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Misfortune (Ex): At 1st level, as an immediate action, you can force a creature within 30 feet to reroll any one d20 roll that it has just made before the results of the roll are revealed. The creature must take the result of the reroll, even if it’s worse than the original roll. Once a creature has suffered from your misfortune, it cannot be the target of this revelation again for 1 day.

Can this be used on party members to their benefit ie reroll a save / skill check that is obviously a fail?

RAW it seems like it should be able to .. but RAI?

First time this question came up in one of our games it was with a horribly overtuned Oracle / Synthesist so as a group we decided that it could not be used for player benefit .. hey its called mis-fortune.

Now though its being used by a, if anything quite weak, straight oracle. He has pointed out that if two characters are fighting he should be able to use it on them and then its hard to come up with a rule that says he can only use it to someones mis-fortune.

What is everyone opinions on the RAW / RAI associated with this situation?

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The intention of the rules, as distinct from what is written, is almost impossible to ascertain in the overwhelming majority of cases. Usually, the only evidence available to us is the rules text itself, which isn’t a great source of information on how the rule is supposed to be different from the way it’s written. In some cases one can find author commentary on the rules that can provide clarification, but most of the time what people claim was “intended” is speculation at best. I therefore suggest rewording to ask what you’re really looking for, which is whether we think it should be allowed –  KRyan Sep 4 '13 at 18:59
    
This doesn't deserve an entire answer but it is still "Misfortune" for the caster that your party member is saving against, or the monster they are hitting to allow them to reroll that and potentially hit. The only case where there isn't someone who has "bad" luck is if you are rolling to climb a rock or something like that and even that there is someone who could be worse off because you forced that reroll. (i.e. the goblins you are climbing up to stab in the throats). –  James J. Regan IV Sep 4 '13 at 19:22
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This doesn't seem too much different than the spell "Expeditious Retreat", which is not limited to just being used for retreating. –  Matt Hamsmith Sep 4 '13 at 20:00

3 Answers 3

RAW, the answer is clear: The ability doesn't specify an enemy, it specifies a creature. RAI, since it specifies a creature when specifying an enemy is possible and already done within the system (Bless only affects allies, Bane only affects enemies), it could easily be intended to be used on allies despite the name. RAI doesn't nearly matter so much, however, since what's more important is how your group plays/what you want out of it. If you are a group that encourages or at least allows optimization, I would allow the ability, since it's the sort of thing an optimizer would enjoy. In the case of this Underpowered PC, I would recommend allowing it even if your game isn't terribly optimization heavy, just to bring the Oracle up to the party standard and allow him to participate.

I also recommend you be consistent about this, however, as it will be unfair if you allow one player to use an ability a certain way without allowing a different player to use it the same way. If you don't want to allow this ability to be used on allies, consider giving the underpowered player help from some more experienced players in spell selection and character building, such as the player of the Oracle / Synthesist.

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I don’t know if I entirely agree about the way you’ve phrased the consistency bit. Clearly, you shouldn’t play favorites, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to let an underpowered character do something a you wouldn’t let a more powerful character do. For example, in 3.5 there is a feat that lets a character use Int for HP instead of Con: I would never let a Wizard (or similarly high-power Int-caster) use that. But I could see allowing, say, an Int-based Rogue to use it. –  KRyan Sep 4 '13 at 18:14
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I suppose I agree, except that in both cases we're talking about an Oracle, just with two players with wildly different optimizations. In this case, it can easily look like favoritism- even if it isn't. I might add suggesting that the original Oracle/Synthesist player help the new Oracle player out; it's not like Oracle is a particularly weak class. –  shatterspike1 Sep 4 '13 at 18:24
    
The two groups include slightly different groups of people (and neither DM is in both groups) so inconsistancy is entirely possible. And the straight oracle doesnt have problems with optimisation he just choose to play a less optimised character. –  Duncan Sep 5 '13 at 19:33

I am very sure RAW, it is completely possible. RAI, although the ability is called Misfortune, it could be possible as well. I have seen similar abilities functioning this way, and I think that a "the worse of two rolls applies" clause would've been there if it were meant to be purely offensive, since as the results are announced only after, it is not OP in any way.

I personally would rule that it is possible, and very much so when it comes to an UP PC. Rememeber, the game should be fun, and I don't think underpowered PCs and sharply limiting player choices when using abilities make it so. Judge that on your own though!

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RAW, yes it can do positive things.

RAI, if there was intent for it not to be used this way, they would have worded it like the Witch's misfortune hex:

Misfortune (Su): The witch can cause a creature within 30 feet to suffer grave misfortune for 1 round. Anytime the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, it must roll twice and take the worse result. A Will save negates this hex. At 8th level and 16th level, the duration of this hex is extended by 1 round. This hex affects all rolls the target must make while it lasts. Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day.

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Upvoted for specific contradictory example in rules. –  shatterspike1 Sep 4 '13 at 19:28

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