A Baldur's Gate 3 Primer for Rainy

All dates are in Dale Reckoning (DR).

Any URLs in tooltips were checked to be spoiler-safe at time of writing. I know you know lots of things, but I don’t know What You Know, so feel free to skip around if you like.

The Universe and Some Important Beings

Before Creation

Ao represents balance. As overgod of Realmspace, all deities and primordials within the Forgotten Realms are subject to him even if the operate on planes other than the Prime Material The plane in which Toril and the surrounding cosmos exists
. His relationship with the gods is generally indifferent, as long as they are upholding their individual portfolios A god’s area of interest and that over which they hold power
, though he will punish gods if they act outside their portfolios. His relationship with mortals is even more indifferent. As overgod, he does not require worship from mortals to retain his power, and seems to prefer not receiving any.

Ao is generally held to have created Realmspace’s universe, or its crystal sphere. A gigantic shell containing an entire planetary system
At first, everything was just primordial essence, with neither light nor dark, and no matter. At some point, the shadevari The thirteen Lords of Shadow, ancient creatures moving in the void appeared from the nothingness. It’s unknown whether they were Ao’s creation, or from somewhere else.

Eventually, Shar and Selûne coalesced. Twin sisters, Shar represented the dark, and Selûne the light. Together, the sisters created the planet of Abeir-Toril and other celestial bodies, and then the goddess Chauntea, the Earthmother. With Chauntea, the sisters worked to create life. After a time, Chauntea asked the sisters to provide a source of warmth to allow for life to thrive, and Shar and Selûne began fighting over the idea. And they never stopped fighting. The residual energy from their battles created the gods of war, magic, death, and many more.

Early Creation

Selûne agreed with Chauntea’s request, and created the sun by reaching out of the universe and into a plane of fire, which injured her terribly. Shar saw an opportunity and attacked, working with the shadevari to blot out all light and warmth in the universe. Selûne desperately wanted to protect the life that she had helped to build, and tore out a piece of herself and threw it at Shar. In that moment, their essences combined to create Mystryl, who would later become Mystra. Goddess of magic, maintainer of the Weave This act caused Selûne to wax and wane in perpetuity, and when she wanes, Shar is dominant. This act, however, allowed Selûne and Mystryl to cast Shar into her own darkness for many centuries, allowing life a chance to begin throughout Realmspace.

The moon of Abeir-Toril is also called Selûne, and she is known as the Moonmaiden. She became the goddess of the moon, its light, the stars, purity, marriage, navigation, dreams and good/neutral lycanthropes. Lycanthropy is sometimes known as “Selûne’s kiss.”

Shar, on the other hand, became the goddess of darkness, loss, forgetfulness, and night. She greatly envied Mystra’s Weave, and desired a version for herself. She worked to create the Shadow Weave, which one could imagine as existing in the negative spaces within the primary Weave. Its casters need to either worship Shar, or have made a deal with her through their own patron deity. Casting shadow spells can damage the mind of the caster, but can be very effective within the realms of darkness. She also eventually gained power over the Shadowfell, a parallel plane to the Prime Material, full of necrotic energy and mutating landscapes.

Select Gods and Important Names

A brief list of gods, archdevils, and the like whom you may have heard about already and who aren’t explained elsewhere here.

General Faerûnian/Human Pantheons

  • Gond, Lord of All Smiths
    • God of craft, smithing, and inventiveness
    • Promotes invention and ingenuity above all else, regardless of safety
    • Gnomes love this guy!
  • Helm, the Vigilant One
    • God of guardians and protectors
    • Paladins are big fans
  • Ilmater, the Crying God
    • God of endurance, martyrdom, and perseverance
  • Lathander, God of the Dawn
    • God of dawn, beginnings, and hope
    • Chauntea’s lover
  • Loviatar, Maiden of Pain
    • Goddess of pain; both queen and servant to Bane
  • Mask, Lord of Shadows
    • Lesser god of shadows, thievery, and intrigue
  • Oghma, the Binder of What Is Known
    • God of knowledge
  • Torm, the True
    • God of duty, loyalty, righteousness, obedience, and law
  • Waukeen, the Merchant’s Friend
    • Goddess of honest trade

Elf-Specific

  • Corellon Larethian, Creator of the Elves
    • Elven god of art and magic
    • Worshipped by most elves, but not the Drow
  • Lolth, Queen of Spiders
    • The most influential of the Dark Seldarine Dark Drow pantheon who lives in the Abyss
    • Originally named Araushnee, she was wed to Corellon until she betrayed him, and then became a spider-thing
    • Prefers women over men in all things, hates surface elves, and sows discord among her followers for fun
  • Eilistraee, Lady of the Dance
    • Drow goddess of beauty, song, dance, freedom, and hunting
    • Corellon and Lolth’s daughter
    • While nominally part of the Dark Seldarine, she is not on good terms with Lolth, and tries to bring the Drow back to the light
  • Vhaerun, the Masked Lord (not to be confused with the god Mask)
    • Drow god of men, shadow magic, territory, and thievery
    • Corellon and Lolth’s son
  • Ghaunadaur, That Which Lurks
    • God of abominations, oozes, and outcasts, and kinda-sorta fascism
    • Not entirely drow-specific, but part of the Dark Seldarine
    • Lolth says he is older than Ao. He has a terrible crush on Lolth, who thinks he’s gross.

The Hells

  • Asmodeus, Lord of the Ninth
    • God of indulgence, oppression, and power. Became a god very recently, during the Spellplague (more on this below).
    • Archdevil of Baator, overlord of the Hells The Nine Hells, 9 layers of generally well-organized lawful devils and their kin , da Big Guy, the greatest devil
    • Wants to rule all of existence
    • Started the Blood War by stealing a shard from the core of the Abyss. The realm of demons, made of countless layers of maddening chaos Demons want it back, Asmodeus wants the whole thing, bam you’ve got a forever war.
  • Zariel, Lord of the First
    • Archduchess of Avernus
    • Originally an angel of Lathander. Became a devil in 1354 after convincing Hellriders from Elturel A Faerûnian city, east of Baldur’s Gate to engage in the Blood War, after which Asmodeus corrupted her and granted her Avernus.
    • Really loves the Blood War. Hates demons. Seems to also have it out for Elturel in particular?
  • Mephistopheles, Lord of the Eighth
    • Archdevil of Cania
    • Excellent and terrifying politician
    • Likes to collect powerful items
  • Mammon, King of Greed
    • Archdevil of Minauros
    • Loves gold soooooooo much omg
    • All the other archdevils think he’s a dweeb
  • Tiamat, Queen of Chaos
    • Dragon goddess of greed, and queen of evil dragons
    • Sister to Bahamut, who rules good metallic dragons
    • Slew an unknown deity and was imprisoned in the Nine Hells
    • Tried to escape to Toril via the Cult of the Dragon, but was thwarted

A Brief History of Abeir-Toril

Days of Thunder, -35,000 to -30,000 DR

There was one primary planet on which the Forgotten Realms events take place, called Abeir-Toril. It was originally dominated by abominations from the Far Realm, particularly aboleths. Malevolent, eel-like aberrations with psionic abilities.

The Tearfall

At the end of the Days of Thunder, Abeir-Toril was split into two planets: Abeir and Toril, both locked in the same material plane, but within different dimensions. They share the same sun and moon (Selûne).

Faerûn is on Toril, and this is the planet the gods have chosen to tend to. Abeir, on the other hand, is mostly inhabited by primordials, dragons, and abominations, though there are some humans, halflings, dwarves, and others. Elves are extremely rare. Because the gods avoid Abeir, there is no Weave present, and only raw magic can be used.

The Dawn Age, -30,000 to -24,000

The Time of Dragons, -30,000 to -27,000

Dragons began conquering Faerûn. The Dragonfall War between Tiamat and Bahamut began when followers of one dragon killed one of Tiamat’s dragon generals. The war still continues to this day, in some fashion.

Elven Immigration and the Fall of Dragons, -27,000 to -24,000

In -27,000 DR, the Fey Supernatural creatures from the Feywild, a parallel plane to the Prime opened planar gates to allow elves into Toril, as a strike against the dragons ruling the planet. About two thousand years later, the elves found a way to make all the dragons go insane and kill each other and their own children. Circa -24,000 DR, the dragons made a last stand against some avariel, lost, and continued to succumb to the “Dragon Rage” to the end of their rule over Toril.

First Flowering, -24,000 to -12,000

Elves settled across Faerûn and the other races began to thrive, now that the dragons have been diminished. The avariel almost entirely removed back to the Feywild, however.

First Sundering

In -17,600 DR, the First Sundering occured. Hundreds of elven magi cast a spell to create an elven homeland. While they did manage to create the isle of Evermeet, they also managed to destroy and reorganize Faerûn, and broke the Weave in strange ways.

The dark elven Illythir empire was nearly destroyed during the cataclysm. Extremely pissed off, the survivors turned away from Corellon and to Lolth and their son, Vhaerun.

Crown Wars, -12,000 to -9,000

A bunch of elven internecine wars took place. Long story short, the elves of the Illythir Empire ended up making all of the other elves hate them, earning them the name dhaerow, or “traitor.” This of course became Drow. In an attempt to stop their constant attacks and exact revenge, the other elves conducted a ritual to corrupt and banish the Illythir. This ritual, however, corrupted all dark elves, including some peaceful groups. The Drow were all driven underground, and Lolth nurtured their rage to her own benefit.

The Founding Time, -9,000 to -3,000

Elves, dwarves, and humans populated and dominated Faerûn.

Age of Humanity, -3,000 to 1358

Elven and dwarven empires began to decline in favor of human empires.

Netheril, -3,000 to -339

A human group called the Netherese discovered the nether scrolls. In -3,000 DR, the first Netherese city is raised into the sky. In -2,758 DR, the high arcanists of Netheril established a magocracy that lasted a few thousand years.

They raised several other floating cities, and established cities under the seas as well. This earned them the ire of the Aquatic elves and merfolk. They also upset the Phaerimm, a race of aberrations that lived in the Underdark, because their floating cities siphoned inherent magic from the lands below them. The phaerimm fed off this wild magic, and were displeased; the loss of wild magic also created barren lands beneath the cities that became deserts.

The phaerimm waged war on the Netherese for centuries. A brilliant mage named Karsus attempted to usurp Mystryl’s power over the Weave in order the destroy the phaerimm and save Netheril. In doing so, he briefly became a god. Sadly for him, the Weave is mighty big and powerful, and he was just a human, so whoopsie-doopsie, he destroyed himself and his entire civilization in -339 DR.

In order to save the Weave, Mystryl sacrificed herself, and all magic ceased functioning, causing most of the Netherese cities to plunge to the ground. Almost immediately, Mystryl reincarnated as Mystra, recreated the Weave, and set new limits on magic to prevent such an event from occurring again. Four Netherese cities survived the cataclysm, though one was pulled into the Plane of Shadow for other reasons, and Netheril began to decay as a civilization from the moment of Karsus’s death.

Jergal and the Dead Three

Known as the Lord of the End of Everything, Jergal was the ancient deity of death, murder, and strife, who mostly spent his time keeping records of such events. After a few millennia, he got bored and allowed three adventurers to take over his portfolio in -357.

These three adventures were Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul. They found much luck in their shared quest to become gods, because they caught Jergal’s attention, and he really wanted a long vacation. Long story short, Jergal tricked the Dead Three into splitting the portfolio among themselves by getting them to play a game against each other. Bane won the game and, choosing first, selected Tyranny and Strife as his domain. Myrkul, coming second, chose to be the Lord of the Dead. Bhaal got stuck with Murder, though one could say he certainly seemed to enjoy making the most of it.

Baldur’s Gate

The plateau upon which Baldur’s Gate stands was originally ruled by a hill giant. Around 0 DR, a fishing village sprang up. By 204 DR, the town was known as a meeting place for pirates. At some point, the seafaring hero Balduran was born here, and gathered great riches during his travels. He returned home and invested in a wall to keep out attackers; the wall’s gate was named after him. Balduran vanished in the mid-1000s DR, but with the protection the wall afforded, the town grew into a great city.

Era of Upheaval, 1358 to Present

Time of Troubles, 1358 - 1480s

In 1538, Bane and Myrkul stole Ao’s Tablets of Fate. Ao asked all the gods to fess up, and nobody did. He was generally sick of everyone’s shit at this point, so he punished the whole class. The gods were cast out of the heavens and forced to walk Toril in (still quite powerful) mortal form, except Helm, who was allowed to remain a god in order to guard the Celestial Stairway and not let anybody back in. This event became known as the Avatar Crisis.

Many gods died. Some came back, some didn’t. Those who remained absorbed the portfolios of those who perished. Another effect, made worse through actions to follow, was that the Weave became extremely unstable. Mystra was unable to regulate it well in mortal form, and clerics’ divine magic became unusable unless the cleric was within a mile of the deity’s mortal form.

Mystra, Midnight, Cyric, and Kelemvor

Cyric was an adventurer who was sold into slavery by his own father, bought by a rich family, lived in luxury, and then went back home to kill his parents. Later, he was caught stealing from frost giants and imprisoned, and Kelemvor happened to be there to free him. The two adventured together for many years. During the Time of Troubles, they met a young wizard named Midnight.

At the start of the Avatar Crisis, Mystra put most of her power into a pendant and entrusted it to Midnight. Not long into the Crisis, Bane captured and tortured Mystra. Midnight, Cyric, and Kelemvor helped free Mystra, who tried to bypass Helm at the Celestial Stairway. Helm slew her, causing much damage to the Weave. Midnight took Mystra’s pendant, and started to become Mystra herself, and the group continued their quest to find the Tablets of Fate. Cyric decided to use Midnight’s burgeoning magical powers as a tool to acquire the Tablets for himself. In an encounter with Bane, who was occupying his half-mortal son’s body at the time, Cyric got talked into trying to kill Kelemvor and capture Midnight. He failed, and then the group reluctantly got back together at Bhaal’s request, as he provided them information that Myrkul had the Tablets. The three then killed Bhaal, and Midnight and Kelemvor left Cyric behind, because they correctly deduced he was a prick.

In the meantime, in 1358, Bane’s mortal form was killed by the god Torm. Cyric pursued Midnight and Kelemvor for some time, eventually finding them at the top of a tower, where they had located both Tablets of Fate, as Midnight had disintegrated Myrkul and reclaimed the Tablets. Cyric gravely wounded Midnight, killed Kelemvor, and took the Tablets back to the Celestial Stairway. Since Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul were all dead (though all three had retained their essences in various ways), Ao raised Cyric to godhood and granted him the Dead Three’s portfolios. After Ao received the Tablets of Fate, he ground them to dust. This greatly upset the laws of Realmspace, and kicked off the rest of the Era of Upheaval.

The sword Cyric had used to kill his friend Kelemvor was called Godsbane, which turned out to actually be the god Mask in disguise. Cyric’s attack caused Kelemvor’s spirit to be siphoned into the blade, and Mask intended to use Kelemvor to kill Cyric and regain control of his portfolio over intrigue. Cyric had upset everyone by this point by creating the Cyrinishad, a powerful book that lied about his life and could convince mortals to worship him. Mask used Kelemvor’s soul to partner with Mystra, Torm, Oghma, and some of Cyric’s own priests. Cyric, haunted by nightmares of Kelemvor attacking him, and with his own worshippers dissipating, was weakened and had a mental breakdown. He broke the sword Godsbane in a fit of madness, which freed Kelemvor’s spirit.

Around 1368, Kelemvor assumed the mantle of the Lord of the Dead, and spent his time trying to make death less terrifying for mortals. Jergal occasionally comes out of retirement to help him out, though he seems to spend a lot of time drinking in pubs instead.

In 1372, Bane was restored using his only half-mortal son as a conduit, and was assisted by the Thayan lich Szass Tam. In the years following, Bane consolidated his power and even brought the gobin god Maglubiyet under his thumb. After the Second Sundering, however, he became only quasi-divine.

Also in 1372, Mask relinquished his divinity and died in order to repay Shar, his mother, for some ancient debt. Part of his essence was eventually absorbed by Mephistopheles.

In 1385, Shar and Cyric murdered Midnight-as-Mystra, because Shar wanted to control the Weave for herself. Mystra has died a few times, but this instance coincided with too many other issues, and therefore started the Spellplague. Lathander, Tyr, and others trapped Cyric in his own realm for 1,000 years in retaliation for his attack on Mystra. Worship of Bane flourished, and Cyric continued to diminish.

The Spellplague, 1385 - 1395

Mystra/Midnight’s death in 1385 was the catalyst for the Spellplague, though her two previous deaths had not caused such an event. There are many theories as to the true cause.

During the plague, the Weave tore apart and unleashed raw magic across Toril. Ironically for Shar, who had murdered Mystra in order to usurp the Weave, this also broke her own Shadow Weave. Across the world, blue flames of defiled raw magic destroyed cities and spread unchecked. Anything that came into contact with these flames would become “plaguechanged,” which could cause insanity, physical mutations, and sometimes terrible new powers. Entire lands could be warped by the plague.

In 1386, the plague somehow reached the world of Abeir, and large swaths of Abeir and Toril swapped places. Most places were restored to their original locations after the Second Sundering, but some stayed swapped. (This had already been happening a bit since Ao broke the Tablets of Fate, but it became much more frequent and severe during the plague.) The isle of Evermeet somehow got pushed into the Faerie plane, and the Feywild became accessible to Toril for the first time in centuries. The World Tree was destroyed, and the Outer Planes were merged or destroyed. Mystra’s realm of Dweomerheart was destroyed. It even put a temporary halt to the Blood War, as Asmodeus used the planar chaos to send the Abyss into the Elemental Chaos.

The effect on magic was that it got Real Weird. Some simple spells became nearly impossible, and some difficult ones became so easy that they fell into common use.

By 1395, most of the effects of the plague had come to an end, but some things continued for another century. Certain regions were written off as plaguelands. In 1480, with Elminster’s aid, Mystra returned and reconstructed the Weave. Magic was mostly back to normal, though there were still some lands where plague effects remained.

Bhaalspawn Crisis, 1368 - 1482

The events of Baldur’s Gate 1 took place in 1368. [I have removed some things here that have not yet come to pass in your playthrough.]

Second Sundering, 1482 - 1487

Ao decided to recreate the Tablets of Fate and separate Abeir and Toril again. The gods decided to create many new Chosen, in an attempt to consolidate their power and solidify their status and portfolios before Ao finished making all the new rules. This caused a TON of drama in the mortal realm.

By the end of the Sundering, nearly all of the lands had returned to their original world.

Ao’s actions allowed some gods who had died to return to life. This caused a loss of power and status for any gods who had subsumed the portfolios of the previously-dead, particularly Shar. The Dead Three chose to remain physically on Toril as quasi-divine mortals.

The Descent of Elturel, 1492

In 1444, the ruler of Elturel was outed as a vampire who had turned or charmed much of the city. The city’s defenders, known as Hellriders, fought tirelessly against the vampires, but every night caused a greater loss. The people of the city prayed for dawn to come earlier, and one day it did. A second sun appeared in the sky, destroying the vampire lord and his spawn. That second sun became known as The Companion, and a priest of Torm named Kreeg took credit for its appearance.

The Companion remained in place for years, bringing miracle-seekers and pilgrims to Elturel. After the mysterious disappearance of the city’s leader, Kreeg usurped her post with little resistance. He reigned for decades, and increased the status of the city to the capital of its own nation.

In 1492, Kreeg invited Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard from Baldur’s Gate to visit Elturel and help settle some disputes. Kreeg greeted the delegation, then escaped the city in secret. Immediately after his departure, The Companion became a black orb that tore Elturel and its people from the Material Plane and shoved it into Avernus. As it turns out, Kreeg had made a deal with archdevil Zariel to save the city from the vampire menace, but only for fifty years. After fifty years of peace, the contract stipulated that the population of Elturel would serve her as fodder for the Blood War.

People who had been just outside Elturel fled to Baldur’s Gate, seeking refuge, and many were turned away. One Hellrider managed to secure support for a trek into Avernus, in an attempt to seek revenge and hopefully restore Elturel to the Material Plane.

Upon arriving in the hells, they found Elturel suspended in the air over the River Styx, held there by massive chains and spikes of infernal iron dragging the city downward. The city itself was cracked in half, and the Companion still hovered above it, shooting lightning that raised ghouls, ghasts, and zombies. Demons then invaded the city as part of the ongoing conflict of the Blood War, and nearly all Elturians died in the assault. Grand Duke Ravengard headed the defense.

Somehow, Elturel was returned to its former place. Specifics are unknown. The city cast out its tiefling population, having decided to be even more racist to people with horns after their time in Avernus.

Baldur’s Gate 3, 1492

Well, this is all up to you, isn’t it?