Dark Six: The Traveler

Boldrei unites us as a community, and Aureon’s laws bring order to our lives. Dol Arrah shows us the path of honor and Dol Dorn gives us courage. The Traveler seeks to destroy all of this. It wanders the world, hiding behind a hundred different faces. It offers gifts, tempting you to take risks and to stray from the path. It has one goal: chaos. Try something new! Listen to this secret! Take this risky opportunity! All of these are the gifts of the Traveler, and all will lead you to despair. Trust in tradition. Trust the neighbor you know, not the stranger on the road. Beware the gifts of the Traveler.

—Halas Molan, High Priest of Wroat

‘Don’t speak to strangers.’ ‘Don’t try anything new.’ The priests tell you to treasure the life you have now, and to avoid anything that might place it at risk. Well, the sheep in the field live predictable lives of absolute security… until the shepherd grows hungry! The Traveler will shatter the life you have known, yes. Because it is in that chaos that you will find YOUR path and learn who you truly are. It is only by leaving your comfortable home that you’ll see all the wonders the world has to offer. If you care only about peace and stability, you might as well crawl into your grave right now. If you want to experience everything life has to offer—moments of despair, yes, but also the greatest joys you can imagine—embrace the gifts of the Traveler.      

—Chance of Sharn

Five bones lashed together—one of the oldest and simplest symbols of the Dark Six, found in countless shrines in Droaam. But why five bones? Because the Traveler can’t be bound to one place or one form. The Traveler is the space on the wall, acknowledged in their absence.

Our lives are balanced between order and chaos, and the Traveler is always trying to push us over the edge. In the myths of the Nine and Six, the Traveler is never encountered as “The Traveler.” The Traveler is the smith who gives Dol Dorn a sword, only to have it shatter in the first battle; the thief who steals Aureon’s tome the moment he needs it most; the sage who exposes Dol Azur’s treachery. The Traveler wears a different name and face in every tale, but we KNOW they’re the Traveler because of the impact of their actions. Sometimes the gifts of the Traveler can raise you up, and sometimes they will ruin you. The only constants are chaos and change—shattering the foundation of your life and forcing you to find a new path forward.

In the common traditions of the Sovereign Host, the Traveler is presented as a malicious entity who revels in misfortune, chaos, and confusion. Good fortune is the blessing of Olladra; when something fails at the worst possible moment, it’s the hand of the Traveler. In these stories, the Traveler seeks to undermine all security, to tear down every foundation. Any stranger could be the Traveler, seeking to bring you to ruin. By contrast, those who follow the Traveler say that the change it brings is a positive thing—that chaos spurs innovation and revelation, that it’s important to challenge traditions and abandon those that have served their purpose. Like most of the Dark Six, the Traveler focuses on the good of the individual over the stability of institutions: the Traveler helps you find YOUR path, rather than being bound by tradition. When you meet a stranger on the road, are you afraid of this possible threat or excited to meet someone new?

When this article refers to vassals, it’s a reference to those who follow the Pyrinean Creed—the default faith of the Sovereign Host as practiced in the Five Nations. There are two other sects that are relevant here. The Cazhaak tradition is the common faith of Droaam; it respects the chaos of the Traveler as a force that challenges tradition and forces people and civilizations to evolve. The most devoted followers of the Traveler are the Children, the faith of the nomadic changelings who view the Traveler as a personal guide and source of inspiration.

Chaos and Change

The Traveler touches the domains of many other Sovereigns. Like Aureon and the Shadow, the Traveler is a source of knowledge. Along with Olladra and the Mockery, the Traveler is a patron of those who rely on deception and cunning. Like Onatar, they can provide inspiration to the artisan. Both those who fear the Traveler and those who revere them agree on one thing: whatever gifts the Traveler gives, they always lead to chaos. If the Traveler gives you knowledge, it’s because the revelation will force you to reevaluate everything you have known. If they help you deceive, it’s because your actions will introduce chaos and crisis—whether into your life or the lives of others. Onatar will teach a swordsmith to make a better sword; the Traveler might show her how to make a bomb, changing the face of warfare. The Traveler isn’t here to help you to satisfy your greed or to achieve your ambitions. The Traveler will set you on paths you never thought to try. They may grant you good fortune… but when you call on the Traveler, you are inviting the unexpected into your life.

The Traveler isn’t evil in the same way as the Devourer or the Shadow. But most vassals view the Traveler as an entirely malicious force—while those who honor the Traveler emphasize the potentially positive aspects of chaos. Take the myth mentioned above as an example. A smith gives Dol Dorn a magic sword, promising that it can defeat any foe. Dol Dorn rashly challenges a band of demons, but as soon as battle is joined the blade shatters. Refusing to retreat, Dol Dorn fights on and brings down his enemies with his fists and feet… creating the martial art practiced by the Order of the Broken Blade. The typical vassal interprets the role of the Traveler as entirely negative: the sword shattered and it was only the strength and courage of Dol Dorn that allowed him to triumph. Whereas one of the Children will say that it was because the blade shattered that Dol Dorn was forced to create something entirely new: that the Traveler’s goal wasn’t to kill Dol Dorn, but rather to challenge him and force this moment of innovation. The Cazhaak tradition maintains that the chaos of the Traveler is a flame that tests and tempers traditions and beliefs, whether these define a society or an individual. The Traveler doesn’t seek absolute anarchy; but they want you to constantly challenge your beliefs, and to abandon traditions that have outlived their usefulness. Under this interpretation the Traveler is ultimately a positive force, though they force you to live in interesting times. However, the majority of vassals dismiss this and see the Traveler solely as a bringer of misfortune and mischief.

Walk Your Own Path

In the Pyrinean myths, the Traveler seeks to lure you off the path of safety and security. In the traditions of the Children, the Traveler is the guide who walks by your side when you choose the unknown road. Because it’s only by walking your own path that you can find yourself. These two concepts—walk your own path and find yourself are important principles for those who honor the Traveler. Walk your own path is a principle that can be embraced both literally and metaphorically. On the one hand, it’s a faith that encourages a nomadic lifestyle, embracing the chaos of the road and seeking out new places and experiences. Beyond that, it’s a simple directive not to let others control your life; trust your instincts and don’t fear the unknown.

Find yourself can likewise be embraced on multiple levels. Identify your strengths and your passions. But beyond that, figure out who you want to be and become that person. While this is an easy directive for a changeling, Eberron is a world of magic and it’s something that can be a literal truth for anyone. Disguise self and alter self allow people to temporarily assume identities, but there are transmutation spells and rituals that allow someone to permanently change any aspect of appearance or gender. Followers of the Traveler are urged not to feel bound by anyone’s expectations—only you know who you are.

So while the vassals fear the Traveler as a malevolent force that seeks to pull you into chaos, the Children and those that follow the Cazhaak faith see the Traveler as the one who will stand by you when you choose to leap into the unknown or to challenge tradition.

Paths of the Traveler

Those who follow the Traveler generally embrace one of three paths.

  • The Trickster sows chaos for the joy of it, believing that as long as they are causing trouble for someone they will be protected by the Traveler. Some tricksters are manic and wild, causing disruptions wherever they go but rarely causing any huge disasters. Others are careful and calculating, forgoing petty disruptions in favor of actions that will shake cities or institutions. With that said, most tricksters have no long term agenda beyond chaos itself; their purpose is to light the fire, and how far it spreads or what it consumes is in the hands of fate. Tricksters are primarily found among the vassals; as the faith has a purely negative view of the Traveler, those who follow their path embrace that destructive view.
  • The Mentor creates chaos because they believe it will have a positive outcome. In comparison to tricksters, mentors are rarely manic in demeanor; a mentor is more calculating. The mentor is the smith who gives Dol Dorn a flawed sword knowing that Dol Dorn relies too heavily on his sword and needs to learn he doesn’t need it. Of course, it’s the mentor who decides what lesson you need to learn, and there’s no promise you’ll survive the ensuing strife. But the mentor creates chaos with a goal in mind, whether it’s testing an institution, a law, or a particular individual. Mentors can also focus on guiding those who are in moments of crisis. Just as you believe the Traveler is by your side in chaotic times leading you towards the positive outcome, you could take that role for others. You believe that traditions need to be challenged, that people need to be tested; but ultimately you want people to learn a positive lesson, not to be lost to the chaos.
  • The Wanderer follows their own path, pursuing a life of constant change and new experiences. They don’t seek to cause chaos, either maliciously or with good intent. Rather they embrace it in their own life, seeking to live unfettered by expectations and to avoid settling into any negative patterns.

Any character or NPC could follow any of these paths. Remember that you don’t have to be a divine spellcaster to believe that you have a divine purpose, or even to play the role of priest. Bards, rogues, and charlatans make excellent mentors or tricksters. A sorcerer specializing in illusion or enchantment could attribute their gifts to the Traveler. An Archfey warlock could set the Traveler as their patron… but are they actually serving the Sovereign, or an archfey who’s taken on the mantle? A ranger could easily follow the path of the wanderer, as could a changeling monk who seeks to perfect their own form.

Using the Traveler

The Traveler is the only Sovereign who’s often depicted as wandering the world. However, this is a flawed interpretation of what’s actually going on. The Traveler is the stranger on the road, the spark that creates the Flame. The Traveler takes a different form in every story, but we know they’re the Traveler because of the consequences of their actions. On the one hand, you could posit this as the work of a single divine entity.. On the other, it can simply be the actions of many different people. The Children believe that the Traveler acts through them; that when you do the work of a mentor, in that moment you ARE the Traveler. Likewise, there are many powerful beings—from archfey to the legendary Sora Kell—who have taken on the mantle of the Traveler or whose actions have been attributed to the Traveler. So you could choose to actually have players interact with an individual who claims to be the Traveler: but is it actually a god? Is it an archfey or celestial that’s taken on the mantle? Is it simply a changeling priest? Here’s a few other options to consider.

Player Characters

In making a player character who’s devoted to the Traveler, the critical question is how you’re going to interact with the other members of your party. The carefree trickster who sows chaos with no concern for consequence might be fun for YOU, but why would the other player characters associate with you (unless they share your beliefs)? As such, the mentor or the wanderer are better paths for player characters. The wanderer is primarily a free spirit; you’re going to encourage the party to keep moving forward, to question authority and to keep from being tied down, but you are focused on your OWN journey as opposed to trying to bring chaos to others. The mentor can be an excellent path for a PC. As a mentor, you can focus on bringing down corrupt systems and institutions: challenging the Dragonmarked Houses, exposing corruption in local guilds or temples, and meanwhile trying to help innocents find a positive path through chaotic times. This is also a possible place to use some of the things I suggest for Adding Drama to the Divine. Your mentor could be pointed at people to help or institutions to challenge. You may not know the entire story, but you know that it’s your task to bring down the Daggerwatch Garrison in Sharn… are you up to the task?

As a cleric of the Traveler, you could focus on the Trickery or Knowledge domain depending on your vision of your character. Are you more about active deception, or do you work by exposing secrets? Another option is the Forge cleric (or artificer) focused on creating things that will change the world; see the Cannith cult below for more thought on this. There’s no particular paladin oath that’s ideally suited to the Traveler, but that means that you could follow any oath as long as you’re pursuing the goals of the Traveler. If you’re primarily a wanderer, you could take the Oath of the Ancients. If you’re focused on tearing down corrupt systems you might take Vengeance, while if you’re primarily driven to help guide others through times of chaos and crisis you could follow the path of Devotion.

The primary point in following the Traveler is that you embrace instability and chaos as positive tools. Unless you’re a trickster, you don’t want to cause trouble without reason. But you believe in taking chances, embracing uncertainty, and pushing others to do the same.

THE CABINET OF FACES

Most tribal changelings follow the path of the wanderer. They live nomadic lives and walk their own paths, with little concern for the greater world around them. However, there is an alliance of changelings who follow the path of the mentor—who actively sow chaos in large and small ways. As most members of the Cabinet of Faces are changelings, their exact numbers are impossible to track and it’s up to you as a DM to decide just how widespread they are and how deep their resources go. There could be members of the Cabinet in every city, with agents hidden in positions of power. Or there could be merely a dozen members of the Cabinet, each of who assumes a hundred different roles.

Members of the Cabinet of Faces play the role of the Traveler in the myths. They take actions that will set chaos in motion. This could be a gift, a theft, a revelation. Consider the following possibilities.

  • A old sage asks the party to investigate a Dhakaani barrow. They recover a powerful sword that holds the essence of a Dhakaani champion—a powerful weapon for whoever wields it, but also something that could change the balance of power between the Heirs of Dhakaan. When the players return from their adventure, the sage is nowhere to be found. What will they do with the sword?
  • The players are ambushed by a member of a local organization who escapes after being seen. In fighting the organization, the PCs shake up a corrupt and engrained system, but they never encounter the person who originally attacked them.
  • A scholar arrives with proof that one of the players has a claim to a noble title… but what chaos will ensue if they pursue it?
  • The party is accosted by a group of guards, as a member of the party was clearly seen committing a crime earlier: will they sort out the situation, or panic and dig in deeper?

In all of these examples, a single individual is setting a chaotic series of events in motion. The assassin, the sage, the criminal—they don’t have a personal investment in the outcome; they are simply working to place the player characters in a challenging situation or using the player characters to challenge a powerful institution or tradition.

The key with the Cabinet of Faces is that their actions will always create a crisis. This could be a personal crisis—what do we do with this artifact? Do I pursue my ancestral claim?—or it could be a set of events that could bring down a dragonmarked house, a high priest, or a nation. It’s possible that these actions can objectively be seen as noble; they will often target corrupt institutions. But they can also be challenging virtuous institutions or traditions just to make sure that they are still serving their purpose and to force them to evolve. Their goal isn’t “good”—it is chaos, with the hope that that chaos will have a positive outcome.

CANNITH CULTS

Onatar is generally seen as the patron of House Cannith. And as noted above, Onatar does inspire artisans and help them find better ways to do their work… but slowly and carefully. Onatar can be seen as following the Prime Directive: the Sovereign of the Forge won’t share any ideas until the world is ready for them. But there are those in House Cannith who believe that there should be no limits on arcane advancement, divine or otherwise. Artificers and artisans who invoke the Traveler pursue ideas that could change the world. One common theory is that the Mourning was caused by a Cannith cult of the Traveler—that they were creating a weapon that would completely change the face of modern warfare and lost control of it. There’s no question that the Mourning has forced change upon the world… but it also shows the potential danger of meddling with forces we don’t understand. Others say that Aaren d’Cannith was a devotee of the Traveler, and that the Sovereign of Change showed him the path to warforged sentience… a discovery that is forcing us to reconsider the nature of life and the rights of our creations.

From a story perspective, this can be the source of a single mad mage with big dreams and creations they can’t control. Or it can be a cabal that is actively working to release something that could fundamentally change civilization as we know it. Reliable resurrection. Cheap teleportation. Part of the point of introducing such a thing would be to explore the chaos it would cause, and the ways in which it would transform the world.

Cannith cults are the best known of these because they can hide within the infrastructure of the house, but any artificer can seek inspiration from the Traveler. The risk is that House Cannith always seeks to contain any advances that could threaten its monopolies. Working within the house you can try to hide your true work within legitimate paths; as an independent you don’t have the shield provided by family connections or knowledge of the house. But it’s certainly the case that an independent artificer who creates a revolutionary ritual can threaten the established dominance of the house… and bringing down established powers is certainly one of the goals of the Traveler.

INDEPENDENT OPERATORS

As noted above, anyone who causes chaos or crisis can be perceived as hands of the Traveler. But there are also those who do the work of the Traveler in less dramatic ways. In Sharn, there’s a priest of the Traveler who runs a gambling hall; encouraging people to task risks and facilitating unusual wagers. The Tyrants of Sharn aren’t as far-reaching in their actions as the Cabinet of Faces, but they also take subtle actions to challenge the institutions of the city… exacerbating the conflict between Daask and the Boromar Clan, subtling interfering in the espionage and diplomacy that occurs throughout the city. The basic question when introducing a devotee of the Traveler is the question of mentor or trickster… do they believe that their actions could have a positive outcome, or are they lighting the fire because they want to watch things burn?

Thanks as always to my Patreon supporters for keeping this website going! Share your thoughts and questions on the Traveler below.

Q&A

Why is the Traveler in the Dark Six? The other five members have evil alignments, but it is CN. So why’s it with the rest of them?

Because it’s not about the alignment of the entity, it’s about the consequences of their actions. The Sovereign Host are seen as forces that strengthen and support civilization: law, agriculture, industry, commerce, honor. The Dark Six are forces that are either destructive or that favor the individual. Even if you accept the mentor’s view that chaos can have a positive end result, the Traveler is fundamentally a deity driven by challenging tradition and shattering order: placing them directly in opposition with Onatar, Aureon, and the rest of the Nine.

Mythologically, does the Traveler predate the other Sovereigns?

Mythologically, no one knows. That’s the message of the five bones: the Traveler may be grouped with the Dark Six, but they’ve always walked their own path. The Traveler is present in the myths, but there’s no story that explains their origin. So it’s possible that they predate the Sovereigns or possible that they came into existence with the Sovereigns; the critical point is that they’re always there, shaping the story from the sidelines.

The Traveler seems an obvious figure to be seen as the driving force behind a revolution. Are there any revolutionary groups in Eberron, past or present, that pay tribute to the Traveler?

It’s not quite as obvious as it appears. Under the Pyrinean Creed—the dominant faith of the Five Nations—the Traveler is seen in a purely negative light. Look again to the myth of Dol Dorn’s broken sword; the Vassal interpretation isn’t that the Traveler helped Dol Dorn learn a lesson, but rather that the Traveler intended mischief and Dol Dorn’s courage and strength allowed him to triumph in spite of it. As a result, groups like the Swords of Liberty don’t invoke the Traveler as their patron. They invoke Aureon, saying that they seek to create a better system of laws and leadership; Dol Arrah, saying that they fight for a just cause; Boldrei, saying that they are the ones fighting for the good of the community; or Dol Dorn, asking for the strength and courage to see their battle through. They don’t see the Traveler as the guiding their efforts to bring change; they fear that the Traveler will bring them misfortune or through their plans into chaos.

Essentially, the vassals assume that all who follow the Traveler are tricksters. The idea of the mentor and the positive aspects of chaos are largely tied those who follow the Cazhaak traditions and the Children. While there are those in the Five Nations who share these beliefs, it’s not usually something they would proclaim openly as it would generally be misinterpreted. So there may be those WITHIN the Swords of Liberty who offer prayers to the Traveler and view them as a patron of their efforts—but it’s not something embraced by the movement as a whole.

With that said? Certainly, it’s happened in the past. Bear in mind that the Last War isn’t the first time there’s been strife over the succession of Galifar. There was a princess of Aundair who invoked the Traveler, calling for a fundamental change to both the system of the Galifar and the dominance of the Pyrinean Creed; there was likewise a movement in Cyre that sought vast changed and called themselves the Travelers. However, neither of these ended well, and most Vassals blame this on the foolish concept of placing any faith in the Traveler.

How common are cloaks as a motif in the practices of the Children? Beyond the obvious utility of a cloak, are cloaks part of the vestments of clerics, are they handed down and repaired rather than replaced? 

I’d take this a step farther. The Children don’t rely on clothes to identify a priest. Among other things, having a recognizable uniform prevents the changeling from assuming other roles… and one of the roles of a priest of the Traveler is to be able to BE the stranger on the road, which is hard to do if you’re wearing a distinctive uniform.

So rather than clothing, I’d see the Children developing personas for their priests. I know my priest by their face and their voice. Helgin is a white-haired dwarf with a scar over his left eye and a deep booming voice. He’s also one of the priests of my tribe, and when I see Helgin, I know it’s a priest acting in his official capacity. It doesn’t matter what he’s wearing; the SHAPE is the vestment, and it is something that would be handed down and shared by multiple priests within the tribe.

Tied to this, in my opinion the Children don’t use a consistent holy symbol for the Traveler. Instead, I feel that the holy symbol is something that has personal significance and importance to the individual priest… not unlike an okus in Illimat. So an heirloom cloak could certainly be a PARTICULAR cleric’s holy symbol; as symbols are usually handheld it’s slightly odd, but the point would be that to USE it as a holy symbol, you’d have to lift a corner in your hand (same as a priest of the Undying Court has to place a hand on their mask to use it as a holy symbol).

So yes, I think a cloak is an interesting holy symbol. But I also think that the Children recognize their priests based on personas as opposed to clothing.

How does guarding and protecting a persecuted people interact with introducing chaos as an agent of change?

This is the critical point that highlights why the Traveler gets pushed to the Dark Six. The mentor will try to help you through crisis, but they will CREATE the crisis to begin with. Weathering a storm makes you stronger, so I’m going to push you into a storm. This also ties to the three paths I described. The trickster creates chaos and doesn’t care about helping people in crisis. The wanderer follows a chaotic life, believing the Traveler walks with them; they likewise don’t care about OTHER people in crisis. It’s the mentor who actively tries to help others… but again, they will create crises if you’re not already dealing with one.

Do the Children have any thoughts on their purpose in the Traveler’s path? Are they considered to be his agents?

Most of the Children follow the path of the wanderer. Look back to the Jes myth: ‘I will protect your children if they follow my path. Let them wander the world. None will know them. They will have no kingdom but the road, and no enemy will find them. They may be shunned by all the world, but they will never be destroyed.’ The Children don’t care about anyone else; they believe that as long as they embrace a path of constant chaos and change, always moving and adapting, that the Traveler will guide and protect them. So overall, the Children consider themselves to be the chosen people of the Traveler, but that doesn’t require them to interfere with others.

Now, SOME of the Children believe that they are active agents of the Traveler. The Cabinet of Faces is primarily comprised of Children, and largely follows the path of the mentor. Others become tricksters, seeing it as a sacred duty to sow chaos. And beyond this you have priests, who often believe that they are the hands of the Traveler in guiding and protecting the Children.

Is the connection between the Traveler and the Children a known part of the distrust of changelings or just a happy coincidence?

The Children don’t feel that the laws of others apply to them, and see it as their right to deceive single-skins. And yes, this has increased the general distrust of changelings. But it’s worth noting that the Children are extremely secretive; they’re known more as urban legend than concrete fact. Unlike many traveling people in our world, you’re not likely to ever know when a group of the Children pass through your city.

What beliefs does Lost have about the Traveler? They’re a more stable doppelgänger community aren’t they?

That depends how you define “stable.” Lost is a mobile village whose BUILDINGS can shapeshift. This follows the basic principle of the path of the wanderer: they are ever-moving, ever-changing, and as such the Traveler remains by their side.

Lost is described in Dungeon 193. The article presents a version of the myth of Jes’s Children later seen in WGtE, stating that the founders of Lost were fleeing enemies in Ohr Kaluun and that the Traveler helped them hide. “In exchange, the people of Lost swore to bring confusion to his enemies and change to the world.” So the inhabitants of Lost are a branch of the Children, albeit one that’s less influenced by regular contact with the culture of the Five Nations. Beyond this, it’s important to remember that the followers of the Traveler aren’t opposed to tradition; they simply believe that traditions should always be challenged and should evolve when necessary, and this is true in Lost. From the article, the people of Lost “…find joy in change, both within the individual and the ripples they create in the lives of others. Although each doppelganger has a unique thought-symbol that serves as a true name, the people of Lost are ambivalent regarding permanent identity in a way that that outsiders find disconcerting.” Again, this ties to the WGtE statement that the Children don’t write down their myths, because a story should be allowed to take different forms. Lost is the oldest community of the Children, and devoted to the Traveler. But the village itself changes location and appearance, and the people likewise embrace continuous change… even if their devotion to the Traveler remains a constant throughout.

35 thoughts on “Dark Six: The Traveler

  1. Thank you, as always. These articles on the Dark Six really help fill in some of the mythological and social gaps of the faith, shaping the Cazhaak faiths and showing the counterpoints to the Pyrinean Creed.

    Mythologically does the Traveler predate the other Sovereigns?

  2. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the lore of Magic: the Gathering, Keith, but this is wonderful fuel for my planeswalker OC that I sometimes pretend to be on the Discord server. In short, they’re a Cabinet of Faces changeling who sees the entire Multiverse as something to change and influence instead of just the “one little world”. Thanks for this article.

  3. You say that “the Traveller is the spark that creates the Flame”. Can you see a tradition that revere both the Silver Flame and it’s spark, The Traveller?

    As there is a tradition that the Traveller walks on earth, could you share some ideas of artifact or eldricht machines used by the Traveller?

    Is it correct to suppose that the majority of the Chamber follows the Traveller?

    • Regarding the Silver Flame, canonically it was kindled by SACRIFICE. The power of the Flame is the essence of the couatl who gave up their existence to generate it, strengthened by the sacrifices of champions (such as Tira Miron) in subsequent times. It not impossible to imagine a sect that combines these two, but it’s not trivial. The modern Church of the Silver Flame is DEFINED by tradition and hierarchy; the followers of the Traveler are urged to challenge traditions and hierarchies, so immediately you’re going to have active friction. As a Traveler Templar, Is want to know why we need cardinals? Why do we think there can only be one Keeper of the Flame? Etc, etc. But the bigger point is that the prime mission of the Silver Flame is to defend the innocent… while the Traveler asserts that we should create chaos and crisis because that is what strengthens them in the long run. When the Traveler ignites a flame, it does so KNOWING that the fire could rage out of control and consume everything—and that’s a chance most followers of the Silver Flame wouldn’t be willing to take.

      • Probably I will never have a chance to use it, but I am starting to love the concept. A small group of mentors that truly whorship the Flame as a gift of the Traveller. A gift that made humans able to defeat DEMONS! …and now we are making it trivial, just another boring organization to protecting farmers, whilst ALL OF THEM should become heroes, or keepers of the Flame or whatever you can do with such a source of greatness.

  4. Why is the Traveler in the Dark Six? The other five members have evil alignments, but it is CN. So why’s it with the rest of them?

    • Because it’s not about the alignment of the entity, it’s about the consequences of their actions. The Sovereign Host are seen as forces that strengthen and support civilization: law, agriculture, industry, commerce, honor. The Dark Six are forces that are either destructive or that favor the individual. Even if you accept the mentor’s view that chaos can have a positive end result, the Traveler is fundamentally a deity driven by challenging tradition and shattering order: placing them directly in opposition with Onatar, Aureon, and the rest of the Nine.

  5. In races of Eberron there is a bit of information about the Cabinet of Faces. It says that “occasionally The Traveler will possess one of the cabinet rulers to convey a message, the most recent of these was 200 years ago.”

    This message was about the Last War, and warned the agents about a new war after that one.

    This leads me to ask… what is the dispossition of the Cabinet about the Last War? They welcome the Chaos of this conflict?

    What kind of preparation could the cabinet take for this new War?

    Are there any particular events in the History of Eberron that you could see as direct consequence from the actions of the Cabinet?

    • I didn’t work on the changeling section of Races of Eberron, and there’s a number of things I personally don’t agree with. You can see my changeling take in the Tribal Changeling article linked in the main article. To me, the idea that the Traveler hasn’t “possessed” a member of the Cabinet in two hundred years is flawed to begin with. In my opinion, the relationship of the Traveler to the Cabinet is more like that of a Tairnadal and their patron ancestor; they believe the Traveler is always with them, and that when they perform in the role of mentor the Traveler is acting through them.

      Looking to the broader question of how they view the War: I think they generally approve of anything that forces chaos and change, but I think they’re largely more interested in smaller scale events that have more predictable outcomes. This is back to the difference between trickster and mentor: what is the hopefully positive outcome of the war? Certainly the idea that Galifar was a dinosaur that needed to be shaken is valid, but when you’re talking about a conflict that lasted a century and has no outcome yet, it’s not ideal mentoring.

  6. Thank you for this! This makes a lot of sense and is very inspiring to me And also relates to one of my favorite shows out there.

  7. Thanks for a great article! Two wildly unrelated comments:

    — In my Eberron campaign, our changeling fabric artificer sort of blended the changeling and Cannith paths, with the Traveler cast as an artisan of changes. That character didn’t explore faith much, but I think they would’ve explained the difference between Onatar and the Traveler as “Onatar is there when you make a table, since a table stays a table. The Traveler is there when you make a jacket, since you can put on a jacket and become something else.”

    — We have Remi Permann’s wonderful https://www.dmsguild.com/product/253631/Blessed-of-The-Traveler-Queer-Gender-Identity-in-Eberron for transition magic (and how appropriate for this article! :P), but I hadn’t thought before about other permanent cosmetic transmutations! And especially in wartime, plastic surgeon magewrights would get a lot of traffic from people who don’t want to look like an old identity …

    • To the first point, I love that Traveler vs Onatar quote! To the second, Blessed of the Traveler is fantastic and I like the idea of the transition ritual as a service available at most large Jorasco houses. Meanwhile, the Tyrants have been called out as specialists in providing criminals and fugitives with entirely new identities—both physical transformation and establishing backgrounds and bona fides.

  8. In your article on Changelings you mentioned that the Children believe the Traveler gave them his protection if they followed his path and that their shapechanging originates from him, with his cloak gifted to Jes’ children being noted as the source.

    How common are cloaks as a motif in the practices of the Children? Beyond the obvious utility of a cloak, are cloaks part of the vestments of clerics, are they handed down and repaired rather than replaced? Does this bleed over into other followers of the Traveler, or is the chaotic nature of the deity to fluid for recurring motifs?

    How does guarding and protecting a persecuted people interact with introducing chaos as an agent of change? Do the Children have any thoughts on their purpose in the Traveler’s path? Are they considered to be his agents?

    Is the connection between the Traveler and the Children a known part of the distrust of changelings or just a happy coincidence?

    Were the Children nomads before this mythical genesis (in their minds) or had they always been nomads?

    • There’s lots of good questions here, and I’ll add the answers to the main article when I have time. To answer the last question, in the myths of the Children they were a settled people with a single form who were threatened with extermination by many enemies; they became nomads as part of their bargain with the Traveler. This is the wanderer path mentioned above; the idea that the Traveler protects those who embrace a chaotic life. Some historians believe that the myth of Jes described events in Ohr Kaluun: that one of the Kaluunan City-states may have magebred the first changelings during a bitter war.

      • I realize this might not be the appropriate article but continuing from that line . . .

        Did changelings come to Khorvaire during the Sundering? During Lhazar’s voyage? Or did they wander over like the Shifters (using portals through Thelanis with the Traveler replacing Olarune)?

        • Ohr Kaluun was infamous for its feuds and vendettas long before the Sundering, and the Jes myth could refer to such a civil war. Given that changelings are more widespread than tieflings, I’d be inclined to say that the events of the Jes myth predate the Sundering, and that changelings over during the Lhazaar period.This also fits with the idea that changelings are largely just accepted as part of life in Khorvaire; if they’d suddenly showed up a thousand years ago, I’d expected there to have been more of a panic around it.

  9. Thank you for this! The Traveler seems a natural patron for any PC, and certainly for any DM, as I agree with your oft repeated manta of letting the player characters be central to the change in the world.
    This is timely for me, as I am preparing to run a “Witch Coven” game where all the PCs have aberrant dragonmarks and are the daughters of a mysterious shape-changer (Sora Kell? One of her daughters? The Traveler?). I already planned to have the themes of the Traveler feature prominently, but the concept of the Traveler as mentor has given me a lot of ideas to work with.

    As my campaign will start in Xen’drick near Stormreach, do you have any thoughts on how the Giants saw the Traveler?
    One of the features of Xen’drick is the Travelers Curse (not to be confused with traveler’s diarrhea). Can the Curse have a Traveler-as-mentor quality or bringing those not native to the continent to places where they can effect great change on the world?

    • We haven’t gone into deep detail about the religions of the ancient Giants, and bear in mind that there were multiple giant cultures; the Sulat League and the Cul’sir Dominion had very different religions. The Rusheme faith has Ouralon Lawbringer (Aureon, including the Shadow), Banor of the Bloody Spear (Balinor blended with Dol Dorn), Rowa of the Jungle Leaves (Arawai and the Devourer) and Karaak the Final Guardian (The Keeper). The Traveler hasn’t yet been mentioned. The Cul’sir Dominion has generally been depicted as a rigid, totalitarian state, so it’s likely that the Traveler was viewed in a negative light.

      As for the Traveler’s Curse certainly. No one has been able to find a consistent pattern to it. It’s not known to be driven by an intelligence… but it COULD be.

  10. Do you see the chaos and change that followers of the Traveler see the god as embodying as different from that of Kythri?

  11. “But why five bones? Because the Traveler can’t be bound to one place or one form.”

    What does this mean? How does one follow the other?

    • Each bone represents a deity. For the Traveler, you leave an empty space, because the Traveler won’t be bound to anything, even a shrine or a symbol. You don’t find the Traveler in a shrine; you find them on the road. The Children generally use mutable symbols—stone gardens, piles of driftwood. Someone who follows the faith will recognize the general arrangement, but it’s an act of devotion and reflection to change its shape.

  12. I’m growing rather interested in supernatural agents of the gods. Physical Gods themselves are not present in traditional Eberron, but I know in previous editions there have been angels and such that claimed to serve them. If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of spirits or creatures serve the Traveler? Does he even have any? If I cast a planar ally spell as a follower of his, what would I get?

    • There are powers in Kythri that might answer calls to the Traveler, but there are also a number of powerful Fey and Archfey that either present themselves as servants of the Traveler or as the Traveler themselves. Consider the Marquis de Carabas; many Fey don’t mind serving a possibly fictional power.

  13. The Traveler seems an obvious figure to be seen as the driving force behind a revolution. Are there any revolutionary groups in Eberron, past or present, that pay tribute to the Traveller?

    • The Traveler seems an obvious figure to be seen as the driving force behind a revolution. Are there any revolutionary groups in Eberron, past or present, that pay tribute to the Traveler?

      It’s not quite as obvious as it appears. Under the Pyrinean Creed—the dominant faith of the Five Nations—the Traveler is seen in a purely negative light. Look again to the myth of Dol Dorn’s broken sword; the Vassal interpretation isn’t that the Traveler helped Dol Dorn learn a lesson, but rather that the Traveler intended mischief and Dol Dorn’s courage and strength allowed him to triumph in spite of it. As a result, groups like the Swords of Liberty don’t invoke the Traveler as their patron. They invoke Aureon, saying that they seek to create a better system of laws and leadership; Dol Arrah, saying that they fight for a just cause; Boldrei, saying that they are the ones fighting for the good of the community; or Dol Dorn, asking for the strength and courage to see their battle through. They don’t see the Traveler as the guiding their efforts to bring change; they fear that the Traveler will bring them misfortune or through their plans into chaos.

      Essentially, the vassals assume that all who follow the Traveler are tricksters. The idea of the mentor and the positive aspects of chaos are largely tied those who follow the Cazhaak traditions and the Children. While there are those in the Five Nations who share these beliefs, it’s not usually something they would proclaim openly as it would generally be misinterpreted. So there may be those WITHIN the Swords of Liberty who offer prayers to the Traveler and view them as a patron of their efforts—but it’s not something embraced by the movement as a whole. 

      With that said? Certainly, it’s happened in the past. Bear in mind that the Last War isn’t the first time there’s been strife over the succession of Galifar. There was a princess of Aundair who invoked the Traveler, calling for a fundamental change to both the system of the Galifar and the dominance of the Pyrinean Creed; there was likewise a movement in Cyre that sought vast changed and called themselves the Travelers. However, neither of these ended well, and most Vassals blame this on the foolish concept of placing any faith in the Traveler.

  14. “there’s a priest of the Traveler who runs a gambling hall; encouraging people to task risks and facilitating unusual wagers.”

    I could see some kind of conflict between two priests over the question “Is this really chaos?” since there’s only one outcome to this priest’s actions: The house wins.

    • “there’s a priest of the Traveler who runs a gambling hall; encouraging people to task risks and facilitating unusual wagers.” I could see some kind of conflict between two priests over the question “Is this really chaos?” since there’s only one outcome to this priest’s actions: The house wins.

      There’s definitely a lot of room for different followers of the Traveler to question one another’s actions. Looking to the three paths I described, the trickster and the mentor are fundamentally at odds; the trickster sees chaos as the ultimate goal, while the mentor sees it as the means to an end.

      With that said, who said the house always wins? In this particular hall, most games could run as normal… but if the priest rigs a game, it might not be to ensure profit, but rather to generate an unusual outcome; driving a noble to squander a fortune or granting vast wealth to a beggar. Beyond that, part of what this particular priest (described on page 97 of Sharn: City of Towers) is to facilitate unusual wagers between individuals, mystically enforcing the outcome. A talented older actor could wager his skill against a rival’s youth. The priest doesn’t enforce the bet for personal profit, but because they think that either way, the outcome will have interesting results.

  15. Random question: Are there any foods commonly consumed in Khorvaire that originated in Xen’drik (instead of merely eccentric specialty)?

  16. Good stuff! I wouldn’t have thought of the Traveler as a guide for literal weapons and wands revolutionaries. Of the Six, the Mockery always struck me as the revolutionary of the Six (and Nine) – Somebody who fought against the powers that be and got punished, renowned as a figure of violence and fear who uses underhanded tactics. The Traveler seemed more like an outsider, someone who was never part of the system in the first place, somebody without roots or allegiances. The names that people call revolutionaries are the names they call the Mockery (traitor, murderer, terrorist), not the names they call the Traveler, though I realize murder and terror are just as much the instruments of states as opponents of them.

    I’ll be interested to your take on the Mockery, when it comes around.

  17. Wait, what beliefs does Lost have about the Traveler? They’re a more stable doppelgänger community aren’t they?

    • Wait, what beliefs does Lost have about the Traveler? They’re a more stable doppelgänger community aren’t they?

      That depends how you define “stable.” Lost is a mobile village whose BUILDINGS can shapeshift. This follows the basic principle of the path of the wanderer: they are ever-moving, ever-changing, and as such the Traveler remains by their side.

      Lost is described in Dungeon 193. The article presents a version of the myth of Jes’s Children later seen in WGtE, stating that the founders of Lost were fleeing enemies in Ohr Kaluun and that the Traveler helped them hide. “In exchange, the people of Lost swore to bring confusion to his enemies and change to the world.” So the inhabitants of Lost are a branch of the Children, albeit one that’s less influenced by regular contact with the culture of the Five Nations. Beyond this, it’s important to remember that the followers of the Traveler aren’t opposed to tradition; they simply believe that traditions should always be challenged and should evolve when necessary, and this is true in Lost. From the article, the people of Lost “…find joy in change, both within the individual and the ripples they create in the lives of others. Although each doppelganger has a unique thought-symbol that serves as a true name, the people of Lost are ambivalent regarding permanent identity in a way that that outsiders find disconcerting.” Again, this ties to the WGtE statement that the Children don’t write down their myths, because a story should be allowed to take different forms. Lost is the oldest community of the Children, and devoted to the Traveler. But the village itself changes location and appearance, and the people likewise embrace continuous change… even if their devotion to the Traveler remains a constant throughout.

  18. In a story I’m co-writing, one character involved is a changeling follower of the Traveler who quite literally takes on a mentor role… for someone whose obvious drive is towards order rather than chaos. Why would a follower of the Traveler help someone like that? Well, a few reasons.

    First, the student in question isn’t even FROM Eberron. He’s an outside influence with different perspectives on everything he’s seeing around him than anyone else, and a sharp enough mind and skill enough at communication to prompt others, too, to see things in a new light.

    Second, the student was from a very low-magic world with no obvious divine intervention, but since his arrival, his deep yet non-theistic personal convictions have resulted in him manifesting divine magical potential suited to the values he holds and the duties he feels he has. This magical reaction in itself is something that’s clearly turning his life upside-down in a number of ways.

    Third is essentially the combination of those first two: here is someone who, by his outsider status and rejection of normal conceptions of the divine, would clearly end up with a different perspective on it than that of existing faiths. Furthermore, if helped onto his feet, he’s liable to cause great change, even if that change would probably involve establishing order in new ways. Will he create an entirely new religion based on his own belief? Make people rethink the forms of government they use? Merely shake up people’s expectations of what happens in a courtroom? Who knows? He’s clearly got his heart in a good enough place that he’d more likely help than hurt in the long run.

    Fourth… well, this gets more into a less-common interpretation of the Traveler that I imagine, rather than any of the common interpretations listed in the article. I imagine there being some followers of the Traveler who imagine it in a much bigger and broader role than merely one force among many who hides behind different masks. If there’s any of Eberron’s gods who could turn out to be a supreme god, it would be the Traveler — a being capable of having the rest of the Nine and Six as mere masks of its own. This mentor is of that mindset, and finds seeing “a new form of the Traveler” in someone’s unique take on the nature of divinity to be its own reward.

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