Celestial solstice

The celestial solstice (often but not always capitalized: Celestial Solstice) is a recurring event in Exandria during which the ley energies merge, barriers between the Material Plane and the other Planes of Existence grow thinnest and the magical energy heightenes, leading individuals all across Exandria to perform energy consuming rituals, ingniting birth of aberrations as well as creature mutations, and creation of unique and mythological beasts.[1] The celestial solstice recurs on a roughly 30-year cycle.[2]

Apogee solstice[edit | edit source]

Every 100-120 years (or approximately every 4 cycles), there is an apogee solstice in which not only do the planes, but also the moons of Exandria align. During this solstice, "incredible workings of magic are possible." Some apogee solstices are even strong enough to reshape the ley network of Exandria.[3]

During an apogee solstice, the leylines become visible to the naked eye.[4]

In the Apogee Solstice Ira Wendagoth has observed in the Feywild, he noticed that the sky grew brighter and the darkness became even darker. In addition for this being an opportune time for rituals, fey inhabitants also mark this event with celebrations, indulging in "bacchanalian joys and terrors".[1]

The initial attacks of the Calamity occurred on an apogee solstice.[5] An apogee solstice was also predicted to occur between the 21st and 23rd of Fessuran, 843 PD.[6] It began on 20 Fessuran.[7]

Notable celestial solstices[edit | edit source]

Pre-Divergence[edit | edit source]

Vecna harnessed an event called the Celestial Solstice. He used this merging of ley energies and power to reforge manses of energy all across Exandria to suit his needs, opening the portals at his whim within his city to anywhere across the world, allowing his armies to lay siege to anything before him and extend his influence and rule. […] Months of turmoil followed as the shadow of the Vecna's unstoppable forces struck with precision and those fled before retaliation. However, the use of the Solstice was discovered and reverse-engineered, allowing the holy army the Beacon of Arms to storm his city under the banner of the Dawnfather, led by the champion Yos Varda.

— Ioun recounts the rise and fall of Vecna in the Age of Arcanum[8]

After Vecna achieved lichdom during the Age of Arcanum, he and his forces disappeared into the Shadowfell, conquered Thar Amphala, and built the dark tower Entropis. From this stronghold, he made use of the celestial solstice to expand his power, but his foes eventually figured out his secret and used it to interrupt his first attempt at attaining godhood.[9]

During one celestial solstice about 900 or 1000 years before 810 PD[10]possibly before or after the Calamity began — when the Elemental Planes aligned with the Material Plane, huge elemental rifts burst open across Exandria, causing terrible earthquakes, fires, and a flood of elemental monsters against which the peoples of the world struggled to defend. Though they eventually beat back the elementals, they were terrified of what would happen on the next solstice. The druidic Ashari, until then a single nomadic society on the continent that would later be called Tal'Dorei, made a covenant to split into four tribes to seal the rifts and watch over the major remaining portals, where they settled: the Fire Ashari keeping vigil at Pyrah, the Water Ashari at Vesrah, the Earth Ashari at Terrah, and the Air Ashari at Zephrah.[11][12]

Just before the Calamity, Laerryn Coramar-Seelie was tracking an upcoming apogee solstice, which was predicted to have significant ley-reshaping power.[13]

Post-Divergence[edit | edit source]

Some time between 513 and about 528 PD, when the Tal'Dorei Empire was still new and recovering from a 32-year war, another celestial solstice occurred.[14][fn 1] Errevon the Rimelord, taking advantage of the solstice, opened a rift from the Frostfell, the elemental plane of ice, in the forest that would later be called the Frostweald. The surrounding lands were immediately plunged into an oppressive winter, and with an army of frost giants and sentient blizzards, Errevon conquered most of the continent in a few years, expanding the winter storm as he went. The recently founded Council of Tal'Dorei finally convinced Kraghammer and Syngorn to work together in an alliance to fight Errevon; with their combined might they battled the Rimelord's forces back through the portal to the Frostfell, and the Ashari druids helped seal the rift. The people of Tal'Dorei celebrated this victory for centuries to come with annual festivals on Winter's Crest;[16] the festivities take place when the barriers between the planes grow thinner, but not as thin as during a celestial solstice.

The destruction of Molaesmyr in 585 PD occurred during an Apogee Solstice, in conjunction with a flare of Ruidus.[17]

As part of the deal Raishan struck with Thordak, she promised to help him escape from the Elemental Plane of Fire in exchange for knowledge that would save her. She initially planned to do so on a celestial solstice, but when she saw madness growing in him from his exposure to elemental forces, she accelerated her plans and broke him out on Winter's Crest instead.[18]

Campaign 3 Solstice[edit | edit source]

The Ruby Vanguard, a group dedicated to releasing the god-eater Predathos from its prison in Ruidus, built three Malleus Keys in order to channel ley energies, with the plan to activate these devices on the apogee solstice.[19] The center point of the solstice was predicted to be on a ley nexus north of Yios in the Hellcatch Valley, where the Tishtan people, long ago, had once built a holy site.[20] The Malleus Key on the Material Plane was located there, with corresponding devices in the Feywild and the Shadowfell.[21][19]

Eleven days before the solstice, Orym noticed a faint shift of colors in the sky.[22] These were revealed to be leylines, and became more and more visible worldwide[23] as the solstice approached.[24] The ley energies gave rise to an arcane storm as Bells Hells traveled towards the Tishtan site.[25]

At the same time, the rift to the Elemental Plane of Earth beneath Terrah experienced some instability, which Keyleth confirmed was related to the Ruby Vanguard's solstice plans.[26]

During the solstice, divination magic[27] like Oleander Calloway's Squint ability[28] or Scrying was considered "unreliable", though members of Bells Hells, Joan Abaddina, and several of the party's allies were able to Scry without issue.[29][30][31] Spells such as Sending, including when cast using a sending stone,[32] were typically overtaken by static and failed to reach the addressee, sometimes dealing psychic damage to the caster as well.[33][fn 2] It also caused the widespread dispelling of enchantments across Exandria, including teleportation circles[27] Trent Ikithon's Collar of Silence, which ended his imprisonment,[34] and the petrification magic binding Umudara in Uthodurn,[35] as well as the failure of the gondola system in Jrusar.[36] Several individuals were teleported from different continents to distant locations across Exandria.[37] Additionally, resurrection magic no longer functioned, and religious leaders felt their deities had turned away, though they were still present.[38]

It is not clear whether this was due to the solstice itself, or the activation of the Malleus Key, but researchers in Uthodurn did not have records of this happening during prior solstices.[39] A page at the Grandcast Citadel in Uthodurn reported that the apogee solstice appeared to be persisting past the length it should have lasted,[40] and Fearne noticed that the leylines were still visible in the sky several days later.[41]

Sending began to function again by 15 Quenpillar, 24 days after the solstice's inception.[42]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes

  1. A later-published source says this occurred on the next winter solstice, and does not mention the celestial solstice.[15]
  2. The player rolls a d100 to determine the outcome of using divination spells. On 2 the message goes through to the receiver ("Reunited" (3x64) at 1:38:33). On 98, the sender suffers psychic damage. On 3, 51, 53, and 75, the sender is unaffected.

Citation

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Red Moon Rising" (3x50) at 26:41.
  2. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 4:49:47.
  3. "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 59:12.
  4. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 1:44:58.
  5. "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 2:36:49.
  6. "Dark Portents" (3x29) at 1:13:17.
  7. "The Apogee Solstice" (3x51) at 4:35:16.
  8. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:18:46.
  9. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) from 1:17:39 through 1:21:40.
  10. "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 1:17:27.
  11. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 30.
  12. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", p. 48.
  13. "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 59:39.
  14. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 10.
  15. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 20.
  16. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 10–11.
  17. "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 1:30:47.
  18. "Trust" (1x70) at 17:32.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 3:43:26.
  20. "Dark Portents" (3x29) at 2:26:53.
  21. "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 3:30:49.
  22. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 10:29.
  23. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 2:47:47. Dorian, in Tal'Dorei, could also see them.
  24. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 4:14:19.
  25. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 4:03:38.
  26. "The Aurora Grows" (3x49) at 4:30:46.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Ripples" (3x53) at 1:23:11.
  28. "The Eve of the Red Moon" (3x81) at 2:14:27.
  29. "Crisis of Faith" (3x61) at 4:24:47. Abaddina casts Scrying
  30. "A Haunted Past" (3x63) at 3:55:27. Prism casts Scrying
  31. "Reunited" (3x64) at 3:30:01. Deanna casts Scrying
  32. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 2:43.
  33. "Far From The Others" (3x52) at 10:12. Also "Far From The Others" (3x52) at 1:43:58.
  34. "The Mighty Nein Reunion: Echoes of the Solstice" (OSx54) at 34:12.
  35. "Ripples" (3x53) at 2:13:45.
  36. "Reunited" (3x64) at 1:10:17.
  37. "The Apogee Solstice" (3x51) at 4:25:05. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 1:50:11.
  38. "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 2:28:13.
  39. "Ripples" (3x53) at 1:42:35.
  40. "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 57:48.
  41. "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 3:04:29.
  42. "Doorways to Darker Depths" (3x86) at 1:21:31.

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