The Black Catastrophe Myth in Demons Drink Coffee | World Anvil

The Black Catastrophe

Ah. Another chance for Sheyla to huff about the Glassers...

The origins of the Black Glass Bowl have generated numerous theories well-founded and outlandish, but the Black Catastrophe is among the most bizarre. With fabricated and false foundations, the fundamentals of the belief rely on anti-magic sentiment of the ill-informed masses. Regardless of the veracity of the legend, it retains a significant following called 'Glassers' who partake in activities ranging from the harmless to the tyrannical.   (Sheyla... I know this is your tree to chop, but you have to keep a clear mind writing this.)  

The Legend Itself

The typical telling of the Catastrophe begins with a group of 'evil' wizards, though any magic adept is stereotypically villainous by Glasser standards, who became unsatisfied with their standing as 'mere tyrants.' Supposedly, they reigned over commoners with 'cruelty and capriciousness' paired with a dismissal of the faithful (specifically, the Rundic Three. The legend states these individuals desired godhood and would undertake any path to achieve it.   Together, the 'cabal' selected an empty section of land one mile in diameter in the Arid Flat to perform a ritual of unprecedented scale, which is categorically impossible to craft never mind control, leveraging the 'numerous' slaves they whipped and bludgeoned into submission another so-called 'fact' without any corroboration. Prior to the beginning of the 'unholy' rite, they named themselves 'warlocks' in honor of their 'adulation of unending violence.' Upon the caked ground they drew a summoning circle using 'runes of malice and terror' which do not exist as such.   Having completed their forced duty, the slaves were summarily 'sacrificed,' spilling their blood over the 'horrible and misbegotten' words of power. Of course, there is and never has been any reason to sacrifice anyone as part of magic and, further, no theory explored or even entertained by proper scholars indicates there would be any benefit. Their chosen target of the demonic summoning was the Demon King himself, master of all the Realms, whose existence is unproven and based on contradictory and unreliable accounts from contracted demons.   (For the love of the gods... Should I just give up? Is this what you want? To make yourself a target for these people?)   As the tale goes, the dangerous 'death-wielders' of the cabal succeeded in porting the archdemon to Turan. Awestruck at his 'fifty-foot tall, hate-gleaming majesty,' the wizards fell prostrate before him, begging for mercy and apologizing for their hubris. With demonic fervor, the 'Abyssal Lord' evoked a firestorm of hitherto unforeseen proportions, engulfing the warlocks in fire. Afterwards, the King conjured a destruction spell of equal if not greater magnitude, rending a hole in the land and forming the Black Glass Bowl. Finished with the 'pitiful mortals' of this world, he promptly left, leaving devastation in his wake.  

Issues Regarding the Legend

Scholars attempting to convert Glassers from their beliefs and help them adopt a more magic-friendly disposition identify several issues with the standard telling:  
  • No historical evidence exists for a ruling class of wizards. Even well before the founding of the Aemark Kingdom, casters occupied an admittedly special caste in society, but only entered politics or government under exceptionally rare circumstances. For certain, an entire oligarchy of warlocks is extremely unlikely.
  • Were such a group to exist, the proportion of magically adept individuals compared to the general populace means they would be vastly outnumbered. A revolt or rebellion by commoners, or slaves, would be able to overcome them if the situation were so dire.
  • There is no record of humanoid sacrifice in any magical discipline nor in any culture, excepting fanatics of ancient religions. None of these doctrines occupied territory in this region of Turan.
  • Quite simply, summoning magic does not work as described in the legend. The density of mana must be kept high and a 'mile-wide' circle is too large for any number of warlocks to fill sufficiently. Furthermore, no known contract terms could possibly occupy the gargantuan space because runes must be reasonably close together to function. Lastly, 'runes of malice and terror' would be the equivalent of using the words 'malice' or 'terror' in a legal document in Turan, which is to say: concerning, but mundane.
  • A further limitation on the ritual is the conflicting desires of the group, who must be of a singular mind at all times during the casting. Presuming they numbered enough to encircle the radius, keeping such a number focused on the task in the same way is effectively impossible.
  • The origin of the term 'warlock' is the 700's PrA Convocation of Practitioners, which established the terms for the different magical disciplines and the relevant terminology for wizards of these attunements.
  • The Demon King is a rumored entity based on the piecemeal and conniving dialogue with demons, who are free to lie about the Realms despite warlocks' best efforts to force truth in contractual terms regarding the matter. These reports are not to be relied upon.
  • No being, demonic or otherwise, can cast a spell of such godly power given the limits of their mana pools.
  If we assume the tale is an exaggeration, like many mythologies are, then we must reconcile it with the physical Bowl itself. As this is not possible, the only remaining option is the story is removed from reality or otherwise baseless.  


Official Aemark scholars first documented the legend of the Black Catastrophe in the early 700's PoA and immediately preceded the formation of the Glassers, who hold the myth central to their beliefs. The progenitor, called the first 'Drahkun's Arm,' was likely influenced by foreign powers who took advantage of their hate for arcane practitioners. The Al'Orphic Alliance is suspected of such interference owing to their deep magical knowledge and preference for subtle tactics.   Today, the legend continues to entice Aemark citizens with a distinct displeasure for the Academies and/or wizards. Whether the source of the discontentment is prior negative experiences, concern for an oppressive uprising or coup, or a basic jealousy is a matter for each Glasser to decide for themselves, if they were capable of this introspection. (Dammit, Sheyla!) The practical effect of the cult does not make the world safer, but endangers the lives of students unable to fully defend against attacks.
Related Location
Black Glass Bowl

Related Organization
The Glassers



We must let the truth be known! Tell all the tale of Black Glass Bowl and the heinous perpetrators of the Catastrophe!
  Sheyla would set them on fire if she knew they snaked an ad into this...
Written by Sheyla Enelladalcol Aeleat

Edited by Shikya Enelladalcol Aeleat

Mindcepts by Ella Enelnasalcol Malric


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