The Oracle, Mysterious Gatekeeper
The oracle was the last class we conceived for dMetric. The timing is ironic considering the class fills the role of primary healer – widely considered to be the most integral role in any party-based game. The cause of the delay was a disagreement between my me and my brother. I debated that dedicated healers were inherently boring to play. My experiences in World of Warcraft – where healers were frustratingly uncommon – fueled my ideology. I suggested that, instead, healing abilities should be meted amongst all classes equally.
I eventually yielded to my brother’s logic, largely to preserve the simplicity of play we strive for in dMetric. However, we compromised by deciding to grant the oracle powers over both life and death. This allows the class to fill the role of a dedicated healer as well as that of a soft necromancer. Debuffing, light conjuration, and utility would help round out what might have been a two-dimensional caster.
Oracles are masters over the powers of life and death. They have to ability to channel the sustaining powers of the aether to heal and reenergize their allies and channel the deathly forces of the nether to weaken and demoralize their opponents. Each oracle is accompanied by a small familiar known as a psychopomp that grants them numerous extrasensory abilities. Oracles are the most proficient healers in the game and are a welcome addition to any party.
Oracles are guardians of life and death. It is their responsibility to ensure the aether (the world of the living) and the nether (the world of the dead) do not mingle. In order to become an oracle, an individual must attract a psychopomp familiar; a small creature that serves as a liaison between the living and dead. In ages past oracles were a rare sight, but since the cracking of the nether seal the need for their kind has escalated.
Wake / Pass On
The oracle touches a dying creature, choosing either to stabilize their condition or cause them to pass on immediately.
At first level, an oracle attracts a psychopomp familiar. Psychopomps are small spirit creatures that shepherd the souls of the recently deceased to the afterlife. Psychopomps possess a kit of strange and marvelous abilities that increase in potency as the oracle gains levels.
Consecrate / Desecrate
By completing a brief ritual, the oracle can either consecrate or desecrate a circle around him. Consecration creates a field that repels and weakens undead and other chaotic creatures as they enter it. Desecration creates a field that attracts and empowers these creatures.
I always liked the D&D clerics, who could heal, certainly, but also possessed the ability to call upon their god for spells and abilities comparable to a dedicated mage, making clerics a mixture of healer and spellcaster. By channeling the wrath of their god directly, too, there was less need for a cleric to spend hours each day memorizing spells, and thus a cleric could also have a little more physical presence than the average weakling mage.
I’ve played some games which strove to make the healers a more playable form too — Last Chaos comes to mind, where healers are mixed with archers, letting them heal themselves and each other while making monsters into pin cushions. It makes sense — you don’t need decades of physical training to use a bow, and certainly far less to use a crankshaft crossbow.
Funny you should say that. We have a yet-to-be-introduced class that serves as a secondary healer but also wields a crossbow. I think hybridizing healers in this manner is an inevitable evolution of the archetype. Blizzard gave priests shadow magic in WoW, Paizo gave clerics domain spells, Final Tactics gave chemists guns – the list goes on.