Age of Heroes
Although the gods work through many agents, perhaps none is more mysterious than the oracle. These divine vessels are granted power without their choice, selected by providence to wield powers that even they do not fully understand. Instead of worshiping a single source, oracles tend to venerate all of the gods that share their beliefs. While some see the powers of the oracle as a gift, others view them as a curse, changing the life of the chosen in unforeseen ways.
The Oracle specializes in augury, prediction, prophecy, and divination. She has a magical connection with the world around her that becomes stronger with each passing year. At an early age, the Oracle learns the art of soothsaying and is able to interpret the will of the Gods by reading their signs and omens. As she ages, he begins to understand the languages of wild creatures and wield enough power to pronounce a doom upon a person or place.
The Oracle is able to influence another person’s destiny by foretelling it. If a Oracle ‘foretells’ a grim event or happening to another person, then that is the equivalent of a curse of sorts; although the Oracle interprets only what the fates already have in store for a person. Players are encouraged to decide and roleplay the exact nature of the destiny their character foresees for others.
Oracles tend to stay within a single temple or sanctuary guarded by her priests at all costs. The abilities of Oracles are extremely rare and cities all over Greece pay a hefty price to receive her prophecies. Almost all Oracles are female, and any male who gains the powers of sight are called Seers. Anyone with the power of prophecy is highly valued and one not already tied to a city or sanctuary would be greatly sought after. The abilities of sight are gained at the time of puberty, and if any with the ability lose their virginity, they also lose all of their magically granted abilities.
Oracles are unique in that they do not gain their power through intention or from a god. They are born with the ability to tap into the same magic as the gods themselves and are in many aspects very similar to a demi-god. As such, they are closely watched by the gods for fear of their intentions. This is why they are often closely watched and controlled by various temples, where priests can keep a close eye on them.
Skill Points at 1st Level:
6 + Int modifier x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
6 + Int modifier
The Oracle class skills are
- Craft (Int)
- Debate (Int)
- Forgery (Int)
- Knowledge (any) (Int)
- Perception (Wis)
- Prayer (Wis)
- Profession (Wis)
- Sense Motive (Wis)
- Stealth (Dex)
- Rhetoric (Cha)
Weapon & Armor Proficiency
An Oracle or Seer is proficient with the club, dagger and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield.
Oracle spells known
Oracle spells per day
The Oracle is completely unique compared to other spellcasters and does not follow the same rules as other magic users in this system. They are the closest to a traditional d20 caster that there is.
An oracle casts divine spells drawn from the cleric spell lists. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, an oracle must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an oracle’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the oracle’s Charisma modifier.
An Oracle can cast only a certain number of spells per day of each spell level. Her base daily spell allotment is given on the table above. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).
An Oracle’s selection of spells is extremely limited. An oracle begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of her choice. At each new oracle level, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Oracle Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells an oracle knows is not affected by her Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Oracle Spells Known are fixed.
In addition to the spells gained by oracles as they gain levels, each oracle also adds all of either the cure spells or the inflict spells to her list of spells known (cure spells include all spells with “cure” in the name, inflict spells include all spells with “inflict” in the name). These spells are added as soon as the oracle is capable of casting them. This choice is made when the oracle gains her first level and cannot be changed.
Upon reaching 2nd level, and at every even-numbered oracle level after that (4th, 6th, 8th, and so on), an oracle can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the oracle loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. An oracle may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level. She cannot swap any cure or inflict spells, nor can she swap any spells gained from her mystery. Unlike a cleric, an oracle need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level. Oracles do not need to provide a divine focus to cast spells that list divine focus (DF) as part of the components.
Oracles learn a number of orisons, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Oracle Spells Known under “Spells Known.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.
Each oracle draws upon a divine mystery to grant her spells and powers. This mystery also grants additional class skills and other special abilities. This mystery can represent a devotion to one ideal, prayers to deities that support the concept, or a natural calling to champion a cause. For example, an oracle with the waves mystery might have been born at sea and found a natural calling to worship the gods of the oceans, rivers, and lakes, be they benign or malevolent. Regardless of its source, the mystery manifests in a number of ways as the oracle gains levels. An oracle must pick one mystery upon taking her first level of oracle. Once made, this choice cannot be changed.
At 2nd level, and every level thereafter, an oracle learns an additional spell derived from her mystery. These spells are in addition to the number of spells given on Table: Oracle Spells Known. They cannot be exchanged for different spells at higher levels.
Each oracle must choose from among the following mysteries:
- Dark Tapestry
Each oracle is cursed, but this curse comes with a benefit as well as a hindrance. This choice is made at 1st level, and once made, it cannot be changed. The oracle’s curse cannot be removed or dispelled without the aid of a deity. An oracle’s curse is based on her oracle level plus one for every two levels or Hit Dice other than oracle. Each oracle must choose one of the following curses.
(Editor’s Notes: A complete listing of Oracle Curses can be found here: Oracle Curses)
The Oracle’s connection to the divine and limited ability to foretell the future makes it much more easy for her to avoid blows. She gains a bonus of the degree indicated to her Active Defense checks.
Interpret Divine Will:
The Oracle receives the Interpret Divine Will feat free as a bonus feat. She does not need to have the usual prerequisites. You may make a Sense Motive check (DC 20) once per hour to find out what a given God desires in sacrifice to achieve a given end or what a given person’s status is in terms of divine favor, disfavor, love and hatred.
At level 2, and every even level thereafter, the Oracle gains a new tongues ability as listed below. These may be taken in any order. Abilities that allow communication with creatures that are other than human must take into account the Intelligence of the creature. An animal does not become more intelligent just because you are able to speak to it.
- Tongues of all men:
The Oracle is gifted with the magical power to make sense of anything that anyone ever says to her, such is the depth of his comprehension. She can understand and speak any human language. She may not, however, read or write it unless he has the Literate feat.
- Tongues of the beasts:
The Oracle may understand and communicate with any land dwelling animal or mythical beast.
- Tongues of the seas:
The Oracle may understand and communicate with any ocean or water-dwelling animal or mythical beast
- Tongues of the birds:
The Oracle may understand and communicate with any avian animal or mythical beast.
- Tongues of the trees:
The Oracle may understand and communicate with any living plant larger than a bush.
The Oracle may prepare a personal forecast for a character. With a successful Charisma
check (DC 10) she may assign one day in the next seven as ‘auspicious’ and one other as ‘inauspicious’. She must make each assignation (the foul and the fair) and may not pick only one day. On the auspicious day, the player in question receives a +1 morale bonus to all attack rolls, saving throws and checks; on the inauspicious day, he receives a –1 morale penalty to the same rolls. This reading may only be undertaken with the consent of the character in question.
The Oracle receives the Prophecy feat for free at 3rd level. These prophecies will reveal far more information if done in a Holy location such as a gods temple or sanctuary. Once per game session, you may ask the Games Master for a prophecy regarding any person, city, object or anything else you wish. You may not ask specific questions, such as ‘where is the treasure of Minos?’ You may only ask for a prophecy concerning the named subject. This prophecy always comes true. The Games Master can ignore any die roll result in related to the outcome predicted by the prophecy. The Games Master gives you the prophecy in secret; it is up to you whether you share it or not. This prophecy may be cryptic or explicit as the Games Master chooses. You are not allowed to decide the prophecy yourself. Note that many prophecies are phrased so as to be ambiguous, such as the famous one received by Croesus.
At 3rd level, and every level thereafter through level 9, an oracle uncovers a new secret about her mystery that grants her powers and abilities. The oracle must select a revelation from the list of revelations available to her mystery. If a revelation is chosen at a later level, the oracle gains all of the abilities and bonuses granted by that revelation based on her current level. Unless otherwise noted, activating the power of a revelation is a standard action.
Unless otherwise noted, the DC to save against these revelations is equal to 10 + 1/2 the oracle’s level + the oracle’s Charisma modifier.
The Oracle may use her divine readings to spell doom for a target. Once per day, she may make a pronouncement of doom upon a given person or group of people, conditional upon a given date or event that is not currently occurring. For example, she might pronounce doom upon an aristocrat on a certain day in March or pronounce doom upon a warrior if he should face a man wearing only one sandal. (You may not pronounce doom upon the same target more than once in a month.) This requires a successful Rhetoric check. The DC of the check depends upon the size of the group, for which see the table below. A person upon whom doom has been pronounced automatically receives a result of 1 for their first Active Defense check or saving throw when the date or event comes to pass. They cannot alter this result in any way.
The Oracle can divine what the fates have in store. Each augury takes half an hour of work. An augury can tell the oracle whether a particular action will bring good or bad results for them in the immediate future. The base chance for receiving a meaningful reply is 70% + 2% per Oracle level, to a maximum of 90%; this roll is made secretly by the Games Master. A question may be so straightforward that a successful result is automatic or so vague as to have no chance of success. If the augury succeeds, the Oracle may receive one of four results:
- Weal (if the action will probably bring good results).
- Woe (if the action will probably bring bad results).
- Weal and woe (if the action will probably bring both).
- Nothing (if the action will not have especially good or bad results).
If the augury fails, result is ‘nothing’. An Oracle who divines ‘nothing’ has no way to tell if their augury was successful or not.
The augury can see into the future only about an hour, so anything that might happen after that does not affect the result. Thus, the result might not take into account the long-term consequences of a contemplated action. All auguries produced by the same person about the same topic use the same dice result as the first casting.
The Oracle is aware of hazardous events before they happen. Once per day, she may add a +10 divine bonus to any Active Defense check or saving throw.
The Oracle may, in studying a proposed undertaking, such as an invasion, a wedding or a festival, determine the most and least favorable times on which to commence it. (The Games Master should determine these dates randomly.) A successful Charisma check (DC 15) is required to use this ability; failure wastes a day’s work and the check may not be undertaken again for a week. Any person engaged in the undertaking who is aware of the seer’s proclamation receives either a +1 morale bonus to all attacks, checks and saving throws or a –1 morale penalty to the same, depending on whether the date is auspicious or inauspicious for them.
At 10th level, an oracle learns the final revelation about her mystery, granting her amazing powers and abilities. The nature of these bonuses depends upon the oracle’s mystery.
The Oracle gains the abilities of True Sight permanently.
Prophecies during the Persian Wars:
In 480 BC, when Xerxes, the son of Darius the Great of Persia, returned to finish the job of conquering the Greeks in which his father had failed, the Athenians consulted the oracle at Delphi. They were told:
“Now your statues are standing and pouring sweat. They shiver with dread. The black blood drips from the highest rooftops. They have seen the necessity of evil. Get out, get out of my sanctum and drown your spirits in woe.”
It was unambiguous. When persuaded to seek advice a second time, the oracle gave a way for the Athenians to escape their doom. When Athena approached her father to help her city, Zeus responded that he would grant that “a wall of wood alone shall be uncaptured, a boon to you and your children.”
The oracle again advised the Athenians to flee:
“Await not in quiet the coming of the horses, the marching feet, the armed host upon the land. Slip away. Turn your back. You will meet in battle anyway. O holy Salamis, you will be the death of many a woman’s son between the seedtime and the harvest of the grain.”
Meanwhile, the Spartans also consulted the oracle and were told:
“Hear your fate, O dwellers in Sparta of the wide spaces;
Either your famed, great town must be sacked by Perseus’ sons,
Or, if that be not, the whole land of Lacedaemon
Shall mourn the death of a king of the house of Heracles,
For not the strength of lions or of bulls shall hold him,
Strength against strength; for he has the power of Zeus,
And will not be checked until one of these two he has consumed.”
The Spartans withdrew in consternation, wondering which fate was worse. The Delphians themselves then asked how Persia could be defeated. The oracle replied:
“Pray to the Winds. They will prove to be mighty allies of Greece.”
Events overtook the prophecy when the Persian army assaulted Thermopylae, where the Spartans (notably “the 300”) and allies held the pass against them. The Spartans under King Leonidas (The Lion) resisted the Persian advance at Thermopylae until betrayed by treachery. Refusing to retreat, the entire Spartan contingent, including their King (as foretold), lost their lives, but in so doing gained immortal fame. The Persian armada then sailed to nearby Cape Artemisium, where they were met by the Athenian fleet. The Athenian ships fought against great odds, but in three battles managed to hold their own.
A tremendous storm then arose at Artemesium, with the most violent winds attacking the ships for three days. The Persians lost about 20% of their warships and perhaps the same number of transport vessels to the storm. The stormy winds and huge waves did not harm the Athenian ships.
Back in Athens Themistocles argued that the wall of wood referred to the Athenian navy and persuaded the Athenians to pursue their policy of using wealth from their Attic silver mines at Laurium to continue building their fleet. On the grounds that the oracle referred to the nearby island of Salamis as “holy”, he claimed that those slain would be Greece’s enemies, not the Athenians. For these the oracle would have said “O cruel Salamis”. His voice carried the day, Athens was evacuated to Salamis and in a following naval battle the Athenian fleet and its allies destroyed the Persian fleet at Salamis, while watched by Xerxes. Despite the fact that Athens was burned by the Persians, her occupants were saved, the Persian risk was ended and the authority of the Oracle was never higher.