Exploring Eberron: Dhakaan

Illustration by Kristof Koteles

In Exploring Eberron, I delve into topics I’ve been wanting to exploring in more detail for over a decade. One of these is the Kech Dhakaan, the goblinoids who still maintain the traditions of the Empire of Dhakaan. This section examines Dhakaani history, the active clans, and provides support for playing characters from the Kech Dhakaan—as well as a glossary if you’re worried about keeping track of all those dar words!

I don’t want to give a release date for Exploring Eberron until I’m sure of it; I am still wrapping up the final pieces now. But we’re getting very close, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

As always, thanks to my Patreon supporters: I’ll be posting the requested Dolurrh article tomorrow!

22 thoughts on “Exploring Eberron: Dhakaan

  1. This is definitely part of Exploring Eberron I look forward to having in my hands, thumbing through a physical copy. These details are fantastic.

  2. Do you have any advice for how to pitch Eberron goblinoids for players who are only used to standard D&D squeaky-and-green?

  3. Maabet, I should be used to last-minute delays, but I just keep checking every day for word on this. More the fool me.

    Hey, you may not be sure when it’s going to be released, but could you tell us how much it’s going to cost? I’ve been saving money for the print version.

  4. I’d like to get a taste of what the Darguuls — the Ghaal’dar and Guul’dar clans that comprise Darguun — think of the Kech Dhakaan. To me, “arrogant” and “condescending“ spring to mind, followed by “conspiring to overthrow Lhesh Haruuc.” The clans who joined Haruuc’s Rebellion are proud of their achievements — who are these Dar crawling out of their vaults in Khyber (or Khyber-adjacent)? Where were they when Haruuc called the clans to war? When Rhukaan Draal was built? When Thronehold was negotiated?

    Even those Darguuls who respect or even admire what the Kech Dhakaan stand for should balk at their drive to start a new war of conquest. They know the Five Kingdoms are nothing like the primitive tribes of Orcs, Gnomes, Halflings and Lizardfolk the old Empire defeated and relocated so many millennia ago. For all their superior discipline and equipment, the Kechs haven’t faced airships, floating forts, Warforged, Karrnathi undead, Thrane crusaders, and so much more.

    • All of these points – and more – are discussed in this section of Exploring Eberron. This is just a tiny fragment of the content. So, you’ll have your answers soon!

      With that said, the general answer is that the ghaal’dar have no idea who or what the Kech Dhakaan ARE. Just as all humans aren’t allies just because they happen to be human, the Kech Dhakaan don’t see the Ghaal’dar as allies… which means that they aren’t ANNOUNCING their true nature or intentions. They have emerged at this moment because since the rise of Darguun as a nation MANY goblinoid clans previously isolated in the mountains and the depths are emerging, and there’s a lot of diversity among them – so there’s a lot of cover. Lhesh Haruuc knows the Kech Shaarat are an extremely well equipped and arrogant clan. They talk about muut and atcha, but that’s popular at the moment. He doesn’t realize that they are ACTUALLY a direct line back to Dhakaan, yet. Once the next emperor has been chosen and the Keepers are united, THEN they will decide how to deal with the Ghaal’dar, and only then consider war with the Five Nations.

      • So after Haruuc’s Rebellion there was an influx of isolated clans who were neither Ghaal’dar nor Kech Dhakaan all wanting to join, and hidden among them were the first elements of the Kech Shaarat and Kech Volaar. Cool.

        What about immigrants from the rest of Khorvaire, who have no clan and maybe can’t even speak Goblin? Does Darguun have a way to integrate them into society? Maybe form new clans?

        I can see most of the rest (like the Kech Ghaalrac you’ve written about before) choosing to remain hidden, but what of the Khesh’dar, the all-goblin Silent Clans? Are they known at all or Just the stuff of myths and wild rumors? Can Darguuls with money (say, a clan chief or member of Haruuc’s court) hire a spy or assassin?

          • Could a promising ghaal’dar female train with the Dirge Singers?

            There are complications that will become clear when the full book is released. Most of the Kech wouldn’t accept an outsider, but the Kech Volaar believe that it may be possible to integrate with outsiders. Training an outside ghaal’dar as a duur’kala would be a logical experiment in pursuit of that; can they grasp Dhakaani values?

        • What about immigrants from the rest of Khorvaire, who have no clan and maybe can’t even speak Goblin? Does Darguun have a way to integrate them into society?

          Sure! It’s called “Slavery.” Haruuc is working on improving things, but Darguun is NOT an especially enlightened and kind society. The Ghaal’dar and Marguul both enslaved other goblinoids – especially goblins – before they exapanded back out into the wider world, and it’s been noted that Haruuc doesn’t think he has enough support among the Ghaal’dar clans to end this practice. The Ghaal’dar leaders respect STRENGTH. After all, how did they GET the land they stand on? Not by asking for it; they TOOK it. If your immigrants come in large enough numbers to FORM their own clan and to stand against the others, then fine, they’ll have a place; and that’s exactly what the Kech Shaarat, for example, did. Haruuc didn’t GIVE them anything; they sent a representative to his court, said “We hold this land in the Seawall Mountains, and if you want it you’ll have to fight us for it” because that’s the Ghaal’dar way. Harruc recognized the claim, and they recognized him as Lhesh, or at least claimed to.

          So no: Haruuc isn’t going to start some sort of land-for-random-immigrants plan. There may well be clans who are willing to accept immigrants as part of their labor force, but unless you possess valuable skills you’ll be starting at the bottom, and slavery is still on the table.

          I can see most of the rest (like the Kech Ghaalrac you’ve written about before) choosing to remain hidden, but what of the Khesh’dar, the all-goblin Silent Clans? Are they known at all or Just the stuff of myths and wild rumors? Can Darguuls with money (say, a clan chief or member of Haruuc’s court) hire a spy or assassin?

          The Khesh’dar are discussed in more detail in Exploring Eberron.

  5. And with this, my desire to have Exploring Eberron in my hands has become uncontrollable…

    As a DM I’m leading a campaign in Darguun and preparing it, I have studied the people of Dars and the possible conflicts between the various clans.
    All the literature (manuals and books) available today on Eberron led me to define the following list of Ghaal’dar clans: Rhukhaan Taash, Kech Volaar, Kech Shaarat, Gan’duur, Gantii vus, Ja’aram, Mur Talaan. For the Marguul I found only the Kalkor, while for the golin’dar (goblin) the Shaarat’khesh and Taarka’khesh.

    Will Exploring Eberron provide a list of notable clan characters, including clan leaders?
    In my campaign I have defined that Lhesh Haruuc commands a War Council, in which the leaders of the 12 most powerful clans of Darguun are assembled. Does my idea run counter to what will come out in Exploring Eberron?
    For bugbear clans, are there also “more civilized” clans?
    For goblin clans, are there clans other than Kesh, i.e. free from oaths (or similar)?
    Will there be details about Kurmaac druids stationed at Gathering Stone?
    I read (but perhaps I misunderstood) that the Dar were originally one race. Will anything be revealed / described about it? Why did they split up into Hobgoblins, Bugbears and Goblins?
    Before the Age of Monsters, what were the Dar like?
    The Dhakaan empire had a very important millennial history, the traces of which still remain today. Will there be a Timeline table with important dates and events? Are there details about the wars against the daelkyrs?
    Will there be description and maps of the most important Draal (cities)? I am referring to Rhukaan Draal, Cazhaak Draal, Volar Draal, Suthar Draal, Paluur Draal.

  6. How do you see the Dhakaani view on the other monstrous races? . Do the monstrous races still tell tales of the past involving the Dhakaani? I believe you’ve said before that the empire just took the best land and pushed out other races but I cant help but feel there must of been some bit of trade and overlap in cultural influence since all the monstrous races read and write goblin to this day it seems. As always I love these articles and cant wait to purchase Exploring Eberron.

    • How do you see the Dhakaani view on the other monstrous races?

      Largely indifferent. What we’ve said is that the Dhakaani didn’t take slaves but were willing to coexist with other species, just on the principle of “You exist over there.” They took the BEST lands, but they didn’t need or take ALL lands. They had trade relationships with the cultures on their borders and may also have had subject nations—tributaries with Dhakaani LEADERS, but that they didn’t try to fully integrate into the empire.

      Do the monstrous races still tell tales of the past involving the Dhakaani?

      On some level, sure. Consider that in Droaam they still use the Dhakaani names of locations like Cazhaak Draal. They know the general story of “Great Empire Destroyed By The Daelkyr.” At the same time we’re talking about a nation that fell FIVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO and a lot of cultures that had no written history (just because player characters can read or write doesn’t mean that these CULTURES have always placed a high value on literacy). So there are surely SOME stories that linger, but the degree of historical accuracy is likely very low.

      • Ah, this explains some of the story behind Karg recovering that aberration-bane sword intended for a giant in a Dhakaani Ruin in Droaam from Sharn: City of Towers. I was confused about whether ogres were better integrated into the various parts of the Dhakaani Empire than other monsters and how that lined up with the history of ogres in Borunan.

      • Thanks for the response! I always need to remember just how many millennia has passed since the fall of the Dhakaani. I wonder if even the Heirs of Dhakaan would seem alien to their forbears after all this time.

        • The Kechs exiled themselves near the end of the Empire, after the Daelkyr incursion, so to me they inevitably lost a lot compared to Dhakaan’s pre-Daelkyr peak.

          Not nearly as much as the goblinoids who stayed on the surface during the collapse and the Desperate Times, but even with the finest discipline and best intentions, no culture survives in stasis for some 6,000 years.

          • Not nearly as much as the goblinoids who stayed on the surface during the collapse and the Desperate Times, but even with the finest discipline and best intentions, no culture survives in stasis for some 6,000 years.

            … Unless something supernatural is involved. You’re seeing a piece of the text out of context, but there’s an important element that unites the Kech Dhakaan and explains WHY they haven’t strayed far from the path over vast periods of time.

          • Restoration of the dar’s eusocial bond during the long exile? just a wild guess….

            Although…isn’t the existence of two monoracial kechs (the Khesh’dar again) proof that the pure eusocial bond of old Dhakaan did break, and stayed broken?

          • The Khesh’dar were monoracial before the Kech isolation. It’s not required for all dar to live as one, it’s required for them to play their role and to work together in service of the empire. The Khesh’dar never needed guul’dar or ghaal’dar to help them perform their duties.

            But all of this and more will be discussed in Exploring Eberron.

  7. Regarding goblins in general, do you have any recommendations of illustrations that show how you imagine they appear (other than the one in your example here)? When I go online and look for images of hobgoblins and orcs, their features often appear interchangeable.

  8. Fantastic! I’m extremely excited to get my hands on this book.. the Dar have always been my favorite!

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