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Several sources point to the ritual requiring only 12 high mages:

Uaul'Selu'Keryth. In your tongue, the name might be translated as "At War with the Weave". When twelve High Mages last performed this ritual, the world was torn asunder. It is a power no mortal should possess and no god should use. (Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes)

Used only during situations most dire, twelve High Mages can harness the energy of the Weave to cause it to fluctuate across a great distance…In its ultimate form, the Weave is temporarily torn asunder, and the damage is made manifest in major cataclysms and storms, tidal waves, and permanent changes to the lands of any planet…This ritual has been invoked only once in the history of the elves on Faerûn, and the ensuing cataclysms broke up large land masses to allow the creation of the isolated island of Evermeet. (Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves)

However, in Evermeet: Island of Elves, which I cannot quote since I don’t own the book, it is apparently described differently: there was a massive tower built, preparations took hundreds of years, and on each step of it was a mage who would take part in the casting. Neither of the previous two sources, especially not the latter (which describes in great detail the high magic rituals), mention anything more than 12 high mages.

What could be the answer to this inconsistency? Are the two sources I cited retcons? Are there actually helper mages in the ritual, only 12 of whom were actually required to be high mages to cast it?

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There is no 100% consistent answer.

I’ve since bought the book online and read parts of it. Evermeet: Island of Elves explicitly mentions hundreds of high mages (not just regular ones) gathering for the spell:

They gathered in the very heartland of Faerûn by the hundreds, the High Magi of the elven people. All the fair races of elves—except for the sea folk, whose magic had long ago dwindled almost to nothing—sent the best and most powerful of their mages to the Gathering Place […] Though there were hundreds of magi, each found a carefully-prepared welcome that would do honor to a Seldarine avatar.

That book came out in April 1998.

Which means it comes after Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves, which came out in march 1998 and only mentions 12 high mages.

Finally, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes came out in May 2018, and also mentions 12 high mages.

Conclusion: Since two official sources both mention 12 high mages, including the most recent mention of a number, and the only mention of hundreds is in a stand-alone novel (not an official source), I believe it is safe to conclude that 12 high mages is enough to catastrophically damage a planet.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically, the FR novels are canon sources, IIRC. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Dec 2, 2021 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that so? Well at least two other sources directly contradict the book, so I wouldn’t side with it. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2021 at 0:24

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