Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Forgotten Realms in 4th Edition, Part II

In this post, I will be discussing my opinions on the Spellplague and the introduction of the new (old) continent of Abeir.

The Spellplague is basically an attempt to explain the new magic rules in 4th Edition D&D, and basically it does so admirably.  The Spellplague is a result of the death of Mystra, the goddess of magic.  Her death also brings about the destruction of the Weave, the source of magic in the Forgotten Realms.  Wizards and other spell-casters lose their magic, and all hell breaks loose.

Over the years following, eventually some Wizards figure out how to tap into magic without using the Weave.  Others take the shortcut of making pacts with various sources becoming Warlocks.

This is a great explanation for the changes 4th Edition makes to spell-casting.  I especially like that it explains the newfound prominence of warlocks in a completely logical manner.  The one hundred year jump helps in this case as well, since it gives plenty of time for the Spellplague and it's aftermath to play out.

I am less happy with the introduction of Abeir.  Abeir is a new continent appearing on the face of Toril (the name of the planet in the Forgotten Realms).  Well, new may not be the correct word, since it was part of the Forgotten Realms in ancient days, but mysteriously disappeared.  Its reappearance will be used to explain the presence of Dragonborn.

Now, the longtime Forgotten Realms geek in me rejoices at the use of the name Abeir.  The "old greybox" noted that while the planet was commonly called Toril that ancient writings referred to it as Abeir-Toril.  So, I was glad to see them using a name with history behind it.

Still, adding a wandering continent to the Forgotten Realms seems a bit of a clunky solution to shoehorn in the Dragonborn.  I will admit, I am hard pressed to come up with a better one considering the long established setting.  After all, you can't just have them be created around the time of the Spellplague because the time jump just buys you a hundred years.  Such a short history would conflict with the "ancient race" feel the Dragonborn are supposed to have.

I suppose  I shouldn't complain too much.  I used an amazingly similar solution to bring an entire kingdom from my homebrewed world of Malakath to the Forgotten Realms when I first converted over over 20 years ago. 

Of course, I was 16 and considered it a horrible kludge even then.


Scafloc said...

If they wanted to do atlantis, they should have just done atlantis I think.