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Pathfinder - Oracle Archetypes Breakdown

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Archetypes

Oracle Archetypes often supplement or partially replace the abilities and spells provided by Oracle Mysteries, which can be a great way to cherry-pick the abilities you want from Mysteries which might have several bad options.

Dual-Cursed Oracle

Dual-Cursed Oracle takes a second curse (without the benefits), gives up bonus class skills, and trades in three Mystery bonus spells for two extra Revelations and access to two extremely powerful revelations which allow you to make and force rerolls. The penalties can be fairly gentle if you plan for them, and the new Revelations are absolutely amazing.

Oracle's Curse: Taking another curse hurts, but a couple of the curses are fairly gentle.

Class Skills: None? Really? This hurts, but if you're going to dump intelligence it probably doesn't matter.

Bonus Spells: None of the spell options are hugely powerful, but they're not completely terrible either.

  1. ill omen: It's really hard to time this spell. Forcing enemies to reroll might make them more likely to fail a crucial saving throw, or they might just burn the reroll on an attack. There is no saving throw, which is fantastic for really tough enemies, but be sure not to use this on targets with Spellcraft.
  2. oracle's burden: Because you have two curses, this is twice as versatile as it is for most Oracles. Of course, it's also much more useful if your curse is one of the more debilitating options.
  3. bestow curse: Fantastic debuff.

Revelations: Two additional revelations, and the two new revelations made available are absolutely incredible.

Replaced Features: mystery class skills, mystery spells (2nd, 4th, 6th)

Compatible Archetypes: None

Enlightened Philosopher

Enlightened Philosopher resembles the Lore Mystery in many ways. Because this archetype depends on both Intelligence and Charisma, I would never use this for combat caster Oracle. However, for a straight caster Oracle it allows you to be the party's Librarian in addition to the capabilities provided by the Oracle's spells.

Alignment: Not a problem in most parties.

Class Skills: ALL knowledge skills. Linguistics can be mostly replaced with the Tongues spell, but opening up knowledge skills allows you to serve as your party's Librarian.

Bonus Spells: Enlightened Philosopher replaces every bonus spell except the one you gain at 2nd level. If your Mystery's spell list is bad, this may be a good choice.

  1. owl's wisdom: The best you can really get from Owl's Wisdom is a +2 to Will saves.
  2. water walk: Situational.
  3. discern lies: Situational.
  4. true seeing: A bit expensive to cast, but extremely powerful.
  5. wind walk: Great long distance travel spell.
  6. ethereal jaunt: Great as an infiltration or escape mechanism.
  7. moment of prescience: Fantastic and very versatile.
  8. astral projection: Excellent way to "safely" travel to other planes.

Revelations: Mental Acuity is fantastic. Enlightened Philosopher gives you access to all knowledge skills, so this gets you extra skill ranks to fill out your skills and a bigger intelligence bonus to all of them.

Final Revelation: Charisma is a dump stat, so you're not likely to get anything added to your saves, but the list of immunities is nice. You can take 20 on all knowledge checks, which means at this point that you basically know everything, and you get a nice list of immunities. Being reincarnated is super cool, but probably won't come up within the scope of the campaign.

Replaced Features: Mystery class skills, Mystery spells (4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th), Revelation (7th), Final Revelation

Compatible Archetypes: None

Planar Oracle

The Planar Oracle is a logical complement to the elemental Mysteries, but not a very good one.

Bonus Spells: Most of the spells are situational, and they are all on the Cleric/Oracle spell list already.

  1. endure elements: Very situational.
  2. elemental speech: Very situational, and it becomes obsolete two levels later.
  3. tongues: Excellent for communicating with whatever weird creatures you meat in your travels.
  4. planar adaptation: Situational, but required if you want to go to other planes with crazy climates like the plane of fire.
  5. plane shift: Situational.
  6. mass planar adaptation: See Planar Adaptation.
  7. shadow walk: Excellent movement option, and not on the Cleric/Oracle spell list.
  8. etherealness: Excellent for infiltration or escape.
  9. gate: A potent combination of summoning and transportation.

Revelations: Planar resistance is okay, but not as good as the elemental resistance Revelations available to the elemental Mysteries.

  1. Planar Resistance (Su): Energy resistance is nice, but this isn't a lot, and it doesn't scale well. Energy Resistance can totally replace this Revelation. You don't get immunity at level 17 like the elemental Mysteries' revelations give you, but you get it at level 20 with Planar Oracle's Final Revelation.
  2. .

Final Revelation: Being an outsider is nice because it makes you immune to effects which target humanoids, but at 20th level enemies have plenty of options which don't care if you're a humanoid. Immunity to your element is also nice, but you get it 3 levels after the elemental Mysteries.

Replaced Features: Mystery Spells, Revelations (3rd), Final Revelation

Compatible Archetypes: Warsighted

Possessed Oracle

Possessed is a reasonably good archetype. The abilities and effects are vaguely related to being possessed, but not in the "I'm a vesel for an otherwordly being" way. More of the "slightly spooky shit happens around me and I find it just as unsettling as you do" sort of way. If your Mystery has a bad spell list, Possessed replaces most of it with some decent options, but otherwise leaves the Mystery in place.

Oracle's Curse: Haunted and Tongues are two of the least harmful curses, but it's still annoying to need to take two curses.

Bonus Spells: Some very good options, some very bad ones.

  1. ventriloquism: Very situational, and easily replaced by Ghost Sound. Not on the Cleric/Oracle spell list. Normally you don't get the first bonus spell until 2nd level, so I assume that this is a typo.
  2. spider climb: Somewhat situational, but you can bring this into play very easily, and it's not on the Cleric/Oracle spell list.
  3. screech: Nice way to get your allies some free attacks, but the range is small and it still allow a will save before your allies have to roll to hit. If you have someone in your party with Combat Reflexes in reach of multiple enemies, this can be great for them. Not on the Cleric/Oracle spell list.
  4. sleepwalk: Very situational.
  5. telekinesis: Fantastically useful. Not on the Cleric/Oracle spell list.
  6. animate objects: Excellent way to get some temporary minions without summoning, and it scales with level by allowing you to animate more/better objects.
  7. divine vessel: Divine Power three levels better. Better bonuses, bigger buffs, and a whole bunch of resistances based on your alignment. Because it's a Transmutation effect, but not a polymorph effect, you can combine it with effects like Enlarge Person. Exclusive to Oracles.

Revelations: Two Minds is an excellent defence against Enchantment effects.

  1. Two Minds (Su): Enchantment effects are among the most dangerous in the game, and the ability to reroll a Will save will save your life, even if it's only once per day.

Replaced Features: Oracle's Curse, Revelations (1st), Mystery Spells (1st, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th)

Compatible Archetypes: Spirit Guide

Psychic Searcher

Inspiration is a cool mechanic, but the Psychic Searcher's poor list of available Investigator Talents brings down the whole archetype. With no good uses for Inspiration, there is little reason to take this archetype.

Bonus Spells: Almost all of the options are situational Divinations. Oracles are spontaneous casters, so you will always have these spells available when they come up, but they also take up a spell known which could be used for something more useful.

  1. Augury: Useful if you roll well and your DM is okay with vaguely alluding to the future.
  2. locate object: You need to be reasonably close to the target to find it, so you can't just cast Locate Object and locate the Lich's phylactery, but this can be very good for finding items lost among debris and such.
  3. divination: Situational.
  4. find the path: Situational.
  5. discern location: Situational.
  6. foresight: Fantastic buff. Insight bonuses are rare and expensive, and a 10 minute per level duration will get you a few hours of protection. Not on the Cleric spell list.

Inspiration (Ex): Inspiration is a cool mechanic, and you get to use it for free with a lot of very important skills.

Psychic Talent (Su): Access to Investigator Talents offers you a lot of new options, but the list of talents available is very short and very few of the talents are worth considering.

Replaced Features: Mystery Spells (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 18th), Revelations (3rd)

Compatible Archetypes: Warsighted

Seer

The Seer, like you might expect, is a master of divinations. Forewarned is forearmed. If you like to use lots of divinations to make the GM expose the plot ahead of time, the Seer is an excellent choice.

Bonus Spells: Lots of excellent divinations.

  1. detect thoughts: Situational.
  2. clairaudience/clairvoyance: Excellent scouting divination.
  3. scrying: Extremely powerful, though not always useful.
  4. true seeing: A bit expensive to cast, but extremely powerful.
  5. legend lore: Cast this spell, turn to the GM, and say "so tell me about your backstory". This spell is situational, but when you're missing huge portions of the plot, it's amazingly powerful.
  6. greater scrying: See scrying.
  7. vision: How often do you think you are going to need to cast Legend Lore in combat? With the exception of the possible days/weeks casting times for Legend Lore, you really shouldn't need this.
  8. foresight: With a minimum 3 hour duration, this should last a long time. Insight bonuses to AC and saves are uncommon, so this should be a nice buff.

Revelations: Two excellent divination Revelations.

  1. Natural Divination (Ex): The skill check and initiative options are great, but the saving throw bonus won't be significant because your Charisma probably isn't very good.

  2. Gift of Prophecy (Su): Commune is a great spell despite the 500gp cost. Make sure to talk to your GM to make sure that they are okay giving you this much information on a daily basis.

Replaced Features: Mystery Spells (4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th), Revelations (1st, 3rd)

Compatible Archetypes: None

Spirit Guide

Bonded Spirit allows you to get some free spells known which you can change on a daily basis, as well as some interesting Spirit powers. This adds some nice versatility and the ability to change your spell list on a daily basis.

Class Skills: Knowledge skills are fantastic. With a bit of Intelligence, you can serve as the party's Librarian.

Bonded Spirit (Su): Most of the spirit Hexes are bad, so don't feel too sad that Bonded Spirit adds a weird dependence on Charisma for some reason. The big draws here are the spell list and the spirit abilities. For help selecting a wandering spirit, see my Sham Spirits Breakdown.

Replaced Features: Mystery Class Skills, Revelations (3rd, 7th, 15th)

Compatible Archetypes: Possessed

Stargazer

Stargazer is a subset of the Heavens Mystery. It is okay. It has a few good options, but nothing really exciting.

Class Skills: Knowledge (Nature) and Perception are both at least a few ranks if you can't afford to maximize them.

Bonus Spells: Several excellent ways to handle invisible creatures, but that's really all that this spell list does well.

  1. faerie fire: A fantastic low level way to handle invisibility and concealment effects. Because it allows no saving throw, it remains useful at all levels. The minutes per level duration is also surprisingly good for a first level spell.
  2. glitterdust: Despite a rounds per level duration, this is at least as good as Faerie Fire. The blinding effect can blind groups of enemies, and there is no save to resist the invisibility-negating effect.
  3. guiding star: Situational.
  4. wandering star motes: Great option for disabling enemies, and for removing concealment. If it falls off of the target it will jump to another, so hopefully this will get some mileage in groups of enemies.
  5. meteor swarm: Very flashy, but not as powerful as it should be for a 9th-level spell.

Revelations: A couple of Revelations from the Heavens Mystery. Guiding Star is bad, but Star Chart can be very useful.

  1. Guiding Star (Su): Very situational. Most adventuring tends to happen during the day, and much of it takes place inside.
  2. Star Chart (Ex): Commune is a great spell despite the 500gp cost. Make sure to talk to your GM to make sure that they are okay giving you this much information on a daily basis.

Replaced Features: Mystery Class Skills, Mystery Spells (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 18th), Revelation (1st, 7th)

Compatible Archetypes: None

Warsighted

The Warsighted Oracle trades 4 Revelations for Martial Flexibility. If you plan to play a primarily combat-focused Oracle, this could be a good option.

Martial Flexibility (Ex): Martial Flexibility is fantastic, but far less helpful for a full caster like the Oracle than it is for other classes which can't depend on spells to solve problems.

Replaced Features: Revelations (1st, 7th, 11th, 15th)

Compatible Archetypes: Dual-Cursed, Planar Oracle, Psychic Searcher