Bakery News & Eberron Q&A!

What can I say? I enjoy my poutine.

You might be wondering where I’ve been for the last few weeks. Well, Calgary, for one… I had a fine time sampling poutine, playing games and acquiring fine dice bags at the Calgary Expo. Beyond that, I’ve been very busy. I have a number of projects in the works at the moment – my level for Paizo’s Emerald Spire superdungeon, a new expansion for Gloom, ongoing work on Codex, and two entirely new games—and as a result I’ve had to take a little time off from Dragonmarks and Six Questions. But they will return!

Before I get to the questions, a few other bits of news:

  • Gloom was featured in this week’s episode of The Escapist’s The Wishlist!
  • I’m an Industry Insider Guest of Honor at Gen Con 2013. I’ll be bringing all sorts of things to playtest to the convention, though at the moment I haven’t figured out my gaming schedule. If you’re going to GC, watch this space for more news!
  • I’m also scheduled to be a guest at GenreCon in October. What can I say – I can’t stay away from Canada!

Now on with the questions! First, two in a similar vein…

Since the inception of D&D Next, do you feel Eberron will still have prominence in this new system? Will it still be playable?

Currently WotC hasn’t decided what they are going to do for Eberron support in D&D Next. It’s been said that they will at least convert the races and perhaps the artificer. If you want to see more support, the best thing to do is to let WotC know it. Post on forums! Ask Customer Service if it will be supported! If it’s clear there is an audience that wants support, then it’s more likely that the support will come to pass.

 

With 4E not receiving a lot of support and D&D Next still some time away, is Eberron sticking with the D&D system, or able to branch as it’s own?

Eberron is the property of Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, so legally I can’t create new content for it on my own, in any system. I hope that Eberron will be supported in D&D Next and that I will be a part of that, but since it’s currently unknown I’m also developing a new setting, under the working title (and only a working title) Codex. That’s an ongoing, long-term project and I don’t want to discuss it in detail until I have a clear path to release, so expect to hear more about it later in the year.

 

I was wondering what people called ‘The Last War’ before it ended, and when they started using that name.  I know IRL a very small number of people called WWI ‘the first world war’ when it was just starting, but there were a bunch of other names used at the time.

For most of the people of the Five Nations, it was simply known as “the war.” However, if they were talking about it to a Riedran or Aereni, they’d generally refer to it as “The War of Succession” or “The Succession War.” Cyrans would be more likely to call it “The Insurrection” or “The Traitor’s War.”
Is there any story behind who first called it ‘The Last War’?

I don’t think it’s been stated in canon. I believe that the term is first formally used in the preamble of the Treaty of Thronehold, which essentially states that all signatories have seen the horrors wrought in this grievous conflict, and vow to make this the last time that these nations shall take arms against one another – the last war that Khorvaire will know. The Treaty of Thronehold is as well-known across the Five Nations as the Gettysburg Address is in the USA, and everyone knows the preamble. The Brelish claim that it was Boranel who coined the phrase; the Thranes insist it was Keeper Jaela; and so on.

 

If we corelate the Last War to WWI, what would be your take on WWII?

While there are many keystones in WWI that relate to the Last War, the end of the war is much closer to that of WWII: the appearance of a weapon that completely changes the face of modern warfare. While few nations believe the peace will last, and all are jockeying for power, no nation would dare to start a new war until the mystery of the Mourning is revealed. How could Aundair dare to employ wide-scale war magics in the field when it’s possible the widespread use of such magics is what destroyed Cyre? How can they dare attack another nation until they are certain that nation hasn’t harnessed the power of the Mourning? Beyond this, there is the fact that if any nation COULD harness the power of the Mourning and weaponize it, who would dare to challenge them? Until you answer the question of the Mourning, it’s impossible to define the shape of the Next War. Will it be fought with almost no magic to prevent another war? Will it be much like the Last War, once it is revealed that the Mourning was a fluke? Or will the Mourning be weaponized, making the new conflict take a completely different form from the last?

 

What does Eberron look like a thousand years after the era of the printed setting?

What will it look like? A warped wasteland enshrouded by dead-gray mists. Of course, the way things are going it will look like that in just five years.

 

The “facts” about Eberron are “just what is believed.” How far from those “facts” has the truth gotten in your games? And what drove that departure?

I always tell people not to be bound by canon, and to use the books as inspiration rather than limitation. So, how does MY version of Eberron vary from canon? It would take a lot of time to compile an exhaustive list, but here’s a few things.

  • In 4E, I limit many key magical rituals to characters with Dragonmarks; this helps explain why the dragonmarked houses have the economic power that they do, because they are the only source of these critical magics.
  • Related to this, I’ve always put a lot of restrictions on resurrection magic. Casual resurrection simply doesn’t work for most people, and resurrection spells are often dangerous—you might just bring in random hostile ghosts, or get the wrong spirit in the body, etc. I want resurrection to be one of the rare and impressive magics that people are still amazed by, not a reliable service you can purchase from Jorasco. Reliable resurrection is something that would have a tremendous impact on a society, and I don’t feel that Eberron has that taken into account.
  • I’ve always emphasized the idea that dragonshards are an integral part of any sort of industrial magic, from the creation of magic items to common spells. In 4E this is easily accomplished by saying that residuum is processed dragonshards. The point is to emphasize the importance of dragonshards to modern civilization, which helps people understand the power of House Tharashk and the importance of dragonshard-rich regions such as Q’barra and Xen’drik.
  • I hold to the 3E canon idea that Dragonmarks are bound by bloodline. I might allow a PC to have a dragonmark that doesn’t belong, but if I did it would be a historic, campaign-defining event.
  • I never added Baator to the cosmology, as was done in 4th Edition. I like the existing balance of the cosmology and didn’t see a need to change it. With that said, I like the version of Baator I developed for DDI, in which it is a demiplane (so it doesn’t contradict the original material) and in which Asmodeus’ rise to power only occurred around the Mourning—playing up the idea that the Mourning had reverberations across the planes. This also presents the devils of Baator as an entirely new force in the world. Rather than saying that they’ve always been around and figuring out how they have interacted with the Lords of Dust, Quori, etc, this presents them as an entirely new planar faction that is a concern and potential threat to all the long-term power players.
  • I have a very different vision of Thrane than that presented in The Forge of War, but I’ve spoken about this at some length elsewhere.
  • Likewise, I have a very different vision of the Blood of Vol: the tone and practices of the faith, its history in Karrnath, etc. Again, I’ve written about this at length elsewhere. Looking to the “Why,” the point to me is that a successful religion offers some form of comfort to its followers. It is a way to make sense of the universe. The Blood of Vol is a very GRIM religion, but it is nonetheless a faith that seeks to answer questions (first and foremost, what benevolent god would allow death and suffering to exist?) and build strong communities; it is a faith that ultimately seeks to destroy death and create a paradise on Eberron.
  • I’ve done more with sahuagin civilization than has been covered in canon; this is hinted at in The Shattered Land, and comes out a little in the Xen’drik sourcebooks.
  • I don’t use subraces, and don’t feel obliged to find a place for every new monster or race that comes along. I COULD if I wanted, but I generally see no reason to do so. I feel that intelligent races should have a history and sense of place in the world, so I don’t want to add new ones in without good reason.

I could probably go on for pages. As you can see, most of these aren’t huge changes; they’re just little things. But the short form is I do what makes sense to me for the stories I want to run.

 

What if the kalashtar rebellion fuels up quori hatred & empowers Il-Lashtavar preventing a change in Dal Quor?

Quori don’t experience emotion the way most mortals do. They aren’t mercurial beings. They don’t go from love to hate in a single day, or even a year. Like most immortals, they are incarnations of ideas; a tsucora quori is an incarnation of fear, a du’ulora an embodiment of fury, and so on. Essentially, a quori who hates can never STOP hating, or hate any more than it already does; hatred is its nature. The kalashtar quori are an anomaly that must be eradicated so they can be returned to the fold—so the rebellious spirit can be eradicated and restored to its proper nature. So first off, the actions of the kalashtar haven’t actually created MORE hatred among the quori; the quori hate exactly as much as they always have, according to their nature. Mortal dreams can affect Dal Quor—but the quori are part of Dal Quor, and their emotions don’t influence it.

With that said, this is largely while the Adaran kalashtar don’t advocate violence. They believe that the turn of the age will occur; it is inevitable. By meditating on il-Yannah they help strengthen her vision and move towards that new age. But they don’t feel a need to try to hurry the change—and certainly not by a spread of violence and hatred.

If anything will empower il-Lashtavar, it’s not the spread of hatred among the quori that will do it… it’s the spread of hatred through humanity and other mortal dreamers.

 

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