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The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG) $3.95 $1.99
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2012 14:49:26
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=19789.

The Secrets series is a wonderful example of what a third party publisher can do to enhance material produced by the original publisher. The Secrets of the Oracle takes a hard look into the Oracle class and makes it not only more interesting, but much more fun to play.

OVERALL

The Pathfinder Fantasy system has done a great job of establishing mechanics that add modular versatility to most of the base classes with mechanics like Archetypes and mysteries. These “add-ons” Help ensure that very few Oracles will be alike with The Secrets series and especially The Secrets of the Oracle.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The cover of The Secrets of the Oracle is done in a faux blue cover instead of the normal brown. I think that moving to a color-coded format for each series might be a good thing. Rite Publishing has quite a few products out there and the different colored covers might be an easy way for a reader to identify exactly which series a product belongs to. I have been critical of Rite Publishing’s use of stock or public art in the past and even more critical when it comes to the use of color art in those domains, The Secrets of the Oracle bucks that trend. While not overburdened with art, this supplement feels like it has much more artistic cohesion and I was blown away by the drawings on pages 4 and 5 depicting the Primeval and Rot mysteries.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Providing outstanding 3rd party support for products is not an easy thing to do. In The Secrets of the Oracle, David Mallon has taken the time to study the Oracle and produce enhancements that are useful and balanced. The mysteries are interesting and, if used correctly, will act as a good role-playing direction for Oracle characters. The feats are solid and really work mechanically and thematically with the rest of the product. The most mechanical flavor comes with the curses. There are only six curses but they add so much to the Oracle as a character class. As player curses are fun to role-play and as a GM they provide some great adventure hooks and are a small way to reign in that player whose head gets a little big for their helmet.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
This product is great for players and GMs, provided there are Oracle player characters or Oracle NPCs. At a price of $3.99 USD I would not recommend this product just to have on hand. If you are running a game that involves Oracles in any way then this one is worth the cost. I am not saying that this product is overpriced, but it isn’t versatile enough to justify an impulse or an “I might use this product” buy.

Overall: 9 out of 10
While The Secrets of the Oracle is not a versatile product, it’s well-crafted and well-thought out. The mysteries, curses and archetypes make me want to play and include Oracles in my games. To be honest, before reading this supplement I had passed Oracles over as yet another flavor of Cleric, boy was I wrong and The Secrets of the Oracle has shown me the light.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 10:02:12
The Secrets of the Oracle is one of my favorite oracle books. Instead of a few curses, they provide new curses, feats, mysteries and archetypes that leap over other 3rd party supplements in terms of innovation for the Oracle. The Rot mystery is my favorite. A flavorful undead take on the class that gives the Shaman feeling I was hoping to get elsewhere. There is also an archetype that allows a player to indulge in hallucination drugs and receive medicinal benefits.

Iron Uses: If you play an oracle or know anyone who is about to play an oracle, this is a the supplement you want to pick through before making your decision.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2012 09:39:18
This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 9 pages of content, so let's check out the new material for one of the beloved classes from the APG!

The pdf wastes no time and kicks off right away with 6 new mysteries for the oracle class. Unfortunately, the first mystery hits a pet-peeve of mine - I like classes to feel distinct from one another and the arcana mystery is focused on scavenging from the arcane domains of magic and thus constitutes a mystery to which I have a distinct disinclination towards. Worse, the final revelation is overpowered even for the 20th level: It lets you cast spell always still and silent without adding to the level AND lets you omit ANY material components, even the extremely expensive ones. I also consider the revelations to be not perfectly balanced among themselves, ranging from gaining a wizard's bond to minor skill bonuses. Next up is the darkness mystery, which suffers from similar problems: The ability to create Dark Duplicates feels rather strong, granting you a 51% miss chance, lasts oracle level + Cha-mod and can be used for cha-mod times per day. Worse, though is the ability to take Hide in Plain Sight and get rather major spell resistance when not in sunlight. Compare that with "Gain slightly superior low-light vision" and the ability to cast shadow conjurations and we're again in for a mystery that just doesn't feel too compelling.

Next is Luck. God, I HATE this mystery. The "Cut the Thread"-revelation, usable once per day, can be chosen without any level restrictions - make a ranged touch attack against a helpless opponent and (s)he gets a Fort save against 10 + damage (1d4+ oracle level) or dies - oh you assassin's, hang your heads in shame and cry, the oracle will take your jobs! Insta-death is one thing that is RARE in PFRPG and good riddance for the design choice. This revelation is a step back. Have I mentioned the ability to gain half your level to re-roll ANY DIE ROLL?? This is broken, even at 11th level. Have I mentioned fatespinner yet? Grant 3+ Cha-mod allies an insight bonus equal to half your oracle levels to atk, initiative, and all saves. Usable for oracle level rounds per day, this buff is strong - too strong. And there is an ability that makes you immune first to poisons, then diseases and finally even curses. This, at least in my opinion, has nothing to do with luck and is rather powerful.

The Primeval mystery suffers from other problems, namely being too weak: Gaining lame natural attacks, improved vision and uncanny dodge does not for an interesting mystery make. The Rot--oracle per se would be a good choice for evil characters were it not for the Plague mystery from Open Design's Divine Favor: Oracle book, which does approximately similar things, only in much more iconic ways. Just about when I was ready to call it quits on the mysteries, though, the ONE very well-designed exemplar pops up, the sound mystery: From auras of silence to the ability to propel yourself forward with a boom, the revelations are iconic and don't feel over- or underpowered and can be considered balanced among themselves.

Then, there are 6 new curses and unfortunately, they suffer from much the same problems as did the mysteries. Bad Luck forces you to reroll natural 20s and progressively grants you bonuses to reroll and negate natural 1s, making it rather a curse of moderate luck. The simpleminded curse, which caps your Int at 10, lets you add your Wis modifier in addition to your Cha-modifier to all your save DCs at 10th level. This is BROKEN. The technical ineptitude curse is a minor inconvenience, providing a -6 penalty to craft, disable device and use magic device vs. scaling, improving bonuses. Not worthy of the moniker "curse" in my book. The same unfortunately holds true for the distracting voices-curse, which penalizes perception and concentration checks for a bonus against mind-affecting spells and a bonus to knowledge skills.

The pdf also provides 6 new archetypes, the ascetic, the entheogenecist, the crone, the mad prophet, the tribal shaman and the wanderer. The archetypes all come with their own bonus-spells and force you to take certain revelations. The crone feels with her hag-apotheosis not like something anyone would aspire to and more suitable for witches. While the revelations were nice, I am not convinced that they need their own archetypes. To be precise, apart from the iconic lotus-eater revelation, none of them felt truly exciting, novel or ingenious to me.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I did notice a tab-glitch and some minor punctuation problems, though. Layout adheres to a two-column standard and the stock-artworks are neat. The pdf comes with bookmarks. Oh boy am I underwhelmed by this pdf. Either the revelations feel very strong, unbalanced in their choices among themselves, badly conceived or just boring. The overwhelming sense of "meh" this pdf evoked in me never left and was only scarcely alleviated by some gems among what I consider badly balanced and/or boring choices. The curses don't feel too awesome. The restrictiveness of the archetypes doesn't make them that enticing either and in the end, I just don't consider this pdf good. While I do like one of the mysteries and one revelation of the archetypes, this is not enough for me to recommend this pdf to anyone. Due to the low price, I'll settle for a final verdict of 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Martin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/01/2012 06:56:50
I usually prefer not to add any additional material to the basic rules of a game and very rarely use 3rd party material, but I really like The Secrets of the Oracles.
It's 6 mysteries, 6 curses, and 6 archetypes. That's what you pay for and that's what you get. There are no additional pages dealing with making oracle characters or how to implement them into a campaign.

Regarding the power level, nothing appears to be exceptionally good, but at the same time pretty much everything seems to be an actually viable option that can work out well for the character. Something that I usually don't see often in d20 splatbooks, except for the Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide, which brought us the oracle in the first place. Usually it's two or three gems in a book of forgettable stuff, but here everything is actually useful.
The mysteries and curses have me completely convinced, but the archetypes are actually getting a bit too far, almost completely replacing mystery spell lists and relevations at lower levels and even at higher level your archetype will be your primary mystery, withyour actual mystery affecting only the list of relevations you can chose from after you got those from your archetype. However, the Ascetic and Mad Prophet are still very interesting choices, and the Tribal Shaman and Wanderer could also find some fans.
Among the curses, only Technical Ineptitude seems a bit too situational in its benefits, but the others are all interesting blends of drawbacks and thematically fitting benefits.

I think there's a focus on more "savage" campaigns instead of urban ones, with the Rot and Primeval mysteries and the ascetic, crone, tribal shaman, and wanderer archetypes. The Arcana, Darkness, Luck, and Sound (which could also have been called Voice) mysteries should be useful in an urban setting as well, however, and the curses can work everywhere.

If you play a campaign in which oracles represent a major spellcasting class, and is maybe even set in a wilderness setting, I actually recommend getting it, even if you are not looking for additional character options. The Secrets of the Oracles not only provides those, but also adds new elements to the game world as well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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