Sunday, August 11, 2013

223: The Fatal Oracle

ENTRY 223: The Fatal Oracle

“Everything that lives is doomed to die. Accept your death and you may do great things.”
- The Fatal Oracle, opening lines

There are two places on the equator of Mercury where, because of its orbit, the sun rarely shines. On one of these is built a small habitat, hollowed out of a depression on the surface. It contains oracle of sorts; a strange AGI trapped in an ornate, custom computer that fills up the majority of the space in its habitat. Some say that the strange, almost organic architecture of the habitat looks like it was grown from the computer, others say that it was built around the oracle to contain and imprison it.

This is the Fatal Oracle, so named for its fatalistic viewpoint and philosophy. To the Fatal Oracle, in the long run everyone is dead—the planets will cool, the stars will cease shining one by one, and the universe itself will collapse once again, taking with it all the information generated by this great cycle. With this resignation to ultimate fate, the Fatal Oracle advises those who visit it to take heart and live in the now. Those who fear death and seek to escape it waste their energies on worry and cowardice, while those who accept the reality of their death may accomplish awesome things—terrible, perhaps, but awesome.

Supplicants visit the Fatal Oracle with their questions, and come away with prophecies of a sort—really, more in the nature of suicidal or near-suicidal plans to achieve the ends that they seek. Sometimes these are terrorists, who require motivation and success and are willing to pay their lives for it; sometimes they are the fatally ill, or those tired of their lives who wish to accomplish some great thing before they pass, or in their passing. Given how cheap death has become for many transhumans, the Fatal Oracle has no scarcity of clients willing to receive its wisdom. Typically there is no charge for consulting the Fatal Oracle, but it is said to have an agreement with the Planetary Consortium that protects it from organized reprisals, going back to a series of successful (if suicidal) commando raids it planned that eliminated several TITAN strongpoints during the Fall.


The Fatal Oracle is an exhuman intelligence—and perhaps even an inhuman one. Its origins are mysterious and its motives ambiguous, seemingly not caring whether the actions it plans/predicts have repercussions that affect the lives of other transhumans. As such, it does not have a standard stat block or skills. To most observers, the Fatal Oracle does not do anything except accept questions and provide prophecies—it is not known to argue or promote its philosophy or creatively express itself save through this form of communication. If the PCs fight it in the Mesh, treat the AGI an Exsurgent Digital Virus (Eclipse Phase, p.364).

Using the Fatal Oracle

Sometimes a bad plan is preferable to no plan at all. The Fatal Oracle can provide a means to accomplish anything possible, though this usually requires (at minimum) a large personal sacrifice by the individual implementing the plan. As such, this is a way for the gamemaster to feed terrible ideas to players—and, if the PCs go through with them they should work. Admittedly, these may be horrible ideas like pulling the emergency lever that opens an entire habitat to space just to kill a small cell of exsurgents, or turning your morph into a portable nuclear suicide bomber, or infecting yourself with a nanovirus and allowing yourself to be infected by an exsurgent cell just to spread the infection to them. But clever PCs may be able to find loopholes and gaps in these procedures that give them a better chance of survival, and perhaps come to grips with the fact that in Eclipse Phase the rules of life and death really have changed.

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