The defining features of an oracle are his curse and his mystery, and each one will have a different combination. To aid in making oracles even more interesting and individual, this work starts out by offering some additional curses and mysteries to consider.
First, new curses. The curse must be chosen at first level and remains with the oracle lifelong... so will he be a coward or a drunkard? Either could make adventuring interesting, especially for everyone else in the adventuring party. A stranger curse is that of the echo: this poor oracle cannot speak save to repeat what someone else has said... spells are cast silently, but at higher levels he can speak the verbal components of a spell someone else has cast and cast that spell, provided he is of sufficient level to cast it normally. That might prove too severe a handicap, so the aspiring oracle may prefer to be cursed with being grotesque, becoming even uglier as he rises in level. Other curses suggested are that of being illiterate (which does have the bonus of enabling the oracle to develop a prodigious memory), mute, souless or even of having an unstable form - you roll every day to see what you wake up as! The last one is wanderer, the oracle has itchy feet and cannot stay anywhere long. Each has some minor advantage, like the illiterate oracle's good memory, but in all cases the curse has profound effects on mechanical capabilities, never mind the potential for role-playing a distinctive character.
Next come some new mysteries. Like the curse, each oracle must select his mystery at first level and will continue to deepen his understanding in that mystery for the rest of his life. First is the mystery of clockwork: oracles who delve into this mystery can discern and change how mechanisms work and even create new ones out of thin air! Useful in a world where artificial constructs and mechanisms abound, but abilities are in the main limited to affecting them, so check that they are prevalent wherever you will be adventuring before choosing this mystery. Other oracles may prefer to delve into the mystery of the moon, gaining control of light and shadow and dreams... and insanity and sleep. Another mystery is that of the old gods, oracles who decide on this one gain strange powers and abilities from long-forgotten deities. Those who delve into the mysteries of disease are themselves plague-carriers and in general quite unpleasant to have around, whilst those who devote themselves to the mystery of snakes gain both the good and more repulsive attributes of serpents. Finally, the mystery of wine is there to be plumbed… perhaps best not by those whose curse is drunkenness!
The collection ends with a selection of new feats, all of which are specific to oracles. Many are based on mysteries, or on the oracle’s relationship with their deity, and should enable you to fine-tune your oracle’s capabilities in whatever direction you wish.
This book is all about developing coherent yet individual oracles who ply their trade skilfully and distinctively, and is recommended for all who want to stamp a mark on their campaign setting with their oracle. Some of the curses and mysteries are probably, however, best suited to NPC ‘enemy’ oracles, rather than player-character ones – but even these will prove memorable to those who meet them.
[5 of 5 Stars!]