Preface to the Oracle Rules
To begin, let me point out that generally speaking White Wolf is right in not publishing rules of this sort, for two reasons: they can take away too much of the awe and mystery of meeting higher powers, and they encourage munchkin players to nag their Storytellers into running campaigns where the munchkins are Oracles and can blow up the cosmos if they like.
Nonetheless, I personally believe that the Storyteller should not find those higher powers _too_ mysterious, or he will not be able to adequately portray them to those troupes fortunate enough to meet them. These rules are useful in providing guidelines not only for the powers of Oracles proper, but also for Incarna and Celestines, which I find are very sketchily defined in the sourcebooks I've seen.
I add the caveat that the rules should only be used in that way--as guidelines. Not everyone's concept of the Spheres will be the same as mine, Gil's, and K. E. Johnson's, nor should they be. As helpful as I found the first four sets to be, not only in understanding those Spheres but also in formulating the last five, I still think some of the ideas in those four were in need of modification. I have not tampered with Gil's text except for a small amount of proofreading; I have, however, inserted my comments in a few places, clearly delineated by brackets and my handle. (This means that the format of the first four Sphere sets varies, whereas my five are relatively uniform and essentially follow the format of Gil's Forces and Life documents.) The article I did last, Spirit, is a little off-beat...I was having difficulty figuring out how to work with that Sphere, and when I finally got to it I was in a tongue-in-cheek mood. (But it should still work.)
As a final note, I warn anyone who decides to use these rules--don't follow them slavishly. Use your imagination. Don't try to make the Oracles roll up everything--they're not beyond failure, or even botching once in a while, but if you use mere dice more than absolutely necessary you'll probably find you've lost the spirit of the thing. Moreover, don't let your players make use of these rules--they're gamebusters, and that's no lie. White Wolf is right that only under the most unusual of circumstances should you let player characters work with even sphere level six.
(Just in as of 11/15/99) For no explicable reason, WW has reversed its policy on high-level Spheres and published rules that go up to 9. I haven't found them yet; from what I've seen, I don't like them. Feel free to use these alternate rules instead, if you like. (Update 9/6/2000) Alternatively, you could use WW's spheres 6-9 for hubristic Archmages and our spheres 6-10 to delineate the power of Oracles, Incarna, and Celestines, should you need ideas. In the revised version of these rules, mages with 6-7 in a Sphere are now designated Archmages and those with higher levels, Oracles. I am not planning to make any other changes to Gil's spheres, though I have not yet seen _Masters of the Art_. If I do, some changes may be made, but they will be clearly noted as mine.
That said, have fun, stay cool, and watch out for Weaver Incarna!
Maccabeus Epimanes (Locutus' good buddy)