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History of magic

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Magic is strongly related to each edition of Dungeons & Dragons and significant changes have occured to magic when the rule editions change. This article has references thoughout it where the rules have changed. While magic is not just arcane magic, it should be noted that with the change of each edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the god of magic usually dies or changes so their deaths are used as reference points thoughout this article.

  • There occurs some deliberate falsification of the nature of the Weave in textbooks, as an attempt to limit the knowledge associated with spellcasting.[1] 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons
  • While the Weave was thought for eons to be magic, in reality the Weave was just an access, though Mystryl and her succesors, to magic.[2] 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons

The birth of MystrylEdit

1st edition Dungeons & Dragons

Lord Ao created the universe. At first it was nothing but energy, with neither light nor dark, heat nor cold. Eventually the energy created two deities – Selûne and Shar. Together they created heavens and Chauntea, the embodiment of the world of Toril. Chauntea begged for light and warmth so that she could create life on the new world, but Shar opposed this vehemently. The subsequent war between the sisters created new deities – war, murder, and destruction among them. When Selûne lit one of the nearby heavenly bodies on fire to provide the light and warmth needed, Shar became enraged, trying to extinguish light everywhere. Selûne tore the energy from her own body and flung it at Shar, where it joined with Shar's energy and passed from both of them, thus creating the goddess of magic, Mystryl. The birth of Mystryl not only brought a truce to Selûne and Shar, but created the Weave.

In the newly created Toril, magic abounded in everything, but in its raw state it was too dangerous for mortals to use. The Weave is a like a fabric, consisting of many threads, all woven together to create an intricate design. Spellcasting and the use of magic items pulls individual threads and reweaves them, creating a new design. Now both mortals and deities could use magic through this fabric that was both the embodiment of Mystryl and a conduit to raw magic.

The death of Mystryl and the birth of MystraEdit

2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons

When the Phaerimm, a race dwelling under the surface of the earth, began to cast spells draining the empire of Netheril of its magic, a powerful mage named Karsus created a link to Mystryl in an attempt to steal her power, become a god and save his empire. This caused a great rift in the Weave, and Mystryl was so weakened that she sacrificed herself to save the world. Since she was the Weave, magic immediately ceased all across Toril. A new goddess of magic named Mystra was born, and she was able to repair the weave in a way that such powerful spells could never be used against it again.

The death of Mystra and the birth of MystraEdit

3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons

When Bane and Myrkul stole the Tablets of Fate from Ao, the overgod cast all the deities of the Realms out of their divine homes and forced them to walk the Material Plane in their avatar forms until the tablets were recovered. The only exception was Helm who was tasked with guarding the Celestial Stairway from any deity who attempted to return home.

Mystra, whose presence on Faerûn was damaging the Weave, attempted to get past Helm so that she could start fixing it, but Helm, sworn to guard the Stairway against any intrusion killed Mystra for her attempt.

A woman who went by the name of Midnight, who was a wizard supposedly being groomed for the position of Magister and a follower of Mystra, was adventuring to help find the Tablets of Fate. When her quest was over, Lord Ao elevated her to godhood to replace her deceased goddess.

The death of Mystra and the SpellplagueEdit

4th edition Dungeons & Dragons

Because Mystryl and her succesors were inextricably bound to the Weave (one cannot exist without the other),[1] when Mystra was assassinated by Cyric and Shar on 29 Tarsakh 1385 DR, the Weave collapsed and initiated the Spellplague.[3]

At this point in time (and D&D edition) magic changed.[2]
  • Magic Items (eg Weapons, Armor, Cloaks, etc.) that were "permanent" mostly survived, as they had access to magic built into them.[2]
  • Magic Items that relied on "charges" (eg wands and staffs) no longer work or work differently from what was intended at their creation time.[2]
  • Creatures that relied on the Weave, to cast spells or channel magic, were suddenly without the Weave.[2]
  • Just as the Weave collapsed, so did the Shadow Weave.[2]

Over time adaption occured. While the Weave was no more, Magic was still there.[2] Some former users of the Weave "attuned" themselves to the new magic environment.[2] Other users of the Weave came to access Magic though other beings, usually deities or other such powerful beings.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 55. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 50. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  3. Brian R. James (2008-02-27). Spellplague: The Wailing Years. Dragon Features Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2008-04-14. (Registration required to view.)
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