Monday, September 12, 2011

Why can't I make an Oracle?

      I have been making characters for fantasy roleplaying games for over thirty years.  Given that, I would like to think that I have figured out what I am doing.  In all seriousness, I do tend to stay away from a couple of types of characters.
  • I don't like making the Fighter-type that wears heavy armor and moves slowly.  I don't care how much damage he can do or how hard he is to hit.  My home campaign thinking still screams that the guy marching about in gleaming plate mail armor is asking for trouble (or worse yet, alerts the baddies who can just flee without ever being seen).  Yes, during the big pitched battle heavy armor seems like a good idea.  Adventuring through the wilderness – climbing mountains, exploring caves and ruins, crossing rivers – makes heavy armor look stupid.  Having written that, I do have a character for PFS who wears the plate and moves slowly.  But he is surprisingly easy to hit and doesn't do that much damage, so I know I did something wrong with him.
  • I don't like making arcane spellcasters.  The obvious exception to this is the Rogue-type who uses a limited amount of magic to make the thieving just that much easier.  This is mostly a result of my desire to not have to master the entire catalog of available spells to ensure that I have at least good utility to the party.  Maybe the easier way to go this route (in Pathfinder) is to simply take ranks of Use Magic Device and keep the full levels of rogue-y goodness.  I did something different for PFS, building what ended up being a moderately effective Arcane Monk [Wizard (Transmuter) 9/Monk of the Four Winds 2].  She (the character) has nearly everything I want in a character.  She has a good AC (for an arcane spellcaster, between 28 and 32 for most combats), she has better than average saves (especially for a Wizard), she has Evasion (always a plus), and – in a pinch – she can even fight (a little...this was more impressive at low levels when she needed to punch and kick baddies because the Bard and Cleric in the party couldn't fight at all).
  • I don't like making heal-bot Clerics.  I know the mechanically sound reasons for them, but they seem so boring to play.  My sub-par Fighter-type mentioned above is also a Cleric-type character [Cleric 3/Paladin 2/Ranger 1/Holy Vindicator 2], and would be so much better as a well-rounded Cleric.  I like the Cleric class except for the few skills available (another holdover from home campaigns is the belief that skills should matter as much as combat prowess).
Daenaris – PC #1
     But  there is nothing in that list that should block the Oracle from being the kind of class I could get into.  There is so much versatility to the class that, depending on how one is constructed, it should be able to have great utility.  I look at the class and all I can figure out is how the Fire and Life Oracles work (and I've seen more than a few of them in play, so maybe I can't even figure them out; maybe I just know that they work).
Kiara – PC #2
     I tend to view the characters I create for an OP campaign as a party unto themselves when I think of roles.  PFS PC #1 (Ranger/Rogue) fulfills some melee needs and can find – and disable – traps.  PC #2 is the Arcane Monk who can buff the party, do some spell damage, can fight without spells, and has a lot of skills with good numbers.  PC #3 is an Archer (so ranged combat is covered).  PC #4 is the Holy Vindicator who can fight (sort of), heal (he is decent at this), and has some spellcasting.  PC #5 is a Synthesist or as I tend to view her,  a not-quite Monk/not-quite Druid whose combat abilities will look less impressive in a few levels.
Bellarius D'Nassi – PC #4
     I want to make a character that would be of a type that would compliment this group (even if it means just doing what the Holy Vindicator is supposed to do, but better – except when it comes to Saves).  Sure, I could make a Bard, and maybe if I didn't want to new character to be Tian I would.  But I like how some of the oracle features can fit into my (poorly informed, no doubt) concept as to how an Asian Mystic type character could be made to fit into the setting of Golarion.  At the same time, I really want a character that – storywise – fits in with a good friend's ninja.  They don't have to work for the same faction (I haven't settled on what may be appropriate for this would-be character), but I do want them to share a home region.
     I have even flirted with the idea of making him a small – a gnome – because there is something about the general concept that keeps me from viewing the character as being the comic relief.  Unfortunately, there are not a lot of images out there of Asian Mystic gnomes to help me envision the character.  And, being such a poor artist, the best kind of gnome I can draw looks like this:
Sad little doesn't look like a gnome, with no cool Tian outfit or sword.
     So I am putting out the call for help.  Anyone willing to give advice on how to make a combat capable Oracle – or even go so far as to stat out a build – I would be very appreciative.  I don't need anything even close to cracked out, I just don't want to hurt the party with a character concept like this.  I was thinking of clouded vision and the Metal mystery, but maybe there are much better options.

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