Friday, 21 October 2011

review: divine favor - the oracle

Metrics: Cards. Let me guess, you saw that one coming?  With your talents...
DISCLAIMER: Review based on PDF review copy provided by Open Design.
Overall: 5 cards (oracular spectacular)
Strong enough to stand in it's own right and excellent compliment to Advanced Feats: Visions of the Oracle or Complete Advanced Feats.  This sourcebook adds new curses, mysteries and feats to the oracle, adding versatility and fun to a focussed class.  GMs in particular will appreciate the expanded mysteries and curses, while players might want to try something a little bit different.  Steampunk, Lovecraft and Conan aficionados will find things in here of particular interest. The sheer exuberance of the mysteries and curses makes up for the minor deviations from the approach used in other books in this series. Art and layout are excellent balancing complicated backgrounds with clear, concise text.

Content: 4.5 cards (awesome curses and mysteries forgive a lack of overview)
Unlike other Divine Favors, there's not much overview, straight into the new stuff.  The curses an oracle must bear are expanded with drunkenness, soullessness and cowardice, among others.  One of the best adaptions of a bokor's curse is included under unstable form.  Oracular mysteries follow, ranging from clockwork to the old gods, the moon, plague, snakes and wine.  In these, Stefan Styrsky shows that he understands the oracle's essential difference from other divine casters - that they are divine sorcerors and taps into what makes them a breed apart.  Some obvious combinations suggest themselves but the real draw are more obscure mixes of curse and mystery.  Finally there's a half-dozen feats - summon avatar adds flavour to summoned monsters while other feats focus on empowering mysteries or providing access to spells ordinarily not within the oracle's remit.  All oracle-specific, unsurprising given the book's subject though slightly at odds with others in this series

Art & Layout: 5 cards (excellent layout using colour and ink to high standard)
Christophe Swal's cover shows an oracle in full proclamatory mode.  The interior art is a blend of colour and monochrome on a patterned background.  The text is clear despite intricate design work in the background.  This marriage of elements makes Divine Favor - The Oracle stand out.  Nothing is cluttered, everything is used well and as usual, the PDF bookmarks just work.  The assembly of this book is another example of how other PDF publishers need to up their game if they want to be in the lead.

In conclusion, this adds fun options to the oracle.  The lack of overview appears to be a deliberate choice, having done a good job in Advanced Feats: Visions of the Oracle, why rehash?  It's omission is only unusual in context of other Divine Favors. While other companies may shamelessly recycle, this is not the case here.  What is here though is several shades of fun.  Oracles get a significant boost and this sourcebook wears it's influences openly and knowingly.  Again, the price is insanely reasonable and once you've read it, orders of  soulless clockwork oracles or mutating oracles of the old gods will march into your game.

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