I’ve just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund my new RPG, Phoenix: Dawn Command. I don’t have any news at this point about Eberron for 5E, though I still believe that progress is being made on that front. Which means it’s a good time to answer the following question…
How would you adapt Phoenix to work in the Eberron setting? I want to try Phoenix, but I can’t let go of the setting. Is there space in there for Phoenixes?
In Phoenix: Dawn Command you take on the roles of Phoenixes – champions imbued with supernatural power and the ability to return from death up to seven times. Death is actually how a character becomes more powerful; each time you die you learn lessons from your previous life.
The trick is that there’s more to Phoenix than playing a hero with seven lives. The game is set in a fantasy world facing a existential threat: a plague of supernatural horrors that mortal forces cannot overcome, and that have slowly but surely been consuming the known world. Part of creating a character in Phoenix is determining why you fight – what you’ve lost to the Dread, what you still care about – but Phoenix is a game about facing an enigmatic force that could destroy your world. This is part of what makes the seven lives structure work. In Phoenix, you regularly face unknown threats with terrible odds… and quite often it is more important to find a way to accomplish your mission than it is to survive. It is a setting that calls for heroic sacrifice.
So: it’s a trivial matter to insert Phoenixes into Eberron. The question is how you would provide that same sense of urgency that makes Phoenixes feel necessary – and where choosing to sacrifice your life to accomplish a task feels worthwhile.
One possibility would be to amp up the threat posed by the Mourning – to say that the Mourning is expanding, and that terrors are emerging to threaten people on its borders. Meanwhile, Phoenixes are something that first appear after the Day of Mourning; the first Phoenixes could be Cyrans who died in the Mourning, only to return with the power to face this threat. This would reflect the other aspect of Phoenix, which is that the threat is a mystery. As I mention in this post, it’s not just about whether you can fight the Dread, it’s whether you can unlock its secrets.
I could also see a high-tension game set around the Dragonmarked houses. Perhaps the Phoenixes are a creation of the Twelve – a joint project of Vadalis and Jorasco – who have escaped from their creators with knowledge of some sinister plan. Now they are fighting a shadow war against the houses while being constantly hounded by their other secret forces – sort of Dark Angel meets Shadowrun.
The main point of this: there’s more to Phoenix than the death mechanic. I love the Phoenix setting as well. It’s something I’ll reveal more about in the days ahead, and it’s something that is tied around the idea of Phoenixes. So you certainly COULD run Phoenix in Eberron, but I’d check out the new setting first!
And with that in mind, I’ll leave you with some of the threats you might encounter in Phoenix!