“A sound was heard then unlike any other.”
“The gods screamed.”
The Time of Troubles, also known as the Arrival, Godswar, and Avatar Crisis, is a fictional time period in the chronology of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role playing game. Taking place during the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, the Time of Troubles was a cataclysmic period during which the gods of Faerûn were forced to walk the earth in their mortal avatar forms. However, unlike when a god usually sends an avatar and its true form resides usually on one of the Outer Planes, the gods were all demoted and this was the only form they had at the time, making them very vulnerable. Several major deities died during the Time of Troubles, and a handful of mortals rose to divinity.
The Time of Troubles was precipitated by an attempt by the gods Bane and Myrkul to steal the Tablets of Fate from the overgod Ao. The tablets were created by Ao to sustain the balance of good and evil, law and chaos and contain the areas of which each of the gods of the Forgotten Realms rule over. Angry with the gods for their habitual pursuit of power and negligence toward their mortal faithful, Lord Ao relegated every god to walk among their followers on the earth. The immediate effects of this edict were threefold. First, divine magic ceased to function altogether unless the cleric was within one mile of their deity’s avatar. Second, arcane magic ceased to be regulated by its steward, Mystra, and became dangerously unpredictable. Third, the characteristically immortal and aloof deities were now vulnerable and dwelling among the civilizations of Faerûn.
But, When Ao the Overgod destroyed the Tablets of Fate at the conclusion of the Time of Troubles, he instigated the Era of Upheaval. The Tablets defined the laws of Realmspace and kept it relatively stable. Without them, chaos ensued and the worlds of Abeir and Toril, separated many thousands of years ago, slowly started to overlap. The Spellplague drastically sped up this process. The Sundering involves the re-separation of those worlds. In addition, Ao will rewrite the Tablets of Fate, and the gods, unsure of what this will do to them and their power, make efforts with their most powerful servants to prepare for that event.