Dragonmarks 11/1: Sports, Holidays, and More!

Time for more Eberron questions!

Are there any Khorvairian analogs to real world holidays or festivals, say if we wanted a Christmas themed game?

It depends what you mean by “direct” analogs. There’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny in canon Eberron. With that said, there are some holidays that could be used to give a game a similar favor. A few examples:

  • Wildnight (18-19 Sypheros). The festival of the Fury, a time when passions run high and people cast aside inhibitions. Blend Mardi Gras with a divinely inspired bacchanal and you’re on the right track.
  • Long Shadows (26-28 Vult). Three nights when the Shadow reigns supreme. Most stay indoors by the fire, but it is a time for minions of darkness to take to the streets and celebrate. If you want a Halloweenish tradition, you could say that some people choose to dress as monsters to frighten their friends… though that’s a dangerous game on a night when true monsters are abroad.
  • Boldrei’s Feast (9 Rhaan). A time for a community to come together and strengthen its ties. Certainly a time in which people give thanks, if you take my meaning. Also a traditional day for elections and government appointments.
  • The Ascension (1 Sypheros). The most important celebration in the calendar of the Church of the Silver Flame, the Ascension commemorates Tira’s sacrifice and transformation into the Voice of the Flame.

All of these are described on pages 30-32 of Sharn: City of Towers, along with ten other holidays and festivals.

We rarely hear of “sports” in fantasy. Are bloodless sports a big Eberron thing? Breland Monarchs vs Karrnath Bats” style?  

Funny you should ask, as some sports are covered on pages 32-33 of Sharn. The sport that’s received the most coverage is The Race of Eight Winds, an annual aerial race that involves eight different species of flying creatures. Combat is allowed in the Race, so it’s not entirely bloodless. However, combat isn’t the focus, and many riders will do their best to avoid it; it’s simply the case that if you’re the Griffon, you’ve got a better chance of beating the Pegasus by literally beating the pegasus than you do outflying it. There are certainly bloodless races – pegasus versus pegasus, for example – as well; the Ro8W is simply the biggest sporting event of the year.

As for team events, the only one that’s been mentioned by name is hrazhak (Sharn, page 32), a team sport with its roots among the Eldeen shifters. Again, this is a full-contact sport, but the goal of the game isn’t the elimination of the opposition and only natural weapons are allowed; it’s a rough game, but I wouldn’t define it as a bloodsport. Because of the nature of the game, human players will be at a disadvantage; however, it could still be something that could gain popularity and become a national sport.

There could easily be other organized sports, but none have been mentioned in canon that I’m aware of.

I was wondering, can a half-elf born of elf and human in Eberron develop either half-elf dragonmark, if any at all?

Well, anyone can develop any Dragonmark, if the Prophecy turns that way. However, per canon and tradition, the only way to manifest a dragonmark is if the person with the mark is part of a bloodline that already carries the mark. So the question here is whether the union of a human and half-elf has the potential to produce a human child, or if all the children will be Khoravar. If a human-Khoravar union can produce a human child, then this simply means that the human parent of your half-elf character has a connection to the house in question somewhere down the line.

Note that if a half-elf/human union can produce a human child, this wouldn’t allow a human to develop the mark of Storm, any more than a Tharashk orc can develop the mark of Finding; it’s just latent in his bloodline.

Also, do half-drow have a place in Eberron?

Sure. In my novel The Shattered Land, the protagonists employ a half-drow guide named Gerrion in Stormreach. It’s simply the case that because there is so little interaction between drow and other species there aren’t very many half-drow, and thus they aren’t a cultural force the way the Khoravar are.

Keith, I’ve been enjoying your take on 4e Eberron (which I’m calling Eberron 4.K) but I’m trying to deal with the cost of rituals. Magewrights can learn one or two rituals but how do they handle component costs? I’ve been thinking of the lamplighters, walking around Sharn with Continual Light rituals and re-casting every 24 hours but the ritual is 20 gold or a healing surge. Adventurers can pay that but that’s something like the annual income of the average laborer to power one lamp.

That’s a case of the ritual being poorly designed for Eberron. You’re right; there’s no way people are paying 20 gp/day to keep a streetlight going. I think the answer lies in the streetlamp itself. The ritual allows you to place a continual light on ANYTHING. I can make my boot glow… but it only lasts for an hour. Now think of it as oil. I can pour oil on my boot and set it on fire, and it will provide light for a little while until it burns up the boot. However, if I use that same amount of oil in an oil lantern, it’s going to last far longer, because it’s a tool designed for that purpose.

So, in the case of Continual Light, what I’d say is that the streetlights are designed with dragonshard “wicks” that hold and channel the power of the ritual for an extended period of time. You pay the base cost to start it up the first time; from that point forward, you have a mini-version of the ritual that simply uses a pinch of residuum to keep it going. So the typical lamplighter is going around recharging, but only spending a small amount – which would come from municipal taxes. The “recharge” ritual isn’t a full ritual in its own right, it’s something anyone who knows Continual Light can perform.

As for the general costs of rituals (like arcane lock), the Magewright would simply have to charge enough for her services to cover the cost of the components and generate a profit.

What if dragonmarks started popping in the real world?

I don’t think there’d be a vast immediate impact. Bear in mind that much of what gives the dragonmarks their power is the tools that are designed to focus and channel that power. On its own, the Least Mark of Making lets you cast Mending once per day. That’s handy to be sure, but it’s the ability to use things like the creation forges that makes the mark a true force to be reckoned with. The marks have been around in Eberron for over a thousand years, but their influence has grown considerably over the last few centuries as the houses have developed superior tools and techniques; I’d expect the same if they appeared here.