Dragonmarks 5/23/16: What Comes Next?

It’s a busy time right now. Phoenix: Dawn Command is on the move, and we’re making plans for our demo events at Gen Con. If you’re attending GenCon, I recommend checking out our main seminar on Phoenix… but there will also be opportunities to try out the game itself. I’m looking forward to exploring the world of Phoenix in more depth once the game is out.

At the same time, there’s a lot of material I’d like to create for Eberron if the opportunity presents itself. So this question at the top of the Q&A pile caught my eye.

Which supplements are you most eager to write?

There’s still no news on when – or for that matter if – Eberron will be unlocked for people to use in the DM’s Guild. However, I’m still optimistic that it will happen sometime in the next few months or years. But if it happened tomorrow… what would I start writing?

The short answer is that there’s far more things I’d like to write than I realistically will have time to create. given that, I’m very curious what you would like to read. I’m more interested in exploring regions of the world that haven’t been dealt with in depth than just revisiting the same core locations. But here’s just a few things I’d love to develop, if the opportunity ever presents itself.

THEMES OF EBERRON

There’s a few sorts of stories that work well in Eberron that don’t necessarily work in every setting. Any of these could be explored in greater depth, providing both character options related to that theme (backgrounds, spells, class options, tools, skill applications) and information for the DM about developing and running adventures or campaigns focused on that concept. A few possible themes that could be explored…

  • Investigation. How to make mystery the central theme of an adventure or entire campaign. This would include options for the professional Inquisitive along with general ways to work mysteries and investigation part of a compelling story. As an Eberron product, it could also explore the existing detectives of Eberron (Tharashk, Medani), and present both organizations, locations, and situations well-suited to such stories. 
  • Espionage. The Five Nations are caught in a cold war as everyone races to unlock the secrets of the Mourning and to prepare for the next war. How can this shadow war impact your stories? What about the other forces at play, from the Trust and the Houses of Shadow to the ancient struggle between the Chamber and the Lords of Dust? As with Investigation, this would present options for players and storytellers alike. 
  • Dreaming. Dreams are something that has always intrigued me. In Eberron, Dal Quor is the underpinning of reality, a place we all touch when we sleep. How can dreams affect and enhance a campaign? How can players interact with the Quori? Could you play a character who is a vestige of an ancient dream somehow returned to the waking world? This would explore both the casual use of dreams in a story and ways to make them a central focus of a campaign, along with new options for players and DMs. 

These are just a few examples. I could see Themes about Crime (campaigns based around the underworld of Sharn, Stormreach, or other major cities); Death (What exactly happens when you die? How can mortals interact with Dolurrh? What lies beyond?); Prophecy (What are practical ways to incorporate the Draconic Prophecy into a campaign? Could you have a cleric devoted to the Prophecy, or a bard who specializes in interpreting it? ); War (How can the Last War affect a campaign? Where is new violence most likely to occur, and what happens if it does?) and many more.

PLANES OF EBERRON

At the moment, the planes are little more than high concepts. I’d like to do a piece on each plane, discussing…

  • The metaphysical role of the plane, and how it relates both to Eberron and the other planes. I think in some cases my personal vision of each plane isn’t clearly presented; see the discussion about Syrania in last week’s Q&A for an example of this.
  • The inhabitants of the plane: their nature, culture, goals, and interaction both with one another and outsiders.
  • Examples of manifest zones, coterminous/remote effects, and other ways that the plane’s influence can be felt on Eberron.
  • Notable locations, story hooks, and other ways that the plane can be a meaningful part of a story.

There’s 13 planes, not to mention the discussion of demiplanes. Rather than spending months working on a single massive tome, I’d likely want to do this as a monthly thing, with a new plane every month or so.

THE GOBLIN HANDBOOK

I’ve long wanted to do a comprehensive sourcebook on the goblins of Eberron. Different sections of this would include Goblin PCs, including character options, ways to integrate goblinoids into normal adventuring parties, and themes and ideas for goblinoid parties and campaigns; Dhakaan, a more in-depth look at history, the clans, and tools and techniques of Dhakaan; Darguun, a detailed look at the nation, including more details on major cities, ruins and other interesting adventure location, factions, plot hooks, and more; The Khesh’dar, the Silent Clans; and possibly a look at running a campaign set during the Xoriat Incursion. To do this probably, I’d want to team up with Don Bassingthwaite on a number of things… but I think that could happen.

DROAAM: NATION OF MONSTERS

Droaam is one of my favorite regions of Eberron, both because of the vast range of adventuring options and because it’s interesting to explore the cultures and possibilities that can evolve from a foundation of unified monsters. As with Darguun, I’d love to present options for PCs or campaigns starting out of Droaam; explore the politics and power groups; look at the locations that can drive stories, including Graywall, Khazaak Draal, and the Great Crag; delve deeper into the Daughters of Sora Kell; and generally explore the story potential of the region.

THE DEMON WASTES

As I’ve mentioned in previous Q&As, the Demon Wastes are an area ripe for adventurers, but one that isn’t explored in much depth in the current material. It’s more than just a barren wasteland; it’s a nexus of demiplanes and manifest zones, and home to a host of ancient evils. What lurks in the Lair of the Keeper? What treasures await in Ashtakala? What are the dangers of the Labyrinth, and what is the saga of the Ghaash’kala orcs who guard it? Who are the demons of the Wastes, and what threat do they pose to the world beyond? In addition to resources for building adventures, this would also explore options for PCs from the Demon Wastes, including the Ghaash’kala.

A BOOK OF BEGINNINGS

Quite often, groups of adventurers have no coherent story. Each character is born in isolation, and they come together in a tavern to fight evil and gain gold because that’s what they have to do so we can play this adventure tonight. But an adventure can be far more satisfying if the entire party has a shared story. This would explore this concept both at a high level and concretely, presenting different sorts of player groups and shared stories and looking at how this could influence an entire campaign. Are you Cyran veterans fighting to find a place in a world after the war? Are you agents of the Citadel on a mission for the Brelish crown, or crusaders united in service to the Sovereign Host or Silver Flame? Are you operatives of the Twelve, and if so, do you share a common dream or are each of you putting the interests of your family first? Or might you actually be experiements of the Twelve… magebred humans escaped from a Vadalis facility?

This would present a number of compelling concepts, along with player options tied to each concept and ideas for DMs to explore.

TIMES PAST

I don’t particularly want to advance the timeline… but I’d be interested in exploring the past in more depth. Any of the following times could make an interesting period for adventuring.

  • The Last War. What adventures are possible in the midst of the War itself? This would explore the potential of a Last War campaign, dealing both with martial conflict and the unexpected challenges that can arise in Eberron – such as when your unit stumbles upon a passage to Khyber or an ancient Dhakaani ruin in the midst of what would otherwise be a simple operation. This would also explore the tools of war – spells and items employed on the battlefield. 
  • The Lycanthropic Purge. Two centuries ago, a threat arose in the west that could have destroyed Galifar itself. It was a terrifying and brutal conflict. What did it look like on the ground? Do you want to take on the roles of the templars battling the darkness or the innocents struggling to survive it? 
  • The War of the Mark. Will you play a squad of Dragonmarked heirs fighting against the darkness? Or a group of persecuted Aberrants struggling to survive? Either way, it’s a chance to delve into the prehistory of modern civilization… and to explore aberrant marks and dragonmarks in more depth.
  • The Xoriat Incursion. The Empire of Dhakaan is at its height, but the world is falling apart. The armies of Madness have clawed their way into reality, and now the Dhakaani must seek allies from across Eberron to stand against the armies of the Daelkyr. This is a chance to explore a very different vision of Khorvaire, and to face one of the most terrifying forces in the setting.

That’s seven core concepts already, and already around twenty ideas if you break all the individual possibilities out. And I could come up with more. So really, one of the most important questions is what do you want to read? Do any of the above ideas actually appeal to you? Let me know in the comments!

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