As Shakespeare says in the Tempest, “what’s past is prologue” and what to come is for us to discover. Well, at the game table we like to know a little something about what’s on the horizon for our characters. Sure, the outcome will be uncertain, but we can place a few guideposts here and there or even propose some prognostications for our heroes to interpret themselves…
I propose a simple three-step approach for this randomizer… First, we seek the question. Then we seek the method of divination. And lastly we add some spice to the mix.
- Is X good?
- Is Y bad?
- Will Z change?
- What are the possibilities of A?
- Can we confirm that B is going to happen?
- Can we confirm that C is not going to happen?
- Tea leaves
How does this work?
Put the three components together to form a triplet that serves as a writing prompt, then let your brain fill in the rest.
- [Good/Clouds/Bugs] The Gypsy woman was asked if the newly elected mayor would be good for the village or not and she spent an hour consulting the signs of nature. A group of curious kids followed her and saw her sit on a hill watching the clouds for a few minutes before following a line of ants to their hill and observing their behavior for a time. When she returned and was asked for her opinions, she offered this reply…”According to Zeus, the almighty king of the gods, the signs all point to the new mayor being an industrious sort, willing to lead our village on to great things…”
- [Bad/Stones/Birds] Nobody willingly seeks the counsel of the Lady of the Forest, but occasionally events will warrant such risks. As you enter the dark, winding path through the woods, you know you are being watched but your eyes are only forward, seeking out her hovel. When you find it, she is waiting behind her rickety table with a single candle dancing in the breeze you created upon entering. She motions that you sit down and ask your question. Clearing your throat you ask “The Baron is coming tomorrow. Will his visit be for good or ill?” With a toothy smile, she shakes the contents of a small leather bag out onto the tabletop. Scattered across the surface are a series of smooth stones of a variety of shapes and sizes. “The birds always know when it’s time to fly. These stones tell us that it is time to sprout wings and flee…” And she suddenly stands up, transforms into a huge raven, and flaps past your head crowing “Fly fools! Fly fools” as she disappears into the night.
- [Change/Entrails/Beasts] The price for a seeing is high at the temple. You must bring your prized animal for sacrifice. This day, the farmer has brought his prized sow and asked for help from the priests. They presented the pig, still fighting his captors, to the statue of Artemis and slit its belly from stem to stern, pulling its entrails out and letting the fluids drain into a huge bowl beneath the table. They asked their goddess if she could guide changes in the weather to help his crops… but even the farmer knew the results were dire when the corpse suddenly withered and collapsed in on itself, turning black and spewing vile fumes into the air… There may be changes, but they wouldn’t help him…
Any of these could make for interesting side plots, events, or hints at things to come… But I would let your players do the interpreting. That’s half the fun!
Let me know what the future holds!!