Time of Troubles in Faerûn | World Anvil

Time of Troubles

The Time of Troubles (also called the Avatar Crisis or the Godswar) was a significant event in the history of Toril. During the year 1358 DR, Ao the Overgod forced almost all of the deities of the Faerûnian pantheon to surrender their divinity and walk the world in their avatar forms. Due to this, several deities were killed during this time, and several mortals rose to become deities themselves. The Time of Troubles ended when a group of adventurers returned the Tablets of Fate to Ao atop Mount Waterdeep.

Background


The Tablets of Fate were extremely powerful artifacts created by Ao the Overgod in order to maintain the balance between Law and Chaos, and act as a barrier between the worlds of Abeir and Toril. In addition, the Tablets also recorded the names and purposes of each deity and primordial under Ao's purview.

Prior to 1358 DR, there was a general abdication of responsibility among the gods of the Faerûnian pantheon, who had become neglectful towards mortals. Instead, they preferred to treat Toril as a place of amusment, sending avatars at will and destroying anything they saw fit. The deities of the Faerûnian pantheon, even the good-aligned ones, were more concerned with their own personal rivalries and politics than acting as the gods they were supposed to be.

The Time of Troubles

In early Kythorn 1358 DR, the gods Bane and Myrkul stole the Tablets of Fate. Enraged, Ao summoned all the deities of the Faerûnian pantheon to explain the theft. Tyr was blinded for his failing to notice the theft, but the culprits did not come forward. In the early evening of 15 Kythorn, Ao cast all the deities of the Faerûnian pantheon down, forcing them all to exist solely as mortal avatars on Toril. In addition, they were forbidden from returning to their home planes.

The effects of this on the world were immediate: clerics could not cast their divine spells unless within a mile of their deity's avatar; arcane magic (normally regulated by Mystra) suddenly became unregulated and unpredictable; and most importantly, the previously immortal and all-powerful deities (although still powerful) were now vulnerable to mortals. The exception to this was the god Helm, who had retained his divine power and entrusted by Ao to prevent the now-mortal deities from returning to their home planes.
Mystra was captured by Bane shortly after being cast down and tortured, but managed to escape. She secured some of her power in her assembled Chosen and Azuth, then attempted to ascend the Celestial Stairway back to her home plane. However, Helm blocked her path. Mystra attempted to use force to pass, casting incredibly powerful spells, but they all failed to even scratch the god of guardians. When she repeatedly attempted to pass Helm despite his warnings, he destroyed her with a single punch.

The goddess of magic was not the only casualty during the Time of Troubles. Bane, one of the instigators of the event, was himself slain by the young god Torm on 13 Eleasias near Tantras. However, Torm was also killed in the fight by Bane's last breath. However, as Torm died fulfilling his godly obligations, he was later resurrected by Ao.

Unlike the rest of the pantheon, Bhaal, the god of murder, had forseen his own death. Before the Time of Troubles, he had used his avatar to have many children with mortal women, creating the Bhaalspawn. He placed part of his divine essence in each of their souls, granting them power, but also tempting them towards evil. Bhaal's plan was that his children would slay each other, and upon the last one's death, he would be reborn. His prediction came to pass, as on 16 Eleint, 1358 DR, he was killed by the mortal Cyric at Boareskyr Bridge, using the avatar of Mask in the form of the sword Godsbane.

While other deities were killed or imprisoned during the six month long cataclysm, the final death was that of Myrkul, the other instigator of the crisis. He had determined that one of the Tablets of Fate was located in Blackstaff Tower in Waterdeep, and was aware that the young wizard Midnight was carrying the other. His attempt to intercept her at High Horn failed, and she and her companions (including Elminster Aumar, Kelemvor, and Cyric) arrived at Waterdeep.

Myrkul dispatched all of the forces available to him to Waterdeep, where they rampaged through the city in an attempt to find the Tablets. Myrkul breached Blackstaff tower and was able to secure both Tablets of Fate, re-opening the Celestial Stairway atop Mount Waterdeep. Before he could reach the top of the mountain, he was engaged by both the forces of Waterdeep and Midnight's adventuring party. During this fight, Cyric betrayed and killed his companion Kelemvor. When Myrkul was distracted by the Griffon Cavalry, Midnight cast a disintegrate spell on him, turning him to dust.

With Myrkul's forces defeated, the Tablets of Fate had been secured. Ao the Overgod himself descended to Mount Waterdeep, thanking the adventurers for returning the Tablets to him. However, Ao then destroyed the Tablets entirely, grinding them into powder. Ao then created new laws governing the deities, declaring that a deity's power would from then on come from the number of their worshippers and the strength of their faith. As thanks for returning the Tablets to him, Ao ascended two of the adventurers to godhood. Midnight became the new goddess of magic, her name changing to that of Mystra. Cyric was granted the portfolios of the entirety of the Dead Three, briefly making him the most powerful god in the pantheon. With his business concluded, Ao the Overgod disappeared, and has not been seen since.

Legacy

The Time of Troubles was one of the most important events in recent Faerûnian history. Multiple gods were slain, new gods were created, and deities were forced to pay attention to their charges. However, many of the follow-on effects wouldn't be seen until years after the end of the Avatar Crisis. The adventurer Kelemvor, who had been betrayed by Cyric in the final battle, was killed by the sword Godsbane - the avatar of Mask. Mask hid his soul away in a pocket dimension, away from Cyric's gaze.

For ten years, Cyric and his new church were unable to find Kelemvor's soul, as Cyric wanted to destroy his former companion for good. Cyric ordered the Second Banedeath in 1368 DR to hunt down perceived traitors in his church (the First Banedeath was conducted in 1361 DR to root out any remaining Banites from the church). However, after a series of events where Mask tricked Cyric, Kelemvor was released from the sword and usurped Cyric's position as the god of death.

Myrkul, despite being killed and his portfolio transferred to Cyric, was not truly dead. In his final moments, he transfered part of his power to an artifact called the Crown of Horns inside Blackstaff Tower. Due to this, Myrkul was able to linger on for a decade and reform a body. It wouldn't be until the events of the Second Sundering that Myrkul regained his divinity, and even then would be significantly diminished in power.

Due to Mystra's death at the hand of Helm, parts of the Weave began to unravel. In many parts of the world, areas of dead or wild magic appeared. In addition, the previously beloved Church of Helm drastically lost influence.

Although Midnight had become the new goddess of magic, she was not all-powerful. Cyric wanted her portfolio for himself, and looked for allies to accomplish this. One such ally he found was Shar. During the Avatar Crisis, Shar had attempted to impersonate her sister Selûne in order to steal her followers, but was discovered and defeated in a magic duel over Waterdeep. Her plots were defeated, but her ambition was not. She, Cyric, and a resurrected Bane would plot to steal the portfolio of magic away from Mystra in what would become known as the Spellplague.

While the destruction of the Tablets of Fate and rearranging of the divine order had forced accountability upon deities, it had also begun to unravel the laws of Realmspace, beginning the Era of Upheaval. The barrier between the worlds of Abeir and Toril began to slowly weaken. In addition, with planar barriers weakening, many speculate that the gods of Realmspace began to take an increasing interest in other planes, due to the heavy-handed methods used by Ao during the Time of Troubles.
Other Names
Avatar Crisis
Godswar
Location
Toril
Date
1 Kythorn - 15 Maropenoth, 1358 DR
Cause
Theft of the Tablets of Fate by Bane and Myrkul
Outcome
Significant changes within the Faerûnian pantheon

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