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The 4th edition manuals for the Forgotten Realms setting talk about two separate planes, Abeir and Toril, being separated by the overgod Ao in a faraway past. The planes then swap some geographical features, which leads me to believe the event was purposedly created by the 4th edition delvelopers to introduce new races to Faerun and to change its geography.

To increase my doubts, in 3.5 manuals I own I can clearly see a map called "a scholar's depiction of Abeir-Toril", depicting Toril's geography only.

Is there in the novels or in any official D&D material from any previous edition anything describing Toril and Abeir being separate places?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

No. The entire concept of Abeir and Toril being separate things was introduced by 4e. It's hard to prove a negative to the satisfaction of a disbeliever*, but this was simply the case before.

Prior to 4e, the world was called Abeir-Toril. There was never any explanation for why it had a hyphenated name, what that signified, or whether the hyphen even meant that the name had two parts and wasn't simply a name-with-a-built-in-hyphen. The inhabitants often shortened it to just "Toril", if they even knew the name of their world in the first place, but this had no metaphysical significance beyond mortals being in a hurry and having a habit of coming up with short variations on the names of things.

Note also that the concept of a Primordial plane is new to 4e. Prior to 4e, the Realms was firmly a part of the Great Wheel of the planes and was a crystal sphere accessible by spelljamming ships.** There was nothing remotely resembling 4e Abeir. As far as anyone can tell, the concept of Abeir being a separate thing from Toril was invented to justify rewriting the Realms' cosmology to match 4e's default cosmology.

* Not meant to imply that you are one; just that this is generally true and a difficulty I run into with people unfamiliar with setting canon of earlier editions.

** Spelljamming and crystal spheres were last officially mentioned in 2e and isn't officially part of 3e, but it was never contradicted by 3e material either.

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