A Spellplagued Land
History of Forgotten Realms
In the beginning existed a misty realm of timeless nothingness, crafted by Ao the Hidden One from the raw elemental bedlam of the Phlogiston. Within this dim sphere, several worlds drifted upon the Sea of Night. Though the worlds were lifeless and barren at this time, powerful beings of manifest entropy and elemental might coveted them. The name of their kind has been lost to the ages; the few sages who today know of their existence refer to them simply as the primordials.
Unknown to the primordials, detritus remaining from its creation coalesced around the universe as an ocean of silvery liquid. From this glittering realm of starlight formed beautiful twin beings, polar opposites of each other, one dark and one light. The twin goddesses birthed of the Astral Sea quickly moved to defend the virgin worlds from the destructive primordials. Other gods were created from the residue of the deific battles or summoned from other dimensions to aid in the fight against the primordials and their monstrous servants.
While the gods and primordials contested for ages, life struggled into existence on the worlds they coveted. The blue jewel Toril sparkled brightest of them all, home to a race of sea creatures that huddled in the depths of the world’s single vast ocean. This Blue Age came to a sudden and chilling end when Toril was inexplicably plunged into darkness, its sun snatched from the sky by a sinister primordial known as the Night Serpent. Global temperatures plummeted, and soon, most life on the planet became extinct.
Little is known of this Shadow Epoch, but sarrukh myths and legends speak of climactic battles throughout this age between the primordials and the Elder Gods led by Ouroboros the World serpent. Ultimately, the tide was turned when the primordials were betrayed by one of their own. Ubtao the Deceiver assisted the elder gods in slaying, imprisoning, or driving away the remaining primordials.
Days of Thunder –35,000 DR to –30,000 DR
Eons passed before sunlight warmed the world once more. Oceans thawed, then receded, allowing dry land to rise above the frigid water. In this ancient time, much of Toril’s landmass was a single supercontinent named Merrouroboros. The creator races each dominated Merrouroboros in turn, creating or producing as offspring a host of lesser races. The noble fey never dominated the continent; they chose instead to rule the Feywild, an otherworldly realm loosely connected to Toril. These ancient peoples were known to later races, including elves and humans, by the Elven name iqua Tel’Quessir, or the Creator Races.
Dawn Ages –30,000 DR to –24,000 DR
The empires of the Creator Races faded into memory, ushering in the Time of Dragons and Giants. Individual dragons and dragon clans ruled large swaths of territory and battled with their rivals for control of the land, seas, and skies. During this period of devastating warfare among the dragons, isolated pockets of formerly dragon-ruled territory came under giant control. Over time, such giant-ruled kingdoms threatened the hegemony of dragonkind, leading to great battles. Severely weakened after a thousand years of war, the giants were saved from annihilation when fey high magic sent the wyrms into a suicidal paroxysm of rage and destruction.
The First Flowering –24,000 DR to –12,000 DR
The great elven civilizations of Aryvandaar, Illefarn, Miyeritar, Shantel Othreier, and Keltormir reached their peak during this age. As a result of the elves’ success against orc hordes, dragons, and giants, other races (including humans) thrived in safety and began the slow climb to civilization.
This age also witnessed the unbridled fury of the Sundering, a disastrous invocation of high magic that cracked Merrouroboros asunder, creating the disparate continents of Faerûn, Maztica, and Katashaka. Among the turbulent waters of the newly formed ocean later known as the Trackless Sea rose the Green Isle of Evermeet, thought to be a piece of Arvandor and a bridge between worlds.
The Crown Wars –12,000 DR to –9000 DR
Many nations in the south fell during this terrible time, including Thearnytaar, Eiellûr, Syorpiir, and Orishaar. The Dark Disaster (–10,500 DR) utterly destroyed the forest realm of Miyeritar, leaving the blasted plains known today as the High Moor. Perhaps due to the savagery of the Crown Wars or other factors long lost to time, the dark elves became corrupt during this era. They broke away from their kinfolk, and after much warfare and cruelty, they were banished beneath the world’s surface to become the drow (dhaeraow or ”traitor” in Elven).
The Founding Time –9000 DR to –3000 DR
Also known as the Age of Proud Peoples, this era signaled the rise of many humanoid ivilizations in a time when the dragons and giants had been long overthrown and the elves’ wars no longer threatened everyone. Dwarven civilization in particular blossomed; the dwarves founded the kingdoms of Shanatar, Sarphil, Oghrann, Haunghdannar, Ghaurraghaur, Besilmer, Ammarindar, and Delzoun during this era. The fey realms of Siluvanede, Sharrven, Eaerlann, and Evereska were established at this time, as were the mighty human nations of Calimshan and Jhaamdath.
Age of Humanity –3000 DR to 1358 DR
With the elven and dwarven empires in decline, this era marked a dramatic increase in human expansion on Toril. The mighty human empires of Netheril, Imaskar, Mulhorand, Unther, Narfell, and Raumathar arose during this period. Great human nations developed in lands beyond Faerûn as well, ranging from the far eastern realms of Wa and Shou Lung in Kara-Tur, through Zakhara, to the distant shores of Maztica.
Era of Upheaval 1358 DR to Present
Scholars today mark the calamitous events of the Avatar Crisis in the Year of Shadows (1358 DR) as the start of the Era of Upheaval. Few in those early days could have possibly predicted that the physical and magical chaos of the Time of Troubles was merely a prelude to the Spellplague and the cataclysmic merging of two worlds that would follow. Though the union with Abeir was brief, its mark on Toril was significant and enduring. Even the gods themselves know fear for the first time in eons, for their numbers are diminished and the long-banished primordials have returned to oppose them and sow chaos throughout the cosmos.