If you don't have buttermilk, add 4 tablespoons vinegar to 4 cups milk and let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. Use as directed in the recipe. If you use quick-cooking oats, you can skip the soaking.
You should be able to decrease the amount of sugar, but I did not try it.
If you want to make a simple syrup topping: Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan; heat to dissolve sugar. Add 2 cups chopped/sliced fruit (such as blueberries, strawberries, apples). Simmer for about 10 minutes while you are making your pancakes.