Dragonmarks: Cities of Riedra

The last few articles have dealt with Riedra in 5E, the provinces of Riedra, and the Inspired. Before we leave the region, I want to address a few questions about the cities of Riedra. In describing the city of Dar Jin, Secrets of Sarlona says that “the people… go about their business silently, speaking only when it is absolutely necessary.”

In light of this, people have asked: What is life like in the cities of Riedra? Is it like being in a city of zombies? Why does Riedra even HAVE cities?

Cities and Villages

Riedra is largely split into two types of communities: small villages that serve a specific function (typically agriculture or mining), which are spread out around a central massive city, known as a bastion. The bastion serves as a military garrison and houses the Inspired who govern the region. Crucially, every bastion has a teleportation circle, typically connected to Durat Tal. So if you’re on official business for the Inspired and need to travel quickly, you’ll travel to the nearest bastion, use the circles to reach the bastion closest to your destination, and then go from there.

What’s the purpose of Riedran cities?

Bastions serve as military strongholds and transportation hubs. They are also the centers of industry. Most villages gather raw materials, while the bastions contain the factories that produce goods. Wait, factories? Riedra has factories? Yes. Reidra doesn’t have the wide magic of Khorvaire, and its factories are more primitive than their Cannith counterparts in Khorvaire; work is done by hand, without the aid of constructs or arcane tools. But you don’t have a lot of individual blacksmiths; instead, the bastion has a massive foundry, with a hundred smiths all working together. Assembly lines are common, with each individual focused on a single task. And while you don’t see the magecraft or arcane tools of Cannith, there are psionic tools at play. Riedran factories employ background telepathic projection. In some cases, this is simply a tool that helps the workers clear their minds and focus on a task. In others, the projection actually guides the hands of the worker, operating as a constant form of magecraft.

The most unusual form of factory are the sentira production facilities. Sentira is a form of solidified ectoplasm formed from intense emotion. Where tools of crysteel and steel can be created by mundane workers, sentira can only be worked by shaper psions, using a powerful psionic form of fabricate. The role of the common worker in a sentira factory isn’t to produce the finished goods, but rather to feel; the Inspired need concentrated emotion to create raw sentira. Different emotions create different forms of sentira, and factories that focus on hatred or sorrow are usually also prisons; the Inspired have no desire to force loyal citizens to feel miserable, but this is a perfect use for dissidents. So if a group of adventurers is looking for a force of possible allies, they should find a sentira factory with an unpleasant aura…

In addition to being centers of industry, military fortresses, and transport hubs, the bastion cities are administrative centers. Chosen and Inspired monitor events in the Bastion sphere, tracking production, transport of supplies, dissident activities, and other critical information. While paper is used to some degree, information is primarily stored in crystal form, a system similar to spellshards. Administrative centers have large crystal repositories that are managed by psychic figments created by the Inspired—simple personalities (not unlike the 3.5 psicrystals or the spirits associated with the UA archivist artificer) that assist and manage data access, as well as performing other minor administrative functions. Each center has a figment capable of moving between Dal Quor and Riedra, and all records are also stored in a central repository in Dal Quor; if an Inspired in Dar Jin needs to know about troop requisitions in Dar Ulatesh, the figment clerk can quickly retrieve that information from Dal Quor.

Life in a Riedran City

Dar Jin is larger than any city in Khorvaire. It is composed of five spherical wards, each a metropolis in its own right. Four of the wards are almost identical. The streets are paved with smooth black cobblestones, interspersed with squares of clear crysteel. When darkness falls, the crysteel blocks glow with a soft light. Workhouses, dormitories, and storehouses are made of blocks of black and white stone; crysteel panels serve as skylights during the day and glowing lanterns at night. Most buildings are curved or whorled; hard angles are few and far between. The city is beautiful in its way, but is extremely repetitive; every dormitory looks exactly the same. 

Secrets of Sarlona, Page 72

As mentioned in the previous article, casual psionic projection is used to identify streets and buildings. At a glance, it seems like it could be impossible to find your way. But if you stop to think about it, you’ll realize that you know where you are. It’s an alien memory nestled in your subconscious, but one you’re aware of it this casual projection makes it easy to find your way around. Likewise, the dormitories look exactly the same, but you know which one is Jhora Hall and which is Ula Hall.

Secrets of Sarlona calls out the fact that Riedrans go about their business silently, speaking only when necessary. This doesn’t mean they act like zombies! Riedrans are focused on their tasks. They know exactly what they need to do, and they are determined to do the best job they can; they don’t have time for small talk. But this doesn’t mean that they’re emotionless robots. Riedrans may smile or nod to each other in passing. If someone drops what they are carrying, the people around them will likely stop to help pick it up. They may not SAY anything, because nothing needs to be said; it is understood that we are all working together, we are here to help you. The key point is that the silence of Riedra isn’t OPPRESSIVE; it occurs because most of the time, nothing needs to be said. Most Riedrans are comfortable with their lives. They feel that they share a common cause with the people around them. So they aren’t shuffling, emotionless zombies; most are content, determined to work as hard as they can and to earn their advancement on the Path of Inspiration.

A key part of this is that for a Riedran citizen, daily life is very predictable. You work with the same people in the same building following the same general schedule. You all dream the same dreams; you all receive the same messages from the Voice. Again, this doesn’t make Riedrans zombies, it just means that they have safe, reliable patterns. This is a critical reason that adventurers make most Riedrans uncomfortable: they are disrupting that pattern. Riedrans know what to expect from one another. They have no idea what to expect from a warforged, an elf, and a dragonmarked human—all the worse if these three appear to be armed and prepared for violence!

So what is life like in a Bastion city? As called out in Secrets of Sarlona, there are many people but little conversation. People aren’t standing around, they aren’t shopping or killing time. They act with a sense of purpose. They know where they are going, they know what they have to do, and they are always moving toward that goal. They rarely speak, but that doesn’t mean they won’t acknowledge one another; and again, if someone stumbles or if there’s an accident, the closest people will provide assistance. When adventurers enter the picture, they will find that people keep their distance. Civilians will typically avoid eye contact; soldiers will watch adventurers closely, clearly concerned that these outsders may be up to something dangerous. If forced to interact, most Riedrans will be polite to adventurers but seek to end the conversation as quickly as possible; they have somewhere they need to be.

A secondary point is that Riedran cities aren’t designed for tourists or consumers. There are no shops or restaurants; Riedrans eat in their dormitories or garrisons. There are no theatres, no gambling. There are gardens of reflection and memorials that share memories of tragic events or grand triumphs. There are statues of the Inspired that radiate awe, plazas where priests of the Path of Inspiration inspire the crowds, spaces where soldiers drill or people engage in group exercise. But there’s no luxuries, nothing that’s designed for pure leisure; everything serves a purpose.

But what about the Jhodra?

So, life in a Riedran city is stable and predictable. The people are quietly devoted to their work. They largely ignore outsiders, and adventurers are seen as a curiosity at best and as threats at worst. Which is why Dar Jin and Dar Ulatesh—the two major ports where foreigners are welcome—have foreign quarters that cater to the needs of outsiders. The Jhodra is the foreign quarter of Dar Jin. It has dragonmarked enclaves and embassies of a number of nations of Khorvaire. There are theatres, shops, and taverns; however, most of these are actually run by the dragonmarked houses. So the good news is that after your long journey across the sea to the mysterious empire of the Inspired, you can still get a bowl of tribex stew at the Gold Dragon Inn (Disclaimer: The tribex stew served at the Jhodra Gold Dragon Inn is not actual tribex, but rather a pomow-based meat substitute being tested by House Ghallanda).

Most Riedrans are forbidden from entering the Jhodra. Those who work in the foreign quarter are trained and prepared to deal with foreigners, and thus don’t display the discomfort seen elsewhere. There are many guides, always watching for travelers who seem lost or confused, always ready to provide assistance; there are even some who are only guides, as opposed to agents of the Thousand Eyes!

So in imagining a scene in the Jhodra, keep that cosmopolitan population in mind. Walking through the Jhodra, you’ll have that odd sensation of knowing where you are—of remembering the name of the street even though you’ve never read it. Most Riedrans are going about their business: sailors headed for the docks, envoys headed to an embassy, all moving quietly and with purpose. Dragonmarked heirs share jokes with embassy staffers. An expat grabs you—Did you just get off the Sharn boat? You don’t have any of Mazo’s shaat’aar, do you?—and perhaps they have a story to share, or a risky opportunity for a few capable people. You see a statue of the Inspired, and you can’t help but be impressed… but is that your actual feeling, or just a projection of the statue? And perhaps… though it’s unlikely… one of those silent, hardworking Riedran gives you a look or makes an odd gesture. What are they trying to convey? Do they want to find a way to speak to you alone? Is there something going on? Or is it an agent of the Thousand Eyes, testing you to see if you are searching for dissidents?

Crime is almost unheard of in Riedran communities—in part because most people have little to steal. There are criminals in the Jhodra, but they’re mostly from Khorvaire and focus their attentions on fellow travelers. However, the Jhodra is well defended, both by soldiers of the Harmonious Shield and the imposing oni of the Horned Guard. The Jhodra also has an unusual number of Inspired, who help monitor the area and support the soldiers if needed. In most places, the priest in a garden of reflection will be an unoccupied Chosen or even a mundane human. In the Jhodra, it will be a hashalaq Inspired with significant powers of coercion and empathy.

Secrets of Sarlona discusses Dar Jin and the Jhodra in more detail, including the mercantile center, the tower of the Thousand Eyes, and the exotic Song of Skin—a talhouse catering to changelings.

How do you LEAVE the Jhodra?

Previous articles have discussed secret ways to enter Riedra: traveling through Khyber, passing through another plane, working with the Dream Merchants or other smugglers. But if you truly have a good reason to explore another part of Dar Jin or to travel across Riedra, all you have to do is ask. Secrets of Sarlona says the following…

In order to explore Riedra, a traveler must acquire a transit visa from the Iron Gate, the foreign relations office, in Dar Jin or Dar Ulatesh. This scroll provides a description of the travelers, states the nature of their business, and delineates any restrictions on travel. A bearer might be limited to traveling in specific provinces or spheres, and the visa usually has a set expiration date…
The Iron Gate does not charge for transit visas, but it rarely grants them. Riedra isn’t for tourists. Travelers must provide a valid reason for entry and show that they have no criminal tendencies or intent, as well as enough knowledge to avoid accidentally breaking Riedran laws. A successful DC 30 Diplomacy check is sufficient to get an entry request considered, but even then the reason must stand on its own. Finally, mind probe (EPH 119) is often brought into play to ensure that the travelers have no hidden motives. If the request is especially intriguing or risky, the Iron Gate might allow travel but send a member of the Thousand Eyes along as a chaperone and observer. Unless the party is deemed a serious risk, this observer is a Chosen; the controlling spirit only takes possession of the vessel every few hours to check on the situation. 

Secrets of Sarlona, pages 45-46

General Q&A

Do the planes play into the sentira factories? I imagine it’s hard to have a prison-factory of despair in Khalesh.

Absolutely! Most sentira factories only focus on a single emotion. Part of the point of having a mass teleportation network is that factories can specialize like this, because it’s easy enough to transport such specialized goods across the Unity. So certainly, you don’t put your despair factory near a wild zone to Irian.

Sentira is a MASSIVELY cool material. Would you see it made and used in Adar, too? Or is it something that you need psions on the level of the Inspired to create, and thus it’s harder to make useful quantities in Adar?

Secrets of Sarlona calls out that Adaran kalashtar also work with sentira, but they don’t have the facilities or resources to produce it in the same quantities as the Inspired. So you can fine sentira items in Adar — notably, the horned headdresses kalashtar are often shown wearing are supposed to be sculpted from sentira — but you don’t see buildings made of it.

Is loving/adoration sentira a genuine reflection of emotion or artificially sustained?

That’s a good question. With any sort of sentira factory, can the emotion be artificially induced? Can you create love with a charm effect, or generate fear with psychic power? The simple answer is yes, but I think it’s more INTERESTING if the answer is NO: if the emotion has to be sustained and natural. This makes a factory that deals in fear more horrifying, because they can’t simply cast fear; they have to truly make you terrified for an extended period of time. And this would also lean toward certain emotions being much harder to produce. It could be that Love sentira is quite rare in Riedra—but that it can be found in Adar, whereas Adarans are almost never found using fear or hate sentira.

Could you elaborate on Riedran families? Riedrans seem to live in various communal housings by what you say. If people are silent much of the time, when do they converse and get to know each other?

This is covered in Secrets of Sarlona. Here’s two relevant passages; SoS elaborates on both of these topics, as well as describing a day in the life of a Riedran villager.

Time away from work is usually spent with other members of the community. Riedrans dine together in central halls, participate in group athletic exercises, and gather in the evenings for storytelling and religious instruction. They are allowed a brief amount of unstructured time each day, ostensibly for meditation on the day’s events; however, many prefer to remain among friends even during this private time. Privacy is not something the Riedrans treasure—solitude can be a painful and disturbing experience for a Riedran.
Young Riedrans are raised communally. They are often transported to new villages as soon as they are old enough to travel, to prevent birth parents from forming an unhealthy bond with the child. Youths live in segregated dormitories, tended by dedicated caregivers (part of the Guiding Path). As they grow, children serve as apprentices to other members of the community, allowing the caregivers and priest to determine their aptitudes. A youth is usually set on his path in his thirteenth year and moves into an adult dormitory at this time. 

Riedrans are largely silent while they are focused on their work, unless that work requires conversation. But they talk with one another when they don’t have other tasks that demand their attention. As noted above, they enjoy the company of others; but often being around friends is sufficient, even if there’s nothing you need to talk about.

Can you talk about subversive activities in a city of Riedra? I am not asking about big things like spies or revolutionaries, but small things as places to do things not encouraged by Inspired (maybe play a game, buy a book, etc…). On what level do you think that this happens, is there is races with more probability of do this kind of thing, graduation of the punishment, etc…

First of all, consider that most Riedrans don’t have any frame of reference to understand these concepts. The majority of Riedrans are illiterate and most villagers have never seen a book. They have assigned activities; why would they “play a game?” Part of the challenge of driving revolution in Riedra is that the people don’t see why they’d WANT all the freedoms the people of Khorvaire take for granted.

Hard as these things are in general, they are exceptionally difficult to perform in a Riedran city. There ARE no private spaces. Almost all activities are group activities. There are people everywhere, and it’s generally believed that the Thousand Eyes are always watching.

Does this mean these things are impossible or never occur? Of course not. Secrets of Sarlona presents many groups that tie into these things. The Broken Throne is a faction that seeks to recover the knowledge of pre-Sundering Sarlona; they specifically teach members to read, and might treasure ancient games. The Dream Merchants are a network of smugglers, and they will happily sell books to members of the Broken Throne… though, of course, Riedrans have no money, so they’ll have to find something of value they can trade. But it’s still exceptionally difficult to find a safe space in a Riedran city. Perhaps, if the city is built on an old foundation, there’s an ancient chamber hidden below (… but can you be sure the Thousand Eyes don’t know about it? That they haven’t left it intact specifically to lure such dissidents?). Perhaps there’s a part of a factory that was abandoned after an accident. There’s nothing RELIABLE or safe; every cell has to find its own sanctuaries. A more unusual resistance movement is that of the Unchained, a group that practices free dreaming and communicates using the dreamspace. But again, if you want more information about any of these organizations or Sarlona in general, refer to Secrets of Sarlona.

Now it’s time to leave Riedra! My Patreon supporters have chosen the Nobility of Khorvaire as my next major topic; as with Riedra, I will likely post some Patreon-exclusive content as part of this. Thanks to those supporters for keeping this site going!

60 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Cities of Riedra

    • A kalashtar walking around would immediately draw attention, yes. But that just means that they should use a disguise kit or use another method to conceal their kalashtar nature; under 3.5 rules, kalashtar received a +2 bonus to disguise themselves as human, reflecting that it’s fairly easy for them to do so. But there’s no system in place that will immediately detect disguised kalashtar; it’s not supposed to be impossible for a kalashtar character to have an adventure in Riedra, it’s just dangerous!

  1. Could you elaborate on Riedran families? Riedrans seem to live in various communal housings by what you say. If people are silent much of the time, when do they converse and get to know each other?

        • Is love a factor to Riedran life, or is there a point where couples are paired together or given the opportunity to explore the relationship?

          Is loving/adoration sentira a genuine reflection of emotion or artificially sustained?

          • From Secrets of Sarlona:
            At eighteen, a Riedran is “paired” with another. This is the Riedran equivalent of marriage, and the pair occupies the same dormitory. Those in control of this process, the pathfinders, prefer for people to be pleased with their bonding, and thus they accept mutual requests. Still, pairing is done for the sake of producing children, and if two people are genetically incompatible, their pairing isn’t allowed.
            Consider that as a Riedran, you should love ALL your fellow Riedrans, and the Inspired above all.
            As for sentira, it’s a valid question as to whether the emotion can be artificially generated — IE can I use a charm effect to make you feel love — or whether it has to be felt sincerely. I think it’s more INTERESTING from a story perspective if it has to be sincere, and this would also leave the concept that love sentira is one you almost never find in Riedra, but that can be found in Adar.

          • FYI, I’ve just added a slightly expanded version of the question about love sentira to the Q&A section.

  2. Do the planes play into the factories? I imagine it’s hard to have a prison-factory of despair in Khalesh.

  3. This might have to be a separate iFAQ (or even full article!), but I don’t feel I have a strong understanding of Khorvaire’s factories. The source books focus on magewrights, who come across as individual crafters rather than workers on an assembly line. Furthermore, despite the emphasis on everyday magic Khorvaire’s social and economic systems sometimes come across as downright feudal.

    • This might have to be a separate iFAQ (or even full article!), but I don’t feel I have a strong understanding of Khorvaire’s factories.

      Yes, that’s definitely a topic for an IFAQ… or full article.

    • And most of what we DO know comes from warforged staffed sweatshops in the cogs, which may not represent a normal factory.

  4. Sentira is a MASSIVELY cool material. Would you see it made and used in Adar, too? Or is it something that you need psions on the level of the Inspired to create, and thus it’s harder to make useful quantities in Adar?

  5. Did the Inspired use existing urban centers when building their cities or shun those for their obvious ties to old kingdoms? Kind of changes the dynamic for Broken Throne members if exploring old ruins is something you can do under your city at night versus having to trek into the wilds and dodge the Edgewalkers to do

    Or does it vary by province? Nulakesh and Corvaruga go new structures (as the old were tied to strong planar stuff) but Pyrine might use existing cities?

    • It absolutely varies by province. If you review the province article, a lot of them specifically call this out. For example, Khalesh states “The Inspired largely depopulated the region and leveled its cities—fortified citadels built in manifest zones tied to Irian and Shavarath” and that “The modern people of Khalesh shun the ancient ruins and know that the ancient people were corrupted by the vile spirits in the region”. By contrast, Dar Vuleer in Dor Maleer is built in a Lamannian manifest zone that was almost certainly a major city before the Sundering.

      The main issue is whether the city is affected by planar energies that inspire behavior or abilities that would threaten the Inspired. If the planar influence is purely useful, then the existing cities were used as foundation, as with Dar Vuleer. If they were a threat, they were destroyed and abandoned, as with Khalesh and Borunan.

  6. If you might find powerful Inspired in the Jhodra for things like religious speeches, might they really use those powers on the foreigners too? Because I can imagine quite the sudden political situation if someone happens to have detect magic up and realizes enchantment magic is being cast on the crowd…

    • They wouldn’t detect enchantment. If they detected anything (Psicraft is a crossclass-skill for most casters, is trained only, and required to determine discipline) it would be Telepathy, which is easily explained as the audio enhancement ect..

      From XPH on psionics/magic transparency:
      “The spell detect magic detects powers, their number, and their strength and location within 3 rounds (though a Psicraft check is necessary to identify the discipline of the psionic aura).”

      • Right, in 3.5, all that is an excellent shield for the Inspired–most Khorvairans wouldn’t be able to check for psionic manipulation even if they thought of it.
        But in 5e, magic and psionics have a much blurrier line. For example, a lot of a hashalaq quori’s abilities (and that of the Inspired they possess) are spells like dominate person or suggestion. Thus, technically detect magic CAN detect it.
        Of course, it’s entirely possible that it could be explained as something far less concrete than an actual spell, and more a general “blanket of calm” or something like that, or at least that’s how it’s explained when someone brings it up. I’m just curious whether measures against things like detect magic (which to be fair, is relatively unlikely to be casually active unless you’re a Medani heir hired to protect a noble attending a speech or something like that) are considered necessary, and if so, what they might be.

        • I mean, even if detect magic tells you there are enchantment effects, it doesn’t tell you what they are actually doing. Bless and heroism are enchantment effects too. In 5e someone might make an arcana check, but I’d probably give them disadvantage or a higher DC unless they were specifically familiar with psionic magics.

          • This is basically the issue. The most hostile effect I’d see a Riedran priest using on their own audience would be something similar to enthrall, and even then it would BE used almost as a variation of bless–an empathic enhancer to amplify emotional reaction, not actually some sort of sly mental domination.

    • If you might find powerful Inspired in the Jhodra for things like religious speeches, might they really use those powers on the foreigners too?

      It’s not impossible. But bear in mind that the Inspired don’t use hostile powers in their services. They don’t NEED to use powers like dominate on their loyal subjects. So the most likely power would be something like enthrall, not used with hostile intent but simply amplifying the speaker’s natural charisma. And yes, if they were using those powers, they’d be a blanket effect that would effect anyone in the area.

      So first of all, if this is an issue, it would surely have come up long before now. The Inspired would assert that this is part of their religious practices and that if the foreigners don’t appreciate it, they should avoid those services.

      Essentially. do ambassadors make use of every possible safegaurd to detect mental manipulation? I imagine so; I think Medani does good business here. And I expect that they do the same in Khorvaire; after all, none of the Five Nations have ever been AT WAR with Riedra, while Breland and Aundair were at each other’s throats not so long ago. So as a Brelish ambassador I’d be more worried about Aundairian spies than about the Inspired.

      Ultimately, this comes down to the key point. What’s the story you want to tell? Do you WANT to have an incident because a foolish ambassador stumbled into a religious ceremony? Then go for it. But in that example, I think it would be hard to prove that the priest had hostile intent or that permanent damage was done.

  7. Hey, Keith!

    Can you talk about subversive activities in a city of Riedra? I am not asking about big things as spies or revolutionaries, but small things as places to do things not encouraged by Inspired (maybe play a game, buy a book, etc…). On what level do you thing that this happens, if there is races with more probability of do this kind of thing, graduation of the punishment, etc…

  8. Are the limitations of Riedran crystals ever detailed? They seem very versatile and useful, but there are difficulties in actually using them as a GM without making them sound like a substance that just magically solves everything.

    In particular, Sarlona is called out to be short on Eberron dragonshards. Assuming spellshards (as in RFTLW) are created from Eberron shards, this seems like a problem that’s largely entirely solved by Riedran crystals, which seems to diminish the interesting problem of Sarlona being short on Eberron shards.

    • No, this is a subject that has never been addressed. But the important thing to keep in mind is that IT’S COMPLICATED. Calling it “crystal” is a vast oversimplification (not on your part, on the part of the sourcebooks). I’ve already said that sentira comes in dramatically different forms based on the emotion used and the intensity of that emotion; but we don’t currently have a set of examples of different forms of sentira and their uses. It’s entirely possible that Riedra “psicrystals” are actually a form of sentira. Likewise, I expect that there’s varying forms of crysteel, and of other crystals.

      With that said, one thing that’s already been called out in both Secrets of Sarlona and Secrets of Xen’drik is that there’s an important component of crysteel that the Inspired are actively mining on Xen’drik; I’d assume that this substance exists in Riedra but that local supplies are dwindling. It’s possible it also exists on Khorvaire — it’s just that it’s unclaimed in Xen’drik.

      The short form is that we know very little about Riedran “crystal technology”, which means that we don’t KNOW about its limitations—not that there are none.

  9. Speaking of Riedra’s factories, are they polluters? Figured I’d ask since it’s a cliche for industrialized evil entities to polute almost for the sake of it.

    “all the worse if these three appear to be armed and prepared for violence!”

    Is open carrying of arms illegal, or merely frowned upon?

    • Speaking of Riedra’s factories, are they polluters?

      Most Riedran factories are just using mundane tools and techniques, so they’ll generate exactly as much pollution as you’d expect a hundred blacksmiths working with forges and furnaces to produce. Now, sentira production facilities could eb another story, but if I was going to explore that possibility, I’d consider PSYCHIC pollution as opposed to physical damage.

      With that said: consider that the goal of the Inspired is to keep a stable mortal population — and they are immortals. A twist would be if the Inspired actually take environmental damage far more seriously that the Five Nations, because they ARE looking to build a civilization that can last for thousands of years.

    • Is open carrying of arms illegal, or merely frowned upon?

      Reidrans don’t carry weapons unless their job requires it. By Secrets of Sarlona, travelers aren’t required to surrender their weapons, but VIOLENCE is illegal and will be punished.

  10. Why are records stored in the physical realm and not, say, the dreams of the Chosen or the stable regions of Dal Quor? Do the Quori simply not want to be clerks?

    • I don’t think the quori want to be clerks. But here’s how I actually think it works — and I may adjust the main text to account for this.

      Figments are the least spirits of Dal Quor. They are the spirits that animate the NPCs in your dreams. As such, while it isn’t a trivial thing, I imagine that the quori can create a system that allows a clerk-figment to move between its crystal station in Riedra and the data repository in Dal Quor. So data is recorded in Riedra, and then the local figments take it to Dal Quor and store it there as well. So, if the Eidolon of Dar Jin wants to know about something that happened in the Jhodra she consults the local records. If she wants to know about something that happened in Dar Ulatesh, she asks a figment, who retrieves the data from Dal Quor.

      So this is another High-Psi thing; the quori do, essentially, have a central server for records with AIs to retrieve data.

      • This is certainly helpful, but I guess maybe my question was unclear. What I’m asking is basically, “Why is the info on the material plane at all?” The PC have broken into what is in effect the memory storage file for the city and for its subordinate sectors of the Unity. Why is the vault on this side of the material-Dal Quor divide?

        • My take: The Chosen aren’t always possessed by the Quori and run the day to day of the Unity. They can’t access an information bank on Dal Quor, so it would stand to reason that though the Quori can simply pop in at any time and time on Dal Quor runs significantly slower, record keeping would be best handled “offline” as far as the giant cloud server of Dal Quor is concerned

        • Why wouldn’t it be? Only a tiny fraction of the people conducting administrative tasks are Inspired. Most are quori; lesser clerks will simply be mundane humans. Data can be passed to Dal Quor, but it would be recorded in the local bastion and there’s no reason not to have a copy of relevant data on hand. Setting aside having it accessible to local mortals, it’s also forward thinking just in case something happens that cuts the connection between the bastion and Dal Quor.

          The main point is that a Riedran clerk is going to record the data in the bastion. While it may be transferred to Dal Quor and while Inspired in other cities may access it via Dal Quor, why destroy that original record as opposed to storing it in the bastion?

      • So are the figments non-quori? I’ve been wondering what the non-quori inhabitants of Dal Quor are like. Is this something covered in ExE’s section on Dal Quor?

          • Awesome! I figured it probably was. Thinking about all the other planes they all seem to have a vast array of inhabitants, and then Dal Quor has quori (Xoriat felt a little bit like that, but clearly it might have some of the Daelkyr’s toys, and I think you’ve clarified in quite a few places now how they are just one of the inhabitants that took interest in Eberron). It’s good to know this is being elaborated on (and this is reminding of my questions regarding quori possession across planes, since I think by RAW in 5e, the quori needs to be on the same plane to possess someone by their statblocks, though I guess doing so from a dream makes sense since a dreamer’s spirit is supposed to kind of on the edges of Dal Quor from what I understand.)

            Thanks again! Can’t wait for the book to be available!

          • this is reminding of my questions regarding quori possession across planes, since I think by RAW in 5e, the quori needs to be on the same plane to possess someone by their statblocks…

            The general idea is that a quori can’t walk up to you in the physical world and possess you. When you dream, your spirit goes to Dal Quor. It’s IN DAL QUOR that the quori has to convince you to accept possession. Which is in turn why the quori can’t possess creatures that can’t dream. Chosen are the exception to this; an Inspired always has a spiritual connection to Chosen of its bound bloodline and can possess them anywhere, any time, regardless of whether they are awake or asleep.

          • Right, but the 5e stats allow them to possess unwilling people. I assumed this was supposed to be through direct interaction on the same plane, or the quori attempting to take over someone through a projection to the ethereal plane. It says “within 5 feet of it” so that generally means the same plane, though I could understand an exception for something with the ethereal plane. But perhaps Im having a misunderstanding of this and they aren’t supposed to possess anyone except the Chosen when not in the same plane as the target (I seem to want to recall some mechanism doing it via the ethereal plane from some 3.5e material, but I’ll admit I’m rather fuzzy on that).

  11. Do you see the quori as less inventive than the rogue quori who bonded with the kalashtar?

    One theme I’ve noticed in the quori serving the Dreaming Dark and Riedran society as a whole is their ideas seem a bit derivative—the humans who invited the rogue quori to become the first kalashtar were the ones who inspired their dark reflection in the Chosen, the Akiak were the ones they used to build the hanbalani altases, and halting scrying into Riedra seem derived from the effect from the Shroud over Adar. The quori’s method of interacting with mortals certainly seems like it wouldn’t leave much room for allowing ingenuity without planting their own ideas in someone else’s head, I assume to avoid disruption of the status quo they’ve worked so hard to build.

    • Looking to the Quori and the Akiak, a crucial thing to consider is that the Inspired at the time had little experience with the material plane. They possessed raw psionic power, but they’d never HAD to make physical tools that could affect a physical world; in Dal Quor, they can simply THINK of a thing and make it appear. As psionic artificers, the knowledge and expertise of the Akiak was a crucial foundation for the Inspired struggling to adapt to the limitations of the material plane.

      A second point to consider… Mortals DREAM. Quori live in dreams. To effectively manipulate someone through dreams, quori need to be able to draw on that person’s memories, aspirations, fears—essentially, to steal their ideas. So it’s hardly surprising that they are more driven to scavenge ideas that to create their own. In general, immortals aren’t that innovative; consider the war in Shavarath, which has been fought since the dawn of time.

      So yes: I think quori are not exceptionally innovative by nature and they have to take advantage of mortal ideas and innovation — yet at the same time, they are also working to limit innovation in Sarlona. It’s a tough line to walk.

      • Thanks Keith, you’re making me realize how quori might not enjoy being on the Material Plane even when possessing a vessel as compared to the familiarity of their dominion in Dal Quor. Now how to figure out using that in my game is another matter!

        • You’re making me realize how quori might not enjoy being on the Material Plane…

          Sure! Especially those Inspired who are in administrative positions. Most Tsucora quori would prefer to be weaving nightmares in the Sea of Dreams than reviewing the progress of Dar Jin’s pomow shipments. At least time moves quickly in Dal Quor – so the Tsucora can take an hour off work and have ten hours to kill dreamers in Dal Quor.

  12. On the subject of the Dream Merchants: what *do* they consider valuable enough to trade for illicit commodities such as books, drugs, magical items etc?

    If Riedra is largely cashless are they mainly operating on a favour economy?

    • Dream Merchants have to be flexible. When dealing with foreigners they may use currency. When dealing with Riedrans, they have to deal in trade. That could be a favor, it could be information (if the individual has stumbled onto a valuable secret); it could be supplies the Riedran has stolen from their place of work, or something they’ve found in a ruin. Dealing with a Dream Merchant isn’t a common experience for the typical Riedran, so it’s not like it’s a constant stream of commerce; when it happens, the Dream Merchant will quickly establish what the customer has to offer.

  13. I have a question (or two) about clothing in Riedra. From your description, I would guess that the average citizen wears purely functional clothing, suitable to their profession and the climate. (Aside: Are Riedran cities climate controlled, or is hat considered a waste of effort?) The Inspired, on the other hand, are described as preternaturally beautiful do they wear equally lovely fashion or… Is it possible that, given the assigned pairings and devotion to duty, that Riedra has no nudity taboo, and that therefore those who do not need clothing for their jobs or for the weather, go about naked? That would be a potential statler for visitors from Khorvaire!
    Comment: After your description of the cities, I now not only imagine the Voice of Ridra as sounding like the cheerful public address system from the Vilage, I also imagine that everybody’s favorite song (if Riedrans have music) is “Everything Is Awesome!”

    • This is addressed in Secrets of Sarloina, pages 51-52. As you suggest, the average citizen wears simple, functional clothing appropriate to their work and environment (climate control exists but only in the palaces of the Inspired). Color of clothing indicates role, and black, brown, and white are all available for commoners. One thing that’s called out: “Riedran commoners do not wear jewelry or use cosmetics; people are encouraged not to stand out from the crowd. Commoners often wear veils and head cloths, both to provide protection from the sun during long days in the fields and to deemphasize the importance of personal appearance.” So on the one hand, I could see Riedra having little concern about nudity; on the other, I could see the encouragment of clothing not because of PROPRIETY, but to deemphasize individuality.

      SoS further adds: “The Chosen and the Inspired are expected to dress in a manner that honors their elevation from the masses; they wear elaborate gowns and robes covered with colorful altsen patterns traced in shining thread. The Inspired often wear sentira accessories, especially armor and headdresses. These curved coverings and horned crowns of glass often add to the strange, alien beauty of the Inspired.”

  14. Why do Quori admit any foreign intruder in their cities? They don’t really need Riedra to be richer through trading. Why should they risk? Beside of the 30 diplomacy check, what are good reasons for being allowed travelling in Sarlona?

    Beside that: why quori have no agreement with Lords of Dust? In real life it would be an almost obvious pact: “let us have some cultists and do what we need to free our lord,or we will tell everybody what’s going on in Riedra”. Lords of dust have a very strong motivation for blackmailing the Quori

    • On the last one you’re assuming that the Lords of Dust KNOW what’s going on in Riedra. They have agents infiltrating everywhere no doubt but so does the Dreaming Dark. The easy answer is mutually assured destruction on that front. Also keep in mind that one of the only threats the Inspired are really taking seriously in Syrkarn is Syrkarn itself, the overlord trapped within that was released during the Sundering in a similar fashion to Thrane. Releasing an overlord ANYWHERE likely hurts the Dreaming Dark’s longterm goals of all people dreaming the dream, of the wheel stopping.

      As for the first question, it’s important to separate the Dreaming Dark, the Inspired and the ordinary bureaucracy of Riedra. The Iron Gate issues visas on a Doyleist level because otherwise the PCs would ask why they can’t apply for one. There’s the explanation, difficult and involved constant oversight. On an in-game level it’s likely to avoid conflict and potentially find useful mind seeds. There is a benefit to trade as well, as Xen’drik and Q’Barra both are theaters where the Inspired are making attempts at expansion, this time to directly benefit the Dreaming Dark’s goals

      • Matthew is correct on all counts. In a sense, the ultimate goal of the Dreaming Dark is universal peace — under their ultimate rule. The release of any overlord would be terrible for this. And as Matthew suggests, I see no reason to think the Lords of Dust KNOW what the Dreaming Dark are up to. Consider that Sarlona is a mysterious blank spot in the Draconic Prophecy. The Edgewalkers are more ruthless and efficient than even the Church of the Silver Flame. And the quori do all their planning IN DAL QUOR, so no rakshasa is able to infiltrate their secret councils. It’s not like the Lords of Dust have some perfect method for spotting every mind seed or identifying everyone who’s possessed by a spirit. Even if they do find a mind seed, they don’t have a foolproof way to connect that one spy to all the rest of the Quori schemes.

        But this comes to another point: when I run an Eberron campaign, I DON’T use all of the major forces at once. I don’t personally run a campaign that involves the Dreaming Dark AND the Lords of Dust AND the daelkyr AND the Emerald Claw. All of these things are out there in the world, but there’s no reason that ALL of their plans have to be coming to fruition RIGHT NOW. So I will pick one to be THE driving force of the campaign and another to be a secondary major threat, and relegate the others to a minor role. If I decide that my main villain is the Dreaming Dark and my secondary is the Lords of Dust, I might indeed play up conflict between the two, and have Lords of Dust potentially helping to expose quori plots (for their own nefarious purposes). But I might also just say “The Lords of Dust aren’t going to be playing a role in this campaign; the stars won’t be right for another century, and they don’t CARE what the quori are up to.”

        And as for the question of travel, Matthew is again entirely correct. The Inspired allow travel because they have nothing to hide. If they refused to allow any foreigners entry under any circumstances, they would inspire suspicion and fear; what are they hiding? As is, what are a few travelers going to find that would cause them trouble? They don’t want foreigners DISRUPTING their perfect system, but part of the point of Riedra is that the Riedrans are, overall, HAPPY. They have food and shelter. It’s not like the first adventurer to go beyond Dar Jin will suddenly find that the continent is full of demons and death camps; it’s full of FARMS. At the same time, they can rightfully say that most people DON’T have a good reason to travel in their lands. So, what would be a good reason to travel in the lands? A request from a ruler of one of the Five nations. A request from a major institution like the Library of Korranberg, seeking to study ancient ruins. Mind you, part of the reason such requests would BE reasonable is that these forces would surely be offering something in return. The Inspired want good relationships with the rulers of Khorvaire. They might engage in an exchange with the Library of Korranberg; perhaps it has an artifact in its vaults that the quori need. But again, the fact of the matter is that there ISN’T one huge secret that a team of scholars could stumble on that would SUDDENLY REVEAL EVERYTHING. The Inspired don’t want THEIR people messing around in the ruins of Khalesh, because they seek to maintain absolute stability. But it’s not the end of the world if a team of foreign archaeologists go study them——it may even be that the Inspired are actually interested in what the archaeologists will find.

        • And this answers a question for my cleric who is planning a trip to Riedra at campaign’s end to research old Pyrine ruins, won’t have to dodge the guard and get smuggled in, just apply at the Iron Gate (surely a foreign tiefling cleric with terrible charisma won’t cause much conflict . . .)

          • surely a foreign tiefling cleric with terrible charisma won’t cause much conflict . . .

            Sure! That’ll go great, no question!

            Seriously, though, the question to me is who’s backing the request. Random curious tourist? Good luck. Request backed by the Keeper of the Flame, Pthaso Mogan, or someone similar? Sure. Essentially, they don’t let EVERYONE in; how will granting your request win the favor of someone whose favor is worth having? Though also, as SoS points out, if you go officially and they think you MIGHT be trouble, there’s a chance that they’ll send an observer with you. Sneak in and you can avoid that. On the other hand, as a tiefling in Sarlona you’ll definitely stand out; you might WANT the observer with you so people know your presence is authorized.

          • Speaking of all this authorized entry and difficulty of getting such. SoS mentions a DC30 diplomacy check. For 5e, would you recommend a lower charisma (persuasion) check, considering that a DC 30 is a lot higher bar in 5e than it was in 3.5e, perhaps 25 or 20?

          • I’d certainly make it lower, yes. With that said, I think it’s a mistake to set a uniform DC I think the difficulty could vary dramatically based on the nature of the request, the forces backing the PCs, their reputation, previous interaction with Riedrans, and so on.

          • That makes sense! I was taking that DC 30 to apply to a very generic baseline acceptable request. Taking into account factors like that seems like a good plan.

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