Strangefinder Modern: Oracular Vending
Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.
In ancient times the spirits of water would whisper occult secrets into the ears of oracles who purified themselves with rituals in the spirits’ water, such as when the Oracle of Delphi purified herself in the spring waters of Castalia.
No one bothers with that anymore. And water spirits, like everyone else, have come to love carbonation, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors.
In short, the water spirits are in soda cans now.
Oracular Vending is a method of contacting a water spirit housed in a soda can within a vending machine. It is a Minor Ritual any character with one or more ranks of Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (religion) may attempt once at each character level. The character must find a vending machine old enough it doesn’t accept credit cards (newer machines lack the character to attract a water spirit to their cans). Then a question no longer than 12 words is written on a scrap of paper (the inside of a paper candy wrapper is often used), and wrapped around a coin. The coin must be antique, worth at least 1 gp (General Product equivalent). The coin is then inserted in the machine as odes to Joseph Priestly and Johann Jacob Schweppe are recited. Then the oldest brand of soda in the machine is selected.
If the ritual is successful, the soda can received appears to have a contest printing on the can. The small print of the contest’s rules actually give information about the question asked. The coin and question disappear as sacrifices to the spirits invoked.
At the base level of success, the character performing the ritual makes a Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (religion) check and uses that result as if it as a skill check with the appropriate Knowledge skill to answer the question wrapped around the coin. If the coin used was worth at least 300 gp, and the Knowledge check hits a DC of 25 or higher, the character performing the ritual may also gain information about the question as if he had cast a divination at caster level 7.
Rumors persist of a mystic soda vending machine able to grant awsers as if a commune had been cast.