that option (Pathfinder Unchained VMC was a great idea, but the implementation was really uneven).


I do kinda hope you can just get Oracle's curses as any class, they seem like they could be very interesting.


David knott 242 wrote:

So my guess now is that some design decision for another class (most likely the cleric) was made in such a way as to leave design space open for the oracle in a future book.

This is what I initially assumed. Golarion is going to be hard-baked into the rules, where clerics are assumed to specifically followers of specific gods. Oracles were always sort of casters who didn't NEED a god, so subbed in for basically divine casters not affiliated with a deity, whether that be a cult leader or some sort of follower of a philosophy. So, with that context, it never really made sense that suddenly they would get rid of it.

NOW...I think what is going to happen is that there will be some change to the Cleric that might necessitate different changes to the oracle. Could be changes in the casting mechanic or how domains work for instance. If the Cleric steals some oracle stuff, then oracles might change to be further differentiated, maybe by double down on curses or something else.


Wild guess: Oracle concepts and flavor are injected into the Cleric. Oracle archetype is a slightly more historically oracle-like variant of the new improved Cleric.


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Clerics should absolutely have to follow a deity.... the whole 'cleric of a philosophy' was very flaky!

With all this speculation, it just goes to show how the general complete terribleness of the original cleric design has caused problems years down the road.

The design space for the Oracle when it appears will clearly have to be shifted.

What I find absolutely bewildering from Mark's comments is the reported popularity of the cleric in PF1 ?!? How on earth can a class so devoid of features and general personality be so popular to play?

AD&D 2nd Ed had the right idea.... priests of any god could be of a low/med/high combat ability and their spell access was adjusted accordingly.

Paizo's stubborn insistence on the basic concept of cleric = gish only creates problems... unless of course they aim to get round this via archetype. Keeping it gish only clogs things up with all the other gish classes.


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doc roc wrote:


What I find absolutely bewildering from Mark's comments is the reported popularity of the cleric in PF1 ?!? How on earth can a class so devoid of features and general personality be so popular to play?

There's a huge difference between "I chose this class because I wanted to" and "I was forced to play this class by the other people at my table, because they called shotgun first and insisted we needed this role in the party."

Both still result in large numbers of clerics. It definitely doesn't speak to how much people actually like /being one/.


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doc roc wrote:
What I find absolutely bewildering from Mark's comments is the reported popularity of the cleric in PF1 ?!? How on earth can a class so devoid of features and general personality be so popular to play?

I guess it's the "we need a healer" phenomenon.

Dark Archive

Friendly Rogue wrote:
I said this in the Alchemist blog post, but if (and this is a pretty big "if") the Oracle is a part of the core rulebook and it's rolled in with the Cleric, I'd imagine it'd only be because the Sorcerer is being rolled in with the Wizard in the same way, since they both share the same spell list.

It would certainly be an option to just have all spellcasting classes have spontaneous and prepared options. I'd love to see prepared caster Bards or spontaneous caster Druids or Rangers or Witches, for instance.

The Exchange

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The cleric is a great class. It just doesn't have modular bits to trade out easily.

Diety,Domains/sub domains (domain spells),spell choice gave lots of choices and flavors in how you play it.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
doc roc wrote:
What I find absolutely bewildering from Mark's comments is the reported popularity of the cleric in PF1 ?!? How on earth can a class so devoid of features and general personality be so popular to play?
I guess it's the "we need a healer" phenomenon.

Or maybe there are people who enjoy playing support. Also class features are nice but they are not the end all be all in a class. And between Cleric and Oracle there are circumstances or concepts where prepared suits better than spontaneous.

Liberty's Edge

Cleric and oracle are among my favorite classes


I think clerics are fun...

But oracles should definitely be their own thing. To me their flavor isn't even that related, they just are both divine full spellcasters. The relationship between sorcerers and wizards is much closer in my opinion.


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I like clerics...playing a worshipper of a fictional deity can make for some fun roleplaying.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
As far as the sorcerer goes, I'm still hoping they end up an independent spellcaster whose spell list is based on their bloodline. So dragon bloodline would get Arcane casting, celestial bloodline would get Divine casting, fey bloodline would get Nature casting, aberrant bloodline would get Psychic spellcasting, and so on.

This would make me really happy, it would give us all of these options straight out of the core book and we could add new class feats in later volumes that expand upon what we would want from the individual classes that are all essentially on the same chassis anyway.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
edduardco wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
doc roc wrote:
What I find absolutely bewildering from Mark's comments is the reported popularity of the cleric in PF1 ?!? How on earth can a class so devoid of features and general personality be so popular to play?
I guess it's the "we need a healer" phenomenon.
Or maybe there are people who enjoy playing support. Also class features are nice but they are not the end all be all in a class. And between Cleric and Oracle there are circumstances or concepts where prepared suits better than spontaneous.

Clerics are also pretty great for power gamers. They are a Tier 1 class after all. And dieties can offer some really cool role play fodder.

But the cleric is IMO the hardest class to replace, and the one whose absence is most noticeable. If the sorcerer doesn't know black tentacles, it only matters for that fight. If the oracle doesn't know Remove Blindness, you're probably gonna be feeling it for a while.

Grand Lodge

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“I am sooo mad about the 2E Oracle. Grrrr”

“Um, you know that haven’t told us anything about it yet?”

“I don’t care. I hate what they’ve done. Grrrr”

“Chuckle”

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