V is for Visions & Omens

To Seek the Future

The uncertainty of the future is a staple of life, and it is an excellent plot device. Many a fantasy character has been led astray by that fear, and how they respond to someone who claims to know what the future holds for them.

Divination is the deliberate attempt to foretell the future. One may be seeking the knowledge of events that will unfold, or just looking for the best decision to make in a situation. A character may seek divination from multiple sources, or depending on how magic works in your world, they may attempt to it themselves.

There are various means of practicing this. Palm reading, tarot cards, reading tea leaves, etc. are all forms of divination used even in our world. There are many varied forms of divination that exist, and of course there are infinite possibilities you can conceive for your story from your worldbuilding.

Visions may also occur in those who don’t practice divination on a regular basis, and to those who have never used divination at all. There is almost always some sort of trigger.

Omens will be phenomena visible to other people. Those people may or may not practice magic, but they are observant and know how to read the signs of what is going on around them, and recognizing patterns from what has happened before. In some cases, though, it will be something that has never happened before and therefore is completely inexplicable.

There may also be religious implications in seeking out knowledge of the future, so be sure to consider how the existence of religion in your world may impact (or be impacted) by the use of divination.

Worldbuilding Exercises:

  • Is divination considered an acceptable form of magic in your world, or is it something that is not to be sought out? If it’s taboo, why?
  • Are there people who have visions in your world? Are they revered or shunned? What happens if their vision proves false?
  • Are omens given any significant weight in your world? Is there anyone in charge of deciphering unknown omens?

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