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1-> ''"The world heaves with my torment. Its wretched kingdoms quake beneath my rage. But at last, the whole of Azeroth will break...and all will burn beneath the shadow of my wings."''²-->-- '''[[OurDragonsAreDifferent Deathwing]]''', prior to starting the Cataclysm, ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''²²Since MedievalStasis makes it so that a MagicalLand will always be the same, and that 1,000 or so years in their world has the same amount of political, economic, and technological development as about five years in our world - that means that natural change happens pretty much never. Including geological shift. The continents, landmarks, etc. will remain in the exact same way they are across a span of 10,000 years, so the prophecy about the SealedEvilInACan in the [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace Mountains of Shadowblood Peak]] will always be fulfilled without having Shadowblood Peak turn into the Shadowblood Picnic Hills thanks to erosion.²²With one exception: World Sundering. Used as part of ExpansionPackWorld, or a CosmicRetcon to justify revamping an outdated setting, the World Sundering is a huge magical explosion that does the job of millions of years of geological shift in a few seconds. Generally, an evil wizard, an ArtifactOfDoom, or some other event causes all of the continents of the world to shift rapidly.²²This allows writers to set two stories [[ChaosArchitecture ten years apart in a world that's completely different from the old one]].²²Geological change in these worlds doesn't happen because of tectonic plates or any nonsense like that. AWizardDidIt. Always.²²Overlaps with TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. See Also: PatchworkMap, EarthShatteringKaboom, ColonyDrop, {{Atlantis}}, RegionalRedecoration, and WorldWreckingWave.²----²!!Examples²²[[foldercontrol]]²²[[folder:Anime]]²* The world of ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' was shaped due to the battle between the god Flare Dragon Ceifeed and the demon lord Ruby Eye Shabranigdu. Their battleground by Lina's time 4000 years later is in the center of a huge almost circular ocean.²* ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'' has the Digital World split into numerous Zones, the implication being that they were once one. They are merged into seven Lands halfway through.²** The original ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' has a minor/delayed example, with the {{Big Bad}}s warping a giant mountain into existence and turning themselves into {{Load Bearing Boss}}es for different parts of the world (killing the water-themed villain removes the oceans, etc.). In addition, the entire Digital World is essentially rebooted in the time between the final battle and ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''.²* The Overdrive from the backstory of ''Manga/RaveMaster'' destroyed 1/10th of the entire planet and at one point the heroes have to stop it from happening ''again''.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Literature]]²* OlderThanFeudalism: {{Atlantis}}, according to Creator/{{Plato}}, was caused to sink beneath the ocean in a single day by the gods.²* The TropeCodifier is Creator/JRRTolkien, of course. This happens at least three times in ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'': the original battle between Morgoth and the Valar leads to the creation of an ocean with Valinor on the Western side of Arda and the great inland Sea of Helcar in Middle-Earth; the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age causes the entire subcontinent of Beleriand to sink into the ocean; and the Drowning of Númenor is accompanied by a divine intervention which makes the entire world round rather than flat. Finally, it's implied that Middle-earth is simply the Old World in a lost era of prehistory, so untold other cataclysmic changes would have occured between the setting of the novels and the present day to account for modern geography.²* David Eddings' ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' series has this in the backstory, related in the prequel ''Belgarath the Sorcerer''. When Belgarion acquires the Orb of Aldur (which caused the sundering at Torak's command), he muses about the destruction... and the Orb starts giving him precise instructions on how to ''fix'' it (he declines, for numerous reasons).²* The Breaking of the World in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. [[AWizardDidIt Half the wizards of the world did it]] as the BigBad caused all men with magical power to go violently insane. In a highly advanced {{Magitek}} culture that had spent the last few decades in a desperate [[AmplifierArtifact arms race]].²* It is implied in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' that the suspiciously regularly-shaped Circle Sea seperating Klatch from the Central Continent is the result of an unspecified cosmic catastrophe, possibly to do with Literature/TheFifthElephant falling off the back of the World Turtle and re-impacting the Disc with some force. There is certainly enough ex-elephant underneath Überwald for there to still be a thriving mining industry capitalising on the bounty. ²** There was a Dark War in the antiquity of the Discworld, and before that magical wars between super-powerful wizards, and before that a primal conflict between the Gods and the Ice Giants (apparently owing to a dispute concerning ownership of a lawnmower). The land of the Wyrmberg is a survival of this early conflict, as is the cursed valley of Loko where men, Dwarfs and Trolls fear to tread. ²* Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman have a world-shattering cataclysm, actually called "The Sundering," in ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle''. This time it was a KnightTemplar that did it.²* The (implied nuclear) apocalypse from thousands of years ago in the ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' series. The apocalypse changed the geography of the world, meaning that magical locations, etc. from before could not be located later. Then again, Shannara mostly averts MedievalStasis anyway.²** Less implied and more explicit in the recent series bridging the ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' and the Word & Void series'.²* Happens in some of the early ''Literature/WitchWorld'' novels by Creator/AndreNorton. The Witches of Estcarp use all their power (and in some cases, their lives and sanity) to twist and turn the mountain range between their country and the neighboring, invading kingdom of Karsten. This event is unimaginatively dubbed The Turning. This effectively kills the invading army and makes the mountains nearly impassable for any future invasions. Later, it's revealed the same thing was done thousands of years ago when the Old Race fled out of Escore to Estcarp.²* Hyborian Age Europe in Creator/RobertEHoward's [[Literature/ConanTheBarbarian Conan stories]] underwent such shifts to become the Europe we know today. In Conan's day, the Mediterranean is solid land, its future southern border delineated by an extension of the Nile; the Black Sea is considerably larger, stretching northward to form a continental divide; and the English Channel and much of the northern Atlantic are above water, linking Britain, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland to the European landmass.²** It also suffered one before, when {{Atlantis}} sank.²** Interestingly, the above tallies quite well with what Europe apparently looked like a few tens of thousand years ago.²* Michael Reaves actually broke a ''planet'', then wrote a novel about the thousand-years-later aftermath in ''The Shattered World''.²* Averted in Glen Cook's ''[[Literature/GarrettPI Deadly Quicksilver Lies]]'', where natural geological change really ''does'' take place in a fantasy setting [[spoiler:and caused a buried treasure--one everyone in the book is fighting each other over clues to -- to collapse into the sea, courtesy of plain ol' cliffside erosion, several hundred years ago.]]²* Inverted in Brandon Sanderson's ''Literature/{{Elantris}}''. The Chasm was probably created by a natural earthquake, but [[spoiler:the changed landscape actually ''causes'' a breakdown in magic. Elantrian magic is based upon runes (Aons) that mimic the shape of the kingdom, so when the kingdom changes, the Aons stop working.]]²* Done rather bizarrely in the second quadrilogy of ''Literature/TheRunelords'': in the second book of it (sixth overall), the main character fuses his world with another. 95% of the world from the first quadrilogy [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse vanishes, unresolved]].²* The ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series has this as part of the {{backstory}} -- the entire modern world of Velgarth was shaped by the Cataclysm, a gargantuan magical explosion caused by the combined deaths of the two most powerful mages the world had ever known, along with all their magical artifacts. The Cataclysm turned a swath of fertile farmland into a crater hundreds of miles in diameter, another into an inland sea, and formed a [[DeathWorld hellish borderland]] of magically warped creatures that persists three thousand years later.²* Myth/PaulBunyan was this trope solidified into human form, being responsible for just about every major geographical feature in America. Minnesota's ten thousand lakes? Paul's footprints that filled up with water. The Grand Canyon? What happened when Paul dragged his axe behind him. The Mississippi River? Dug by Paul so he could float his logs down the country. The Rocky Mountains? Well, all that dirt he dug up making the Mississippi had to go ''somewhere''. Michigan happened when he lost [[CargoShip his left mitten]].²* In Julian May's ''Literature/SagaOfTheExiles'', an actual geographical event in the shaping of Europe as we know it is the (very) direct result of character actions. We're talking "Grab the faultline with telekinesis and pull" levels of directness.²* Unsurprisingly, one of these forms a big part of the back story in Jacqueline Carey's ''Literature/TheSundering'' duology.²* Happens at the very end of Raymond E Feist's ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' due to [[TheHero Pug's]] manipulating magic to permanently seal off his world from a EldritchAbomination intent on reducing the entire universe to nothing. It causes alot of casualties due to the changes to the planet that occur worldwide.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Tabletop Games]]²* In ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' the spellplague, among other things, radically changed the geography, from widening seas with the collapse of underground tunnels to the replacement of an entire continent with one from the lost world of Abeir.²* The Cataclysm in ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}''.²** Also the Dragon Overlords in the Fifth Age.²* ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'' suffered through several such cataclysms, most recently the ''Wrath of the Immortals'', which involved a massive asteroid impact and the teleportation of an India-sized continent from the surface world to the Hollow World. Gods were responsible for both.²** In the setting's backstory, the by all accounts self-inflicted destruction of Blackmoor was cataclysmic enough to shift the planet's axis.²* The Grand Conjuction shook up ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' a bit, although the small size of the Core means it was a more modest calamity than most of those listed here.²* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', as usual, takes this trope up to eleven; before the Primordial known as "She Who Lives Within Her Name" was banished to Malfeas, she detonated three globes of her unquenchable flame on top of Creation, literally [[RetGone Retgonning]] ''nine-tenths'' of everything that had ever existed up to that point in time. Even people who lived through it can't remember the things she deleted, knowing only that most of Creation is gone.²* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' examples:²** There was a pair of mini-blocks in a setting like this; it started out as the idyllic, LighterAndSofter ''Lorwyn'', but then the Great Aurora occurred and changed the plane (and set) into the much less friendly CrapsackWorld ''Shadowmoor''.²** The Overlay, [[BigBad Yawgmoth's]] plan to invade Dominaria, is one extreme version of this trope. During the ''Invasion'' block, several things happened to change Dominaria's face, so that when the war was over, Skyshroud Forest (part of the invading plane) was part of Dominaria, and Teferi's magic had shunted Zhalfir and part of Shiv into another dimension. When he tried to bring them back during the ''Time Spiral'' block, the rifts caused by his original shunting hindered the process: He was able to return Shiv, but Zhalfir was lost to the rift.²** Alara was one plane that became five, each missing two allied colors of magic and having a concentration of their more common enemy, when an incredibly powerful planeswalker ripped the world into pieces to strip away its mana. (So, for instance, Esper, lacking the individuality of red and green mana, is a world of machines.) In the Alara block, they smashed back together like cosmic bumper cars, accompanied by much asploding.²* Occurred in the backstory of the TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} world, when the dimensional gates built by the [[{{Precursors}} Old Ones]] collapsed, resulting in a huge blast of magic energy, followed by massive earthquakes and an enormous demonic invasion. The most notable result in the present day is the existence of [[{{Mordor}} the Chaos Wastes]] on both poles.²** A smaller-scale one occurred when the Elves were forced to sink part of their homeland beneath the waves to contain the magic energies released from the aforementioned cataclysm in order to keep the entire world from being torn apart, and later when the Lizardmen decided to use their magic to alter some mountain ranges, leading to the destruction of several Dwarf holds.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Toys]]²* Toys/{{Bionicle}}: About 100,000 years ago, the planet Spherus Magna exploded into three chunks in an event called the Shattering. One chunk used to be a major forest, and became the moon Bota Magna. Another was a significant part of the ocean, becoming the moon Aqua Magna. Between them, the remains of Spherus Magna became a planet-wide desert called Bara Magna. The climax of the story involved reforming Spherus Magna from the three pieces.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Video Games]]²* ''{{VideoGame/Lineage 2}}'' evoked this in its latest ExpansionPackWorld Awakening with the release of the death goddess Shillen from her prison, which resulted in the destruction of many many many zones, namely Elven, Dark Elven and Dwarven starting villages and the Seven Signs completely wiped out of existence.²* The ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' franchise has this in its backstory, and is one of the TropeNamers.²** Ten thousand years prior to the events of Warcraft, the War of the Ancients ended in an event called The Sundering where the Well of Eternity imploded. Half of the world's landmass was destroyed and the remaining land was split apart into four continents and a scattering of islands.²** ''The Frozen Throne'' has Illidan attempting this with Northrend and failing due to [[BigDamnHeroes Maiev and Furion]]. Even though he was [[WellIntentionedExtremist trying to off the Lich King]], it would've caused a [[EarthShatteringKaboom global catastrophe]] had he succeeded.²** ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' does it ''again'' in Cataclysm. [[AWizardDidIt A Dragon did it!]]²*** It wasn't as severe as the first sundering, as most of the effects of this sundering were very minor in comparison (aside from opening portals to different parts of the Elemental Plane everywhere), but it counts. The larger plan was to make it much worse.²** Also, the planet Draenor, where Orcs are originally from, was torn apart by the use of too many portals, turning a once beautiful world into a FloatingContinent in space.²*** Even before that Gul'dan created a demon-tainted volcano in Shadowmoon Valley which transformed the verdant region in a volcanic wasteland.²* As does ''VideoGame/EverQuestII''.²* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' and its sequel have seen this occur in various locations.²** The Crystal Sea was a shallow sea between Elona and Tyria until Abaddon was banished at its center. The northern half was drained and became the Crystal Desert while the south half rose several hundred feet and became the equally-dry Sulfurous Wastes.²** The Jade Wind in Cantha transformed a sea to solid jade and petrified an entire forest, changing the geography of roughly half the continent.²** The Searing not only devastated Ascalon's population, it also caused massive changes to the landscape. Many areas were uplifted while bodies of water receded, replaced with tar pits.²** The Cataclysm was a spell cast in Orr as a stop-gap measure when an invading Charr army broke their defenses. The backlash of the explosion sank nearly the entire Orrian peninsula into the ocean, now called the Sea of Sorrows, with only a handful of islands remaining above water.²*** Between the two games the sunken land rose back to the surface. This not only changed maps due to the new landmass but also sent out tsunamis which reshaped the surrounding coastlines.²%%* ''VideoGame/DungeonSiegeII: Broken World''²* Hyrule being [[TheGreatFlood magically flooded]] in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' allows for the setting to be transformed into a {{seas|tories}}cape.²* Used in the meta-plot of ''[[VideoGame/DotHackGU .hack]]'''s second series of games. In The World 2's backstory, a war between the humans, elves, and gods happened that destroyed the old towns and landmarks to make new ones. In the real world, the servers were destroyed along with most of The World's data, which basically ''is'' a sundering to a virtual world.²* ''VideoGame/OracleOfTao'', in the ''first scene''! The world is split into {{Earth|AllAlong}} and [[DarkWorld the Void]].²* ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', and ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'' take place in the same setting with a (literal) world sundering and world re-merging between each game. It was originally one planet, then split in two, then put back together again.²** ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' has a very weird variation. While [[spoiler:the BigBad is the one who gets the ball rolling, it's your party that finishes the job.]]²** ''VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia'' has this as part of its backstory, ''twice''. To wit: [[spoiler:the world was once entirely ocean. Then the Orerines came along and used the Wings of Light to create an entire continent. At some later point, the Ferines got ahold of the Wings of Light and used it to ''destroy'' half of that continent.]] This is a bit of an odd example in that none of the gameplay even takes place on the continent in question.²* Similarly, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' has a single planet which is magically separated into two worlds in the backstory, and then fused back together by Exdeath mid-game.²* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', The World of Balance is sundered [[spoiler:mid-game by Kefka tampering with the statues of the Three Goddesses]], accompanied by a grim view from space with explosions blanketing the planet and continents shifting, and becomes the [[AlternateWorldMap World of Ruin]]. [[spoiler:The Light of Judgment that issues from Kefka's Tower]] steadily makes this world more and more of an AfterTheEnd scenario. The sundering results in continents all over the world becoming shifted and unrecognizable, and notably, Serpent's Trench, which had been underwater, is forced up and forms a large isthmus.²* At the end of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV 1.0'', [[SealedEvilInACan Bahamut]] was set loose on Eorzea. ''A Realm Reborn'' takes place 5 years after that.²* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', there were two world-altering cataclysms: the [[AndManGrewProud Fall of Zeal]], in which an awakened [[EldritchAbomination Lavos]] annihilated the [[FloatingContinent Magic Kingdom]] and the Day of Lavos in 1999 AD, which razed the entire planet. [[ColonyDrop Lavos' arrival]] in 65,000,000 BC didn't change the face of the planet per se - only causing the Ice Age that [[PhlebotinumKilledTheDinosaurs killed off the dinosaurs]] and led to the world where the Kingdom of Zeal ''did'' [[EvilIsNotAToy make him change things a lot.]]²* Frequently happened on ''VideoGame/GraalClassic'' pretty much whenever the admins got bored - a cataclysm and an island appears, a cataclysm and it merges with the continent, a cataclysm and it gets invaded and burned down, a volcano erupts and another island sinks...²* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' had a [[strike:minor]] version of this in the events between the first game and the second, caused by the activation of Venus Lighthouse. At first, it seems that its greatest effect was to break an island off of one continent and drift it across the ocean (with some important characters brought along for the ride). During the opening of the second game, though, it's revealed that it ''also'' caused a massive tsunami that (as you find out later in the game) awoke an ancient monster from slumber and ''moved one continent for miles until it slammed into another''.²** Another case seems to have occurred since the release of Alchemy at the end of the second game, judging by the map for ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn Dark Dawn]]''. Particularly noticeable are the apparent sinking of Tolbi, the expanded mountain range near where Altin should be, the fact that Kolima Forest is on a completely different part of the continent it's on (and also [[LostWoods more confusing]]), and the ''waterfalls between different levels of ocean''.²* This arguably describes the most devastating event in the ''Mega Man'' series: the Elf Wars, a time period between ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' and ''[[VideoGame/MegaManZero Zero]]''. The world is completely devastated, with [[strike:possibly]] only one bastion of civilization left. Also, there's a radical decrease in the population (60% humans, 90% [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots Reploids]] wiped out). It's all the cause of EnergyBeings with the power of MindControl and RewritingReality, which are in the hands of an OmnicidalManiac. The war, which spanned ''only 4 years'', was thankfully ended by the duo of the series' heroes before things got much, ''much'' worse.²* A staple of the ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'' series, and key to multiple servers in ''VideoGame/UltimaOnline''.²* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' (at least in the ''[[AllThereInTheManual Perfect Works]]''), the [[WorldWarIII global thermonuclear war]] that wipes out nearly all of humanity 6000 years prior, actually causes cataclysmic movement of the planet's tectonic plates.²* Happens to the titular age of ''{{VideoGame/Riven}}'' at the end of the game. The Age was already undergoing this naturally due to Gehn's shortcomings when creating it. The five islands were originally a single island but had split apart.²* In ''VideoGame/TheToneRebellion'', the intro shows an enormous continent in space populated by peaceful [[StarfishAliens Floaters]]. Then TheCorruption appears and spreads throughout the land. The war with it results in the continent being split into dozens of smaller islands, all orbiting a central one - the heart of the corruption. Four of these islands have the remains of the Floater race. Over the next millennia, the four tribes evolve into distinct subspecies, each in alignment with one of the four elements (Natural, Supernatural, Physical, and Ethereal). After activating all the ancient bridges between the islands and defeating the corruption, the player witnesses the islands drifting towards each other and re-merging into the original continent.²* Downplayed in ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' where after the second Chernobyl disaster radiation, psy waves, mutants, gravitational anomalies, and more spill out into the Zone. Enormous radiation emissions happen daily which kills anything that hasn't taken cover. But despite all the catastrophic results, the geography of the area remains more or less the same. However in the sequel, ''Call of Pripyat'', you see that the anomalies have started to warp the terrain. Gravity anomalies are creating bizarre rock formations, burner anomalies are causing areas that were formerly stone or concrete to melt, acidic anomalies are causing strange plant growths all over, and generally the anomalies are twisting around the landscape.²* The Calamity in ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'' fits this to a T. Spanning at least an entire nation, if not the entire planet, it wiped out a large majority of the population. Only a handful of people, some monsters and wild animals were left surviving. The land itself has been shattered and each place now exists as a separate floating island, accessible only via flying. Interestingly, these islands are not actually complete when you land on them. As you progress through the levels, the areas rebuild themselves before your feet: earth, plants, buildings and all.²* Taken to extremes in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', although we only ever see the aftermath. Before the CataclysmBackstory that is the [[GreatOffscreenWar Keyblade War]], there was one planet. Now, there are several tiny separate worlds surrounded by a sea of Darkness.²* ''Videogame/WarlordsBattlecry'' and the ''Warlords'' series in general have the Sundering, which happened when the first Dark Elf attempted to summon a powerful demon and bind it to his will, only for all of it to go terribly, terribly wrong. While there were plenty of tidal waves and cataclysmic storms, the more lasting effects included various places sinking into unusable swampland (leading to an exodus that ended in what became TheEmpire being founded), great tears into the land that uncovered veins of valuable gold and other treasures, and enormous caverns that opened up beneath the ground, which the Dwarves decided to claim for themselves as soon as they could and allowing them to found an actual kingdom below. There are likely many more effects, but it happened so long ago some details were lost, and the biggest impact (the HorsemenOfTheApocalypse barging into the material realm and [[BigBadEnsemble setting up shop]]) wasn't quite geographic in nature.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Web Comics]]²* Parodied in ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'''s ''TheElemenstorSaga'', in which there are several of these, usually one every few thousand years. One was caused by a giant cow falling from outer space.²* Happened ''four'' times in the backstory of ''Webcomic/TheDragonDoctors''. One was a magical civil war, one was a nuclear war, one was a meteor impact, and the most recent was the most devastating; "The Dimension Fusion," combining bits and pieces of other worlds into this one.²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Web Original]]²* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': The Sundering, as said in [[http://whateleyacademy.net/index.php/119 Medicine Girl]]:²--> "Long ago, the world was whole. Magic was everywhere. It was the time of the Five-Fold Courts, but it was also the beginning of the rise of man." She frowned deeply. "Then came the Bastard, the evil one. He shattered the land, broke the Five-Fold Courts, and burned the sacred trees that had brought magic to the land. He scattered the Peoples as well."²[[/folder]]²²[[folder:Western Animation]]²* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' had one in its backstory with the Great Mushroom War.²* A small-scale one happened in the backstory of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender,'' when former Avatar Kyoshi used the power boost of the avatar state to separate her home peninsula from the Earth Kingdom mainland, creating Kyoshi Island. ²[[/folder]]²----

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