It is widely believed that the Cataclysm occurred as a result of the Kingpriest’s overweening ambition. The Kingpriest sought godhood to not only purge the lands of evil, but of anything that did not agree with his viewpoints. However, such an act would ultimately destroy the Doctrine of Balance, so Thirteen Warnings were sent to the Kingpriest and the nation of Istar. A storm battered the city for thirteen days, trees wept blood, and other ill omens were seen. The warnings were misinterpreted as signs from gods of Darkness that wanted to stop the Kingpriest, and went unheeded. On the third day of the year 963 IA by the Istar calendar, the Kingpriest demanded that the gods answer his call. Instead, the Cataclysm occurred. Though it was widely believed that the gods abandoned Krynn, this was not so. Instead, most of Krynn's populace could not understand why the gods refused their cries for aid, and turned away from the gods for over three hundred years.
Ansalon felt the Cataclysm as a burning mountain that struck the Lordcity of Istar, though the changes wrought by the Cataclysm were far-reaching. The countries of Falthana and Seldjuk were destroyed; it is likely that Gather, Ismin, and Midrath were as well. The nation of Istar, as well as Dravinaar and Taol were radically altered and later subsumed into other nations. The Kingdom of Icereach was destroyed; its cities buried under snow and ice. The Blood Sea formed over the sunken city of Istar; the Maelstrom in its center supposedly sits over the ruined city. Northern Ergoth and Southern Ergoth were formed when Ergoth was separated from the mainland, while the Blood Sea Isles were formed from existing mountains to the west. Water rushes in from the Sirrion Ocean to form the New Sea, while waters recede from the port city of Tarsis.
On Taladas, the Cataclysm is known as the Great Destruction. Taladas originally consisted of a single continent surrounded by islands. During the Great Destruction, the center of Taladas was struck a blow greater than that which sank Istar. Tectonic plates were shifted, and the Empire of Aurim was destroyed not only from the initial strike, but from the ash and gas clouds produced by the Burning Sea. The Indanalis Sea opened westward to the Western Ocean, dividing one landmass into Northern Hosk and Southern Hosk. The Storm Sea was created from the eastern remains of the Indanalis in conjunction with sulphur-filled clouds.
The Cataclysm is known by other names as well: Plainsmen call it the Rending, the Hest call it the Great Shattering, and some Qualinesti elves know it as the Great Sundering.
Vision of the Burning Hammer
The empire of Istar made many enemies on its way to becoming the self-proclaimed moral center of the world. However, it is possible that the Cataclysm was not necessary until the rise of Kingpriest Beldinas the Lightbringer in 39 PC. Shortly after Beldinas's ascension to the throne, he declared his intention to drive evil from Istar despite the Doctrine of Balance. About a month later, friend and ally Cathan MarSevrin received a vision of a burning hammer that was headed toward Istar. Beldinas believed Cathan's dream represented Paladine's blessing in destroying evil, and the Order of the Divine Hammer was founded in Istar. Over the next forty years, the Divine Hammer would enforce the Kingpriest's mandates and assist in the destruction of other religions. Cathan eventually realized the truth of his vision, but was too late to save Istar or the people of Ansalon.
Knight of the Black Rose
Lord Loren Soth, Knight of the Rose, was given the opportunity to stop the Cataclysm. Lord Soth had murdered his wife and child to be with the elfmaid Isolde. Though he was found guilty of their murder, Isolde prayed to Mishakal for a way that Soth might redeem himself. Through Isolde, Mishakal informed Soth that he might find redemption by confronting the Kingpriest and demanding his abdication. The Kingpriest would refuse and strike down Soth but, by the graces of Mishakal and Paladine, he would be reborn each time until he killed the Kingpriest. Only then would Lord Soth be able to find peace in the next life.
Unfortunately, Lord Soth's jealousy would get the better of him. On his way to Istar, Lord Soth was stopped by three elfmaids who taunted him with thoughts of Isolde's unfaithfulness. Though their words were untrue, Lord Soth's jealousy consumed him and made the Cataclysm a reality. He rode back to Dargaard Keep in a fury and slew Isolde just as the burning mountain struck Istar.
- The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles
- Blades of the Tiger
- Chosen of the Gods, map
- DL2: Dragons of Flame
- Dragonlance Campaign Setting
- Dragons of a Fallen Sun
- Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (PB) p. 65, 142-143, 319
- Galen Beknighted
- Lord Soth (Novel)
- Sacred Fire
- Time of the Dragon: The Guide Book to Taladas
- Winterheim (Novel)