Dungeon Master's Guide 5e

(Joyce) #1
Sometimes the foretelling of a world-shaking event
becomes a world-shaking event: an omen that predicts
the fall of empires, the doom of races, and the end
of the world. Sometimes an omen points to change
for the good, such as the arrival of a legendary hero
or savior. But the most dramatic prophecies warn of
future tragedies and predict dark ages. Unlike other
world-shaking events, the outcome doesn't happen
immediately. Instead, individuals or factions strive to
fulfill or avert the prophecy-or shape the exact way it
will be fulfilled- according to how it will affect them.
The prophecy's helpers or hinderers create adventure
hooks in the campaign by the actions they take. A
prophecy should foretell a big event on a grand scale,
since it will take time to come true (or be averted).
Imagine that a world-shaking prophecy comes to light.
If events continue on their present course, the prophecy
will come true and the world will change dramatically
as a result. Don't shy away from making this prophecy
both significant and alarming, keeping in mind the
following points:
Create a prophecy that foretells a major change to
the campaign world. You can build one from scratch
using ideas from the current campaign or randomly
determine a world-shaking event and fl~sh out
the details.
Write a list of three or more omens that will occur
before the prophecy comes to pass. You can use
events that have already occurred in the campaign so
that the prophecy is closer to being fulfilled. The rest
are events that might or might not happen, depending
on the actions of the characters.
Describe the person or creature that discovered
the prophecy and how it was found. What did this
creature gain by revealing it? What did this person
lose or sacrifice?

  • Describe the individual or faction that supports the
    prophecy and works to ensure its fulfillment, and the
    one that will do all in its power to avert the prophecy.
    What is the first step each takes? Who suffers for
    their efforts?
    One part of the prophecy is wrong. Choose one of the
    omens you listed or one of the details you created for
    the world-shaking event that the omen predicts. The
    chosen omen is false, and if applicable, its opposite is
    true instead.

    If wars, plagues, discoveries, and the like can be called
    regular world-shaking events, mythic events exceed
    and surpass them. A mythic event might occur as the
    fulfillment of an ancient or long-forgotten prophecy, or it
    might be an act of divine intervention.
    Once again, your current campaign probably provides
    a few ideas for the shape of this event. If you need
    inspiration, roll a d8 on the World-Shaking Events table,
    instead of the normal dlO. Address the bullet-point
    notes for that disaster, but magnify the result to the
    grandest scale you can imagine.


The rise or fall of a leader or era is the death or
birth of a god, or the end of an age or the world. A
cataclysmic disaster is a world-drowning deluge, an ice
age, or a zombie apocalypse. An assault or invasion is
a world war, a world-spanning demonic incursion, the
awakening of a world-threatening monster, or the final
clash between good and evil. A rebellion dethrones a
god or gods, or raises a new force (such as a demon
lord) to divinity. A new organization is a world-spanning
empire or a pantheon of new gods. A discovery is a
doomsday device or a portal to eldritch dimensions
where world-shattering cosmic horrors dwell.

A calendar lets you record the passage of time in the
campaign. More importantly, it lets you plan ahead for
the critical events that shake up the world. For simple
time tracking, use a calendar for the current year in
the real world. Pick a date to indicate the start of the
campaign, and make note of the days that adventurers
spend on their travels and various activities. The
calendar tells you when the seasons change and
the lunar cycle. More importantly, you can use your
calendar to track important festivals and holidays, as
well as key events that shape your campaign.
This method is a good starting point, but the calendar
of your world need not follow a modern calendar. If you
want to customize your calendar with details unique to
your world, consider these types of features.

A fantasy world's calendar doesn't have to mirror the
modern one, but it can (see "The Calendar of Harptos"
sidebar for an example). Do the weeks of a month have
names? What about specific days of each month, like the
ides, nones, and calends of the Roman calendar?

Determine when the seasons fall, marked by the
solstices and equinoxes. Do the months correspond
to the phases of the moon (or moons)? Do strange
and magical effects occur at the same time as these

Sprinkle holy days throughout your calendar. Each
significant deity in your world should have at least one
holy day during the year, and some gods' holy days
correspond to celestial phenomena such as new moons
or equinoxes. Holy days reflect the portfolio of a deity (a
god of agriculture is honored in the harvest season) or
significant events in the history of the deity's worship,
such as the birth or death of a holy person, the date of
a god's manifestation, the accession of the current high
priest, and so on.
Certain holy days are civic events, observed by every
citizen of a town where a god's temple can be found.
Harvest festivals are often celebrations on a grand
scale. Other holy days are important only to people
particularly devoted to a single deity. Still others are
observed by priests, who perform private rites and
sacrifices inside their temples on certain days or specific
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