History is divided into epochs, each with its own year count, starting with Year 0. The declaration of new epochs, as well as the definition of the calendar itself, are considered the responsibility of the Hierophant of Lio.
The current epoch is After the Darkness, or AD. The start of the campaign is just after New Years for 88 AD, and read out as “Year eighty-eight EH-DEE” of “Year eighty-eight after the Darkness”. Earlier epochs, in reverse order:
- After Moon Fall or sometimes as After Mal’s Fall, and abbreviated as AF or AMF, e.g. 117 AF. 2383 years in duration, running between two major cataclysms. Only few people (mostly elves) have much knowledge or interest in any events prior to this.
- Year in Concord, 11,217 years in all, written YC 2135.
- Year of Foundation, 231 years, e.g. YF 76.
- Before the Dream. An ahistorical period of uncertain duration, counted backwards into the past as years before the Dream, written as 419 BD. The beginning of this epoch is lost within the “Mists of Time”, at least as far as human chroniclers, and the first true elves walked Gaea only after YF 119, so even they don’t have much certain knowledge. Go back far enough and the concept of “year” probably becomes pretty nebulous. There are events referred to in the traditions of the dwarves and gnomes which provide some sort of ordering, though it is not much more than “before” and “after”, rather than a specific count of days and years.
- urXron – Not an era, urXron refers to not just the Realms, but also the primordial event, when/where Bel is said to have imposed duration and distance on the potential and possibilities between the Outer Dark and the Inner Void.
Each sentient race to a greater or lesser degree also refer to a year counting based on year zero being the year that the first exemplars of their race existed, usually signified as AC (after “our” creation) or BC (Before our creation).
Not all chronicles line up in their dating in detail, particularly, but not exclusively, during the more unsettled years at the beginning of a new epoch, e.g. disagreement in the length of interseasonals or even knowing that a new epoch has been declared.