BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

D&D: Five Ill-Omens That Will Unsooth Any Sayer

3 Minute Read
Apr 2 2020

D&D adventures are lousy with ancient prophecies and mystic foretellings. Here are a few cryptic signs and ominous portents to up the eeriness of any game.

When it comes to adventures, there is no end of mystic prophecies about ancient evils rising up from beneath the earth, or of chosen heroes who will take up the sword and slay the whatever. Despite the cliche, a look into the future does a world of good for the immersion in your game. It implies that you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t, and it gives the PCs a hint of things to come.

Lookin’ at you, Tarokka deck

But you don’t have to result to reading a hoary prophecy full of chosen warriors that your players will try and figure out (and figure out how to break). Instead you can try just having an ominous event. Both the real world and fiction hold plenty of examples of this. Whether it’s seeing a skull in the bottom of tea leaves, discovering drowned birds, or simply hearing a haunting voice that you swear whispered your name, here are a few ominous portents you can use to heighten the mystery in your game.

Green Star Blazing

A green star rises in the night sky, one winter’s night. A local wizard or sage wants to study it, but under its baleful light, there’s an aura of dread. To keep up the hints that this star is portending something, you might have all the lights in a nearby place turn flickering and green just for a moment. Or have a haze of green light–like out of season aurora borealis, localized entirely around a particular area, and leave your players wondering what it means.

The Flight of Birds

A flock of birds is a classic omen, and this one is no different. As the characters approach a new area, wandering through a forest, a flight of birds takes off from the nearby trees, cawing. Their cries break an otherwise gloomy silence, and something about the way they move suggests imminent danger.

The Sudden Cold

Are the characters in a warm place? They’ll be wondering what’s about to happen when the temperature around them drops, suddenly. Be sure and describe the sudden chill, and how their breath seems to linger in the air. Ramp up the melodrama with this one, and you’ll be sure to hook them in.


The Comet’s Twin

Comets are always an omen, no matter what happens, someone out there is predicting something based on their movements. But the comet the PCs see soaring over their heads stands out–it’s no ordinary comet. As they watch, it splits, and they can see a fragment of the comet blazing red against the sky.

The Unasked For Eclipse

Eclipses are predictable things, right? So what happens when a freak astrological event occurs and sudden darkness washes across the land in a localized area? Is it the work of sorcery, or a hint of things to come? We leave that up to you.

Next time you want to set the mood, reach for one of these omens. Happy Adventuring!


Author: J.R. Zambrano
  • D&D: Warduke Gets His Own Clothing Line - Heroes And Villains