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Usually when an in-game thing like a feat, magic item, spell, or, like in this case, a cleric domain gets reprinted in a later text, that later text's version of the thing takes precedence over all previously published versions of the thing.

Then there's the Darkness domain. It was introduced, reintroduced with commentary, renamed, then, finally, without commentary, reintroduced again.

Here's how it went: The Book of Vile Darkness (Oct. 2002) introduces the domain Darkness (80). Then Player's Guide to Faerûn (Mar. 2004) presents a Darkness domain (85) that has different spells from the Book of Vile Darkness domain of the same name, but the Guide says, "A cleric who has access to the Darkness domain [from any of the deities Graz’zt, Lolth, Mask, Set, Shar, and Shargaas] can use either the Darkness domain presented in… this book or the one in Book of Vile Darkness" (189).

But then Lords of Madness (Apr. 2005) presents the domain Vile Darkness which is like the domain from the Book of Vile Darkness, and it says, "This domain description is a revision of the Darkness domain presented in Book of Vile Darkness" (208). Finally, without commentary, the Spell Compendium (Dec. 2005) presents again the domain Darkness (272), like the one from the Player's Guide to Faerûn, but the Compendium doesn't mention the Book of Vile Darkness at all.

Now,—and I apologize for this hinging on technicalities and minutiae like primary sources and publication dates—, here's the question: Does the Spell Compendium's Darkness domain replace all previous iterations of the Darkness domain, including, possibly, the original Darkness domain from the Book of Vile Darkness (which received neither errata nor a 3.5 revision), therefore rendering obsolete the Lords of Madness domain Vile Darkness?

Specifically, Lost Empires of Faerûn (Feb. 2005) says that clerics of Ibrandul—the dead god of caverns, dungeons, and (I guess because somebody had to be) skulks—are granted access to the domain Darkness (41), and I don't know if such clerics should have access to the Lords of Madness domain Vile Darkness, the Spell Compendium domain Darkness, or both.

Note: While this question may sound trivial, and although they offer the same granted power (the feat Blind-fight as a bonus feat), the Lords of Madness domain Vile Darkness offers a much different selection of spells from the Spell Compendium domain Darkness. Also, while a source, the Book of Vile Darkness never received an official 3.5e revision, hence the inclusion of both tags below; note, however, that I am concerned only with this question's impact on 3.5e campaigns. As for why this question even arose, see this question.

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One is for Forgotten Realms, the other is for Greyhawk.


This is possibly purely conjecture, but 3.0/3.5's default setting, as I know you are well aware, is Greyhawk. Anything with Faerun in the title is for a Forgotten Realms campaign specifically. Although Darkness may share a name and domain power as the other, due to the deities that cover that domain, the spell selection would be different. Plus, there are examples of spells that exist in Greyhawk that don't exist in Forgotten Realms, and vice versa.

I, personally, don't take any of the compendiums as an absolute truth, unless it is specifically mentioned. The example of lack of mentioning Book of Vile Darkness could be an editing oversight, which we all know is very common for WotC. Compendiums, really are, just that. Just in case someone didn't spend a small fortune on all those books, there - at the end of the series, is an all-in-one so you wouldn't really have to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an interesting idea, yet it's the Forgotten Realms version of the Darkness domain that's like the one reprinted in the wider-ranging, largely-considered-campaign-neutral Spell Compendium. (I know, right?) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 24 '17 at 14:05

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