View Full Version : I need an end of the world prophecy

2019-01-15, 11:22 AM
Hello everybody. I was thinking of what I could do with City of Mist and I thought I could work on an end of the world kind of story. For those who don't what City of Mist is, it's a tabletop rpg in which you get to play a superpowered individual with a mythological/folklorish origin. Those who have powers are called rifts, those who don't have powers are called sleepers and the mist is there to hide the rifts from the sleepers, more or less. A sleeper can become a rift once they find out about rifts so you better try to keep a low profile.

I'm thinking about running a campaign that draws from some kind of mythological end times, but I don't want to use the most popular mainstream examples.that means that the four horsemen are out, and Ragnarok is a maybe. (Both Tyr and Fenrir would be amazing as rifts.) Which leaves me in need of some kind of myth that involves a monster that will destroy the world (Or maybe a bit more low scale.) if it ever escapes from its bonds.

There must be some obscure myth out there that would work, right?

2019-01-15, 12:32 PM
Väinämöinen, a sage of Finnish folklore, finally decides to return. Upon seeing the sorry state of the world, he fetches Seppo Ilmarinen, the blacksmith who forged the arc of the sky, from Tuonela, the land of the dead.

Together they finally get around to reforging Sampo, the mill of infinite wealth. Naturally, this device causes massive envy in neighbouring countries, such as Russia, and triggers another world war.

The world-as-we-know-it ends in nuclear fire and just like before, the Sampo is destroyed. The responsible parties leave in shame.

2019-01-15, 01:38 PM
That's certainly different. I love it, but I'm not sure how to make that work. I'll have to look into that.

Durandu Ran
2019-01-15, 02:24 PM
The world is an egg of a long-forgotten space creature, and whatever’s been gestating in the core is almost ready to hatch.

2019-01-16, 01:26 AM
You could pull a Donnie Darko. This world is the "wrong" branch of the timeline and has to end in order for the "right" branch of the timeline to reassert itself. Whether the pcs agree that the timeline they are in "should" end is, of course, their call.

2019-01-16, 04:01 AM
A lot of end of the world myths from various cultures revolve around the return of the gods.
Awakening of mythological heroes such as Arthur, Charlemagne and iirc Fionn Mac Cumhail is another common theme.
The dead returning to life for final judgement is another sign of the coming of the end in many mythos.

Of those I think the idea of ancient mythical heroes from various parts of the world being reawakened is the one I think I would run with in your campaign.

By the time you get to Arthur the penny should drop if your players are aware of mythology.

2019-01-16, 04:21 AM
That's certainly different. I love it, but I'm not sure if how to make that work. I'll have to look into that.

That's easy: tell the PCs that the Finns have a device of infinite wealt & they're not sharing. If they don't take the hint, add that two weeks later, the Russians have taken it & are not sharing it either. :smalltongue:

2019-01-16, 05:26 AM
The world egg idea: It kinda deviates from the traditional world egg in creation myths, as it hasn't hatched yet. I only know this story from the Earth X series from Marvel Comics. That's a bad thing. I'm not looking for intellectual property, I'm looking for myths and folklore. In other words, no copyrighted material but the public domain is okay. It does remind me of Lovecraft, and I can certainly imagine Cthulhu sleeping inside a sleeper, with some organization trying to wake up Cthulhu, and another trying to prevent that. I do think that Lovecraftian horror would fit better in a Lovecraftian horror game.

Donnie Darko: Again, not really what I'm looking for. Kinda reminds me of the "It was all a dream" trope, and I'm not sure what kind of mythology or Folklore should use to pull this off.

The dead returning to life: Kinda fits with the theme of rifts being avatars of mythological creatures. Unfortunately, the game is set up around the principle that everybody could represent some kind of legend. Arthur coming back from the dead would be as likely as a Minotaur rampaging through town.

So far I like the idea of Sampo Inc. the best, followed by Tyr taking on Fenrir.

2019-01-16, 07:12 AM
There was a handful of gods.
- The god of night (married to day)
- The god of day (married to night)
- (their union at dusk and dawn gave birth to the gods of life and death)
- The god of death (in love with life)
- The god of life (wanting nothing to do with death)

And a few heroes/demigods/minor gods (it's unclear just what exactly they were, but they were lesser and possibly prior to humans)
- There was Keurnac the thief, who stole the moon from the realm of death
- There was Kelrim, the jeweler who made the stars for Night and clouds for Day
- There was Alreic, the farmer who would give life to the earth
- There was Almir, the blacksmith who made weapons (ordered by Death, and given as a gift for humans to find)

And finally, there were four dragons, all of whom loved the god of life, for it gave them life.
- They corresponded to the shapes of the four elements in this chaotic kingdom of gods, where the only real structure were opposites.
- Their greatest love in the world of the gods was the god of Life.

However, the god of death ultimately became too enamored with life and tried to force itself on the god of life. For this crime, Death was exiled, to the nothingness beyond night and day.
- The influence of Death, ran deep in the world, and through whispers, Death corrupted the dragon of fire.
- Death chose the dragons because of jealousy.
- The dragon of fire killed the God of Life. (there's a whole story of how the dragon ran away and the God of Life went after the dragon to bring it back, leaving spear and shield at home)

Night and day, together with the three uncorropted dragons went after the dragon of fire for revenge
- After defeating the dragon of fire, night and day bound it above the body of Life, as eternal punishment for what it had done. It would be forced to watch and mourn Life until the end of days.
- The other three dragons lay themselves down on top of the body of Life, like a dog will lay its head on its dead master. They became the oceans, lakes and rivers, the earth beneath our feet and the wind that sweeps across us.
- The reason they so permanently lay down instead of mourning and moving on was to prevent the soul of life from entering the realm of death, and they will never move away from their watch.
- Whilst the dragon of fire, chained to what we would call the sky, became the sun, deadly and destructive when not covered by the silver shield that is the moon.

This was the start of the age of heroes, where, amongst other things:
- Alreic gave life to the earth, but the forests would not grow and the fields were yellow and brittle and there were no flowers. The sun was too hateful and too angry and dangerous.
- Keurnac, who earned his title "The Thief", saw this, and wished to help his father, so he traveled beyond night and day, to the realm of death (over the horizon at dusk and dawn) and stole the silver shield that stood in the house of death, leaving the spear and the dagger (for other heroes to steal it would later turn out).
- Keurnac then gave the shield to Night, allowing Night to shield the world from the heat of the sun. This allowed the fields and trees time to rest and recover and the world turned green.
- Kelrim, the jeweler who made the stars out of the frozen tears of Life, giving them to Light as a way of remembering their fallen child.
- Almir, the blacksmith was corrupted by death and made weapons for the humans to find and use on one another (for the crime of making weapons on the body of Life, Almir was punished by day, chained in the heart of a mountain, the blacksmith still tries to break free, throwing sparks and stones and fire from the mountains when doing so).
- There were other heroes as well of course, but trying to summarize it (relatively) briefly.

Now, the end of the world prophecy:
- There will come a day when the dragon of fire will finally break free from its chains in the sky and descend to the earth.
- And as the sun comes down, it will corrupt and poison and assault the other three dragons, trying to make them move from life, however, no matter how twisted and toxic they become, they will not let this happen.
- The dragon of fire/the sun will also wound or kill (translations vary) both night and day, forcing them away from the world and causing endless twilight and permanently opening the gates to the realm of death, letting Death come back from the exile, finally killing the three dragons, and winning the hand of Life.


That should get you enough stuff to work on from a campaign setting, as said, the spear and dagger of death were also stolen, and the weapons of Almir could well be somewhat legendary in status and there were other heroes.

The end of the world stuff matches a nuclear apocalypse, and it's on-theme for an "egg" story as well (the sun breaking loose and unleashing a monster on earth).

It's not my best work as far as mythology goes, but it should do the trick or give you something to build on!

Have fun

2019-01-16, 11:57 AM
I meant real world mythology. Was that not obvious?

2019-01-16, 01:28 PM
This is only mythology-adjacent, but it's an idea I've wanted to use for a while.

Archimedes once said, "give me a lever and a place to stand, and I shall move the world."

He was not being metaphorical, and now someone is using his lever to move Earth right out of Sol's habitable zone.

2019-01-16, 06:51 PM
This is only mythology-adjacent, but it's an idea I've wanted to use for a while.

Archimedes once said, "give me a lever and a place to stand, and I shall move the world."

He was not being metaphorical, and now someone is using his lever to move Earth right out of Sol's habitable zone.
That's funny. It's a bit too silly for a campaign though. Makes about as much sense as Marie Antoinette starting a bakery to feed the poor.

Cake. She's feeding cake to the poor.

2019-01-16, 10:45 PM
Thinking about the City of Mist system as you describe it.

One potential clash with the rifts/sleepers is Voodoo (voodoo proper not the horror movie version). Voodoo is based around the idea of lwas, the spirits of people of great reputation including mythical and semi-mythical figures, bargaining with the living to perform deeds. So if a spirit is permanently attached to a person as a “rift” that spirit would no longer be available to voodoo practitioners where the spirit is brought back temporarily for a task. Voodoo is a mishmash of West African beliefs and Catholic symbology, but there is a cool West African end of world prophesy that can easily be incorporated into Voodoo:
According to a story of the Songo (Tanzania), when the end of the world is near, the sun will become dark. Then another two Suns will appear: one from the East and the other from the West. The two celestial bodies will meet in the middle of their route and then the World will end. When this takes place, Khambegu, the hero-god of the traditional religion, will come down on earth and save the Songo people, while the rest of humanity will be lost.

2019-01-23, 04:24 PM
Aztec myth has this be the fifth iteration of the world. There's an Overly Sarcastic Productions video on this history, but I can't look it up right now. The gist of the current world's state, though, is that the moon pissed off the sun ages ago, and the sun is chasing the moon around the world, and if the sun ever catches the moon, it will wind up in the end of the world (I think; again, I haven't watched it in a while; I do recommend hunting it down, though, it's fun and interesting).

Adaptation to a Bible story: The Flood wasn't historical. It was a prophecy. The world has finally grown as corrupted as it can be allowed to be, and soon the cleansing flood will come. On the plus side, it'll only happen once....

It wasn't actually their prediction that the world would end, but the Mayan calendar did cycle over in 2012. You could create a similar calendar-based prophecy wherein they really are predicting the end of the world.

Mark Hall
2019-01-23, 04:56 PM
So, let's start with something prophetic sounding:

When the moon is in the second house
And Jupiter Aligns with Mars
Then Peace shall rule the Planet
And Love will rule the stars

Now let's obfuscate it a bit (with a little research into what "moon in the second house" means)

When the arts of men touch the face of the sky
And the Lord of War concurs with the Lord of All
Then peace shall rule the planet
With a kiss from the stars

Ok, so what do we have?

At some point after we land on the moon ("the arts of men touch the face of the sky"), and during a particular alignment of Jupiter and Mars ("Lord of War concurs with the Lord of All"), then a massive meteor will come (a kiss from the stars) and wipe out all life on the planet (Then peace shall rule the planet).

2019-01-23, 05:13 PM
The sun starts dispersing and engulfs the earth.
Then afterwards entropy happens and there is no sufficient energy differentials for life to keep going.

2019-01-23, 05:15 PM
Now let's obfuscate it a bit

Here we see the tragedy of prophecies. :smalltongue: The original vision was way too clear, and we can't have that now, can we?

Mark Hall
2019-01-23, 05:36 PM
Here we see the tragedy of prophecies. :smalltongue: The original vision was way too clear, and we can't have that now, can we?

The words of the fates must be poured through the flawed vessels which are mortal men. :biggrin:

2019-01-23, 05:47 PM
Rather than a simple prophecy, a "serial sleeper" is running around, converting sleepers from the Norse mythos into rifts. And everyone knows how that's supposed to end.

Clues are provided by the various rifts who are recently converted as the players are tracking down whoever is causing this mayhem, in an attempt to stop the most dangerous prophecy that needs no translation.

2019-01-23, 06:20 PM
I meant real world mythology. Was that not obvious?

Well, funnily enough, that IS basically the story of Izanami and Izanagi, mixed with several other real world myths from different cultures, so it's real-world-myth adjacent if nothing else.

In fact, something of that general nature might be best if you're doing a story like this and want something a bit more out there/not so old hat.

Take "all myths are true" to its logical conclusion; they are, and there are therefore multiple gods of X, and multiple apocalypse myths.

The only realistic outcome to all of these contradictory myths being true is if a bunch were wiped out in inevitable conflict, they all forged some kind of peace, or (more likely) the former happened before the latter.

Over the eons, these mythological figures, being mostly human in nature, do what humans tend to do: pair off. New creatures are born of a blending of tehse different myths.

What if Freya/Frigg, distraught over her husband Odin's death in the great war of eon's past, eventually got over it and remarried. To, say, one of the Egyptian gods like Osiris. What would that union bring? Apply similar logic to other figures you want to be prominent.

Now what would happen if the more monstrous creatures of myth made similar unholy unions? If Scylla and Orochi got it on? Or perhaps for a less monstrous union, Ahriman and Chernobog, or similar descendants of evil deities of destruction and chaos?

Evil deities tend to be known for spawning a lot more than most good deities, and the proliferation of monsters and evil masterminds is beginning to overwhelm the children of the good deities (who don't even always make great heroes; the offspring of good can just as easily turn to the darkness). Cue the present day, where the apocalypse is less a single event and more a slow, crunching march toward eventual total destruction under an unending tide of new monstrosities.

2019-01-28, 07:34 PM
Or, the one that wins will have been the true one all along - the final battle will not just decide the future of the world, but also its past.

Koran Redaxe
2019-01-30, 05:46 AM
You could draw from Maori mythology. Unless you live in New Zealand it is very obscure. While they do not have a "end of the world" type myth, it would not be hard to work one out. Maybe Maui is a sleeper and Tangaroa has decided to drown Aotearoa(New Zealand) in his absence (because in Maori myth Maui fished Aotearoa up). Or maybe Ranginui(The sky father) and Papatūānuku(The earth mother) have begun to move try to embrace each other again, as the children who tore them apart are no longer active. Finally you could use the god Rūaumoko, who is the God of Volcanoes and Earthquakes. He was not born and still lives inside Papatūānuku, the Earth. You could interpret this as him being bound deep within the earth, and if he is ever released, he will unleash a tide of destruction that will end the world. That would work for the monster would would destroy the world.

2019-01-30, 07:38 AM
Wikipedia has an article for "The End Times" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_time), as prophesied by various cultures. Most of them are fairly similar, but they all have their unique points.

Maitreya (A form of Buddhism)
Over a "cycle" of time (approximately 3000 years) the sacred teachings will be forgotten and holy relics lost or destroyed, at which point humanity with devolve into a state of chaos, lawlessness, selfishness and violence until the emergence of a new Prophet who will rediscover Enlightenment.

Time is cyclical - every 8.1billion years the world completes a cycle of growth, preservation and then decline before being remade by the Gods. Then, if one of our 8.1billion year cycles is equivalent to a day in the life of Brahma who will live for 311trillion 400billion of his years, the universe will implode into one point of singularity before essentially restarting with a new Big Bang.

Norse Mythology
Ragnarok - the sun and moon will disappear, and as the Earth freezes it will allow the Ice Giants to return and try to reclaim it from the Gods. There is an epic battle which ends with most of the Gods dead and the world sinks into the ocean until such a time that it resurfaces and the 2 human survivors start to repopulate.

Jehovah's Witnesses
Jesus Christ is already ruling in heaven as King, and awaiting the appointed time at which he will destroy evil doers and return to rule on Earth as well. Even the Witnesses admit that they aren't sure when that will be, as they have predicted it several times and been proven wrong so "potential apocalypses" come and go every few generations, with each one potentially being the last. (If you ask me, sounds like a bunch of murderhobos were given a quest and managed to kill the BBEG, but it's only a matter of time until someone rolls a 1 at the wrong moment)

Church of the Latter Day Saints
There will be a period of natural disasters devastating the world, and then Jesus Christ will return to rule on Earth for 1,000 years before the Final Judgement, when the righteous are elevated to eternal glory in heaven.

Islam (Sunni)
10 major signs will occur to herald the end times; More great natural disasters including black fog engulfing the Earth, the sun rising on the wrong horizon and then setting in three different places, the return of prophets like Mohammed and Jesus, a great beast rampaging across the place, and then finally all the dead rising to be judged on their deeds.

Surprisingly peaceful, compared to the others - no great battles or monsters or anything of the sort. Instead, God shows his hand directly on Earth by redeeming Israel from the Exodus, restoring the House of David, appointing a new prophet and ultimately establishing Heaven on Earth.

A long winter will set in and humanity will become greedier and more evil, until war breaks out between them and the side of Good who will be led by a great Saviour. The dead will rise, the mountains will melt and run like lava and everyone will be forced to wade through it with sinners being swept into hell and the righteous being rewarded with immortality, imperviousness and harmony among all people.

Ancient Egyptian Mythology
The Creator-God Atum one day pretty much decides that he wants to start over, so he dissolves the world and all of the other Gods except for his wife. Between them they remake a new world - importantly, the Egyptians believed that he could probably be persuaded not to do it (or at least, put it off for another cycle of time) so they didn't worry too much about it and generally didn't record what happened to the dissolved peoples or those who were already dead. Possibility here for a "talky" adventure where the Bard and/or Party Face have to convince The Creator to put it off for another aeon or two. :smalltongue:

Australian Aboriginal Mythology
The Dreamtime is... very complicated, for those who haven't been brought up in it. My best understanding of it is that time isn't so much as a process or cycle but one big place where everything exists at once - although some of the people and places are 'hidden' or just very distant from others and can't be found. Kind of gives me a Planescape vibe, though it's far more abstract than I could ever describe it; Things don't so much end as they do just move, or be remade. If anything were to ever be destroyed, its because people have abandoned the sacred sites/songs and forgotten about them long enough that they have disappeared, similar to the cultural shift/devolution that Zoroastrian suggests though without the moral implications of Good and Evil.

Alternatively you take "Dreamtime" literally and some kind of event causes everyone to start "waking up" - as they do, various dreams (ie, people and places) wink out of existence, so the players have to find a way of either putting the universe back to sleep or somehow dreaming their own existence back. It's hardly in keeping with the original mythology, but I've seen and heard stories like this told in other ways and it allows for some pretty off-the-wall stuff to happen.

And then there's various doomsday cults philosophising a Second Coming of some kind, or various natural disasters, or emancipation by alien spacecraft (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Gate_(religious_group))... That last one sounds like Spelljammer, albeit more grim for those of us left behind.