Dragonmarks: Common Knowledge

As time permits, I like to answer interesting questions posed by my Patreon supporters. One question that often comes up is “What do people in the world actually know about (subject)?” As players and DMs, we have access to a tome of absolute knowledge that tells us all about the Lords of Dust, the Dreaming Dark, the Empire of Dhakaan, and so on. We know that characters may know about these things if they have appropriate proficiencies and make successful skill checks. But what do people know WITHOUT making any skill checks? What things are just common knowledge?

This article reflects the common knowledge of a citizen of the Five Nations. Common knowledge will vary by culture, and I can’t account for every possible variation. People in Stormreach are more familiar with drow than people in Fairhaven. Shadow Marchers will have heard of the Gatekeepers, while Karrns won’t have. In general, you can assume that things that have a direct impact on the lives of people living in a region will be part of common knowledge. For example, the people of the Mror Holds don’t know a lot about the daelkyr in general, but they DO know about Dyrrn the Corruptor, because they’ve been fighting him for decades and he signed his name with Dyrrn’s Promise in 943 YK. So determining what things are common knowledge will often require the use of common sense.

With that said, the people of the Five Nations can be assumed to know the following things.

Planes, Moons, and Manifest Zones. Everyone knows the names of the planes and the moons, and the basic attributes of the planes (IE, Shavarath is the Eternal Battleground and is filled with celestials and fiends fighting). Think of this a little like knowledge of the planets of the solar system in our world; most people can name the planets and know that Mars is the Red Planet, but only someone who’s studied them can tell you the names of all of the moons of Jupiter. The main point is that the planes have real, concrete effects on the world through their manifest zones and coterminous/remote phases, and people understand these things. A common person may not be able to tell you the precise effects of a Shavarath manifest zone unless they actually live by one, but they know Shavarath is the Eternal Battleground and could GUESS what such a manifest zone might do.

The Creation Myth. Everyone knows the basic story: Khyber, Eberron, and Siberys created the planes. Khyber killed Siberys and scattered his pieces in the sky, creating the Ring of Siberys. Eberron enfolded Khyber and became the world. Whether people believe this is literally true or a metaphor, everyone knows the myth and everyone understands that magic comes from Siberys, natural creatures come from Eberron, and fiends and other evil things come from Khyber.

The Sovereign Myth. The Sovereign Host is deeply ingrained into daily life in the Five Nations. Even if you don’t BELIEVE in the Sovereigns, you know the names and basic attributes of the Nine and Six. Likewise, everyone knows the basic story that in the dawn of time the world was ruled by demons; that the Sovereigns fought them; and that the demons were bound. The Dark Six are largely only known by their titles—The Mockery, the Keeper—and their original names are something that would only be known by someone with a tie to a relevant cult or with proficiency in History.

The Silver Flame. Tied to this, everyone knows the idea that the Silver Flame is the force that binds demons. People do NOT know where it came from. Many vassals assume the Sovereigns created the Silver Flame. Those who follow the faith assert it is a celestial force that is strengthened by noble souls.

Dragons. Everyone knows that dragons exist and that they are terrifying and powerful creatures. People know stories of dragons guarding hoards of treasure, and if you’re from Thrane you know of the Bane of Thrane, the dragon who slew Prince Thrane. There are also a few stories about heroes making bargains with dragons, or dragons possessing secret knowledge. People know that Argonnessen is a land of dragons, but they know almost nothing about it beyond “Here there be dragons” and the fact that people who go there don’t come back. Some people know that dragons occasionally attack Aerenal, and know that the giants of Xen’drik were destroyed in some sort of war with dragons. So everyone knows that dragons exist; that they are extremely powerful; and that they can be deadly threats or enigmatic advisors. Most people don’t ever expect to see a dragon. The idea that there are dragons secretly manipulating humanity is a conspiracy theory on par with the idea that many world leaders in our world are secretly reptilian aliens; there are certainly people who believe it, but sensible people don’t take it seriously.

Evil Exists. Everyone knows that there are fiends, undead, aberrations, and lycanthropes in the world. They know that ghouls may haunt graveyards, that the creepy stranger in town could be a vampire or a werewolf, and that dangerous things could crawl out of Khyber at any time. This is why the Silver Flame exists and why templars are generally treated with respect even by people who don’t follow the Silver Flame; people understand that evil exists and that the templars are a volunteer militia who are ready to fight it.

The Overlords and the Lords of Dust. Everyone knows that the overlords were archfiends who dominated the world at the beginning of time. Regardless of whether you believe in the Sovereigns or respect the Flame, you know that the overlords are real because one broke out and ravaged Thrane a few centuries ago. Most people have heard stories of a few of the overlords and may know their titles—the Shadow in the Flame is the one most people have heard of—but would need to make checks to know more. But critically, everyone knows that there are bound archfiends that would like to get out and wreck things.

Most people have never heard of “The Lords of Dust.” People have certainly heard stories of shapeshifting demons causing trouble and know that this is a real potential threat, but the idea that there is a massive conspiracy that has been manipulating human civilization for thousands of years is up there with the idea that dragons have been doing the same thing. If you have credible proof that someone in town is actually a fiend or is possessed by a fiend, people will take the threat seriously; people know that such threats can be real. But few people actually believe that there’s a massive conspiracy that secretly controls the course of history, because if so, why haven’t they done anything more dramatic with it?

As a side point to this, most COMMON PEOPLE don’t differentiate between devil, demon, and fiend and treat these as synonyms. People know of rakshasas as “shapeshifting demons,” even though an arcane scholar might say “Well, ACTUALLY ‘demon’ refers specifically to an incarnate entity of chaos and evil, and the rakshasa is a unique class of fiend most commonly found on the material plane.” But the Demon Wastes could be called “The Fiend Wastes;” in this context, “Demon” is a general term.

Khyber and the Daelkyr. Tied to the creation myth and to the idea that evil exists, people know that BAD THINGS COME FROM KHYBER. They don’t know about demiplanes, but they know that if you find a deep hole there might be something bad at the bottom of it. Critically, most people just know that THE DRAGON BELOW IS THE SOURCE OF BAD THINGS and don’t actually differentiate between aberrations, fiends, and monstrosities. This is why the Cults of the Dragon Below are called “The Cults of the Dragon Below” even though a cult of Dyrrn the Corruptor really has nothing in common with a cult of Sul Khatesh; as far as the common people are concerned, they are cults that worship big evil things, and big evil things come from Khyber, hence, cult of the Dragon Below.

With this in mind, most common people don’t have a clear understanding of what a “daelkyr” is. Anyone who’s proficient with Arcana or History has a general understanding of the difference between the daelkyr and the overlords without needing to make a skill check. But for the common person, they are both powerful evil things that are bound in Khyber.

Fey and Archfey. Everyone knows that the fey exist. Everyone knows about dryads and sprites, and everyone knows that they’re especially common near manifest zones to Thelanis. Beyond this, everyone know FAIRY TALES about fey and archfey, and knows that there’s some basis to these stories. So people know STORIES about the Lady in Shadow and the Forest Queen, and they know that somewhere in the planes, you might actually be able to meet the Forest Queen. But they don’t actually EXPECT to every meet one. Most people have no way to easily differentiate between an archfey and some other type of powerful immortal. Notably, you could easily have a cult of the Dragon Below that’s bargaining with Sul Khatesh but BELIEVES it is bargaining with an archfey, or a cult of Avassh that thinks it’s blessed by the Forest Queen. If a cult worships “The Still Lord” or “The Queen of Shadows”, they don’t have some kind of special key that tells them whether that power is a fiend, a fey, or a celestial; that distinction is ACADEMIC, and would require a skill check.

Specific knowledge of the fey is more prevalent in regions that are close to Thelanis manifest zones or where people have a tradition of bargaining with the fey; notably, Aundairians know more about fey than most people of the Five Nations.

The Dreaming Dark and the Kalashtar. Everyone knows that when you dream you go to Dal Quor. Everyone accepts the idea that “There are demons that give you bad dreams!” Very few people believe that those fiends are manipulating the world. People have had bad dreams FOREVER. If bad-dream-demons were going to take over the world, why haven’t they already done it? As with the Lords of Dust, people will listen to credible threats that a specific person could be possessed, but few will believe stories of a massive dream conspiracy bent on world domination.

Looking to Sarlona and the Inspired, everyone knows that the Riedrans have a strict culture and they’re ruled by beings who they say are channeling celestial powers. Few people have ever met a Riedran, let alone one of the Inspired. Those who have met kalashtar (which for the most part only happens in major cities) know that the kalashtar have been oppressed and driven from Sarlona, but largely assume this is about political and religious differences, not a war between dream-spirits. It’s relatively common knowledge that people from Sarlona study some form of mind-magic, but most people don’t know the precise details of how psionics are different from arcane or divine magic.

The Aurum. While it’s a stretch to say that everyone’s heard of the Aurum, it’s about as well known as, say, Mensa in our world. It’s generally seen as an exclusive fraternal order of extremely wealthy people. Because it IS exclusive and because many of its members are minor local celebrities, there are certainly lots of conspiracies theories about what it’s REALLY up to… but even if there’s people who SAY that the Aurum wants to overthrow the Twelve or that it engineered the Last War, at the end of the day people know it’s that fancy members-only club on Main Street that always donates generously to the Race of Eight Winds celebrations.

Secondary Religions. Aside from the Silver Flame and the Sovereign Host, most of the other religious are relatively regional. The Blood of Vol is the best known of the secondary religions because of the role it played in Karrnath during the Last War, but outside of Karrnath most people think it’s some sort of Karrnathi death cult. Everyone knows druids exist, and the Wardens of the Wood are relatively well known because of their central role in the Eldeen Reaches, but the other sects are largely unknown outside of the areas where they operate; the Ashbound are likely the second best known sect because of sensationalized reports of their violent actions. The Path of Light is largely unknown aside from people who have direct interaction with kalashtar.

Goblins and the Empire of Dhakaan. Everyone in the Five Nations knows that goblins were on Khorvaire before humanity, and that they had an empire that fell long ago. Most people don’t know the name of this empire or exactly how it fell. People generally recognize Dhakaani ruins as being goblin creations, and know that many of the largest cities of Khorvaire are built on goblin foundations, but there’s certainly a lunatic fringe that asserts that those structures are clearly too sophisticated to be goblin work and must have been built by some forgotten human civilization. However, most people understand that these “forgotten human” stories are ridiculous conspiracy theories, on par with the idea that shapeshifted dragons are secretly manipulating the world.

The History of Xen’drik. People know that Xen’drik was home to a civilization of giants. Most people believe that the giants were destroyed in a war with the dragons. Many people know that the elves were originally from Xen’drik and fled this destruction. Without History proficiency, most people do NOT know the name of any of the giant cultures or that there were more than one, and they definitely don’t know anything about giants fighting quori. The idea that arrogant giants destroyed the thirteenth moon is a common folk tale, but it has many forms and it’s something most people know as a serious fact.

Spies. When people in the Five Nations talk about spies, they’re usually thinking of The Dark Lanterns or the Royal Eyes of Aundair. Both are well known spy agencies known to operate covertly in other nations, similar to the CIA and KGB during the height of our cold war. Most people in the Five Nations have heard of the Trust and understand that it’s some sort of secret police force that maintains order in Zilargo, but don’t know much more than that and they aren’t concerned about Zil spies. House Phiarlan and House Thuranni are known as providers of ENTERTAINMENT and aren’t generally seen as spies. The assertion that Phiarlan runs a ring of spies is like the idea that Elvis worked for the CIA; not IMPOSSIBLE, but not something people see as a particularly credible threat.

Exotic Player Species. Most people know that drow come from Xen’drik. People know that lizardfolk and dragonborn come from Q’barra, but most people in Khorvaire don’t know that these are two different species. Tieflings are generally understood to be planetouched; as discussed in Exploring Eberron, aasimar are generally so rare that they won’t be recognized by the general populace. With that said, overall people are fairly accepting of species they’ve never encountered. In a world where people DO deal with humans, orcs, shifters, goblins, warforged, elves, kalashtar, ogres, medusas, and more every day, people who’ve never seen a goliath before are more likely to say “Huh, never seen that before” than to panic because it’s some sort of alien giant-man; exotic characters will generally be targets of curiosity rather than fear.

Dragonmarks and Aberrant Dragonmarks. The dragonmarks have been part of civilization for over a thousand years. The houses provide the major services that are part of everyday life. Everyone in the Five Nations knows the names of the houses and the common twelve marks. Without proficiency in History, people won’t have heard of the Mark of Death. Common knowledge is that aberrant dragonmarks are dangerous to both the bearer and the people around them, and are often seen as the “touch of Khyber.” Without proficiency in History, they won’t know much about the War of the Mark, aside from the fact that the aberrants were dangerous and destroyed the original city of Sharn.

The Draconic Prophecy. Most people have heard of “The Draconic Prophecy” but know almost nothing about it aside from the fact that it’s, y’know, a prophecy. When such people talk about the Prophecy, what they’re usually talking about is the Caldyn Fragments, a collection of pieces of the Prophecy assembled by Korranberg scholar Ohnal Caldyn (described in City of Stormreach). Most people definitely don’t understand that it’s an evolving matrix of conditional elements or that it’s the key to releasing the overlords.

Aerenal, the Undying Court, and the Tairnadal. Aerenal is an isolationist culture that has little interest in sharing its traditions with others. However, the elves do trade with the Five Nations and there’s been enough immigration over the course of history to provide a general knowledge of their culture. Most people know that Aerenal is ruled by the Undying Court, and that the Undying Court is made up of ancient undead elves. Most people don’t have a clear understanding of the difference between deathless and other undead. In Five Nations, most people have never heard of “Tairnadal” and assume any Tairnadal elf is from Valenar. They know that Valenar elves are deadly warriors who are always looking for fights and who worship their ancestors, but they don’t know any specifics about patron ancestors or the Keepers of the Past.

Q&A

What do most people believe about the connection between shifters and lycanthropes?

Most people believe that there is some sort of distant connection between shifters and lycanthropes. Shifters are often called “weretouched,” and some people mistakenly believe that they get wild when many moons are full. However, few people few people believe that shifters are capable of spreading lycanthropy or are sympathetic to lycanthropes. Those negative stereotypes exist, especially in rural Aundair or places where people have never actually SEEN shifters, but they’re not common.

What do followers of the Silver Flame believe about the Sovereigns? What does the Church teach about them? Is it normal to venerate both, at least among the laity? Do they even believe the Sovereigns exist?

Nothing in the doctrine of the Church of the Silver Flame denies the existence of the Sovereigns. It’s entirely possible to follow both religions simultaneously, and templars are happy to work with paladins of the Host. However, the point is that the Church of the Silver Flame doesn’t CARE if the Sovereigns exist. Their general attitude is that if the Sovereigns exist, they are vast powers that are maintaining the world overall. Arawai makes sure there’s rain for the crops. Onatar watches over foundries. That’s all great, but SOMEONE HAS TO DEAL WITH THE GHOULS IN THE GRAVEYARD. It’s notable that the Church of the Silver Flame, for example, doesn’t have a unique creation myth because at the end of the day it doesn’t MATTER where the world came from, what matters is that the people who live in it are threatened by supernatural evil and we need to work together to protect them.

I’ve said before that the Church of the the Silver Flame is more like the Jedi or the Men in Black than any religion in our world. It is EXTREMELY PRACTICAL. Evil exists, and good people should fight it. The Silver Flame is a real, concrete source of celestial energy that can empower champions to fight evil. Noble souls strengthen the Flame after death, so be virtuous. If you want to believe in some sort of higher beings beyond that, feel free. What’s important is to protect the innocent from supernatural evil, and faith in the Flame will help you to do that. So the Church doesn’t teach anything about the Sovereigns and it doesn’t encourage its followers to believe in them or incorporate them into its services in any way, but it doesn’t specifically deny that they exist or forbid followers from holding both beliefs.

That’s all for now! Feel free to ask about other general information topics in the comments, but I won’t have time to address every topic. Thanks again to my Patreon supporters who make these articles possible!

59 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Common Knowledge

  1. Thanks for this useful article. Just one thing: “you know the names and basic attributes of the Nine and Six”. Regarding the Six, which names are known by the random bystander? The titles or the original names? E.g., The Mockery or Dol Azur?

    • If I recall my original books, the Titles are the primary way of referring to or addressing those gods, and even the fact that the Dark Six had names is obscure knowledge.

      Of course, there might be specific cultures or cults that give them a name, like the sahuagin calling the Devourer “Shargon”. The average Khorvairan wouldn’t make the connection between that name for the Devourer and the ancient name of “Shurkaan”, for example.

      • When I asked this question previously in one of the Dark Six articles the answer was that the titles are widely known, the names are more esoteric.

        So Dol Azur raises confusion from most, with knowledgable people generally either being slightly off-put by the use of an evil god’s name, or being parts of the Three Faces cults and using the names themselves in their own circles

    • I’ve added the following to the main article: “The Dark Six are largely only known by their titles—The Mockery, the Keeper—and their original names are something that would only be known by someone with a tie to a specific cult or with proficiency in History. “

  2. “Well, ACTUALLY ‘demon’ refers specifically to an incarnate entity of chaos and evil, and the rakshasa is a unique class of fiend most commonly found on the material plane.”

    Is there a distinction between demons and devils for Khyberian fiends? Is there any relevance to the “Age of Demons” and the “Demon Wastes” being called exactly that, rather than the “Age of Fiends” and the “Fiend Wastes”?

    • It’s been addressed before that there isn’t much of a distinction between devils and demons outside of Shavarath (where they’re opposing armies) and Daanvi (where you don’t get demons).

      So the name “Demon Wastes” is probably given in error that “demon” is a straight synonym for “fiend” rather than a subclass, like geese can still swim in a “duck pond”.

      • Seems going by the “shapeshifting demons” comment for rakshasa that “demon” is the most widely used term for the fiends. Whether the “scientific” community of wizards categorizes them like that is (as with regular animals) a matter of later reflection and subdivision

    • Is there a distinction between demons and devils for Khyberian fiends? Is there any relevance to the “Age of Demons” and the “Demon Wastes” being called exactly that, rather than the “Age of Fiends” and the “Fiend Wastes”?.

      No. For most people in the world, “demon” and “fiend” are synonyms and it could just as easily be called the Age of Fiends.

  3. Is the word “quori” in common knowledge, even if most people do not actually know the true nature of the quori?

    • Well there’s a plane called Dal Quor which suggests that the phrase quori conjures a connection in people’s minds

      But they likely don’t know enough to identify them or even connect that they’re the il-altas of the Path of Inspiration.

    • People know the name “Dal Quor” and therefore understand that a nightmare spirit would be a “quori” purely in that liguistically, it’s the proper adjective for such a thing. But they don’t have a particular conception of “quori” as a significant class of fiend.

    • Common sense dictates that the average person can name the Houses in their area, and that the marks give the heirs magic, even identify the ones they see most often. And aberrants “exist and are bad and dangerous”, I think.

    • The common knowledge of aberrant going by the texts we have in rising and so on. Makes a rather damning thing.

      It’s a “mark of the witch” so to speak. Those cursed by khyber who destroyed sharn and plagued the land. The myth of tarkanan is common enough that Thora named her group after him.

    • I’ve added a paragraph to the main article on this. But in short, true dragonmarks are very well known and part of common knowledge. Aberrant dragonmarks are largely known only as being dangerous.

    • They’re terrorists who were once a knightly order of Karrnath. I think most everyone would have heard about them from the Korranberg Chronicle.

  4. How common knowledge would the undying court of the aerenal and the grim of farlnen be to the wider world?

    Aswell of archentities like archfey? I take it identifying a archfey wouldn’t be something the common humanoid would be able to do as Sul Khatesh can pose as one. (tho she is of a similar domain as lady in shadow)

    • I think you’d know that the elves worship their ancestors, but not the exact nature of it. I think the Grim wouldn’t be common knowledge outside the Lhazaar Principalities, and the existence of archfey might be Aundairan/Eldeen knowledge more than anywhere else?

    • Farlnen is regional knowledge, like the fact that someone in the Shadow Marches will know about the Gatekeepers. Someone from Wroat likely won’t be able to name any of the specific Lhazaar Principalities. Someone from Karrnath is close enough to Lhazaar that they’ll likely know that Farlnen is the Bloodsail Principality and the the Bloodsails are necromantic elves, but even they won’t have heard of the Grim.

      I’ll address the other points in the article.

      • Thanks Keith! With that I could definitely see a cult following Avassh while believing it’s the Forest Queen.

  5. Given eberron is the world of wide magic. How common would the effect of magical spells be? Like could a common bandit identify the effect of a haste spell and know of it’s side effect when the spell ends? Could a merchant know of various illusions to scam them etc? Would a politician know of charms and enchantments to sway their opinion?

    • Spells of up to 3rd level are part of everyday life and are thus reasonably well known. Everybody knows that friends and charm person exist. Without proficiency in Arcana someone generally won’t be able to identify a specific spell; they won’t know whether you’ve cast charm or friends, but they’ll know “Hey, you just used an enchantment on me!” Everyone knows illusions exist and merchants will be cautious about them. A typical bandit will know that haste exists, but unless they have proficiency with Arcana or have personal experience with it — because THIS bandit worked with a wizard who used to cast it on them all the time — they won’t know about the side effect.

  6. On the flipside of things, how common is knowledge of the other races to the lizardfolk and dragonborn, would they be more surprised to see a dwarf or a gnome or some other common race?

    • It depends where they are from. I’d expect that a typical lizardfolk from Q’barra would know almost nothing about the humanoid races of the Five Nations, and might well have trouble telling the difference between a gnome, a halfling, and a human child.

  7. What’s the common knowledge on advanced schooling? Like what institutions are seen as extremely prestigious, how hard it is to get in ect..

    • Korranberg and Arcanix are the top schools. The Vermishard Academy was up there before it got eaten by the Mourning. The University of Wynarn is OK, and Morgrave is a little better than community college.

      • As long as we’re on that topic, what is the state of education in the Five Nations? Is there public schooling? Obviously there’s a lot of specialized mage-wright training through the guild system, but are there enough post-secondary educations out there that Morgrave is unimpressive?

        • ECS (3.5) page 133
          “Throughout the Five Nations (or at least what’s left of them), formal schooling is considered a right and a necessary part of every child’s training. Rural manors maintain schools for the sons and daughters of the peasants and laborers. Private tutors provide an education for the children of royal and economic nobility. In towns and cities, schools cater to all who wish to attend. In no case is education mandatory; however, most people understand the advantages offered to them by the remnants of the Galifar education system.

          Higher education and study is available at a number of colleges and universities, as well as among the religious institutions. For those who don’t want to become scholars, apprenticeships and on-the-job training replace higher education. The exception to this system involves magewrights and wizards, who must attend one of the magical colleges for at least some of their training”

        • The educational system of the Five Nations is described on page 132 of the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting: “Throughout the Five Nations (or at least what’s left of them), formal schooling is considered a right and a necessary part of every child’s training. Rural manors maintain schools for the sons and daughters of the peasants and laborers. Private tutors provide an education for the children of royal and economic nobility. In towns and cities, schools cater to all who wish to attend. In no case is education mandatory; however, most people understand the advantages offered to them by the remnants of the Galifar education system. Higher education and study is available at a number of colleges and universities, as well as among the religious institutions.”

          The general point is that common people of the Five Nations are assumed to speak Common, to be literate, and to have the common base of knowledge described here. And there’s enough post-secondary education that Morgrave may not be considered “unimpressive”, but it’s definitely not top shelf.

  8. Thank you so much for this article. Gives some of us a lot to go off when it comes to in-game topics!

    I adore the idea that the PCs of any given adventure are probably seen as conspiracy theorists if they talk to common folk about their discoveries.
    “Look out, here comes the Tin-foil-hat crew. Last week they said Kaius III was actually Kaius I in disguise. Wonder what their gonna spout on about next.”

    • “Look out, here comes the Tin-foil-hat crew. Last week they said Kaius III was actually Kaius I in disguise. Wonder what their gonna spout on about next.”

      Come now: every good conspiracy theorist knows that what you really need is a thin sheet of lead embedded in your clothing to keep Tharashk from tracking you. Take THAT, locate object.

  9. Going off this, something I’m always curious about is what do the best-informed NPCs know? How much would a Dark Lantern know about the Trust or Reidra, and what would a professor of archaeology know about the Overlords?

    • There’s two answers to this. The first is that the Player’s Guide to Eberron and the fourth edition Eberron Campaign Guide both include tables for a lot of topics that have difficulty checks ties to certain skills, and you can use these as basic guidelines. The second is “How much do you NEED them to know to tell the story you want to tell?” If you think he knows more than a mortal scholar could reasonably know, maybe he’s actually a disguised agent of the Chamber or the Lords of Dust…

    • For your specific examples, I’d personally expect a Dark Lantern to know much more about the Trust than most people; not only is Zilargo right next to Breland and has been since it was known as Wroat, but in the Kingdom of Galifar Zilargo was nominally a province of Breland. However, they probably wouldn’t know anything about the truth behind Riedra, since relations are fairly new and tightly controlled.

      As for what a professor of archaeology would know about the Overlords, I’d assume they know the Age of Demons wasn’t mythical, but that there are probably more appropriate fields of study for knowing a lot more (aka Arcana).

  10. Are Kalashtar easily recognized by most people in Khorvaire, or are they just seen as human?

    Would Sarlona be a dangerous place for Kalashtar to travel? Would they be easily identified by the Inspired?

    • Are Kalashtar easily recognized by most people in Khorvaire, or are they just seen as human?

      I’m not sure what you’re actually asking here: whether you’re saying “Do most people know what kalashtar are” or “how difficult is it for kalashtar to conceal their kalashtar nature”.

      If a kalashtar doesn’t actively conceal their identity, any onlooker will recognize that they are nonhuman. Their body language is wrong and their eyes glow when they experience strong emotions. Outside of major cities, most people have never MET a kalashtar and won’t know what they are; they might think they’re an aasimar, some sort of sorcerer, etc — but they know that they aren’t human. A kalashtar who chooses to hide their kalashtar nature can adjust their body language and suppress their eye-glow. If they are actively observed this would require a Deception vs Insight check, but they don’t need a disguise kit to pull off the disguise.

      Case in point: In my Threshold campaign there’s a kalashtar orphan. Everyone knows there’s something weird about them; they’ve got those glowing eyes and they’re just WAY TOO CALM all the time. But Threshold is a small town and none of the residents — including the character — have ever seen a kalashtar, so they don’t know that that’s what she is, they just know she’s not NORMAL. She could actively hide that, but it would require a Deception check.

      Would Sarlona be a dangerous place for Kalashtar to travel?

      Sarlona in general? No. Adar is a stronghold of the Kalashtar and the people of the Tashana Tundra and Syrkarn aren’t especially hostile to the kalashtar. Riedra on the other hand is a VERY dangerous place for a kalashtar to travel. People DO know how to recognize kalashtar and any seen will be assumed to be terrorists and immediately reported. They would need to conceal their nature and hope the disguise holds up.

  11. How does public education actually work in Khorvaire? Who receives free education?

    Is it any different in, say, Sharn, particularly the lower wards?

    • Everyone receives basic education, if they can get to a school or a teacher. Sharn would likely have some of the best-educated folks in the country, just because it’s easier to set up a school in a city.

      If you want to know who to exclude, probably start on the basis of citizenship rather than wealth. Like the Droaamites or Marchers might be unable to access schooling in Sharn because they aren’t Brelish citizens. Though personally I’d go with everyone.

  12. What do Purified believe about the Sovereigns? What does the Church teach about them? Is it normal to venerate both, at least among the laity? Do they even believe the Sovereigns exist?

    • What do Purified believe about the Sovereigns? What does the Church teach about them? Is it normal to venerate both, at least among the laity? Do they even believe the Sovereigns exist?

      Nothing in the doctrine of the Church of the Silver Flame denies the existence of the Sovereigns. It’s entirely possible to follow BOTH religions simultaneously, and templars are happy to work with paladins of the Host. However, the point is that the Church of the Silver Flame doesn’t CARE if the Sovereigns exist. Their general attitude is that if the Sovereigns exist, they are vast powers that are maintaining the world overall. Arawai makes sure there’s rain for the crops. Onatar watches over foundries. That’s all great, but SOMEONE HAS TO DEAL WITH THE GHOULS IN THE GRAVEYARD. It’s notable that the Church of the Silver Flame, for example, doesn’t have a unique creation myth because at the end of the day it doesn’t MATTER where the world came from, what matters is that the people who live in it are threatened by supernatural evil and we need to work together to protect them.

      I’ve said before that the Church of the the Silver Flame is more like the Jedi or the Men in Black than any religion in our world. It is EXTREMELY PRACTICAL. Evil exists, and good people should fight it. The Silver Flame is a real, concrete source of celestial energy that can empower champions to fight evil. Noble souls strengthen the Flame after death, so be virtuous. If you want to believe in some sort of higher beings beyond that, feel free. What’s important is to protect the innocent from supernatural evil, and faith in the Flame will help you to do that.

  13. Thank you for this! As someone who has devoured pretty much every Eberron sourcebooks I could get my hands on since RISING came out, I very quickly started to lose sight of what would be common knowledge for my character and what I as a player/DM knew. I’ll be referencing this frequently in the future!

    • What common knowledge do people know about the Mournlands?
      The Mournland used to be Cyre; it’s a magical wasteland transformed by magic; it’s full of monsters and dangerous magic. The map WE have of the Mournland is entirely a metagame construct and not something people have access to. People know the location of the old cities, but don’t know about Mournland landmarks like the Glowing Chasm or the Plateau of Glass.

      And the Lord of Blades?
      He’s a warforged supremacist who’s claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist acts.

  14. “is like the idea that Elvis worked for the CIA; not IMPOSSIBLE”

    I get the point, but the only times Elvis performed outside the US was in Canadian border towns and is a poor example of potential traveling entertainer as spy.

    • “I get the point, but the only times Elvis performed outside the US was in Canadian border towns and is a poor example of potential traveling entertainer as spy.”

      I was making a joke, not trying find an accurate historical example. Elvis is one of the last people I would ever use as an actual example of a Phiarlan performer, for MANY reasons. The point is that Phiarlan and Thuranni’s entertainers are celebrated for their artistic talents and for the common person, the idea that they’re leading secret double lives as spies is difficult to swallow. And, of course, the secondary point is that most of them AREN’T leading secret double lives as spies. The majority of the members of House Phiarlan have no active ties to the Serpentine Table; they may pass along information or access to Serpentine agents, but they don’t know anything about the Table or the missions they might be assisting.

      Also: sometimes, I make jokes.

  15. This has been invaluable to me in preparing my new players for the world they are entering for the first time! Thank you Mr. Baker.

    I was curious with regard to two points; 1) With regard to Aberrant Dragonmarks and House Tarkanan, would it be possible for Halas Tarkanan or his descendants to still alive in the world, biding their time?
    2) Are there Pseudodragons in Eberron? What are they like?

    • Bearing in mind that I’m not Keith, Keith has mentioned elsewhere* that Wyverns are a typical flying mount in Thrane much as Dragonhawks are in Aundair or Hippogriffs are in Breland. With that in mind my expectation would be that Pseudodragons are a close biological relative of Wyverns (notably they share the traits of being smaller, weaker, and less intelligent than true dragons, as well as having a poisonous tail stinger) and would likewise be found in Khorvaire filling the role of a small, clever predatory animal, not unlike wildcats.

      *Elsewhere: http://keith-baker.com/dm-flight/

      • I do think it makes sense to see pseudodragons as relatives of wyverns rather than “true” dragons, given that they don’t have a breath weapon or innate spellcasting abilities but do have a poisonous sting. On the other hand, given that they have human-level intelligence and telepathy I wouldn’t be inclined to make them casual wildlife. However, there could be a middle ground — creating a form of “simple” pseudodragon that has beast-level Intelligence and lacks telepathy as a standard predator, and then to say that “true” pseudodragons are the result of Vadalis, Mordain, or someone else experimenting with them and imbuing them with telepathic ability and intelligence.

  16. This is incredibly useful and bookmark-worthy! It’s especially nice to see a couple of examples of conspiracy theories that *aren’t* true (and also gratifying to see a presentation of common knowledge about quori that’s about in line with my own assumptions). It’d make a great handout to print out if it were available in a form amenable to that.

    My only concern is that reading it as someone who does know spoilers calls to attention a potentially very disturbing implication about the setting: that as the PCs save the world from bigger and bigger actual threats, they become less and less respected and more and more feared and loathed as conspiracy-mongering walking war machines. As someone who has suffered under what could be oversimplified as authority figures being increasingly dismissive of threats that were increasingly dangerous to me even in the face of evidence and treating me as the problem instead, I’d really appreciate some advice on how to counteract this effect beyond just assuming that evidence will suddenly work against stubborn misconceptions. I don’t want to reenact my traumas.

  17. How much is known by common folk of what’s happening in places at the fringe of khorvaire such as shadow marches, droaam, qbarra, mror and the lhazaar principality?

    • There’s no parallel to radio, television, or internet in the Five Nations. Information about distant events is spread through the newspapers, and it’s not like the Korranberg Chronicle relays the events of small mining towns in Hope. So people know that the border nations EXIST and have a broad sense of their inhabitants and cultures—Lhazaar are sailors and pirates, Droaam is full of monsters, the Mror Holds is full of rich dwarves, the Shadow Marches is orcs and humans and is where House Tharashk comes from. To know specific details—like “What is the capitol of Q’barra”—I’d have someone make a skill check, unless their background somehow applies (a character FROM the Shadow Marches will know all mundane details, while a character with the sailor background would be familiar with Lhazaar and a soldier who specifically found on the Breland-Droaam front would know casual details about Droaam).

  18. What do the denizens of Xendrik know? How dumb/stubborn are the giants of today?
    Giants and drow still hate eachother over stuff that happened tens of thousands of years ago.
    My campaign loosely follows the Destiny Arms story thread from Secrets of Xendrik, and my players are hoping to meet as many giants as possible, convince them that their ancient enemies the Quori are back, and that they should aid them in the fight against them.
    Do the giants remember the quori?
    And also, if my players do invite a bunch of frost giants and hill giants onto their airship, what are the chances they’d work together?
    I’m thinking some kind of side effect of the curse laid upon Xendrik will take hold, and theyll all start killing eachother senselessly, or theyll lose their memory and resort to some primal state. I dunno, how reliable are Xendrik giants these days. Is there any hope for them?

    • This is a large question and I’d need a full article to address it properly. But the short form is that the giants of Xen’drik have a host of diverse cultures with wildly different degrees of sophistication. Just look to pages 124-125 of City of Stormreach: You’ve got Rusheme–“These nomads are a loose association of tribes. Rusheme is bound together by common traditions and a desire for peaceful coexistence, but each tribe has its own stories and customs. Most of the Rusheme tribes are hill giants or jungle giants who live simple, primitive lives…” The Rusheme giants don’t care about the drow. On the other hand, you have the Battalion of the Basalt Towers, which specifically clings to Sulat traditions and which has a feud with, specifically, the Sulatar drow. Then there’s the Dominion of Purity. And those are just giant cultures KNOWN IN STORMREACH; because of the Curse of the Traveler, there’s likely dozens of other giant cultures that humans have never encountered.

      And also, if my players do invite a bunch of frost giants and hill giants onto their airship, what are the chances they’d work together?

      Just as in Khorvaire, I think culture is far more important than race. It’s not a question of whether they’re hill giants or fire giants, it’s whether they’re Dominion, Rusheme, or Basalt giants; the Basalt Towers recently fought against Rusheme.

      Do the giants remember the quori?
      Again, it depends on the culture. If the Rusheme giants know about them at all, it would be as an obscure legend. Consider that it was over forty thousand years ago and that the Rusheme giants know very little about the ancient civilizations. It’s possible the Basalt giants would, but I expect they’d be more concerned with the elf rebellion — as shown by their hatred of the drow.

      I’m thinking some kind of side effect of the curse laid upon Xendrik will take hold, and theyll all start killing each other senselessly, or theyll lose their memory and resort to some primal state. I dunno, how reliable are Xendrik giants these days. Is there any hope for them?
      The Durashka Tul — the curse that causes civilizations to implode — only takes effect when a culture reaches a certain size and level of civilization. There’s nothing stopped small, effective cultures from forming (as seen by the Dominion and the Basalt Towers) or some degree of cooperation, but the Durashka Tul is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. The only way to permanently improve the state of Xen’drik would be to somehow undo the Durashka Tul.

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