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Clutches at Greatness

25 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2018 :  02:49:11  Show Profile Send Clutches at Greatness a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
What is the official timeline of Realmspace/Faerun/AbeirToril?

Are the Obyrith and the Dawn War between Gods and Primordial still canon?
How do the Dawn War and the War of Light and Darkness between Selune and Shar relate to each other?

What did Ao actually create, the Multiverse, the Universe, Realmspace, Faerun, AbeirToril?

Did he create the Limbo, the Elemental Chaos, The Astral Sea? The Far Realm?

Did the Aboleth(s) create any of that? Or the Kuo-Toa? Did the Kuo-Toa create Ao?

I'll be right back, after I caught that piece of string

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief

31390 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2018 :  03:07:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ao created Realmspace -- the world and its solar system. The other planes already existed at that time, or so I would imagine -- everything that has come to the Realms from elsewhere, including a fair number of its deities, had to come from somewhere.

The War of Light and Darkness predated pretty much everything else, including the Dawn War.

I don't know of anything created by the kuo-toa; certainly not Ao. And while I'm weak on my 4E lore (because so much of it was either retcons or built on retcons), I'm not aware of anything significant the aboleths have done, though I'm sure someone will correct me on that, if needs be.

Honestly, I think aboleths exist in D&D just to have something Cthulhu-esque without opening calling out its origins -- they're not a direct rip-off like mind flayers are, but they are pretty alien compared to so much else. A lot of the oldest D&D critters are pretty blatantly lifted from mythology and legends, but then you've got some real weirdos, like the aboleths.

I think that connecting aboleths to the Far Realm (itself a late-comer to the game, and also clearly inspired by Lovecraft) comes from the fact that they are just so alien that it's hard to otherwise explain them.

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Clutches at Greatness

25 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2018 :  05:33:20  Show Profile Send Clutches at Greatness a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, atm I am desperately trying to fit the blurp from the Monster Manual Aboleth into the timeline.
"Before the coming of the gods,...aboleths seized control of the life-forms of the mortal realms...Then the true gods appeared, smashing the aboleths and freeing their slaves"

I don't understand when exactly the aboleth ruled, and what the gods did to them

I thought I tracked it down to the Batrachi Kolophoon Sovereignty, but according to "Candlekeep Kompendium 3, Mysteries of the Creator Races, the Batrachi" this guys did not rule the entire world, they were not Aboleth, but (at that time) tako, and they apparently weren't ruled by Aboleths either, they just called some of them (the Xxiphu part) in as Allies, plus they were destroyed by the Elven cataclysm, not by any gods, so pretty much nothing fits here.

I also don't understand the relationship between the Xxiphu far realm aboleths and the Toril aboleths. Sure, nowadays they disagree in their plans, but then I read somewhere (?) that the Toril aboleths are descendants of the Xxiphu guys, who seem to have their first appearance when summouned by the Tako. Which would also exclude any Abolethic rule BEFORE the Batrachi.

Does that "Coming of the Gods" have a specific meaning?

I am also curious about relationships between the Aboleths and the Obyrith. My interest was piqued by a short blurp in "Stormwrack", which stated that the Briny Sea under Demogorgons 88th Layer of the Abyss was inhabited by "Aboleths, Ixichatan(? -the vampiric mantas) and Kraken.
That sea is also the border to Dagons layer, which houses not further specified "aquatic monsters"

And yeah, the thing about Obyrith and Aboleths is, they somehow seem to both fit the same literary niche - unexplicable Alien things from a strange outside place, that are heavily inspired by Lovecraft.

Oh, btw, already pretty confused and hearing about massive changes and retconning of stories I listened to this:
which is definitely entertaining, but probably confused me even more. Thats also where the Kuo-Toa stuff comes from

I'll be right back, after I caught that piece of string

Edited by - Clutches at Greatness on 07 May 2018 05:51:34
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Great Reader

6668 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2018 :  06:57:23  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The "official" Realmslore canon has been changed in every (A)D&D game edition. So the answer can depend on which (A)D&D game edition is being asked about.

And the "official" WotC opinion is that, wherever there is conflict, new published canon always supersedes old published canon. So basically anything described in your preferred-edition of D&D/Realms sourcebooks is "official" canon, although you can refer to earlier-edition stuff which hasn't been updated.

I'm guessing (from the terms and contexts) that these questions are based on 4E lore ... in which case I have no answers since I refuse to move beyond 2E and 3E and I care little about adhering to WotC's ideas about "canon" in my Realms, lol.


Edited by - Ayrik on 07 May 2018 07:00:16
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Clutches at Greatness

25 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2018 :  07:38:39  Show Profile Send Clutches at Greatness a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I for one am curious about what WoTC's ideas about canon in the 5th edition are. I am sort of also curious about what are still holes to be filled in 5th edition, and what amount of old materials will/can be used to plug those holes.

I'll be right back, after I caught that piece of string
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Master of Realmslore

1757 Posts

Posted - 08 May 2018 :  16:58:25  Show Profile Send Quale a Private Message  Reply with Quote
''before the coming of the gods'' means before mortal belief in gods began, not before Selune/Shar existed
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Great Reader

7374 Posts

Posted - 08 May 2018 :  17:15:59  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Officially, timeline wise, we only know the history of realmspace from the Days of Thunder forward, with some hints that there was a prior time of darkness (called the Shadow Epoch), and prior to that there was a sun that was "destroyed" (what exactly destroyed means can cause a LOT of debate). So, basically, we have information on say the last roughly 37,000 years. However, how many shadow epochs have their been in the past? How many suns have arisen and been destroyed BEFORE the shadow epoch? Have any other worlds in realmspace previously supported large populations and simply no longer do? If your interest is in aboleths maybe their rise and fall wasn't even on Toril. Both the planets of Karpri and Chandos are water worlds. Karpri has telepathic dolphins, giant insects, and giant plants, as well as lots of fish. It also has the beholder aberrations known as "Eyes of the Deep". Chandos is a larger world, but it possesses intelligent fish "with tendrils" that can "cast spells when in danger"

For a comparison of planetary sizes, Karpri is smaller than Toril and comparable to the size of Selune (though Selune may be on the low end and Karpri on the high end, which could make one 64 times bigger than the other mind you). Chandos on the other hand is larger than Toril (by how much? Unknown... so this size difference could be either miniscule or massive)

Toril is size E
Selune is size D
Karpri is size D
Chandos is size F

Size classes give information about the diameter of a celestial body:
Size A - Less than 10 miles in diameter
Size B - 10-100 miles in diameter
Size C - 100-1,000 miles in diameter
Size D - 1,000-4,000 miles in diameter
Size E - 4,000-10,000 miles in diameter
Size F - 10,000-40,000 miles in diameter
Size G - 40,000-100,000 miles in diameter
Size H - 100,000-1,000,000 miles in diameter
Size I - 1,000,000-10,000,000 miles in diameter
Size J - More than 10,000,000 miles in diameter

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Master of Realmslore

1703 Posts

Posted - 09 May 2018 :  01:57:05  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Ao created Realmspace -- the world and its solar system. The other planes already existed at that time, or so I would imagine -- everything that has come to the Realms from elsewhere, including a fair number of its deities, had to come from somewhere.

Then there are also Maztica and Fate. Who may be other faces of Ao, or partners in creating stuff.
And more actively present Ubtao.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 09 May 2018 01:59:15
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

1085 Posts

Posted - 09 May 2018 :  20:04:14  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The 4e lore is not that hard to understand, really. Pretty much is this: after Abeir was confirmed to be real, some guys at Candlekeep began to study the legends and myths of Laerakond (Returned Abeir) and cross-referenced that with some Sarrukh stuff, learning about the Dawn War (a canon event that happened in many worlds and is still canon in 5e as per the SCAG).

The Dawn War provides an alternate ending to the Netherese myth of the War of Light and Darkness in which Shar and Selune deemed more important to save Realmspace than to kill each other and made a temporal truce to help the gods of other worlds during the war with the Primordials. The Dawn War doesn't contradict any previous lore, just adds new stuff. Realmspace is still created by Ao, Shar and Selune, and that stuff. Primordials are just consecuences of creation in The Realms.

Now, kuo-toas created nothing in 4e. That is 5e stuff. I know people here really hates 4e, but not every thing you consider a bad idea comes from it. For instance, the Aboleth stuff is from 3e (Lords of Madness, a book I don't have, so cannot help with that).

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 09 May 2018 20:07:07
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

1291 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2018 :  09:47:39  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ao is an overgod. One of many. Overgods are to gods {somewhat) as Epic characters are to regular PC's. An overgod has a divine rank greater than 20, and once a deity "breaks out" of the divine ranking system (which I like to think of as simply a numeric measure of "numen," or divine power) they are no longer subject to the normal laws of divinity with regard to requiring worshipers to sustain their "numen" or divine rank.

It is generally accepted that in order to "graduate" to overdivinity status, a rank 20 god must perform an epic feat, sort of like writing a dissertation, or doing an Eagle Scout project. Something very difficult, something impossibly big, in order to establish one's over-divine bona fides.

If one is a patron deity of a specific race, that may involve spreading the population of that race to a number of crystal spheres to achieve some "critical mass" of worshippers or power base to propel oneself over the top. That in itself may not be sufficient but only a qualfication, and there may still be other feats or qualifications one must meet.

After one achieves over-divinity, people tend to forget about that god. He no longer has a portfolio or mundane concerns in this universe. The are an order of magnitude above regular "gods" and most likely have greater concerns that are incomprehensible to mortals -- like defending the cosmos from being overun by entities from the far realms or higher levels of reality.

You notice Corellon and Gruumsh have been pretty successful at spreading Elves and Orcs among the spheres, but still have not graduated to overdivinity status? Whereas Anam, the all-father of the Giant pantheon hasn't been heard from in sometime, and may be in the process now of transitioning to overdivine status -- in fact, might even have already done so. Or maybe he just died of ennui. We don't really know for sure.

Notice that there is no one "human" patron deity? I suspect the god of "humans" was so successful spreading them across the multiverse, that god graduated to overdeity millennia ago. And just possibly, Ao himself might have been that human patron, or not. That's just a thought.

Ed suggested in his scroll here on Candlekeep a long time back, that the best minds of Toril believe that Toril is approximately twice the age of the oldest recorded history (back to the dawn ages), and Ed said that is not necessarily proof, but that the sages of Toril are no slouches and generally know their business, or at least have good reasons to believe what they do. We at least know the physics of Realmspace are different from that of Earth. So while we can't rule out Toril still being millions or billions of years old, the sages of Toril believe it to be about only 70-75 thousand years old (plus or minus a few thousand years}. And so that's the figure I take as the best guess, given nothing else to go on.

It should be noted that Ao probably created Realmspace's crystal sphere as his "overdivine thesis project." And that it was the creation of that crystal sphere that saw him successfully become an overgod.

However, Realmspace was probably an empty globe, like a terrarium, afterwards. From the lore it sounds like it was filled with a primordial mist, which I take to be Ether, which is the stuff of pure potential, from which the elements derive.

The major myths seem to support the idea that out of that mist, Shar and Selune resolved, distilled as it were, and those myths say that it was Shar and Selune who together created all the celestial bodies of Realmspace, and seeded them with life--which in turn created Chauntea (or vice versa).

Ao still seems to have some involvement with Realmspace. Maybe his 'over-divine thesis project' is not finished yet, but rather some ongoing experiment. Or possibly after creating Realmspace, he was put in charge of administering it and so still has responsibilities there. Or maybe he sees it as a toy to play with. Or maybe he's just really fond of the place and wants to protect it, like a pet. No one really knows for sure. I like to think of him as the "system administrator" keeping watch over the servers, maintaining security, keeping everything running, and granting user privileges to gods (and taking them away).

Cults occasionally become aware of Ao, and begin to worship him, but then they forget about him in short order, almost like their memories of his existence fade away... or get edited out (like in Men in Black, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

As for the multiverse, Ao did not create that. There are countless crystal spheres floating in the phlogiston separating each "universe" from the others of the Prime Material Plane. You can use spelljammer ships and portals and other methods to travel between the crystal spheres in order to visit the worlds of other campaign settings (like Greyhawk, Athas, or Dragonlance, etc.) And the Plane of Shadow can even take you to alternate realities, or different versions of the SAME worlds.

Many crystal spheres have an overgod of their own that may have created them. At least one crystal sphere has been shattered, which might have been due to a different "over-divine thesis project" by an evil overgod. Or a failed experiment. Or what happens when an overgod fails to protect the crystal sphere he is in charge of from higher dimenensional threats.

As for what's still canon? Well, as the Sundering was intended to "undo" the more egregious changes of 4th edition, then I assume the reset was back to what it was at or near the end of the 3rd edition timeline. It is unclear to me whether the events of 4th edition happened and then "repaired" after Abeir passed through and unphased with Toril, or if all the events of 4th edition were retconned out of canon completely (or edited out by Ao).

I prefer to think that everything that was written in an official product happened, and that if it changed, one must assume there's an in-continuity explanation for everything, even if we don't know all the facts.

To that extent we should probably also assume any changes are only canon if they are in a written product (or proclaimed by Ed), so that we can speculate about what changes had to happen to make something "true" as it is currently published, but we may not be able to say definitively, without some official text to confirm it in a future product (or Ed tells us, here on Candlekeep).

Of course, it's a given that as a DM, your own Realms can be anything that you want it to be, whether it's your own interpretation of canon, or completely different from published canon. You are the "Ao" of your own Forgotten Realms.
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

1291 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2018 :  10:54:19  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, with respect to your question about the Outer Planes, Ao did not create any of those (except for Cynosure, the neutral ground plane where the Gods meet to have summits and talk things out... oh, and maybe Ao had something to do with creating the Fugue Plane as a waystation for Realms gods to collect the spirits of their deceased petitioners).

The Outer Planes are a manifestation of collective belief of all the sentient beings in all the crystal spheres of the Prime Material Plane. To some that looks like the Great Wheel, arrayed by alignment.

Most inhabitants of Realmspace believe their cosmology is arrayed Not along alignment principles, but segregated by cultural and racial affiliations, with each pantheon or group of gods having their own paradise or underworld or afterlife, and these outer planes or Astral dominions are connected in a network that looks something like a tree. Possibly because the good-aligned planes are connected one to another by the World Tree, Yggdrasil. Although the darker, evil planes are connected by the River of Blood (aka the Styx in Greek Mythology, except there is no Greek mythology in the Realms... okay there may be a handful of Greek gods in Chessenta, but that's another story).

You don't seem to be able to get to the Great Wheel directly from Toril. That may be because people of Toril don't generaly believe in the Great Wheel, or know that it exists.

Alternatively, it may be because the Imaskari sealed off Realmspace from the Great Wheel proper circa –4366 DR, shortly after abducting and enslaving large populations of humans from Mesopotamia, North Africa, The Balkan Peninsula (Greece) and Southern Europe (Rome) through portals to Earth's ancient and classical historical periods.

I like to think of the Realms cosmology as akin to an "intranet", a sealed-off private network where all the "links" and connections take you to places within Toril's planes.

However, unbeknownst to {most) Torilians , those Outer planes are part of, or at least connected to, the greater "Great Wheel" cosmololgy (by planer gates, conduits and soft borders) in the manner of an external "internet."

Everything about the Outer Planes is governed by belief, so what one personally believes about them will in great part govern one's experience of them. To say for sure whether Toril's cosmology is completely separate--but linked to the Great Wheel, or exists within the Great Wheel cosmology (only appearing to naive Torilians as separate) becomes then largely a philosophical exercise.

Edited by - Gray Richardson on 13 Aug 2018 10:55:04
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Gray Richardson
Master of Realmslore

1291 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2018 :  10:57:03  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote

The Far Realms, on the other hand, are another reality altogether. They are outside of and beyond any conception we have of the planes we know. As such, it is not clear that the Far Realms are even part of the Multiverse proper. If all the crystal spheres of the Multiverse were encased inside a much grander, cosmically larger "meta"-sphere, the Far Realms would be outside of that.

The aboleths are very ancient. We know that Toril, before the days of Thunder and before the ice-age that preceded those, that Toril was originally a water world--with no (or little) surface land.
During Toril's early "blue" period, the aquatic creator race populated the oceans of Toril.

Much later, during the Days of Thunder, the aquatic creator race would be transformed by Ramenos and emerge from the oceans as the amphibious Batrachi to conquer the land.

But back when Toril was a water-world, the aquatic creator race (possibly an octopoid race, the ancestors of the Tako and Blue-Ringed Octopus) developed some talent with magic and learned to open portals to the planes.

They connected first to the Elemental Planes. As a result of opening those portals (or simply by revealing the existence of Toril) the Djinn, Efreet, and espeically the Marids, along with other elemental denizens, took notice of Toril and began to "seep in." In time, extra-planar beings slowly gained a purchase in the Realms. They were variously summoned, enslaved, invited, or brought over. Some came to explore, some migrated, some invaded with the intent to colonize.

Eventually, the skill of the aquatic creator race exceeded the limits of wisdom and common sense. They penetrated the boundaries of the cosmos into the Far Realms, and from those contacts the aboleths, and stranger things yet, were given access to Realmspace.

So the aboleths have been around a long, long time. Longer than the Days of Thunder even.

With infinite complacency the aquatic creators went to and fro about the multiverse, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. None gave a thought to the older worlds and further realms as sources of danger. At most they fancied the denizens of those planes as inferior to themselves--perhaps ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the cosmic gulf, minds that were to their minds as ours are to those of beasts, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded Toril with an envious eye, and slowly yet surely drew their plans against it.

Edited by - Gray Richardson on 13 Aug 2018 11:08:13
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