The Oracle: Ancient Lorekeeper "May Choose" caveat: thoughts?


Rules Questions


I've been a bit wary picking this to design my latest Oracle: because of the wording I was never sure on some stuff...

I'm not sure if this is correct or not, as I know sometimes RAW/RAI can get pretty fuzzy due to things missed in word-limit, but I'm surprised no -one else seems to have queried it yet (unless I have missed that...):

Oracle Ancient Lorekeeper Archetype states the following:

rules wrote:

Elven Arcana (Ex)

At 2nd level, an ancient lorekeeper’s mastery of elven legends and philosophy has allowed her to master one spell used by elven wizards. She selects one spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list that is at least one level lower than the highest-level oracle spell she can cast. The ancient lorekeeper gains this as a bonus spell known. The spell is treated as one level higher than its true level for all purposes.
The ancient lorekeeper *may choose* an additional spell at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 18th levels.

This ability replaces the bonus spells she would normally gain at these levels from her chosen mystery."

(emphasis mine on bolded/italicized text)

The text from the rules above, seems to imply you only Must choose the cantrip (SL-1 spell) for your Level 2 bonus spell, and then you MAY sub in one of the SL-1 Sor/Wiz spells for an even level Mystery one if you so choose... (i.e. anything above the first bonus spell is optional...)

However, when I'm trying to design this in the Oracle Tab on "a certain electronic character sheet tool TM": when you choose this archetype, it states you MUST choose a spell for each bonus spell known above 2, and automatically wipes out any and all spells from your Mystery List.

I would have liked to have an Oracle be able to sub out only the spells they may choose to change (especially if you have the spell on the original mystery from another source - i.e. SLA - so you only wanted to "May Choose" bonus 2,6,12,16 for instance, and keep some of the original mystery spells); why would it give the option to choose a spell at each bonus level otherwise... or is this just poor semantics on RAW? They could have got one less word by saying "chooses" (or "selects" as before) if word-limit was a problem...

This is the only Oracle archetype I can see like this with "may choose". Usually on d20pfsrd you write an optional change like "(X)" {see Reincarnated Oracle Revelations where you have two revelations to select in three slots, and you choose which way round they go} so have they always got the interpretation wrong too?
I also know that if you had two other archetypes that didn't clash on level of bonus spells changed you could then select both... that's what "at these levels" is?

Now I'm not sure what would be the correct interpretation?

I am aware that this suddenly makes the AL archetype somewhat more powerful... I'm also aware that I probably won't get a ruling from the Powers That Be at this late a stage, and I know I can get house ruling from GM, but there should be support for PF1 players still, if we have enough material to run things for the next 10 years and want to design characters on electronic format for ease of play?


RAW: There is indeed a choice at higher spell levels while there isn't one for 1st spell level, which is so strange I can't believe it's intentional, but there you have it.

As far as d20pfsrd and "archetype compatibility" in general, while you "may" choose the original bonus spells at high level, the bonus spell "ability" at all levels has been modified, and thus is incompatible with any archetype "touching" that ability (bonus spell known). The player choosing the original bonus spell known and not the new Wizard spells doesn't alter the fact the "ability" was modified to grant broader choice, making it incompatible with other archetypes "touching" any of those bonus spells known. So the d20pfsrfd entry should have 'C' instead of 'X' but the difference doesn't have any impact. (the Reincarnated one is more complicated in that only 2/3 of revelations are 'touched', in fact there is no way for all 3 of them to be 'touched', so player can determine which 2 ones those are)


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This ability is not worded well.

If I may borrow your quote and reposition the bolding on it.

rules wrote:

Elven Arcana (Ex)

At 2nd level, an ancient lorekeeper’s mastery of elven legends and philosophy has allowed her to master one spell used by elven wizards. She selects one spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list that is at least one level lower than the highest-level oracle spell she can cast. The ancient lorekeeper gains this as a bonus spell known. The spell is treated as one level higher than its true level for all purposes.
The ancient lorekeeper *may choose* an additional spell at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 18th levels.

This ability replaces the bonus spells she would normally gain at these levels from her chosen mystery."

The ability (singular) Elven Arcana replaces your mystery's bonus spells at "these levels", with these levels previously defined as, in effect, all of them. So, strictly semantically, you have paid your mystery spells for a spell at 2nd level and the choice of more spells as you go. You can also waive that choice, kind of like buying some lunch and not eating it, but that doesn't entitle you to a refund. It's that or nothing at all.

Consider the Qinggong monk, which by design has the flexibility you want.

Ki Power wrote:
A qinggong monk can select a ki power (see below) for which she qualifies in place of the following monk class abilities: slow fall (4th), high jump (5th), wholeness of body (7th), diamond body (11th), abundant step (12th), diamond soul (13th), quivering palm (15th), timeless body (17th), tongue of the sun and moon (17th), empty body (19th), and perfect self (20th). This replaces the monk class ability the qinggong monk gives up for this ki power.

This is the sort of language Paizo seems to use when intending for this kind of flexible archetype. It's not the most fun answer, but honestly I think the Ancient Lorekeeper just had some loose phrasing.


Well it explains my wariness; if they'd stuck with the same wording as the initial "selects one spell from the..." i.e. "also selects" instead of "may choose", the intent would have been far more clear, (and for the same word-count). To clarify in the other direction needs more and different text I guess...

The thing with the Qinggong monk is definitely better phrased for each individual class ability...

Thanks :) I noticed this as I was messing about with different Oracle archetypes and was one of the "hmmm that's weird" list, and wanted to see if it really was possible or just strangely worded...

The Exchange

I've updated d20pfsrd.com to reflect C vs. X. If this is incorrect please let me know (pm or direct email jreyst@gmail.com)


You're welcome Doki-Chan. Also, huge shout-out to d20pfsrd.com, who try to keep a vast amount of content accurate, and provide things like archetype tables that don't exist in official form.

To build on the question's context, if you like the idea of an oracle with versatile bonus spells, might I suggest the Spirit Guide. It is a little dense mechanically, but in brief you give up half your revelations (at 3rd, 7th, and 15th levels) for a version of the shaman’s wandering spirit ability.

If you're not familiar with the shaman that's a bit of homework, but the beauty of "wandering spirit" is you can pick a different spirit each day from the full list, like a cleric preparing spells. There's no commitment beyond "You took this archetype", so you won't screw your build over by not reading all the spirits in advance, if you find a cool one you missed sleep on it and bam, pick that spirit in the morning.

Here's a list of spirits if you're interested. From level 4 onward you gain all the listed spells for your spirit of the day, up to the level you can cast, so basically the same rate that you gain mystery bonus spells. And precision of language, I didn't mean to say "would gain mystery bonus spells". You still get those too, the archetype doesn't replace them. It trades half your revelations like I said (and Extra Revelation is a feat), and you "lose" your mystery class skills for all knowledge skills instead. What a steep price.


Thanks A20: that's one of the other 2-3 Archetypes I was looking at, because I know I will have to pre-plan the spirit "set pieces" (due to all the extra accounting) in plenty of time by having separate sheets that I can sub in when I'm being guided by a particular one

And thanks d20pfsrd for looking in :)


Yeah, shout out to John and everybody helping run d20pfsrd, whose archetype matrix is unique and hugely convenient for many people. Certainly not an easy job considering variations in Paizo's wording/mechanics, but despite minor hiccups I think it is massively successful as a concept and resource to community.

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