The Oracle

The first homebrew I want to share here is the Oracle class for D&D 5e. This is the most recent brew of mine, and quite possibly the last I’ll make for 5e for a while.

The Oracle is a supportive full-caster built around dice manipulation and spell preparation. The download link is below, and after that will be a more detailed write-up on some of the features and the design philosophy behind the class

Theme

Thematically this class is occupying a space I felt wasn’t quite occupied by the Divination Wizard, and that is the idea of a far-seeing, future predicting magic user. Where Wizards are meant to feel more scholarly, this class is meant to be more ‘naturally gifted’, at least where their prophetic powers are concerned.

Mechanics

There are two core mechanics in this class: Foresight and Prophetic Arcana. The former is meant to more or less be ‘Portent but different’. It is meant to feel more directly impactful, and also have a more interesting way of working compared to just the flat D20 roll that Portent uses. On top of this, it is bumped up a bit in power level as it is a core class feature rather than a subclass feature. This is the closest the class will ever come to feeling like a regular Divination Wizard.

The latter is meant to be the piece of the class that actually rewards a prepared player who has anticipated future situations. At its core it’s a way of giving the character a few more spells to cast each long rest, much like how the Wizard gets its Arcane Recovery and the Sorcerer has Sorcery Points. This system however has a much more vancian feel to it, wherein you’re specifically preparing a set number of spells that you will be able to cast without using a spell slot. Design-wise this is the feature that has caused the most trouble, as it needed very strict limitations on how powerful a spell you could cast with it without the system becoming too finnicky. In the end I feel a balance was struck, and so the class has a ‘free spells’ mechanic that truly emulates the idea of a future-seeing spellcaster who has prepared specific spells for specific situations.

Moving in to the subclasses, the mechanic of dice manipulation again comes up with the Sect of the Farseer, which gets a suite of effects that allow for things like the rerolling of 1’s and generating advantage on certain rolls. On the whole the subclasses are meant to evoke a strong idea of what sort of functions these spellcasters can serve, both thematically in terms of the game setting and mechanically in terms of the party’s make-up.

Inherently all of the subclass features are designed around giving your allies more power, rather than giving yourself more power directly. This is, to my mind, what a supportive class should more or less do. It certainly has enough features across the class to bring its own direct usefulness to the table, with a couple of strong divination-related abilities and some strong social tools, but at its core the Oracle is built to boost those around them.

Full Mental Caster

Originally this class was a Wisdom caster, requiring the same suite of secondary and tertiary stats as similar casters (Dex and Con, usually). I felt it could have fit easily as either a Wisdom or Intelligence caster, and in an early round of feedback the idea of it being an Intelligence caster with other abilities keying off Wisdom as a secondary stat came up. This felt like a good fit, increasing the fantasy of a character archetype that used two of the three mental stats (and the two most closely associated with the power of the mind at that).

This presented a problem, however. A MAD problem. Now the class wanted Intelligence as a primary stat, with Wisdom as an obvious secondary, but still wanted a reasonable Dexterity and Constitution score so as not to fall too far behind the other full casters. As a solution the Predictive Defense ability was born, which replaces Dexterity with Wisdom for the primary function that Dexterity serves for a full caster; armour class. Now you only miss out on things like a high initiative bonus and a few of the physical skills that key off Dexterity, rather than being wholesale more squishy than other full casters with the usual secondary Dexterity stat. This ability is also one of the most flavourful, in my opinion, being as it is an ability that thematically keys off the idea that your powers of foresight are so strong you are able to anticipate blows. I very much imagine someone who is seldom in the way of a sword-thrust, akin to the kung-fu master who seems to effortlessly sidestep his enemy’s blows. However unlike the Monk who is thematically deriving this power from their agility, the Oracle is deriving it from their incredible mind.

The Complete Package

At time of writing, the Oracle is considered finalised. I have one or two more subclass ideas, but they can always be added later as expansion content (I did a similar thing for another brew of mine, the Gunsmith). If you’ve ever wanted to play a kooky gypsy-like psychic, or a wizened advisor, or any kind of clairvoyant in between then this is the class for you.

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