Dread Metrol: Into The Mists

The wolves of Karrnath howl at our gates. The vile necromancers of the north have brought their armies of the dead. But we are Cyrans. We do not give in to fear. What our dreams imagine, our hands create, and we have dreamt a dream of victory. It will take all that we have to give—even our very bones, so that the Karrns cannot turn our dead against us. But I know the Cyran heart, and I know that we will prevail. If you’re willing to wield a sword, report to the Vermishard of War; otherwise, report to the Vadalis Kennels for processing.

—Queen Dannel ir’Wynarn

In 994 YK, the Mourning swept across the nation of Cyre. The glorious capital of Metrol was one of the first cities to fall to the Mourning. But what if Metrol wasn’t destroyed in the Mourning? What if the city was lost in the mists, cut off from the rest of Eberron ever since that day? What if it has been under siege by what seem to be endless undead forces? How would Metrol survive? What would Queen Dannel do in pursuit of victory?

These are the questions posed in Dread Metrol: Into The Mists. We describe the book as a crossover with Ravenloft, and if you’ve read Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft you’ll recognize the core ideas of the Domain of Dread and the dark lord Dannel. But you don’t need to know anything about Ravenloft to explore Dread Metrol. All you need to know is that it’s a city that’s fallen through the cracks of reality and now is trapped in an endless siege. It’s a vision of Eberron where House Vadalis has weaponized wererats and where Cannith corpse collectors comb the city looking for spare parts. You can use it as a deadly detour for existing characters, adventurers who are torn from their regular world; or you can use it as the foundation for a new campaign, creating characters who could only emerge from this dark crucible.

Dread Metrol is a 110-page PDF that comes with a 10 high-resolution maps. The first half of the book is a deep dive into the city of Metrol, discussing the layout of the city and the forces that wield power within it. This also contains a section discussing adventurers from Metrol, whether as part of a Metrol campaign or as an unusual background for unusual characters. Do you want to play a Reborn halfling stitched together and animated by Jorasco chirugeons? Metrol is the place for it! It also contains the Mastermaker, an artificer archetype that replaces their own flesh with wood and steel. The second half of the PDF is “The Mourning After,” an adventure by Andrew Bishkinskyi set in Dread Metrol that can take characters from 1st to 4th level; the hooks provided can pull characters to Metrol, or the adventure can be used as the beginning of a campaign set in the city. In addition to all of this, Dread Metrol comes with a separate, 32-page player-friendly PDF that provides general information about Metrol without spoiling the deepest, darkest secrets!

The short form is that if Dread Metrol brings the themes of Ravenloft to Eberron and can serve as a bridge between the settings. But if you know nothing about Ravenloft, you can still explore the horrors of war in Metrol. And if you’re planning a Last War campaign, the sourcebook provides a snapshot of a city that now only exists as a ruin and a queen lost to the Mourning.

Dread Metrol: Into The Mists is a platinum seller on the DM’s Guild. Check it out now!

DREAD METROL Q&A

Previously you’ve suggested that Barovia could be a pre-Galifar Karrnath domain, and Strahd could be an ancient Karrnathi warlord. But the section on Mabar in Exploring Eberron suggests that the Hinterland consumes fragments within years or decades; how do you reconcile this with a pre-Galifar fragment that would be over a thousand years old?

The short answer is that while both can be found in the Hinterlands of Mabar, there’s crucial differences between a typical planar fragment and a domain of dread. The fragments are essentially being digested by Mabar, after which they become part of the plane. But a domain of dread isn’t just being digested; it is specifically designed to imprison and torment a darklord. The question is why. The most logical answer is that it is is how new Dark Powers are created—that somehow a darklord can evolve to become one of the Dark Powers. We see an example of this in the Queen of All Tears; for some time, she might have been a darklord imprisoned in a Hinterlands domain.

So essentially, standard fragments are digested over a period of years, but domains of dread exist for as long as it takes to complete the journey of the darklord, whether they ascend to the ranks of the Dark Power or somehow find release.

Dread Metrol says that Queen Dannel was crowned in 943 YK and was 17 years old at that time. So she’s 73 years old?

That’s correct! those dates and her age were established in Five Nations and Forge of War. If that seems surprisingly old, keep in mind that (as seen on the cover) Dannel has made construct improvements to herself; beyond that, she may well receive experimental Jorasco treatments that limit the effects of aging.

How would you integrate the haunted lightning rail—Cyre 1313—from Van Richten’s Guide with Dread Metrol?

The two are different domains, and part of the theme of Dread Metrol is its absolute isolation. So by default, I wouldn’t integrate the two. However, there is a lightning rail station in Metrol; if I was running a Dread Metrol campaign and was ready to change things up, I might have Cyre 1313 pull into the station. I would expect there to be a flood of people trying to get to the train; how will the adventurers get to the front of that line, and what intrigues might carry onto the train when it leaves?

Falkovnia in Van Richten’s Guide is a “Domain Besieged by the Dead.” Is Dread Metrol basically the same thing?

There are certainly similarities between the two domains; both explore the horrors of war and an extended undead siege. The primary differences are the intensity of the siege and the application of arcane science—both as employed by the attacking forces and the people of Metrol. In Falkovnia, criminals are impaled; in Metrol, they’re taken to the Vadalis Kennels or given to Cannith as spare parts. In Falkovnia, new zombies show up on the night of the new moon. In Metrol, new forces emerge from the mists each night, and they may bring mystical siege weapons and arcane bombardment. You can wander the ruined countryside in Falkovnia; in Metrol, the city is the domain, and all that lies beyond the walls are blasted battlefields.

So the two domains explore a number of overlapping fiends—but aside from the possibility of fighting some zombies, an adventure in Metrol will be quite different from one in Falkovnia.

Will this be available in print?

Not at the moment. We’re looking into this, but there are certain restrictions—and also, print on demand costs have increased dramatically.

That’s all for now! You can find Dread Metrol: Into The Mists on the DM’s Guild.

20 thoughts on “Dread Metrol: Into The Mists

  1. If you run Dread Metrol in Ravenloft proper, what do you think Van Richten or his nieces would have to say about Metrol as a warning to other travelers?

    If you isolate Metrol to Mabar, if someone could pierce the Mists, what neighboring lands might they find in the Hinterlands that haven’t yet been consumed by the Eternal Night?

    • Really if Dread Metrol is run in Ravenloft PROPER (not 5E’s no core, Dark Powers are vestiges nonsense), the biggest question is the foreign policy, and technology. TL9 domains like Dementlieu are actually going to have technology Galifar never had, or accomplishes in very different ways. Those from TL9 areas, or at least well familiar with them as the narrators in Ravenloft books are, would see Metrol’s use of Arcane Technology in the same way we (are supposed to) see aliens that use living beings as technology.

    • If you run Dread Metrol in Ravenloft proper, what do you think Van Richten or his nieces would have to say about Metrol as a warning to other travelers?
      The fact of the matter is that I’ve never actually read any Ravenloft material before VRG. So I really don’t know much about the sort of advice Van Richten gives. Given that you likely know more about the subject than I do, what advice do YOU think they’d give?

      • Dr. Rudolph Van Richten is a well-traveled man who has a knack for uncovering the darkest places in the Domains of Dread, but also is a steadfast steward of hope.

        With impossible knowledge, Van Richten might explain how the bizarre magebreeding of the spiderhorse ensures that the average specimen lives for about 15 years and refined silk rope produced by them could suspend nearly 2000 pounds, despite there being likely less than four years for the creatures to have been reared… but Van Richten has also been presented in a gazetteer fashion, so the good doctor might let wary Mist travelers know that despite the dire circumstances, refuge can be found in the hidden Northshore home of Amaranth Shol, a Phiarlan excoriate-turned-necromancer who has years of experience in countering the undead legions of Karrnath.

        The Weathermay-Foxgrove sisters take a more adventurous approach to continuing their adoptive uncle’s work, so the twins could warn would-be Metrol visitors of noticeable patterns the attacking undead seem to adhere to, or more importantly places or objects they avoid… that skeletons might ignore those with faces painted in Karrn blood, or that the taste of Deneith is anathema to the zombies occupying the ruins of the Stalwart Sentinel tavern in the Lycaeum.

        Whether from Van Richten or the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins, they generally present information as a way for heroes to bring the light to the darkness and fight back against the forces of supernatural evil.

    • How much of the content of Dread Metrol will be of use to someone whose campaign is still 3.5ed, not 5ed?
      Most of the first have of the book is pure lore as opposed to mechanics, and should be useful regardless of edition. But I believe there’s a 20-page free preview if you go to the product page — so you can certainly take a look and see what you think!

  2. Honestly I just love the horror aspects, the slow, “Stalingrad-esque” desperation of this little private hell. Dread Metrol is certainly a place I want to spring on my players one day

  3. Funnily enough, in my current Eberron campaign, the party is currently in the Mournland and is heading to the ruined Metrol to retrieve some priceless heirlooms that were consumed in the Mists of Mourning when Queen Dannel and the rest of Metrol died. I’ve actually already included a minor-villain in the campaign that was the spectral form of the Last Passenger from Cyre 1313 that was bound to the Mist of the Mournland until the souls of the Mourned exiled him to Ravenloft to become the Dark Lord (Last Passenger) of the Mourning Rail, so I’m definitely going to use this.

  4. Question. Would Minara Vol have been a dark lord of her own dread domain? And if so what would her domain have been like? Would it be the last stand of Vol?

    • Would Minara Vol have been a dark lord of her own dread domain?
      If you follow the idea that the dread domains are used to incubate Dark Powers, then yes, Minara Vol would definitely have been a dark lord of her own dread domain.

      And if so what would her domain have been like? Would it be the last stand of Vol?
      To answer that question, you’d have to dig deeper into her history than we ever had, just like we had to delve deeper into Dannel’s history in making her a dark lord. There’s undoubtedly a lot we don’t know about Minara, and I think the core of her domain lies in that past. How did she become involved with the Emerald Claw? What sacrifices did she make in paving the way for Erandis’s birth? Personally, I’d make the domain closer to Lamordia — focusing on the rise of the project that created the Apex dragonmarks as opposed to how that project came to an end. On the other hand, you could certainly focus on the pure tragedy and have it be focused on the final days and the sacrifices that were made.

  5. Is there any particular reason the mastermaker can make their battlefist finesse when it already uses intelligence? Also, what are your thoughts on how most dark lords are human? I recently rematch made in abyss and it honestly has me curious about making the Realm Below in the Moor Holds a domain of Dread

    • First thing that comes to mind, mechanically for the battlefist, is being able to use sneak attack as a rogue multiclass if it has that finesse property.

    • Is there any particular reason the mastermaker can make their battlefist finesse when it already uses intelligence?
      As others have suggested, it builds multiclass synergy.

      Also, what are your thoughts on how most dark lords are human?
      I see no reason for most of the dark lords of Eberron to be human. I’ve suggested elsewhere that if I were to adapt existing domains to Eberron, I would spread them throughout the history of Eberron and change the core species to reflect that. I could see Borca as an ancient elven domain or imagine Falkovnia as a Dhakaani outpost. It would be fun to take a random domain — say, the Carnival — and make the base species GIANTS, saying it’s drawn from ancient Xen’drik. Regardless, I do not feel that there’s something special about humanity in this regard. Looking to the Dark Powers of Mabar, the one who was clearly once mortal was an elf.

  6. If you wanted to make what happened to Metrol unrelated to the Mourning, how would you do so? Opportunistic dark powers saw their opportunity and took it?

  7. How might players discover the means to dispatch the dark lord of Dresd Metrol in actual play? The method seems so internal tonyeblord as to be impossible to discover in real game.

  8. Was there any intentional similarity with dread metrol and the third siege of korth (forge of war). As it’s quite ironic how alike they are. I’m thinking if I where to run it the undead are using the same tactics as Dannel had the warforged do.

  9. Pretty interesting idea for a Domain of Dread.

    I wonder how the Domain could interact with fiends like the rakshasa, would they be trapped even if they die? that would probably be as bad as being trapped in Khyber.
    I doubt it would bother a daelkyr beign trapped inside a domain, they might find interesting the possibilities behind that tiny Petri dish.

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