Dark Six: Myths and The Fury

There are many myths of the Sovereigns and Six. Dol Arrah battling Death itself. The Mockery’s betrayal of his siblings Dol Arrah and Dol Dorn, only to be stripped of name and skin by his brother. The Keeper bargaining with Death to gain the power to steal souls. The birth of the Fury, Aureon unleashing the Shadow. We’ve only mentioned a few of these myths in canon sources, but there are hundreds within the world. Often these explain natural phenomena; the massive volcano in the Mror Holds is called the Fist of Onatar, because it’s said that Onatar smashed the mountain to create his first forge.

How can this be? Deities don’t physically manifest in Eberron. The Devourer is the storm and the raging sea, not an angry giant who’s going to personally knock your house down. The answer is that the myths are tales of their deeds before they became the Sovereigns. Reality was created by the struggle between the Progenitors. Khyber’s children rose from the darkness and seized control of the world. A band of heroes rose in this time to battle the fiends and establish the foundation for civilization. The myths are the stories of these champions… heroic deeds, vile betrayals, and more. Ultimately these champions defeated the Overlords. This left the world in need of guiding hands: and so these first heroes and villains ascended to become the Sovereigns and Six, merging with reality and rising to a higher form of existence. So there are many tales of Dol Arrah’s heroism, but no one expects her to physically manifest today; vassals know that she is ALWAYS with them, guiding the hand of every virtuous warrior.

There’s no canon list of these myths, in part because there are many different interpretations across different cultures. The common vassal traditions of the Five Nations are based on the Pyrinean Creed, developed in Sarlona before Lhazaar’s journey. But the Talentans say Bally-Nur was a clever halfling hunter, and if you go to Khazaak Draal you’ll hear stories about the Shadow never told in a human temple. The Church of the Wyrm Ascendant is a sect in the Five Nations that claims that the Sovereigns were dragons, and that the myths are based on the actual deeds of draconic champions and villains in the Age of Demons. However, this isn’t a universally accepted belief. Most myths are vague about the nature of the Sovereigns, and it’s common for them to be depicted as members of the dominant culture sharing the story. Pyrinean temples occasionally depict the Sovereigns as dragons, but this is considered to be metaphor, not literal portraits.

The point is that while the Sovereigns and Six don’t manifest in the world and can’t be proven to exist, you CAN have artifacts, locations, or deeds that are attributed to them. You can visit the Lair of the Keeper, or find Dol Arrah’s Sunblade or a cloak said to be made from the flayed skin of the Mockery. That doesn’t mean these things are actually what people say they are—but the idea of finding Dol Arrah’s sword isn’t at odds with her never manifesting today, because this was her sword before her ascension.

Now let’s take a closer look at another member of the Dark Six: the Fury.

THE FURY

When I found my lover murdered, I gave myself to the Fury. I don’t remember the rest of the night. But I regret nothing, and thank the Dark Lady that justice was done. 

The Fury is a silent whisper that can drive you to doubt or despair. She is blind rage and all-consuming passion. Instinct is the voice of the Fury, guiding us when rational thought fails. And she is the Sovereign of Revenge, promising vengeance to those willing to surrender to her. Her father the Devourer embodies the devastating power of the storm; the Fury is the storm that rages within us all, wild emotions that we fight to control.

As with all of the Dark Six, the Fury is acknowledged by the vassals who worship the Sovereign Host. She is the source of any unbalanced emotion. Someone consumed by despair is carrying the Fury on his shoulders, while anyone who lets anger driven them to rash action has given the reins to the Fury. Love is also an emotion, but in the hands of the Fury it is wild and dangerous. Just as there are Three Faces of War, there are Three Faces of Love: Boldrei is the love that binds, Arawai is the love that brings life, and Szorawai—the Fury—is the love that burns.

So typically the Fury is something civilized people guard against, something that must be contained and controlled lest she leave your life in ruins. But she is a part of the world, and there are those who chose to embrace her. While there are priests of the Fury—especially along the path of the Revelers—typically people find the Fury on their own. You don’t need a priest to speak to the Fury; she is part of you, already speaking through your rage and your sorrow. You just need to listen.

THE REVELERS

Civilized societies typically fear the Fury, seeing her influence as disruptive. However, there are those who see her “madness” as a virtue. This path asserts that it’s  only fighting the Fury that brings pain. Aureon’s laws are chains. Break them. Let your instincts guide you, experience your emotions fully, and you will know a freedom others cannot imagine. This path is more common in Droaam than in the Five Nations. Adherents are encouraged to act without thinking, to trust impulse and instinct. Whether you feel sorrow or anger, embrace it and follow where it leads.

Such followers of the Fury often engage in fevered celebrations. Outsiders generally call these frenziesand depict them as a blend of celebration, orgy, and riot; they’re seen as dangerous and immoral. But those who participate call them revels. One aspect of a revel is to experience unbridled joy; all extreme emotions are the touch of the Fury. But the primary purpose of a revel is to shatter Aureon’s chains, to experience a moment unfettered by the expectations of others… and in that moment to find your true self.

This is typically the path of those who publicly identify as followers of the Fury. While any character could follow this philosophy, if you want to reflect a supernatural connection to the Fury there’s a few ways to do it.

  • It’s a plausible path for any barbarian, though Berserker is the most logical choice. You could depict such a character as having been raised as a warrior in a community where the Fury is respected, and having always embraced and cultivated their rage—an outlander or soldier from Droaam, for example. But you could also play such a character as a sage or a guild artisan who’s extremely articulate and civilized except when you give yourself fully to your rage. Such a character could even have a high Strength score that’s not reflected by their physical appearance, because it’s more about your ability to channel adrenaline in the moment you need that strength… so a character that seems like a harmless scholar until you unleash your fury. You could also have a barbarian urchin who grew up nearly feral in the streets, who follows the guidance of the Fury wherever it leads.
  • Depending on the spells that you choose, it’s likewise a plausible path for a sorcerer. You could say that your magic comes from a place of primal instinct; you don’t consciously know how to perform it and might not even be able to cast every spell on your list on demand, but when the time is right the knowledge rises up within you. There’s no particular subclass ideally suited to this, but I’d probably go with Wild Magic to reflect the idea that you don’t fully understand what you’re doing and don’t have absolute control over it.
  • In some ways, a bard makes a better reveler priest than a cleric. Following the College of Glamour, you have the ability to inspire primal emotions; it’s your task to encourage people to fully experience and feel their feelings. You could play such a character like the barbarian mentioned above—only embracing the Fury fully when in the throes of performance. But you could also play this character as a priest who tries to help people understand their feelings at all times… or as someone who fights to bring down any system that seeks to compel or control peoples’ thoughts and emotions. This is different, however, from the priest of the Traveler who inspires chaos and change on a societal level; the Fury is more driven by the storm within each heart. If someone were to follow this path in my campaign, I’d be willing to consider their bard spells as divine magic as opposed to arcane—gifts of devotion as opposed to lore—but this wouldn’t have a mechanical effect.
  • There isn’t an official cleric domain that reflects this path well. Strangely, I would consider the Order domain presented in the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, simply reversing the flavor of the abilities. As written the Order priest compels because people respect their inherent authority; for the Fury, all of the compelling abilities would be about generating raw emotion. A command FEELS so right in the moment that the victim obeys… while hold person could reflect a paralyzing doubt and despair that the victim must shake off before they can act normally.
  • Many of the members of the Dark Pack of Droaam—worgs, lycanthropes, and other predators—view the Fury as a personal guide and patron. This ties to the principle that instinct is more important than reason, and that one should always let instinct guide action. You could play a Moon druid whose powers flow from this idea; rather than being tied to a druidic sect, you are primal predator whose form and actions are shaped by the Fury.

Boldrei is the patron of mediators and therapists, those who help maintain peace within a community and help people overcome negative emotions. However, there is an alternative. When a vassal makes a sacrifice to the Devourer in the face of an oncoming storm, they don’t expect the storm to suddenly stop; they are begging the Devourer to turn his rage to someone else. Sometimes you may find a simple altar to the Fury hidden in a vassal community. The principle is simple: if you are dealing with an emotion you can’t handle, you can make a sacrifice… and if it is accepted, your pain will be given to someone else. This practice is largely reviled because it’s a zero sum game; SOMEONE will suffer your sorrow or despair. But if you’re willing to pass your pain to a stranger, it’s a possibility. Likewise, such an altar could be used to beg the Fury to ignite a spark of passion in an object of affection; but once again, the love of the Fury is wild and uncontrollable, and often leaves ashes in its wake.

THE SOVEREIGN OF REVENGE

The Fury is there whenever you suffer pain or anguish. Aureon’s laws provide a path for order in a civilized society, and Dol Arrah guides the justiciar. But perhaps you feel the forces of the law are corrupt and will never punish your enemy. Perhaps the wrong that’s been done to you isn’t a crime, but you still want the cause of your pain to suffer for what they’ve done. Or perhaps you don’t want justice… you want bitter and bloody REVENGE, to make your enemy suffer and feel the pain they’ve inflicted upon you a thousand times over.

In some cultures—certainly in parts of Droaam and Darguun—revenge and justice are seen as one and the same; it is understood that anyone who’s harmed has the right to revenge, and that the Fury promises that vengeance. With the Five Nations people generally support systems of well defined laws and frown on vigilante justice, but this aspect of the Fury can be seen in two ways.

The first is urban legend as much as it is myth: the idea that if you’ve been wronged, you can engrave the name of the person you seek vengeance upon into a red candle, blend a drop of blood with the wax, and leave the lit candle in your window. This is a symbol that the Fury burns within you, demanding vengeance on the person you have named. In some stories, this is simply a call for the Fury to take vengeance for you, acting through environmental forces; if your target falls from a horse the next day, that’s the Fury answering your prayers. Others say that there’s a hidden order of assassins who roam Khorvaire, who will fulfill the promise of the crimson candle. What’s understood with either option is that once the Fury is invoked, you have no control over what form the vengeance will take or how many people will be hurt in the process. This ties to the point that this isn’t justice, and that while vengeance comes with a price YOU may not be the one who pays it. The Fury doesn’t eliminate pain and suffering; she spreads it and magnifies it. Because of this, the crimson candle isn’t used lightly; placing the candle in your window is a public declaration that you want revenge and you don’t care about the cost or who knows it. If the adventurers come into a village with dozens of crimson candles burning in the windows, it’s a sign that something is terribly wrong. And to the person named on the candle, it’s a question of whether you will try to make amends and convince the victim to extinguish the candle before the Fury takes notice of the plea.

The crimson candle is an invocation of the Fury, a request that someone or something else could grant vengeance. But there’s also the belief that someone who has been terribly wronged can surrender entirely to the Fury, abandoning moral principles and personal responsibility until vengeance is obtained. According to the stories, a vengeful hand is a vessel for the Fury, capable of superhuman feats; however, it’s entirely up to the DM to decide if there’s any truth to these tales or if it’s simply a form of temporary psychosis. Either way, this isn’t a common thing. Anyone can say that it was the voice of the Fury who drove them to rash action; but the vengeful hand is someone gripped by focused madness, whether divine or otherwise. And while people may sympathize with a vengeful hand, while it’s understood that they would never commit such horrific crimes under other circumstances, this doesn’t excuse the crimes they commit in pursuit of revenge.

There’s a number of ways this could be reflected in a player character. As before, any character could be driven by vengeance regardless of their class abilities. In developing the character idea, the question is what fuels your need for vengeance and if it’s a quest that can ever be completed. For example, someone could be driven by a desire for vengeance against Erandis Vol… but they have no idea where Vol is and know they don’t have the personal power to bring her down, so they’ll devote themselves to fighting the entire Emerald Claw until the path to Vol is made clear. Or if a criminal killed your parents, you could devote yourself to vengeance upon all criminals. The critical point is that someone driven by the Fury doesn’t care about the cost of revenge, and that this isn’t about fair punishment; it is about raining down pain and suffering upon those who have wronged you. Can you ever come to the end of that dark path? Or is your need for vengeance an all consuming flame? Here’s a few specific character ideas.

  • The Oath of Vengeance is an obvious choice for a paladin of the Fury, a warrior infused with divine power to me used in pursuit of revenge. This path works just as well for a Zealot barbarian, or potentially a cleric with the War or Death domains. This could fit the idea of the vengeful hand: you were a peaceful civilized person until you swore your oath of vengeance, and you have been filled with the power you need to see it through. On the other hand, you could also have been granted your powers to help others take vengeance; you are the one who answers the call of the crimson candle. In either case, I again call out this difference between this and the path of Dol Arrah. The hands of the Fury don’t pursue justice; they seek vengeance, regardless of how much new pain and suffering is generated in the course of revenge.
  • A warlock could be presented as someone who has made their vow to the Fury, gaining power to be used in the quest for revenge. As above, this could be a pact made in pursuit of personal vengeance, or the warlock could be assigned to help others obtain revenge. In regards to how this relates to the idea that the gods can’t be proven to exist, there’s a few ways to handle it. The first is that the warlock doesn’t directly interact with their patron; the warlock swore an oath and knows what they have to do. Another option is that the warlock’s patron is a fiend who considers themselves to be a voice of the Fury: perhaps a spirit of Mabar who enjoys the pain and death that accompanies these quests. Alternately, the warlock could have visions they believe are coming directly from the Fury… but is there a way to truly prove that these aren’t just delusions?
  • A bard of the College of Whispers is skilled at manipulating emotions and fears, both weapons in the arsenal of the Fury. This ties to the idea that vengeance need not always be bloody. A Whispers bard devoted to the Fury could be a character assassin, carrying out missions of vengeance like any other vengeful hands but focusing on destroying the lives of their victims as opposed to simply ending them.

Overall, the point here is that the people of the Five Nations don’t revere the Fury: but they certainly acknowledge her presence and her power. Typically she’s seen as something you should fight against: bite back your anger, overcome your despair, trust in the law to see that justice is done. So in general, you won’t find a priest of the Fury on the streets of the Five Nations… and paladin who acts as a vengeful hand may not ANNOUNCE that, as again, acting in the name of the Fury doesn’t let you get away with murder. But people don’t need a priest of the Fury to hear her voice. And putting a crimson candle in your window is usually seen as a cry for help or an act of protest, not heresy that needs to be punished.

Q&A

The myths mentioned above seem to imply that Death is a separate entity. Is it something a cleric could worship?

In the myth, “Death” is something that Dol Arrah defeats and binds. Most of the myths are about the champions battling hostile aspects of reality, which is what ultimately leds to their ascension. So technically “Death” is something that exists—which is why people still die—but it’s not free to act wantonly or maliciously. Mythologically Death is a subject of the Keeper… tied to the previous article that notes that the Keeper can target people with illness and misfortune in order to kill them.

An arcane scholar who believes that the Sovereign myths are legends of ascended dragons would assert that “Dol Arrah’s battle with death” is an account of a draconic champion fighting the Overlord Katashka, who embodies our fears of death and the undead… a battle depicted on page 6 of Dragons of Eberron.

Could someone worship it? Sure, just as someone could worship Katashka the Gatekeeper. But again, bear in mind that by the myths, Death is now a vassal of the Keeper—just as the Overlords themselves are bound. It’s possible such an individual would be able to channel divine magic, but a Vassal would assert that this power COMES from the Keeper; that whatever they call it, “Death” is the Keeper.

Are the “true/previous” names of the Dark Six common knowledge? Dol Azur and Szorawai and the like? Is it considered heretical to refer to them by that name? Or simply esoteric/academic?

The general idea is that stripping the Six of their names is a way to strip them of power. When Dol Azur betrayed his comrades, they took his skin and his name. Because they aren’t commonly used, most people only know them by their titles. Many people feel that addressing one of the Six by its original name can draw its attention, and thus it’s superstitiously avoided. However, in sects such as the Three Faces of War or Love where the member of the Six is acknowledged as part of the core faith, it’s more common to use the name. So if you say “Szorawai” to a group of common vassals, probably a third of them won’t recognize it, another third will gasp in horror, and the final third will nod sagely… and followers of the Three Faces of Love will roll their eyes at the people of gasp and urge them to get over it.

Are the Devourer (Shurkaan) and Keeper’s (Kol Turrant) names in other sources canonical?

The names of the Dark Six—Shurkaan the Devourer, Kol Turrant the Keeper, Dol Azur the Mockery, and Szorawai the Fury—were presented in Faiths of Eberron, which is a canon source. However, like the Sovereigns, different cultures and sects will also have their own names. Shurkaan is also known as “Shargon,” though some people who use that name just think it refers to a legendary sea monster. So yes, these are canonical names, but you can also come up with others.

Would it be true to say that the Dark Six are ultimately opposed to Khyber and the Overlords—that even if they are evil and dark, they are on the side of dragons and mortals? 

Largely, yes. The relationship between the Overlords and the Nine and Six is somewhat analogous to the Titans and Olympians of Greek mythology. The Dark Six are themselves Sovereigns, though most Vassals don’t acknowledge that… but the Sovereigns gained their sovereignty by overthrowing the Overlords. So the Dark Six may PREY upon good people, but none of them want to return the world to the chaotic rule of the Overlords.

With that said, mythologically some of the Six had DEALINGS with the Overlords. The Mockery and the Keeper both made bargains with Overlords, and some scholars say that the myth of the Shadow could actually refer to Aureon making a deal with Bel Shalor or Sul Khatesh. But even in those cases, the Mockery and the Keeper continued to oppose the Overlords overall.

Likewise, we’ve suggested that there are fiends who count themselves as agents of the Dark Six; such fiends wouldn’t be loyal to Overlords.

Do the Dark Six’s followers acknowledge the Traveler as an equal part of the Six or is it a separate entity even within the Six? 

“The Dark Six” is largely a mortal construct. It’s not like it’s the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, and that they each have headquarters and membership cards. What makes someone a member of the Dark Six is that they are seen as holding dominion over dark powers… not that they are supposedly friends. So the Traveler is unquestionably part of the Dark Six. But the Traveler has also always been a mystery. They have no established name and appear in a different form in each myth. looking to the previous questions, mythologically the Traveler stood with the host against the Overlords, but it was still never known and understood as the others were.

Do most followers of the Dark Six worship the pantheon as a whole, or are they generally devoted to individual deities?

Like the Sovereign Host, I’d say that most acknowledge the entire pantheon (and that typically also means that they acknowledge the existence of the Sovereigns) but they choose to offer their greatest devotion to the deity that holds the most influence over their life. The changelings of Lost are first and foremost devoted to the Traveler. This doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in the Shadow or the Fury; they just don’t particularly care about them.

So looking to Droaam as a whole, most of them do acknowledge all of the Six and at least respect them all; but they may have a particular deity they see as their personal guide and patron. There are variants that ONLY acknowledge a specific deity—tied to variant myths, such as the harpy assertion that the Fury was born from Eberron’s cry of pain—but those are less common.

Would you say those who approach the Six with the intention of getting something from a deity they believe to be evil tend to be worse than those who viewed them as less or not evil?

With many of the Six, this is less about Good and Evil and more about Law and Chaos. The Sovereigns largely embody the values that support civilization. When you are wronged, DON’T seek bloody revenge; follow the established system that will provide justice. When you’re making a bargain or fighting on the battlefield, don’t engage in treacherous behavior. Think of others, don’t just pursue your own greed or ambition. The Five Nations value the rule of law and consider these to be virtues. By contrast, Droaam is a very chaotic nation where people are expected to solve their own problems and look out for themselves. There’s no difference between vengeance and justice. You’re not expected to rein in your emotions for the benefit of others; if someone angers you, they need to deal with the consequences of your anger; you’re not expected to harness your fury and let the insult go.

So the main point is that in a chaotic culture the ideas embodied by the Six may not be seen as negative concepts… whereas in a lawful culture they often are. In Droaam there’s nothing wrong with embracing the Fury; restraining emotions is the strange and artificial thing. On the other hand, if you’re a citizen of the Five Nations and you light a crimson candle, you’re asking the Fury to circumvent the system of justice and grant you revenge, regardless of who may be hurt in the process. So you are definitely making a SELFISH choice, a choice in which your pain matters more than the potential consequences of revenge. You are making a choice you know goes against the moral and legal values of your society.

The same is true of a wizard who seeks forbidden arcane lore. The Shadow asserts that there should be no limits on the pursuit of knowledge. The fact that you’re choosing to violate Aureon’s laws doesn’t necessarily make you evil; that’s a question of what you’re willing to do to get the knowledge and what you’ll do with the power once you’ll have it. But it certainly means that you’re placing your personal desires over the laws of your society… so again, Law versus Chaos more than Good versus Evil.

Similarly, how do Vassals and other devout reconcile the different views of the Six? If a vassal heard that Medusa talking about the Shadow would they think that both descriptions were true or that one of the two was wrong?

Vassals know that many cultures have skewed ideas of the Sovereigns and Six. The Talenta halflings say Bally-Norr was a halfling hunter, and everyone knows that’s not true. So first of all you’ll have the indulgent “You’re just a savage who doesn’t understand the truth of the faith.” So in part it depends how it’s presented. The Fury as she’s revered in Droaam is largely the same concept as the Fury in the Pyrinean Creed; it’s simply that the Droaamite believes that embracing your instincts and emotions is a virtue, while the Vassal believes that it’s weakness. Likewise, the Vassal sees the Shadow as malevolent because it creates monsters; the medusa sees the Shadow in the same light, but sees “creating monsters” as a positive thing as opposed to a negative.

Do the harpies of Droaam adhere to any aspects of the faith that most other Fury followers don’t?

Many of the harpy wings of Droaam say that the harpy sings with the Fury’s voice. For these harpies, song is an act of prayer, and they frequently engage in ecstatic choruses. Many consider their ability to throw the emotions of others out of balance as a sign that they are truly the children of the Fury. However, in this they tend to focus on the emotional aspects of the Fury; by contrast, the Dark Pack is also strongly devoted to the Fury, but more in her role as the source of instinct.

I’ve always found it tonally inappropriate that the Fury was born of rape — it’s the only mention of sexual assault in an Eberron book, and while I get that it *happens* in real-world myths, it’s never been something I’ve particularly cared for… Are there other myths of the Fury’s origin?

There’s certainly other myths. The harpies say that Eberron cried out in pain when she brought life into being, and the Fury is her cry (note that by this story, the Fury is actually older than the other Sovereigns and Six). Another myth says that the Devourer was bound by his enemies; his rage gave him the strength to break his bonds, but it was so powerful that it burst forth as the Fury.

With that said, the Pyrinean myth is largely metaphorical. The prosperous farm is the bounty of Arawai, and the storm and fire that threaten to destroy it are the Devourer. So to the farmer, the Devourer is constantly attacking Arawai. The farmer whose field has been laid waste feels rage and despair… and so, the Fury is born of the Devourer’s attack on Arawai.

The Fury and The Cults of the Dragon Below appear similar since they both encompass the Madness Domain. What are the ways Revelers might be distinguished from the Cultists of the Dragon Below?

It’s an interesting question. First of all, the Cults of the Dragon Below are incredibly diverse. But I’d say the crucial difference is that the Cults of the Dragon Below don’t worship a personification of insanity; rather, they are themselves insane. Meanwhile, the priests of the Fury don’t worship the idea of madness; they worship the Fury as a source of passion and powerful emotions that can push someone into madness. So if a priest of the Fury casts feeblemind on you, they are consciously making a decision to drive you insane, overwhelming you with sorrow or doubt. If a cleric of the Dragon Below casts the same spell, they may actually describe it as if it’s dominate: “Let me show you the truth of our cause and you will see we’re correct!”… and then they’ll be disappointed when this “revelation” breaks your brain. This article on the Cults of the Dragon Below might help.

If you have questions about the Fury, post them below! And thanks as always to my Patreon backers for making this blog possible!

41 thoughts on “Dark Six: Myths and The Fury

  1. Question: I’ve always found it tonally inappropriate that the Fury was born of rape — it’s the only mention of sexual assault in an Eberron book, and while I get that it *happens* in real-world myths, it’s never been something I’ve particularly cared for #InMyEberron, and in my games the dominant myth is that she arose fully-formed from the Devourer’s brow like an opposite-day Athena. Are there other myths of the Fury’s origin?

    (Also, comment: I really wanna play a cleric of the Three Faces of Love now …)

    • I’ve just added an answer to the Q&A section. And I’d definitely like to do more with the Three Face of Love! Arawai is also part of the Three Faces of the Wild (Arawai, Balinor, and the Devourer).

  2. Very cool, as always, Keith! Could you give a sentence or two describing a myth (or two) of the Fury, like, say, how the Devourer gave birth to the Fury? As a side note: it occurred to me while reading this article that if one wanted to play the equivalent of a Sith Lord in the Eberron setting, a devotee of the Fury might be the way to go: “Let the hate flow within you!” And, clearly, Anakin Skywalker was ridden HARD by the Furty (love, fear and hate) before he became Darth Vader.

    • it occurred to me while reading this article that if one wanted to play the equivalent of a Sith Lord in the Eberron setting, a devotee of the Fury might be the way to go: “Let the hate flow within you!”

      Certainly! That’s sort of where I was going with the sorcerer or barbarian concepts. The adherent of the Fury views violent emotion as a source of strength—something to be embraced rather than suppressed.

  3. Adore this series so far, and not just because I’m the one who submitted it! The mythic past is a fun concept, and I love all the little flavorful bits in this.

    Can’t wait to see The Traveler!

  4. The Fury and The Cults of the Dragon Below appear similar since they both encompass the Madness Domain. What are the ways Revelers might be dinstinguished from the Cultists of the Dragon Below? Is confusing the two a common occurrence among the common people in setting?

    • Olladra is the Sovereign of Good Fortune, with a secondary aspect of benevolent trickery. While this could thus lend to “I met the most amazing person last night! Thank Olladra for my good fortune!” she’s not explicitly tied to LOVE or to relationships. Arawai is the Sovereign of fertility and birth… “the Love that brings Life.” Boldrei is the the Sovereign of Community, called out as being the patron of marriage; she’s “the Love that Binds,” strengthening a union and a community. While the Fury is uncontrolled passion, wild and thrilling but throwing an ordered life out of balance and potentially ending in tragedy… the “Love that Burns.”

      So Boldrei brings people together and Arawai blesses them with children. The Fury can be the initial spark that sets the relationship in motion; you just have to hope that that spark doesn’t become an all-consuming flame.

  5. I love the idea about the Red Candle. I’ve got a character who’s a devotee of the Fury because he lost his children in the War and wants to replace what he sees as the ordered and structured murder by eternal abandon – but as an Aundairian fencer, he’d be dashing enough to accept the task of fulfilling oaths of vengence whenever he sees a red candle in a window. So long as he can justify it to himself, as he’s not evil per se. Thanks for that.

  6. “The Church of the Wyrm Ascendant is a sect in the Five Nations that claims that the Sovereigns were dragons, and that the myths are based on the actual deeds of draconic champions and villains in the Age of Demons.”

    So the people know this? I was under an impression that this was some kind of secret, heretical knowledge.

    On our session, it was a huge revelation, but a Vassal cleric PC answered something to the effect of “This does not seem wrong – the gods are now, at least, IDEALS than dragons. Perhaps it was indeed dragons, the mightiest mortals, that were the seeds out of which the ideals grow. This is actually uplifting to the Vassals – this means that the powerful, awesome dragons are like mortal men in their striving for good. However, while dragons can be mighty mages or warriors, who’s ever heard of a dragon farmer like Arawai?”

    Some other interpretations we talked about (in character!) – gods existed as concepts within the progenitor dragons’ souls, the dark six as emotions (the Keeper was the greed of the Khyber) and the sovereigns as principles (superego?).

    • “The Church of the Wyrm Ascendant is a sect in the Five Nations that claims that the Sovereigns were dragons, and that the myths are based on the actual deeds of draconic champions and villains in the Age of Demons.”

      So the people know this? I was under an impression that this was some kind of secret, heretical knowledge.

      It depends what you mean by “know.” There’s many different interpretations of the Sovereigns. The Talenta halflings believe that the Sovereigns were once mortal halflings. The Church of the Wyrm Ascendant is just one more obscure sect; the fact that it exists doesn’t mean that the majority of Vassals have ever heard of it or would take it seriously. Beyond that, the one place it’s been called out in canon is Stormreach, which notes: “In practice, there is little difference between the rituals of the Wyrm Ascendant and the common faith of the Sovereigns. The priests invoke the Sovereigns by their traditional names, and while they speak of ascension and depict their gods as dragons, little about the faith is truly alarming; a warrior who has scant knowledge of religion could sit through a service and not realize that anything was amiss.” (City of Stormreach, Pages 80-81)

    • “However, while dragons can be mighty mages or warriors, who’s ever heard of a dragon farmer like Arawai?”

      Certainly a valid in-world question! Speaking to the draconic religion of Thir, the Sovereign archetype involved is the Child of Eberron; it’s not about agriculture specifically, but rather the benevolent aspects of nature in contrast to the Devourer embodying the destructive aspects of nature. So Vvaraak, the dragon who taught the first Gatekeeper druids, was following in Arawai’s footsteps.

      But Thir is something the people of Khorvaire no almost nothing about. And again, the Church of the Wyrm Ascendant exists in Khorvaire, but it’s just one of many obscure sects… and “So Arawai is a Farmer Dragon? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” is an entirely appropriate in-world response to it.

      • So a human or halfling Vassal could in theory had a theological discussion with a dragon about that? Again, for a lot of people that would be uplifting – the super-powerful, city-destroying dragons essentially follow MY religion. MY religion was likely the first one.

        (Also I guess some dragonborn in the recent editions follw a half-assed version of Thir, which would be in practice like the Church of Dragon Ascendant, local stories with names changed and a dragon roar here and there to make it look cooler)

      • A dragon “farmer” doesn’t actually sound that ridiculous, if we remember that Eberron has magical GMOs in the form of House Vadalis. Practical druidism for the benefit of agrarian civilization is also a common thing in certain cultures (and a dragon is responsible for starting a druidic sect, no less). Just think, a peaceful green dragon who’s fascinated with tinkering with flora and fauna until they serve some specific purpose…that might be what Arawai as a “dragon farmer” looks like.

        • Also it stands to reason a number of dragons do jobs besides archivist, sage and crusading warrior. Smiths, vintners, dealing with the bodies of the dead, raising the herd animals that blue dragons favour, the dragons wouldn’t always have relied on vassal races to do these things especially in the early days.

          For that matter I wonder if the draconian Arawai of the primordial age wasn’t more into aquaculture, being a bronze dragon. Kelp and fish and molluscs and cetaceans replacing wheat, kale, pigs and cattle?

          • Who’s to say primordial dragons were even the races they are now? There are records of draconic statues as big as mountains that resembles no modern breed we know of. Maybe dragons were all one race that diverged. Maybe there were far more races of dragon but some bloodlines merged. Who knows.

  7. Greetings Keith,

    I have always loved your takes on Orcs in Eberron as primal beings of strong emotion and largely uninterested in large scale agriculture and nation building. So why have the cults of the dragon below come to dominate the shadow marches over the dark six who seem very close to the orcish mindset???

    • The Shadow Marches were shaped by the conflict with the daelkyr, which left deep psychic scars on the region. The Gatekeeper faith persists because the influence of Xoriat remains. Meanwhile the cult traditions linger in part because of the physical presence of things—IE, people believe in Kyrzin because slimes and oozes are more common in the Marches than elsewhere, and Kyrzin is tied to them in folklore. But there’s a secondary degree to which most people who follow the Cults of the Dragon Below are, on some level, literally insane. As a member of a Gibbering Cult, you have a gibbering mouther in the basement and family members are fed to it when they reach sixty years of age. You believe that they live on in the mouther, and you’ve gone down and listened to the mouther and heard their voices in it. You believe that when your time comes, you will be consumed by the mouther and join your ancestors there. THIS ISN’T AN IDEA THAT MAKES A LOT OF RATIONAL SENSE. Most people wouldn’t evaluate a bunch of different religions and say “Yup, that’s the one for me!” But most Gibbering Cultists a) don’t KNOW any other way; the Marchers are very isolated, and this is just NORMAL as far as you’re concerned and b) are irrationally convinced that their beliefs ARE logical. You can hear your grandfather’s voice when you listen to the Mouther… even though no one else can.

      The Lord of Eyes, the Prince of Slime—these are things that have real influence in the Marches. With the Sovereigns and Six, people CHOOSE to use them to explain the world and choose to follow their examples. People who follow the Cults of the Dragon Below usually don’t have a choice. Either they don’t know any alternative, or they are mentally unbalanced and irrationally dedicated to the cult.

      So essentially, the Cults of the Dragon Below aren’t something anyone generally CHOOSES to join; you’re either born into one, or it’s a madness that overtakes you. It’s more common within the Shadow Marches because of the lingering influence of the Daelkyr and Xoriat and the psychic scars from the ancient war. But certainly, the Fury and the Devourer are more in keeping with the general orc psyche.

  8. I’m loving the “Three Faces of” expansion here, which really helps cement the Dark Six as part of the Sovereign Host.

    A few questions:

    1) Are the “true/previous” names of the (non-Shadow/Traveler) Dark Six common knowledge? Dol Azor and Szorawai (wow I love that name) and the like? Is it considered heretical to refer to them by that name? Or simply esoteric/academic? Are the Devourer (Shurkaan) and Keeper’s (Kol Turrant) names in other sources canonical?

    2) When explaining the difference between the Cults of the Dragon Below and the Dark Six to one of my players I stated that ultimately the Dark Six aren’t on the fiends’ and Khyber’s side. That they may be evil/dark but they are on the side of the dragons and humanoids. Was I correct in this assumption or are the Dark Six (and their followers) willing to advance the overlords? I’d understand that fiends likely serve the Dark Six (an above mentioned Mabaran fiend warlock patron, the previous article’s fiends which serve the Keeper) but is there (as I imagine there is) a divide between fiends and Fiends?

    3) Do the Dark Six’s followers acknowledge the Traveler as an equal part of the Six or is it a seperate entity even within the Six (the 4th ed symbol only uses five bones and one red line, for instance)? Are Schismatics (the followers of the entire pantheon over one individual god) as common as Vassals who follow all the Sovereigns?

  9. Awesome article Keith!

    Recognizing that you didn’t work on the book… in Faiths of Eberron, on of the lesser cults meantioned was the Divine Spark, which worshiped The Fury and Onatar as two faces of the same force. The Fury inspires Onatar’s creations, while Onator gives context and direction to The Fury’s passions. If you were to use the Divine Spark cult in your campaign, how would you portray their beliefs and theology?

  10. So recognizing that you didn’t work on the book… Faiths of Eberron introduced a cult called the Sacred Spark, which links The Fury and Onatar together, with the Fury inspiring Onatar and Onatar giving focus to The Fury’s passion. If you were to portray the Sacred Spark in your campaign, how would you interpret their beliefs and theology?

    • The main point to me is that I see devotees of the Fury as embracing ecstatic experience—allowing conscious thought to be overridden by raw emotion and instinct. So to me, a smith of the Sacred Spark would dive into a project with absolutely no idea of what they were making. Let the sacred spark flow through you. A sacred spark smith literally couldn’t duplicate a creation, because you can’t step in the same river twice; they could never be in exactly the same frame of mind as they were in before. So they may create amazing things, but they can’t work to order and they can’t replicate their work.

      This is distinct from typical followers of Onatar (who do traditional things well) and followers of the Traveler (who are about innovation, but repeatable innovation). The smith of the Sacred Spark essentially cultivates a state of creative madness.

  11. More general question about the Dark Six but it does concern the Fury. I remember there being something about a conflict among the Sovereigns where six fought nine, but in that case the Mockery and Fury fought with Aureon and the rest against Balinor and Arawai and the other four Dark Six. Civilization vs. Nature, Deva and Asura

    Is this nature against civilization division still an existing doctrine in Eberron? Did/Does it occur more in Pyrian tradition, draconic? Goblin, other cultures?

    • It’s not something that’s logical within the Pyrinean tradition, because Arawai and Balinor are literally the embodiments of nature working in harmony with civilization. You could definitely have myths of the Sovereigns as a whole fighting against wild forces. For example, I could see a myth where the Devourer FIGHTS Wave and Winter, and in so doing binds them as his subjects… and allegorically, this would be a story of a champion battling entities such as the Overlord Dral Khatuur, the Heart of Winter.

      So no, under Pyrinean myth the Sovereigns and Six both fought against the wild and deadly forced of the first age and in so doing brought the world under their dominion – thus becoming Sovereigns. But Arawai and Balinor ARE embodiments of civilization; they embody the ways in which civilization interacts with the wild.

      Could you assert that SOMEONE believes such a myth and says that Arawai and Balinor used to be different? Sure, you can say anything. But Balinor isn’t supposed to be opposed to civilization; instead, he teaches the hunter how to harvest nature’s bounty.

  12. Hi Keith! Thanks for this work, I always loved the dark six and I am glad to read your take on them.
    I have a couple of question that I hope you’ll answer.
    1) You say that a warlock or cleric of the keeper could be in touch with an emissary of him, an immortal spirit of mabar. Who could be an emissary of a fury? Do you have any creature in mind? And would it be from khytry (chaos), xoriat (madness) or fernia (burning desire)?

    2) you write some lines of suggestions for using a cleric of The Fury as a player character. But what if you’d like to explore one of the Dark Six as the main villain? Obviously it won’t be “the god”, but a cleric of The Fury that grows with the group and has a world involving scheme. I think it could be a nice take in this article suggesting some possible plot of “if an emissary of this god achieve considerable power, how would he changes things?”

  13. Are there any traditions which see different sovereigns as the same individual, perhaps Three Faces of War/Love made literal with these disparate gods possibly just the same figure on good/bad days?

    • It’s certainly possible. We haven’t mentioned any such traditions in Khorvaire, but the giants of Rusheme have exactly this approach to Arawai and the Devourer. From City of Stormreach: Rowa is much beloved, but she is given
      to fits of passion that can drive her into a rage. As a result, storms, wildfires, and other natural disasters are attributed to “Rowa’s wrath.”

  14. I’m loving the idea of someone displaying both a white candle (celebration of winter Solstice or equivalent) and a red candle (remembrance of loved ones killed in an unjust war). The conflicting emotions of this one person could be the starting point of a campaign against, say, a vengeful King attacking a rival on the other side of a neighbor kingdom, plowing through it with no thought of the consequences, our heros originating from the land caught in the middle.

  15. Love this particular article and the series so far! And thank you for answering my rather tangential questions from last time, I really appreciate it.

    You mentioned that the red candle isn’t heretical. Might it be illegal though? If the name of the king/queen/(corrupt) local judge is on it perhaps?

    Do priests of the Host, who aren’t secretly Dark Six cultists, ever recommend indulging in powerful emotion, giving into the Fury, for cathartic reasons, to get it out and over with rather than lingering? Or is that considered to be like playing with fire?

    Are “Three Faces of” style triad and/or dyads such the Sacred Spark or Arawai/Devourer particular common as far as variant traditions go? Are there any other prominent ones?

    Given the prevalence of traveler cultists among House Cannith, an Onatar/Traveler pairing seems like it might crop up such as “Onatar is when this entity is on good behavior, the Traveler when he indulges in experimentation”. But it seems like other groupings might also be considered “natural” Onatar+Aurean to represent the practical and theoretical.

    • You mentioned that the red candle isn’t heretical. Might it be illegal though? If the name of the king/queen/(corrupt) local judge is on it perhaps?

      Lighting a candle isn’t like casting a spell. People who don’t believe in the Sovereigns won’t give it any weight, and even people who DO believe in the Sovereigns don’t assume that every candle will be answered. And it would only be answered if Fury considers the request to be worthy, meaning a) if the victim hasn’t done anything worthy of epic revenge they don’t have anything to worry about, and b) by responding in a hostile way, the subject is verifying the request in the eyes of the community and potentially making a stronger case to the Fury as well. So the typical subject will ignore it, while the compassionate person will try to mediate the dispute and extinguish the rage without violence. Likewise, neighbors may try to help the victim, if only to work through their anger; after all, if the Fury does take up the request, there could be a lot of collateral damage.

      Do priests of the Host, who aren’t secretly Dark Six cultists, ever recommend indulging in powerful emotion, giving into the Fury, for cathartic reasons, to get it out and over with rather than lingering? Or is that considered to be like playing with fire?

      Short answer: I think traditional Host methods of therapy would be more Jedi than Sith.

      Are “Three Faces of” style triad and/or dyads such the Sacred Spark or Arawai/Devourer particular common as far as variant traditions go? Are there any other prominent ones?

      The Three Faces of War and the Restful Watch are the two most widespread. The Sacred Spark has been mentioned and I’m sure there’s others in canon. I personally wouldn’t do a dyad of Arawai and the Devourer, because it’s missing a leg; the Three Faces of the Wild are Arawai (Nature’s Bounty), The Devourer (Nature’s Fury), and Balinor, who guides those who walk between the two.

      Given the prevalence of traveler cultists among House Cannith, an Onatar/Traveler pairing seems like it might crop up such as “Onatar is when this entity is on good behavior, the Traveler when he indulges in experimentation”.

      I’ll talk about the Traveler and Cannith when I get to them in the D6 series, but there’s more to the Traveler than just Onatar experimenting. Beware the gifts of the Traveler.

  16. I just wanted to state that I like this series on the Six, and I particularly love this post on the Fury. I especially dig the parts about popular folklore, like the red candles. I hope we’ll see more of that kind of things in a revised “Faiths” sourcebook.

    The Sharn sourcebook mentions Wildnight, a Fury-inspired festival of sort, on the month of Sypheros. Is it something that is special to Sharn? or maybe happen in a particular form on the big city, although the effects that trigger it could be felt elsewhere too? If the Sharn festival is “special” (unique or not), what makes it so?

    • Good point — I should have called out Wildnight in the article. I’ll keep that in mind with Long Shadows. In my opinion Wildnight is a traditional holiday of the Pyrinean faith. It’s a big deal in a place like Sharn, but it’s not unique to Sharn.

  17. I have *really* got to binge-read this whole blog eventually – and probably ask a gazillion questions along the way, to be honest – but in the mean time, I’ll stick with this one. I’m still a 3.5 fan, so the mechanics-based stuff is from there.

    The Nine and Six and One, the Silver Flame, the Blood of Vol, the two Quori-originated faiths… really, aside from the cults of the Dragon Below, most Eberron faiths in and of themselves aren’t *that* terrible, if you ask me – which, now I think of it, is probably the reason why they have so many followers in the first place. In other words, it’s less the religions, and more what people DO in the name of those religions, isn’t it?

    That’s the worldview of an Illithid Slayer character I have in mind, but when you think about it, it seems like it’d be a rather popular one among the common people of Khorvaire, whether you subscribe to a particular faith or not.(My character doesn’t.) You don’t care whether they’re a priest of Onatar or the Fury(or the Sacred Spark); you care whether they do what, well, what you need the priests for in the first place, don’t you?

    Oh yeah, as a P.S… If sorcerers and barbarians mesh well with the teachings of the Fury, how about wilders? Or Anarchic Initiates(Complete Psionics)? Would you say it’s less the form it takes, and more the method – embracing the power of passion and emotion, even up to madness and insanity?

    • If you’re using psionics, wilder is definitely an appropriate class for a follower of the Fury. The faith of the Fury encourages people to fully embrace emotion, and the idea of someone learning to harness the psychic power generated by it makes sense to me.

Leave a Reply to Chris Handforth Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.