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Mine was chosen when his father agreed to give the life of his firstborn son to Asmodeus in return for wealth. Father thought that meant his son would die, but actually it gave Asmodeus a link to the son to corrupt and turn him evil. His curse (blackened) came when conjuring hellfire (burning hands) to murder his own father, then sticking his own arms in the fire to make it look like an unfortunate accident.
This is for Way of the Wicked (he's not a nice guy).
|Cult of Vorg|
When we switched from 3.5 to PF (long campaign that started as ad&d), we had a long period of downtime after a harrowing and costly escape from the Xanathar's clutches. My Tempurian warpriest, Ulfgrim, finally lost his god's favor after years of choosing heroics over war, devious strategy over honorable brutality.
Reduced to mere mortality, he descended into alcoholistic depression. When his sight began to blur, he welcomed it as a sign of impending death. He was slacking his way through occasional caravan guard work for beer money.
One night, staring into the blurry mystery that had become his world past 30', he saw an unusual spec of detail in the distance. As it grew closer, he recognized it as a raven winging its way towards him at preternatural speeds. He grinned and gave a gallows laugh as it dove beak first into his right eye, sure that death was finally claiming him.
He woke with tears of blood streaming from that eye, feeling exalted at the divine connection tingling through his veins again at long last. He drew his blade and howled his joy, waking the camp and startling the sneaking wargs about to slaughter the undefended. A stranger's laughter echoed in the back of his skull, managing to be mocking, feral, and approving all at the same time.
Pledging himself to his unknown patron in return for his renewed sense of purpose, Ulfgrim drew walls of fire across the sands to funnel his foes towards him. Soothed by the upcoming bloodshed, he looked forward to drawing old and new companions to his side to meet the challenges sure to come his way again.
Well which comes first; the curse or the mystery? Therein lies the story.
I had a player in my campaign come up w/an oracle of time. I urged ancestor, but time worked ok too. He took the blindness curse. It ended up working like this:
Olmus was born in Dunspar, the City of Wards. His parents were modest folk; his mother had been an orphan and had naught but a strange old "uncle" who looked in on the family from time to time while his father was a hard-working local descending from a long line of gravetenders for the Church of the Weeping Mother in the city.
Olmus was bound for the Boneward and the Coiling Crypts below but for his devotion and fervor for Pharasma; specifically in her aspect as the knower of history and the past. He spent hours in the rectory libraries and it was decided he would become one of the cloistered monks; not a war-master like the Wardens of Dunspar, but rather one of the learned clergy who tended the flocks and kept the scripture.
The lad earned his robes young but he felt a yearning for more. He seemed to lack the calling of the clerics and no spark of the divine was in him, yet still Olmus felt moved to some higher purpose. He became inured of the dirges and songs of the Beloved and sought to understand the great mysteries of the word.
So it was that Brother Olmus traveled to a tiny monastery just north of Arabellyn. Here, at the Spire of Eldergrim he sought solitude. So much so that he invoked an ancient custom and had himself walled into his cell; sealed away from all interaction with the other monks save for a slot in the stone for passing books and food. Olmus was to spend a year in this state.
That's when the Darkness came.
Brother Olmus lost all sense of time and found it hard to count the days. Tiny flickers of sunlight filtered through the cracks of the mortar but they conveyed no measure of comfort. The young man prayed, sang, ate and meditated by candlelight for months. He began having visions when he slept while his eyesight became increasingly poor. It was as if, when he sang the voices of those who went before him on the Great Wheel joined him and in moments of quiet the host murmured.
Finally, mere days before his scheduled release one voice; a woman's voice began piercing the din of his subconscious. She claimed to be his mother who had died some years before and she warned him of a preternatural shadow which sought for him. Olmus' visions became apocryphal. They often ended with headaches and convulsions. He became convinced he could actually SEE the Darkness around him, cloying to the walls and stuff of his cell, mingling with the shadows and distorting the chamber around him. He thought he was going mad.
At the height of one of his seizures Olmus flung himself at the wall and smashed his skull.
When he came to his vision was all but gone. It had been replaced by a haze of shadow that consumed all but the most immediate surroundings. He had been rescued from his cell and taken to the infirmary where no magic or herbal healing could remove the inky stuff from his eyes. His master, Abbot Haegel could be heard at the edge of his vision, asking after the boy's condition. Then the old master asked to be alone with his ward. The twisted mockery of a face that came into his eyesight froze the blood in his veins.
Abbot Haegel was a monster.
The elder's face was unnaturally long and pale; his eyes were black orbs and his mouth was filled with yellowed needle-teeth. His attempt at a comforting grin was warped and hideous. "Olmus; how are you feeling lad?" The boy began to scream.
His "mother" had warned him of this. The man had been claimed by the Shadow. These creatures now existed outside the Mother's Wheel; the Shadow cloaked their soul even as it twisted their body making them effectively immortal. It even granted them power but the darkness made them monstrous. One of the first powers of the Enshrouded his "mother" had taught him was to cloak themselves in a glamour to appear human.
In his studies Olmus had learned of only one way to end an Enshrouded for certain: beheading.
The thing that had been Abbot Haegel recoiled from him and hissed. The lad, reacting as quickly as he could snatched up his ceremonial knife and thrust hard. The blade pierced deep into the monster's chest which only seemed to frustrate it. The creature smashed Olmus across the jaw sending him sprawling from the cot to the floor. At the same time he breathed out a cloud of stinging smoke but Olmus' preternatural eyes ignored the haze. With a desperate lunge the curved blade caught the side of the elder's neck and slashed, removing flesh from bone.
When at last his physician barreled into the room there was olmus; drenched in blood and holding the abbot's head in his hand.
Well the one Oracle I was in a party with started out as a rouge and through a miss step, caught a crit with a great axe swung by a were-bear in the 2nd book of the Jade Regent. Needless to say our rouge got to spend a while in the bone yard as we hauled his corpse back to town to res him. He was never the same after that, apparently while he was there he got to see the ultimate outcome of every bad thing he had ever done, and all the people he hurt as part of his judgement. He came back as an Oracle with a very different life view and the Cloud Vision curse.
I was raised in the breeding vats of Nagajor by my Naga masters and imbued with the divine power of Yaezhing to better destroy my demonic foes.
One of my legs did not form well in the vat but I am otherwise a perfect physical specimen.
I shall rip out the hearts of demons along with those who consort with them and make them pay for their wickedness with blood.
Katya was the trap master of a small band of thieves before a misfired trap nearly took her life. Her lover Dimitrius through himself in front of the bolt, taking the arrow in her stead and died in her arms. Soon after Katya's body began to rot and whither, and though she had once been able to charm anyone that met her, she now found herself rebutted at every turn. She soon learned that she had the ability to heal the wounded and sick with a touch and that if she did so, her own withering increased but, if she used those same powers to harm the undead, the rot vanished almost entirely. She dedicated her life to hunting down and destroying the undead, happy to give the life she should have lost in service to the new cause. When she died, two years later, in the middle of the Stolen Lands, she died peacefully, knowing that she had served her patron well.
The spirits of my ancestors have spoken to me since the days of my youth. They have taught me many secrets, like the languages of plants and animals. I am never alone, for my ancestors are always with me. Often they come to me as small birds and whisper secrets in my ear, protecting me from danger or carrying messages to my companions. Some people cannot see my ancestors and are frightened by what they do not understand, fearing that evil spirits are playing tricks on me. Ha! The trick is on them! Do they not see that even the spirits of the dead listen to my commands?! Soon, my journey will be complete and I will return home, to the jungles of my ancestors to lead my tribe as rightful chief.
He was a watchpost on a trading ship when he spotted the storm. For some reason he felt drawn to it and fascinated by it, and thus he deliberately neglected to warn the rest of the crew that they were about to sail into it.
He was picked up by the strong winds and tossed about in the fury of the elements, but somehow he felt both safe and invigorated. He eventually lost consciousness, but woke up safe and unharmed on a beach hundreds of miles from the storm. Since then he discovered that he was able to call up the winds to do his bidding and perform other miracles.
The rest of the crew were killed in the storm, however - he can still hear their voices in the night sometimes, and ghostly sailors frequently appear at the edge of his vision, looking at him with their judgmental eyes (Haunted curse).
Hooray! I was hoping for Mark's short stories here!
So this is ME:^^
"Chthoriane..." begged Pearl, struggling to raise herself from the floor. "I thought we were friends!"
"We were NEVER friends. We just had a common interest. You know nothing about me". The dwarf spat. "And I sure didn't know enough about you. There is plenty of loot to take in these old ruins, if one dares to take it. But you had to go and ruin everything for some old book!"
"But..." tried Pearl. "It isn't just any old book! This magic library could have belonged to the Great Father Bard! The only proof that The Noble Prince and His Companions ever really existed could be in here! The unknown end of their story! That's more precious than any treasure! I believed that you wanted to know too! Aren't you too a bard?"
"Who told you?" said the other woman, ironic. "Here's another proof that you don't know me. I'm not a bard. I'm a rogue. And neither you are, lady wizard. And sure I'm not so stupid to invest my entire life on some old story. A nice story, sure enough. But just a story. It never was more than that. Only fools like you really lend their ears to the legend. And I'm not renouncing to all this gold just for a legend and a fool. The Noble Prince is just a name on a piece of paper. And out here is the REAL world. Good staying in the world of books and dreams, Pearl. Let's see how long you can eat and drink dreams before starving".
The last chink closed. Echoing footsteps lost in the distance, climbing up the stairs.
And the exausted wizard was left alone in the vast underground chamber, surrounded by books. And cried.
So this was the end of her quest. She would die here alone. And worst of all- she would never have KNOWN.
That story- that legend- it was the only thing to save her life when he was a lonesome child all wrapped up in her studies. When other students laughed at her, bullied her, she could refuge in that old bard's verses and find herself in company of friends. Heroes. That could fail, but never surrendered. Never forgot to smile and got up after a defeat. And eventually won. They remembered her that there still were good people in the world. That the world deserved another try.
She had to come here. She had to try to find the proof of their existence. And the fabled last volume of the Great Father Bard... she HAD to know how the story ended.
But now, her own story was to end first.
With an effort, Pearl struggled to her feet. Maybe Chthoriane's treason was a proof too. The proof that the world didn't deserve the effort. Better to let out her last breath surrounded by the only friends that never betrayed her: books.
She wandered the huge chamber, again admiring the number and beauty of the ancient volumes, the golden ribs and brilliant colors. If the Great Bard read those same lines, stroke those same papers, this alone was worthy to die in that palace. If only she could have known him. If only...
A lectern under a lightwell attracted her attention.
A great scratchpad was open on it. An old quill was near there on the table, as if it had just been deposed while the writer went out for a minute. Pearl neared the book as magnetized.
And her heart leapt.
That was the Great Father Bard's handwriting. She recognized it. So he had been here! She knew it had to be true! But there was more...
Trembling, she began turning the pages. Her blood started to fizzle. This was the book she had searched for. The book Chthoriane didn't believe in.
The Noble Prince and His Companions really existed! It was all written here! She knew all their stories by memory but this was the story she never had read before, the story that nobody ever read. Pearl lost herself in the verses, forgetting her captiveness, her death to come. How the Bard met them. How he travelled with them and knew all their deeds. And in the end, how they faced their most terrible enemy...
The last leaf was blank. Pearl's singing heart sank. So it was true. The Great Father couldn't end his work. She would have dead happy knowing the truth. But how could she die so... unsatisfacted?
And then, her hand moved by itself.
Pearl stared blankly as her hand took the quill from the table, laying it on the paper. Ink seemed to drip from the point, coming from nowhere. She would have shrieked, but her voice stood still in her throat- while her hand started to write, alone, in the Great Bard's handwriting. A word after another. A line after another...
The end of the story!
How it really had to end!
Did the Great Bard... or maybe his work itself... choose her to finish what he couldn't?
Her eyes devoured the words she herself was writing, eagerly, up to the last one. And then she signed, with her own name- and another...
And the last drops of ink sparkled and dispersed in the air, brightened by a ray of light from the well.
And they were there. In a mist of a million images and colors.
The Noble Prince and His Companions. Smiling. Beautiful. Ironic. Funny. In their colorful, bright armors. All around her, looking at her.
Pearl's cheeks were moist with tears. "If I'm dying", she said, "I don't care".
"You won't die", smiled the Wise Seer Maiden. "You believed in us, and that's why you could find the way".
"So was it the Great Father Bard? Did he send you to me?"
"Maybe", smirked the Master of Masks. "Or maybe it was your heart to create us".
"Thank you", said the Young Sage, "for giving us the chance to come back in this world".
The wizard didn't know what to think. And she didn't care. "Stay with me, please", she begged. "Stay with me... forever".
"We will stay", nodded the Prince. "Look". And he pointed to where the Half-Giant Warden was heaving up the heavy secret door again- or maybe it was raising of its own, sensing something that was not arcane power.
"If you want... we will stay with you forever. Even if we could be a... little nuisance sometimes. And you will stay with us one day. Now go. Go tell the world our last story..."
Bannock didn't understand why skin cracked and crumbled, like dry clay. He didn't know what disease caused his flesh to run like mud in the rain. All he knew was that, ever since he was hired to break into the Golemsmith's Warehouse and he was smashed into the vat of clay golem materials his life had been a nightmare.
His nights were spent dreaming of a world not his own; moving through earth and rock as if swimming in a stream. His waking hours were nearly as bad. He felt as if his body were no longer his own, as if something were inside of him, trying to free itself from him. Ironic since his condition made his body a prison.
His constant seep and crackle made him hideous. Even in cosmopolitan Inderwick, hub of three regions and the gathering place for the diverse and eccentric, poor Bannock the sculptor could find no acceptance. He took to wearing heavy cloaks and body wraps; a mask to conceal his visage.
Bannock had always been a devout of Torag, despite being human. He was a sculptor by trade but a tradesman nonetheless and he'd striven SO hard to be a good person. He'd been down on his luck though, and suffered so much when his brother died. He had nothing when the Crimson Hood gang had come to him and asked him to break into the warehouse that had abutted his home. He made ONE mistake, and it seemed now he would be punished for it slowly, for all time.
It was under the weight of this anguish that Bannock found himself on Hammersong Street at dusk a few weeks past. He had been to the healers of the Everforge Shrine but they said there was no cure for his disease, if disease it even was. With his last hope dashed he'd intended to give the devil in him its due and hurl himself into the bay. Either he would drown or dissolve; at that point Bannock had ceased caring.
"Stop, thieves!" he heard a shop lady scream. Looking up a pair of hooligans sprinted past. Bannock recognized the red cowls of their cloaks - Crimson Hoods. His heart raced and his blood went cold. If he was going to die, he'd take these wretches with him. But Bannock was no warrior; he wore no armor, had no weapons. What could he possibly do to help.
Something moved him. Perhaps there truly was a devil under his skin because what happened next defied all reason. The sculptor flung out his fist, meaning merely to stop the nearest of the two. The seeping muck he calls flesh oozed over his hand and splashed across the man's chest...where it sizzled as acid. The rogue clutched wildly at the wound and died screaming right there in the street. His partner stopped, dumbfounded, but quickly recovered his wits.
"I don't know what that spell was, freak," the thief snarled drawing his dagger, "but that was your last!" The blade darted forward and slashed at Bannock's ribs. As it bit into his strange flesh it did less damage than it should. The sculptor reached out with his dripping hand, clamped it on the Hood's face, and squeezed with all the rage in his tortured soul. The acid burned straight through to the bone and his victim crumpled to the ground.
In the Rise of the Runelords campaign my wife and I ran, my adult daughter played an elf oracle named Anastasia.
Anastasia's parents were powerful, pacifist archaeologyists in Osiris. They would investigate ruins and tombs invisibly or ethereally rather than disturb their inhabitants. At an uninhabited ruin, they brought their children along, young for elves but as capable as adult humans. While cataloging artifacts, Anastasia uncovered the relics of a forgotten spirit of war. That spirit declared her its avatar of battle (battle mystery). This attracted the small guardian spirits of the ruins (haunted curse).
Anastasia embraced her new magic, but her role conflicted with her family's nonviolent philosophy. She parted from them, and became a hero traveling in foreign lands. The small spirits followed her, meddling with objects she touched, but could often be persuaded to perform tasks for Anastasia (a flavorful interpretation of some divine spells).
Melchior was a village shaman for a Barbarian tribe, obsessed with death (and secretly, undeath). After being run out once his secret was discovered, he met up with a man who taught him of the glory of Asmodeus, and he converted, while being apprenticed to him.
Asmodeus was pleased with his pledge of service, but not so much for his undisciplined (by Hell's standards) nature and higher love for the art of raising the dead than his dedication to the cause.
His arms were Blackened as a constant reminder of the power of Hell, both in the pain it causes him (given by taking on that power), and the power it gives him to take life directly.
This one's also for Way of the Wicked.
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As a GM, I find that the oracle class is a good mechansim for suddenly imbuing an NPC with divine power.
I heavily rewrote a portion of the Paizo module Sins of the Saviors and put a lost tribe in the dimensional pocket called the Runeforge. The tribe embraced a life of combat and cannibalism. The sustanence spell on the Runeforge kept them all fed without food, but they learned that for their children to grow up strong, they needed meat. And the Runeforge had no animals besides humans. Thus, the only sources of food were the bodies of their vanquished foes or the spell Create Food and Water that could be cast by a 5th-level cleric. The tribe's clerics of Desna had not reached such levels in three generations. The other two gods they worshiped, Lissala and the Peacock Spirit, had been silent for millennia.
The party encountered the tribe, After battling the guards the party both impressed the tribe with their battle prowess and made peace when they discovered a common worship of Desna. When the feast in their honor featured the deceased guards as the main course, the adventurers pulled out their own food supplies and opened the feast to all comers. The visitors became very popular.
The next day, they wiped out the tribe's worst enemies, the undead in another portion of the Runeforge, and returned to rest. Their greeting was colder. A little girl who had eaten the visitor's food had died of poison. The party investigated and identified the poison as a magical creation. The next day, the party's paladin used his Ultimate Mercy feat to raise the girl, Allie, from the dead and ask her who had slipped her the poison.
Allie returned to life as a Heavens oracle suffering from the wasting curse. In the afterlife the goddess Desna had offered her a deal: she could have the power to protect herself and others and lead them to one day see the sky, in exchange for not being restored to full life.
The party tracked down a secret cult of Lamashtu as the poisoners. Later, at 19th level, they fulfilled the prophecy given to Allie and brought the Runeforge out of the astral plane and back into the material plane, where the tribe could find real food easily and see Desna's stars every night.
A permanent NPC in my Jade Regent campaign became an oracle at third level, after joining the party at second level. Amaya was an illegitimate child raised in an orphanage in Westcrown, a major city in Cheliax. She became an expert glassblower. She joined a secret reform movement that fought the banditry and corruption in Westcrown, not with speeches but with swords. That reform movement ended badly and May was marked for assassination. She fled to the town of Sandpoint in Varisia, hoping to find work in the glassworks owned by her half-sister Ameiko Kiajitsu. Welcomed by her sister, she changed her name to May Kaijitsu.
When adventurers found clues to the secret heritage of May and Ameiko's family, May joined them on their quest to seek the Amatatsu Seal. At the quest's end, the Seal offered her a boon to her destiny: it could transform her appearance from mixed Chelish and Tien races to pure Tien. May agreed, viewing it a a good disguise against Chelish assassins. The Seal accomplished the transformation by reaching back in time and physically copying the appearance of May's great-grandmother at the matching age.
Unexpectedly, this created an enduring link through time between May and all of May's Tien ancestors (Time mystery). She dreamt of them and could learn important information from those dreams (Knowledge of the Ages revelation plus a convenient plot hook). By focusing on her cleric ancestors, she could copy a few spells that they could cast. From her monk ancestors she learned a lost combat technique (Dervish Dance for Wakizashi). But in times of stress, she unraveled from time. She spoke backwards (stronger variant of Tongues curse) and she often blurred (Time Flicker revelation).
May's companions recognized spontaneous divine spellcasting and confused speech as common signs of oracle status. She became known as an oracle, a much safer identification than scion of the Amatatsu Seal, a role that came with even more enemies than she had left behind in Cheliax.
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In Character Recollection of how my Oracle was 'touched' by divinity.
It was late in the night and Smeekit's influence had left Kaul and Dibbets even more skunk drunk than usual. The more urbane and distinguished members of their dysfunctional crew were drinking in a bar where the rats were at least larger than the roaches... leaving the inebriated odd couple alone to their thoughts. It was then that the question was asked "So Dibbs, how did you get the bum leg?"
Leaning back in his chair a little too far, Dibbs overbalanced and collapsed into a swearing, farting, giggling heap. Regathering his senses and seating, Dibbets began to regale his scarred and nuggetty companion.
"You see it was before we met in front of the flower house and had our fun wiv tha skin bag. I was onna boat wiv a nasty lookin half-Vudrani piece o' work by the name o' Jake Stormhaul. He had a bit o' colour to his cheeks and some of the older mates had words there were some funny lookin things hangin round his cabin... somethin to do with knobs in vinegar or strange lookin idols o' six armed beasties... but thats gettin off track."
"Back then I were a bit nimbler on me legs, but still had me skin a crusted in salt and tar stained hands. We had a bit of a split in the crew - the shortshanks took riggin and the tall uns kept the decks... but me place were up in the crow. Used to spend most o' me day up there, just gazing out over the blue, looking fer anythin of interest... birds and sh1t like that. Few songs from the mateys and some flasks that we'd squirelled away kept the days and nights a bit interestin."
"We were skirtin round a bay one day though when a right crackin storm bore down on us like it was baying for our blood. Stormhaul took one look at it and went pale, strippin the sails down and storm rigging before sending the call to go below and ride her out. I was halfway down the mast when... something happened to me."
"I stopped and had a look out to the storm, and didnae have no fear no more... felt more at peace like. The boat rocked under me and pressed me against the nets and when the wood dug intae me ribs I realised I had a coupla flasks with me as well. I thought... why not? - so I climbed back up intae the crow, popped a flask and raised it to salute the squall before gettin myself right pished afore it struck."
"Gods I ken remember it now, singing me shanties and bein whipped back an forth thirty foot off the deck, hair plastered tae me back and ship creakin under me feet. I rode the bastard and danced in the crow fer a good three hour or more, never once losin me footing, an all the while a smiling at the tempest. Then... an ye'll think I'm feckin crazy fer sayin it... I heard the clouds n' wind laughin at me."
"Next thing I know, one of the stays cracks an a gust catches me under the arms and I'm spinnin in the air. Two long seconds before crunch... I land on me leg and the bloody limb explodes intae a mess o' bone an flesh. Other funny bloody thing is the storm breaks jus then too... an with the ebb o' the storm, the pain in me leg grows an takes me tae the black."
"Woke up inna surgeon's room an tha bastard had a saw hovering near me leg. Managed tae talk the fecker outa cuttin it off... but it's never been the same agin. Got put off soon after, an when the coin ran out is when I met ye, the others and the red faced fat man. Strange thing was... after the fall was when I started gettin the whispers in me noggin - an could call upon the Skylord's indiffrence fer fixins and mist."
Dibbets looks up from his reverie to find Kaul passed out and snoring on the table and Smeekit off to god knows where. Sighing Dibbs makes to turn in for the night... before moving to the fire to grab a cold burned end of stick. He carefully draws a pecker an balls on the snorin half-orc's craggy brow before giggling to himself and finding his lice ridden mat for slumber.
I'm just gonna copy/paste my character concept right here. I fully admit that this was all inspired from me taking the Tongues curse WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.
Dark Tapestry Oracle, Tongues Curse
75 years old
Karawane Bambla, or as he is known to his friends and relatives, Kar, is a gnome who, from the very beginning has had a full-on obsession with words. When he was young, his parents would read him stories of far-away lands, and whenever a foreigner would visit his town, Kar would run to them and ask a million questions. These conversations were Kar’s most formative experiences, and would inevitably steer towards a discussion of language; anybody who Kar met who knew a non-common, non-gnomish language was encouraged by him to speak in it as much as possible.
Kar took his obsession with him into his adulthood; he is a linguist by trade, serving as a translator and interpreter for whoever is willing to pay for his services. Recently, he has begun to call himself a “historical linguist,” finding old books of dead languages and absorbing them all.
This is what started all of Kar’s problems.
In the deepest, most forgotten basement of the oldest library in the world, Kar happened upon a small tome, incredibly ancient but still surprisingly intact. A small lock appeared to have once kept the tome secure, but rust had ruined the mechanism and time had faded the runes. With a swift action, Kar opened the large book to discover... nothing. For hundreds and hundreds of pages, not a single word, letter, or line had been written. Disappointed, Kar began to put the tome back, and in the process opened the book to the very last page. There, written in symbols both strangely familiar yet utterly alien, were three short words. Curious, Kar muttered the words under his breath -- but how did he know what they said if he had never seen these symbols before? and why did he suddenly have an ominous feeling about their meaning?
Kar stared at the three words, unable to blink or look away. He read them aloud again without meaning to, and then he repeated them again. And again. And again. The more he repeated the words, entirely unable to stop, the more he felt a... presence in his mind. After exactly 376 repetitions of the phrase, Kar was finally able to stop, and what was now clearly a strange ritual had ended. Kar was no longer simply Kar; he was a shell, inhabited by a being, summoned into him through a process Kar has now dubbed “memetic transposition.”
All Kar knows for sure is that this new entity within him has a name: Unggol, The Untempered Fragment. Recently, Kar has been experiencing blackouts, periods of increasing amounts of time in which he can remember nothing. He fears that these blackouts and the strange magical powers he has begun to manifest are a result of Unggol’’s continued attempts to assert himself as the dominant personality.
The Untempered Fragment
That Which Lurks in Broken Skies
He Who is Forgotten By the Impossible
Once a minor ancient god of great power, Unggol was shattered by his brethren in response to his attempts to kill and absorb them. After his revolt was stopped, his pieces were scattered across the multiverse, with one small piece taking the form of the three words that Karawane discovered. By forcing the gnome to repeat the words that made up this fragment, Unggol was able to summon much of his old mind and spirit into his new (and, for the moment, still occupied) body.
Unggol asserts himself whenever he wishes, but this is easiest to do when Kar is under stress and can’t focus on fighting Unggol. Unggol also shifts Kar’s form as he wishes; the common signs of Unggol’s dominance are Kar’s eyes (which shift into the appearance of a night sky, with crescent moons where his pupils once were) and mouth (from which protrude a cluster of small, purple-tipped tentacles). As time goes on, and Unggol regains his strength, Kar will gain more magic and Unggol will learn to twist his form even more.
The most troublesome part of the whole situation for Unggol is the very fact that he is existing in a solid body; as a creature used to living in a pure, chaotic, unstable form, having a body and a brain is forcing a structure upon Unggol’s madness. This structure weakens Unggol, forcing him to bend his powers to fit the world in which he finds himself. This structure also grants Kar the slightest influence over Unggol; Unggol seems to be bound by Kar’s strictest personal moral codes and can’t force Kar’s body to do something he would abhor, a fact that drives the mad god even more insane.
What are the elements that make an oracle?
- Divine magic: they cast spells powered by the Divine
- Mysteries: unique powers are revealed to oracles, seemingly by a patron
- Curses: The oracle pays for their power with some malady that haunts them forever
This essentially means that being an oracle is being an ongoing participant in a conversation with the divine. This dialogue might be expressed in words, visions, auras, subtle signs recognizable only to the oracle or other things. Since it's tied to the Divine though, the patron needs some kind of defined identity.
All this means that unlike a lot of heroes in PF they don't just receive a single moment of power that they themselves are developing over time. Rather an oracle is a class where you are being actively shaped and guided by a greater force, like a witch. Unlike a witch however your powers are in you, not taught/linked to an external focus (familiar).
So oracle origins need a catalyst of some kind but also evidence of the ongoing conversation.
- a woman who went to a seance to contact her gran to ask about the cookie recipe; now she receives messages from the Otherworld through her own tarot deck. The cards also reveal new powers to her but the spirits harrow her.
- a young man exposed to profane ooze left in the wake of a failed demon incursion is horribly burned and infused with the energies of the abyss. Now fire bends to his will and each pop and crackle, every flame's dance is a text in which he reads greater power. Unfortunately though his body was never meant for such power and terrible scars and burns gouge his flesh still no matter what magic is employed to heal him.
- a half-orc swallows a parasite as part of a test of manhood. The creature is a pestilence sent by the gods to destroy his cousins but to prove their endurance some are consumed on purpose. At the moment of consumption for this one however some portion of his human DNA bonded with the thing and now it has grafted itself to his body. It increases his prowess in battle but cruely it robs him of his vitality. He is always injured and every wound is worsened tenfold (Consumed curse). The parasite continues mutating him, warping him into the agent of divine retribution the gods originally intended.
I suppose there's other catalysts you might have like weird rites, a cursed item, or a haunted pond. As for ongoing communications you might have the oracle mysteriously receive scrolls - they're delivered by no one and never signed; the oracle might hear songs in breezes that advise them of new powers or portents; perhaps their own varacose veins in a limb are constantly expanding and the oracle alone can see a pattern emerging as evidence of the divine.
This character was created for the Jade Regent adventure path:
Halfister of Ameiko, twin sister to Tsuto, daughter of Atsuii, bastard daughter of Lonjiku. A half-elf twin, born to two human parents, didn't only cause problems in the relation between their parents, but it was quite the scandal in Sandpoint. The identity of their father was never revealed and they were sent to Turandarok Academy to be raised outside of the family to which they never really belonged. Their sister Ameiko visited them every once in a while, but on rare occasions and mostly in secret.
The relationship between Ameiko and the twin changed drastically, when Tsuto hit Ameiko in the face during an arugment, after which she left Sandpoint to go on a year of adventuring. Another argument happened during Atsuii's funeral, where Tsuto loudly argued that their "father" had pushed Atsuii to her "accidental" death, an arugment that ended with Lonjiku almost breaking his bastard son's jaw with his cane. Tsuto left Sandpoint in disgrace, followed by his twin sister Yifei.
Yifei followed her brother for several reasons. First of all she was loyal to her brother. She cared a great deal for Ameiko as well, but the bond with her brother was stronger. Yifei also realized that Lonjiku's anger with Tsuto included herself as well. And she had grown to hate the man that she was taught to call father, but who had only shown them loathing and hate, for a sin she didn't commit. And maybe the most important reason was that she too had her doubts about the "accident" that caused her mother's death and these doubts were fed by her brother's words and their father's fiery temper.
In Magnimar Yifei followed her brother and together they tried to build a new life. Yifei managed to get accepted into the Stone of Seers to learn magic. She had mediocre talent, but she was utterly devoted to her studies and her teachers encouraged her, happy with so much enthusiasm in a student.
Maybe Yifei was too involved in her studies to see what was happening to her brother. Maybe he was already too far gone when they left for Magninmar. Maybe it was all Nualia Tobyn's fault. Whatever the cause may have been, while Yifei still visited her brother on occasion, they grew apart. Yifei on her part was happy that her brother had finally found someone, not knowing what kind of person Nualia really was.
Life at the academy wasn't easy for Yifei. She mocked by fellow students for her limited talent and mocked even more, because she put so much time into her studies. And because she was only a bastard. Yifei was easygoing and sociable and loved by many. But there were some students who had chosen Yifei as their target. Most of the bullying was just gossip and backbiting.
One day things went out of hand. Yifei was browsing the bazaar when she was interrupted by three other students: Briseis Messinoudas, Collias Galanos and Arrian Bonifato. They invited her to go for a drink, but Yifei refused, knowing that their "friendly offer" wasn't genuine. The three decided to be insulted by this refusal and forced Yifei into a corner. Yifei was saved when her brother and Nualia intervened on her behalf and the three fled with the tail between their legs, not wanting to face even odds.
Afterward Tsuto wanted an explanation about what happened and although Yifei insisted that he shouldn't get involved, he and Nualia decided to teach Yifei's tormentors a lesson. Within the week all three were found murdered, tortured to death. The murderers were never caught. Yifei of course suspected her brother and Nualia and she tried to convince her brother to break contact with Nualia. Tsuto hit her.
Contact between Yifei and Tsuto broke down even further. Yifei wanted to get Tsuto away from Nualia, but she had no idea how she could do this. The thought of going to the guard crossed her mind, but she knew that if she denounced Nualia, he brother and quite possibly she herself as well would also get in trouble.
When she went to visit her brother one day, he greeted her warm. Nualia wasn't there and for a moment Yifei hoped her brother had changed and left Nualia. Her hope quickly turned into despair when she heard how he and Nualia planned to destroy Lonjiku and Sandpoint. They wanted Yifei's help for this. Yifei refused and tried to convince her brother to stop his madness. When that didn't work, she threatened to go to the guard. Her brother was furious and overpowered her. He locked her up in the cellar of his little house in Magnimar's Beacon's Point.
Yifei can't remember how long she spent up in that cellar. She doesn't even remember when Tsuto stopped bringing her food. Weakened and maddened by hunger and thirst she slept. She dreamt of the death of her stepfather. She dreamt of Tsuto's death. And she dreamt of the history of the world, from beginning to end. She could see it all. And she was driven mad by the experience. It was Tsuto who came to free her. Or maybe she spent so many years in the house and it had collapsed, allowing her to be freed. Or maybe she hammered on the door in despair when she learnt of her brother's death and it collapsed under her weak assault, as if aged hundreds of years in one second. She doesn't remember.
Half blinded by the light and starved she stumbled out of her prison and into the streets of Magnimar. She became one of the crazy beggars that roamed the streets of the city until one day she was spotted by Sandru Vhiski, who recognized the sister of his good friend Ameiko. Sandru took her back to Sandpoint, where Ameiko took care of her.
Yifei became the target of gossip and pity in Sandpoint and rarely ventured outside. Ameiko tried to protect her, because although Yifei quickly became her old self, outgoing and happy, something in her seemed broken. She sometimes spoke to people who weren't there, quite often Tsuto, and she had become very forgetful and easily distracted. Yifei also seemed to be followed by a strange curse: everything she held aged tremendously in just a moment's time and the moment she put the object down, it changed to normal again. On the other hand Yifei's magical ability had grown tremendously. It seemed as if she could do magic without even thinking about it. A crazy mage wasn't something the people of Sandpoint were waiting for really.
Yifei is a Dual-cursed oracle of Time. She has the Haunted and Wrecker curses. She's devoted to Nethys and the mad god's "blessing" is obvious on her. Yifei has a wisdom score of 7 to illustrate her insanity. The dm and I never let on if she actually was haunted or that it was just her madness that expressed itself through her magic and that the voices of the dead (mostly Tsuto) were actually just hallucinations. That made her incredible fun to play: did she actually see ghosts? Or was that also a part of her insanity?
|David knott 242|
I have an Oracle of Life with the Clouded Vision curse. In her case, the curese definitely came first -- she has been near-sighted all of her life, and it was only after she started gaining oracle levels that she realized that her vision problem was a divine curse and not an ordinary handicap.
|Cyrad RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16|
An oracle I played for a Jade Regent game. He was an ulfen human named Ostov. He was also a Black Blooded Outer Rifts Planar Oracle.
From a young age he had a grasp of the abyssal language although no in the family new what the language was and he had regular dreams of the Ochre Mists. While strange nothing ever really came of it. His family just figured it was the strange things young people, especially the youngest of a family, did. Things didn't get bad until around age 14 when his blood turned black. He was rough housing with his brothers when hit his head on some furniture. His black blood flowed from the wound and his family freaked out. In the panic he accidentally unleashed a pillar of screaming Bale Fire destroying a table and damaging the house.
They called him a demon and no son of theirs and he fled his home and the city of Kalsgard. He didn't return until the caravan he was traveling in went there on their way across the Crown of the World.
My last oracle wasn't really chosen. He woke up one day with a glaive talking to him while he stared into the setting sun with a single eye and having little memory of who he was and how he got there. Also, the glaive was made of a horrible black twisted metal and run through him impaling him to the ground. Probably not the first thing you want to see when you wake up from a long nap. He picked up the weapon(heirloom weapon) and become a mercenary, living on memories of being a soldier(time mystery). However his outlook on life has deeply changed, he finds himself unable to make allegiances and speaking with great honesty and openness about his feelings(legalistic). He finds himself cursing in infernal when he fights others(tongues).