Dragonmarks: Lightning Round 3/19

I’m just back from the JoCo Cruise and about to head off to PAX East, and I haven’t had an opportunity to write the next installment of the Dark Six series. Instead, I’m going to do a quick Q&A with questions submitted by my awesome Patreon supporters. These questions fall into two categories: some are questions that have canon answers, while others are essentially asking for speculation. What other failed secessions happened during the Last War, for example; none are mentioned in canon sources that I’m aware of, so any answers I give are me telling you what I might do in MY campaign. I’m marking these answers NC. 

The current political map of Khorvaire is defined largely by successful secessions – Valenar, the Mror Holds, and the Eldeen Reaches, to name a few. What kinds of *failed* secessions happened during the Last War?

(NC) One of my main rules of worldbuilding is this: In adding a detail to the lore, can I think of three ways that it could play a meaningful role in a story? I’ve never made a comprehensive list of all the rulers of Galifar, because I’ve never been in a situation where someone needed to know who was king in 464 YK; if it came up randomly at my table, I’d just make up a name and make a note of it. I bring this up for two reasons. First of all, you’ve generally heard about the winners because they HAVE defined the present map; and second, that means in describing failed secessions, I’m only interested in coming up with ideas that COULD play an interesting role in a story… whether that’s driving adventure, creating a colorful NPC or villain, or being tied to a character’s backstory.

With that in mind, here’s one idea.

Faldren’s Folly. The drive to rid Breland of the monarchy didn’t begin with Ruken ir’Clarn. In 961 YK, King Boranex of Breland committed suicide after the deaths of his two eldest sons. While Prince Boranel had proven himself in war, he was seen as an adventurer and dilettante. Commander Rand Faldren sought to rally support within the Brelish army for an overthrow of the monarchy, placing power in the hands of the parliament. He stopped short of attempting a coup, and stood down when the majority of parliament condemned the idea. However, soon thereafter he seized control of Orcbone, the fortress by the Graywall Mountains. He proclaimed the fortress to be the heart of “New Wroat,” reclaiming the pre-Galifar name of the nation, and called on those who sought freedom to join him, following the model of Q’barra. Breland dispatched a small force to retake Orcbone, which failed; given that the region was strategically unimportant and there were pressing concerns on other fronts, Boranel chose to pull soldiers back rather than to devote a major force to bring down Faldren; essentially, he put it on Faldren to defend his new settlers. This proved a disaster. As numbers grew, Faldren encouraged settlers to establish themselves in the foundation of an old goblin city… the city we now know as Graywall. These settlers were prepared for minotaur raiders, and repelled a few attacks. But they weren’t prepared for the skullcrusher ogres and war trolls that came later—the first appearance of the elite forces of Sora Maenya. The force drove deeper into New Wroat and laid waste to Orcbone. Rand Faldren was dismembered and his head was never found; some believe Sora Maenya still has it.

Boranel responded swiftly to the destruction. Orcbone was reclaimed and fortified, and many settlers were safely returned east. While some were grateful, others felt that Faldren was a martyr to the principles of a democratic Breland—that he was driven to his fate by the outdated monarchy, and that Boranel left the settlers to die because they challenged his authority. Today any western cells of the Swords of Liberty call Faldren a hero, and demand that stronger action be taken against the creatures of Droaam.

As an idea, this is tied to existing principles—the rise of Droaam and the ongoing uncertainty about the fate of the Brelish Monarchy. It serves as a rallying point for the Swords of Liberty. And a PC could have lost family in Faldren’s Folly… perhaps still yearning for vengeance against Sora Maenya or the troll commander who slaughtered their parents.

In each country, what power group would be most likely to react to a planar invasion ? Assuming it’s more covert than just a giant portal opening and a massive horde coming through. The invasion starting under the radar but growing as major threat as time progresses.

First and foremost: Who should deal with a covert planar invasion? The player characters. Eberron has always been designed as a world where there aren’t tons of powerful benevolent forces and where the ones that do exist are often limited in some way. So I’m going to continue to talk about the forces that might come into play, but in an ideal story, these forces WOULDN’T just solve the problem on their own. Perhaps they’re crippled by infighting or corruption. Perhaps they’ve been infiltrated and compromised by the invading forces. Essentially, even if the Church of the Silver Flame is ultimately the force that would fight such a thing, in my campaign the question would always be How do the player characters play a central role in that defense? 

With that said… most of the modern nations don’t have “Planar Invasion” agencies. On the one hand this is because they’re been focused on carrying out an actual war against very concrete, mundane enemies: Karrnath has been too busy fighting Thrane to devote much of their budget to the Xoriat Defense Initiative. However, part of the reason for this is that there’s a very well established and respected military force that is dedicated to protecting people of all nations from exactly this sort of threat: The Church of the Silver Flame. People often look at the Church of the Silver Flame through the lens of religion in our world. In OUR history, militant religions have often used that military force to impose their beliefs on others. But that’s never been the purpose of the templars. Instead, they are a volunteer army dedicated to defending ALL innocents—regardless of their nation or their beliefs—from the very real supernatural threats that exist in Eberron. At any time there could be a planar incursion, a horde of aberrations bursting out of Khyber, an overlord unleashed, or—just as a random example—a deadly surge in lycanthropy. And when that last one happened, who came to the defense of the people of Aundair? The Church of the Silver Flame.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: The Church of the Silver Flame has more in common with the Jedi and the Men in Black than with any religion in our world. The Silver Flame isn’t a traditional god; it is a force that holds demons at bay and that empowers champions who fight to defend the innocent from supernatural threats. Breland doesn’t need a Planer Defense Initiative because they know that IF such a threat arises, templars and exorcists from across the Five Nations will stand against it, and they DO specialize in dealing with this sort of thing. Again, when the Purge happened, Galifar as a whole said “Not our problem;” It was the Silver Flame that took action. Having said this: The Lycanthropic Purge shows that the best-intentioned plans can have terrible consequences. The Pure Flame sees the faith as a weapon to punish the wicked as opposed to a shield to protect the innocent. The rise of the theocracy has created opportunities for those who pursue rank in the church because they seek power as opposed to being devoted to defending the innocent. Part of the point of Eberron is that few things are entirely good or evil. But at its heart, defending the innocent from planar incursions is exactly the job of the Church of the Silver Flame.

The Gatekeepers are next in line as a force specifically trained and dedicated to protecting Eberron from planar incursions. However, they are a small force and lack the widespread recognition of the Silver Flame. If an exorcist of the Silver Flame shows up, presents their holy symbol and says “There’s a planar breach, I need you to get out of the way” many people would respond to their authority; whereas if someone says “I’m a Gatekeeper, I need your help” most people in Sharn will say “A what now?” The same holds true for the Shadow Watchers of the Kalashtar; while primarily dedicated to fighting the Dreaming Dark, they might uncover other planar agendas… but they lack resources or influence.

Beyond this, however, a covert threat is a covert threat. How different is this threat from one posed by mundane terrorists or spies? As such, you could get the King’s Citadel (note that the Blackened Book of Sharn and the King’s Wands are trained to deal with mystical threats), the Royal Eyes of Aundair, or the Trust of Zilargo engaging with such a threat.

Speaking of planar incursions, we know of the Daelkyr Invasion and the lycanthrope and shifter Lamannia exodus during the Purge, and feyspires being stuck in Eberron, are there any other historical en masse planar jumps either to Eberron from other planes and natives or a time when a significant group of Eberron natives went elsewhere in the cosmos?

(NC) This is back to noncanon speculation. The short answer? Yes, absolutely. The longer answer will have to wait, because it requires me to actually sit down and make some up. Just for a start, I’ll point you to my article on Mabar; there’s certainly regions that have been pulled into Mabar in the past.

There are no Daanvi manifest zones in any canon material. What would one be like, do you think?

(NC) Manifest zones channel some aspect of the plane. Daanvi is more subtle than some of the planes; per the 3.5 ECS, there are no effects when Daanvi is coterminous. Personally, I think it’s that there’s no physically obvious effects when Daanvi is coterminous, but that’s a subject for another time. The basic issue is the imposition of law and order. Here’s just a few ways I could imagine this manifesting.

  • Modrons manifest in the region, designing and maintaining a system of pendulums or some other monument to stability and order.
  • The region is permanently under the influence of a zone of truth.
  • Magic that seems inherently “lawful” could be cast at a higher spell slot in the region, with disadvantage to save versus its effects; magic that is inherently chaotic could have its effect minimized, and saves could have advantage.
  • The region could subtly push people to come together in groups, to embrace rules and laws or surrender freedoms. On some level, one could make a case that Korranberg could be in a manifest zone to Daanvi, which drove the original foundation of the Trust and enhanced people’s willingness to grant such brought authority to the institution.
  • Natural phenomena could manifest in ways that are unnaturally symmetrical or uniform.

Kalashtar: do you see most of them living in kalahtar communities, or more like a family secret that’s passed down through the generations, and you may or may not meet another kalashtar in your lifetime? And would an orphaned kalashtar simply believe themselves to be human, though with strange/unexplainable experiences?

Per canon, there’s a few factors here.

  • Kalashtar are described as mostly living in kalashtar communities.
  • Kalashtar lineage is very clear cut. If a human and kalashtar have a child, there’s a 50/50 chance of that child being human or kalashtar, and it’s 100% one or the other; either it inherits the bond and is kalashtar or it’s not and is entirely human. So it’s not like it lingers in the bloodline as a latent trait that can manifest in the child of two human parents.
  • By canon, kalashtar are close to human—in 3.5 they don’t have a penalty when disguising themselves as human—but they still HAVE to disguise themselves in order to pass as human. Kalashtar are kalashtar. Their body language, their features, the eyes-that-can-glow-when-they’re-emotional… if they aren’t hiding it, they’re just as distinctive as, say, an elf. Because they are rarer than elves, there are many people who see them and don’t know exactly what they are; but if they aren’t trying to hide it, it’s clear that they aren’t entirely human.
  • It is established in canon that an orphan kalashtar doesn’t inherently gain an understanding of what it means to be a kalashtar or of the true nature of their kalashtar spirit. So you can have a kalashtar orphan who doesn’t KNOW what they are… but they will CERTAINLY know that they are different from the humans around them. On the other hand, in a world with sorcerers and aberrant dragonmarks they may not assume “I am a different species,” but they will know they are different.

That’s all by canon. As with all things in Eberron, you can always do what makes a good story. Do you want to play the first kalashtar somehow born to two human parents? Then do it (with your DM’s permission, of course). But that’s definitely not normal.

Are the Kalashtar’s pale skin and black hair the general look for people from Adar? The Inspired are also fairly pale with (purple-blue?) dark hair, so is that region of Sarlona just known for pale people?  Or is there a huge spread, dark skin, pale skin, in between, dark hair, fair hair, curly hair, straight hair, so that noticing a Kalashtar or Inspired from far away isn’t as cut and dry (ignoring that Disguise exists and they still look weird and have glowy eyes)?

Sarlona is home to a diverse range of ethnicities based on its highly divergent environments—the Tashana Tundra, the deserts of Syrkarn, the Corvaguran rain forests, the mountains of Adar. The Inspired were drawn from across Sarlona, appearing in ALL of the nations involved in the Sundering, so there should absolutely be a full spectrum; now you call it out, I’m disappointed that we haven’t seen any dark skinned Inspired in art and I’d like to see that change.

The same is true of the kalashtar. Despite the limited depictions in art, this is from the EPG:

The monastery where the sixty-seven humans became kalashtar was a place of refuge, so the humans who lived there were diverse. Kalashtar have thus retained a diversity of appearance, possessing the same variety of skin, hair, and eye colors found among humans. They are usually slimmer and taller than humans, although short or stocky kalashtar exist.

I also feel that while the quori bond doesn’t remain latent in the human side of the gene pool — a child either has it or they don’t — a kalashtar inherits physical traits from both its parents, So you could have three kalashtar who share the same quori spirit but are physically distinct from one another.

If you imagine Droaam has an Ithilid population beyond it’s mayor. What attempts could be made to reconcile their brain-eating needs the same way troll-flesh is used to reconcile the carnivorous population’s needs?

By canon, Droaam doesn’t have a significant Illithid population. Xorchyllic is called out as being a very unusual exception, found imprisoned below Graywall and working with the Daughters of Sora Kell for reasons of its own. In general I see mind flayers as being far more alien than most of the creatures of Droaam; while I have nothing against the idea of having a few more in the mix, in my campaign their motives would be VERY different from any other warlords.

So first of all, you’re only feeding one or maybe a few mind flayers, not an entire army of carnivorous creatures. So I don’t see an industry around it. My assumption is that Xorchyllic acts as judge, jury, and executioner in Graywall, and execution involves it eating your brain. If it’s especially hungry, then guess what, jaywalking just became a capital offense…

To what extent does Rekkenmark train officers, as opposed to elite troops or even standard troops. Is it primarily about tactics or skill? In 4e terms, is it training warlords, or fighters, or both?

Here’s a few quotes from Five Nations. 

  • After the Kingdom of Galifar was established, military officers from across the land trained at the Rekkenmark Academy.
  • What if she washed out of the academy? A third of first-year officers don’t come back to Rekkenmark for the second year.

  • The vast majority of warlords and officers in the various Karrnathi armies graduated with honors from the Rekkenmark Academy and earned a place in the Order of Rekkenmark.

So: Rekkenmark ACADEMY trains officers. That could be 4E warlords; in 5E battle master fighters and Purple Dragon Knights could definitely be part of the Order of Rekkenmark.

The critical point here, though, is that Rekkenmark isn’t JUST an academy; it’s a city. And that city is also a central garrison and training center for the general Karrnathi military. So any sort of fighter might have “Trained at Rekkenmark.” The question is if you graduated from the Academy and if you’re part of the Order (which would be an interpretation of the “Military Rank” benefit of the Soldier background.)

That’s all for now! If you’re going to be at PAX East, I’ll be at the Twogether Studios/Table Titans booth. And if you haven’t seen it already, check out my recent release The Morgrave Miscellany on the DM’s Guild! And while you’re there, take a look at Rime or Reasonthe latest installment in the Across Eberron adventure path!

28 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Lightning Round 3/19

  1. Thank you for the Planar Invasion answer !
    It relates to what my players are doing and I wanted your opinion on what groups could be involved in the mess that is about to be revealed.
    It is gonna involve big numbers and they’re gonna need allies.

    • That’s an interesting question. My personal canon is that the physical substance of the brain is largely incidental and that what the mind flayer enjoys or takes sustenance from is the THOUGHTS of the victim. So it’s not like the mind flayer would derive any satisfaction from eating a dead brain; they have to consume it live. With this in mind, I’d personally think that a troll wouldn’t survive having its brain consumed. Mechanically, if the creature reaches zero hit points it dies instantly; I’d personally rule this as overriding regeneration. Even if the body regenerated, it would be vegetative. Of course, it could be that they use these comatose trolls for grist…

      But to me, it’s not as those a mind flayer would get anything out of eating brain stew or brain sausage; it’s consuming the sentience that is the real source of sustenance, and that doesn’t regenerate once it’s gone.

      • That inspires ideas of the mayor setting different challenges in the gladiator arenas or changing lanes periodically so it may sample new emotional meals from Graywall prisoners and criminals… Higher threats in arenas so the mayor can feast on a brain filled with rage, instilling a mid day curfew for a few weeks so the illithid can sample the erratic paranoia of someone who breaks that law and is caught…

  2. A thing I’ve been wondering about for a while: what is the role played by nobility in the various Nations?
    The traditional setup is that nobles are granted authority over a region in exchange for (a) governing and taxing that region and sending most of those taxes to their liege, and (b) providing a certain number of armed forces to their liege. But in Eberron, armies appear to be more of a national concern. But do you still have dukes, counts, and barons governing the land via hereditary fiefdoms, or is the power of nobility mostly tied to being really rich?

    • This is a good question for a point when I have time for a longer answer. The short answer is that the Five Nations are technically feudal nations, and it varies in how that is enforced. Typically, this means that it’s the responsibility of the noble to govern a region on behalf of the crown. The army is a nationalized force, but it’s on the noble to make sure that their region contributes a minimum number of people to the army. The noble doesn’t personally administer justice, but it’s on them to make sure that there is a local court in place. They deal with issues of infrastructure. They are responsible for collecting taxes and then delivering those taxes to the crown. And so on. It’s less extreme than full medieval feudalism, but the echo is still there.

      With that said, it varies by nation. In Karrnath, the feudal warlords ARE directly responsible for maintaining and commanding local military forces; officers may train at Rekkenmark, but they return to serve their warlord. Likewise, in Karrnath the warlord does hold the ultimate power of justice and can overrule a civilian magistrate. Meanwhile, in Thrane the nobility has largely been removed from any sort of governance and largely just maintains the title and family fortune.

      So on a spectrum of most feudal to least, I’d say Karrnath-Aundair-Cyre-Breland-Thrane.

      • You had previously mentioned in one of your posts on Cyre, that there are pre-Galifaran noble families and post-Galifaran noble families. I would imagine that the role and status of these would vary by region as well. Did the local ir’Wyvarn monarch seize the best lands or holds from the old nobles and award them to their favored vassals (in which case the old nobles might retain a title, but not much else like impoversihed nobles in a Jane Austen novel). Or did the new monarchs try to co-opt the old noble houses into the new structure, in which case they might hold key poistions in the nation?

        • This is addressed in the Cyre article.

          Galifar’s goal with Cyre was to create something new, a culture combining the best aspects of the other nations. In the newly forged Thrane, Aundair, and Breland, the people kept their old traditions and the ruling families were often incorporated into the new governing structure. But in the old kingdom of Metrol—which covered an area roughly the size and shape of the modern Mournland—the old systems and rulers were pushed aside to make room for Cyre’s dream. Some of the noble families of Metrol embraced this new path. Others were resettled by Galifar, granted authority over regions that had previously existed as independent frontiers.

  3. About planar invasions, I always loved the idea of playing some kind of stranger things in Eberron. Aundair opening a gate to Khitry and unleashing a grey salad on a little city. Then trying to cover up the things (maybe they suspect a connection with mourning too?). Players have to deal both with the slaad assassin and with royal eyes.

    • This sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME, especially with manifest zones and coterminous periods. If I was doing Stranger Things, I’d have Aundair create an eldritch machine on a manifest zone that breaks the veil between worlds. But the point is that this is a very small scale, controlled example; when I see “planar invasion” I think of something more on the scale of the Xoriat incursion, with a full army coming through.

      Also, I expect it’s due to autocorrect, but I love the idea of a “grey salad” menacing a small city!

      • Haha nice!
        One of the things that you always pointed out is that Big Outsiders are not so interested into eberron. Xoriat is a kind of exception. So we could make it bigger (we a a grey SALAD killing around; but the gate is still open and they are not able to close it), but why should slaads and/or other immortal things from Khitry want to invade Aundair?

    • One of the Dungeon Magazine adventures has the PCs save Sharn from such a threat. It’s not a very good adventure, being a linear romp in some lava caves against enemies that deal almost 100% fire damage (so any energy resistances renders the entire dungeon a non-issue) and the plot doesn’t work mechanically (the big bad has been living in these caves, but has no source of fire resistance except an item he has to hold). The idea was nice at least.

  4. I love love LOVE Faldran’s Folly because it’s precisely the kind of rebellion that Breland needs in their history.

    On the subject of Kalashtar I’ve always wondered a couple of really small things about them.

    Most pictures of them are pale with black hair (there was one with white-blonde hair that I saw in 3.5 in Races of Eberron, the Atavist) but I had a player asking to play a redheaded one and I went along with it. It seemed to fit because Elan (a famously redheaded race in Dark Sun at least) are said to be a sort of trapped Quori race in Eberron and if the Quori doesn’t affect the hair colour, then that at least points to red hair being enough of a thing in Sarlona to exist. Plus enough lucky breeding leaves the character still a Kalashtar but with enough old fashioned genetic lottery to get the red hair.

    Note: I understand that it’s my game and I can do whatever I’m just curious

    So with that said, my question is are the Kalashtar’s pale skin and black hair the general look for people from Adar? The Inspired are also fairly pale with (purple-blue?) dark hair, so is that region of Sarlona just known for pale people? I know that in Khorvaire skin colour isn’t that important but it seems Sarlona had distinct racial groups pre-Sundering so would you generally assume all the non-Elan “quori” humanoids are pale and dark of hair? Or is there a huge spread, dark skin, pale skin, in between, dark hair, fair hair, curly hair, straight hair, so that noticing a Kalashtar or Inspired from far away isn’t as cut and dry (ignoring that Disguise exists and they still look weird and have glowy eyes)?

      • Thank you that was what I figured was the idea. It is too bad that a lot of people assume Riedra and Adar are simply Eberron’s “China/Tibet/Japan” area

  5. Another question, now that I’m more awake — the primary villain-turned-ally of the campaign I finished Saturday was a rogue Inspired (also a great PC concept). How might that Inspired permanently bond to their mortal host, essentially becoming a new kalashtar? (My players suggested use of the *ceremony* spell to affirm that bond, but I’m interested to hear your thoughts.)

    • I think it would be more involved than ceremony, more on par with an eldritch machine. I’ll note that in Secrets of Sarlona, the Elan are called out as being the consequence of a quori spirit being imprisoned in a mortal vessel.

      I bring this up because generally I’d see “becoming a new kalashtar” as a big step down for an Inspired. As Inspired, they’re in full control of whatever vessel they inhabit; they can return to Dal Quor whenever they want; and if their vessel is killed, they just jump to another. Just the fact that a particular quori can have lunch in Sharn and then switch to a vessel in Dar Jin for dinner is a very useful power. The sole advantange of being kalashtar is removing the quori from Dal Quor so it can’t be targeted by the Dreaming Dark. You’ve said your inspired is a rogue, so that may be exactly what they’re looking for; I’m just pointing out that it’s not something I’d expect a quori to be EXCITED about.

  6. Does the Church of the Silver Flame have missionaries? And what does conversion typically look like – Is it mostly seen as signing on for a kind of supernatural militia or is it seen as personal spiritual journey? Somewhere in between?

    • The Church of the Silver Flame does have missionaries. The primary point of conversion is Live a better life. If you have the skills, you can join the templars, or failing that, train to be able to protect the people in your community (which is part of the point of the archery practice). But beyond that it is that you should strive to live a virtuous life; show compassion to others; and inspire others to do better through your example.

  7. A slightly-Riedra-related question: I have a player who *really* wants to play a Capoeira-using monk, who specifically learned martial arts as a dance. I suggested a Riedran resistance figther (which would justify some of the higher-level abilities as psionic powers). She’s not entirely convinced about being a total outsider on Khorvaire.
    Another idea would be a member of a splinter group in Valenar, a half-elf who’s not a member of a caste of warriors, and is going to cooperate with Lyrandars to overthrow the actual Valaes Tairn.

    Any idea for a reasonably noble freedom fighter group of legit oppressed minorities on Khorvaire?

    • I have a player who *really* wants to play a Capoeira-using monk, who specifically learned martial arts as a dance. I suggested a Riedran resistance fighter…

      I’d suggest a kalashtar monk, or someone trained by the kalashtar. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the description of the Kalashtar martial art:

      The Path of Shadows: Many kalashtar practice sheshan talarash dasyannah – which roughly translates to “dancing with the shadows on the path to light”, or more commonly “the path of shadows”. This is a martial art in every sense of the word, and serves as a form of exercise, meditation, combat training, and artistic expression. The path of shadows is a soft, fluid art, full of smooth, sweeping motions that are both beautiful and hypnotic. A character that focuses on the pure movement of the dance is said to be “staying in the light”, while one who trains for battle is “facing the shadows.”

      The Kalashtar Shadow Watchers of Khorvaire are especially concerned with the Dreaming Dark, but they will also stand against any form of oppression. And again, she could be from Khorvaire; she’d be part of a minority culture, but she wouldn’t be a complete outsider.

      Another idea would be a member of a splinter group in Valenar, a half-elf who’s not a member of a caste of warriors, and is going to cooperate with Lyrandars to overthrow the actual Valaes Tairn.

      I could certainly see a Valenar monk following an artistic path perfected by patron ancestors. The idea of Lyrandar turning against the Valenar elves is against the general direction of canon, which is that the Valenar already essentially let Lyrandar run the country, and Lyrandar like having the Valenar as an army against outsiders while they build their power. And overall, the Valenar are supposed to be LESS oppressive rulers than the Cyrans who came before them. But it’s certainly a path you could explore in your Eberron.

      Another option would be an assassin monk from House Phiarlan or House Thuranni. Remember that they are first and foremost entertainers, so a deadly art that combines dance and combat is a perfect tool for a Thuranni assassin, and the Way of the Shadow would also fit with that.

  8. Was it intentional for House Jorasco to come across as a heartlessly capitalistic organization which only manages to remain on the Acheron side of the Acheron-Baator divide because it’s actually providing a service to people who can pay instead of pursuing some explicitly destructive agenda for its own enrichment? It seems like a brutal commentary on the American health care system, a way of bringing attention to the concept of discrimination by wealth in general, and a Nuremberg defense waiting to happen (“Of course I couldn’t have healed the only man who was holding the demon at bay, it’s against my oath”).

    On top of that, in addition to the strictness of their oath, they’re also much more controlling than any other house according to the sourcebook Dragonmarked, arguably crossing the line from mere social pressure into forced labor. It seems like the House most likely to backstab someone for having a conscience.

    House Jorasco has always struck me as one of the ugliest bits of Eberron. I do run with it since such ugliness can be an interesting source of conflict, but I find it hard to imagine a good-aligned Jorasco PC who doesn’t in some way chafe against their House, a chaotic-aligned Jorasco PC who isn’t an excoriate, or indeed much room for good-aligned or chaotic-aligned NPC Jorascos at all; again, was that intentional?

    • This is a good question, but I’m going to delay it for a new Q&A next week as opposed to answered it here. There’s a second good question that arose and I’d rather address both in a new post rather than have them buried in an old one.

  9. As you say that you’ll do a couple of q&a question, here I have a couple:
    1) what would happen in your opinion eberron if the turn of the age would finally come in Dal Qor? And (and this is a different question) what story would you drive out of such event?
    2) ok, this could sound stupid, but: I love warlocks, but I find the idea of becoming a pc class making an agreement a bit weird and even weirder in eberrom. Is it that simple? And how exactly do you grow in power, if your power is essentially a gift?
    3) could you shortly tell us the evolution of your Q’Barra campaign?

    • I love warlocks, but I find the idea of becoming a pc class making an agreement a bit weird and even weirder in eberron. Is it that simple?

      That’s up to the player and the DM. I’ve offered a variety of suggestions in this article: http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-warlocks/, so if you haven’t read that you should. Essentially, the power could be a literal gift—because of your agreement you can channel the power of the action to produce a specific effect. But it can also be that the patron TEACHES you how to do a specific magical action; the gift is knowledge, and it took the character time to master it. There’s also the question of whether ANYONE could become a warlock by making a deal, or if it’s assumed that the PC has special qualities that make them ABLE to make the deal. In a campaign I ran, when the Archfey warlock had to switch patrons, we established that there were a lot of Archfey who WANTED to make a pact with her—that only special people have the potential to be warlocks, and they are valued as agents and envoys.

      And how exactly do you grow in power, if your power is essentially a gift?

      Either because your patron grants you new abilities (in general because as you’ve gained experience you’ve also been performing services for your patron); because they’ve taught you new things; or because you’ve learned how to use your existing powers in new ways, reflecting your personal experience.

      I’ll address the other questions in a future Q&A post.

  10. Great! I know this is a 3.5 question, but would you share even just a couple of examples of how reskin or justify a dragon adept in eberron out of argonassen?

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