The history of the Oracles is somewhat sketchy at best. Obviously, it starts with one wraith: The Lady of Fate, whose ability to read the Web of Fate makes the Arcanos of Fatalism among the oldest of abilities. It would also make sense that she acquired a number of followers with the same Arcanos, making what would become the Oracles Guild one of the oldest gatherings of wraiths. Although the Artificers make the claim as the first, official Guild, what would become the Oracles roughly formed much sooner than any of the Soulshapers.
Mostly the Oracles kept to themselves, even through the major events such as the War of the Guilds and the Guilds Revolt. Although they participated in both, they did so only on the fringes of the battles, and were among those who quickly followed the Masquers out of the latter. They saw themselves as holders of a greater purpose, above the petty bickering. In fact, many Guilds are loathe to tangle with the Oracles because of their connections (however tenuous) to the Lady of Fate.
The greatest singular event that the Oracles played a role in was to foresee the coming of Gorool, the subsequent disappearance of Charon, and the fact that Charon would be reborn to the living and save Stygia in its hour of greatest need... It was their warnings that lead to Charon's dealings with the Mnemoi to preserve his memories. The Oracles were sworn to secrecy, guarding the prophecy from the wraiths of Stygia. Therefore, most of them were not surprised when Charon and Gorool vanished in the Fifth Great Maelstrom, although they mourned along with the Lady of Fate.
Sure enough, the words of the Oracles rang true. Charon did return just before the Sixth Great Maelstrom, but with his mind and memories greatly reduced by the extreme persecution of the Mnemoi. He managed to save the wraiths, but at the cost of Stygia itself. After his Transcendence, the Lady of Fate wandered to parts unknown to await her own Fate, and many of the Oracles followed her.
The Pantheon is composed of a representative of each of the divisions of the Oracles listed below. These wraiths serve to run the Guild as a whole. A member of the Pantheon is chosen to both head them and operate as Guildmaster. The current head is Selena, the leader of the Delphics. Although the Pantheon is supposed to keep the Guild on its destined track (helping those with a "Blind-Eye", or unable to use Fatalism), many times the agenda of the Pantheon changes as representatives try to grab more for their division. The Pantheon Temple serves not only as their headquarters, but the headquarters of the entire Guild.
The Delphics are the oldest, wisest, and most famous of the Oracles. They have seen for the most powerful of wraiths, using rituals that have lasted for centuries. The primary diving ritual is called the Grand Dance, and operates with the utmost precision and timing. Any wraith who attempts to interrupt the Grand Dance will be most likely refused future readings by the Delphics.
Gifted Delphics are called Pythians, after the famous Oracle in Greece. Usually Moliated into androgynous beauties, the Pythians are known for their talents, but also their vanity and notions of superiority. Anyone who gets a reading with a Pythian should count themselves fortunate.
Augurs are separated by other Oracles by the means they divine the future. Hepatoscopy and myomancy are the two most common, but any ancient form of divination is acceptable to them, as long it involves some form of sacrifice. This practice embodies the one belief that all Augurs share: The truth hurts. However, the Augurs are also considered by many to be the most dependable of the readers, even above the Delphics.
The leader of the Augurs is known as the Aleph, who holds the Augurs' symbolic Artifact, the Sacrificial Blade of Eannatum. The Aleph also holds control over the "publicity" of the Oracles, so that certain readings remain unknown to the public eye.
Clairvoyants follow strongly in the pagan traditions of divining. They use many objects that are now considered "New Age" to do their readings; tarot cards, crystals, runes, and even phrenology are methods that Clairvoyants use to tell wraiths their futures. They are the largest of the Oracle divisions, as their laid-back attitude endears them to their customers and outsiders.
The Clairvoyants also boast several subsections, each representing a method of reading. Most common are the Star Seekers (astrology), Fetishists (tribal animalism), Jesters (laughter), the Vanities (mirrors), and the Card-Carrying Members (Tarot).
The heads of the Clairvoyants, Dama D'onore. and La Guardia represent both the feminine and masculine aspects of their faction. Although both sit on the Pantheon, they share one vote between them, which they cast together to signify the unity of their Oracles.
Doomsayers closely follow the activities of Oblivion in an attempt to warn wraiths that bad things are coming. Many dismiss them as zealots, lunatics, or rabble-rousers, but the fact is the Doomsayers have been right many times before. The head of the Doomsayers, the Prophet, will occasionally gather his followers together into Forums, or mass divinings. There is a stable nihil that is also a favorite gathering place for the Doomsayers.
Gamblers exploit their abilities on games of chance, using their powers to bid successfully or withdraw when their funds are threatened. Many Gamblers run their own games and casinos for wraiths. Contrary to popular belief, the Gamblers are not associated with the Riders of the Wheel.
The head of the Gamblers, the Dealer, makes her home on a splendid relic Mississippi riverboat, which is among the most popular places for a wraith to game. However, the would-be patron had better have oboli and lots of it, or else they will fall prey to the Spook bodyguards the Dealer has thoughtfully hired to make those who owe cough up their cash.
Guild Culture Edit
Initiation among the Oracles is differentiated by which branch a wraith is joining. The Augurs are the most ceremonial; a Moliated wraith is nailed to the Great Altar. The initiate is given a blade, tricking them into thinking they will read for this strange creature. Instead, when they reach the Altar, the elders push them onto it and nail them down as well; they then proceed to read the Fate of the initiate's Corpus in many painful ways.
The Gamblers use blackjack as an initiation which results in more humor than actual harm. The Doomsayers show their initiates the gaping void of Oblivion. The Delphics place their initiates into a state similar to slumber, in which they have a detailed vision. And the Clairvoyants' initiations are personalized as to what type of fortune telling method they use.
The Weaver of Fate is an enigmatic figure, to say the least. An ancient wraith apparently touched by madness, the Weaver lives in the catacombs under the Pantheon Temple and attempts to map Fate by writing down any vision brought via Fatalism, no matter how small, and placing on an enormous timeline. He looks for patterns to see if any of these visions lead to a single future. In some places, Fate seems to split along a few key events, with the main timeline continuing on while unfulfilled visions branch off and end rapidly. Most Oracles make at least one visit to the Weaver in their Guild careers as a sign of respect and courtesy, but several also become fascinated by his findings on the Web of Fate.
Of course, the Oracles cannot be mentioned without discussing their Hierarchy cousins, the Legion of Fate. The only connection members of the Legion of Fate seem to have is that all of their deaths were foreseen by Oracles. Many wonder about this practice; some think that the Oracles are using the advantage of Fate to take the best of the best into their Legion, while others believe the newly reaped Enfants to be a sort of tithe or offering to the Lady of Fate.
Version Differences Edit
The 20th Anniversary Edition introduces a new faction, the Hands (as in "hands of fate"), who are driven to solve the problems Fatalism reveals, and who'd be dangerous if they could agree on what issues to prioritise and what to do about them.
|Wraith: The Oblivion Guilds|