20 Extraplanetery Omens & Portents

Many superstitious people look to the sky for signs to determine their fates. Oftentimes, these signs become self-fulfilling prophecies.

By Kay Nielsen

By Kay Nielsen


Use this table, to determine signs in the sky the PCs may notice and ascribe some meaning to:

  1. The moon turns blood red; the colour change occurs from top to bottom and looks like some enormous creature poured a bucket of blood over the moon.
  2. A star becomes extraordinarily bright, so much so it becomes visible during the day; the star allows travellers to navigate by it and guides those inclined to the location of a momentous event. After the heralded event, the star disappears from the heavens.
  3. The sun undergoes a total eclipse, but the eclipse starts as a small shadow in the sun’s centre and spreads outward; the shadow then disappears as if burned away by the sun.
  4. A meteor streaks across the sky; ten seconds later, five more meteors follow in formation, seeming to chase the first.
  5. The sky inverts light and dark. During the day, the sun becomes a black ball against a backdrop of a black sky; at night, the moon and stars turn black, while the rest of the night sky becomes white.
  6. A barely audible tone emanates from some indefinable spot in space. While it appears to have no impact on people, dogs howl and birds fall from the sky while it sounds.
  7. The moon spins on its axis, revealing the features of its normally dark side; it remains this way for a minute before returning to normal. As the moon turns, tidal waves strike various shores.
  8. A gash appears in the night sky and light pours out of the tear in space. Moments later the rip seems to heal itself, but several stars have gone missing.
  9. A wave of green light crosses the sky; in its wake, several people momentarily go blind.
  10. Several stars brighten in the eastern sky; keen-eyed observers note the intensified stars form symbols. These symbols are from an ancient, all-but forgotten language dead for over a millennium.
  11. The sun disappears for mere seconds; a rush of intense cold washes over the planet before the sun reappears.
  12. A comet travels slowly across the sky from east to west, over the course of two days; it brightens as it travels to the midpoint, becoming brighter than the full moon, before dimming and fading from view before it completes its crossing.
  13. Days before a ruler’s coronation, the stars realign, creating new constellations in the sky. Most of the shapes are monstrous, but perceptive observers notice some outline the shape of a unicorn readying to charge the nearest monster.
  14. During the day, a gigantic firebird forms from the sun and flies away; at night, a grey, tatter-winged beast emerges from the moon and chases it over the horizon.
  15. A multitude of gigantic tentacles reach from behind the moon to grasp it in their clutches; moments later, the tentacles disappear, but they leave behind massive furrows across the satellite’s surface.
  16. A coruscating curtain of light shifts between the colours of the spectrum in rapid succession; at times the colour changes to something indescribable.
  17. A nimbus of blue lightning appears around the sun; the air becomes electrically charged, causing hairs to stand on end. When a person draws near another person or a metal object, an arc of blue lightning connects the two.
  18. Several stars twinkle in a rhythmic pattern in the northwest sky; as they flicker, a blend of bell chimes sounds high up in the sky.
  19. A swirling black mass appears due south of the party, while a swirling white mass appears to the north; after they disperse, the stars in the southern sky appear in the northern sky.
  20. A vortex opens up, visible to everyone in the world simultaneously. A duplicate of this world appears inside the vortex; fire consumes it just before the vortex closes.

Note on the table above, a reference to the moon or the sun can apply to any satellites circling your campaign world. Modify as appropriate.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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Guest Designer

Mike Welham has been gaming off-and-on for over 30 years. While he has played using numerous game systems, he has always had a fondness for Dungeons & Dragons and its offshoots. The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons renewed a flagging interest in roleplaying games, but the introduction of Pathfinder sparked a long-dormant desire to write for roleplaying games. Mike has written for Clockwork Gnome Publishing, Open Design, Paizo, and Rite Publishing, and (much to his surprise) he won Paizo’s RPG Superstar contest in 2012.

Mike lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with his ever-patient wife, two roleplaying game-savvy children (one has started his university career, however), a puggle, three cats and a turtle. He believes the solution to the impending empty nest syndrome will be to allow more creatures of his imagination to make themselves at home.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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