“Journey back 5,000 years into Faerûn’s past and visit the archwizards of Netheril. View their fantastic floating cities, enclaves of magic that shook the ground far below. Travel to a time when magic was raw and powerful, when spellcasters stood supreme in the eyes of their nation. Meet Karsus, an archwizard so powerful he wielded magic that made him a god…”
Netheril is a myth for later residents of the Forgotten Realms, a tale of lost greatness and hubris. Archwizards would lop the tops of mountains, flip them and establish floating cities. Mythallars powered magic and devices for even the common citizens, a mirror of our modern consumer culture. Humans could live astonishingly long lifespans.
The Arcane Age endured for several thousand years until a man decided he would replace a god through a 12th-level spell, Karsus’ Avatar. It did not go as planned.
The land had already been wilting. When the casting went awry, Netheril was laid waste. Cities fell from the sky, plunging their citizens to their deaths in a relentless apocalypse.
Netheril: Empire of Magic [BOX SET]
1996 … slade & Jim Butler … TSR 1147 … ISBN 0786904372
Netheril is a fascinating set. In particular, I want to draw attention to the color poster maps.
Each covers the same region, which would become Anauroch in the modern Forgotten Realms: “Netheril at its Height: The Golden Age” and “Netheril at the Fall: 3520 NY“.
Between the two maps, the decline of the land is clear. The Netheril setting readily lends itself to a time-travel campaign from modern Anauroch backwards to different eras of Netheril.
The color maps were painted by Roy Boholst.
The Reverse Sides of the Maps
Quick Look Inside “The Winds of Netheril”
The spells we know today have their origins in Netheril.
The books use an awful mottled page background. I assume it was to evoke the feeling of reading ancient scrolls. Personally, I find it more distracting than helpful. But that’s my only real complaint of the otherwise excellent Netheril set.
See Also: Lands of Intrigue: Tethyr & Amn (1997)