FAQ: Exploring Eberron

Exploring Eberron is now available on the DM’s Guild. I wanted to take a moment to answer questions about the book, both general questions and some very specific ones…

GENERAL
What’s “Exploring Eberron?”

Exploring Eberron (ExE) is a 248 page sourcebook for the Eberron Campaign Setting, using the fifth edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s written by setting creator Keith Baker (hi!) along with Will Brolley, Wayne Chang, and Laura Hirsbrunner.

No, I mean what’s IN the book?

ExE is a deep dive into elements of Eberron that haven’t been explored in past sourcebooks, including the planes of Eberron, the aquatic civilizations of the Thunder Sea, Droaam, the Dhakaani goblinoids, the Mror Holds, and the Last War, along with Keith’s personal thoughts on the religions and races of Eberron. All in all, about 200 pages of the book are lore, with a heavy focus on how you can use this information to generate interesting stories or characters. The remaining 48 pages include new races, subraces, feats, backgrounds, archetypes. magic items, and monsters. You can check out the table of contents here.

Is it official content?

No. This is not produced by WotC and it does not match all previous canon sources. This is Keith’s personal view of Eberron and what he does in his Eberron campaigns.

Where can I get it? What formats?

Currently, Exploring Eberron is exclusively available on the DM’s Guild. It’s available as a PDF or as a print-on-demand hardcover. A bundle allows you to get the PDF for $5 when you buy the hardcover.

If I buy the PDF now and then want to buy the hardcover later, can I retroactively get the bundle?

No, the DM’s Guild doesn’t have a system in place that makes this possible.

Is it going to be available on D&D Beyond? Roll20? Fantasy Grounds?

It’s not official content and will not be on D&D Beyond, for a host of different reasons. We are exploring the possibility of conversions on other online platforms. At the moment it is only available on the DM’s Guild.

THE PROCESS

What parts of Exploring Eberron were ideas you’d had for years as opposed to ideas you developed while writing the book?

It’s not quite so clear cut. Almost all of the topics in Exploring Eberron are subjects I’ve wanted to write about for a decade. I sketched out the Thunder Sea—with the balance of power between the powerful Sahuagin nation and the sea elf colony, with the neutral, nomadic merfolk—as part of the setting bible in 2003; that setting bible likewise included the idea of the nation of monsters that eventually became Droaam, and the idea of the goblins having lost a great empire. I developed the planes with Bill Slavicsek, James Wyatt, and Chris Perkins as we developed the ECS in 2004. But all I had were the basic IDEAS. I didn’t work out the SPECIFICS of the Sahuagin nation or name the noble line of sea elves. We knew Fernia was the Sea of Fire, but back in 2004 we DIDN’T know exactly how it differed from the elemental planes.

Over the course of the next decade, all of these things evolved in their own way. Writing The Queen of Stone and “Backdrop Graywall” gave me an opportunity to explore Droaam in more depth. I established the basic framework of Mabar in the article I wrote on this blog a few years ago. But that was essentially a first draft. Notably, I said that one of the powers of Mabar was the Queen of All Tears. But at the time, I didn’t know who she was. I had a general vision of a tragic undead figure. But it wasn’t until I was writing the Mabar section of Exploring Eberron that I decided she was once mortal, and thought about what tragic figure from established canon could fit that part. I always knew that the slaadi were residents of Kythri, but it wasn’t until working on ExE that I thought about what made them different from the slaadi of other settings.

So most of the BROAD concepts had been in place for decades; the primary exception would the the Mror Dwarves (with the Realm Below and Ruinbound dwarves), as that’s new angle we specifically developed in Rising From The Last War. But many of the specifics were developed over the last year, because I finally had an opportunity to spend sufficient time to really think them through.

Is there some chapter or meaningful content that didn’t make the final cut of ExE?

There’s not a lot of material that I WROTE that we didn’t use. There’s a few things, like the Shavarath denizens table I’ve posted as a Patreon exclusive. But keep in mind that the book is 80 pages longer than we originally planned, precisely because I DIDN’T want to cut a lot of ideas that I loved. However, it is the case that I had to limit the scope of some of my original ideas. For example, originally I planned to do a write up on each of the major warlords of Droaam, similar in scope and style to the write-up for the Cults of the Dragon Below: describing the warlord, their personality, their history, their minions, their story hooks. We actually commissioned a fantastic image of Sheshka, the Queen of Stone. But as things went on, I realized both that we didn’t have room and that it didn’t actually feel like the right content for what is largely a player-focused book… that it was more appropriate for a book that mainly focused on organizations, threats, monsters, etc. Honestly, that’s the biggest piece of restricted scope that comes to mind, and it’s something I definitely WILL write at some point; it just didn’t fit here. But again, it’s not that I WROTE it and then we cut it; it’s that I realized it didn’t fit, so I DIDN’T write it.

What is your favorite new thing in “kanon” that appears for the first time in this book?

It’s a difficult choice. I love all my children. I’m particularly happy with the Queen of All Tears; I always liked the concept of her, but when the final piece of her story fell into place, it was just such a perfect fit. In general, I’m thrilled with all of the planes; there were a number (Kythri, Risia, Fernia) where initially I wasn’t actually sure they would be especially compelling… but whn I sat down and actually explored the idea, something wonderful came together.

Insofar as you’re thinking ahead right now, are you planning on focusing on your non-Eberron, non-D&D work for a while? When you do your next project for DMG, do you anticipate an adventure pack, or a more focused book of lore? Do you envision ever doing another book on the scale of ExE, or is the prospect too horrifying to contemplate at the moment?

I’m still determining the answer to that question. Wayne and I started working on Exploring Eberron over a year ago, and until last week we didn’t actually know how well it would do. This is what I do for a living, so that matters; if it doesn’t make enough money, I HAVE to pursue work that will keep a roof over my head. So I didn’t make plans for another major book because I didn’t know if I could afford to. But I love writing about Eberron and there are many more elements of the world I WANT to explore; it’s always just been a question of what’s feasible.

I do have non-D&D projects I’m working on, including The Adventure Zone: Bureau of Balance and a new Gloom project I’m working on. And I do want to do SOMETHING with my roleplaying game Phoenix: Dawn Command; I love the system and I’ve wanted to revisit it for some time. However, I still love Eberron and don’t want to lose momentum. I will be continuing to work on this website and working to increase the value of being a Patreon supporter; the more supporters I have, the more I can do with the site.

So having said all of that: Wayne and I have already talked about a number of possible projects for KB Presents. I will say that I’m not going to jump right into another 240 page book; I want to work on a few smaller projects before diving into that again. But I think you’ll be happy with all of the things we’re considering, and I’ll share more once there’s something concrete to share.

I understand you’ve played characters in Eberron games using some of the subclasses in this book. Can you tell us about them?

The preface of Exploring Eberron has an image of a warforged druid. This was a gift commissioned by Wayne; it’s Rose, a warforged druid I played in a campaign run by my friend Dan Garrison, the co-designer of Phoenix: Dawn Command. The campaign began at a party in Metrol on the night of the Mourning, and Dan provided the players with a list of basic character concepts to choose from and expand upon. I chose the warforged companion of the Princess of Cyre, a special commission for the royal family; classes weren’t setting, and I decided the companion would be named Rose, and would have the capabilities of a druid. As I have long loved the idea of warforged druids turning into living construct animals, I did the first pass on what became the Circle of the Forged druid. Long story short: the party was epic; we danced the Tago with knives; Metrol was sucked into Mabar when the Mourning occurred; hijinks ensued.

So Rose actually predated Exploring Eberron by about a year, and the Circle of the Forged druid was the first subclass developed for it. The Maverick artificer was developed before I played one, driven by my love of the flexibility of the 3.5 artificer—specifically, of the 3.5 infusion spell storing item. I love the concept of the artificer as someone who can tinker what you need on the spot. So, when Dan started another campaign—this time set in Callestan, with the players assuming the roles of professional rat-catchers—I decided to play a Maverick. My character is a forest gnome urchin, born in the feyspire of Shae Joridal but orphaned and separated from his home in Ghaal’dar attack; he grew up on the streets of Lower Dura and doesn’t really understand the fey potential in his blood. With this in mind, he uses the Magical Thinking approach to artifice that I describe in ExE. One of my favorite elements is using the guidance cantrip, because every time I cast it I come up with a different explanation for what I’m creating based on the effect I’m assisting with. Someone’s about to make an Investigation check? Try these special spectacles I’ve put together. About to use Athletics to make a dangerous jump? Let me add my pep paste to the bottom of your boots!

(VERY) SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

Does House Ghallanda have any interest in recreating or importing the odder cuisines presented in the book to the Five Nations (perhaps homogenizing it in the process, see American “Chinese food”)?

I don’t think it’s been suggested, but I think it’s a fantastic idea. Of course, in order to introduce grist to Five Nations they’d have to figure out the secret of how it’s made, and bear in mind that while we’ve told YOU how grist is made, the people of DROAAM don’t even know what it is, and once that secret is uncovered, they have to figure out how the Daughters are making grist actually edible. But I could see a great Ghallanda heist one-shot based on stealing the secret formula for grist…

In Exploring Eberron, it talks about the daelkyr being trapped in specific demiplanes and unable to leave, but I was always under the impression that they were described as “trapped in Khyber” being free to move about in Khyber unlike the Overlords. Is this a shift from canon or did I miss or misunderstand something regarding to this?

It’s not a shift from previous ideas, it’s a clarification. The idea all along was that you can’t FIGHT a bound overlord; they are a spirit in a shard and do not physically manifest. They don’t have kingdoms in Khyber. By contrast, it was always the idea that the daelkyr ARE physically present in Khyber, that they DO have lairs and minions, and that you can go meet one. But it was never clearly explained how they were trapped or what limitations were on their movement. Likewise, the earlier sources suggested that Khyber was strange and wondrous, but never clear how its geography worked. Over the next decade, I presented the idea that Khyber contains many demiplanes—and that entrances to demiplanes can transcend normal space, which explains how Belashyrra could be fighting the Umbragen in Xen’drik and troubling people in the Shadow Marches. It’s not that the domain of the Lord of Eyes spans the Thunder Sea, it’s that the domain is a DEMIPLANE with entrances in both places.

So in ExE I just clearly state this idea. The daelkyr aren’t bound in the physical tunnels of Khyber. They are each bound in a unique DEMIPLANE in Khyber. Within that demiplane they have absolute freedom of movement, so each one rules their own bizarre kingdom. Their minions can leave the demiplane, and again, demiplanes have exits across the world. But the daelkyr can’t leave the demiplane, which finally gives a clear explanation of how they have SOME freedom of movement but can’t “leave Khyber.”

So the IDEA remains: the daelkyr aren’t stuck in shards like overlords. They have realms they rule and you can go meet one and fight one. But those realms are little pockets of reality, and the daelkyr can’t LEAVE them.

There are Krakens and Aboleths underwater, are there equivalents of the Gatekeepers or the Church of the Silver Flame? What about of the couatls themselves?

Underwater? Surely. In the Thunder Sea? No. I’m sure there was an aquatic counterpart to the couatl, and I’m just as sure that they were involved in the same celestial sacrifice that bound the overlords and created the Silver Flame. It’s likewise logical to think that there were serpent cults among the locathah of the Thunder Sea, but they were crushed by the Eternal Dominion and the Valraean Protectorate, both of which do not allow freedom of religion in their realms. You could certainly have a secret Silver Flame tradition lingering among locathah dissidents, but the basic philosophy of the sahuagin is fundamentally opposed to its principles; “the strong should make sacrifices to protect the weak” is NOT a theory that fits in the Eternal Dominion. This doesn’t mean that the sahuagin are unaware of or helpless against supernatural threats; but they are handled by the martial might of the Dominion, not by some religious cult.

The kalamer merfolk are druids who maintain the balance of manifest zones, so they are something of a parallel to the Gatekeepers, but they don’t share any specific traditions with them and have no history with the daelkyr.

Does the Undying Court know about the Queen of All Tears and does it care?

With any question like this, my answer is always what makes the story more interesting? In my opinion, it’s more interesting for this to be a secret the player characters can discover, leaving them to decide what to do with the knowledge, rather than saying “Oh, the Undying Court has known about that for centuries.” Among other things, if the Undying Court already knows about it, then either they don’t care or can’t do anything about it, because they HAVEN’T. If they don’t KNOW, then it leaves open the possibility that they will panic when they find out about it. But in general, I will always lean toward adventurers making a dramatic discovery NOW over NPCs making a dramatic discovery a thousand years ago.

Kind of as a broader version of this question, what level of knowledge do the Material Plane experts possess and to what degree is it relevant to daily living?

The book gives examples of what experts know when it quotes the Planar Codex and other scholars. The limits of what can be known through Arcana depend on where you are and on what the DM WANTS players to know. The Undying Court has spent thousands of years astrally traveling and gathering information, and they likely have the best knowledge of the planes; other scholars may have their information through Aereni accounts.

But in terms of what does EVERYONE know? Pretty much the names of the planes and their basic concepts, and they don’t always get those right. We’ve called out that the typical person thinks of Risia as the “Plain of Ice” and Irian as the “Plane of Light” and don’t understand the deeper symbolic roles of these places. People know about them because of manifest zones, but without an Arcana check they don’t know much.

Fernia and Risia seem to have moved away from the mildly evil aligned, while Syrania moved away from mildly good aligned. What led to those decisions?

I’d argue that Risia IS still mildly evil-aligned. Here’s a quote:

At first glance, Risia appears to be barren and empty. But some travelers have described a presence, a sense of being watched, and most feel this presence is malign. On the surface, the concept of Risia seems entirely neutral; there’s nothing inherently evil about ice. But there’s a hunger to Risia—an innate desire to consume warmth and to bury living things in ice. In the Planar Codex, Dorius Alyre ir’Korran calls this force the Killing Cold. 

Exploring Eberron, page 182

By contrast, my view of Fernia is that it explores all symbolic associations of fire, both benevolent and destructive, and shouldn’t be inherently evil. Syrania is primarily about commerce and knowledge and didn’t need to be inherently good; this also helps to clearly differentiate it from Irian. Beyond that, I didn’t assign those specific traits in the original ECS, and Exploring Eberron is about how I see things, not canon.

I’m a big fan of Sarlona, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen HOW the kalashtar are slipping Riedra’s net and getting to Khorvaire. Is this ever spelled out?

There’s no steady stream of kalashtar into Khorvaire. As for how immigrants have managed it, they’ve done it in small numbers and disguised as humans. They’ve made their way to Arhdman in the Syrkarn, or worked with smugglers using the secret port of Dvaarnava. Some have made a dangerous pilgrimage through Khyber. And there have been one or two bold strokes that have involved major operations to disrupt or draw away the Riedran blockades. But it’s NOT a trivial thing, and they never travel openly under a flag of Adar.

There’s a bit about magic making permanent changes to the body being a relatively common thing. How does this work with the description on identification papers?

Actually, permanent changes are NOT common. Here’s the text from the book, with a few highlights.

Minor cosmetic transmutation is quite common; most professional beauticians can change your hair or eye color. Unnatural effects are rarer, seen mainly in Aundair and Zilargo… The effects of cosmetic transmutation typically last a week, but if you’re dealing with a magewright of sufficient skill, you can extend the effect to one month. In some cities, you might even find an expert who can make the change permanent. The more complicated the transmutation, the more costly—and hard to find—the service becomes.

Exploring Eberron, Page 28

So first of all, permanent transmutation is not common. What’s common is turning your brown hair red for a month, or getting permanent eyeshadow for a week — the sort of cosmetic changes people get in OUR world, and I don’t have to update my driver’s license when I change my hair color. Exotic changes — like having, say, silver hair or cat’s eyes — are NOT common and are generally only seen in the cities of Aundair or Zilargo, where people are used to a higher degree of arcane experimentation. Permanent transformation is not only out of the price range of most people, but it’s also not something that’s available most places — again, in a major city, you might find someone who can do it. And as noted later in the section, “as with any magewright, beauticians are often specialized; a hairdresser might be able to give you permanent exotic hair but be unable to change any other feature.”

A second point is that identification papers aren’t something you need in everyday life. The ECS calls out that they’re typically carried by members of the middle and upper classes; so common laborers don’t even have identification papers. They’re primarily going to be used when crossing borders, using letters of credit, or similar situations; but you don’t need to show identification papers to buy a beer at the Gold Dragon Inn. If your papers are accurate except for your silver hair, no one’s going to question that you had your hair done. If you ARE going to engage in permanent, dramatic physical transformation—changing your apparent species, gender, height, or the like—you will want to get your papers updated. .

I had a question about the Dol Udar. Are the Gatekeepers at all aware of it?

Keep in mind that the Gatekeepers aren’t a powerful, modern faction with widespread resources. They’re the last remnants of an order that has been in decline for thousands of years, dwelling in a backwater with almost no contact with the modern nations, doing their best to maintain the ancient seals that keep forgotten evils at bay. With that in mind, consider that the Gatekeepers don’t NEED to know what the daelkyr are doing elsewhere in the world; they know that as long as they preserve the seals, the daelkyr cannot escape their prisons—and again, the seals are NOT geographically linked. There’s no Gatekeeper seals in the Mror Holds; the seals that exist prevent Dyrrn from leaving his demiplane, no matter where it touches the world.

With all that in mind, the whole point is that THIS IS WHY THEY NEED PLAYER CHARACTERS. What’s a more compelling story—the Gatekeepers having vast resources and knowing exactly what’s going on? Or the Gatekeepers knowing that they DON’T know exactly what’s going on in the wider world and needing to send a young, promising champion—a player character—to investigate the disturbances they’ve felt in the distant east? With that said, if you DON’T have a PC in this role and your player characters are active in Dol Udar, you could introduce an NPC in that role—a Gatekeeper agent who’s been sent to investigate the situation and provide assistance. But I’d still play that as they don’t KNOW what’s going on, so they’ve sent an agent to find out as opposed to they’re entirely aware of the situation and have already made plans to deal with it.

If you have questions about Exploring Eberron, post them below and I’ll answer when I can!

65 thoughts on “FAQ: Exploring Eberron

  1. 1) What was the intention behind Magecraft? It has a duration of one minute so.. is there much that can be done with artisans tools in 1 minute that couldn’t be done with a cantrip? Can it be used for larger projects?

    2) I loved your take on the Blood of Vol and Planar Ally. Do you think Find Steed could also be a manifestation of the Divinity Within? How would you go about flavoring it that way?

    3) You made very good arguments for the differences between how classes cast spells. You made a clear different between intelligence and charisma arcane. Can I ask, what is the difference between Wisdom and Charisma Divine? Where does the Divine Soul fall in this?

    4) Was there a reason you did a whole faith section on Aasimar and not Tiefling?

    • What was the intention behind Magecraft? Can it be used for larger projects?

      Yes. The intent of the spell is that it’s cast just before a skill roll is made. So why the spell only has a “duration” of one minute, the INTENT is that it reflects the artisan using magecrafting techniques throughout whatever project they are working on, we just don’t worry about the SPELL until they make a roll. This is part of the abstracted nature of skills; if someone works on a crafting project that takes a week, they still usually only make a single tool ability check. The point is that if they have Magecrafting, they can take advantage on that ability check.

      I loved your take on the Blood of Vol and Planar Ally. Do you think Find Steed could also be a manifestation of the Divinity Within?
      Certainly! I’d absolutely have a BoV paladin cut their palm and cast the blood in the air when they cast the spell, and have the blood expand and take on the form of a crimson steed.

      You made very good arguments for the differences between how classes cast spells. You made a clear different between intelligence and charisma arcane. Can I ask, what is the difference between Wisdom and Charisma Divine? Where does the Divine Soul fall in this?

      This is a good question, but it’s a longer answer and I’d rather save it for an IFAQ article on divine magic.

      Was there a reason you did a whole faith section on Aasimar and not Tiefling?

      Two reasons. First, I contributed a section on tieflings to a book called Morgrave Miscellany. Second, tieflings are generally influenced by the PLANES and don’t actually have a inherent connection to religions. Aasimar have an angelic guide. Tieflings are shaped by dark powers, but they don’t actually have a racial “Fiendish Guide” feature; it’s more of a mutation than an ongoing relationship with an immortal power (unless you’re a tiefling warlock, of course).

  2. I have a few questions about the heart demiplanes:

    1. What is the connection between the shard-prisons and the heart demiplanes? Can someone access, say, the Bitter Shield through the (1/12th) shard of Rak Tulkhesh underneath Thaliost? Can someone enter the Tower of Shadows through the prison of Sul Khatesh underneath Arcanix? Or are they entirely disconnected from the shard-prisons, instead accessed from fiendish places, like the tunnels of Khyber and the Demon Wastes?

    2. How often are the heart demiplanes used as headquarters by the Lords of Dust? The Five Nations book makes mention of an underground grotto beneath Passage, used by the Lords of Dust, but that does not seem like a heart demiplane to me. You mention that the lesser servants of the overlords reform in the heart demiplanes, and that Mordakhesh oftens returns to the Bitter Shield, where he is considered the lord of the fortress. Does that make the heart demiplanes important Lords of Dust bases?

    3. How do the fiends in the Bitter Shield actually accomplish anything under Mordakhesh if they are constantly, pointlessly fighting one another?

    Thank you for your time.

    • These are all good questions (along with the telepathic influence question), but because of the deep focus on a particular topic and the length of the answers, I’m going to save this as a topic for an IFAQ article.

  3. I would also like to inquire regarding aberrant and fiendish telepathic influence. The quori have had their telepathic influence methods extensively detailed in previous sources, and the overlords’ prisons emit a telepathic influence on their own, but what about every other fiend, or aberrations and daelkyr in general?

    Essentially, I am not getting a good sense from the Cults of the Dragon Below section on how fiends (other than the overlords’ prisons) and the aberrations and daelkyr actually influence people’s minds. What are their psychic methodologies?

  4. Can there be multiple lingering imprints of the same individual on different planes/demiplanes- could you beseech the wisdom of a fallen Dhakaani hero in the Uul Dhakaan, later encounter their martial spirit as a sword wraith on Shavarath, and meet their actual shade in Dal Quor? Or are there only singular vestiges?

  5. Hmm, could there be angelic followers of the Silver Flame present in Fernia? Perhaps a Campfire Layer built around the religion’s symbolism?

    • Hmm, could there be angelic followers of the Silver Flame present in Fernia? Perhaps a Campfire Layer built around the religion’s symbolism?

      You certainly COULD do this. I personally wouldn’t for a few reasons. As called out in the sidebar on page 53 (“Celestials and the Silver Flame”) the Silver Flame is native to the material plane—created by the sacrifice of native celestials at the end of the Age of Demons—and doesn’t have a connection to the planes. Planar Ally and Commune don’t actually reach out to the planes, they reach IN to the celestial force of the Flame. It’s also the case that the Silver Flame is a force of radiant light that manifests “flame” as a cosmetic effect; it’s spirit first, flame second, and we’ve called out with things like the Silver Pyromancers that they are more radiant than fire.

      So again, don’t let my opinions stop you from telling a story you want to tell, but it’s not what *I* would do.

    • Or maybe fire elementals that are (at least partly) composed of radiant energy? Silver flame elementals! And is this part of Fernia growing/shrinking with the influence of the silver flame on eberron/the material plane?
      I think that’s a really neat idea, especially given that Fernia has been shown to be somewhat good-aligned, and that the essential force of good on eberron is a flame…

      • Keith’s answer is obviously better and gives more ways to make the silver flame interesting, but thanks for leaving it open for us to do our own thing if we think it’ll be fun, Keith! You’re the best!

        (Can’t wait to get the book! I’m a lil broke atm but it will be mine!)

  6. Thanks for the answer on Kalashtar, that’s mostly what I figured (though up until the Provinces of Riedra article I hadn’t considered Khyber, hence why I added it to my question), so would the Riedran ambassadors/enclaves in Khorvaire have cause to paint the Kalashtar as violent dissidents to the Five Nations? “We are at war with them and now they are in your lands too” sort of thing? Or would they simply “let them be” while their more covert agents undermine, kill and fight the kalashtar in Khorvaire?

    • so would the Riedran ambassadors/enclaves in Khorvaire have cause to paint the Kalashtar as violent dissidents to the Five Nations?

      The Riedrans absolutely tell the people of Khorvaire that the Adarans are a dangerous nation that has engaged in subversive and terrorist action again Riedra. They present their seige of Adar as a justified, defensive action and warn those nations not to have dealings with Adar, which has largely worked; note that there’s no Adaran embassy in Sharn. Riedra is a powerful nation with many things the Five Nations need; Adar is isolated and mountainous and largely isn’t TRYING to build up international support.

      With that said, I feel that they don’t call attention to the Kalashtar specifically (as opposed to Adar in general). Among other things, drawing attention to the kalashtar could make people interested in the exact nature of the kalashtar and the question of how they are connected to the Inspired; they’d rather keep them out of the spotlight and target them covertly than draw them to the attention of the Five Nations.

    • There’s a canonical answer in Dungeon 170
      “Prince Aurad has heard the basics of both sides of the Sarlonan conflict—the Adarans are criminals and terrorists, and the Riedrans are oppressive autocrats. Given the reputation of the kalashtar in Fairhaven and the queen’s favor for the Riedran ambassador, the governor has no wish to take sides in such foreign concerns.”

  7. Thanks for all the hard work and answers!

    I hope whatever next Eberron project that comes around also gets a print on demand option, I love having physical copies of stuff like this, ExE getting a hardcover was a big deal for me.

    In the mean time I will continue absorbing ExE and hope I can someday get into an Eberron game that let’s me be a player rather then GM.

  8. I’m still working through this book, it’s quite a lot! Glad to hear there might be more Eberron content on the horizon!

    I had a question about the Dol Udar. Are the Gatekeepers at all aware of it? On the one hand, they’re on opposite ends of the continent, and some of the Clans probably aren’t interested in getting the help. On the other hand, Khyber means that the distance between them may not be especially relevant, and certainly the Gatekeepers would be interested in a major incursion by Dyrnn. Heck, some of the Kechs might be interested in these developments too!

    Secondly, I haven’t quite gotten to the Valraen Protectorate, but it got me thinking about other types of elves. Did any Drow travel to Aerenal with the Aereni and integrate? Or were groups of drow generally too small and giant-bound?

    • And another quick question: is there something significant about the kar’lassa all being in the Thunder Sea? It seems strange that they’d be so relatively concentrated.

      • There’s DEFINITELY something weird about all the kar’lassa being concentrated in the Thunder Sea! But Eberron is known for weird geographical effects — EG Sarlona is hidden from the Prophecy — and we haven’t talked about the weird things that are going on in the OTHER seas!

    • I had a question about the Dol Udar. Are the Gatekeepers at all aware of it?

      Keep in mind that the Gatekeepers aren’t a powerful, modern faction with widespread resources. They’re the last remnants of an order that has been in decline for thousands of years, dwelling in a backwater with almost no contact with the modern nations, doing their best to maintain the ancient seals that keep forgotten evils at bay. With that in mind, consider that the Gatekeepers don’t NEED to know what the daelkyr are doing elsewhere in the world; they know that as long as they preserve the seals, the daelkyr cannot escape their prisons—and again, the seals are NOT geographically linked. There’s no Gatekeeper seals in the Mror Holds; the seals that exist prevent Dyrrn from leaving his demiplane, no matter where it touches the world.

      With all that in mind, the whole point is that THIS IS WHY THEY NEED PLAYER CHARACTERS. What’s a more compelling story—the Gatekeepers having vast resources and knowing exactly what’s going on? Or the Gatekeepers knowing that they DON’T know exactly what’s going on in the wider world and needing to send a young, promising champion—a player character—to investigate the disturbances they’ve felt in the distant east? With that said, if you DON’T have a PC in this role and your player characters are active in Dol Udar, you could introduce an NPC in that role—a Gatekeeper agent who’s been sent to investigate the situation and provide assistance. But I’d still play that as they don’t KNOW what’s going on, so they’ve sent an agent to find out as opposed to they’re entirely aware of the situation and have already made plans to deal with it.

    • Secondly, I haven’t quite gotten to the Valraen Protectorate, but it got me thinking about other types of elves. Did any Drow travel to Aerenal with the Aereni and integrate? Or were groups of drow generally too small and giant-bound?

      Not in any great numbers; the drow were living weapons created to kill the rebel elves, so not exactly folks you wanted to invite onto your exodus ship. However, we’ve said that it is certainly possible that SOME rebelled and escaped with the exodus, and that it’s possible that there are a few drow families among the lines, and potentially a few drow deathless or Tairnadal drow. But if so, they’re a tiny fraction of the population.

  9. ExE gave those of who track Eberron’s timeline a bit more insight into the age of pre-Galifar Korth, Thaliost, Wroat, Metrol, and Daskara. Do you have a sense as to the order those city-states were founded in? What about the order they fell to Galifar?
    Thanks Keith! This a great book, I’m really digging it!

    • Korth and Wroat were the oldest. Galifar was the leader of Korth, and expanded from there, beginning with Metrol and then moving west to Daskara. Thaliost chose to ally with Galifar, and Wroat was the final nation to fall.

      • Brilliant! Thank you Keith! I forgot one part of the question… how does Shaarat factor into this? Was it the oldest major city-state outside the Principalities or did Korth and Wroat have contemporary foundings?

  10. Hey, Keith!

    I just want say thanks for the answers of my questions and desire all best for you and your work. You is really kind answering so much questions of fans (and some as me can be really anoying sometimes cof cof deep gnome cof cof).

    I really tried here not to do a question and only congrats you…but it is so hard, so a small one:

    Do you think that Mordain´s Tower would be a example of Manisfest Zone of Xoriat, probably made by him? Or maybe something more conected, as the Fortress of the Fading Dream is with Dal Quor? Or do you prefer see Blackroot as something else?

    • What I call out in the Mordain dragonshard is that his work “involves channeling the energies of Kythri and Xoriat.” So Blackroot is most likely in a manifest zone to either or both of those places. Double manifest zones are extremely rare, but we’ve called out that Blackroot is a massive eldritch machine, and eldritch machines break the rules. So it’s possible that Blackroot is an eldritch machine that one works because it’s in a manifest zone to Kythri or Xoriat, but it’s also possible that it’s in a manifest zone to Kythri and Xoriat BECAUSE of the eldritch machine.

      Key point: Blackroot isn’t like Taer Lian Doresh. It’s not that Mordain needs to be IN Kythri or Xoriat; he’s just manipulating their energies. So I would not make it a planar portal, personally. Among other things, Mordain doesn’t want to have his work being constantly interrupted by Slaadi or Varr.

  11. Having recently been looking into the Venomous Demesne and making a character exiled from there, what would be some of the ways in which they would stand out from characters that come from the Five Nations?

  12. This book looks absolutely amazing! I’ll pick up the hardcover + PDF bundle ASAP. Ever since I discovered Eberron a few years ago, it’s been in my top 3 D&D campaign settings. Having a “companion” to Rising from the Last War will be great.

    How much of this blog’s contents made it into the book?

  13. What is the relation between the dragons’ Du’rashka Tul and Dyrrn’s Kapaa’vola? Both are psychic contagions that wreak havoc on an organized civilization.

    Since the Kapaa’vola dismantles a dream-based network specifically, could that wreak havoc on, say, the Riedran monolith system?

    • What is the relation between the dragons’ Du’rashka Tul and Dyrrn’s Kapaa’vola? Both are psychic contagions that wreak havoc on an organized civilization.

      Many powerful forms of magic draw upon planar energies. It’s extremely likely that the epic ritual that unleashed the Du’rashka Tul involved channeling the energies of Xoriat. The Kapaa’vola likewise channeled those same energies. On a far smaller scale, effects like feeblemind or confusion may channel Xorian energies. The Du’rashka Tul was unleashed tens of thousands of years before the Kapaa’vola, so the dragons weren’t copying the daelkyr; and the daelkyr wouldn’t need to copy the dragons to create something like this; it’s exactly the sort of thing Dyrrn does. So I’d be inclined to say it’s just parallel development of effects channeling the power of Xoriat. ON THE OTHER HAND… There’s absolutely no reason that you couldn’t have cults of the Dragon Below forming among the dragons as well as lesser creatures. Perhaps the dragons that created the Du’rashka Tul were a Transcendant Flesh cult!

      Since the Kapaa’vola dismantles a dream-based network specifically, could that wreak havoc on, say, the Riedran monolith system?
      It’s hard to say. What Jhazaal did was to rewire the dar to directly connect to the Uul Dhakaan when they dream. She changed the PEOPLE; it was a modification of the dar soul, if you will. the Kapaa’vola undid that change, causing them to just dream regular dreams. By contrast, the Inspired didn’t modify the PEOPLE; they created a device that is constantly pulling any dream into its dream, like a magnet. If a Riedran LEAVES Riedra they have normal dreams; if a Brelish human goes to Riedra they START having the dream. So I don’t think the Kapaa’vola would have an impact on it; the Kapaa’vola undid an internal spiritual/genetic modification to the dar, while the hanbalani is a constant, EXTERIOR effect.

      However, if revitalized (after all, the dar believe it has finally died out), the Kapaa’vola could DEFINITELY destroy the shared dream of the Cold Sun Federation lizardfolk in Q’barra.

  14. I have a question about the kalashtar which I don’t think has been addressed elsewhere. Do the kalashtar have a cultural obligation to reproduce? Since a rebel quori becomes untethered if all of the hosts of its line die out, AND only half (statistically) of kalashtar born to inter-line couples will tie to Quori A AND only half of offspring of kalashtar/non-kalashtar mating will be kalashtarAND the Dreaming Dark are actively seeking to kill them…wouldn’t there be strong pressue to at least produce “an heir and a spare” incumbent on every kalashtar? Related: At present, are kalashtar numbers growing, steady-state or decliining outside of Adar?

    • Do the kalashtar have a cultural obligation to reproduce?

      To me, the most crucial aspect — and one that is a sharp difference between the kalashtar and the Inspired — is that the kalashtar don’t believe in imposing their will upon others. Is it SMART for them to reproduce? Absolutely. But where the Inspired answer to that is to set up magebreeding programs and what amount to battery farms, the Kalashtar approach is to say “We hope that you will do this; it would be a valuable contribution to your line. And yet, if it is not where your heart guides you, we will not force it upon you.” Essentially, the quori want to survive and the kalashtar want them to survive, but they won’t remove anyone’s freedom in pursuit of that goal—while by contrast, the Inspired are prepared to enslave the entire world to ensure their survival.

      But this is also why the bulk of the kalashtar live in Adar; even though they are largely trapped there, they are also relatively SAFE there. They don’t NEED to spread out and conquer the world; they just need to preserve the spirits and continue their meditations, and they are DOING that in Adar, despite the ongoing pressure from Riedra.

      • That makes sense. Of the 67 kalashtar lines, only a small proportion of each is outside Adar, so they’re not vital t the prservation of the line, so there isn’t even cultural pressure on them to reproduce. Which does raise another question: How does being part of the same kalashtar line affect the normal parent-child relationship? Does it add a layer of closeeness in general? Or is it just another thing that varies from family to family?

        • Personally, I think there’s a broad level of communal closeness in a kalashtar community. If you’re a ‘Hareth child, all the ‘Hareths in the communities are your uncles, and you feel like you know them. Likewise, if your father Lanhareth loves Minalura, he likely feels a lesser but still general affection toward all ‘Alura kalashtar in the community, and vice versa.

  15. Fantastic work as always Keith, this book was well worth the wait!

    In the Thunder Sea section, its mentioned that all the seas contain nations, creatures, and secrets. any chance we could get a write up about them, similar to the article on Riedra’s ancient cultures?

  16. What is the actual legend of Taratai? Exploring Eberron says, “The kalaraq Taratai was the leader of the rebels, and hers is the only spiritual lineage that has been completely destroyed by Dreaming Dark; Taratai’s own fate is unknown.” This seems to line up with the legend of Taratai in Races of Eberron, while clashing with the legend of Taratai presented in Secrets of Sarlona.

    If Taratai’s fate is unknown, does that mean that the Dreaming Dark and the Path of Light do not actually know what happens to a kalashtar lineage whose members are all killed? How can her fate be unknown if the common knowledge among the Dreaming Dark and the Path of Light is that if a kalashtar lineage’s members are all slain, the rebel quori spirit is lost forever?

    • The legend is just that… a LEGEND. The kalashtar don’t KNOW what happened to Taratai, because how could they? They don’t have agents in the heart of Dal Quor. Everyone BELIEVES that killing a kalashtar allows reincarnation, but only the Dreaming Dark——and the DM——knows if it works; the Kalashtar don’t KNOW what happened to Taratai, only that she’s never been seen again.

      So as a DM running a Kalashtar-themed campaign, I could choose any of the following options.
      1. The Quori were wrong. Taratai hasn’t been reborn in an evil form; her spirit is somehow just lost and could be found and saved as part of an epic adventure.
      2. The Quori were right. Taratai has been reborn as a loyal servant of the Dreaming Dark and could be encountered.
      3. Taratai wasn’t just reborn evil; she consumed the former leader of the Dreaming Dark and took its place, and now she seeks to become il-Lashtavar itself. THE DEVOURER OF DREAMS IS TARATAI.

      Again, the point is that the Kalashtar don’t KNOW the truth. All they have is supposition, and the answer is up the the DM.

  17. I have two questions regarding the du’ulora quori.

    It is not in the spell description, but would the spell calm emotions help with the Aura of Fury?

    Can A du’ulora using Incite Fury to cause the a character to ataack him or her self?

    ps I’m loving this book. I hope it is successful enough for you to put together another volume.

    • It is not in the spell description, but would the spell calm emotions help with the Aura of Fury?
      The Aura doesn’t induce the charmed or frightened condition, so it wouldn’t have an automatic effect. But I might give someone affected by Calm Emotions advantage on the saving throw to resist the Aura.

      Can A du’ulora using Incite Fury to cause the a character to ataack him or her self?

      No, that’s not the intent. It can force them to pick a new target, but it has to be another creature – not the quori or the attacker.

  18. If someone wanted to run a story wherein Xoriat and its Maze of Reality were, in fact, the source of the Draconic Prophecy (explaining why dragons like Azalakardon and Zenobaal who unlock the deepest secrets of the Prophecy go insane), how plausible would that be? What would the ramifications be, with regards to the Draconic Prophecy and the Maze of Reality?

    • The maze is a metaphor, not an actual place in Xoriat. Review the second paragraph of description of the Maze; it specifically says “This is how the Draconic Prophecy works.” But it’s not that the Maze is IN Xoriat, it’s that Xoriat is ABOVE the maze and gives you both the perspective to view it and the opportunity to be unaffected by the paths that it takes.

      We know that the Chamber and the Lords of Dust interpret the Draconic Prophecy by reading Prophecy marks, dragonmarks, patterns in the moons and planes. I think it’s ENTIRELY plausible to say that Xoriat allows one a very different way to interpret the Prophecy —— to see it in its ENTIRETY, not just a few of its paths —— but that this knowledge will break the minds of beings from the material plane who attempt to grasp it, hence Zenobaal.

  19. I noted above in reference to magecraft, you spoke of a skill check involved in crafting, i.e. a roll at the end of crafting something. How does this coincide with the magic item creation rules in the DMG and Xanathar’s, that don’t appear to require checks? (apologies if this explained elsewhere and I missed it)

    Chris

    • Magecraft is supposed to improve an artisan’s capabilities. If the action requires a skill check, it grants advantage. If it doesn’t require a skill check, I MIGHT (DM’s decision) reduce the amount of downtime required or otherwise show that the production techniques are enhanced by use of Magecraft.

  20. I notice that Exploring Eberron has details on efreet and dao in Fernia, but then goes on to say that the elementals of Lamannia are mostly bestial in intellect. Where do djinn and marids go, then?

    • Ooo, this is a good question. I have mental associations with djinn and Lamannia, but that’s mostly from DDO associations, and DDO, while it did warm me up to Eberron, does a lot of weird questionable things lore-wise, so maybe not the best metric there.

      I could maybe see djinn in Syrania, with it’s whole floaty-sky stuff going on, but I don’t really know.

      • All the non-efreeti genies being in Lamannia was introduced in 3.5E. Exploring Eberron says elementals in Lamannia aren’t just the standard, so I choose to read that as leaving room for other elementals like the djinn still being present there.

        Making Lamannian genies the primal embodiment of natural disasters would be a neat way to reconcile them with the plane of nature. Those that appear humanoid could be former mortals who were changed by the plane to better suit the theme of a layer?

        • As I mention elsewhere, I’d personally put the djinn and marid as they are typically presented in Thelanis. However, if you presented them as more wild and primal, that could definitely be interesting; but spirits of Lamannia should not has elaborate systems of titles, royalty, and other aspects often associated with these elementals.

    • I’d place them both in Thelanis. This could be the subject of a longer article if there’s interest and time permits.

    • I’m planning on putting them in Risia, since air and water are often considered to be the components for elemental ice, and that makes it symettrical with Fernia. But since Risia is a plane of stagnation and isolation, I’m imagining djinn being hidden away behind the clouds or on the highest peaks, serenely contemplating emptiness, but some open to magical favors for travelers that have the grit to reach them; while the marid are frozen solid and trapped in glaciers but eagerly make wild offers to anyone who promises to break them out.

  21. In general, what do the Kech Dhakaan think of Droaam? Is it just another nation of chaat’oor, or do they give it any special consideration due to its status as a nation of monsters? Would there be increased Dhakaani presence in Graywall beyond the usual Khesh’dar spies and Kech Volaar reclaimers? What do they think of the Droaamite goblins?

    Conversely, how aware are the Daughters of Sora Kell of the Kech Dhakaan? What might they be planning in terms of how to deal with them, considering the historical bad blood between the monsters of the Barrens and the dar?

  22. OK, so I wasn’t entirely truthful on Twitter. I don’t HAVE to know this. But if you like, I am still very curious who Grogan is and why everyone uses his grime.
    Is there a common useful application in the Five Nations for the “soil an object” effect of prestidigitation beyond pranks? Is this a spell the magic teachers of Arcanix hate but there always seems to be SOMEONE in every year who teaches it to the underclassmen, and it’s all become some silly tradition no one can stop at this point?
    I’m asking important questions here! 😀

    • Grogan was a legendary prankster in Arcanix. But as with many cantrips, it’s also exceptionally useful in the theater. When you’re setting a scene in a Last War trench, it’s very useful to be able to add grime with a snap and a word.

    • Per page 94 of ExE, “Shamans and leaders from each clan maintain a council at the Znir, around the broken idols.” It’s essentially the capitol, so it has representatives from all clans.

  23. In both this book and Rising from the Last War, Tabaxi are mentioned a grant total of once – as potential natives to the plane of Lamannia. As someone about to play a Tabaxi in an Eberron campaign can you share a little more about how they fit into the setting?

    • The basic point of Eberron is that it has a place for anything but that doesn’t mean mean that everything HAS to be there. I’ve personally never used tabaxi in a campaign, even though I like them as a concept. So the question is, what is it you WANT from the tabaxi? Do you want them to have a strongly established culture somewhere? Do you want them to be exotic and rare, visitors who have come through portals to Lamannia? Or not even a natural species at all, but rather a race magebred by Mordain or mutated by the Mourning?

      Check this out: http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-exotic-races-in-eberron/

    • In my game (since I had a player that wanted to play a tabaxi, I called them out as coming from the Valley of Shadows on Xen’drik, because Xen’drik is always a nice place to hide away odd things, and because I was running a modified Tomb of Annihilation, setting it on the coast of Xen’drik, and I didn’t want to have to overhaul too much, and the module has a number of tabaxi NPCs. This set up my player character and gave a reason for the number of tabaxi here to not be too weird.

  24. You mention that Dolurrh is believed to be the 13th plane because “it has no opposite.” DOES each one have an opposite? Eight of them are pretty obvious:
    Mabar and Irian (Hope/Doom), Daanvi and Kythri (Law/Chaos) Syrania and Shavarath (Peace/War), and Fernia and Risia (Industry/Stagnation). How do the remaining four pair up? I could see arguments for a few different ways.

    My best guess is Lamannia and Xoriat (the natural world vs the hidden reality beyond it), Thelanis and Dal Quor (stories that suffuse the world vs stories individuals tell themselves), but I was also thinking Dal Quor and Xoriat (an imaginary reality that maintains sanity vs a pseudo-reality that breaks it), Lamannia and Thelanis (an un-anthropomorphized world vs a world where everything tells a story).

    • You can be certain that sages in Eberron debate this very question. How I, Keith, view it is your first example. Lamannia embodies the natural world while Xoriat is the anthesis of nature, being alien and unknowable; Thelanis is a realm defined by fixed, shared stories where Dal Quor is defined by the ever-changing stories of each individual. The point of Dolurrh is that it’s not really defined by a CONCEPT, it’s defined by a FUNCTION. It isn’t “the realm of death” it’s the place where the dead go and are cleansed.

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