Chaos In The Aftermath
“Learn ye well the lesson of the pebble that begets a landslide. Likewise a single betrayal unleashed the Spellplague, whose consequences yet dance and stagger across Toril, and beyond.” —Elminster of Shadowdale, 1479 DR, Year of the Ageless One
In the land of Faerun, on the world of Toril, magic has been part of the landscape for as long as time itself remembers. The Goddess Mystra has long held the Weave in place and ensured stability of magic in the land. However, all were not content with things as they stood, and soon discontent among the Gods would plunge the mortal inhabitants of Faerun and all the Realms into turmoil and darkness.
Shar had long controlled the Shadowweave, source of shadow and dark magics, but she yearned for more. She plotted and prodded Cyric, Prince of Lies, until finally he unleashed his hatred of the other Gods upon Mystra. The murder of a goddess does not come without consequences…
Shar had miscalculated and she was unable to gain control over the Weave. As its ends frayed and the Weave unraveled, Shar began to lose control of the Shadowweave as well. With no other goddess to take her place, the control Mystra held over the Weave vanished and chaos was unleashed.
As dusk fell over the Shining South on the 29th day of Tarsakh in the Year of Blue Fire (1385 DR), a menacing storm began forming over the jungles west of Halruaa. Beyond its massive size, the storm was particularly notable for the ribbons of blue flame that seemed to writhe and flow among its formations. In the mountains of western Halruaa, dumbfounded priests watched in silence, unable to comprehend the terrible events unfolding on the horizon. What the clerics of Azuth could not possibly fathom was that three score or more similar storms sprang up all across Toril; born instantly upon the assassination of Mystra in her heavenly dominion. The nation of Halruaa would suffer horribly that ill-fated night. The three great mountain ranges that oft protected the nation from external invasion actually made it difficult for many Halruaans to escape the uncontrolled wild magic unleashed across the countryside.
The storm and its aftereffects would become known in later days as the Spellplague. Despite its name, the Spellplague was no mere magical affliction. The Spellplague burned fiercest in its first year, but flareups and indirect repercussions continued for decades, irrevocably altering whole regions while leaving others unscathed. Whole countries vanished in earthquakes, fires, and windstorms, inexplicably replaced with peoples and lands from a world beyond our own. Even the starry constellations in the Sea of Night seemingly rearranged themselves in the heavens above. Scholars in later years would name this decade of chaos and upheaval the Wailing Years, or simply the Plague Years.
Before the plague, the nation of Cormyr was among the most prosperous in the Realms. Though, it too had seen its share of hardship including the recent Goblin Wars and the death of their King, Azoun IV.
Cormyr was struck hard by the spell storms, but not so violently as many other nations. Roughly one third of all Wizards of War were slain, driven mad, or simply went missing in the year following Mystra’s death. Some members of Cormyr’s remaining War Wizards, having lost access to the Art, begin cross-training with the Dragon Legion in swordplay and martial defense. In years to come these swordmages will prove invaluable against unrest and turmoil.
The State of Magic In the Aftermath (1395D)
During the initial onslaught of the Plague magic ceased to function; however, during the following decade magic began to return to Faerun. Most of those directly affected by the storms did not survive. However, on rare occasions some did endure but suffered from an affliction which came to be known as a spellscar. A spellscar appears as a physical abnormality, but more often it is an intangible mark that only appears when its owner calls upon magic. When this happens, a spellscar might appear as jagged cracks of blue fire racing out across a spellscarred’s skin, a corona of blue flame igniting the creature’s hair, a flaming blue glyph on the creature’s forehead, or perhaps even wings of cobalt flame. In many instances, an individual’s sudden manifestation of blue fire is a reliable indicator of a spellscar.
Some see the spellscars as a sign or potential source of power. In the years following the tempest, as the chaos subsided, there have been rumors of some actually venturing to the storm ravaged lands of the south to bask in the remaining plague in the hopes of acquiring its power for themselves. Death is not an uncommon end for these pilgrims.
Now that the storms have subsided, the ancient wonder of old magic yet lingers among the ruins of thousand-year-old empires, in crumbling towers of mad wizards, and in buried vaults of elder races. The marvels of living wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, clerics, druids, and other spellcasters have begun to return to Toril, though their numbers have waned. Indeed, without the divine restrictions of previous ages, magic is more prevalent than ever, manifesting not only as inexplicable changes to the landscape, items, and creatures, but even in some of the most fantastic exploits of the heroes that have retained its control. Magic truly does permeate all things. For all the changes wrought by the Mystra’s death, magic remains the lifeblood of Toril.