GM Advice -

10 Omens to use in your RPG Games

Omens are portents of the future if they can be interpreted properly.

They add flavour, and provide important clues to understanding the story, culture and religions of the fantasy world you’re creating.  

Uneducated and superstitious people will see omens in everyday happenings, but even hardened adventurers find the strange and out of place leaving them with more questions than answers.

Omens are specific odd events or things that stand out from the norm, that don’t really have an explanation, or reason for happening, but if you look a little harder and think a little more about them then they could mean... well, anything really.

Mainly used, especially in games and literature as a way to foreshadow or give clues about a story, person or place they can also be used as great story hooks, or ways to involve specific characters more in the game.

There are of course people who take advantage of these superstitions, conmen, traveling mystics and circus fortune tellers are just a few of those who may look to interject their own meanings into a situation, or use an odd natural occurrence to fool someone in to doing their bidding.

Use the Omens listed below to add flavour to your games to encourage player agency and help players invest more in their characters and the story in general, after all its hard to ignore something odd when it is aimed specifically at you…

Fell free to adjust the omens if that makes them fit your story, players or world better. 
  1. A roll of thunder rumbles loudly across the sky, although it is fair weather and there are no storm clouds in the sky.
  2. A Black cat saunters across the characters path and then disappears into the underbrush.
  3. A Purple flower with six petals that flare at the ends like arrow heads, covered in red spots, grows on its own in the middle of the road.
  4. A White Stag Stands at the edge of the road chewing on the grass. It looks up as the Characters, scanning left and right looking at them as they approach, Its Gaze locks with the eyes of one the characters, appears to nod its head at them, as if it recognises them, and then walks off in to surrounding trees.
  5. A Ray of sunlight burns through the cloudy overcast sky, illuminating one of the characters in bright sunlight. The clouds quickly close up and block the sunlight again.
  6. The ground underneath the characters starts to break and drop as a sinkhole forms underneath them. The earth drops down and mixes with the liquid under the road, making a reddish-brown pool of water that looks a lot like blood.
  7. A large strange, shaped shadow floats across the party cast by something above them, yet when they look up there is nothing in the sky that could cast a shadow like the one, they have just seen.
  8. A Large Black dog with glowing red eyes sits in the middle of the road, as if it is waiting for the party. When they approach it, it growls, and Barks loudly. The Bark sounds very much like one of the characters names. It then stands up and trots off the road into the surrounding wilderness.
  9. The body of a large, bloated Crow lays in the middle of the road. As the Characters approach the bird, they hear loud squawking, and 9 other crows fly at them from the trees lining the road. They all dive bomb the characters each one of them striking a character or the floor near the dead bird’s body. Each of the 9 Crows that strike dies and drops on the floor to join its companion.
  10. An upturned Cart lays at the side of the road, the horses that were pulling it still attached to the reins. Flies and other carrion creatures peck and buzz around the cart. The Cart has a symbol painted on the side of it, that one of the characters recognises as being from their hometown.

I hope you found the Omens useful and at last a bit entertaining, and If you do end up using them in your game, I would love to hear how your players react to them!

As always I'll see you on the Flipside

Andy @ DMB


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