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I'm working on some plot and I'd really like a way for an NPC who's a mid level Oracle (no specific stats yet but I'd prefer to keep him to 3rd level spells and under, 4th level at a pinch) to send a message to my players.

The message can be one way but needs to be clear and understandable and identifiable that he is the one sending it. Ideally I'd like him to be several day's travel away but at least a few hours away (in other words, At least 5 miles away, preferably a hundred miles or more away). Essentially he's warning the players about a problem that needs solving urgently but he needs to be too far away to get involved himself. The players are travelling through wilderness on a not previously known path and the news is very urgent so delivering it by hand would be tricky.

I'd be happy to use magic items or a specific Oracle Archtype within reason.

I just found the spell Sending on the cleric spell list (no idea how I missed it first time through). That is nearly perfect but if there is any way to do it with a lower level spell or a longer message then that would be great, if not Sending it is.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So the message must find the PCs while the PCs are on the move. Well, that eliminates the lower-level obvious spells whispering wind and animal messenger, even were the oracle to use a black feather fan or a custom magic item, respectively. An excellent question, by the way. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 19 '16 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ How quickly do you need the message delivered? This would determine whether something that travels at land speed that simply has the ability to locate the PCs is OK, or if you need it to be instant/nearly instant. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 19 '16 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ He's warning them of events that are happening "right now" when they get the message. (Bad guys are doing stuff they need to go stop) so it would need to reach the players fairly fast but I could plausibly explain a delay of a few hours. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Feb 19 '16 at 23:23
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The Bird Feather Token is a 300gp single-use magic item which can be used to "deliver a small written message unerringly to a designated target". When I need an NPC to give the players an quest on short notice, I usually use those.

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This is not a system specific mechanic, but has been used with positive results in my own campaigns - a pair of magical items called "Dictation Ash" and "Conversation Ash".

Dictation Ash and Conversation Ash

By throwing a pinch of "Dictation Ash" on any non-magical fire and concentrating on a sentient being you have met, any flame within twenty feet of that being will take on the user's vague image, and the user's voice will be heard through the crackling of the embers. The effect lasts roughly thirty minutes and may be terminated early by the extinguishment of either of the fires involved. By making the receiving fire as small as a match or as large as a bonfire, it may be possible to amplify the image and voice of the person speaking.

"Conversation Ash" functions the same, but with an additional bonus - it allows the receiving party to respond through the fire. Conversation Ash is twice as expensive to make (in both time and materials) and three times more expensive to purchase.

A pinch of Dictation Ash is usually the price of a pony and is consumed by its use.

By using Dictation Ash or Conversation Ash, you can almost guarantee your adventuring party will be available to listen when delving in dungeons, sitting in taverns and when they prepare food or make a campfire. You may circumnavigate the cost of the ash by discovering a stockpile, or a mill dedicated to production.

An alternative solution, as you say you need a way for an oracle to contact the players, is an animal familiar (such as a raven) with a note attached. An oracle could divine the party's location and send their familiar relatively promptly. In most systems 'find familiar' is a first level spell.

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A Nature Oracle could do what you want, if the Oracle NPC met the players and potentially had a reason to feel the need to stay in touch with them.

Transcendental Bond (Su): You become so attuned to the common spirit shared by all living things that you can use it to communicate with allies. You may communicate with your allies for a number of rounds per day equal to your oracle level as if using telepathic bond. You may designate a number of creatures as your ally equal to your Charisma modifier. Designating a creature is a standard action that requires a touch. At 10th level, you may use this bond to cast a touch spell on a designated ally once per day.

If I'm understanding this correctly, the NPC could communicate with your players over any distance (telepathic bond is limited in casting range, but the effect/bond works over any distance).

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