THE YEAR OF BLUE FIRE

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In the Year of Blue Fire (1385 DR), a magical disaster
called the Spellplague changed the face of Toril, its
lost sibling Abeir, and even the planes themselves.
Flesh, stone, magic, space, and perhaps even the flow
of time were infected and changed.

Most scholars believe that the Spellplague was
the direct result of the murder of the goddess Mystra
at the hands of Cyric, which Shar engineered. This
popular theory holds that magic was bound so long in
Mystra’s Weave that, when the goddess died, it spontaneously and ruinously burst its bonds.

Areas of wild magic, already outside the constraints of the Weave,
touched off first, but the plague raged on and on in
ever-widening spirals, devastating some places and
leaving others untouched. It even tore through the
realms of demons, gods, and lost souls before the end.

Ancient realms that had passed beyond easy reach
of the world were pulled back, such as the Feywild
(called Faerie in ancient days). The Abyss, home of
demons, fell through the planes, unleashing swarming
evil before finding its new home at the bottom of
the Elemental Chaos. Even the long-forgotten sibling
world Abeir burned in the plague of magic, despite
having been cut off from Toril for tens of millennia.
Portions of Abeir’s landscape were transposed
with areas of Toril in the disaster. Such landscapes
included their living populations, bringing realms
such as Akanûl and Tymanther to Faerûn’s face.
Across the Trackless Sea, an entire continent of the lost world reappeared.

The Spellplague was a potent agent of change, but
it also set off a whole string of secondary catastrophes.

frlogoThe Spellplague ate through stone and earth as readily
as flesh and magic. Broad portions of the continent
of Faerûn collapsed into the Underdark, partially
draining the Sea of Fallen Stars into the Glimmersea
far below and leaving behind a gigantic pit called the
Underchasm. The event splintered the Old Empires
south of the drained sea into a wildscape of towering
mesas, bottomless ravines, and cloud-scraping spires.
Of those ancient lands, the most changed by the
Spellplague were Mulhorand, Unther, and Chondath,
as well as portions of Aglarond, the shores of the
Sea of Fallen Stars, and the Shaar. What was once
called Halruaa was destroyed in a great holocaust, as
if every spell held there had loosed its power simultaneously.
The land bridge between Chult and the
Shining South was sunk; now only a scattered archipelago remains.

Tendrils of the Spellplague reached to many other
corners of Toril, sometimes bypassing great swaths
of land by infecting both sides of the many portals
that dotted the world. Such an effect might have
been responsible for drawing portions of lost Abeir into Toril.

Some sages suggest that the two worlds have undergone periodic conjunctions ever since
they diverged, but that these were too subtle for most
creatures to notice. By an accident of timing, the
Spellplague occurred during just such a conjunction,
which caused the briefly overlapping lands to run
athwart each other instead of passing in the night as before.

Pockets of active Spellplague still exist today,
most notoriously in the Plaguewrought Land. Each
of these plaguelands is strange and dangerous. No
two possess the exact same landscape or features,
but entering any of them could lead to infection by
the Spellplague. Luckily for the world, the remaining
plaguelands possess only a small fraction of the Spellplague’s
initial vigor and are in hard-to-reach locales,
often surrounded by twisted devastation. Most lands
of Faerûn and Returned Abeir are entirely free of
such pockets, though the plaguechanged and spellscarred might appear in any land.

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A creature, object, or spell touched by the Spellplague
usually dissolved into glowing, dissipating ash. Places
hit in the first few hours of the disaster twisted into
mad nightmares: delicate structures of mind-skewing
dimensions, half-melted cities, and shattered physical
and magical laws. Sometimes living creatures survived
but were hideously mutated. In the worst cases,
they were altered, twisted, or fused to other creatures
(regardless of species) or even to portions of the landscape.
Most such mewling horrors perished within a
few days.

A few things changed by the Spellplague survived
only by accepting the new reality. Living creatures so affected are differentiated into two broad groups:
plaguechanged and spellscarred.

A massive change in body and mind marks a creature
that has survived contact with the original wave
of the Spellplague. Such survivors are called the
plaguechanged. Few of their descendants survive
today—the initial plague was so virulent, and the
changes wrought were so extreme. As well, many
decades have passed since the Spellplague’s end, and
old age claimed most of the plaguechanged. A few of
the horrifying things bred true, though.
Plaguechanged creatures are monsters, whatever
their original race, driven insane by their dreadful
metamorphosis. Even the least of them display potent
abilities. Luckily, few of these creatures leave the
plaguelands.

Spellscars are usually gained when creatures come
too close to a plagueland, though sometimes they
afflict beings who have never had any contact with
rampant magic. Sometimes a spellscar is a physical
abnormality, but more often it is an intangible mark
that appears only when its power is activated. An
active spellscar might appear as jagged cracks of blue
light racing across the forearms and hands, a corona
of cerulean flame, a blazing blue glyph on the forehead,
or perhaps even wings of cobalt flame. In all
instances, blue fire is a sure indicator of a spellscar.

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