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I'm building an oracle and considering making him use Words of Power. Obviously it's a whole new system with many differences, but I'm wondering what the key difference are... and especially if there are any surprises I might hit at mid-to-high levels that I should be aware of now before making the decision.

Are there support roles a divine spellcaster often plays in a party that aren't available for divine wordcasters? (For example, from a quick look it doesn't look like wordcasters can undo paralysis.)

Are there key things the divine wordcaster is better or worse at?

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2 Answers

A huge difference between the traditional spells and wordspells is the versatility. Because you can change things about a spell by swapping around target words you have the ability to deal fairly effectively with a large number of problems. However in exchange for this versatility you give up a lot of the niche stuff you get from specific spells. For example to my knowledge there are no words that replicate something like gentle repose or align weapon.

With all that said I'd advise anyone to stay away from words of power. The system is messy, clunky and confusing. Not to mention it hasn't received support since the book it was published in.

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KBrewer on the Paizo forums has created a very nice guide to words of power sorcerers that describes the strengths and limitations of wordspells. He gives a brief walkthrough of how the WoP system works and then gives a thorough discussion of the strengths, weaknesses, and how to introduce WoP into your game. Some of the more salient points:

  1. The system is very different from the normal spell casting system, so you have to read it all carefully.
  2. Workout your spells ahead of time - before the game. WoP is so flexible that you could easily waste everyone's time trying to figure out the right combinations.
  3. The flexibility of the system is best taken advantage of by spontaneous casters.
  4. Summoning only takes a standard action instead of a full round - greatly improving your action economy.
  5. Being able to combine spell effects means you can target any save you want AND have the effect you want AND maximize the Save DC. This also means that any feats you take to enhance your spell casting abilities are likely to never go to waste. He gives the example of Spell Focus: Conjuring and Augment Summoning. Normal casters have limited benefits from Spell Focus: Conjuring, and really just take it as a prerequisite for Augment Summoning. WoP casters can combine spell effects, so casting a Conjuration + would allow you to bump up the Save DC without really complicating the spell. Example: Fog Bank (Conjuration Level 1) + Terror (Level 4 Necromancy)

The above referenced guide is only for Sorcerers. However, KBrewer is currently working on a WoP Oracle, but I am sure you could take the lessons from the WoP Sorcerer and apply them to the WoP Oracle.

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