Iconic Design: I’ve Got Nine Problems But My Curse Ain’t One

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for the ultimate oracle healer.

Back when I did my GM NPC build, I mentioned that there was a crazier healing-focused build that one could do then that one. A build SO crazy, so over the top, and so healing intensive that it makes everyone cry. Everyone. Naturally, you guys wanted to see what I was talking about so I wrote it up for you. I’m wonderful like that.

So welcome, everyone, to Alex Breaks the Healing Charts.

Build Concept

Let’s take a quick look at the specs before we get started.

  • Kitsune: You don’t need to be a kitsune, but for this build, being a kitsune is WAY more economical. (You’ll see.)
  • Oracle: The Life Mystery is a powerhouse when it comes to healing. You want it. Plus kitsune make decent oracles.
  • Spirit Guide Archetype: Remember this beauty from my Shaman King build? The basic idea here is stacking the oracle’s ability to gain channel energy with the shaman’s ability to gain channel energy, giving ups an oracle that can channel a number of times per day equal to 2 + her Charisma modifier. It’s a very strong trick that makes up for the fact that the oracle is a full spell level behind the cleric at all times. Plus it makes the oracle sort of lackluster at most other roles. Additionally, this combo’s one-trick pony is raw numbers, which isn’t always the best way to heal. (Preventing damage and bolstering allies is an equally important part of healing, and overall this build eschews the healing cleric’s versatility for extreme specialization.) In short, if you want to be a numbers healer, however, this is how you do it!
  • Pharasma: I want Fateful Channel for this build, so my oracle will be worshipping Pharasma. You can take or leave this.

Without further adieu, let’s get started!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: oracle (spirit guide) 7
  • Feats: Magical Tail (Bonus), Extra Revelation: safe curing (1st), Extra Channel (3rd), Magical Tail (Bonus), Fateful Channel (5th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Bless Equipment (7th)
  • Abilities: bonded spirit (life), life mystery, oracle’s curse (wrecking mysticism), revelations
  • Revelations: safe curing (Bonus), channel (1st)
  • Spirit: hex: enhanced cures (3rd), bonus spells (4th), spirit ability: channel (7th)
  • 3rd-Level Oracle Spells Known (2): cure serious wounds; prayer, ANY ONE
  • 2nd-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): cure moderate wounds, minor image; burst of radiance, hold person, ANY ONE
  • 1st-Level Oracle Spells Known (5): cure light wounds, ventriloquism; bless, divine favor, ANY THREE
  • Oracle Orisons Known (7): guidance, stabilize, ANY FIVE

Okay, so let’s talk about the moving parts of this build because there are a lot of them.

First, you need to know about spirit guide. Basically, each day at 3rsd level, you can pick a shaman spirit and choose one of that spirit’s hexes to have for the day. This guide assumes you will pick life every day, but technically you don’t have to; this build has a LOT of flexibility as a result, even if its just on a daily basis. Then, beginning at 4th level, you add all of your chosen spirit’s spells to the list of your spells known. Finally, at 7th level, you get your spirit’s spirit ability; this is when our build picks up double-channel.

Next, why I picked kitsune. First, the favored class bonus is cool. Invest four points into the bonus, and you get a weapon proficiency of your choice. Want a katana? You can do it. Elven curve blade? Sure. Anything you want. I’d probably pick katana, but it doesn’t matter to much. This isn’t why you pick kitsune. You pick it for wrecking mysticism, a kitsune-specific oracle curse from the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Now, I wish I could have said that I was thinking about this combo when I wrote the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. I wasn’t. (I don’t think about healers THAT much.) But in exchange for one of the nastiest penalties of any oracle curse in the game, you get the ability to swap any number of bonus mystery spells for the Magical Tail feat. Now, not everyone is a fan of this trade. Its an oracle curse that makes you take a penalty AND give up something in order to get anything. But, and this is the big BUT, the life mystery and the life spirit have the SAME EXACT SPELLS. This means that you can effectively toss all of your mystery bonus spells for Magical Tail and STILL get those spells for free as spells known every day that you bind the life spirit with the spirit guide archetype. Are you still losing something? Yes, you’re still done a full set of spells per day if you choose to bind any spirit OTHER than the life spirit, but for the purpose of the life/life combo, you basically still have your spells. You can’t learn a spell twice, after all.

So in addition to having a bunch of extra tails (not super powerful, but a fun perk) and being really good at healing, what are you doing? Well, I decided to pick up Extra Revelation: safe curing as a feat at first level. Spirit guide trades about half of the oracle’s revelations, and safe curing was the one that I really wanted. Then at 3rd level, I picked up Extra Channel for two extra uses of channel. The benefits of Extra Channel don’t apply to both of the character’s channel abilities, mind you; as per a long-standing Paizo FAQ, if you have more than one channel energy ability, you get two extra uses of channel, split up however you like between the two pools. So this is useful, but not incredible.

What is REALLY great, however, is the Fateful Channel feat, which is my 5th level feat (I took it as soon as I qualified). Essentially, whenever my oracle channels energy to heal, this feat from Inner Sea Gods will allow my oracle to grant each ally affected by the channel one free reroll of an attack roll, skill check, or saving throw. The reroll has to be used within a number of rounds equal to my Charisma modifier, but as an oracle, my Charisma is GREAT, so I can do it fairly often. Finally, at 7th level, I get my second channel pool from my life spirit AND the Bless Equipment feat, which lets me burn uses of channel energy to temporarily place weapon special abilities onto my allies’ equipment. For instance, I can burn TWO uses of channel energy to put the BANE ability on one of my allies’ weapons for a number of rounds equal to my Charisma modifier. That is REALLY strong, and I can do this twice per day without even factoring in my charisma (1 use baseline from each of my channel abilities, plus two uses from Extra Channel).

Spellwise, I focused mostly on support through buffing and healing. The nice thing about this build is that it doesn’t really lower my spells known, and I have TONS of random eldritch utility from my Magical Tails. It makes me a healer with a lot of weird, situational tricks up my sleeves. (Or tails, as the case might be.)

At any rate, let’s look at the mid levels and see what comes next!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: oracle (spirit guide) 14
  • Feats: Magical Tail (Bonus), Extra Revelation: safe curing (1st), Extra Channel (3rd), Magical Tail (Bonus), Fateful Channel (5th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Bless Equipment (7th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Selective Channel (9th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Improved Bless Equipment (11th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Greater Bless Equipment (13th), Magical Tail (Bonus)
  • Abilities: bonded spirit (life), life mystery, oracle’s curse (wrecking mysticism), revelations
  • Revelations: safe curing (Bonus), channel (1st), spirit boost (11th)
  • Spirit: hex: enhanced cures (3rd), bonus spells (4th), spirit ability: channel (7th)
  • 7th-Level Oracle Spells Known (1): mass cure serious wounds; regenerate
  • 6th-Level Oracle Spells Known (2): mass cure moderate wounds; ANY TWO
  • 5th-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): magic jar, mass cure light wounds; cleanse, righteous might, ANY ONE
  • 4th-Level Oracle Spells Known (4): cure critical wounds; blessing of fervor, debilitating portent, divine power, restoration
  • 3rd-Level Oracle Spells Known (4): cure serious wounds; prayer, sacred bond, ANY ONE
  • 2nd-Level Oracle Spells Known (5): cure moderate wounds, minor image; burst of radiance, hold person, ANY THREE
  • 1st-Level Oracle Spells Known (5): cure light wounds, ventriloquism; bless, divine favor, ANY THREE
  • Oracle Orisons Known (9): guidance, stabilize, ANY FIVE

In addition to new spell levels (which are always nice) and more Magical Tail feats (which are fun and flavorful), we get a few more benefits. First, I finally have time to sneak Selective Channel into the build at 9th level, when it’s long overdue. I mean, we don’t REALLY want to be giving our enemies free rerolls, but getting Fateful Channel and Bless Equipment is more important because they form the basic gameplay of the build; you understand, right? Next at 11th level, we get Improved Bless Equipment, which makes it cheaper to use the Bless Equipment feat (one use of channel energy for bane? OKAY.) You also get the ability to double up blessings with Bless Equipment, allowing you to put two blessings on one object at the same time. Then Greater Bless Equipment turns online at 13th level, which allows you to bless TWO ITEMS WITH ONE USE OF BLESSINGS. I mean, WOW. One use of channel energy to give TWO weapons within range the bane ability? Or ghost touch? NULLIFYING TO REMOE SPELL RESISTANCE FOR A NUMBER OF ROUNDS?! Picture this, you bless two martial guys with nullifying, and then let them whack an enemy for a few rounds until your wizard can successfully turn it into a toad or whatever. It is freaking AMAZINGLY awesome. Oh, and did I mention that Greater Bless Equipment increases the duration to DOUBLE your Charisma modifier? And that, my friends, is how you make a cool option for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

The spell list, I feel, explains itself. Two spells I want to point out are sacred bond and debilitating potent. As a 3rd-level spell, sacred bond is AWESOME for low-level quicken metamagic rods. Burn a 3rd-level spell slot and you can instantly cast a cure spell on a far away target. Neat! Debilitating portent is a NASTY debuff that’s made all the nastier by the fact that kitsune get a +1 bonus to the save DC of enchantment spells. I mean, half damage ALL The time? End the spell to NEGATE a critical? Okay, I’ll bite! Let’s look at the end game to see how this build wraps up.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: oracle (spirit guide) 20
  • Feats: Magical Tail (Bonus), Extra Revelation: safe curing (1st), Extra Channel (3rd), Magical Tail (Bonus), Fateful Channel (5th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Bless Equipment (7th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Selective Channel (9th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Improved Bless Equipment (11th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Greater Bless Equipment (13th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Extra Revelation: combat healer (15th), Magical Tail (Bonus), Quick Channel (17th), FREEBIE (19th)
  • Abilities: bonded spirit (life), life mystery, oracle’s curse (wrecking mysticism), revelations
  • Revelations: safe curing (Bonus), channel (1st), spirit boost (11th), combat healer (Bonus)
  • Spirit: hex: enhanced cures (3rd), bonus spells (4th), spirit ability: channel (7th), greater spirit ability: healer’s touch (15th)
  • 9th-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): mass heal, miracle, overwhelming presence
  • 8th-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): mass cure critical wounds; divine vessel, ANY TWO
  • 7th-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): mass cure serious wounds; holy word, regenerate, resurrection
  • 6th-Level Oracle Spells Known (3): mass cure moderate wounds; ANY THREE
  • 5th-Level Oracle Spells Known (4): magic jar, mass cure light wounds; cleanse, righteous might, ANY TWO
  • 4th-Level Oracle Spells Known (4): cure critical wounds; blessing of fervor, debilitating portent, divine power, restoration
  • 3rd-Level Oracle Spells Known (4): cure serious wounds; prayer, sacred bond, ANY ONE
  • 2nd-Level Oracle Spells Known (5): cure moderate wounds, minor image; burst of radiance, hold person, ANY THREE
  • 1st-Level Oracle Spells Known (5): cure light wounds, ventriloquism; bless, divine favor, ANY THREE
  • Oracle Orisons Known (9): guidance, stabilize, ANY FIVE

I’ll be the first to admit that the 15th level trade for this build is quite bad. After the amazing mid-tier, End Game probably seems a touch boring because we already HAVE the important, moving parts for our build. All we have to look forward to is new spells, and while awesome in their own way, it isn’t “Oh my god drop everything,” awesome. Quick Channel at 17th level seemed decent considering I spent a feat making my Bless Equipment feat chain more economically friendly, and by 19th level I think you can pretty much take whatever you want and be fine. There isn’t much that’s going to improve your channeling ability in the way we’d like it to anymore.

Well, there you go, folks. You got one of the sickest healing builds that I could muster AND a nine-tailed kitsune build out of me all at once. I hope you’re happy! Next week on Iconic Design, we’ll be going back to Avatar: The Last Air Bender with the most-often demanded character from that series that I get. Who is it? Wait and see, dear readers. Wait and see! Have a great weekend. (And if you didn’t hear, I’m going to be GMing at a Charity Convention this weekend. The convention is streaming my game, which starts at 9am, live for your viewing pleasure. If you watch it, try to toss the charity we’re supporting a few bucks; its an organization dedicated to helping to teach Inner City Philly teens creative writing skills to help them apply for college. Check our Facebook group, 3.5 Private Sanctuary, for more details!)

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

5 Comments

  1. Olivier R Lalonde Reply to Olivier

    The Oracle I’m about to play will use the Spirit Guide archetype to great effect. I call the build the “Oracle of Versatility”.

    It is obviously a half-elf, for multiple reasons.

    He can choose his favorite class bonuses from three lists because he counts as elf, human and half-elf at once. He can put his FCB into getting a revelation to a fraction of a level-equivalency higher. What this means is that eventually you can outgrow even a cleric’s number of dice on your channels, and being a CHA-based caster you tend to already have more than a spellcasting-focused Cleric would have. Later on I use the human side of the Half-Elf for the extra spell known FCBs.

    Not focussing TOO MUCH on the Life Shaman Spirit Ability lets me instead dabble in the Useful Spell List Department every day–such as being a channelling Buff-Giver (thanks to my Oracle spell selections) and Fireball Thrower (thanks to the Flame Mystery) all rolled into one–and all based on the same attribute! This works as early as the spell slot becomes available, in this case a level sooner than the proposed Spirit Guide Shaman Channel.

    Much as with a Wizard character, an Oracle of Versatility can therefore alter his spell lists (and his one thematic hex) every day thanks to a little preparation (and divination, if required).

    Even the non-Life Spirits can have some utility. Ancestors lets you get some free lesser restoration-equivalent for the party with Might of the Fallen or grant Ghost Touch to the party’s DPS characters with Ghost Blade. Heavens lets you not leave tracks, then hover, and then eventually fly thanks to Lure of the Heavens. If the environment/current quests allows it, Nature grants some Speak with Animals or some At-Will Entangles (much as with Witch curses, you can only target an enemy once, but have all-day at-will entangle for every monster is a good tool in my opinion!) Stone spirit’s Crystal Sight is also an awesome scouting tool.

    ===THE HALF ELF ADVANTAGE===
    Being a half-elf also allows my Oracle to know and cast Paragon Surge. This is one of the most important reasons why I chose a half-elf. The feat generally associated with this choice (for the whole day) will be Expanded Arcana. What this lets the Oracle of Versatility do is that in exchange for a lvl 3 spell slot, the character will be able to cast any spell a Cleric could cast (including higher-level spells than the actually-expended Paragon Surge spell slot) for the next minute.

    I am not one to spend precious spell known slots on Invisiblity Purge, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Water Breathing (and so on), to give a few LVL 3 examples. But when the need comes, you can save a couple of hundred GPs by not needing to buy scrolls of these spells (for the downtime/long term ones) and within two rounds you can let ALL YOUR PARTY see the invisible create within the dungeon room. The only limit is the Cleric spell list.

    • To answer Olivier, be careful about the whole Versatility notion with Paragon Surge, as the spell has been errata’ed, and now the first casting of Paragon Surge sets all parameters of the spell until the next time you replenish your spells.

      In other words, if you take Expanded arcana, you can only select one additional spell, and that choice will be set in stone for the day, making it that less powerful. So if you don’t use more than one scroll a day, it’s okay, otherwise it won’t work.

  2. I love the premise of this build. Seriously considering buying the undead slayer’s handbook just to play this guy in PFS.
    One thing, though. The duration of Bless Equipment and friends is based on the number of d6’s you’d get with channel, not your charisma modifier.

  3. Did they errata Wrecking Mysticism? The last line seems to make it pretty much worthless: it says “You cannot replace a bonus spell granted to you by an oracle archetype with Magical Tail, even if it replaces a mystery spell.”

    Doesn’t that mean you can’t turn bonus spells into tails or am I reading this wrong?

    Wrecking Mysticism (Kitsune)
    A divine entity has blessed you with a source of eldritch power that erodes your fortitude, increasing by 50% the duration of any poison, sickened condition, or nauseated condition affecting you.

    Whenever you would gain a mystery spell, you can gain Magical Tail as a bonus feat instead. Once this choice has been made, it cannot be changed. You cannot replace a bonus spell granted to you by an oracle archetype with Magical Tail, even if it replaces a mystery spell.

    At 5th level, add minor image and ventriloquism to your list of spells known.
    At 10th level, add magic jar to your list of spells known.
    At 15th level, add project image to your list of spells known.

    • Alex Augunas Reply to Alex

      It means that if you take an oracle archetype that modifies your bonus spells, you can’t trade a spell that the archetype modified for Magical Tail.

      So if you take the Pizza Cook Archetype and replace your 1st-level bonus spell with Summon Pizza I, then you couldn’t use the curse to trade Summon Pizza I for Magical Tail, because the first trade (standard spell for Summon Pizza I) already replaced your 1st-level bonus spell. You can’t trade something you already traded.

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