There are a few events in D&D that get some press from one edition to the next. Vecna will be betrayed by his lieutenant Kas again and again.

Though the details of what happened (and one came next) will vary, the end result will be an evil severed hand and eye to tempt player characters with terrible power at a price.

I don’t know what it is about the Dawn War that sticks with me. I mean, the details are inconsistent from one publication to the next: sometimes Asmodeus was an angel who fought in the war and received emergency god powers so he could lend his armies to the fight, other times he seizes power after the dust has settled.

Sometimes the Far Realm invades during the Dawn War, sometimes after. I mean, if the gods had such a hard time mustering against the primordials, I have a hard time seeing them turn back an invasion of cosmic horrors at the same time.

A few points are necessarily set. Tiamat couldn’t invade Tytherion before she emerged from the corpse of the bisected Io. Likewise, Bahamut couldn’t inadvertently destroy the god-plane of Lakal by crashing through it during his fight with Nihil.

Io’s fatal confrontation must have taken place before the gods rallied their forces behind Bane’s banner, and Tuern’s murder at the hands of Bane must have been after the end of the war.

I remember I first dismissed the Dawn War because it was such a blatant knock off of the Titanomachy. I had reason to: at the time, I was running a campaign set in mythical Greece, and I didn’t appreciate WotC encroaching on my gaming space. Regardless of whether we were even using 4e (we weren’t).

But now I’m kind of seeing its broader purpose. I mean, homogeneous classes were one of the complaints against 4e, but there was a greater effort to homogenize the background. A player could have the sense of who all the gods were and what they’d been through.

Even some of the gods who got less screen time like Ioun and Vecna didn’t necessarily need more: they were gods before the Dawn War, and they survived to be gods after the Dawn War. And no deity was so far removed from the conflict as to be untouched by it.

Then again, you would have had to read a lot of the 4e publications to get the whole story of the Dawn War, such as it is. And the details seemed to change throughout Fourth Edition’s run.

It sends clear enough that Torog had some issues before he became the god of dungeons and the Underdark. Also, his solo fight with Gargash took place before the Dawn War began in earnest.

One thing bugs me though, add far as inconsistent details go. Generally it’s safe to assume that a later publication is more correct than an earlier one. Generally.

Which is why I’m inclined to go along with the Elemental Heroes book when it says Tharizdun was banished or imprisoned, adopted the moniker of the ‘Elder Elemental Eye,’ and then stirred the otherwise sullen primordials into fighting against the gods for control of the world.

It’s just that it clashes somewhat with every prior account that says Tharizdun’s rebellion ands exile took place AFTER his participation in the Dawn War.

Among other things, it’s hard to say exactly when he created the Abyss, or when some of the primordials were corrupted to become demon princes, or how the creation of the Abyss is what drove the primordials to war… yeah.

I would like to actually reconcile the events of the Dawn War with other D&D lore. I’d like to make a few calls too, as to when and how certain things happened.

Vecna for example, was a demigod in 2e and only became a true god in 3e. So I don’t think he should have fought in the Dawn War at all. The Raven Queen however, while original to 4e, is specifically written to have seized power from Nerull and taken his place as god of death BEFORE the Dawn War, because of events that took place during and directly after the war.

Fun times ahead. Fun times indeed.