Friday, October 28, 2011

Witch Oracle - a strange and powerful NPC encounter


Just in time for Halloween:
The Witch Oracle



The Witch Oracle is a powerful sorceress. They are a rare, solitary type of witch, living in secluded places that others do not frequent. They may live in a hut in a dangerous swamp, in a hidden cave, at a ruined temple, a stormy mountain top or any other creepy, perilous and appropriate site. The point is that finding a Witch Oracle is not easy and the place where they live is fraught with enough natural dangers to dissuade the average person from approaching their lair.

A Game Master might want to include a Witch Oracle in the game when rare and vital information is needed to be acquired by a Player Character or a party of characters. Quests, recovery of valuable artifacts, knowledge of the weakness of a foe, the need to know the whereabouts of a lost loved one, etc. are all possible reasons for PCs to inquire of a Witch Oracle.

Witch Oracles are capable of foretelling future events, remotely seeing over great distances, casting curses and have secret knowledge that no one else possesses. For their information, there is always a price. Here are some possible ways of handling that:

1- The Game Master may have previously made it known that the Witch Oracle requires a specific rare item (such as a spell component that is dangerous and difficult to get – a Roc's egg, for instance)

2- The PCs may not know what it is that the Witch Oracle wants until they ask her for information, at which time, she will name her price – something that could lead the PCs into to a side-quest to get for her.

3- The Witch Oracle may demand to have sexual relations with the querent or the PC with the highest Charisma stat, if an entire party is seeking knowledge. Here is where one of the abilities of the Witch Oracle comes into play. The Witch Oracle is capable of making her appearance be that of any type of woman of any race. When the PCs first see her, she will appear as a woman of any form, with an apparent 18 Charisma. Any person seeing the Witch Oracle in this form must make a Saving Roll vs Charm or be enamored of her beauty. (“Surely the foolish people that warned the PCs of seeing the Oracle must be superstitious and mistaken!”)


Her true form is, however, extremely hideous; that of an old crone, with bugling eyes, warts, large nose or any other way in which the Game Master wants her to truly be – the point being that she is really a Charisma of 3 and extremely ugly to look upon. The crone will not reveal her true form until after the unnatural sexual union has occurred. There is a 20% chance of the Oracle becoming pregnant with a PCs child if they have relations with her. The pregnancy will last 3 months. The child born of this union will be a powerful child, mirroring both the abilities of its mother and those of the father. This could lead to some interesting adventures in the future. The child will always disdain its father and will seek somehow to make their life miserable, if not to end it! It only takes one year for the child to grow to maturity.

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Anyone that kills the Witch Oracle is always cursed. This is a good rumor to spread to the PCs beforehand as a warning, to make her seem even more terrifying. No matter how a Witch Oracle dies, even if decapitated or disintegrated, etc.immediately afterwards, an audible voice will curse the specific person(s) who caused her death.

Possible Curses:

1- The PC(s) are doomed to never complete their quest!
In this case, all rolls made by the PCs will be at a minus two [-2] until the quest or adventure is completed.

2- The PC(s) will be told that they will be haunted by the Witch Oracle for the rest of their days!
If this is the case, they will have nightmares every night, slowing healing and causing exhaustion in the character(s) until an Exorcism/Banishment is performed by a high-level Cleric, which is another possible quest.

3- The PC(s) will be cursed to rot until they reach the grave, where the Witch Oracle threatens to consume their soul!
The killer(s) will begin to be covered with oozing sores and begin to rot for 1 unrecoverable Hit Point per day. This can only be removed by a combination of Cure Disease & Dispel Curse(or Chaos) being used upon the sufferer(s).

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The Witch Oracle will not harm the PCs if they do as she bids and do not harm her in any way. The Oracle always has a familiar appropriate to her natural surroundings. This creature will fight to protect her to the death, if she is attacked.

An Oracle is always of equal or higher level to that of the most advanced PC and will have Magic Spells of that level (determined by the Game Master).

If treated well and her bidding is done, the Witch oracle can also give a Boon to the PC(s).
A Boon is a sort of “blessing”, such as plus one (+1) to all rolls involving a specific upcoming encounter, which will be foretold by the Witch Oracle. This is up to the Game Master's discretion and can be anything the GM wants it to be, in addition to any information gleaned from the Witch Oracle, as was originally purposed in seeing her.

A visit with a Witch Oracle should be handled as a major encounter in an adventure/quest, not merely as advanced rumor gathering or the like. A good Game Master will be able to use her to good effect in making any adventure or quest more interesting.

6 comments:

  1. Very nice writeup1 I see shade of Morgan Le Fey and Modred in there, as well as the (first) Conan the Barbarian movie.

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  2. I think you have hit upon some of the mythology behind the Witch Oracle... there is more, but that is quite perceptive! We OSR folk like our Old School influences ;)

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  3. Thanks! I'm just trying to get back into the groove again after my blog move/new blog setup here :)
    I see you have some interesting products that I need to check out!
    Peace,
    Jeff

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