Oracles, Conceptually: High CHA For The Cursed?

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Like it says on the box, help me understand. Is it that whatever divine touch that overloads the poor oracle, giving her a debilitating curse, also marks her as holy, so people are drawn to her even if she jeebs them out?

With my historical and folkloric understanding of traditional western oracles, I’d imagine higher WIS than CHA, unless it’s the CHA that comes with intimidation (picturing the smoke and corpse filled caves of Delphi). I’d almost be inclined to swap their casting stats with clerics, who ostensibly have to preach their faith some of the time.

I think it’s the same reason as sorcerer. Force of will and such. Although the meta reason is that they wanted a spontaneous divine caster and spontaneous casters tend to use charisma.

Liberty's Edge

Most oracle curses don't "jeeb people" (if I get correctly what that means).

Lame curse? Do you find lame people unsettling?

Clouded vision? The best description of that I have seen in this forum is a Lunar oracle constantly seeing the moon and stars in her field of vision, becoming unable to see the space around her beyond 30'. You can do the same with most mysteries. Strange, yes, unsettling? Not.

Blackened? Yes, it can be unsettling, unless the cursed person keeps in hands wrapped in bandages.

Some curse is unsettling, but there is a large number of them that isn't. And even the unsettling ones will often attract some group of people.

Charisma is more a matter of personality and magnetism. Characters with a high CHA are not always liked, but they do tend to generate strong feelings one way or another. They tend be well liked or hated, very few people have undecided opinions of a high CHA character. They tend to attract attention to themselves, which could explain why they are chosen as oracles. Don’t forget you don’t decide to become an oracle, an oracle is chosen by the powers not the other way around.

Undead also use CHA for determining HP and a lot of other things. I don’t know anyone who considers undead to be cute and cuddly. The book says CHA is a measure of an undead unnatural lifeforce. Oracles are probably drawing on that same thing for their powers.

Clerics use Wisdom for legacy reasons. It would have made a lot of sense for them to use Charisma to preach, recruit worshippers and entreat their deity for aid, but that wasn't what Gygax had in mind.

And Oracles get Charisma casting because Clerics don't.

If you do houserule the Cleric and Oracle switching their spellcasting attributes, then remember to adjust how Channel Energy works for both Clerics and Life Oracles. The equation for channels per day is based on the assumption that Oracles have a higher Charisma than Clerics do. If this is now reversed, then that equation should also be reversed.

The same goes for any other Oracle mysteries which rely upon Charisma. Change them to Wisdom instead. Or give them the equivalent of a +4 Charisma boost when calculating values based on Charisma.

Cleric’s primary stat is wisdom because they are supposed to be a wise councilor. The primary purpose of the cleric is to guide their flock. Historically the bishop’s crosier is a symbol of their office and resembles a shepherd's crook. It was carried as a symbol of the bishop’s role as shepherd of his flock. CHA is a secondary stat for clerics because preaching is more of a secondary responsibility. More often their preaching is actually a form of teaching. In game terms teaching is a professional skill which is based on WIS, not CHA.

Clerics are often part of an organized social structure the church of their deity. Their position in the church will usually give them a certain amount of respect regardless of the personal appeal of the individual cleric. Oracles on the other hand are usually outside the organized church so they don’t get the benefit of being respected for their position. If anything, they are looked on with a certain amount of suspicion.

In game terms many of the important historical figures in the Judean/Christian religion would probably be oracles instead of clerics. Both John the Baptist and Moses are good examples of an oracle. Historically many of the figures that spread a religion resemble oracles more than they do clerics. Another class that is good a spreading a religion is the inquisitor. There are several inquisitions that allow an inquisitor to use WIS instead of CHA for social skills.

If you want to build a preacher, you are not going to be able to beat an inquisitor with the reformation inquisition. Being able to use WIS for the relevant social skills is a huge advantage. They also get perform oratory as a class skill, which neither the cleric nor oracle get and use WIS for that as well. At 4th level they can roll twice for diplomacy, intimidate and perform oratory and take the better of the two results. They can only do that a number of times per day equal to the WIS bonus, but it is more than any other class. Technically a cleric could take the reformation inquisition as a domain, but they only get 2 skill ranks per level and don’t get stern gaze, so would still not be as good as a preacher as the inquisitor.

Treating Clerics as inherently wise makes sense if they are the chosen guides of the one true religion, but in a game world where they can equally worship gods of drunkenness, revenge or murder, it becomes a bit of a stretch...

A priest of Rovagug typically spends their day hunting beings and things to kill and destroy, saving only that which can be utilized in creating greater destruction. The hierarchy is based solely on raw destructive might, and to rise in the hierarchy, another must be thrown down.

Wisdom is about willpower, common sense, awareness and intuition. It helps in making long term plans that achieve the objective you are looking for; this is valuable for any cleric regardless of the deity. A cleric of Rovagug who has a high wisdom will be able to recognize when something has greater potential to cause destruction and can cultivate that resource so that it causes more destruction. By saving a monster when it is young it can be allowed to grow more powerful and in the long run create more destruction than if it were used when it was younger and easier to kill off.

If you look up Cayden Cailean you will find that he does not support drinking to excess. It is considered to be abusing the gift of the god. Wisdom can also be very helpful in revenge and murder. Being able to anticipate how someone will react will increase your chance of actually gaining revenger or killing the person. Knowing your target has a way to heal themselves allows you to counter the healing and succeed in your plan. Ignoring your opponent’s strengths is going to mean you don’t succeed. Wisdom helps you recognize the abilities of your opponent.

Matthew Downie wrote:
Treating Clerics as inherently wise makes sense if they are the chosen guides of the one true religion, but in a game world where they can equally worship gods of drunkenness, revenge or murder, it becomes a bit of a stretch...

I don't think that is necessarily true. Wisdom does not inherently push one towards better moral or ethical choices in the Pathfinder universe. It is likely more of a better and deeper understanding of the inner workings of the divine realm, and your role within it. How that is manifest depends entirely on your ideology and goals. In Pathfinder, subjectivity is the rule for many things we might consider more objective in real life.

In the case of your reference to priests of Rovagug, who is to say that chaos and destruction is not the best (or wisest) path to follow? Everyone else? Since when does agreement on something make it objectively true? Either there are absolutes that are true even if no one believes in them, or there are no absolutes and all things are permitted. In that case, the Priest of Rovagug are quite wise indeed for pushing for an increase in chaos and destruction towards that end. Through strife comes change. Through suffering, enlightenment.

But, that is just my thoughts on the matter. Take it for what you will.

I’d say the wisdom is more about divining the intentions of an often unreachable god. Preaching doesn’t even matter to most gods. They don’t get perks for having followers. They’d rather have followers that already align with their own goals.

So Channel Energy is a mechanic utilizing Cha. This ability enables a PC to harness and redirect an amount of Positive or Negative energy to either heal or harm some creatures, or to fuel specialized functions. Also Cha represents the measure of "unnatural lifeforce" that fuels an Undead creature. What if Cha then is specifically tied to these primal forces of the universe?

What if a high Cha score means you have an above average reservoir of "lifeforce energy?" If Con is a measure of your body's health, Cha is a measure of your soul's. This in turn gives you a preternatural edge influencing the life energies of those around you; while Intimidate is a skill you train and practice in, a high Cha allows your soul to add that much more primal fear to your words and actions that your victim feels on a spiritual level.

This then would translate to Oracles. If a mundane human were "cleansed" with holy fire, their soul would likely not survive and the charring of their flesh would end their physical life as well. An Oracle however suffers a permanent blackening of their body but because their soul is made of sterner stuff the creature survives the ordeal and forms a bond to the divine energy that marked them.

But whatever, I just like to make oracles like I make my sorcerers; as comic book super heroes. The blinded curse? That's because when I was a kid I knocked an old man out of the way of a careening alchemist's cart and was splashed in the eyes by random chemicals. Since then my other senses have become heightened (Heightened Awareness spell) when I focus and I've developed other weird powers. I go around dressed all in red and throw my club at enemies. I also took a couple levels in monk...

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