Dragonmarks: Reaching For The Stars

Image by Lucas Guerrini for Exploring Eberron

Nearly a quarter of Exploring Eberron is devoted to the planes of Eberron, providing a deeper look into these different layers of reality. While this addresses the supernatural cosmology of Eberron, my Patreon supporters have posed a number of questions tied to the Material Plane. What do the people of Eberron know about the physical universe beyond Eberron? What is the nature of the moons? Could there be a space race in Eberron? Others have raised more practical questions: how do the many moons of Eberron affect its tides? Wouldn’t the destruction of a moon have had even more cataclysmic results than have been suggested?

Ultimately, this begins with a crucial question: what is the Material Plane? In the myth of the Progenitors—a tale told in some form by nearly every culture—the three Progenitors work together to create thirteen planes, each one an idealized exploration of a particular concept: Life, death, war, peace. Following this effort, they rest in the emptiness that lies at the center of the planes. There the Progenitors quarrel. Khyber kills Siberys and tears him apart. Eberron enfolds Khyber and becomes the world itself, forming a living prison she cannot escape.

Whether this is truth or metaphor, it is a basic explanation for natural phenomenon.

  • Eberron is the world and source of natural life. It is surrounded by the shattered Ring of Siberys, and it contains Khyber. Whether or not Eberron was once a noble dragon who imprisoned another dragon, it is a natural world that surrounds and imprisons a source of fiends and aberrations.
  • Eberron—and its Material Plane—lies between the thirteen planes. It is influenced by all of them but it’s not part of any of them. It’s a world that knows both war and peace, life and death.
  • By canon (Rising p. 228), Eberron is the sole planet in its Material Plane. Beyond this, when people dream in Eberron, their spirits go to Dal Quor. When they die, they go to Dolurrh. There are no accounts of people encountering spirits from OTHER material worlds in either plane.

So the first thing to bear in mind: There is nothing natural about the universe of Eberron. The story of the Progenitors might be fact or it could be mere myth. But Eberron does appear to be the center of its Material Plane. It is the fulcrum of the 13 planes, the point where they all intersect — and as shown by Dal Quor and Dolurrh, the creatures of the Material Plane are tied to the other planes. Dig below the surface of Eberron and you won’t simply find a molten core; you’ll find the demiplanes of Khyber. You can go down a tunnel in the Mror Holds, walk five miles, and come out in Xen’drik. Which is to say, this is a supernatural reality. Arcane and divine magic are side effects of this; Eberron is suffused with a fundamental force that doesn’t exist in our world. Now, this may be because Eberron as a setting is a created artifact—that some form of the myth of the Progenitors is true. Or it could be the result of undirected evolution… but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a supernatural reality, fundamentally different from the universe that we know.

This initial section examines the known facts about the celestial objects of Eberron. This is followed by a discussion of the possible space race, which goes into more detail about what might be found on the moons or in the ring. Lest it go without saying, this is my vision of Eberron and may contradict existing sourcebooks.

The Sun and the Stars

In the Progenitor Myth, the three Progenitors rested in the Material Plane after creating the planes. They created the sun, Arrah, much as mortals might kindle a campfire. This fire remained even after their battle, and continues to provide light, heat, and comfort to the world. Arrah is rarely mentioned because it functions much like the sun we’re used to; it’s good that it’s there, but you definitely wouldn’t want to visit it. In the Sovereign Host, Dol Arrah is the Sovereign of Sun and Sacrifice; her name is, essentially, “The Warrior Sun.”

As for the stars, there are stars in the sky of Eberron, but they aren’t the anchors of distant solar systems. There are limits to the Material Plane, and the stars mark those limits; whether or not you embrace the concepts of Spelljammer, you can think of them as glittering points in the shell of a crystal sphere. The common constellations are figures of ancient dragons—Io, Tiamat, Chronepsis—though most people can’t actually say where these names come from. It’s generally assumed that they were handed down by one of the ancient kingdoms of Sarlona, or established by the ancestors of the Aereni; in fact, this is a tradition that was spread by dragons, as they moved secretly among the lesser races.

The Ring of Siberys

The closest celestial object is the Ring of Siberys, a brilliant equatorial band of light that dominates the sky. We know that the Ring is comprised of siberys dragonshards, because it’s where those dragonshards come from. Most fallen shards are quite small, but it’s there are definitely larger shards in the Ring; the civilization of the Qabalrin elves of Xen’drik was destroyed when the Ring of Storms was struck by a massive dragonshard now known as the Heart of Siberys. It’s possible that the entire ring is made up of pure dragonshards, or it could be that there are shards embedded in a more inert material—perhaps the petrified flesh of an ancient cosmic dragon.

One of the more popular schools of arcane thought maintains that all arcane magic (and perhaps divine magic as well) manipulates energy that radiates from the Ring—that magic itself is the “Blood of Siberys.” Whether or not this is true, siberys dragonshards are an extremely valuable resource. Siberys shards are used for dragonmark focus items, but per Rising From The Last War they are also used for “eldritch machines or the creation of legendary items or artifacts.” A nation or house that can secure a reliable source of siberys shards will have a huge advantage in advancing arcane science. It’s also possible that an outpost in the Ring could harness the ambient energy of the Ring itself to perform epic magic. So the Ring of Siberys is close to Eberron and unquestionably valuable; if a space race begins, it’s the logical first step.

The Moons

Twelve orbiting moons are visible from Eberron. Each moon goes through standard lunar phases, and during the month that shares its name, the moon enters an “ascendant phase”; during this time the moon is brighter than usual. Each moon is associated with certain personality traits, and it’s believed that people are influenced by the moon that is ascendant at the time of their birth. Canon descriptions of the moons can be found in this article. Moving beyond canon (something suggested but never defined) there’s a further complication, because the moons are also tied to the planes—and each moon enters its ascendant phase when its associated plane is coterminous, and becomes unusually dim when the plane is remote. So while unusual, it’s possible for there to be two or three ascendant moons at a particular time, if multiple coterminous periods converge.

The connection between the planes and the moons is reinforced by the fact that within a plane, the associated moon is the only one that can be seen in the sky (assuming that any moon can be seen; not all planar layers have a visible sky). However, the phase of the moon doesn’t match its current phase on Eberron. It may be fixed in a single phase—such as in Lamannia, where the moon is always full, or it could change from layer to layer.

By canon lore, no humanoid has ever visited one of the moons. Because of this, their nature remains a mystery. They could be similar to the moon of Earth—harsh and barren. It’s possible that they aren’t planetoids at all, but are in fact planar gateways—that a vessel that tries to land on Dravago will find itself in Risia. This would explain why the moons don’t have the expected impact on tides; it may be that they don’t actually have any mass! A third option lies between these two: that the moons are habitable planetoids that are strongly influenced by the planes they are tied to. The moon Vult isn’t inhabited by the angels and demons of Shavarath, but it could be home to societies of tieflings and aasimar locked in an endless war… though unlike the immortals of Shavarath, the people of Vult might decide to turn their aggressive attention to Eberron!

THE SPACE RACE

By canon, Eberron is the only planet in its material plane. Between the planes and the demiplanes of Khyber, there’s ample opportunity for adventurers to explore strange new worlds, and deep space exploration was never planned as part of the setting; we don’t need to have alien invaders come from a distant planet when we already have alien invaders crawling out of Xoriat. Nothing’s stopping the DM from going full Spelljammer and breaking through the wall of stars. But by default, that’s not the story Eberron was designed to tell.

However, you don’t have to go into deep space to have a space race. The Ring of Siberys is a clear target for any advanced nation. Siberys dragonshards are an immensely valuable resource; now that the Five Nations are using dragonshards in an industrial capacity and can see the potential of siberys shards, it’s only logical that people would be looking to the skies and dreaming of the power waiting to be claimed. Beyond the ring you have the moons. Perhaps they’re barren orbs. But if they’re planar gateways they could be the key to serious planar exploration, and if they’re manifest worlds they could hold unknown wonders. So there’s clearly something to be gained from reaching for the sky. And just as in our world, a space race gives a clear, tight focus for the current cold war. The people of the Five Nations may be afraid to start the Last War anew… but which nation will be the first to plant their flag in the Ring of Siberys?

In dealing with the space race, there’s a few questions to consider. What are the obstacles that have to be overcome? Who’s in the race? Who’s already up there? And what might people find?

Obstacles

If all that it takes to reach the moons is to fly straight up, people would have done it long ago. Even though airships are a relatively recent innovation, surely in three decades SOMEONE has determined just how high they can go… and while airships may be new, brooms of flying and similar devices have been around. If there’s no obstacles, there’s no tension and it’s hard to explain why it hasn’t happened. Yet at the same time, this isn’t our reality and there’s no reason that the obstacles to space travel should be the SAME obstacles that we had to overcome. So as a DM planning a space race, consider the following factors.

  • Gravity. If you have to escape the gravity of Eberron to reach the Ring of Siberys, it’s easy to say that no standard methods of flight provide sufficient velocity to accomplish this. This provides room for different nations to be exploring different approaches to attaining that velocity. Elemental binding is an option; how many elementals can you bind to a vessel? Another option is to expand on the arcane principles of levitation, perhaps burning siberys shards to provide a temporary surge of energy. A more exotic option would be to abandon flight in favor of teleportation; imagine flinging a teleport circle anchor at the target.
  • Cosmic Rays. The Ring of Siberys is thought by many to be the source of arcane energy. If so, this radiation could be lethal without proper protection. Alternately, the energy might be harmless, but it could overload unprotected enchantments: until people figure out how to protect against this surge, all magical systems could burn out and shut down in the vicinity of the Ring of Siberys. This could form a deadly layer around the entire planet, or this could be a way to explain why people are aiming for the moons instead of the Ring; because they can’t safely get close to the Ring, but they can avoid it.
  • Oxygen. At what point does the air become too thin to breathe? Is there a vacuum between Eberron and the moons? Because this isn’t natural space, it could be that there IS breathable air throughout the entire system, or that the Ring or the moons have atmosphere—or it could be that the atmosphere largely behaves the way that we’re used to. If oxygen is an obstacle, it doesn’t affect the design of a vessel, but travelers will need to have a solution. Spells and magic items that allow people to breathe underwater could be adapted for this purpose; it’s possible that the same item could work both underwater or in the Ring of Siberys.
  • Hostile Environment. In our world, space travel may require you to deal both with extreme cold or heat. Is the Ring of Siberys shrouded in bitter cold, or is it mysteriously maintained at a comfortable temperature? Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide provides basic guidelines for dealing with extreme cold, extreme heat, or high altitude. These could be intensified to reflect a truly alien environment, either reducing the time between required saving throws or amplifying the effects of failure. This could also be a factor in vessel design. Airships are made of soarwood; will a wooden ship burn up on re-entry?

Who’s In The Race?

The idea of a space race is that there’s a sense of tension and competition. The Ring of Siberys is too vast for any nation to claim dominion over it. But the first nation to establish an outpost in the Ring or on the moons with have the first opportunity to explore the environment, to harness its resources, and to establish contact with whatever creatures could be found there. The idea is that no nation or dragonmarked house has had unlimited access to Siberys shards; no one knows what could be done with that reliable source. So for purposes of the story, people should KNOW who’s in the race; adventurers could involve helping an allied power gain the resources it needs to advance or acting to block a rival power. So who’s in the race?

One option is to focus on the Five Nations: this is about Breland, Aundair, and Karrnath racing to the sky. A second option is to make it a rivalry between house and nation; perhaps it’s about the Twelve competing against the space program of the Arcane Congress.

Personally, my inclination is to focus on the Five Nations—emphasizing that the Last War has been replaced by a cold war. But I’d also throw in additional alliances. House Cannith is involved with everyone; it’s split in three and the house thus wins in any scenario, but part of the question is who wins; it could be generally understood that the Cannith faction that wins the space race will also claim the leadership of the house. So here’s the factions I’d use in MY space race.

  • Aundair: The Dragonhawk Initiative. Aundair’s space program is an alliance between the Arcane Congress, Cannith West (under Jorlanna d’Cannith), and House Orien. While they are exploring all possibilities, the Dragonhawk Initiative is focusing on teleportation. There are three current paths under investigation: direct teleportation (which also requires scrying to confirm the target point); physical projection of an object that serves as a teleportation circle; or using a passage through a plane to cross space. Thelanis and Xoriat are the planes most tied to these efforts. There is a branch of the Dragonhawk exploring traditional levitation, but leadership is convinced that teleportation is the cleanest and safest approach.
  • Breland: The King’s Observatory. The Observatory is a branch of the King’s Citadel, formed in alliance with Zilargo, Cannith South (under Merrix d’Cannith), and Hosue Lyrandar. While they are exploring traditional levitation techniques, the Observatory is primarily focused on building a better elemental airship, overcoming the obstacles with elemental binding and Cannith ingenuity. Merrix has been experimenting with living ships—a step that could render Lyrandar pilots obsolete. Syrania and Fernia are the planes most associated with their efforts.
  • Karrnath: The Blade of Siberys. The Blade is an alliance between the Karrnathi crown, Cannith East (under Zorlan d’Cannith), and a number of wealthy individuals. Antus ir’Soldorak brings tremendous wealth and mineral resources to the table; Alina Lorridan Lyrris is an expert transmuter and owns the richest khyber shard mines in Khorvaire. The fact that they’re both members of the Platinum Concord of the Aurum is a remarkable coincidence. The Blade of Siberys is primarily interested in reaching the Ring rather than the moons. It is focused on traditional magic of flight, but Zorlan is exploring ways necromancy could be used to solve this problem: ghost astronauts? A shadow engine that draws on the power of the Endless Night? These efforts involve the Mabaran manifest zones in Karrnath, but they are considering the potential of other planes. The Blade is also very focused on the military potential of this program, and any Karrnathi space vessel will be heavily armed.

Thrane is currently a minor player in the race, though the Argentum is exploring the possibilities for an engine that harnesses the power of the Silver Flame itself. Likewise, New Cyre lacks the resources to compete with these main players… but Oargev dreams of establishing a true new Cyre on Olarune.

Who’s Already Up There?

The Five Nations may be working to win the space race, but someone else likely won that race long ago. The dragons of Argonessen are an ancient and advanced civilization, and believe themselves to be the children of Eberron and Siberys; if it’s possible to reach the Ring of Siberys, they surely did it long ago. They could use outposts in the Ring to watch for the appearance of Prophecy marks, and the epic magics unleashed in the destruction of Xen’drik may well have been channeled through siberys shards harvested from the Ring. However, the Ring of Siberys is vast and the dragons are secretive; their outposts are surely well hidden, both physically and magically. Having said that, the dragons may not have bothered to explore the moons—so they could be a truly unexplored frontier.

The giants of ancient Xen’drik were also powerful and advanced. Both the Cul’sir Dominion and the Group of Eleven explored the planes; either one could have ventured into space. Any giant outposts in the Ring of Siberys would have been destroyed by the dragons when they laid waste to Xen’drik, but there could be still be ruins in the Ring. And if a DM wants to introduce a powerful force of giants or empyreans, they could have used a powerful sequester effect to conceal a base in the Ring or on one of the moons.

The Undying Court aren’t involved in the space race. The Ascendant Counselors explore the universe in astral form and have no need to do it physically. The Lords of Dust don’t have any outposts of their own, but they are surely watching all the participants in the space race. As the fiends are the children of Khyber, it’s possible that the pure essence of Siberys is especially repellant to them—that any fiend that approaches the Ring will be destroyed.

These are creatures of Eberron who might have settled above it; possible natives are discussed below.

Exploring the Ring of Siberys

The Ring of Siberys is the logical first stop in the space race, being closer than the moons and having a clear strategic value. If the DM would rather focus on the moons, the magical energies of the Ring can be deadly to living creatures. If the Ring is the destination, the first question is whether the Ring has gravity and atmosphere. This is the most magical place in existence, so anything is possible. The next question is whether the Ring is in fact entirely comprised of massive dragonshards, or if the bulk of it is some other material; it could be a soft stone, that some might see as the calcified flesh of an ancient dragon. Even if there is an atmosphere, the Ring is entirely barren. People may be able to dig into it or build structures on the surface, but there’s no natural sources of food or water; travelers will need to either have strong supply lines, or more likely, to come prepared with ways to magically create food and water.

Magic is dramatically enhanced within the Ring. One option is that all spells cast in the Ring benefit from the Distant Spell and Extended Spell Metamagic options presented in the sorcerer class. But it’s difficult to channel this power; if the DM uses this option, all spellcasting carries the risk of a sorcerer’s Wild Magic Surge. With time, it could be that spellcasters could learn unique spells that can only be cast in the magic-rich environment of the Ring.

Even if the energies of the Ring aren’t directly lethal, they can produce many dangerous effects. Just as the energies of the Ring can be used to produce fireballs and lighting bolts, the Ring produces dramatic, unnatural weather effects—bursts of fire, acid rain, illusory manifestations, psychic storms. The Ring also produces living spells, which linger for a time before being absorbed back into the Ring. Other native creatures are rare, given the difficulty of surviving in the RIng. However, just as the rakshasa are said to be the children of Khyber, the native celestials of Eberron—the couatl—are said to have been born of Siberys. While most of the couatl sacrificed their existence to bind the overlords, there could be a few powerful celestials still bound to the Ring. Given that Thrane isn’t a major player in the space race, the first explorers could be surprised to discover embodiments of the Silver Flame itself in the Ring of Siberys.

There’s another exotic possibility. Legends speak of the Irsvern—winged kobolds said to be blessed by Siberys. According to these tales the Irsvern live on the peaks of the tallest mountains; but what if they’re actually natives of the Ring of Siberys? What powers might these children of the Ring possess?

Exploring The Moons

Exploring Eberron provides more details about the planes, and will prove a useful resource whether the moons are planar portals or merely strongly influenced by planes. The main difference between the planar portal and the idea of the manifest world is the degree to which the adventurers can have a lasting impact, and the degree to which the world is an entirely new frontier. The planes are known, even if mortals don’t visit them regularly; and the planes cannot be fundamentally changed. On the other hand, manifest worlds are an opportunity to explore entirely new and alien realms—to have first contact with unknown cultures. This is another a way to introduce exotic races or elements from other settings; perhaps loxodons are from Olarune!

Q&A

Does Arrah orbit Eberron? If so, is it much further away than the moons?

There’s no canon answer to this. What we know is that Eberron has traditional seasons (as defined by the calendar)—that Arrah FUNCTIONS in the way we’re used to a sun working. On the one hand, there’s some logic to Eberron being stuck in the center of its sphere (though it could well be that it rotates in that central point and that Arrah is fixed!).

But let’s consider the Progenitor myth, which again, may or may not be exactly true but is still the closest thing we have to an explanation. In the myth, the Progenitors finish their work and rest in the Material Plane. They kindle Arrah as a campfire. They then fight: Siberys is killed, Eberron and Khyber entwined. Arrah exists BEFORE Eberron becomes a world, and I think it’s perfectly logical to say that ARRAH is at the very center of the plane and that Eberron orbits it. Though another sage could argue that the Progenitors were clearly the focal point of creation and that Arrah would have been pulled into their orbit. So like many things in Eberron, I expect that it’s something sages are actively debating in the world itself.

How do the multiple moons of Eberron affect lycanthropes?

The origin of lycanthropy remains a mystery. All lycanthropes are influenced by the moons, but not all in the same way; this suggests that there may be multiple strains of lycanthropy with different origins. The first strain is only affected by the phases of the moon Olarune; this is typically associated with good-aligned lycanthropes. The second strain of lycanthropy is affected by all of the moons, and multiple full moons can cause extreme behavior; this is the effect reported by the templars during the Lycanthropic Purge, and it encourages aggressive behavior and drives victims to quickly succumb to the curse. The third strain of lycanthrope is affected by the moon(s) that were ascendant at the moment of its birth or at the moment it was afflicted; this is common among natural lycanthropes. When adventurers encounter lycanthropes, the DM will have to decide which strain they’re dealing with.

In the past you’ve said that the Gith come from another world… could this be one of the moons?

It’s a possibility, but not the one I personally use. Exploring Eberron goes into more detail about how I use the Gith in my Eberron.

How do the shifter Moonspeakers see the moons? Are they planar portals or more like spiritual guides?

The Moonspeaker druids view the moons as spiritual guides. This doesn’t invalidate the possibility that they are planetoids or portals; the Moonspeakers invoke the spirits of the moons, just as some other druids invoke the spirit of Eberron. With that said, it’s worth noting that this material contradicts the Moonspeaker’s assignment of the moons; I didn’t design the Moonspeaker and I don’t agree with all of its choices.

While the moons correlate with the planes, is there really a correlation with the Dragonmarks, too? The lost moon is tied to Dal Quor, but the lost mark is the Mark of Death, which would have been tied to the same moon as Dolurrh, I would have thought.

There’s a few basic points here. The moons and the planes are both part of creation; they have both existed since the dawn of time. The Dragonmarks have barely existed for three thousand years, and it’s quite possible they were created by the daelkyr. Consider that Crya was lost tens of thousands of years before the Mark of Death even existed! So the ultimate point is that the association of dragonmarks and moons isn’t a concrete, natural FACT as the association of planes and moons is; it’s a superstition, where people have ASSIGNED marks to moons, because hey, twelve marks, twelve moons. And the people who made those assignments may not even know that there once was a thirteenth moon! So it’s possible that people have stumbled onto a cosmic truth in linking these together‚that even those the marks are recent, they tied into this cosmic code. But it could also be entirely speculative.

Having said that, consider what Dolurrh actually is. It’s NOT the “Plane of Death.” Many believe that it is the plane of transition, where the soul leaves its burdens behind and ascends to a higher realm. Aryth is “The Gateway” — and the dragonmark associated with it is the Mark of Passage. The point of this association is that Dolurrh ISN’T actually the destination; it’s a pathway to the unknown realm that lies beyond.

The moons of Eberron are tied to the planes. What about the sun? What’s it tied to?

There is no canon answer to this question, and I’m sure that sages debate it at Arcanix and Korranberg. I’ll give you three answers that all likely have supporters. One is that it represents nothing. It was created by the Progenitors to serve a utilitarian function; it’s the divine campfire. Another is that just as the moons are tied to the planes, the sun represents the MATERIAL plane. A third is tied to the theory that Dolurrh is a gateway that allows people to transition to the Realm of the Sovereigns, a higher realm no mortal can know; some surely believe that Arrah is tied to THAT plane, which is why it’s so much brighter than the moons; it’s a glimpse of the truly celestial realm.

Thanks to my Patreon supporters, who chose this topic and who keep this blog going! How have you used the moons or the space race in your campaign?

84 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Reaching For The Stars

  1. Thank you for thos amazing article!

    How do the shifter Moonspeakers see the moons? Are they planar portals or more like spiritual guides?

    Is the Dravago the only moon to produce moondust, or is the purple dust actually Risian in origin?

    • Is the Dravago the only moon to produce moondust, or is the purple dust actually Risian in origin?
      This is a reference to the Moons of Eberron Dragonshard. What it actually says is “Some say that stones from Dravago occasionally fall to Eberron…” Whatever form the moons take, I think it’s highly unlikely that it actually throws stones at Eberron; I think it’s more likely that there’s an entirely different explanation for them. Just like in our world, moonstones aren’t actually from the Moon!

      I’m going to add the other question to the main article.

  2. Wow, this was so much more than I was expecting and I had high hopes for this article!

    Quick questions: Eberron has days and nights, sunrise and sunset. Also Eberron is said to be a fixed point in the crystal sphere.
    Does Arrah orbit Eberron?
    If so, is it much further away than the moons?
    Also, which way does Arrah (or Eberron) orbit? I would love to tell my players Arrah rises from the west!

    Great article, love your world building Mr. Baker.

    • Given the Everice and Frostfell, the sun has to rise in the east or west unless we’re making serious deviations from very basic physics (sun makes things hot, ice melts when it gets hot). No idea beyond that.

      Does raise another question though: Is the sun a miasma/of incandescent plasma or (per its supposed origin) something supernatural that serves the same functions?

    • I’ve added the orbiting question (and answer) to the main article.

      Also, which way does Arrah (or Eberron) orbit? I would love to tell my players Arrah rises from the west!

      I believe it’s been said in canon somewhere that it rises in the east, though I’m not 100% certain. From a world-building perspective, it’s a tricky point. On the one hand, a basic change like that helps to concretely establish that this is not our world. On the other hand, it adds a minor detail that people need to remember that has a minimal impact on the game… until in does, when the DM is describing a scene where the players are heading into the dawn light and someone says “Wait, you said the sun rises in the WEST!” I’ll say that when Eberron was being converted to 4E, I had to fight to maintain the 13 moons, based on that same principle of “It’s confusing to people to change basic assumptions” — but in that case I was able to point out that there’s an important in-game reason for them to exist. So basically, *I’M* not going to try to stop YOU from deciding it rises in the west in your Eberron, but for me it’s simpler to just have it work the way the players expect the sun to work.

    • I’m guessing Eberron does rotate the opposite direction from Earth, since this would explain why the Demon Wastes and Blade Desert are dry while the Eldeen Reaches, Shadow Marches, and Lhazaar Principalities have more moisture. (It doesn’t explain Q’barra, but I like the idea that Q’barra is warm and moist because the whole peninsula is a dormant supervolcano.)

      • See, I think the magical nature of the Demon Wastes prevents rain from falling there, so that all of the moisture carried aloft from the western oceans falls on Eldeen instead.

        The Marches would probably be a Mediterranean climate but for the hills that run along the northeastern border and west of the Watching wood, which both causes more rain to fall than in Spain (because the Marches are in the lee of the hills), and makes the Marches into a single swampy drainage basin. With that rain spent, Droaam is closer to a traditional Mediterranean climate.

        Southern Breland would be south of the Tropic of Capricorn, if Eberron circled Arrah and had a 23.5 degree tilt to its axis. It might expect that strip east of the Graywalls to be savannah, with the area south and east of there being subject to monsoons, with maybe some tropical rainforest further east, like the King’s Forest, the Silverwood Forest and The Kraal. Q’barra is a bit further north and could have a climate like the southeastern US. A Q’barran swamp could be like a Florida swamp. Talenta is clearly prairie steppe, and northern Eldeen, Aundair, Karrnath and Lhaaar are taiga, right where you would expect them to be.

        Of course, the whole thing is messed up by the presence of manifest zones, and none of it really matters if the whole thing is magical. But the presence of days, seasons, warmer areas in the north, colder areas in the south, and (mostly) wetter regions near the coast and drier areas inland suggests it at least behaves like a planet orbiting as star on a tilted axis.

        • Thank you for this excellent breakdown of Eberron’s geography and how it influences weather. Seriously, so fun! 🙂

  3. This is all very inspirational – the three-way space race sounds like a great idea for a campaign.

    For my epic tier Eberron campaign, the daelkyr have actually already stolen Sharn and taken to the moons. The Ring of Siberys serves as the base for any mortal efforts to reach the moons due to the incredible untapped arcane potential there, and people have been slinging meteors with teleportation circles towards the moons as achors for portals.

    You mention the stars in this article – one thing that comes to mind is the notion of “evil stars” as per the 3.5 Elder Evils book, the 4e Star Pact Warlock and the 5e Great Old One Warlock patron. Caiphon, Ulban and so forth.

    If you were to apply this idea of “evil stars” to Eberron, would you connect these entities to Xoriat? Or would you have them connected to a Far Realm outside the “crystal sphere” of Eberron’s universe instead, or something completely different?

      • Thanks!

        I hadn’t heard about Sunless Skies before, but it definitely seems to be in that direction!

        Also the tagline “Murder a sun” fits surprisingly well with the campaign actually, as the player characters keep mentioning that they want to destroy a sun.

  4. Mariam O asked some of my questions, but here are a few more: If Arrah orbits Eberron, what causes seasons on Eberron? If Arrah orbits Eberron, we can assume that it does so basically in the same geometric plane as the Ring, since the equatorial regions are tropical, and Frostfell and Everice are at the “poles”. Maybe the orbit of Arrah “wobbles” from north to south causing the seasons? We know from canon that there are observatories on Eberron and I’ve seen at least one source taht gives diameters for the moons (but may be non-canonical.) Do scholars of the Five Nations know how far away the Ring is? Arrah? The sphere of the stars? Are there standard numbers for this, or are they DM’s discretion? Last one: I believe it is canon that one of the moons appears cracked (though I can’t recall which one). Is this a new observation (i.e. does it correlate withe the schism of Phiarlan and Thuranni While the moons correclate with the planes, is there really a correlation witht he Dragonmarks, too? The lost moon is tied to Dal Quor, but the lost mark is the Mark of Death, which would have been tied to the same moon as Dolurrh, I would have thought. Thanks, Keith!

    • I’ve added the Arrah question and the moons/marks question to the main article.

      Regarding the moons, the article that describes their diameter is canon, but as I’ve noted, MY view of the moons breaks from that. I beleive that when we wrote that article (it was a very long time ago) the moons were thought of as barren planetoids. If *I* do something with the moons in MY Eberron, they’ll either be planar gateways or manifest worlds.

      I think that sages have a general sense of how far away the Ring and moons are; the same article that describes the diameter of the moons also lists distances, if you want to use them. Not only do the people of Eberron not know how far away the sphere of stars is, I don’t think there’s any easily obvious way to know that it IS a sphere or wall from Eberron; it LOOKS like a star field. The fact that it’s an enclosed space is something we know because of our DM’s omniscience, but I don’t think that’s something the people of Eberron are aware of. In general, I’d say that the sages of Eberron are likely far more concerned with the PLANES than with the STARS – because the planes are alien worlds that are just out of reach and that have very definite impact on our lives.

      • Thanks, Keith! If I ever get to run MY Eberron, I’d go with Eberron orgiting Arrah, and Eberron rotating, with an axial tilt (it would be fun coming up with tha mythological explanation for THAT feature!), just to make day/night/seasons easy to explain. But maybe I’d use the east-to-west rotation just to mess with players’ heads a little.

  5. I really, really, really love the idea that each moon consists entirely of a manifest zone to its associated plane. After all, compared them to being realistically barren satellites or planar gateways, manifest moons have the most story potential. In fact, I would absolutely LOVE to see this canonized for Eberron (or at least for YOUR version of Eberron) so I could read articles describing what planetouched communities are like on each moon, and associated plot hooks. Pristine, uncontacted civilizations influenced by different laws of physics and magic….just the right amount of weird for a pulpy planetary romance story.

    I’m personally not that big a fan of Spelljammer (I far prefer Starfinder’s style of handling magical interstellar travel), so Eberron being a material demiplane sequestered away from whatever realms beyond is good enough for me. On one hand, it sounds quite lonely….but on the other hand, we in the real world could very possibly be alone in our much vaster universe as well. Besides, if real solar systems and real exoplanets exists in Eberron’s universe outside of the ring and moons’ confines, rather than just the illusory suggestion of stars, I’d rather they be entirely unknowable.

    • On one hand, it sounds quite lonely….

      Sure, but even if you discount the idea of manifest moons, there’s 13 planes and an untold number of demiplanes with exotic cultures. There ARE alien civilizations for Eberron to encounter – they just aren’t on other PLANETS.

      • Oh for sure, that’s why I actually prefer it if Eberron is cut off from Planescape or Spelljammer or other “crossover” settings. Eberron does its own thing.

        Although a player of mine did speculate that if there are other inhabited solar systems out there, each could have a different set of planes attached to them, making them even weirder than Eberron’s moons; and that’s just and idea I as a DM can’t say no to, even if nobody will ever get to know for sure. So for now my Eberron has real stars in the sky, as far as anybody can observe — but it’s not like that really MATTERS.

    • I could read articles describing what planetouched communities are like on each moon, and associated plot hooks. Pristine, uncontacted civilizations influenced by different laws of physics and magic….just the right amount of weird for a pulpy planetary romance story.

      Definitely, what I love about the manifest worlds is the idea for pulpy adventure and exploration of the unknown; I think of John Carter and Barsoom. Maybe I’ll add “Manifest World” to an upcoming Patreon poll.

      • Oh I would LOVE to see the subject of “Moons as Manifest Worlds” tackled as pulpy science fantasy, that sounds absolutely amazing.

      • Please do so! The only thing cooler than walking through a manifest zone and accidentally ending up on another plane, is to then walk out of a manifest zone and end up on a moon! Imagine the look on player’s faces when they look up into the sky and see…Eberron itself.

    • Personally, I suspect that if intelligent life existed on Eberron’s moons, observatories would have noticed by now. Signs of our own civilizations are apparent from orbit, after all. Nonsapient life would not necessarily be as apparent from a distance, though, so that still leaves the possibility of bizarre, untouched frontiers that evolved on small worlds that are basically one giant manifest zone.

      Of course, OTOH, that apparent “crack” forming on Sypheros might actually be a massive structure being built…

      • Of course, that could be the start of the campaign! “Thanks to recent improvements, the Morgrave Observatory has discovered strange patterns of light on the surface of Vult. Provost Hasker is certain that this is proof of a lunar civilization, and we are going to find out once and for all!”

  6. What’s stopping someone from Lesser Planar Binding (4th level spell. Not common but easily within the resources of a country, Dragonmark House ect.) any low HD outsider with Greater Teleport at will (the moon and rings are visible and valid destinations), handing it a Necklace of Adaption and telling it to teleport there, come back, report what it saw and give the necklace back?

    “You can go down a tunnel in the Mror Holds, walk five miles, and come out in Xen’drik. ”

    Unrelated, but this ever go in reverse and result in the Traveler’s Curse taking people off Xen’drik, like entering a tunnel and ending up in Sarlona?

    • What’s stopping someone from Lesser Planar Binding…

      So many things.

      First of all: if you WANT people to do this in your campaign, have them do it. But if the question is “I don’t want them to have done it, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t have done it”, here’s a few thoughts.

      1. Just because a particular spell or magic item EXISTS doesn’t mean that it’s commonly known or used. We’ve talked extensively about elemental binding, but I don’t think we’ve ever discussed bound fiends as something people use as a tool in society. The idea of magic as a science means that there can be discoveries the common scientists of Eberron simply haven’t made. Which isn’t to say that LBP isn’t IMPOSSIBLE, but that casters who possess it may be remarkable specialists — again, remember that player characters are remarkable! (Though it’s also worth noting that AFAIK fifth edition has no equivalent spell)

      2. The people of Eberron also don’t have a Monster Manual that perfectly catalogs the full list of fiends and their capabilities. Even if LBP is possible, they may not KNOW of HD-appropriate fiend with Greater Teleport.

      3. We have VERY different interpretations of the limitations of Greater Teleport. “You must have at least a reliable description of the place to which you are teleporting.” The whole point of the moons is that we don’t even know if there’s a physical body there. In MY campaign “I see a point of light in the sky” is NOT a “reliable description” of the place you are teleporting to; you have to have a clear vision of the ACTUAL DESTINATION, not “Somewhere in the vicinity of that bright thing.”

      4. It may well be that the energy of the Ring of Siberys blocks teleportation! If so, the Aundairians will be very disappointed.

      Unrelated, but this ever go in reverse and result in the Traveler’s Curse taking people off Xen’drik, like entering a tunnel and ending up in Sarlona?

      Not as it’s described, but I don’t object to the idea in principle.

      • Only reference I’ve seen to a national attempt to bind a demon was in Forge of War, where King Kason of Breland died at the hands of a demon he bound in an attempt to end the war.

        I’d imagine Breland (and likely anyone else) is reticent to try that again, seeing as the King would have likely had the King’s Wands, Zil binding experts (not fiends but elementals, might be material) and a fair amount of resources backing him when he got killed.

        • Yes, I see the binding of fiends as much like necromancy: it is a form of arcane science that exists, but it is largely shunned, seen as too dangerous to mess around with. Which goes along with the idea that we don’t have a perfect catalog of all types of fiends and their capabilities.

  7. This articled fared better than the NASA launch, that’s for sure 🙂

    Thank you for the awesome read. I’ve been thinking about a custom campaign taking players to the depths Khyber (a-la Veins of the Earth), only to use an elemental deep down to soar back up again. Maybe they will reach for the stars?

  8. I’m surprised you left the Riedrans out of the space race – rediscovering the remnants of Crya feels like a powerful incentive for the Dreaming Dark to try and prevent the turning of the age!

    • I thought about it. But part of the point is “If Riedra IS involved in the space race, would you even know?” To me, the point of the space race is to have that active sense of competition and tension: “Oh, $%&#, Aundair just successfully got a scrying sphere into orbit!” Riedra is actively trying NOT to generate that sort of tension with Khorvaire… while that sort of drama is perfect with the Five Nations. So it’s quite possible they have a space program; but I don’t see them as players in the space RACE.

      • And don’t forget, it’s entirely possible that one of the Five Nations’ space programs is actually being run by mind seeds! Riedra doesn’t NEED a space program if they can just take yours…

    • That is what I was thinking. All of those Siberys shards, and the possibility of ringing Eberron with hanbalani!

  9. I love everything about this article, and just wanted to share a nice detail that fits with something Keith said.

    “You can go down a tunnel in the Mror Holds, walk five miles, and come out in Xen’drik.”

    I’ve been exploring this in my game, with the players discovering an ancient network of these tunnels which connected the major cities of the Dar, and are being rediscovered.

    So what do you call an ancient, naturally occurring tunnel that is shorter on the inside than the outside that passes through the dragon Khyber you ask?

    Wyrmholes.

    You’re welcome.

  10. I was going to ask if the aid the Riedran Unity provides to the courts of the Five Nations perhaps plays into these space initiatives? I can’t see the Unity making too big a deal out of a space race that would distract from their “defeat Adar, stop the wheel, all one dream” goal, but a reliable source of Siberys Shards and any remnants of Cyra may be achieved by backing the winner of the race.

    • Sure, I think it’s quite possible that they are providing assistance. As I said in an answer to another similar concept, I don’t think they’d want to be active participants in the RACE, but they might help the racers… and they might very well have mind seeded people in the top of one of the programs. It could well be that the Blade of Siberys IS the quori space program…

  11. Noble question – is Alina Lorridan supposed to be Lyrris or ir’Lyrris? The ECS says some families of gnomes and dwarves were made nobility during Galifar, giving them the ir’ prefix.

    • Alina has appeared in canon and noncanon (novel) sources (Dragon 407, the Dreaming Dark novels), and has never been given the ir’ prefix. Some Zil families were made nobles, notably the ir’Korrans. The Lyrris family isn’t one of them.

  12. I know that you don’t like straightforward parallelism with our world, but I aways thought that Riedra was Eberron’s URSS equivalent, and I totally see the Inspired launching theyr own space race. Personally in my Eberron I have depowered the Dragons and made them more active.

    • The main reason I didn’t include the Inspired is because to me this is about the cold war—the war that is fought because people are afraid to fight a physical one. The cold war is the result of the Mourning, and it didn’t stop war between Khorvaire and Riedra—it stopped the war between the Five Nations. Thus, I’ve focused on the Five Nations as the competing powers, also because they are the ones we KNOW about. Riedra is so secretive that they could well have their own space program, but the people of the Five Nations don’t know anything about it… while we’re keeping a close eye on what Aundair and Orien are up to! But adding Riedra as part of the space race is definitely an option.

        • I believe what Keith meant is that the Mourning stopping the war and creating a cold war involves the belligerents of that war, the Five Nations.

          Riedra has been nothing but helpful, to all sides. Why, they even allow foreigners from Khorvaire to dock in Dar Jin and trade in the Foreign Quarter.

          But if you want to go deep down the rabbit hole, the state of the war between them is one side is completely unprepared and the other is totally embedded within the former and has a war-crazed general calling for a mass invasion

        • When I said “and it didn’t stop war between Khorvaire and Riedra” it’s because there’s no war to stop. As others have noted, Riedra has been a helpful ally to many of the Five Nations; it’s not currently seen as a threat.

    • Riedra also isn’t thematically equvalent to any real world entity that currently exists, or has existed. If anything, it’s a lot closer to totalitarian cyberpunk dystopias seen in many works of science fiction.

  13. As the one who pitched this, I just wanted to say thank you especially for how you present multiple options for almost everything and support them equally. I really appreciate how much of your work is directly aimed at being useful. You rock!

  14. This is a high quality article Keith, thank you for the great read!

    I absolutely love the idea of a space race to establish outposts on the Ring and the Moons.

    I think the Twelve might have their own separate ambitions, and will use insights gleaned from the Dragonhawk Initiative, the King’s Observatory, and the Blade of Siberys.

    Warforged airships (presumably) sound awesome. I also like the idea of Orien creating a Unicorn Spire (read: space elevator) that allows the Lightning Rail (or some variation of it) to climb a tower into Eberron’s equivalent of LEO, and then attempt enhanced Levitation from there.

  15. Although I know you were talking lethal danger Cosmic Rays, the words just got me thinking mostly of an Eberron Fantastic Four story

    Also considering one of the big dangers of space in Eberron is the inability to breathe, it feels likely that most countries would be sending Warforged into space, seeing as they don’t need air or food or water…

    • Although I know you were talking lethal danger Cosmic Rays, the words just got me thinking mostly of an Eberron Fantastic Four story

      Oh, I was definitely ALSO thinking of the Fantastic Four. #TeamDoom

  16. This was a great read! I’ve always been interested in the physical cosmology of Eberron.

    In my first long-running Eberron campaign back in college, one of my players made it her primary long-term goal to get to space. She was playing a psion (kineticist) and took the metamind prestige class, which gives you extra power points at the cost of higher-level powers, so at a certain point she had enough to chain-cast Dimension Door to get to orbit, and she knew the Adaptive Body power, which lets the user survive in any harsh environment. She got to be the first humanoid to set foot on the Ring of Siberys and see Eberron from space, and since she was a former Inspired Vessel from Riedra and the party had established a secret base in the Mournland, you could say that Cyre, Riedra, or no nation won the Space Race in my Eberron, depending on how you look at it.

    Also, for those interested, the 3.5 book Elder Evils features a necromantic moonlet at the end of the chapter on Atropos that, in addition to covering some very basic space rules in (now somewhat-outdated) D&D terms, could also provide some inspiration for Sypheros (the moon linked to Mabar).

  17. What a waste. Eberron’s universe is cold and empty, devoid of life. No other stars, no other nebulae. No other planets. It’s not right.

    • Spelljammer hasn’t gone anywhere in the interrim you’re free to play that or incorporate it into YOUR Eberron.

      Personally I find it much more refreshing to not have a “sure, throw it in” mentality with space travel in fantasy, and find this limiting to the already existing Orrery must more interesting.

      Also as a note, Eberron’s universe IS cold and empty and devoid of life . . . except for the other planes, Khyber, and Eberron itself with its four large continents, two arctic poles and small elven island. All of which can have alien and interesting things to explore

    • My own preference is for Eberron’s universe to be, while decidedly tiny compared to ours, not be that small. Perhaps it’s something more like a single small galaxy; the Sombrero Galaxy is certainly an appropriate piece of inspiration (seriously, look at the thing). That’s still big enough for spacefaring civilizations to rise and fall and still not have the whole thing explored.

      This still doesn’t rule out weird mythological and magical laws as the fundamental rules of reality. Even if the Progenitor wyrm myth were, say, a metaphor for a planar collision, that still means stuff like space having no breathable air because Siberys is “dead”, all inhabitable planets necessarily having an Eberron-surface-Khyber-core structure even if that takes a bizarre and unexpected form, and planets’ Eberron-to-Khyber ratio varying depending on how close to the center of the single-galaxy universe they are.

      • In fact, if you’d asked me 14 years ago, I probably would have said something similar to this. It’s a perfectly fine approach. I think why canon has moved in the single-planet direction and why I personally have embraced it in MY campaign is because of the role of the planes. One thing I’ll call out is that the picture that goes along with the article isn’t outer space; it’s KYTHRI. Instead of the Crab Nebula, Eberron has the Churning Chaos and the Sea of Dreams. If you follow the Manifest Moons approach, there’s 12 alien worlds to explore in orbit; even if you don’t, there’s thirteen unique realities just beyond the world that we know. In Eberron, we’re dealing with two active alien invasions, from Xoriat and Dal Quor; and at any time, the Githyanki could emerge from the Astral. I don’t have time to explore all three of THOSE plotlines; I don’t need to add the possibility of an invasion from another planet when I’m already dealing with incursions from three planes.

        Essentially, just as Eberron explores a form of science that doesn’t exist in our world, I’m more interested in exploring a form of SPACE that doesn’t exist in our universe. Where Star Wars has Mos Eisley, Eberron has the Immeasurable Market of Syrania. Where Star Trek has Risa, Eberron has the Garden of Irian. Now, of course, these things don’t currently exist in canon; but they exist in MY Eberron, and it’s why a quarter of Exploring Eberron is devoted to the planes.

        But the ultimate point is that this is just how I do things. There’s nothing wrong with placing Eberron in a single galaxy or even an infinite universe! Even if you use the model I describe here, SOMETHING is on the other side of the wall of stars. Is it the Deep Ethereal? Phlogiston? Or just an infinite universe that follows the rules we know? For me, the point is that the model I describe doesn’t leave Eberron alone; there are 13 exotic realities just beyond the world, and countless demiplanes within it — each an alien world waiting to be discovered.

        • I suppose there are a couple of reasons why that more recent canonical direction — with only one sun, one planet, and thirteen minus one moons — doesn’t sit well with me. One is that it feels like exactly that: reducing a universe to what’s immediately convenient for our own use. It feels to me like the fundamental concept of planets being structured like Eberron, of highly magical things in space generally and planetary rings as focal points for magic specifically, of uniquely magical crystals and their application and broader implications, of manifest zones and even manifest worlds, is too rife with potential to reduce to a minimalist approach just because most campaigns wouldn’t explore such ideas. Heck, I imagine that trying to make the leap from near-Eberron space exploration to exploring the rest of the galaxy would have its own complications, and fundamentally different ones than in our own world or classic science fiction. When you’re used to manipulating arcane magic specifically in the context of one particular planet’s Ring of Siberys, how do you adapt both your vessels and your own casting? What answers, and new questions, will arise from that effort? On the flip side, would distances be as vast or as difficult to traverse once you get past that problem?

          The other reason why I’m less thrilled with the more recent direction of canon is because it feels to me like it’s pulling away from some of what made Eberron uniquely attractive for me in the first place — the ambiguity, rather than mere distance, of the divine. Canon right now seems to skew very strongly in favor of the idea of the Progenitors as literal creator gods in the classical “big people” form who literally fought amongst themselves with a single world as the result, to the point that I feel like I’d have to talk anyone new to the setting out of the idea before approaching things otherwise. Before, the idea seemed to be that gods aren’t like that in Eberron’s multiverse, and you couldn’t really prove the supremacy of anything; as things currently stand, it feels as though the mysteries of the Material Plane will be fully mapped out just a thousand years from now. A larger universe where the fundamental underpinnings of reality are suggestive of a conflict in its nature feels more in line with what always made Eberron stand apart from other D&D settings to me… and more like it has potential for new stories, rather than more variations on the same themes as other fantasy worlds.

          • You’re not wrong, to be sure. And certainly, once you add the idea that EVERY “core world” could have its own planar structure and Ring of Siberys equivalent – with its own rules of magic – that’s a very interesting concept to explore. But just to take the side of the Traveler, DOES what’s described actually contradict that? Once you accept the idea that each planet might have its own planar cosmology, why is it that much stranger to think that each planet might have its own crystal sphere? Even in this current model, it’s simply saying that what we call “the material plane” is the equivalent of a solar system. Each planet IS a material plane—with its own moons and planar cosmology. It’s simply there is something BETWEEN material planes that isn’t the space we know; again, it could be Spelljammer’s Phlogiston, the Deep Ethereal, or even our universe! It’s NOT that Eberron is alone in the universe, it’s that the universe itself doesn’t follow the same rules as the universe WE live in. Creating a wall of stars doesn’t impose an absolute limitation, because something is on the other side of the wall. It just means that you don’t get where you want to go using a mundane spaceship.

            I initially wrote a long response detailing my view of the Progenitors, but I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds. The two points I’ll say is that I strongly believe that the things people believe—the Progenitor myth, the belief in the Sovereigns—aren’t LITERALLY true, but that they are inspired by concrete facts. Aureon may not watch over the world, but there WAS a dragon named Ourelonastrix; if you find “The Orb of Aureon”, it may have been created by him. I see the Progenitors in the same way. To me, Eberron FEELS artificial—from the interlocked structure of the planes to the Draconic Prophecy itself. But that doesn’t mean it was literally created by three big dragons that got into a fight. It is a realm that is defined by arcane science, and to me, Eberron itself may be a creation of an immense work of arcane science—essentially, an arcane version of Ringworld. But that simply reinforces the idea that there’s something beyond the wall of stars. That the Progenitors may well have been from the equivalent of the civilization of Magrathea in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. That again, the Material Plane could just BE the equivalent of a solar system, and that there are countless others out there; it’s just that the space between them isn’t space as we know it.

            But again: I’m not trying to DISSUADE you from the approach you’re taking; just explaining the thoughts behind what I’m suggesting here.

          • I think a big issue is also that the meaning of Material Plane in D&D is very ambiguous, especially across the many different editions of the game. Some sources describe each solar system as its own Material Plane, which is the Spelljammer approach. Other sources reference ideas such as an infinite number of Material Plane worlds, implying a singular Material Plane consisting of the entire universe. To make things even blurrier, the Phlogiston of Spelljammer is also sometimes referred to as a Transitive Plane, so you could also make the interpretation that Spelljammer ships exit the Material Plane when they cross the barrier of a Crystal Sphere, and enters a different dimension of existence that enables magical, faster-than-light travel.

            So fundamentally, I don’t think it makes the universe in which Eberron exists in objectively smaller. It’s simply that the planes, moons, and magical phenomena that affect Eberron, affects Eberron only. If there’s some way for you to teleport from Eberron to, say, some exoplanet beyond the confines of Eberron’s cosmological bubble, you won’t be able to gain spells from the Eberron’s gods, planeshift to Eberron’s outer planes, and your Dragonshard-based magitech breaks down. By canon, you won’t even be able to find the stars you see in Eberron in the new alien sky, since Eberron’s stars aren’t real stars. That’s not the approach I personally take if only because I don’t want to deal with the astronomical implications of stars being some kind of cosmic illusion — but I also don’t begrudge it, given its potential for some kind of truly surreal and even Lovecraftian storytelling.

  18. The opening of the article gave me an intersting idea to make my own Giant-Quori War theory.

    What if Shira is right? The Titans/Giants wanted to conquer Dal Quor, because they didn’t want to go to Dolurrh after death… Dal Quor was more malleable if you’re a Lucid Dreamer. They could spent an eternity of luxury and pleasures in the plane of dreams!

    The Quori wanted to stop the Giants because they would turn the Age quickier. At same time — they are not fully innocents — they wanted to prevent their identities to be lost. So they made Docents, the Warforged and maybe, even they possessed the thri-kreen to avoid to the turn of age.

    As the Giants were not a monolyth front, also the Quori weren’t. Maybe some Quori joined a few Giants groups, trying to make peace or at least, find some compromise. Quori didn’t want their memories to disappear in the turn of the Age; Giants neither in Dolurrh. Maybe a few groups had found common ground.

  19. Wonderful, informative article as usual. But there remains the matter of…eclipses. Whatever form the Moons take, some appear to be large and close (Zarantyr) while others are little more than very bright stars (Rhaan, for example) that move.

    Do the Moons orbit in concentric circles around Eberron? If we assume Eberron orbits (or simulates an orbit to allow seasons and whatnot) Arrah, is that also on the same apparent two-dimensional space as the Moons?

    Now, what happens when one Moon passes in front of another, or appears dim when passing through Eberron’s shadow (cast by Arrah)? And then we have Moons passing between Eberron and Arrah — a smaller or more distant Moon might not even be noticed, but if Zarantyr eclipsed Arrah you’d get the full effect: Dark sky, solar corona, the works.

    One theory is that eclipses are just so commonplace that only obsessives and dedicated researchers even care. Another is the opposite — volumes and volumes of annotated notes tracking every eclipse and partial eclipse, linking them to the Prophecy or some other portent tied to the planes, with special attention paid to multi-moon conjunctions and the like, and a thriving astrology industry peddling auguries to the superstitious.

    • I think eclipses are quite common. There’s a number of places where we talk about alignments of the moons being important for rituals, eldritch devices, etc, and eclipses could play into those.

  20. Since the vacuum of space is still on the material plane, is it then possible, above and beyond the Moons themselves, to have manifest zones in the space between?

    I’m thinking a Black Hole may be some expression of a Mabarian manifest zone in space. Syranian manifest zones may provide an Eberron equivalent of “solar winds”. Comets may be chunks of ice out of Risia propelled by these winds.

    Lamannia may produce strange animals and plants that survive in the vacuum of space if someone wants that in their game.

  21. There’s a star mapping program called Celestia that allows for custom planets and moons. Someone had made a module for it that modeled Eberron and its moons.

    I made a Reddit post some time ago showcasing this, and pointing out how the Ring of Siberys should be visible anywhere.

    https://redd.it/4k6e7t

    • That is awesome. I would have seen the ring has having visible crystal-like dragon shards in the sky, but I don’t know how “scientifically” acceptable it is to have a ring with big chunk like that

    • This kind of blows up the 3.5e least dragonmark “know direction” power. Unless the weather as really bad. Or you are underground, but not deep enough to be in Khyber (where direction on Eberron becomes meaningless).

  22. So, since Arrah works like any other sun. It shouldn’t violate the Laws of Thermodynamics and be a nuclear fire of condensed gas. In stead, it’s connected to the Electric Circuit of the Galaxy and beyond. Arrah is an electric sun, is made of metallic hydrogen, and gives off CMEs, have sun spots, shoots off flares, and fires off a solar wind.

    Arrah is an active sun. A sun that captured Eberron long ago. Possibly during the time of the Giants. Begin your journey with the electric universe with this video:

    • Or, a lot of time, the Immovable Object spell, a bunch of ropes, and a broom of flying, and you can make an indefinite rope that you can climb to the stars.

  23. Hmm, assuming the moons are ‘Manifest Worlds’ and some moons can be seen in the sky of their associated plane-… What would one see if they looked up from the surface of such a moon? Would they see Eberron, the Ring of Siberys and the other moons? Or would they see their associated plane?

    Maybe they would usually see Eberron, but see the associated plane when it’s coterminous with the Material?

  24. Personally, I always figured that the moons would be good places for flat out alien creatures so that they could be revealed as the masterminds behind whatever the DM is running. Who caused the day of mourning? Aliens. That would throw those PCs for a loop. It’l be the end of my campaign- the PCs discover that none of the powerful mastermind factions were responsible for the destruction of Cyre. Instead it was the first step in an invasion plan from a race of true outsiders. The end of the campaign and start of the next one has king Boranel quoting Independence Day as the Dragons, Dreaming Dark, Demons, and all the various power players in Eberron unite to face off against the alien menace.

  25. Coincidental timing on the posting of this article. I started asking myself these questions just today. On reviewing the timeline, I noticed that the world of Eberron is older than our sun will be when it “dies.” This led me to believe that if Arrah “burns” under similar mechanisms as our Sun, it would be smaller than our Sun. If Eberron cosmologists are asking the questions of ‘Why hasn’t the fuel of Arrah been used up?’ It could lead to some story points to help fuel a space race.

    I know that any discrepancy in physics can be spirit fingered away as “Magic”, but I feel that at least considering the constraints of the real world adds the opportunity of creative solutions. For example, ‘Why hasn’t the fuel of Arrah been used up?’ is “Magic”, but lets me think of Arrah housing a portal that leaks the energy from some much larger source. Perhaps life after death is life in another crystal shell if you want to think of the ideas that all suns are stars. As stars can be seen as portals in Spelljammer.

    Thank you for the mention of Spelljammer, and refereing to some of the comments. I never really looked at it in detail until your mention here.

    • On reviewing the timeline, I noticed that the world of Eberron is older than our sun will be when it “dies.”
      Is that true? The 3.5 ECS timeline sets the beginning of the Age of Demons as ten MILLION years ago. My quick web search suggests that the lifespan of our sun is ten BILLION years. Am I missing something? Not that it’s an issue, just curious.

      • You’re right, Keith!
        Our sun is about 4.6 billion years old. The whole universe is about a Baker’s Dozen billions of years.

  26. I am really curious about how you matched up moons and planes. It would have been natural, for instance, to match the moon of midwinter (Vult) with Risia, Dolurrh or Mabar, and to match midsummer (Lharvion) with Irian. Does this get explained at all in Exploring Eberron?

  27. I have always, until reading this article, been thinking about moons & planes in Eberron setting as a whole “geocentric solar system”, where moons circle around “Material Plane” / “Earth” Eberron on “short orbits” and other planes revolves Eberron on more distant orbits, and all is submerged in astral “plane”, with all planes and moons visible on Eberron’s night sky. I imagined spells like plane shift as one of the way to travel space – but not exclusively, with possibility for Eberron denizens to develop “magitechnological” measure to reach Lamannia, Fernia or – given proper time or speed – even Xoriath. Furthermore, all cotermious and remote thing about planes made me think that this model was somehow canon :). After realisation that it’s not I wonder if there is something written in book or web sources (or in your idea of setting) which make this model contradictory to lore or impossible in other way?
    (sorry for bad English or possible mistakes – I’m not native speaker)

    • The planes are often depicted as “orbiting” to reflect their cycles of becoming coterminous or remote, but the idea is that they aren’t physically distant, because they are PART of the Material Plane. War, Life, Death, Nature—these are the components of life. When people dream, their spirits go to Dal Quor. The planes are always all around us; it’s just a question of which we’re closest to in each particular moment. So I’ve suggested that the moons could be PORTALS to the planes, but they aren’t the planes themselves — because the planes aren’t distant, they’re all around us. This also ties to the idea of manifest zones, which are points on Eberron that are especially close to particular planes – which is a little strange if the planes treated as physical locations.

  28. Thanks for the article!

    I was already thinking of doing a space race campaign for my second campaign on Eberron, due to events happening in the first that may trigger it, so this is beyond valuable! I hope I can read soon everything on Exploring Eberron to get more ideas about it.

    I had even thought about using the idea of moons as manifest worlds, but I’ve liked the focus on the Siberys Ring, much more strategical and certainly easier to get to.

    Being that magic is enhanced, do you think that traveling the planes would be easier there, as it could serve for permanent cross-planar portals sustained by the magic, or would it be easier to just run of manifest zones in Eberron?

    • Being that magic is enhanced, do you think that traveling the planes would be easier there…

      It seems plausible to me!

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