Oracle Curses - Thoughts and Options: from always on; what advances them; to multi-class dedication implications

Oracle Playtest

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ok, due to real life constraints, we didn't get past character creation on our intended playtest adventure. However, there was a lot of interesting aspects of the classes as presented. I enjoyed reading some of the forum posts, and they brought up several interesting points.

I wanted to go ahead and point out a few ideas I thought were worth sharing that working on the playtest had got me thinking about.

Always-on curses were absolutely a thing that were talked about here, and of course, as pointed out had been the standard in first edition. I can't help but ask the question, what if oracles had a Path choice. One path, the curse would begin the day as always on, but in response they would receive the choice of a set of a mystery agnostic second revelation spell, or potentially have two initial revelation spells for each mystery. If you begin the day without a curse, you choose one of them, if you begin cursed, you start with both. That way you could have a cursed oracle and a burdened oracle. The cursed oracle started with the minor curse, the burdened one gets there once they utilize certain of their abilities for the day.

One of the things that made me think of the potential of a second revelation spell was the fact that some had mentioned that some players were having to simply burn a revelation spell to progress their curse, as the spell they had wasn't always that useful early in the day. This made me think, what if any time you cast a divine spell that used a slot, an oracle would have the 'option' to advance their curse. (revelation spells would always advance, but this is an optional advancement) It might just be a simple option with no benefit beyond if you want to get closer to your more advanced curse, or there might be some 'perk' to engaging your curse, perhaps upping the DC of the cast spell by 1, or counts as a level higher for counteract purposes, as they Mystery power surges to power the spell. I'm torn on if cantrips should be able to progress your curse or not.

I personally like the way the curse mechanic turns the focus point system around a little bit. I see it as a little more complicated, but Oracle is being added to an Advanced Players guide, so I think that is fine.

Multi-classing, I have to say at first I was worried about how things would be handled with a Oracle multi-classing into something else that would have focus spells. But after I saw, and thought about how a Oracle multi-classed into a monk could channel their mystery powers to do martial powers, to power up their attacks, I loved the potential concept. In the end, I like Oracle changing how Focus powers work for that character.

What becomes problematic was as I began to consider multi-classing into Oracle. I don't think I believe it makes sense for the Multi-class dedication for an Oracle to have the ability to fundamentally change the way focus points work for their character's original core class. But if you take the curse away, what would make being a multi-class Oracle different from a Divine Sorcerer, other than potentially some different focus spells available to them? Since the curse is such a core part of the class flavor, leaving it out completely seems a bit wrong. Could casting your cantrip you learn from multi-classing as oracle more than once in 10 minutes potentially advance you to your minor curse, if you aren't already at it?

What comes to mind as a solution is to have people taking a multi-class Oracle dedication have normal character's rules for Focus points/Focus spells. Oracles would have the addition of the curse mechanic affecting them any time they cast a Revelation spell. With this, in addition to costing a Focus point to cast the revelation spell, they would advance their curse track one step, like the normal oracle. They would have access to the Refocus activity for both recovering focus points, and to reduce the curse down to minor. However, they would have a new option for the Refocus activity, as long as they have a focus point to spend, to completely mitigate the minor level of their curse back to nothing with a 10 minute refocus activity. (That means after casting your last focus point, you'd have to recover a focus point with a 10 minute activity, after which you could remedy your minor curse effect after another 10 minute activity) This would leave a multi-class oracle, who has spent a couple class feats multi-classing into it would be able to access some of the basic flavor of the oracle, including the Moderate Curse effects, but since not central to their class, leaving them the ability to mitigate it completely with time. I'm just not sure if that flavor would be too slow for normal multi-class archetype progressions or not, to feel worthwhile.

Perhaps, as part of the Flavor, if your multi-class oracle casts one of their cantrips they learned through their dedication, more than once per 10 minutes, it manifests their minor curse until they refocus. That could introduce a potential situation where the curse flavor can be felt, even with only the first multi-class dedication feat being introduced. With that in mind, perhaps this could be generalized, and apply also to full Oracle classed individuals, and have casting several cantrips within a given time from either 1 minute or 10 minutes, for instance would advance them to their minor curse.

Anyway, I think they way the Curses are tied to the Mysteries make them more flavorful. I'll admit, the loss of options to mix and match curse and mysteries was a loss. I can tell that the intent is to make the oracles more balanced, while at the same time as flavorful, by integrating the choices together. It will make converting some past character really complicated [require concept change, or homebrew] for many, but from a new game standpoint, may well be the better long term choice.

I look forward to seeing what the new Oracle Iconic's story will be, but I hope to also see an example of how our retiring Oracle Iconic would be presented in second edition.

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