5th Age Campaigns' home rules
History of the Realms
For many contemporary scholars, we may be living through the end of the 4th Age of Toril. The events of the past centuries have been cataclysmic, but if anything, History tells that changes of Ages have always been troubled times.
The First Age is also called the Days of Thunder, where tens of thousands years ago the creator races dominated the world. The Iqua’Tel’Quessir, as the elves call them, among them Sarrukhs, Batrachis and others built great cities of stone and glass, worked mighty magic, and warred against each others.
It is commonly accepted that this First Age ended some thirty thousands years ago, when their vast empires vanished fairly suddenly, for unknown reasons, plunging the world into a dark transition of savage barbarisms.
The Second Age started as the Dawn Age where Dragons and Giants ruled the land for six thousands years before what has been poetically named “the First Flowering”, where the first nations of the Proud People arose, the Elves and the Dwarves. Each in their own ways, they fought off the dark influences of savagery and barbarisms and established new civilizations, lifting themselves up and established nations whose names remain today legendary, like Ardeep or Ilefarn on the surface for the Elves, or Shanatar or Delzoun in the Underdark for the Dwarves. Unfortunately, the Elven high mages trying to create a truly glorious homeland for their race precipitated the First Sundering, that tore the world apart and saw the forming of the Faerun continent in its current shape. Then around thirteen thousands years ago, war broke up between elven factions, and lasted for thousands of years, leading up to the Dark Disaster and later the banishment of the dark elves from the surface world. Wars soon began between the Drows and the underground cities of the Dwarves, signaling the decline of the Proud People nations, and the start of the Third Age, around five thousand years ago.
The third Age is marked by the rise of the human race, and as such has been called the Age of Humanity. A little more than five thousands years ago, the Shaman King Nether united many tribes of humans on the shores of the Narrow Sea, and created the first human empire, Netheril. Netheril grew to become an invincible nation of wonders, with floating cities and unrivaled mastery of magic. For three thousands year the Netherese empire grew stronger until the power mad Arcanist Karsus attempted to usurp the role of the Goddess of Magic. The resulting disruption in the fabric of Magic brought about the end of the great empire as well as the end of Third Age, two thousand years ago.
This is when the 4th Age began, our current Age which is not yet named as it has not ended yet. Many scholars place the beginning of the 4th Age when humans settlers in the Dalelands and Elves from Cormanthyr established the Dales compact, and erected the Standing Stone in the Dalelands. This was the first year of the Dale Reckoning (DR), nearly 15 hundred years ago now. Neverwinter was founded in 87 DR, Silverymoon in 384 DR and what would become Waterdeep in 882DR. As small pockets of civilization and city-states started flourish once again across Faerun, alliances of independent kingdoms, like the Lord’s Alliance of the Sword Coast, replaced the dreams of empires from the Ages before, with most of the more civilized races starting to work together rather than against each others.
But within the last one hundred and fifty years, Toril has been shaken again to its core by forces that have repeatedly rewritten the laws or reality.
In 1358DR the Gods were cast out of their otherworldly domains and made to walk the land incarnated as mortals, warring between themselves over portfolios, or expressing their power through mortals called Chosen.
In 1374DR the empire of Netheril was reborn when the floating city of Thultanthar resurfaced above the Anauroch Desert , bringing Faerun closer to other extra planar dimensions, like the Shadowfel or the Feywild.
in 1385DR, the goddess of Magic, Mystra was murdered by Cyric, ripping the fabric of Magic once again and causing the Spellplague, which caused severe manifestations of Wild Magic across the land, reshaping some of it in the process, and thinning even further the veil between the dimensions.
in 1482DR the long dead God of Murder Bhaal was reborn in Baldur’s Gate, wrecking the city, and plunging it in chaos and bloodshed. This event seemed to mark the start of a new cataclysmic decade as well as the end of the SpellPlague. Multiple natural calamities befell the land, reshaping some of it again, and tales of large conflicts, locusts, drought, floods and earthquakes are being reported from across different areas of Faerun.
The past years have created the direst conditions for the survival of the nations and kingdoms of the 4th Age, and to top it off, the Gods have slowly but steadily fallen not silent but quiet in the last decade, still granting their power to their faithful, but far removed from their direct interactions with the land or their Chosen from the past century. Divination and Commune spells rarely grant any obvious clues anymore, and the faithful scramble to try to interpret the few subtle signs they can scrap from this kind of magic
For many across the land, there won’t even be a 5th Age.