Dragonmarks: Rural Eberron

I’m working on a lot of projects right now. Over the next few months I’m going to be putting most of my energy into Phoenix: Dawn Command. Part of the point of developing a new setting and system is that I’m free to develop it in a way I can’t currently develop Eberron. However, my intention is to include conversion notes and to develop ideas that could fit into Eberron or another world, so you can get the most out of whatever I’m doing.

I’m also part of a new Eberron podcast called Manifest Zone. We recently sent out a call for questions. Many of the questions we received are too narrow or specific for what we want to do with the podcast… but they’re still some great questions that I wanted to address. Here’s on that stood out for me.

It’s easy to make Eberron feel like Eberron in the big cities. How do I do the same when visiting a tavern, or hamlet?

It’s an excellent question. I’m going to start with the general topic of rural Eberron, and deal with taverns in a second post – because I actually have a surprising amount to say about taverns. But starting with the general issue: What makes a farm in Breland different from one in the Dalelands of the Forgotten Realms? What is it that makes that small Aundairian village different from a generic Tolkien scene? As a gamemaster, what can you do to draw people into the setting? Well, let’s look at a few of the pillars of the setting.

Magic is a part of everyday life.

Remember: Eberron isn’t about high magic and the works of epic wizards. It’s about wide magic – the widespread use of low-level magic to solve problems that we’ve solved with technology. Everyone needs light. Farmers might not people able to afford everbright lanterns in every room, but I’d still imagine a farm would have at least two. Of course, rural magic depends on where you are. In Karrnath, a Seeker community will have skeletons performing menial tasks. In Aundair, a farm might have a floating disk that serves some of the same purposes as a tractor. In the Eldeen, you might have gleaners – the druidic equivalent of magewrights, with farmers knowing a simple druidic ritual or two to help with the crop. And consider that even one level of magewright gives access to the magecraft spell, which provides a +5 to Craft checks. From the ECS:

Every magewright worthy of the name knows the magecraft spell (see page 113). Truly expert coopers recite the magecraft  spell over their barrels, the best blacksmiths chant it as they hammer hot iron, and the finest potters cast it while they spin their clay. 

Magewrights aren’t limited to the big city; it’s an NPC class for a reason. So again, in describing a blacksmith, mention the magical gestures he makes over his forge and the sigils engraved in the anvil (designed to effectively channel the magecraft effect).

Beyond this, communities will be built around useful magical resources. Any thriving community will have a central well enchanted with a purify water effect. One of the most useful spells is a cantrip: prestidigitation. With this spell you can clean, heat, cool, flavor. Given that these principles exist, it’s easy to envision minor magic items that do just one of these things… and now you have mystical refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, washing machines, and more. In a small town people may not own personal magic items, but a large farm may still have an ice room. We’ve mentioned before that Aundairian villages often have cleansing stones, a central fountain-like structure where you can bring laundry to have it instantly cleaned.

Even where people aren’t using magic themselves, consider manifest zones. Sharn exists because it’s built on a manifest zone that makes the towers possible. Dreadhold is built on a manifest zone that strengthens its stone, while it’s the zones to Irian that make the Undying Court possible in Aerenal. Manifest zones are natural resources, and where there are manifest zones with beneficial effects people will take advantage of them. A manifest zone to Fernia could be unnaturally temperate, or it could be that within the stone, basalt grows unusually warm – so the people in the zone heat their houses and foods with these stones. Use your imagination: what could be a beneficial manifestation of a particular plane, and how would people harness it?

Finally, consider the ambient impact of the greater magical economy. Mention the airship this passes overhead; perhaps the old farmer hates the damn things (remember that airships haven’t been around that long!). Perhaps a House Orien representative is in town negotiating a new lightning rail that’s going to pass through the area.

If it’s in D&D, there’s a place for it in Eberron.

Khorvaire isn’t our world. It’s a world where ogres and griffons and medusas are part of nature, and that’s before you get into the possibilities of magebreeding (Cows that produce chocolate milk? Hens that lay hardboiled eggs?). That Aundairian ranch might be breeding dragonhawks instead of horses. When you pass by a field in Breland you might see an ogre pulling a plow on his own. His name’s Bargh; he was a mercenary with Tharashk during the war, and liked the area so much he just stayed behind afterwards and was taken in by the local farm. Which leads to…

Consider the impact of the war.

We’re two years out from a devastating century of war, which involved a wide range of magical weapons. You could have the equivalent of a magical minefield – a stretch of land that’s been abandoned because of explosive wards still scattered across the countryside. You could come to a place where a bridge is being rebuilt and you have to take ferries across; the Brelish ferryman curses the damn Cyrans, and complains about how they ruined his town and now Boranel is buying them dinner. You might find craters from powerful war magics, ruins that have never been rebuilt, a hamlet that was once a prosperous town before the war took most of its population… or another town that’s home to a large refugee population, and tensions are high.

Consider Religion. 

In a village in Thrane, you might find the townsfolk practicing archery on the green while a cantor sings praises to Tira. Next door in Breland you may have a village that has no priest, but everyone believes the oldest farmer is blessed by Arawai, and he speaks on her behalf at village gatherings. Shrines to Sovereigns can take many forms. Daca sits on a pillar in Sharn, but you could just as easily find a pillar saint in a small town.The central square in a Karrnathi hamlet contains a bloodstained stone basin, used for the ritual sharing of blood. In western Breland you might find a cairn made from shards of shattered statues; this dates back to a time when the Znir gnolls lived in the region, but the locals have continued to add stones to it.

Presumably, small villages are less diverse than great cities like Sharn, but how much so? Do non-humans tend to have their own communities in rural areas, or are they integrated with the majority human population?

I believe that most communities are integrated in the Five Nations. It varies by nation – Humans make up 70% of the population in Thrane, while they are less than half of the populace of Breland. Tied to this, through the Dragonmarked Houses every common race has a critical role in the economy that helps their position in society. There’s surely racisim in Khorvaire, and you can play that up from any angle you like; but it’s still the case that I’m used to having halflings running the inn the hospital, and gnomes sending messages. And this has been true for a thousand years. Dwarves built the towers of Sharn. So in my opinion, while racism is definitely out there, in the Five Nations nationalism is stronger. If I’m from Breland, I care more about the fact that you’re Brelish than that you’re a dwarf; that piece of things will come second.

So for the most part, I believe you see diversity in communities. In Breland, if there’s ten families in a village, you can expect at least two of them to be dwarves or gnomes. With that said, you’re likely to see SOME concentration simply because it’s necessary to sustain a community. Which is to say, if each village was a perfect microcosm you’d have one gnome family, one dwarf family, one halfling family… and what happens when the children are looking for mates? So I suspect you have village A that’s blended dwarves and humans, village B that’s gnomes and humans, etc… but people aren’t going to freak out if a halfling moves in. Probably.

You certainly could have entire villages of a particular race, but I don’t think it’s the norm.

Are there any significant numbers of warforged outside of the cities, e.g. the village with the warforged named Smith who was welcomed because the former village smith died in the War?

I’d expect warforged to congregate in the cities. Lacking clear direction and purpose and owning no property, it’s easier for them to make a start around others of their kind. And warforged are both new and created as weapons of war – so it’s far more logical to see prejudice against warforged than against the races that have been part of your civilization for centuries. With that said, I think you see warforged in small communities where they have attachments to people who live there. When the soldier came home to his farm after the war, his warforged companion came with him and works on the farm. In the local tavern, a warforged remains as the bouncer. And I think an entire village of warforged – a gift of land from a noble grateful for their service – is an intriguing story idea. As for your smith (and I played a warforged artificer named Smith for a while), some villages would welcome him and others might drive him away; again, prejudice against warforged is more common than any of the demihumans.

Could a kalashar thrive in a hamet where she is the only psion for miles, or would she feel the need to conceal her talents? Similar question for changelings?

I think a kalashtar could do just fine. It’s easy for kalashtar to disguise themselves as humans if they want, but I also don’t think we’ve established fear of psionics as a big thing in the Five Nations; most people would just assume it’s some sort of mind magic. Changelings are another question and one I’ll address at more length at some places. Breland is fairly accepting of changelings and they may live openly. In other places you’ll oftn see changelings concealing their true nature; bear in mind, the reason they are called “changelings” dates from people having children with a disguised shapeshifter, and when the child is born a changeling, believing that their actual baby has been stolen away. And you also have small communities that are entirely changelings – though you won’t know it passing through. So it depends on the place: changelings will often hide, but a trusted changling whose family has been part of the community for a while may just live out in the open.

These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless, especially when you get into the different nations and their own unique elements, but that’s all I have time for now. Feel free to share ways you’ve presented the flavor of the world below!

77 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: Rural Eberron

  1. I’ve come up with a couple of wide magic devices;

    A depilation stone is a pebble designed to fit comfortably into the hand. It is enchanted with a version of prestidigitation (or depilate from an obscure 3rd party 3.5 book) that allows the painless removal of hair. It’s essentially a razor, without the trouble of blades being brought close to the skin.

    An Eberron bath, mostly limited to nobles and larger settlements, could be as simple as a decanter of endless water combined with a heat metal enchantment; if the heat metal spell can be controlled, it allows for the perfect bathing temperature. More expensive versions may rely on bound fire or water elementals for similar purposes.

    I’ve used a Vadalis farmer breeding Brelish bears as a great background for a quest, where they had to chase off ‘ashbound druids’ from causing trouble.

    • A depilation stone is a pebble designed to fit comfortably into the hand. It is enchanted with a version of prestidigitation…

      Prestidigitation is the most useful domestic spell around, and the principle of it provides microwaves, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, refrigerators and more. At the moment I tend to have such things in Eberron be still fairly large; the cleaning stone is a thing you find at the center of town, not something you just carry in your pocket. You COULD have such a stone in your pocket, of course, it would just be more expensive; I’m essentially hand-waving the item creation rules to say that it’s cheaper to make the stationary cleansing stone than a hand held version.

      With that said, another way to make things cheaper is to make them dragonshard focus items. So one thing I’ll be pointing out in the tavern article is that just as the real power of House Sivis if the dragonshard focus item that channels Whispering Wind, one of the greatest strengths of Ghallanda is channeling the effect of prestidigitation through focus items…

      • So a Ghallanda barber may have a depilation stone focus item, but the object is too expensive/inefficient for private use. I can certainly see a Ghallanda salon or hairdresser in a large town.

        • Exactly right. Again, while the modifications to the item creation rules have never been set in stone, the basic idea is that it’s both easier and less expensive to make a focus item that channels the effect of a dragonmark (so, any sort of prestidigitation effect with the Mark of Hospitality) than to make one that anyone can use.

      • Not that there are any hard answers, but it would be interesting to think about what the dragonshard focus items would be for the Mark of Death, especially if they are economically productive/creative rather than destructive (as you have mentioned before)…

        • I always figured the Mark of Death would corner the market on funerals and the matters of the dead, ironically opposing opposing necromancers and the Blood of Vol. They’d work with Sivis to handle wills and estates, Jorasco to ensure the terminal pass peacefully, perhaps even taking or competing for the business of resurrections, Kundarak would be natural partners for tomb security, as would Cannith when golems or more technical traps were needed. Orien and Lyrandar would work with the theoretical House of Death to ensure proper transport, and the House(s) of Shadow would make a tidy mural profit when it came to ‘disappearing’ inconvenient people. Medani and Deneith would likely have the least to do with them, along with House Tharashk, though wealthy heirs and scions may purchase insurance policies where their bodies are taken care of in the event of unnatural or unexpected death.

          • Gentle repose items would ensure more pleasant funerals, speak with dead could settle contested estates, and of course, the ever-valuable raise dead spell as an expensive service for wealthy clients. All potential businesses for a House of Death.

            Don’t ask me for a name or heraldry, though. I’m not that creative.

            • IIRC, Raise dead is exclusive to Jorasco?

              But yeah, speaking with the dead, preserving them, etc, would certainly be incredibly valuable.

              I’ve thought about having one of my PCs develop the Mark of Death, but I’m not sure how it would be received, especially since she probably has elven ancestors, but isn’t an elf herself.

              The real fun question for me is: did Vol get destroyed specifically bc they bred dragons and elves, because that being had the mark, because they got a mark on a half dragon (regardless of her being half elf), or some other combination of reasons? what about the combination meant she could potentially destroy the world?
              What if it’s a paradox? What if she couldn’t have destroyed the world, had they not created the circumstance that lead to her lichdom, and the prophecy lead them to think that her being elf/dragon/marked made her an existential threat, when really it could have been read as a warning not to do what they did?

              • While these issues are intentionally up for every DM to play with, per canon Erandis’s dragonmark is something beyond even a Siberys mark – it’s not just that she has the Mark of Death, but that she has a form of the Mark of Death beyond anything seen before. So whatever the powers of the STANDARD Mark of Death are, Erandis is something beyond that.

                Which certainly leaves open the question as to whether the problem really was the Mark of Death or if it was the creation of an Apex Dragonmark. Could Jorasco and Vadalis get together with some dragons and create a half-dragon with the Apex Mark of Healing? And if so, would it be just as dangerous?

                Another idea that’s been tossed out is that it is the Daelkyr who created the dragonmarks as a tool to manipulate the Prophecy… and if so, it could be that such an Apex Mark could rewrite the Prophecy.

                Of course, if it IS the daelkyr who created the dragonmarks, it supports the idea that neither the Chamber or the Lords of Dust fully understand them – that the actions of Argonnessen towards House Vol could have been based on “We don’t know what this is so we’re going to wipe it out” as opposed to any sort of fully informed action. As shown by Xen’drik, when the dragons decide to wipe something out, they’re very thorough.

              • Forgot about the whole “greater than siberys mark” thing!

                So, if the Mark were to come back, assuming no Daelkyr element, would the dragons freak out? Would the elves? The Twelve?

              • So, if the Mark were to come back, assuming no Daelkyr element, would the dragons freak out? Would the elves? The Twelve?

                It’s really up to you, based on WHY they got upset in the first place. If they were only concerned about the Apex Mark, then it could be that they won’t care about a single person manifesting a lesser form of the mark. On the other hand, they did go to the trouble to wipe out the entire bloodline, so they might want to keep that going. One question would be if the bearer was in some way tied to the Vol bloodline, or if they were provably entirely different – in which case this could be proof that the Prophecy demands that all thirteen marks exist, and that if a line is wiped out it will eventually reappear on a new line. .. which could have lots of interesting ramifications.

                Essentially, what’s the story you want to tell? Do you WANT the story to be about pursuit and constant paranoia as the dragons hunt the bearer down? Or do you want it to be about the discovery of a cosmic destiny? Or both?

              • Both is good! Lol

                To bring it back around again to the topic, sort of, what do you think of the different ways Dragonmarks have been done in each edition? 4e had rituals and skill bonuses, 3.5 and 5e have spells, 4e and 5e have just the one Mark, with 5e’s mark growing as you gain power.

                Somehow, none seem quite right with the fiction, to me. 4e might, if there were feats for least, lesser, and greater. I liked Siberys Mark as a Paragon Path.
                Anyway, how do you handle it?

              • Anyway, how do you handle it?

                The short but honest answer is that I don’t. Since I do game design for a living and I can’t create Eberron material for 5E, I’m not playing it at the moment; my RPG design energy is devoted to Phoenix: Dawn Command, which I created in order to have a setting and system I CAN develop however I see fit. I don’t see the current model that’s been presented for 5E as the right answer, but to come up with an answer I feel is both true to the concept and well-balanced would require me to study the system in greater depth – to follow up on the most recent developments and spend more time playing it myself – than I currently have. I’ll certainly do that when I can actually DO something with the material I create, IE when Eberron is put into the DM’s Guild. For now, I’m happy to talk about the SETTING, because I don’t have to be perfectly up to date with 5E balance for that to be worthwhile. But I haven’t invested enough time into 5E to feel confident to present conversions at this point.

                As for how they’ve been interpreted in past editions, that’s not really related to this topic. I’ll not that in my opinion the most significant power of a dragonmark in 3E isn’t the spell-like ability it grants, but rather the ability to use dragonmark focus items. The fact that a Sivis gnome can produce Whispering Wind once per day is a party trick; the fact that he can operate a speaking stone is what’s crucial to the magical economy. Lyrandar’s power comes from operating elemental vessels, not from making gusts of wind. With this in mind, my answer in 4E was to limit a specific set of rituals to those with dragonmarks – if you want an arcane lock, you HAVE to find someone with the Mark of Warding to perform that ritual.

                In general, 4E rituals are a better fit for the magical service economy of Eberron than Vancian magic. In theory, if your job is casting Arcane Lock, it’s far more logical to say that it takes you 15 minutes and 50 GP, but if you have the time and components you can do it all day than to say that you cast it twice and you need to close up shop until the next day. But there’s still things about 4E rituals that really don’t fit the setting. In my campaign, Magewrights learn specific rituals. If you can perform the Continual Flame ritual that’s your JOB, and you spent years mastering it – it’s not that you happen to own a ritual book, and if you picked up a different ritual book you could suddenly cast Arcane Lock. The idea that a PC ritual caster CAN do that is a reflection of the amazing talent of the player character – they’re a prodigy who can just cast the ritual by reading it off the page – but not how the world normally works. IIRC I created a Magewright feat that let you perform three rituals without a book to reflect this – not something a PC would want, but a reflection of how the world works for most people.

                But I covered this in more detail here: http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-51-the-dragonmarked-houses/

        • Matthew is on the right track, but as Bricingwolf points out, Raise Dead is a power of the Mark of Healing. This is why Erandis Vol is a lich, instead of simply having been resurrected.

          Likewise, I’d actually personally make Gentle Repose a Healing effect, counter-intuitive as it may seem; it affects a dead body, but it’s still about the “health” of a physical form.

          Essentially, I’d think of the Mark of Healing as being about preserving the physical body… while the Mark of Death is more about interacting and preserving the spirit. Speak with Dead is definitely in line, as is animating the dead, but any sort of power that interacts with the undead is plausible; someone with the Mark of Death can raise a ghost, speak with it, calm it or banish it. So those with the Mark would be well suited to being exorcists or mediums, in addition to raising undead armies.

          • I was actually kinda just having that brainwave. Both the Bloodsails and Undying Court have various ways of contacting and/or binding the spirits of ancestors, it would make sense culturally that the Mark of Death could do something along those lines. The idea that a modern House Vol would have been something along the lines of archaeologist/exorcist speaking to the souls of the ancient dead is cool too.

            • Now I want to work out some spirit related spells to give class variants with ties to BoV, and the various Elven faiths, and what *not* to give them, because it’s the realm of the Mark of Death.

      • While this comment is 2 years old, for anyone else who stumbles upon this I point out there’s actual, official, rules for this in 3E. Page 70 of the Stronghold Builders Guide establishes that “bulky but technically removable” items are half price while totally immobile ones are quarter price.

    • I once worked out a more powerful version of an Eberron microwave oven. Using transmute any object as the base spell, it was a small box that would transmute anything put into it into a cooked version of that item.

      I’d also used the perpetual ice from the Frostburn sourcebook to make an ice chest — literally, a chest-sized box whose interior was always at freezing temperatures. The cost worked out about the same as a modern-day chest freezer.

      • That’s awesome. There is a thread over at dndbeyond.com in the lore section of the forums, about the effects of low level magic on a society.
        I think everyone in this discussion would enjoy it.

        One thing for me is looking at low level spells and figuring out what a magic item that duplicates its benefits, even a few times a day, would do to a world.

        magical fire is a big one. There are a ton of fire cantrips or equivalent in every edition, and so it’s hard to imagine a DnD world not having affordable magical heating.

        In my home system, where magic and tech are intertwined, this leads to magical heat as an energy source for magic and tech and magitech devices.
        In Eberron, I have magic stove tops, ovens, etc, with the cheap version still requiring fuel of some kind (usually wood), but the fancy ones creating their own heat without tangible fuel.

        Also, Rangers and Druids and rancher magewrights in my 5e Eberron use Beast Bond to and such to handle animals, while Vadalis has Dragonmark focus items like saddles that give an heir an empathy effect with the animal, etc. but also there are magewrights who clear out pests, relocate varmints, etc

        And Bards are highly valued in nearly every culture, because their abilities make just their presence soothing and restful, and can make people better at simple tasks. Professional Competitors of all kinds hire bards, for that reason.

        Speaking of which, do any of the sourcebooks have info on stuff like sports, music, recreational activities? If not, Eberron needs an equivalent of WEG Star Wars rpg’s “Galaxy Guide 9, Fragments From The Rim”, with its gadgets, popular mixed drinks, guide to popular musicians (hell yeah Red Shift Limit!), etc.

        Someone with the bardic gift working next to you in a field during harvest can make the day go by easier, eases the aches and pains of the work, and causes everyone to work more productively.

  2. Inspiring as usual, Keith! I have a question about the demographics of rural Khorvaire: Presumably, small villages are less diverse than great cities like Sharn, but how much so? Do non-humans tend to have their own communities in rural areas, or are they integrated with the majority human population? Are there any significant numbers of warforged outside of the cities, e.g. the village with the warforged named Smith who was welcomed because the former village smith died in the War? Could a kalashar thrive in a hamet where she is the only psion for miles, or would she feel the need to conceal her talents? Similar question for changelings?

    • I know there are both passer and becomer philosophies for changelings; passers choose one identity and stick to it, making them fairly capable of hiding in a small community, and a becomer, if the community is accepting of the casual changing of hair, eye and skin colour, may be welcome there too. A reality seeker, choosing the natural form of changelings, may be less welcome in rural Eberron, despite the fact they’re likely to be more honest about their nature than the other two philosophies.

      I don’t feel qualified to talk about kalashtar, but there was something about warforged being painful reminders of the War for some people.

      • Warforged aren’t just painful reminders of war; they are WEAPONS. Racism is often driven by fear and by perception of others as alien. Warforged trigger both, because they ARE dangerous (in 3.5, consider that the warforged has a lethal unarmed strike and natural armor) and they are about as alien as you can be – expressionless, unsleeping, etc. This is likewise why I depict more racism against goblins than I do against dwarves. A dwarf is a stocky human; hair color, skin color, etc all match human norms. A goblin has inhuman coloration, fangs, and it has red eyes that can see in the dark (which the dwarf can too, but like I said, not so scary). Plus, we stole Khorvaire from the goblins… meaning it’s easy for me to think that particular goblin over there might hate me.

        Essentially, it’s easier to accept halflings and dwarves when you live in a world that has warforged and orcs. Prejudice is often about fear of the Other, and IMO the more “other” a race is, the more likely you are to see that sort of reaction.

      • As a side note, I didn’t write the Changeling chapter of Races of Eberron and have my own thoughts on changeling culture beyond the passer/becomer philosophies, but I’ll write about that some other time.

      • Fun exercise: Take a first level warforged fighter with the Adamantine Body feat and elite array (15 Str, 16 Con, 13 HP). Drop him in a common room full of 1st level commoners. The unarmed warforged has a lethal unarmed strike that deals 1d4+2 damage, which will kill a typical commoner with one hit. He’s immune to nonlethal damage, has AC 18, and Damage Reduction 2/adamantine. If he goes berserk, how many commoners can he kill before they can bring him down with makeshift daggers and clubs?

        Of course, the warforged has no REASON to go berserk. But it’s easy to see why normal people might be nervous around them…

        • There was that one picture in the ECS of an unwise half-orc who taunted a warforged and got thrown across the room like a sack of potatoes. Warforged may not have a lot of reason to go berserk like a clay golem, but they’re certainly likely to react as badly or worse to being mistreated or insulted as would any other race.

  3. Great read!
    I’m interested in the location of Thorp, in the Shining Valley. Save for the Haunting Song flight of harpies in the caves of the Graywall mountains, any thoughts on the diversity of the local? It stated a population of 52, so I imagine a small hamlet of cottages or farms. Since it is in the extreme perimeter of Breland I wonder about the population as well as their relationship to the harpies. Would it be a fear based détente? Or could there be a light symbiosis of trade, protection, or even entertainment (songs and such) with the flight?

  4. Do you see agriculture being very different even beyond automation? Things like reliable irrigation via simple “Shape Water” and earth moving spells?
    Also, I assume magic replaces a lot of construction technology, and even architecture outside of any manifest zone is noticeably more advanced?
    Is there plumbing at a near modern convenience level?

    • Sure! Part of this is that magic in D&D is generally focused on squad-level effects – spells that have a dramatic, immediate effect on a small area. But if a spell like plant growth or soften earth exists, it’s logical to assume that there could be variations of those spells designed more for agriculture than for combat – encouraging growth but over a far wider space and period of time. The Eldeen has always been considered to be one of the most fertile regions because it’s got so many druids and gleaners around using these sorts of rituals, but I think it’s logical to have nations such as Aundair and Breland exploring the more industrial arcane applications (and certainly shape water as a basis for irrigation)… and Karrnath would be very interested in such things. I’d be inclined to make that something that is fairly cutting edge, however; Cannith may be working on tractor-style versions of the Apparatus of Kwalish, but I don’t think they are currently common-place in every Brelish farm. We’re at a roughly 1890 sort of feel, generally – telegraphs (speaking stones) instead of phones, trains (lightning rail) but few automobiles (elemental landcarts).

      As for plumbing, I know the Sharn sourcebook addresses this. Plumbing is certainly found in cities; I think the typical farm still has a latrine.

      • Very cool. I love the idea of Going to Karrnath and revolutionizing their farming methods!

        I may spend some time thinking up some magewright level things PC classes are capable of as well, like Paladins and Clerics doing last rites that make it so the dead can’t rise. Unless that was something that only the Mark of Death could do….

  5. In my main campaign, the party recently visited an isolated monastery hidden deep in the Byeshk Mountains. The monastery was built in such a remote location for its ties to two manifest zones- Lammania and Irian. The area is under a constant Plant Growth (enrichment) effect that allows the monks to produce exceptional wines despite the high altitude and mountainous neighboring areas, and a constant effect duplicating Unguent of Timelessness/Gentle Repose keeps their crops from spoiling.

    Two unexpected side effects of the manifest zones are that animals naturally born in the region are smaller, effectively adding a Young template, so the players were shocked to see dig-sized goats and the like. The second, tied to the Repose effect, is slower aging for long-term residents, so the High Guru was far older than the players were expecting.

    It was fun to come up with what effects of overlapping zones might have on even a small area.

    I have utilized many of the Complete Arcane feats to grant certain Npcs a few tricks without the need to be a full magewright, a human barkeep with the Soul of the North feat taught to him and his family, allowing them to serve chilled drinks and compete with the Ghallanda tavern across town.

    • So what would an economically useful Thelanis manifest zone? If a manifest zone to Dal Quor or Xoriat could form, what would be some ways to make use of it?

      (I may be able to answer my own question in a bit, but right now I’m drawing a blank)

      • So what would an economically useful Thelanis manifest zone?

        In the village of Redbriar, the cobbler leaves old shoes out at night with a saucer of milk, and in the morning they are better than new. Unrequited lovers wrap a lock of their beloved’s hair around a honeycomb and leave in the knot on the Heart Tree, in the hopes that the fey will warm the cold heart. In short, a beneficial Thelanian zone may simply allow commerce with the fey. It could be cryptic and at a distance, as described above, or more direct. Alternately, take any beneficial manifestation of a faerie tale and make it real. Perhaps there’s a village whose people live remarkably long and healthy lives; they attribute it to their spring, which grants them a fraction of the long life span of the fey. Of course, many such manifestations are unpredictable, unreliable, or dangerous. but that’s the risk of Thelanis.

      • Piggybacking on you question, I thought this might be useful:
        One thing I always do with Thelanis manifest zones is to involve a specific story, sometimes more than one.
        Right now my players’ characters are investigating a new Thelanis manifest zone that cropped up near a town whose name I’m blanking on, near the Mournland border, in Breland. The Cyran Prince sent them to check it out, and figure out if the manifest zone is interacting with the Mourning.
        There is a story involving a Fey lord, his three dryad daughters, and the love interest of the youngest daughter, who is was a jack and the beanstalk sort of character. Oh, and a labyrinth accessed with a key and a portal shaped like an inverted triangle found in a clearing in an enchanted wood.
        Said wood has grown overnight around the town, and the story is playing itself out there, disrupting the lives of the locals, and drawing some of them in to play out the tale.
        I plan on using similar theme in Karrnath to play out a modified Curse of Strahd at some point.
        On the bright side, healing berries grow in hedgerows, leaving out sweets or milk results in chores being done for you, etc, and many townsfolk hope those effects stick around after the story plays out, but worry because in some telling, the young lovers die, and in others they live happily in a far off land, and no one knows which it will be this time.

  6. The discussion above of the Mark of Death and Erandis Vol is fascinating, and I’d love to speculate on what the powers of Apex Dragonmarks might be. However, that would get WAY off topic for this thread. I think I’ll post something over on the Eberron Enthusiasts page on Facebook if anyone wants to comment.

  7. Sometime I wonder what kind of war was the last war. Was it “army against army”, with rural population more or less safe? Was a Napoleon campaign conquering city after city? Was it a first world war with troops on the edge of country consuming each other? A second world war with bombing and diffuse destruction?

    • A different question is: can you see any economical use of being in a manifest zone of dangerous planes like kythry or mabar? I like the idea of people living in a zone that has good effect in short time but possibly crazy dangerous effect sometime (es when planes are coterminous)

      • A different question is: can you see any economical use of being in a manifest zone of dangerous planes like kythry or mabar?

        It is a different question, so I’ll save the answer for a different post.

        • I think, on the other hand, that the question about “what kind of war was the last war” is foundamental for understanding rural Eberron

    • Over the course of a century, it was all of these things. Most of the the time, it was most like World War I – ongoing static conflict. There were periods in which cities changed hands and borders were redrawn, notably Thaliost and the region that now holds Arcanix. The Forge of War provides a timeline for this, though I didn’t work on it and have issues with it. Meanwhile, in periods we DID have the mystical equivalent of bombing and diffuse destruction – air raids and mystical attacks that may have left lasting scars deeper beyond the borders.

      So again, over a century you had periods of intense conflict and devastation… followed by years of slow grinding conflict along a largely unchanging front line.

    • The next episode of Manifest Zone focusing on the Last War, and I plan to do a follow-up Q&A post on this site, so I’ll delve into it more deeply there.

  8. I can do the first question already. It is said that Titan Warforged was created for war. That sometime devils has been released on opponents. I wonder why 1st level commoners should be thrown in a war like that. A single titan Worforged could kill a whole army.

    • I’ll definitely use this as part of the Last War post, but I’ve got a moment so I’ll answer here as well.

      I wonder why 1st level commoners should be thrown in a war like that. A single titan Worforged could kill a whole army.

      Historically, what chance has an infantry soldier had when facing a tank, or a fighter dropping incendiary bombs, or mustard gas, or just when charging up a hill against a machine gun emplacement? War is horrific, and any of these threats will devastate a squad of soldiers if they don’t have the equipment they need to overcome it. If you look at the opening chapter of my novel City of Towers, a unit of soldiers is nearly wiped out by a military airship, until a specialist brings it down with an unbinding spell… essentially the equivalent of having a missile launcher.

      Now, I would expect a typical trained soldier to be a first level warrior, or even second level if they’re good. Still an NPC class, but at least they have a few more hit points. The reason they’re used in battle is because that’s what they had to work with, and because the bulk of the enemy forces are ALSO made up of first or second level warriors… so when it comes to seizing and holding ground, they are the tools you have available. A warforged titan is like a tank: a powerful and expensive tool that serves a particular purpose on the battlefield and that is largely immune to typical infantry weapons. The warforged titan was invented DURING the Last War, and so the next challenge was creating something that could deal with it – the equivalent of anti-tank weaponry. The simplest answer is another warforged titan, but this is where you could have people with eternal wands, siege staves, or potentially weapons we still haven’t seen that served that purpose. If someone could summon planar allies, I’d happily pit devils against a titan… but that sort of high level magic is extremely rare and not something a typical squad would face or have access to. Remember the general premise of Eberron is that magic of up to third level is fairly accessible, but above that it’s still rare and impressive.

      This is one of my complaints about Forge of War as a Last War sourcebook. The war lasted for nearly a century, and the premise is that during that time it was a catalyst for innovation. The warforged – titans and otherwise – were invented during the war. The airship was invented during the war. So what other weapons were invented, and what tools were devised to counter them? Assuming cloudkill was used, is there an equivalent of a gas mask? What COULD a unit of soldiers be given that would allow them to have a chance against a warforged titan? Beyond this, there’s the simple fact that the spells in D&D are designed for squad combat involving high level characters. When you’re facing a thousand second level warriors, a fireball is overkill in damage and has a trivial area of effect; I’d much rather do 2d6 over a 100 foot radius than 6d6 over a 30 foot radius. So is there a spell that does that? In my novels you see the magical equivalents of mines, and the siege staff – a logical extension of the wand/staff weapon taken to an artillery level. I expected this sort of thing to be addressed in FoW and it wasn’t, and that disappoints me – because these things should be in the world, and it would have been the logical place to present them.

      So: first and second level warriors were used because that’s what everyone had – and has – to work with. A warforged titan WILL kill an army of 1st level warriors… assuming they don’t have a titan of their own or some sort of magical answer to deal with it – just as a tank can slaughter an infinite number of infantry soldiers if they don’t have the weapons they need to deal with it. At this point in time, we haven’t seen what those answers ARE (beyond the eternal wand and access to spellcasters) – but that’s a topic I’d love to see explored in the future. And needless to say, if I’m a first level warrior and I don’t have specialized equipment, I won’t TRY to engage a titan any more than I’d take on a tank with a pistol; I’ll get out of its way and hope the commander has a plan to deal with it.

      • I wonder if low level magic could sufficiently sabotage the *terrain*, trap the Titan, and then…well, with a tank, if you can trap and immobilize it and create an angle of approach, you can *take the tank*.

        I could certainly see some sort of specialist squad being able to do the same with a Titan, and once a team does it the hard way, working out the tools to make it easier in future, and/or allow non specialists to do it via specialized tools.

        Also, Attack On Titan, the weird gun rope things?

        • It seems logical to me. What you wouldn’t have is first level warriors trying to attack it with swords. Essentially, the reason a warforged titan wouldn’t destroy an army of warriors is because the warriors wouldn’t engage it in melee, just as modern soldiers wouldn’t try to take on a tank using machetes. If you have the equipment you need to engage it, you do. If you don’t, can you find a clever solution? Lure it into a field of explosive glyphs? Trick it onto a bridge and then collapse the bridge? If there’s no options, you retreat and regroup.

          Bear in mind that military command would be tracking forces that have units like titans or the capability of summoning planar allies. These are major weapons of war, and these are the sort of things generals would be evaluating and incorporating into their plans. “The Queen’s Third has three titans. Berringer’s soldiers aren’t prepared for that. For now they’d better fall back. We’ll lose Fairgreen, but we can redirect the stormships from the Holt; they can handle the titans.”

          • Right! Excellent! Just throwing ideas of the sorts of things units may have done to deal with them. I think it’s really fun to imagine the tactics that may have developed that are nothing like how wars work IRL.

      • 1e the radius of a fireball was 20″, and its range was 10″ + 1″ per level of caster. Other spells had ranges in a similar notation. IIRC, this was a wargaming convention based on inches on the battlemap – and the battlemap outdoors was larger than the battlemap in a dungeon.

        As a result, the fireball had a radius of 20 feet in the dungeon, and thirty yards on the outdoor scale. Given its origins (and experience on my part), I have always felt that that the outdoor scale was appropriate for “siege” spells, which were clearly used by the giants and might still be found by adventurers in Xendrik.

        In other words, take an existing spell and triple its area of effect (what you do with range will probably depend on edition).

        Those 13 spells also took longer to cast (18 seconds for fireball), so you could imagine a scenario where you had to hold the line for a few rounds until the wands unit could get off its attack.

        • IIRC, 4e had a mechanic tied to rituals where you could group cast spells to create siege scale effects, and it took longer.

          Makes sense to me.

  9. This may or may not apply. How do you imagine music to sound in Eberron. Big cities vs rural? (Like jazz bars vs country in our world)

    I get a bit of a roaring 20s style feel, but at the same time I could see arguments for unique eberron music that mixes that style with a even more modern flair. So many elemental binding options. I can see an air elemental bound guitar sound very electricish, or fire elemental bound drums that “explode with pyrotechnics”.


  10. 1.Would planting something other than wheat like barley help with wheat blight? Or is the weather or negative undead energy or sabotage to blame?

    2.Granted, some people in the Eldeen Reaches have ties to Aundair, but how much would Karrnath dislike buying food from a place that is, in general, a thorn in Aundairs side?

  11. One idea I’ve had for years about the sort of manifest zone a rural community could be built around: an area manifest to Daanvi that causes plants to grow very, very predictably within it. There’s no such thing as a “good harvest” or “good year” for crops grown in this zone, but also no such thing as a “bad harvest” or “bad year”. You know what you’re getting, and can count on being able to feed a certain number of people based on what’s grown here.

    There’s also the simple thought of a place that’s merely warmer or cooler than the surrounding area thanks to a zone to Fernia or Risia, allowing a limited amount of a crop that would otherwise only be possible to grow in a completely different region to be grown locally.

  12. The question about Kalashtars makes me wonder (again) on how are they actually acknowledged by people of khorvaire as a race. They have human bodies and they hide themselves. I don’t know if a kalashtar would say: “I’m not a human, I’m a kalashtar, I have a quori spirit inside myself”.

    How do common people see kalashtars? Do they know kalashtar do exist as a race? Or do they think kalashtar is a philosophy like being budist? Is there material in khorvairian libraries stating kalashtars possess quori spirits? If people see them as a legit race what would justify it since they have the same physiology as humans? (Other races can be psions too so I don’t think it would be enough to put the reason on psionics)

    • It’s a big topic. The short form: A kalashtar can disguise themselves as human without penalty, because they superficially appear human. But that still requires a DISGUISE SKILL CHECK. If they make no effort, they clearly stand out as inhuman. Aside from the fact that there’s a slightly inhuman shape to their features, their body language feels wrong; the way they move feels unnatural to people, and they respond to social cues in a different way. They’ve been described as having an unnatural beauty; in 4E they have a bonus to Charisma, but in 3E they don’t because the idea is that the physical beauty is often offset by that feeling of otherness. So again, Kalashtar can CHOOSE to hide, but it’s work and most don’t.

      To a large degree, I think most people will just think of them the same way they would half-elves; after all, kalashtar can breed with humans. And there’s so many semi-human races out there – elves, Khoravar, changelings, half-orcs, and all the rest – that I don’t think there’s some big impulse to deny that the kalashtar are a race.Most people know little about them, but many people have never met a Khoravar, either.

      • But wouldn’t it be similar to color skin or diferent features humans already have, like eastern to western people? Even the way they move seens to vague for someone to classify them as non human as I see.

        all official pictures of kalashtars looks exactly like humans, except by the lack of pupil (wich sometimes i think it illustrates more psionic manifestation than racial feature)

        is there any other feature i’m missing that makes them cleary another race for korverian people? (since you just stated that people do know the kalashtar race exists)

        And do scholars know they have quori spirits whithin or is that a secret?

        • Like I said, it’s a big topic – and better suited to a full post about Kalashtar as opposed to the comments here. Have you read Races of Eberron? As a rule, Kalashtar don’t hide; they live in communities of their own kind, even if those communities are within other communities, and those communities don’t conceal the fact they are Kalashtar; they rely on safety in numbers as opposed to absolute secrecy. Most are open about having a connection to a greater spirit, and this is part of a kalashtar name; “Lanhareth” means “Lan, of the spiritual lineage of Hareth.” Whether or not common people believe it or fully understand it, anyone who knows what a Kalashtar is knows that they claim to be touched by spirits – and remember, they don’t CONTAIN a spirt, they are merely linked to it. Beyond that, artist’s depictions aside, they are described as being tall; having angular features; having an alien beauty and unnatural body language. If you’d never seen one or heard of one, you’d assume they were just weird humans. But once you’ve met one Kalashtar, if you meet another one, you’d recognize “this is one of those guys” – unless they were making an effort to disguise their true nature. It’s difficult for art to capture, when the premise is that a lot of what makes them FEEL like Kalashtar is body language and social cues, how they would stand out in a group of humans.

          Feel free to ask more questions, but that’s all the time I can put into answers on this post – but I’d be happy to discuss it further in the future.

          • Thx mr. Baker!

            Actually, i’m very happy with this answers. Helps me a lot to explain it to my player group \o/

  13. The Kalashtar questions raise another point. Howmuch of what most people on Earth consider racial diversity exists among humans in Eberron? If I recall correctly, humans originated in Sarlona. Lhazaar leads the first significant human populations to Khoraire only 3000 years before present. Human colonization of Xen’drik is more recent still. So, in evolutionary terms, have their been isolated human populations long enough for them to develop significant differences in appearance? Canonically, I believe difference in predominant heir color are mentioned, but does it go further? For that matter, would Eberronians really even think of a notionof different races within humanity, gien that their are REAL different races out there. I’d guess that Eberonian humans would identify different nationalites (by accent or dialect, mod of dress or behavior), but wouldn’t particularly classify fellow humans by physical appearnce as hapens on Earth.

    • How much of what most people on Earth consider racial diversity exists among humans in Eberron?

      This is a case where canon Eberron simply doesn’t make an effort to accurately model demographics in our world. The premise is that your human character can look like what you want it to look like, and we aren’t concretely mapping skin color to region; essentially we are looking at HUMANITY as a “race” and cosmetic variation within humanity as a player choice. It’s not realistic and within your campaign you can certainly decide to do otherwise, but it’s not something that will be defined in canon.

      With that said, bear in mind that the environment of Eberron is affected by magical forces, Sarlona especially so (IE Wild Zones). The humans of Khorvaire didn’t all come with Lhazaar. The people of the Shadow Marches are largely from Corvagura – a land of jungles and fertile plains – while the humans of the Eldeen and Demon Wastes are generally from Ohr Kaluun or Nulakesh. Lhazaar herself was from Rhiavaar, but the wave of western colonization in that period included folk from the frigid mountains of Dor Maleer; meanwhile, the humans of Valenar are largely traced back to Khunan in the Syrkarn desert, an environment not unlike Valenar itself. And the folk of Pyrine generally would be found in the Eldeen-Marches range, but Pyrinean missionaries certainly accompanied the Lhazaar wave. So they all came from one continent, but it’s a remarkably – some might say unnaturally – diverse continent, and if you wanted to define ethnicities I’d trace it back to these different regions of Sarlona.

      With that said, we’ve never stated how long humanity was present on Riedra, or for that matter where humanity comes from. Perhaps they had proto-ancestors in Sarlona during the Age of Demons that evolved over the course of eons. Perhaps, like the elves, they are the result of mystical engineering by someone. Perhaps the Daelkyr created them on a previous visit to Eberron, and that’s why daelkyr look like humans (though of course, my preferred theory is that their appearance varies for the viewer)… if you wanted to go that route, you could say that humans have a bizarrely diverse genome and skin color actually varies wildly even within families.

      Personally, I’d just go with “Sarlona is diverse enough that you get a wide range of ethnicities” route – I’m just saying that Eberron isn’t Earth, and it can be as crazy as you want it to be.

      • I actually went to the trouble of mapping Sarlonans to likely racial features based on regional climates, and then mapping THAT to where they settled in Khorvaire. Since there is so much national animosity in Khorvaire, I wanted Aundairans to have a reasonable chance of recognizing a Thrane, for example.

        BTW, I’m not sure I have ever seen which Sarlonan group settled in Thrane?

        • I actually went to the trouble of mapping Sarlonans to likely racial features based on regional climates, and then mapping THAT to where they settled in Khorvaire.

          It’s the most logical approach. With that said, while we’ve called out a few – Khunans in Valenar, for example – haven’t translated provinces one-to-one to the Five Nations. In my opinion, Lhazaar’s expedition was the start of a wave of migration from the western nations of Sarlona – so in most of the Five Nations you’d have had somewhat mixed populations… which, over three thousand years, could themselves become somewhat distinctive, so people in Lhazaar might not look exactly like people from Rhiavaar, because there’ve been generations of blending with Maleeri and Pyrineans.

          I’e got further thoughts on this, but they’ll have to wait until I have time for a real post.

        • I’ll note that fairly subtle physical differences can reveal national origin without a major ethnicity shift. Just looking at whites, with enough practice one can tell Americans from the British with reasonable success rates just from facial features (and I’m not talking about teeth). I’m sure it’s possible with various central European nationalities given I’ve heard of it happening and it wouldn’t be possible to enforce anti-Irish/anti-Italian/whatever discrimination otherwise.

      • Thanks, Keith! I would agree that the range of appearances of humans in Eberron is entirely up to the particular GM, and can be ignored except insofar as a player wants to say, “My character looks like X.” Your point about the canonically-vague origins of humans is intriguing. Possible Daelkyr influence could lead to interesting scenarios. I wonder, though, about the hum it be that humans (and demi-humans) are the only beings who dream? In D&D canon, elves, for example, don’t sleep (though maybe they daydream.) There’s no canonical evidence that the quori were able to possess giants or dragons (or the Xen’drik wars might have gone quite differently.) And yet…all the planes were supposed to have been created by the Progenitors, including Dal Quor. So there must have been some kind of dreaming beings from the Mof Eberron. Maybe the proto-quori and proto-humans shaped each other in the bygone eras? More off-topic speculations! Best wishes!

        • Sorry, a line or two vanished in typing: “I wonder about the relationship between humans and quori. All the Inspired are phyically humans, riht? Could it be that only humans…”

        • I wonder about the relationship between humans and quori. All the Inspired are physically humans, right? Could it be that only humans are the only beings who dream?

          Technically, the Chosen (which is to say, the Inspired) are a subrace specifically bred to house quori. I don’t particularly LIKE the idea that only humans dream; in The Shattered Land there’s a giant vault left over from the conflict specifically designed to keep a sleeper from going to Dal Quor, and the presence of the Draconic Eidolon in The Gates of Night is supposed to indicate that dragons dream. I WAS going to say that I think the idea that Quori can only possess humans is a mistake. However, on consideration I’m not entirely opposed to the idea that humans have some sort of special relationship with Dal Quor and the Quori, because it would justify their focus on Sarlona (and potentially now Khorvaire) – that it is specifically humans they want to control. This matches with the fact that the Kalashtar Quori bonded with humans. This doesn’t jibe with them dealing with the giants in the past, but an interesting twist would be to say that each AGE a specific race is tied to the Quori… so the Quori of THIS age are tied to humanity, but if the age changes, the next il-Altavar could bond to a different race.

          • “…an interesting twist would be to say that each AGE a specific race is tied to the Quori… so the Quori of THIS age are tied to humanity, but if the age changes, the next il-Altavar could bond to a different race.”

            What a nifty concept! Do the Ages of the Quori correspond in any way to the Ages of Ebrrron (e.g. Demons, Giants, Monsters, present-day), or are they on an entirely separate cycle?_

            • What a nifty concept! Do the Ages of the Quori correspond in any way to the Ages of Eberron (e.g. Demons, Giants, Monsters, present-day), or are they on an entirely separate cycle?

              Not as described during canon, but if you wanted to run with this theory it’s easy to do. Say that during the Age of Giants the Quori keyed off the giants, which is part of what ended up with the eventual contact/conflict between them. That age came to an end with the collapse of giant civilization, and the next age they keyed off the Goblins; that came to an end with the Daelkyr incursion. Now they are tied to humanity.

              This would mean that there’s another Quori cycle (Goblins) that we know nothing about.

              What I like about this is the idea that the cycle actually collapsed because of the destruction of the keyed race. In which case the Inspired are essentially trying to take control of humanity in order to PROTECT it and make sure nothing happens to it… and the Mourning would be utterly terrifying to them, as it’s clearly the harbinger of a civilization-collapsing event in line with the Daelkyr Incursion or downfall of the giants.

              Problems with this: It makes it harder to justify the Quori engaging in an all-out war with the giants, if the downfall of the giants would spell their own doom (though it could be that they didn’t know this); it makes it harder to explain the motives of the Kalashtar. As it stands, the Kalashtar believe that Dal Quor WILL change if events take their natural course. If the only way to have the change occur is to have something terrible happen to humanity and if the Kalashtar want the change to occur, do they actually have to destroy the current civilization? It’s interesting, but a big shift.

              The crazy idea would be to say that the Quori don’t KNOW the answer, and they DISCOVER this is the actual situation… so what do the Kalashtar do now?

          • Re: a couple of Keith’s points
            1) The giant/Quori war. If the Quori *were* tied to the giants in that age, they probably would not initiate such a war. But the giants mihgt. Just as the ntural reaction of many players is to assume that the Inspired are hostile parasites on humans, if the giants discovered that Quori were possessing other giants, they might well react with hostility and seek to banish the Quori at any cost.
            2) What if the Quori didn’t know that each of their ages ends with a caaclysm affecting the race to which they were bound? Well, that would fit with the canonical notion that the Quori have no memories of previous ages. When a new age beins, they find themselves drawn to the dreams of a new group of sentients – but have no idea that they were ever attached to any previous races. The only way they could discover the cycles is by happening upon this histories of the moral races involved, and detecting the pattern.
            3) OK, let’s say for the sake of speculation that we accept this pattern. Who were the Quori associated with in each age…and who might be humanity’s successor in this scenario?
            Age of Demons – Well it has to be a mortal race, and one which suffers a cataclysm at the end, so I nominate the couatl.
            Age of Giants – the giants
            Age of Mondsters – the goblins
            Present Age – humanity
            Next Age – I nominate the Warforged. But, you say, warforged don’t dream! They don’t qualify! And yet… we know from canonical sources that the Quori created the prototypical Warforged in Xen-drik (I dub them the Quorforged) which inspired House Cannith to do the same. Maybe the Quori of that age weren’t simply trying to create soldiers, but to create suitable material host bodies? They didn’t succeed in that age, but in the present age, there are now Psiforged. What if Psiforged dream? Keith suggested that in the “host race cataclysm” scenario, the Inspired would find the Mourning terrifying as a hint of how humanity might fall. And in the middle of the Mourning sits the Lord of Blades trying to create new Warforged as a superior race. Hmmmm…what if?….what if?….

            • If the Quori *were* tied to the giants in that age, they probably would not initiate such a war. But the giants might.

              Which is what the docent Shira claims in The Dreaming Dark novels.

              Well it has to be a mortal race, and one which suffers a cataclysm at the end, so I nominate the couatl.

              One problem: The couatl aren’t mortal. Just as the rakshasa are native fiends, the couatl were/are the native celestials of Eberron.

              The Age of Demons is pretty lost in the mists of time, though. You could create an entirely unknown race that was utterly wiped out in the Age of Demons…

          • Given that the quori are incarnations of reality representing dreams, which is probably a reflection of the AGGREGATE dreams of mortals currently on Eberron, it makes sense that the quori would key to the dominant race of the period, since the culture of the dominant race would to some degree be impressed upon the races they dominated. And the quori of any period would then reflect the nature of the dominant race as expressed in their dreams.

            It makes sense, then, that quori might invade Xen’drik, if it is the nature of giants to try to dominate, well, Xen’drik, and the quori are a reflection of that nature.

            It also makes sense that they would not have any more knowledge of the previous age than the new race they represent would have of the race that was replaced. Humans as a species have no knowledge of what it means to be a giant.

            The current split in the nature of quori is therefore not necessarily a signal of the approaching of the turn of the age, so much as it is a signal of the dual nature of humanity. Or perhaps it does signal the turning of the age, not because of the rise of a new race, but because of the rise of modernity. That is, the medieval mind is as different from the modern mind as the human mind is from the giant mind.

            In fact, maybe the age has already turned. The small minority of kinder, gentler quori represent the values of humans who have, for example, outlawed slavery in most of its forms, not because the age is about to turn, but because the age has already turned and this schism reflects the new reality. How well do the quori remember the time before the rise of the kalashtar?

  14. This has so far been one of the most exciting post on this site – great to read about other dm ideas on these small things which are so vital to the emersion into this setting.
    The different replies shows that this topic leads to all sorts of thoughts.
    I would like to hear a manifest zone podcast with the overall theme of ‘wide magic/industialized magic and its impact on the inhabitants of eberron (not just the epic heroes of eberron).

  15. My Sharn-born kalashtar presented herself as a human “magical girl” (“I’m Mari the Magically Magnificent!”) not because people feared psionics but because she feared Inspired assassins. Sure, Kalashtartown can exist openly in the largest city in the world, but one lone shadow watcher on self-assigned Extremely Wide Patrol figured discretion — or flamboyant misdirection — was the better part of prudence.

    I didn’t hide it from the other players, but it barely came up with the other PCs in 32 game sessions. She did get to sneak off to kalashtar communities in Newthrone and in Sharn (aka “home”) for information or housing.

    I had a lot of fun filling out aspects of kalashtar society.

    • My Sharn-born kalashtar presented herself as a human “magical girl” (“I’m Mari the Magically Magnificent!”)

      I think that’s great!

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