Dragonmarks: The Grim Lords of Farlnen

The ship is a shadow in the night, its darkwood hull all but invisible against the water. It is the sail that draws the eye. The black silk is adorned with a hundred crimson sigils, each burning with pale light. The sea is calm, but a groaning wind fills the sails. If you make your living on the Lhazaar Sea, you know what that vessel is. If you’re lucky, it’s a merchant vessel carrying the strange spices and other goods of Farlnen. If not, you’d be wise to make your peace with the Sovereigns. The Bloodsails are known to take prisoners, but they rarely take them alive.

Eye on Eberron: The Bloodsail Principality, Dragon 410

Thousands of years ago, the Undying Court and dragons of Argonnessen joined forces to eradicate the line of Vol. All elves who carried the blood of Vol were slain. But there were many elves who supported Vol despite having no blood ties to the line. The victors offered these defeated elves a choice: swear allegiance to the Undying Court or be exiled from Aerenal. A large force of these exiles traveled north and laid claim to the island of Farlnen, founding the Bloodsail Principality. A bleak and sunless land, Farlnen is charged with the energies of Mabar, allowing the people of this realm to perform remarkable feats of necromancy. Prince Shaen Tasil is the living ruler of Farlnen, but the greatest power on the island is the Grim, a council of mighty undead. Some of the Grim work for the benefit of the Principality, while others focus on their own esoteric interests and arcane research.

The members of the Grim are powerful undead. Canon lore includes one infamous member of the Grim: Lady Illmarrow, the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Dead.” Few members of the Grim leave Farlnen; most make extensive use of the power of Mabar, and rely on retinues of skeletal and spectral servants. More than this, Farlnen is a safe haven. There are many would-be heroes—the Aereni Deathguard, templars of the Silver Flame, Paladins of Dol Arrah—who would be thrilled to destroy a Grim Lord. While few possess the power to accomplish such a thing, most of the Grim prefer to remain in their estates, protected both by powerful wards and by their peers. As a result, only a few of the Grim are known beyond Farlnen—and even those are obscured by legends and rumors. Here are a few unusual members of the Grim, lords whose tales are known in Lhazaar.

Lord Varonaen, The Bloody Gardener

Before the elves came, Farlnen was just bare rock and sand. The sun doesn’t shine there, and no living thing could prosper in that cursed place. But a land with no sun sounds mighty nice if you’re a vampire, like Lord Varonaen! He steers the elves to Farlnen, and when he gets there he breaks his ship to splinters and he scatters the splinters across the stony ground. He kills his own sailors and waters the wood with their blood, and they sprout up as darkwood trees and bloodstained roses. All the night-gardens of Farlnen, it was Varonaen who planted the seeds. And if the Bloodsails kill you on the sea? They’ll keep your bones to work an oar, but they’ll won’t let your flesh go to waste; cargoes of carrion make their way to Farlnen to feed the bloody gardens.

Lord Sylian Varonaen is the oldest member of the Grim. The Varonaen were allies of Vol long before the Mark of Death appeared, and Sylian was one of the first vampires created on Aerenal. Where Vol studied ways to imbue humanoid creatures with the energies of Mabar, Sylian Varonaen explored its effects on plants. Varonaen was fascinated by those strains of flora that managed to adapt to Aerenal’s Mabaran zones, and improved upon these with his own hybrids; it was he who refined the strain of darkwood that Aerenal exports to this day. It was no accident that Varonaen and his exiles came to Farlnen. The elves knew they needed powerful a Mabaran zone to continue their research, and Varonaen came prepared. The story quoted above is apocryphal, but it holds seeds of truth. Varonaen brought his hybrids with him across the Lhazaar Sea and established the first night gardens. He planted darkwood groves, and in the centuries that followed he developed entirely new strains of vegetation that could thrive in the unique conditions of Farlnen. While the stories are exaggerated, there is some truth to them. Darkwood isn’t watered with blood… but some of Varonaen’s creations do thrive when fertilized with the flesh of the dead. Some of his experiments are just plants, but others can be treated as both plants and undead; Varonaen has created assassin vines that drain the lifeforce of creatures they constrict and a shrieker that howls with the cry of a banshee.

Lord Varonaen played a vital role in founding Farlnen. The people rely on his hybrid plants as a source of both food and lumber, and the exotic spices and wines produced from his creations are unique exports sold by Bloodsail merchants. Despite his part in ensuring the survival of his people, Varonaen has never asserted his power over his peers; his plants are his sole obsession, and he has spent the centuries working on his gardens. He has the manner of a mild, friendly scholar—but he feels no compunctions about creating plantlife that feeds on the living, or sacrificing strangers in this work.

There was a time when Lord Varonaen traveled in search of exotic blooms. It was on such a journey that he was destroyed by the Deathguard of Aerenal. While his vampire form was reduced to ashes, Varonaen had bound his spirit to his garden much as a lich has its phylactery. He was reborn in Farlnen as a wraith (albeit a unique wraith with spellcasting abilities). While he often remains in this incorporeal form while doing his work, he has crafted a body from darkwood and can animate this vessel when he wishes to interact with the physical world. He hasn’t left Farlnen since his death, and it may be that he can’t travel far from this soul garden. However, adventurers could encounter his creations either in Farlnen or beyond, or have need of an exotic elixir that can only be produced from his undead plants. He could even have an interest in consulting with an adventurer renowned as a master alchemist or unusual druid.

Haeldar Krakensbane

You think you’ve looked death in the eye? Wait until you’ve stared into the empty sockets in the skull of a dragon turtle, after it’s capsized your ship and it’s coming right for you. I’m telling you now, you get too close to the Sunless Isle and pirates are the least of your worries. I know you’ve heard these stories before, but have you ever wondered where the Bloodsails GOT these bones so they could animate ’em? I can tell you in two words: Haeldar Krakensbane. He was a legend in life, a dragonslayer who fought alongside the rebel elves just for a chance to fight dragons. He got himself exiled for his troubles, and sailed north with the rest of ’em. His ship runs afoul of a bloody great kraken, which demands tribute from the fleet. The elves, they’re rightly terrified, and they all agree to pay its price. But Haeldar, he’s not having it. It’s his ancestor, see? Never would bend to a beast. So he siezes control of his ship, and no surprise, kraken sinks it and kills everyone aboard—including Haeldar’s children! You’d think that would be the end of it, but weeks later, as them elves are camped out on the sunless shore, they see a monster on the horizon. It’s the kraken; after it swallowed Haeldar, he refused to die, dug his way up through its heart and out its eye. Now here he is, riding the damn dead thing home.

That beast still patrols the waters of Farlnen today. And Haeldar… he spends much of his time mourning his lost children, but when the mood is upon him, he goes back to sea. He won’t force his own on the hunt, not again. But he’ll board another vessel, take command of it, and take it on another monster hunt. If he comes to your ship, hope you’re one of the lucky ones, that he takes down his prey with your vessel still intact. Haeldar Krakensbane never misses his mark… but the ships he sails rarely make it home again.

In life, Haeldar Arrael was a Tairnadal of the Draleus Tairn. He fought alongside the line of Vol not because he believed in their cause, but because it gave him the opportunity to fight dragons. Over the course of the conflict, he fell in love with an elf of the Vyrael line, and following the defeat of the line of Vol he sailed north in the company of his wife and kin. As the story says, when a mighty leviathan threatened his ship, Haeldar put his dreams of glory ahead of the safety of his family. He lost everything, including his own life—but his hunger for victory was so great that he returned as a death knight in the very belly of the kraken, slaying his enemy and animating its corpse.

As described in the tale, Haeldar spends much of his days in mourning. But he is also the source of many of the great beasts bound in undeath as guardians of Farlnen. Haeldar slays these creatures—serpents, dragon turtles, his eponymous kraken—personally, and it is his unique gift that animates those he slays; however, he turns control of these sentinels over to living necromancers upon his return to the island. And as the tale says, when he is in the mood for a hunt, Haeldar will set out on board a Bloodsail vessel—but he will board and sieze control of some other ship, ensuring that he doesn’t place more elves at risk in his relentless pursuit of challenges at sea. Adventurers on the water could encounter a vessel that’s been seized by Haeldar and is in the midst of a hunt—or they could be aboard a vessel when Haeldar commandeers it, and have to decide whether to fight the death knight or to assist him and hope to survive his hunt.

The Ship of Eldaraen

When I was just a boy in the rigging, my captain spotted a ship dead in the water near Farlnen. Beautiful elven vessel it was, not a soul aboard. We board the vessel, no sign of the crew, but it’s well loaded with treasures. The sailors, they took what they could carry; me, I was just a boy, and I’d heard all too much about Farlnen to see such a thing as luck. After looting what he could, my captain scuttles the ship and we watch it sink as he sails away. But late that night, the lass in the ‘nest calls a ship on the horizon. It was that same vessel, good as new, following us. The captain, he panics, starts prepping Zil fire he’d been saving to burn the cursed ship down. He launched six cannisters, and the riggings of the elf ship were all aflame. But then, as sure as I see you now, I saw a shadow amid the barrels we had left… and that’s all I saw before the explosion. I’m the only one who survived, and whatever loot my captain claimed, it should be spread across the bottom of the ocean. But I tell you this, and I’m telling you true: I remember my captain holding that same golden skull you have in your hand now, and that ship behind us, it’s the same one we sank so long ago.

Many see the days before Galifar as the golden age of piracy. Riedran ships were on the water, but there was no united Galifar and the dragonmarked houses had only a sliver of the power they wield today. In those days Bloodsail captain Vyra Eldaraen was the terror of the northern seas. She plundered the oceans for two centuries before her luck finally ran out. With all the plunder she’d amassed, Eldaraen was restored as an oathbound, and she chose to be bound to her ship. Though other members of the Grim warned against it, she sought to continue her career—and soon enough, the Deathguard and a brave captain—Bright Lorrister, a distant ancestor of the modern Prince of the Heavenly Fleet—destroyed Eldaraen and sunk her ship. But a century later, records reported a clear sighting of Eldaraen’s vessel, as good as new. It seemed that somehow, Eldaraen had become something more than any mere oathbound; she had become truly bound to the ship itself, and just as a lich’s body reforms after it is destroyed, the ship of Eldaraen will always return… even if no original part of the ship remains.

Stories of the Ship of Eldaraen vary, and it seems that it goes through stages. In some stories, the ship is actively populated by a crew of wights and shadows, with Eldaraen herself manifesting as a wraith among them. In others, as in the tale shared above, the ship appears to be empty… though in some stories, Eldaraen manifests aboard it in a form similar to a demilich. A few facts are consistent…

  • The Ship is immune to all forms of divination. Creatures can’t teleport into or out of the ship or use planar travel to enter or leave it, unless traveling to Mabar.
  • The Ship seems to have become a mobile manifest zone tied to Mabar, which extends 500 feet from the ship. Within that area. The radius of all light sources is halved; saving throws against necromancy spells are made with disadvantage; and undead have advantage on saving throws to avoid being turned or frightened.
  • The ship carries the plunder of centuries, but treasures taken from it often bring ill luck. Sometimes the items themselves are actively cursed. Other treasures cause the victim to be tracked by the Ship itself (as in the story above) or specters from its crew, or haunted by nightmares until the loot is flung back into the water. The details vary, but the treasures of Eldaraen always return to her eventually.

The Ship of Eldaraen is included in this article as it is a powerful undead entity tied to the Bloodsail Principality. However, Eldaraen is not believed to be an active member of the Grim; the ship follows its own path, and doesn’t appear to coordinate with the living. On the other hand, it’s possible that there is more to this than meets the eye. It could be that Eldaraen is in contact with other Lords of the Grim, communicating through sending or even interacting with them in the court of the Bone King of Mabar. Even if this is not the case, it’s possible that a living Bloodsail elf could track down the Ship and recruit Eldaraen to help her people should the Bloodsails have need of her.

The Vyrael Sisters

The Bloodsail Elves pursue undeath as a path to eternal life. Some are content to endure the red thirst of the vampire or undertake the vows of the oathbound. Others yearn for the power of the lich—but that power isn’t a gift that can be given. It can only be claimed by a being who possesses both tremendous will and arcane knowledge. Few individuals possesses these traits… but on Farlnen, there’s one example of a family claiming power no single member could achieve alone. The Vyrael were one of the largest and most powerful families among the exiled elves that set out for Farlnen. In the early days of the island, three sisters of the Vyrael line rose to prominence, working with Lord Varonaen to establish the night gardens and to lay the foundations of Farlnen. Centuries later, they knew their time was running out. Torae believed that she had mastered the ritual that granted lichdom, but she was certain her two sisters couldn’t survive the process… and she couldn’t bear to leave her siblings behind. Working together they became something entirely new—the first Skull Lord of Farlnen, three spirits bound together in a single form.

The Vyrael Sisters are one of the more active members of the Grim. Each sister has her own interests, and they take turns serving as the primary force of their shared body.

  • Torae Vyrael is the most accomplished wizard of the sisters. While she is in control of the body the DM should feel free to change the standard spells of the Skull Lord, and she should also possess a single 8th level spell slot and expertise with Arcana. Torae loves to spend her days studying obscure lore or mentoring accomplished Bloodsail necromancers. If an elf player character has Vyrael blood (knowingly or not) and arcane talent, Torae could reach out to them through sending and dream and offer to serve as a mentor; she would make an excellent Undead patron for a warlock.
  • Solae Vyrael is the most politically active of the sisters. While she is the dominant spirit, they have expertise with Insight and Persuasion. Solae advises Prince Shaen Tasil, and enjoys hosting salons and galas with Bloodsail captains and other interesting individuals. While foreigners are rarely welcome on Farlnen, exotic adventurers who visit the Sunless Isle might receive an invitation to such a salon. If so, they’d best prove entertaining; boring guests rarely survive the evening. Of course, spurning an invitation from Vyrael is even more dangerous than attending…
  • Vyla Vyrael is a scholar and philosopher, with expertise in History and Religion; while she is in control of the body, they can switch up to five spells for spells from the Cleric spell list. While she studies religions, Vyla herself draws her divine power through Mabar, shaped by her will. Nonetheless, she is fascinated by the concept of religion, and hopes to some day concretely prove the existence of the Sovereigns—though she largely subscribes to the view that if the Sovereigns exist, they are cruel. Should a group of adventurers be seeking the mysteries of the divine, it’s possible Vyla may have answers they seek. She also collects divine artifacts, and adventurers could clash with agents she’s dispatched to recover a new relic for her collection.

One of the Sisters always holds dominance over their shared body, and this is something that can be changed after a long rest. However, the other sisters are an active presence at all times. They can speak and offer opinions; but it is the active spirit that affects the capabilities of the body. The Sisters have a longstanding feud with Haeldar Krakensbane, whom they blame for the death of their aunt. While they have never engaged in any direct violence against Haeldar, it’s quite possible they’d provide surreptitious aid to adventurers clashing with the Krakensbane. The Sisters are essentially an unusual form of lich, and it’s quite possible that they have a phylactery and will return if they are destroyed; however, returning in this way would require the willpower of all three sisters, and if one sister lost her desire to cling to existence, they would all pass on.

The Grim Lords mentioned here are among the most unusual of their kind. Most members of the Grim are vampires, with oathbound (mummies) as the next most common form; there are only one or two liches aside from Illmarrow and the Lords Vyrael. These are all I have time to discuss now, but hopefully these give you some ideas to work with!

If Farlnen is such a powerful source of Mabaran undead and the Undying Court hates the practice of Mabaran necromancy, why hasn’t Aerenal done more to wipe out the Bloodsails?

Mabar consumes light and life. There are many who believe that anything that draws the energies of Mabar into Eberron is inherently destructive, and in particular that undead animated by the power of Mabar ambiently consume the lifeforce of Eberron itself. In many ways, this is analogous to the threat of global warming in our world. It’s a threat that is only expected to play out over a very long time with incremental impacts (such as grass withering around a garrison of skeletal warriors). Given this, there’s people who are concerned about it; people who are convinced it’s nonsense; and the vast majority of people who simply don’t care.

The Aereni care, and they’ve created the Deathguard as a force that eliminates undead and polices the practice of Mabaran necromancy. But Aerenal is an extremely insular nation that takes almost no action in the world beyond its borders. Most notably, the original description of the Deathguard in the 3.5 ECS states that the Deathguard was “Created to battle the corrupted spirits of the realm” which is to say, they mainly operate in Aerenal itself. Essentially, if you compare Mabaran necromancy to global warming, Aerenal has enacted extremely strict regulations within Aerenal itself… but they aren’t sending soldiers to Detroit to blow up automobile factories, let along smashing individual gas-guzzling cars in New Jersey. The key point here is Karrnath. The skeletons in the armies of Karrnath likely outnumber the entire population of Farlnen. Yet over the course of a century, the Deathguard hasn’t somehow brought down Karrnath or destroyed Fort Bones. What they have done is send agents—notably, a highly influential agent with direct access to the king, who has convinced Kaius III to break ties with the Blood of Vol and to limit military necromancy. But that’s a more typical path for the Deathguard to pursue in the wider world than direct military action.

The second key point is that Farlnen is in a strong Mabaran manifest zone. Mabaran manifest zones are a part of the world and always have been, offset by the presence of Irian manifest zones. The short form is that Mabaran necromancy has less impact on the environment when it’s practiced in such a manifest zone because you’re already halfway in Mabar. So making skeletons on Farlnen adds less to your carbon footprint than making them in Sharn. This ties to the fact that many of the major centers for necromancy—such as Atur—are in Mabaran zones. The Aereni don’t like any use of Mabaran necomancy, but they’re not very concerned about Atur, Odakyr, or Farlnen; we’ve called out before that necromancers channeling the energies of such a zone may actually reduce its overall environmental impact.

So cutting to the chase: destroying individual undead is really pretty small potatoes for Aerenal; they aren’t trying to hunt down every individual vampire in the world any more than environmental activists in our world blow up individual gas-powered cars. Occasionally, they WILL target what they see as high value targets. They took down Lord Varonaen a few centuries ago, and they killed Eldaraen—though there, note that they worked with a local hero to pull it off. But overall, they don’t mind the Bloodsails existing as long as they are largely confined to Farlnen. They would be far more concerned if the Bloodsails spread the practice of Mabaran necromancy throughout the Principalities, and that’s one reason the Bloodsails haven’t done that, and why they haven’t spread their culture beyond the island… but even if that occurred, as seen in Karrnath, Aerenal would be more likely to send a diplomat than an assassin to deal with the problem.

The short form is that Deathguard strikes can happen, but it’s extremely rare for them to occur outside of Aerenal—and when they do, it’s very likely that the Deathguard will try to work with some sort of local heroes, like Bright Lorrister in Lhazaar. All of which is to say that rather than solving a problem for the PCs, the Deathguard are likely to try to work with capable adventurers and deal with the problem together.

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62 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: The Grim Lords of Farlnen

  1. That was a fantastic article Keith.

    My only question is Was Saeria Lantol considered one of the Grim before she attacked Galifar with her Talons of Ice and ended up imprisoned in Dreadhold. If so has her position as such been disavowed or revoked?

    • I’m inclined to say that Lantol was a member of the Grim, yes—though that degree of active raiding by a member of the Grim is exceptionally unusual, which is why of course it stands out as a historical event. With that said, I don’t see that she’d be disavowed, no. The Bloodsails have a tradition of piracy and it’s not like they care what the Five Nations thinks of them. Like the other Principalities they may be playing nice right now at the request of the would-be high prince, but I don’t see that they’ve go so far as to censure members of the Grim for raiding.

  2. Are the Grim willing to turn others into undead for the same blood prices the Bloodsails pay, or is their hierarchy of eternal unlife reserved for their own memberd?

    • Personally I’m inclined to say that it’s a privilege reserved for their own people, not a commodity they are simply willing to sell for gold alone.

  3. Would the Dullahan, the headless rider fit as a member of the Grim?

    Love the article and just chefkiss on the boat.

    Could the Eldaraen ever have meet (former) Prince Moren? Perhaps the ship of bones have a treasure the Eldaeraen wants back?

    • Would the Dullahan, the headless rider fit as a member of the Grim?
      I considered it, but it doesn’t really fit the Bloodsails. Most Bloodsails actively choose to become undead, while the Dullahan as presented in 5E is someone who was killed by beheading, desires revenge for said beheading, and who “haunt the areas where they were slain, butchering innocents in search of their severed heads.” On some level this is the same story as Haeldar, but he’s not specifically concerned with with HEAD, he’s concerned with killing and reanimating leviathans—something we’d previously established the Bloodsails do.

      I think you could absolutely have an undead pirate dullahan, but I don’t see any particular reason it has to be a Bloodsail; again, it seems like people don’t choose to become dullahans, it’s a thing that happens when a remarkable villain is killed in a remarkable way (likely in a Mabaran zone or coterminous period). There’s no reason you couldn’t have a Cloudreaver or Direshark Dullahan.

      Could the Eldaraen ever have meet (former) Prince Moren? Perhaps the ship of bones have a treasure the Eldaeraen wants back?
      With questions like this my answer is always going to be “Do you want it to have happened in your campaign? If so, sure!”

  4. Is darkwood mildly Mabaran in nature? Does that make soarwood mildly Syranian in nature?

    If the Bloodsails and the Grim are such egregiously Mabaran undead, and the Undying Court is aware of them, then why has there been no greater effort to increase the numbers of the Deathguard and vanquish these monsters? Aerenal has had millennia on its hands.

    What has stopped Erandis/Illmarrow from building stronger alliances with these Grim lords?

    What does the Crimson Covenant make of the Grim?

    What do the “regular” Lhazaar princes make of these extremely powerful undead in disturbing proximity to the rest of the Principalities?

    • Well the Aerenal gave them a choice, stay and give up your ways, or leave. They left. It seems the Undying Court didn’t have the will or the ability to eradicate them at the time.

      And they are nearly half the world away. Aerenal is on the equitorial line while Farlnen is in the arctic circle.

    • If the Bloodsails and the Grim are such egregiously Mabaran undead, and the Undying Court is aware of them, then why has there been no greater effort to increase the numbers of the Deathguard and vanquish these monsters?
      First off, what makes you think there haven’t been periods where they’ve tried just that? In this article, I mention four Grim Lords, and two of them were destroyed by the Deathguard… while a third never leaves Farlnen, which we’ve established as too much of a hot zone for the Deathguard to mess with. Admittedly, the two I mention survive being destroyed by the Deathguard, which somewhat right there says why they don’t push much harder; it turns out destroying undead isn’t as easy as you think. But also keep in mind that even though these two do survive, the fact that they were destroyed in the first place suggests that there are likely more who were targeted by the Deathguard and DIDN’T survive. With that said, this is a point worth discussing in a little more detail and I’ll do so at the end of the article shortly.

      What has stopped Erandis/Illmarrow from building stronger alliances with these Grim lords?

      What do you mean? Lady Illmarrow is a member of the Grim. They ARE allies. It’s simply that none of them give a damn about her schemes beyond Farlnen. The Lords Vyrael are purely concerned with Farlnen. Varonaen is only concerned with Farlnen and his plants. Haeldar only gets out of bed to kill sea monsters. The main advantage they DO give her is enough concentrated firepower that the Deathguard don’t want to set foot on Farlnen.

      What do the “regular” Lhazaar princes make of these extremely powerful undead in disturbing proximity to the rest of the Principalities?
      The italicized stories presented here are examples of what the people of the Lhazaar Principalities make of these powerful undead. Keep in mind that the Bloodsail Principality is over two thousand years old; Varonaen may be powerful, but he’s never tried to conquer Orthoss. Haeldar may animate sea serpents, but they patrol the borders of Farlnen and go no farther (in part because these powerful necromantic entities are sustained by the Mabaran manifest zone and CAN’T go farther). It’s not like it’s a shocking development; if you’re a human in the Lhazaar Principalities, the Bloodsails are a fact of life. The fact that they have really scary skeletons in the closet is just that.

      What does the Crimson Covenant make of the Grim?
      This has already been discussed in the Crimson Covenant article.

  5. Well you mentioned spices and you mentioned wines, so you got me hooked! Loving the Bloody Gardener, the rest are amazing too but wow that was a great read.

    A few notes, is the Varonaen’s darkwood body visually similar enough to the darkwood musculature of a warforged to give those who’ve seen both . . . pause? Parallel development or form following function as it might be it’s eerie to say the least.

    Is Farlnen known for any particular dishes, considering their exports of wine and spices? Are these spices mainly found in the Principalities or in wider northern Khorvaire?

    And in a slightly wider cast, did the northern Mror Holds (with their Glimmergleam river connecting the sea and Mirror Lake) see much raiding in history/the Last War from Lhazaar pirates? I’d previously InMyEberron said that there was old grief between Farlnen and the northern clanholds, but did the elves raid that far out (they are over the Holds but pretty far north)

    • The wine and spices were first mentioned in Dragon 410, Keith’s article Eye on Eberron: The Bloodsail Principality.

      “*The Grim Lord Varonaen overcame this challenge, and the fruits of his labors can be seen today: darkwood trees and ebon sedge grass that feed on shadows instead of sunlight. Varonaen has continued his work over the course of generations, and the merchants of Farlnen trade spices and wines that cannot be produced anywhere else in the world.*”

      I have no idea what formatting works in these comments so I hope that comes out in italics.

    • A few notes, is the Varonaen’s darkwood body visually similar enough to the darkwood musculature of a warforged to give those who’ve seen both . . . pause?
      I think this is definitely an IME thing. I thing the key question is whether Varoenen’s body is ALIVE. I was thinking of it more as an articulated wooden mannequin that he animates with essentially poltergeist action, and I don’t think that such a body would look much like a warforged; there’s no reason for it to have a circulatory system or any of the “organs” of a warforged. On the other hand, if you go with the idea that he GREW it rather than CONSTRUCTED it and that it is in some way alive even when he’s not inhabiting it, then I think you could make a case for a rootlike musculature and circulatory system which, while not identical to that of a warforged, could at least be similar in interesting ways.

      And in a slightly wider cast, did the northern Mror Holds (with their Glimmergleam river connecting the sea and Mirror Lake) see much raiding in history/the Last War from Lhazaar pirates?
      Sure! I don’t think it’s been a serious ongoing thing throughout history, but I think it’s certainly possible that there were periods when it happened. Eldaraen could have been known for her infamous Mror raids!

      Is Farlnen known for any particular dishes, considering their exports of wine and spices? Are these spices mainly found in the Principalities or in wider northern Khorvaire?
      Farlnen cuisine is DEFINITELY exotic. I don’t have the time at the moment to develop it in detail, but I’d certainly be interested in hearing suggestions people might have. Their exports are well known in the Lhazaar Principalities, and may well have found a place in Karrnath or Rhiavaar as well. I could definitely see some of their spices being used by chefs across the Five Nations who have no idea where they actually come from. The chef in Sharn knows that blood salt adds a distinct coppery flavor that’s perfect in certain dishes, and they know it’s only available at a particular high end spice shop, but they don’t actually know anything about Farlnen or the Bloodsails.

      • In my limited knowledge as an enthusiast of food and wine pairings that go with:

        Well initial thoughts are that rough terrain creates good wine usually (so long as it’s not too arid or too tundra-like), sweet wine, likely ice wine considering the surrounding environment.

        So if we assume that the dear Bloody Gardener is not crazy, transplanting what I assume were more distant from center varietals (also can’t be too tropical, to as far as possible) and making them survive by sheer craft and graft, we’re looking at probably still a sweet wine(?) that pairs with mollusks, scallops, etc., can glaze hardier red/pink fish with said wine as a main ingredient. If you can manage some starch like rice you can make a seafood paella that might pair with it to showcase these (largely fantastical) spices. In general when pairing an ice wine with non-dessert you’re looking for an overly aromatic or salty dish

      • I would guess that the Spices and various forms of Cuisine from Farlen are about as alien to most of mainland Khorvaire as Native Australian Foods are from the Average American. As such I can imagine it being loosely inspired by the size of the gap with things like “Mabaran Parsley”, “Shadowberries”, “Blood Figs”, “Umber Tounges”, “Hemaphage Tomatoes”, or “Fingerbone Yams”. All “relatively” familiar but their forms and flavors are each uniquely their own. The recipes to make a variety of their dishes would likely sound absolutely nuts to the Average Citizen of Khorvaire let alone Sarlona or Argonessen. Although i’d hope their exports would end up with better names then I came up with.

        Honestly I think the only name i came up with that i really like are the “Hemophage Tomatoes”.
        In shape and size they’d be closer to a slightly shriveled Kiwifuit. They’d likely have a mostly transparent but more Kiwifruit-like rind with a coloration similar to a Cherokee Purple Tomato near the surface but much darker with a Purple-Blue hue in place of the Green. When cut they’d have a very-pale yet Crimson looking flesh at the core somewhat similar in color to the average Tomato Paste. However their name would be more influenced by the very Blood-like color of their juice and the Tomato cores distinct Iron Flavor. While the Tomato core can technically get an even stronger Iron flavor if the plant itself is planted in earth fertilized with Chum or even strait up blood.

      • Given wine is mentioned, and the trope of vampires with blood red wine. Scarlet Grapes, that has a uncommon vintage where they are watered with blood so that the wine can sustain a vampire. Perhaps using a lil cranberry for flavor or assassin vine juice.

        Potatoes would fit as well, being a poisonous plant. Perhaps fish and chips is a Farlnen dish. Not exotic for us but for eberron?

        Perhaps there is a distinct graveyard lichen grown to be used for bread.

      • I like to envision Aereni cuisine as South and Central American inspired, so by extension, Farlnen might grow hardy crops like potatoes and quinoa. Seafood would also be important, assuming the local waters aren’t barren. Farlnen “wine” might technically be a chicha made from blood-red Mabaran corn.

        • Farlnen might grow hardy crops like potatoes and quinoa.
          They grow mandrake potatoes on Farlnen. Mandrakes are blood red and scream when you dig them up, but otherwise they’re pretty much normal potatoes.

          • So fish n chips as a farlnen dish? (maybe with something krakenoid as fish, or some deep sea fish?)

      • Time to Adapt Pathfinder’s Ghorans as magebreed creations of Varonaen. XD
        (Ghorans are Plant humanoids that started as a non-Sentient/Sapient experiment to create a food source in a Magic blighted country but evolved into fully sentient/Sapient creatures who then fought against the other inhabitants to be recognized as Sentient/Sapient.)
        Given the nature of the Bloodsail Society would they even accept the Ghorans as citizens as they were in Pathfinder’s Nex? Would the Bloodsail Elves even see them anywhere near equals if they did?

  6. You did not write for 3.5 Faiths of Eberron, but I am still curious as to what you would make of the Unliving Gardens of Taernas Reul, found in pages 142 to 143.

    In your conception, would they be related to Varonaen’s work, and if so, how?

    • The basic idea of them is quite strange, since it describes it as a “haven for undying who need time away from their living charges” while also strongly implying that the plants are charged with negative energy, which should be anathema to the positive-aligned Deathless. I’d expect the Deathless to prefer gardens in Irian zones, which wouldn’t be likely to have “plants that can kill with a touch.”

      With that said, Varonaen is definitely a good explanation. I say “Varonaen was fascinated by those strains of flora that managed to adapt to Aerenal’s Mabaran zones, and improved upon these with his own hybrids; it was he who refined the strain of darkwood that Aerenal exports to this day.” My intent is that he was working with Mabaran-imbued flora long before he came to Farlnen, and it makes a lot of sense to say that the Unliving Gardens are one of his early workshops. I just wouldn’t have the deathless hanging around relaxing in them.

  7. Has the Dolurrhi Queen of the Dead ever made any significant moves upon the Grim lords (other than Erandis/Illmarrow)?

    Have any of the Grim lords struck up deals with the Bone King of Mabar?

  8. You mention Varonaen is a wraith with spellcasting abilities, but no class list is attributed to him. Do you imagine him using the spells of a Spellcaster vampire, a Wizard spell list, or perhaps Druid spells using his intellegence?

    • Clearly Varonaen is a Wu Jen!

      …Actually wouldn’t be the worst choice. Wu Jen has Plant Growth and Animate Dead on its class list, and it’s certainly an interesting take on the mysterious “exiled druid” rumor given as a possible origin in Player’s Guide to Eberron.

    • A reasonable start would be to use the spellcaster vampire list. But I’d use a curated list of wizard and druid spells specifically reflecting the idea that he’s a necromancer who deals with plants. He should absolutely know entangle and plant growth, but blight also makes sense for him. I’d use Intelligence as his casting stat. And I would keep in mind that his greater abilities would be reflected by rituals and eldritch machines; I might limit him to 5th level spells in COMBAT because he’s never had much interest in combat, but what he can do given sufficient time and resources should be far more remarkable than any 5th level spell.

  9. Thank You! I absolutely adore the Bloodsails and their Dark Isle.
    I am curious weather the Children of Winter would ever attempt to get access to the Menagerie of Plants in the Blood Gardens for the more Dangerous specimens. In one of my versions of Eberron I added the Stone Giant Lich king Dodkong (from FR) as a occasional ally of the Blood Sails and a very temperamental and unusual Member of the Grim. I also made a offshoot of the Grim for the Isle of Dread (yes that Isle of Dread)with the Grim-Lady Isidoril, the Daughter of Grim-Lord Varonaen as its leader.

    Do Lord Varonaen’s Gardens focus on a particular biosphere or an insane amalgamation of several? (like Rainforest, Tundra, etc)

    Do you think Dodkong is a good addition as a member of the Grim?

    Are members of the Grim seen like Pseudo Royalty? does that extend to their families?

    How would you approach a descendants of the Grim as a Player Character?

    • I am curious weather the Children of Winter would ever attempt to get access to the Menagerie of Plants in the Blood Gardens for the more Dangerous specimens.
      Not in my campaign. The Children of Winter live on the other side of Khorvaire and are largely “off the grid”—I’d be surprised if they’ve heard stories of pirates on the other side of the world growing strange plants. On the other hand if I had a PLAYER CHARACTER Child of Winter in my campaign and they went to Farlnen, I’d definitely say “Hey, the folks back home might be interested in this!”

      Do Lord Varonaen’s Gardens focus on a particular biosphere
      Absolutely. The problem is, that biosphere is “Mabaran manifest zone” which is an environment that doesn’t exist in our world, so it’s hard to draw an analogy to our world. The Bloodsail article mentions “Grass that feeds on shadows instead of sunlight”, so you COULD look to deep rainforests, but we’re mainly talking “alien world.”

      Are members of the Grim seen like Pseudo Royalty? does that extend to their families?
      This is addressed in the article in Dragon 410. The Grim aren’t the rulers of Farlnen, but they “live in mansions
      maintained by tithes from the living
      .” Beyond this, “Only the most accomplished individuals can rise to join the Grim.
      One must display talent and charisma, learning all that life has to offer before passing to the other side
      .” So the short answer is no, it’s definitely not hereditary. You’d receive some general respect for being related to someone so impressive and powerful, but if YOU want to join the Grim you’ll need to earn your passage like everyone else; though you’d likely have an edge in that your ancestor might act as your mentor.

      How would you approach a descendants of the Grim as a Player Character?
      Largely the same way I’d approach an Aereni elf who’s related to a member of the Undying Court. They have a high bar to live up to, but they might receive guidance from their ancestor or requests for assistance which could drive an adventure. I probably WOULDN’T give them the “Noble” background, or if I did, I’d give them the “Retainer” feature instead of Position of Privilege, because status as a Grim’s Child wouldn’t be sufficient to, for example, get you recognized in foreign courts. More likely than not I’d just give them the Sailor background (or whatever); they might get special treatment in Farlnen, but unless the campaign is set there it’s a narrow enough benefit that it doesn’t require a background.

      Do you think Dodkong is a good addition as a member of the Grim?
      I’m not personally familiar with him. It’s an INTERESTING choice because it’s the question of what a giant is doing that far from Xen’drik. But if he’s taken actions that have earned him the respect of the Bloodsails, I don’t see why not.

      • Thank You for your response. Dodkong was an elderly stone giant who attempted to re-found his home kingdom and on the way became a Lich and when he succeeded reclaiming his homeland he became a king and resurrects hill giants in his domain as Barrows (a unique undead similar to a Ghoul or wight).

        Granted In Eberron I made it that his people originally inhabited Farlen and got destroyed by the dragons. He then returned and refounded his kingdom around the time Galifar was uniting Khorvaire. As such he is an old Undead king ruling a part of Farlen alongside the Bloodsail Elves as mostly allies. I never thought of why it was their homeland although i expect every society has some form of religion based around death, perhaps religious pilgrims similar to the Bloodsail is appropriate.

      • The only new question from the rewording i did .

        I also made a offshoot of the Grim for the Isle of Dread (From old dnd) with the Grim-Lady Isidoril, the Daughter of Grim-Lord Varonaen as its leader. Do you believe such a character might share her Fathers more eclectic interests? Are there any values he would try to impress upon his children? Does he have any “canonical” children?

        • That depends how you define “children.” Kanonically he was one of the oldest vampires on Aerenal, which means he was undead for thousands of years before arriving on Farlnen. So if he had a biological child, she would have to be thousands of years old and born on Aerenal. However, you could define “child” in one of a number of ways here…
          1. Isidoril was his favored student, and when she advanced to the Grim, he transformed her into a vampire—so she was his “child in undeath,” not in life. In this case, she would presumably share his interests.
          2. Isildoril only appears to be an elf, but is actually a strange plant-based simulacrum that he created; she truly is his child, but manufactured (sort of like a warforged).
          3. She is his physical child, in which case she was born on Aerenal and would have to have become undead thousands of years ago in order to still be alive today. In this case she’s had thousands of years to find her own path; she might be close to her father still, or they could have gone very different ways.

          • I think an interesting Mixture of Concepts would be if she was his biological daughter, a Dhampir Elf and later ascended to Full undeath in some form (Most likely a Vampire like her father). The “Original” is stranded on the Isle of Dread and the Plant-based simulacrum is her fathers twisted form of grief there for I can have two versions of the character. The plant one for the traditional eberron and the original for the Stranded village of Blood Sail elves on the Isle of Dread. The Original being closer to her father is quite helpful as her ally among this micro-branch of the Grim is Lord Guiomar, an Elven Lichen lich who ascended after they were stranded. Lichen Liches are a very druid/plant based type of lich and are from the Candlekeep Mysteries book.

    • I’m Sorry to everyone for how poorly I worded the original. I was in a hurry and should have taken a minute to rephrase.

      Are there any connections between the Children of winter and the Grim Lord Varonaen? if not would they try to steal his more dangerous experiments to aid their mission?

      Do Lord Varonaen’s Gardens focus on a particular biosphere or an insane amalgamation of several? (like Rainforest, Tundra, etc)

      In one of my versions of Eberron I added the Stone Giant Lich king Dodkong (from FR) as a occasional ally of the Blood Sails and a very temperamental and unusual Member of the Grim. Do you think Dodkong is a good addition as a member of the Grim?

      Are members of the Grim seen like Pseudo Royalty? does that extend to their families? As such How would you approach a descendant of various members of the Grim as Player Characters?

      I also made a offshoot of the Grim for the Isle of Dread (From old dnd) with the Grim-Lady Isidoril, the Daughter of Grim-Lord Varonaen as its leader. Do you believe such a character might share her Fathers more eclectic interests? Are there any values he would try to impress upon his children? Does he have any “canonical” children?

      Once again Thank You! I absolutely adore the Bloodsails and the crazy nature of Farlen. Here’s hoping someday we can see a City setting based on Port Cairn.

  10. The Nightfall Pearl is a legendary magic item from Explorers Guide to Wildenount that turns a 10 mile radius around it into night sky. Would the Bloodsails have access to and employ similar magic? Or do the vampires and other sun – harmed undead have other ways of dealing with sailing over the course of days.

    • Sure, it’s possible that a Bloodsail ship carrying a vampire could use a smaller version of such an item. I could imagine such pearls being farmed along the coastline of Farlnen and charged with the energies of Mabar. However, keep in mind that there’s relatively few vampires on Bloodsail ships. For the most part, Bloodsail sailors are living elves, who earn their undeath through profit or plunder; once they’re undead, most are happy to kick back and enjoy the good unlife. Undead commonly encountered on the seas are minor spirits bound to the ship or sail and mindless undead (like skeletons on the oars). It’s possible to encounter major undead on the water—in the article I mention Varonaen traveling occasionally—but it’s not common.
      Long story short, a vampire captain might equip such a tool, but most Bloodsail sailors are living elves.

  11. Who was the dominant power on Khorvaire at the time that these folks were exiled from Aerenal?

    • Goblins.

      Date: -1,600 YK

      The Mark of Sentinel appears among humans of pre-Galifar Karrnath.
      Elves & dragons unite to destroy House Vol (which carries the Mark of Death), ending millennia of intermittent warfare between the two species.
      Lady Vol, Lich Queen of the Dead is created.
      House Phiarlan leaves Aerenal to relocate among the humans of Khorvaire.

      Date: -1,500 YK

      The distinct settlements that will become the Five Nations are cut out of goblin-controlled central Khorvaire.
      The Mark of Making appears among humans of pre-Galifar Cyre.
      The Mark of Warding appears among the dwarves of the Mror Holds.

    • In the timeline the destruction of the Vol family line and Erandis being liched was roughly 2600 years ago. After Lhazaar’s voyage.

      By this time its 400 years after Maleon the Reaver raided along the southern coast of Khorvaire and took over Ja’Sharaat which would one day become Sharn. 400 years for humans to start migrating inland pilaging, destroying, and in some cases enslaving the native goblinoid population. So likely a some goblinoid kingdoms hanging on but rapidly being displaced by humans. We’re still 600 years out from Karrn the Conqueror.

      • This is an accurate analysis. Malleon is the key indicator, as he was a contemporary of Lhazaar herself. So humans landed on the Lhazaar shore 400 years before the elves came to Farlnen, but they shunned Farlnen itself as a cursed and barren land.

  12. What is the faith of the Bloodsails like?

    From my understanding, it is what the Blood of Vol would consider heresy; that there is no hope of salvation from Dolurrh except undeath. So everyone is working to try to achieve that undeath for themselves. But this means that, absent being destroyed, their society is burdened by an ever growing number of undead. The majority of whom are vampires. Do the Grim-lords take steps to control the vampire population, since they are a self replicating undead that needs to feed on living humanoids?

    There are other Mabaran undead who make more of themselves; has Farlnen ever endured things like ghoul plagues and shadow outbreaks, as one monster kills a living elf and makes another of itself, and so on and so on? I would think that would be one of the natural dangers to living in a Mabaran manifest zone, the possibility of the hunger of Mabar destroying all life in the delicate balance maintained there.

    Has Farlnen ever been invaded by one of the powers that dwell in Mabar?

    • Most of these questions are addressed in the Bloodsails article in Dragon 410. One key quote: “Most Bloodsails aspire to become vampires, however, so that they can continue to walk the world after death. The mortal population can sustain only a limited
      number of vampires, so the cost of this transformation rises with the creation of every new vampire
      .” So yes, the vampire population is very strictly controlled, and a vampire can’t just choose to randomly transform a mortal. Again, this is discussed in more detail in the article. Likewise, it discusses the faith of Farlnen: “Bloodsail priests are far more pragmatic than are their Karrnathi counterparts. They shape their divine spells from the raw energy of Mabar, and whereas the Seekers of Atur try to unlock the immortal potential of the Divinity Within, the priests of Port Cairn are content with the simpler immortality of undeath.” Again, this is discussed in more detail in that article.

  13. The original article in Dragon Magazine #410 says: “Farlnen is primarily inhabited by elves, along with a handful of eladrin and half­-elves. The eladrin arrived eighteen hundred years ago, fleeing a disaster in Thelanis; they have fully embraced the Bloodsail culture and married into elf families. Members of other races might be accepted as guests, but there is no place for humans on the Black Isle.”

    Are there any undead eladrin among the Grim?

    If humans are not accepted in Farlnen, does that mean a powerful undead human would never be accepted into the Grim? Would they have to be at least half-elven to be accepted?

    • Eladrin seems less likely now with their removal from the list of core races, but I could see a cool adaptation of a banshee-type fey undead as a Grim Lord. But I think you still miss out on why an eladrin would end up in Farlnen amongst the bloodsails.

      I would definitely play the Grim as too snooty to ever accept even a human lich or w/e – I think it’d be more interesting to explore that as the “spurned academic” storyline than just have one get accepted.

      • Are there any undead eladrin among the Grim?
        Joseph is correct in his assessment. The Bloodsails article in Dragon 410 was written during 4E, in which eladrin were a core race that largely took the place of high elves in previous editions. As a result, I’m inclined to drop them. If you do keep them, however, everything you really need to know is in that sentence: The eladrin arrived eighteen hundred years ago, fleeing a disaster in Thelanis; they have fully embraced the Bloodsail culture and married into elf families. The point is that you may have elves and eladrin intermingled in Farlnen, but they don’t identify as separate cultural groups and don’t maintain any significant ties to their fey past. MECHANICALLY they are eladrin, but culturally they are Bloodsails. With this in mind, sure, if you use these Eladrin, they are probably Eladrin in the Grim; they’ve been a part of the society for almost two thousand years and it would be strange if they hadn’t ever reached that height.

        If humans are not accepted in Farlnen, does that mean a powerful undead human would never be accepted into the Grim?
        That’s correct. Typically you don’t get to join the Grim because you’re powerful undead; BECOMING undead is one of the benefits you receive when you are deemed worthy to join the Grim. From Dragon 410: “Only the most accomplished individuals can rise to join the Grim. One must display talent and charisma…” It’s a CULTURAL thing: essentially, you have to demonstrate that they WANT to keep you around forever. This ties to the Grim Lords we’ve mentioned here. Varonaen is a brilliant scientist. The Lords Vyrial are both philosopher and arcanist. Haeldar is primarily a martial force, but he uses that power for the good of the island and has made important contributions to its defense. So if some random human vampire shows up, they don’t care that he’s a vampire; he’d have to impress them as a PERSON before they’d consider him as a member of the Grim, and he’d have to be an INCREDIBLY remarkable person to be able to push through the isolationist, elf-centered traditions of Farlnen. It’s not impossible, but it would be extremely extraordinary—and again, the fact that he’s already undead would largely be irrelevant, as most members of the Grim don’t become undead until they join it.

  14. Would the Grim frown upon a Bloodsail seeking alternate paths to immortality- reincarnation and resurrection, clone and simulacrum or their equivalents?

    • I don’t see why they’d have a problem with other paths. They don’t believe that undeath is some form of apotheosis; as called out in the Dragon article, “while the Seekers of Atur try to unlock the immortal potential of the Divinity Within, the priests of Port Cairn are content with the simpler immortality of undeath.” The point is that they DON’T think undeath is the be-all end-all, they just think it WORKS. There’s been some discussion on the server that I agree with, which is the point that I don’t believe Mabaran undeath is especially PLEASANT. I’ve called out in other articles that the connection to Mabar hollows people out, eroding empathy. It’s not perfect, but it’s available and it does the job. I think it would be very reasonable to create a member of the Grim who is entirely focused on exploring other ways to preserve or prolong life—even if they themselves have already become a vampire or oathbound, they could be trying to find a better path for their descendants.

    • Tied to this, on Reddit someone asked If I’m a Bloodsail captain who became a vampire through some means other than paying my tithes, is that a problem? Here’s my answer…

      The main issue is that the Grim strictly regulates the vampire population as a matter of resource management. The issue isn’t whether you can become a vampire, it’s whether you are worthy to be a RESIDENT vampire. This doesn’t have to involve the payment of tithes; I’m sure the privilege could be granted in exchange for heroic service to the island, for example. But there are strict rules about Bloodsail vampires siring other vampires. If it was a Bloodsail vampire who sired you without the proper protocols, THEY could be in a lot of trouble. If not—you picked up vampirism elsewhere—you’re still essentially going to have to prove that you deserve to be a Bloodsail vampire. It could well be that you’re not allowed to actually reside on the island until you’ve paid your blood money or otherwise proved your worth.
      If it was MY campaign and you became a vampire through some method OTHER than being sired by a Bloodsail, I’d personally make your vampiric lineage a point of concern. Who was your sire? Who was their sire? Can this strain of vampirism be traced back to the Qabalrin, to Katashka the Gatekeeper, or somewhere else? I could imagine Bloodsails having a very low opinion of Katashka vampires (“Blood trash”).

  15. Are there any Dolurrhi undead among the Grim, like Dolurrhi ghosts?

    Going in another direction, are there any Mabaran ghosts among the Grim, and if so, what would distinguish them from wraiths?

    • A key point to keep in mind is that the Grim aren’t just an alliance of random undead. They were mortal elves who earned the right to become undead and to hold a respected place in Bloodsail society. Dragon 410 notes “When a sailor dies, the funds in his or her account determine that sailor’s final fate. Gifted wizards or clerics can become liches. Wealthy captains sometimes bind their spirits to skeletal sea monsters. Most Bloodsails aspire to become vampires…” In 5E I’ve shifted my personal view of this to say that liches are rare, and that it’s oathbound and vampires that form the majority of the Grim. Because the key point is that someone powerful can MAKE you into a vampire or a mummy; it’s a gift that can be given. Again, you don’t join the Grim because you’re a vampire; you become a vampire because you’re deemed worthy to join the Grim. Haeldar is a notable exception, but also, Haeldar is older than the Grim; Haeldar became a death knight during the expedition that was bringing the exiles to Farlnen, and helped to create the island as it stands today. But TODAY, people generally earn a place among the Grim in life; you don’t have random undead showing up and asking to be given a mansion.

      As described in this article, “… most ghosts aren’t fully aware of their condition or the passage of time, and they generally can’t retain new information.” Becoming a ghost isn’t something to aspire to, or something that you can choose; it typically happens as the result of a tragedy and often in Dolurrhi manifest zones, which Farlnen is not. So no, there are no Dolurrhi ghosts among the Grim. Meanwhile, the same article presents the idea that wraiths are typically a second stage of mummies, wights, or vampires—that if the creature’s body is destroyed but its will is strong, it can persist as a wraith, as seen here with Varonaen. So there are wraiths among the Grim, but most started as some other form of undead.

      • There are no Dolurrhi ghosts among the Grim, but are there Mabaran ghosts? Is there any difference between those and wraiths?

        • From Keith’s article in Dragon 410 on the Bloodsails, the Grim seem to see favor binding elf sailors as ghosts/haunts to a ship/ghost light/weapon as a lesser form of undeath with the more expensive option allowing for the spirit to manifest. Exploring Eberron even explicitly calls this out as the Farlnen twist on Aereni Spirit Idols.

          Don’t see any mention of ghosts specific to Mabar from what I can see.

          • Ben is correct. Dragon 410 presents a limited form of ghost existence as an equivalent to spirit idols, not something you’d see as members of the Grim. Beyond that, as presented in the Ghost Stories article, I generally differentiate ghosts and wraiths by the idea that a ghost is far more limited. Drawing straight from the 5E Monster Manual, “A ghost is the soul of a once-living creature, bound to haunt a specific location, creature, or object that held significance to it in its life.” By contrast, a wraith like Lord Varonaen is more independent. Both are intelligent, and you can have a conversation with a ghost, but a ghost can’t really learn or evolve; a wraith can. At least, that’s my take. So, you have a few wraiths like Varonaen in the Grim, but you wouldn’t have a ghost in such a role.

  16. If the Grim Lords discover Dragonmark of Death is reappeared, what they would do?
    On the one hand, they respect Vol’s achievements and Mark of Death is Vol’s greatest heritage. On the another, after all they surrendered to the Court. (Sort of. I think if they and Vol tried to continue war shoulder to shoulder until the very end, I see no reason dragons spared their lives.) So now, they might believe Mark of Death possibility is not worth the ultimate risk.
    What do you think? I like to think conclusions will vary for each lords. Maybe the Vryrael Sisters would dispute the matter each other?

  17. How would you put the dhampir into the bloodsail? Would it be a gift of the grim (but not fully a member) or a child of a vampire grim that was birthed by aid of magic? And what role would a NPC dhampir have? For example could Shaen Tasil be a dhampir elf?

  18. What does it mean to channel divine power through Mabar? What are they having faith in? The hostility of the universe?

    • Dragon 410 notes “Bloodsail priests are far more pragmatic than are their Karrnathi counterparts.” Essentially, what they believe is that I can wield the power of Mabar. It’s a form of the belief in the Divinity Within, which is I have divine power in myself, but it’s about the belief that I can master the power of death and despair and bend it to my will. They don’t believe that this power will help them in any way unless they seize it and forge it into a tool, but they believe that they CAN forge it into a tool.

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