Last time, I talked about my favorite spells, specifically arcane, and promised to do my favorite divine spells later. Well, it’s later. (Finally, I know.) I occasionally play oracles, which isn’t quite the same thing as your normal cleric, so I definitely just wanted to focus on the spell list rather than on the other tricks of the cleric class since… I wouldn’t know what I was talking about.
(What can I say, I hate having ALL THE SPELLS KNOWN but like five slots.)
So same as last time, I’ll be listing my favorite spells, at least one for each level (sorta), and why I enjoy them so much, therefore why you might like them for your character. You’ll need to double check domains and such to see if they will work for you. Now, when I play an oracle, I am usually filling a specific role. Healer, yes, but also seeing what other stop gabs. Sometimes I’m an overly practical and uptight kitsune which gives me mending-type spells, sometimes I am blasting as much as I am healing since we need magical back-up. So keep in mind, your build may vary, especially depending on the deity involved. Also, no healing spells listed because you basically can cast them without taking up slots for spells known in most campaigns we’ve run.
Zero Level Spells/Cantrips
….No one likes these, why would I pick one here…? These are little spells that really, I pick based on the campaign.
1st Level Spells
There’s a plethora of useful spells in here that you need to really cater to your party needs and wants. But something I always take is Shield of Faith. Some oracles/clerics can’t wear armor and cast spells. Shield of Faith gets you around that, big time, and grows stronger as your character levels. While your fellows may not need the bolster from a mass spell, you definitely need the protection of the self-aimed.
2nd Level Spells
Much like with arcana spells, about the time you start getting second level spells, you are trying to cover your bases with your party, especially in terms of needing mass protection if you’ve made an enemy. That being said, I have a personal attachment to Enthrall. I have used it once to great success and screwed over my DM in an epic but hysterical thing, and I think once or twice else wise in a way that was maybe not quite as epic but also useful.
My second favorite spell is Make Whole. I had a DM throw out a bridge, and while the rest of my party was figuring out how to down a tree and pull it over in a make-shift bridge, possibly several trees because of my blind Oracle self… So-said blind kitsune oracle toddles over in her kimono and starts casting Make Whole spells to repair the bridge. It was brilliant.
3rd Level Spells
OMG, Daylight. Remove Curse is also good, but definitely add Daylight to your needed list because of various undead, it is the only way to defeat them, much like golems require sonic damage. One of my DMs is big on undead and another uses them when appropriate, and I like having the weapons the second I can get my hand on them when appropriate, or else I pay the tax later and have to roll up a new character.
4th Level Spells
This is where you really have to cater to your campaign and your character, and it’s harder for me to give a more general “best spell” of the level, because if you are dealing with a lot of undead, there’s spells specifically to help with that, or if you are dealing with other enemies, again, spells specific to that. But there are two good options for almost any campaign: Air Walk or Water Walking (Mass). Obviously if you are in the desert, the latter doesn’t help you much, but otherwise both can be used to benefits otherwise in almost any campaign or character. I like Air Walk more just because of it being more universal.
5th Level Spells
Finally, powerful spells that aren’t related to healing or undead as much, lol. Depending on character aesthetic, you can go different routes. Me being me, I am almost always going to go down the realm of ice, so that means I take Holy Ice, which as a bonus, does two different functions–either a wall or javelins, so it’s both defensive and offensive. If I’ve taken a Bless Water as a first level spell at some point, and I should have, it’s even almost a freebie spell.
6th Level Spells
I actually really like Word of Recall. If your party doesn’t have a fast means of transport yet, this is a great way to cut travel in half as you level. It also serves as a good way to avoid a complete TPK, which is always a threat since dice can mess up any plans.
7th Level Spells
Restoration Greater, omg. Like, it seems really obvious, but I know people who forget and then one of their party members gets permanent ability score damage and it’s screams around the table. You would be surprised how often it comes up, at least in the games that we’re in, where one of the Restorations is needed. I mean yes, resurrection spells can be useful, but being able to prevent someone from dying by restoring them first is better.
8th Level Spells
For 8th Level, your spell options really start to narrow down. But in turn, you get to start doing some really awesome stuff. I like Discern Location, just because it cuts out a lot of trucking all over the place to find an object, only to find out it moved like three months ago and our intell was out of date. Nope, now I get to double check the DM, lol.
9th Level Spells
Much like with arcane spells, I only got here once before with a gestalt arcane/divine castor pairing, so I’m not as all-knowing about what is the most helpful or useful. Usually, I go straight for Miracle since it’s kind of a great catch-all. Unless my deities are known asses. Then it’s just an invitation for trouble, and I’m better off getting something like Overwhelming Presence or True Restoration. Of course, if you are playing a supreme loaner, being able to carve out your own demiplane can’t be spat at.
Tabletop RPG: Serenity the RPG System Thoughts
(After a long drought, finally an RP post! Sorry ya’ll, I had the plague and it will not go away.)
So I had bought the Serenity the Roleplaying Game’s book ages ago, along with a big old Verse map and a giant book about a specific cargo run. Why? Because I was interested in seeing how playable it was. Now, the book itself isn’t laid out in the most logical of senses, and sometimes it seems a bit screwy to me. I’m not going to critique the system as a whole, but instead, talk about how it plays.
I ran it this last weekend for a group of three players. It was specifically meant to be short, one or two sessions, three at an absolute maximum that I didn’t see happening, and so in an effort to keep it short, I chose to use one of the episodes of the series (“The Train Job”) as my framework. Bonus, most of my players had either never seen the show, seen only a small percentage of it, or hadn’t seen it in well over ten years and had since forgotten a large chunk of it. I had no worries about them actually recognizing what I was up to.
The game started off a little shaky–I’m not used to DMing, and I was trying to think of how to describe something I had seen in a show to convey exactly the right tone. But as the players started to make their plan and I got comfortable, we all started to enjoy ourselves. This is where the good parts of the game really started to show themselves. It isn’t loaded down with rules and schematics, but instead relies on the imaginations of the players and the DM, and on the way that they RP things out. It also gives some players a bit of flux.
What I mean by that is the use of Plot Points. I know of other DMs who will deliberately fudge rolls if a character rolls poorly and it may lead to someone having a bad night, or for similar reasons. Serenity makes that almost unnecessary with the use of Plot Points, provided the characters haven’t been just slinging them around. By really using them when they can tell a roll is important, it lets them get the desierable outcome without some…somewhat shady but good intentioned shady…actions on behalf of a DM, which I can appreciate.
That being said, 1’s still happen, and critical failures can lead to problems. But I’ve taken the stance that just because you failed the roll it doesn’t mean something catastrophic has to happen, and depending on what it is, the party isn’t screwed. In my most memorable case from this last weekend, one failed the hiding roll with a 1 while the other did really well. So I did something like you’d see out of a comedy skit to explain how both got hidden because of how well the other person rolled covering for both of them. Everything still proceeds, and everyone at the table got a laugh out of it. Failures don’t have to mean instant-death, and I was glad to get to DM something like that.
Is the lack of detail sometimes annoying? Oh very. And the rate of lethal damage applied to the weapons, while realistic, means that combat is never going to go well, and I’m still thinking about how to balance that out in a longer game. I also have to figure out whether I’d want to do something similar to Whedon’s work, where there is a long arc that we’re building to but a lot of it plays out in small moments, or if I want the long arc to be the focus with occasional side jobs. But that comes back to the flexibility of the system. It really lets you run the type of game that you want to run.
I don’t know if I would recommend this system for a newbie DM and newbie group of players. It’s not laid out in a way that’s neat, there’s a lot of holes, and the combat is harsh. But for a group that has messed around with a few systems, it is pretty forgiving to let them let their hair down for a bit. As a newbie DM, I had the advantage of knowing the world best, which gave me the measure of control that as DM I need to have any kind of confidence. With a group of die-hard Firefly fanatics, that isn’t going to be the case…but other new DMs may not have my anxiety crutches, so your mileage is just going to vary on that front.
If I can trust my players to stay off my blog, I might talk about the planning I go into for longer campaigns, but that’s a big maybe. I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anyone’s backstory or arc for them, and that will cause sour feelings. (Plus some of the players are uber private, which I respect.) In the meantime, if you can get your hands on the book or a PDF of it, it’s worth a page-through at the very least.
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