Journey through Madness
The SpellPlague began when by Cyric and Shar murdered the Goddess of Magic, Mystra. Shar was attempting to take over moderation of magical energy and replace it with a version of her own design. Thanks in large part to counter-measures Mystra instigated prior to her death, Shar failed miserably, and this led to a magical cataclysm of sorts. For her part in this, Cyric was banished for 1,000 years by a group of Divines sympathetic to Mystra and her plight.
With the balance of magic completely destroyed, things began to suck royally for magic-users. The weak and the less-talented simply died outright from the magical shock of this loss. Some of the hardier found themselves suddenly magically powerless. Elminster and other mages of legendary caliber have found a way to survive with some of their powers intact, but it is clear that this was a difficult feat, even for them.
New magic-users are substantially smaller in number, but they do exist. Their primary obstacle now is the unstable nature of magic. Spells can yield unexpected results, or in magic-dead zones, simply do not work at all.
But, as with all hardships, people found a way to survive. Until now…