In Nomine Revisited: Calcified Oracles of Demagogic Sagacity.

I was reminded of this one by this. Such a shame, really. It was an amazingly bizarre roadside attraction.


Calcified Oracles of Demagogic Sagacity – Google Docs

Calcified Oracles of Demagogic Sagacity

Down by the border of — never mind the state, just for the moment — there is what claims to be a historical park. It is unusual, even by the somewhat jaundiced standards of American roadside attractions: the centerpieces of the park are 12 to 18 foot high concrete heads of each President of the United States, arranged in chronological order (with a special note regarding Grover Cleveland). There is, of course, also a gift shop, a fountain and a banquet hall that intriguingly overlooks the park — but the obvious tourist draw is the heads, for a given value of ‘obvious.’ The park is not renowned, in any sense of the term. Its location near a much more mainstream tourist attraction powerhouse obscures it from even those interested in Americana; the site does not appear in the standard guidebooks, and is not widely advertised. The visitors at any given time are few, and seem mostly from the adjacent hotel.

And yet, the building is well-appointed, the parking lot a good deal larger than necessary, there is that banquet hall — and the site remains in business. Clearly, someone is visiting the park.

Someone is.

The Concrete Oracles of Demagogic Sagacity are well, oracles. When given suitable offerings (food and drink beloved of the American President whose visage it bears), a specific Oracle will speak and answer government policy questions. The advice will vary, depending on which Oracle is used: each one has a personality and skill set compatible with what is known about any given President, which means that Oracle Lincoln will likely have a different opinion on internal tariffs than, say, Oracle Harding. However, all of the Oracles seem to be well-versed in current affairs, with the most obscure Presidents having the most topical awareness. They apparently cannot be compelled to speak, explain an answer, or indeed do anything that they do not want to, but generally a Concrete Oracle of Demagogic Sagacity will react well to people who ask it questions in a respectful, friendly manner. They do not react well to anything that might be seen as a threat to the United States of America, or its citizens.

Of course, they don’t usually get questions like that. The Oracles are not officially used by the federal government — that’s just absurd. It’s just that there are a lot of government officials who tend to visit a certain historical tourist attraction powerhouse, and those officials all use the same hotel and/or timeshare facility that happens to be adjacent to the Oracles, and sometimes those officials will get up in the middle of the night, check in with the squad or six of “security guards” keeping an eye on the site, and crank up one of the Oracles to ask it its opinion on farm policy. The lines are usually manageable, so those officials can usually get back in time to get a few hours sleep before they have to get up and take their kids to go see the plantation farm and the glass armonicas.

Heck, the whole thing comes with free yearly passes and a gas allowance, and do you think that talking to a giant concrete head of Andrew Johnson about the tax code is the weirdest thing that some of these guys have ever done? It’s not. They can’t talk about it — or any of the other esoteric activities — but strange things tend to happen in the nooks and crannies of government service, and at least this is benign strange. And the Oracles even let you eat and drink the offerings afterwards.

Well, it’s not like they have actual mouths and a digestive system, do they?

The Host is at least certain that whatever it is that’s in those heads, it’s definitely not the spirits of past American Presidents: the ones that were in Heaven are still there, including the one that was actually an angel. For that matter, there are a couple of Oracles whose models are still alive. But it’s not ethereals, either: when the loa got called in to check out the place they reported back, surprisingly, that while the park itself was a beacon for Information-strand spirits there was no sign that any of them had ever taken possession of the concrete Oracles themselves. And the advice is generally too good to make anyone believe that the forces of Hell are behind the whole thing, particularly as the Horde has tried to napalm the place on at least one occasion (angelic observers of Hell’s failure to do so found it fascinating to watch, if not particularly comprehensible). The favorite hypothesis is that there’s some sort of odd Symphonic resonance going on there, which is Angelic for “Guess. Maybe the Seraph will be able to tell us if it’s True…”


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