I have been playing table-top for about 13 years now. I am most experienced with the World of Darkness games and system and have a passing acquaintance with D&D 4.0. My group and I have only played 3.5 a few times and never past 10th level. However, Pathfinder seems like an interesting game. It has fixed some of the problems with 3.5 and has created a bunch of really interesting and unique classes. The Oracle is the one I am most interested in. We are a very roleplaying focused group, going for a lot of deep immersion, rich plot, heavy character backstory kind of gaming. We don't in any way shy from combat, but character creation and character plot is very important. Now I have created a rather unique Oracle character. A Human, in his youth (17 or so) he committed murder. It was a crime of passion and he was so racked with guilt and remorse that he took his own life. When he crossed to the land of the dead, they told him that he had to make penance for his actions and bound to him the souls of murderers. A few murder victims were also bound to him and he was returned to life as an Oracle. He is here to avenge the slain and serve as a prison and warden for the slayers. His powers are all explained as coming from the ghosts bound to his soul (it's mostly an aesthetics thing, no rules changes). I chose the Ancestor Mystery, and (of course) the Haunted curse. In this campaign we are using advanced firearms, they are less costly than normal (about 1/10th their book cost). I am planning on going with a ranged combatant; Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot. We are starting at fifth level, and I am really not sure how to distribute his stats or skills. I am trying to make a 3 dimensional character, a "hand of retribution" sort of guy, but it's not all about the combat. Like I said, I am a litlle confused as to how to build an Oracle in the first place, their role is ill-defined as far as I'm concerned. Could someone help me out with a little advice, or just their thoughts on the matter? I need a sounding board. Thanks
Oracle is a spontaneous, divine spellcasting class. She has a greater number of spells per day than a Cleric, and can cast without preparing in advance; but, she has a narrower list of spells that she can choose from. She is the divine equivalent of a Sorcerer (whereas a Cleric is comparable to a divine Wizard).
Be mindful that Oracle isn't especially tuned for making ranged attacks (though she isn't terrible); as you level up, if you find that ranged attacks are your focus more than spells, you may want to consider multi-classing into a prestige class that gives you a higher Base Attack Bonus while continuing your spell progression (Eldritch Knight is a good example). On the other hand, you may decide that you want the Oracle's neat higher-level class abilities (Revelations, etc) more than you want a couple points of extra attack bonus.
Key ability: Cha.
Your key Ability score is Charisma, since Cha gives your spells a higher save DC, limits the highest level of spells you can cast, and grants you bonus spells per day.
For ranged combat, you also need a high Dex. Dex also improves your ability to dodge attacks, and increases your Reflex save (resist fireballs, traps, etc).
Con gets you more hit points, and a higher Fortitude save (resist poison, being turned to stone, etc).
Str won't be very important to your character, except to carry gear.
Int grants you more skill points.
Wis gives you a higher Will save (resist mind-affecting spells, etc).
Look through the class skills to figure out what interests you. You should have max ranks in the Spellcraft skill. You can also choose cross-class skills without a big penalty in Pathfinder, so you should skim through the entire skill list to see what's available.
As a rule of thumb, I usually pick a number of skills equal to the number of skill ranks I get per level. For example, if you get 8 skill points per level, you could put max ranks in 8 different skills. If you decide you want more skills than that, you can split up one "ranked skill" into two "half-ranked" skills, and put a half-point in each every level. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, just a way that I've found of making the decisions and the math much easier.
The Extra Revelation feat is an Oracle-specific feat lets you choose an additional optional ability from the list for your chosen Mystery.
Since your character is heavily involved with ghosts, I think the Ectoplasmic Spell metamagic feat from Advanced Players' Guide would be appropriate.
Beyond that, feats which enhance your spellcasting will be the most effective for your character; since you are doing ranged combat, you will have to split your feats between ranged and spellcasting. I would recommend reading through the table at the beginning of the Feats chapter (both in the core rulebook and the Advanced Players' Guide) to get a brief description of what each feat does; there are a lot to choose from.
If your group is more familiar with 3.5 than with Pathfinder, remind them that you get a feat every 2 levels, not every 3 (so you should have 3 character-level feats at level 5).