IFAQ: Dhakaani Artificers?

While I get certain questions about Eberron all the time, I’ve asked my Patreon supporters to give me some simple infrequently asked questions. Today’s question comes from DMZ:

I have a goblin PC who is an Heir of Dhakaan but I don’t feel confident about his backstory. Are there any Dhakaani clans that are known for their Artificers, that want to preserve knowledge and the past or maybe one that wants to unite goblinoids once again?E

The Empire of Dhakaan was an advanced goblin nation that dominated Khorvaire long before humanity arrived on the continent. It was ultimately destroyed by the daelkyr, but before it fell completely a number of clans retreated into deep vaults. Recently these “Heirs of Dhakaan” have returned to the surface. They are more advanced and disciplined than the Ghaal’dar goblinoids most people are familiar with. You can find more information on the Dar—Dhakaani goblinoids—in this article.

So: are there any Dhakaani clans known for their artificers, their desire to preserve knowledge, and maybe that wants to unite goblinoids once again? In fact, there’s one that fits all three of these categories: the Kech Volaar, the “Keepers of the Word.” The Volaar value knowledge above all else—both the records of history but also, knowledge of the arcane. The Volaar have the finest duur’kala bards of all the clans. But they also have daashor—the forge adepts who serve the Dhakaani as artificers—and they are actively working to perfect the arcane science that produces wizards. All of the Dhakaani clans want to reunite the DAR, but many believe that the modern goblinoids have been corrupted by the daelkyr and cannot be saved. Of all the clans, the Kech Volaar are the most optimistic that it may be possible to reclaim these lost souls and to rebuild the Empire with ALL goblinoids.

There are a number of elements that make the Kech Volaar an excellent choice for PCs who want to be Dhakaani adventurers. The Kech Volaar are eager to learn more about the modern world, and especially to study the arcane science or traditions of other cultures. As such, a Volaar adventurer could simply be out in the world gathering information, with a special interest in investigating anything tied to arcane science. The Volaar are also determined to recover powerful Dhakaani artifacts lost during the fall of the Empire (and quite possibly now in the hands of chaat’oor!), which is another concrete quest for a player character to pursue.

So as a Volaar artificer you could be gathering information, searching for Dhakaani artifacts, or simply trying to improve your own skills by studying the artifice of other cultures.

Exploring Eberron has an extended section about the Kech Dhakaan that describes nine clans and goes deeper into the daashor tradition, so there’s a deeper examination of all of this coming soon!

21 thoughts on “IFAQ: Dhakaani Artificers?

  1. Thank you for answering this question! I’m in the same boat as the original post. Can’t wait to read the juicy details in Exploring Eberron dealing with the 8 other clans!

  2. I like that the daashor are a way of incorporating the hobgoblin war wizard npc stat blocks into the setting in a sensible way.

  3. I like to play up the Dhakaani having mastery of metallurgy that still isn’t paralleled. I let my players find a pair of supple and comfortable woven adamantine socks as they were exploring Yarkuun Draal.

    • Yes, I didn’t go into detail about how daashor differ from the artificers of the Five Nations here, but metallurgy is certainly one of their specialties. Woven adamantine is a fun idea!

    • The Kech Shaarat daashor are more accomplished weaponsmiths, but the Volaar daashor are more versatile and interested in studying other techniques.

  4. Forging weapons and armor from byeshk — a pretty metal but difficult to work, with few applications not achievable easier and cheaper with well-forged steel — became a sudden priority when the Daelkyr invaded. I don’t think it’s known in canon who discovered byeshk’s unique power against aberrations, but before long Empire daashors were churning out impressive quantities of byeshk kit that kept the Empire in the game against the aberrant hordes.

    That is just part of the proud legacy of Dhakaani daashors that any Goblinoid artificer can look to for inspiration.

    • Also provides perhaps some interesting intersection between the Gatekeepers and the Dhakaani daashors. If prestige classes from 3.5 are anything to go by, Gatekeeper druids could recreate the properties of byeshk in their clubs, so it might have taken a cooperation of sorts to reach the true peak of this aberration fighting. Either the artificers were already forging these weapons and the Gatekeepers began being able to copy the properties in their own magic, or the goblins found a way to copy the Gatekeepers using a metal they knew the properties of

  5. An Heirs of Dhakaan campaign would be super compelling and neat way to explore Eberron. Brand new to the surface everything could be seen for the first time in some ways. And then you could have reasons to journey recovering artifacts, reconnecting goblin tribes etc…

  6. Did the ancient Dhakaani daashor also use arcane magic? I had been under the impression that they used some other techniques, alchemical perhaps.

    • ARTIFICER is a class that provides a set of abilities and the ability to “cast spells.” As noted in my previous articles about artificers, HOW you generate those abilities and spells can vary dramatically based on the tools you use to produce them and the story you attach. An Alchemist artificer who cast spells using alchemist’s tools is DOING something very different from a wandslinger Artillerist who cast spells using woodcarver’s tools. Likewise, the Daashor artificer who “cast spells” using smith’s tools is doing something very different from the artificer of House Cannith.

      So you are correct: the Dhakaani did not practice the common arcane magic traditions of the Five Nations; it’s exactly these traditions that the Kech Volaar are studying. They worked with metallurgy, alchemy, and the binding of planar energies using sigilry. But AS A CLASS that can still be represented using the artificer.

      • “[B]inding of planar energies using sigilry.” Good to know, I had been speculating that a 4e runepriest might be a good fit.

  7. I am actually running a game based on the Kech Volaar and ancient artifacts. Kind of drawing on Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, maybe a splash of Cthulu, etc. Indiana Jones typically found himself racing against other archaeologists or much worse. I don’t want to blatantly try to make a direct parallel, but it did make me wonder what kind of rivalries or recurring nemesis power groups that would ostensibly be interested in those same artifacts.

    Conversely, since the Kech Volaar are actively trying to incorporate the kind of direct magic they see humans doing, is it likely they would seek any artifacts from outside of those created by the ‘dar’?

    • The Kech Volaar want to reclaim their own artifacts in part because history is deeply important to them, and also because they know the powers of those artifacts better than anyone. They want those artifacts as SYMBOLS they can use to rally the other Keepers behind them. They ALSO want to study the techniques and items of the Five Nations in order to expand their own arcane capabilities. So they’re pursuing both, for different reasons.

      As for who else might opposed them, in general you have scholars of the Five Nations (The Library of Korranberg, Morgrave University) who want to put the artifacts in museums. You have independent groups like the Emerald Claw or the Aurum who could use the power of Dhakaani to pursue their agenda. And most of all, you have ADVENTURERS, who all too often specialize in exploring ancient ruins in search of magical treasure. When an adventurer finds a flametongue sword in a haunted crypt, they rarely say “Of course, this is an important cultural relic — I should probably just leave it here, or return it to the descendants of the person who made it.”

  8. I recommend reading The Grieving Tree Novel Series. It follows a Shifter and his Journey involving much of the Hobgoblin Empire.

  9. Keith: You say that the Daashor artificers of the Kech Volaar are intereted in learning the arcane sciences of the Five Nations. But are they interested in an exchange of knowledge? Are they willing to share their techiques with human(oids) in return for modern artificing techniques? Or do they treat their own methods as proprietary secrets? In our late, much-missed 3.5e Eberron campaign, I ran a human artificer, whose party returned a collection of Chakaani treasures to the Kech Volaar to aid a goblin ally who couldn’t return to Darguun for political reasons. We were received well by the Kech Volaar, and even said to have fair atcha (for a human, that is). It had been his hope to build on this relationship and learn how the Dhakaani traditions of artifice might complement those he knew. Was that a reasonable goal, or was he deluding himself? The campagin ended, alas, before the DM could reveal what he would have done.

    • Keith: You say that the Daashor artificers of the Kech Volaar are intereted in learning the arcane sciences of the Five Nations. But are they interested in an exchange of knowledge?

      Definitely not! Like all of the Keepers, the Kech Volaar want to restore the Empire. Restoring the Empire means driving the chaat’oor from their lands. The Kech Volaar want to study the arcane sciences of the Five Nations, because they believe they will have to fight the Five Nations in days ahead and need to know what they are capable of. The last thing they want to do is to teach their secret techniques to their enemies, or formally announce their intentions.

      With that said, that is the general, default answer. They want to learn the techniques of the Five Nations, but they intended to TAKE this knowledge, not to bargain for it. However, the Kech Volaar ARE the most conciliatory of the Keepers. They are the most open to learning about the chaat’oor, to considering if it’s possible to coexist. They aren’t LOOKING to make a fair exchange of knowledge. But if an INDIVIDUAL human proved themselves to have atcha, it’s possible they could CONVINCE them to do an exchange, and that this could be the first bridge between the cultures.

      So in short: is this something they have any intention of doing? NO! But the whole point of player characters is to BE remarkable and to challenge what’s thought to be possible; so if anyone could forge a bond of friendship rather than conquest, it would be a PC.

      • Thanks! In that light I would classify my old PC’s goals as “wishful thinking, but not totally delusional.” Would that I had had the opportunity to play that out!

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