Divine Favor: the Oracle
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Open Design is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 15 pages of content for the Oracle, so let’s check out what we get, shall we?
In this installment of Divine Favor, we don’t get a break-down of the class and instead jump right into the new crunch, i.e. the new curses – 9 new curses are presented herein and I’ll have to mention that while I love curses, I also consider them pretty hard to design – it’s easy to slip and use something that does not necessarily fit the term “curse”. That being said, e.g. the Coward-curse fits this particular pet-peeve of mine and is rather bland, providing only a minor penalty for its bonuses. I did like the approach to drunkards, necessitating at least 1 drink per hour and thus making sure that being a drunkard is nothing simple with easily offsetable penalties.
The Echo-curse, though, is probably my favourite: It makes you mute, but lets you repeat what other people have just said, enabling you to duplicate spells you just heard of up to the level you can cast. Speaking of mute – I hated this one. It grants you permanent detect thoughts at 5th level. All the DMs who are already annoyed when reading this hold your hands up! And don’t get me started on the ruined adventure scenarios… Not gonna happen in my game. Ever. Soulless, unstable form and wanderer make for AWESOME curses, though the restrictions of the wanderer curse are rather harsh – not being able to return to a place is bad and perhaps a more lenient approach that allows return after e.g. a year would be prudent. Unstable Form lets you be put into a new body as per reincarnate and requires some book-keeping, but will surely make for a remarkable oracle.
The next section details 6 new mysteries and I have to get this of my chest: They are the coolest mysteries out there – Period. The mysteries are all killer, no filler: Beginning with the Clockwork mystery that lets you exchange body-parts for steam-punkish elements, clockwork familiars etc. we get to the Moon mystery that GOES BEYOND “Kill Lycanthropes” and offers baleful moonpowers, the ability to create moonlight bridges and generally mysterious abilities – neat! Being a terrible fan of all things aberrant, The Old Gods mystery strikes a soft spot with me, but complements this predisposition with neat, creepy, madness-inducing powers like offering a glimpse of the elder god’s domains. The Plague mystery also OOZES style and provides the ability to turn into miasma, grow carrion winds and finally turn into an avatar of pestilence. The snake mystery also ROCKS, offering e.g. full crawl speeds, contortionist abilities and serpentine scales. And finally, there’s the Wine mystery – in vino veritas, indeed – from morale bonuses to DR due to insensitivity to the ability to alter memory, hangover-style and powerful revelry, this mystery represents the probably coolest take on the trope I could conceive. Credit where credit is due, author Stefen Styrsky has done an awesome job on these mysteries!
Finally, we get6 new feats, one of which is very complex and adds cosmetic and rules-changes to summoned creatures depending on your mystery.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the parchment-look and 2-column standard and comes with no separate printer-friendly edition. The pdf is extensively bookmarked. The artwork is stock that fits the theme. Wow, just wow. After reading the installments on Druids and Clerics, I didn’t expect too much and while the curses are hit and miss for me, the mysteries alone are worth the asking price. They are so damn AWESOME. Each one made me want to play an oracle of said mystery and damn, their abilities are just so fitting, so cool and concise in their benefits that I can’t bring myself to say anything negative about them. Not that there was anything, mind you. The new feats are ok, though they pale in comparison to the STELLAR mysteries. Seriously, that’s the kind of content I’m looking for – imaginative, inspiring, well-written. MY final verdict has to take the other component parts of the pdf into account as well, though. Thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. If you’re in it for the mysteries, this is 5 stars and the as of yet best source on oracle mysteries out there. Be sure to check it out!
Divine Favor: the Oracle is available from: