IFAQ: Selling The Sovereigns

We’ve got a few important announcements this week—if you want to be sure to catch them, sign up for the Twogether Studios newsletter! Beyond that, as time permits I like to answer questions posed by my Patreon supporters. Here’s one from this month…

How do you make the Sovereign Host feel like the predominant faith for a large portion of Khorvaire and thus a major part of the world? It often feels like they end up overshadowed by other faiths.

Previous, I’ve said this about the Sovereign Host.

The Sovereign Host is deeply ingrained into daily life in the Five Nations. Even if you don’t BELIEVE in the Sovereigns, you know the names and basic attributes of the Nine and Six. Likewise, everyone knows the basic story that in the dawn of time the world was ruled by demons; that the Sovereigns fought them; and that the demons were bound.

The broad idea is that the Sovereign faith is omnipresent in the Five Nations; that even if you don’t follow the faith, you can feel its impact throughout the nation. And yet, it’s also a more casual faith than the Church of the Silver Flame, lacking the monolithic structure or the militant mission of the templars. The Blood of Vol draws attention because it’s feared and misunderstood; the Path of Light is exciting because it’s locked in conflict with the Dreaming Dark. Set against these more dramatic stories, how can a DM make the Sovereigns feel like the dominant faith in the Five Nations?

One of the defining features of the Vassal faith is that the Sovereigns are always with us, always ready to offer guidance or inspiration; you just have to ask. You don’t have to go to a temple; you can always just say Aureon, guide me. While this can be done with deep devotion, it’s also something that should just come out constantly in casual, everyday speech… which is to say, Vassals swear by the Sovereigns all the time. Try dropping some of these into NPC conversation.

  • Sovereigns and Six! A good general expression of astonishment. Sovereigns and Six, have you ever seen such a mess?
  • Aureon’s Eyes! Essentially, How did you miss this or you should have known better. “Aureon’s Book” is slightly more positive; Are you ready for the exam, Kel? Aureon’s Book, I hope so.
  • Dorn’s Strength! This can be a positive invocation, something a warrior says as they draw their blade or an athlete says as they enter the ring. Or it can be an expression of long-suffering frustration… Dorn’s strength, Kel’s coming over here.
  • Olladra Smiles. A general acknowledgement of good fortune. Can be sincere, or said to someone else as a snarky anyone can get lucky. Olladra scowls is a general expression of bad luck,while Olladra cries or Olladra’s tears is usually a sarcastic “Ooooh, poor baby” when someone complains about misfortune.

These are just a few examples. Arrah’s Light, Onatar’s Hammer, Korran’s Purse. In one of my novels, a Brelish ambassador says Boldrei’s bloody feet! as an expression of frustration. Again, everyone knows the names and roles of the Sovereigns; this sort of swearing is a simple cultural touchstone. Beyond this, it’s common for people to call on the Sovereigns for casual blessings, and this is a friendly act. Boldrei’s blessings, my friends! is a common greeting from any innkeeper, while a teacher may start their lesson with Aureon, be with us now.

This is also reflected in places and shops. Just looking to Sharn, Olladra’s Kitchen, Boldrei’s Hearth, Korran-Thiven and The Korranath are all districts. Olladra’s Arms is an inn, Boldrei’s Tears sells potions, the Grand Hall of Aureon and the Korranath itself are temples. Need a name for a random business? (Sovereign’s) (Tool) is an easy option… get your sword at Onatar’s Forge or pick up a pastry at Arawai’s Bounty.

This ties to the general idea of shrines and monuments. This article talks about how the Sovereigns may be depicted in artwork—whether as dragons, using their symbols, or blended with images of beloved historical figures. Sovereign monuments and shrines can be found all over the place. A shrine can be any place where people feel the Sovereigns are present. Farming communities in northern Breland (and Cyre before it fell) often have blessing trees, a large centrally located tree that serves as a shrine to Arawai and Boldrei; people will hang small offerings in the branches of the tree, especially as thanks for a good harvest or the birth of a child. Adventurers could find a shrine to Dol Arrah and Dol Dorn that’s a literal sword in a stone; the village founder embedded the sword in quickstone, saying the Sovereigns will grant their strength and the blade to a champion if the village is ever in need. In Sharn, the gnome Daca sits atop a densewood pillar and shouts advice to those below; this is seen as a blessed shrine of Boldrei. Basically, anywhere adventurers go, they could bump into a Sovereign shrine or icon.

Perhaps you want something that more actively evokes the Sovereigns? How about Holidays? Both Sharn: City of Towers and Rising From The Last War provide a list of common holidays observed in the Five Nations, and most are associated with the Sovereigns or Six. These can add a lot of color to the background of a story. If it’s early Nymm, then everyone’s getting ready for Brightblade, the festival of Dol Dorn. If you’re in Sharn, you can be sure that mercenaries and adventurers are coming to town, ready for the prizefights and the Cornerstone contest of champions. People may be practicing archery or wrestling, and tavern brawls are likely to shoot way up due to the competitive spirit in the air. As Barrakas approaches, people will start talking about what beast will be brought in for The Hunt, and people may plan their own smaller hunts. Wildnight can be wondrous or dangerous, while the nights of Long Shadows are a time that even adventurers may want to stay in and join their friends around the fire. These can be background events, or they can form the basis of an entire adventure. Do you participate in the Contest of Champions on Brightblade? Does a patron hire you to capture a wondrous monstrosity and transport it to Sharn for The Hunt? You could even have an adventure that focuses on the stories you tell on the nights of Long Shadows, and the old ghosts that are stirring.

Another way to remind people of the Sovereigns is through magic items. The Vassal faith is the dominant faith of the Five Nations, and this may be reflected in their tools. Even if it’s made using arcane science, a sentinel’s shield may bear the Sun of Dol Arrah, while a good luck stone might be a domino imbued with Olladra’s blessing. Looking to more powerful items—legendaries and artifacts—you could have items that are tied directly to the Sovereigns in some way. Dol Dorn’s sword was famously shattered. An Aurum concordian could have found proof that nine legendary weapons were made from the fragments of Dol Dorn’s blade and be determined to recover them all; while each weapon is powerful on its own, can the fragments be reassembled to recreate Dol Dorn’s sword? Before people say but I thought there was no proof the Sovereigns existed, this is a common misunderstanding. It’s provable fact that the myths of the Sovereigns are based on the deeds of champions (possibly dragons) who fought the fiends in the Age of Demons, but at that point in time they were mortal champions. The myth is that they ascended to become the omnipresent Sovereigns after defeating the overlords, and THAT’S the part that can’t be proven. As a Sovereign, Dol Dorn has no use for a sword; he is present anywhere a blade is drawn. But he HAD a sword back when he was a mortal champion fighting demons.

In conclusion, if you want to make the Sovereign faith feel widespread, the key is to show how it IS a part of everyday life—in common speech, in place names, in widespread shrines, in festivals.

Wait, DOES everyone accept that there were mortal champions who inspired the Sovereign myths? And how do immortals play into this—don’t some immortals revere the Sovereigns?

Hmm. Let me reframe that. What I meant to say is this. It’s a provable fact that there were mortals whose names and deeds are very similar to the myths of the Sovereigns. This is NOT common knowledge; what’s common knowledge is the myths of the Sovereigns. But there is testimony from dragons, ancient giant records, and most notably, testimony from immortals that prove the existence of beings like the dragon Ourelonastrix. My point was that the fact that these historical figures can be proven to have existed doesn’t prove the existence of the Sovereigns, one way or the other. A few factors…

  • The core myth is that the Sovereigns defeated the demons and then ascended to serve as immortal guardians. The existence of mortal champions doesn’t prove ascension.
  • Most likely the Sovereign myths and relics came from multiple champions. We have a myth about Dol Dorn’s sword being shattered and we may have pieces of Dol Dorn’s shattered sword. But a dragon wouldn’t need a sword. So, was there also a titan or a giant who inspired myths of Dol Dorn? Were they involved in the Age of Demons or did they come later?
  • Tied to the above, many scholars will argue that there’s not proof that those oldest known champions became the Sovereigns as opposed to being early servants of the Sovereigns. THe key example here is Ourelonastrix, the first Loredrake. A skeptical scholar could easily say the Draconic word ‘strix’ means ‘invigorate.’ So ‘Ourelonastrix’ means ‘He who is invigorated by Aureon‘—clearly, one of the first priests of the Sovereign.

OK, but what about the immortals? There are immortals who worship the Sovereigns, right? Doesn’t that prove they exist? Well, here’s a key quote from Exploring Eberron…

When priests of the Sovereign Host cast spells such as commune or planar ally, they usually interact with celestials from the planes. Typically, this is a celestial that embodies the same concept as the Sovereign in question; when a Vassal priest casts conjure celestial in Dol Arrah’s name, a warlike angel may come from Shavarath. When a celestial speaks the name of a Sovereign, listeners will hear the name they are most familiar with, whether that’s Balinor, Baalkan, or Bally-Nur. As such, some scholars assert that it’s slightly unclear if a summoned angel serves “Dol Arrah,” or if it instead serves “Honor in War” and it’s just being translated as Dol Arrah. If asked such a pedantic question, both the angel and a devout Vassal might simply respond with, “What’s the difference? Dol Arrah is honor in war.”

Well, OK, but Exploring Eberron also says “The Librarian of Dolurrh may mention the time Aureon came to borrow a book—but that was almost a hundred thousand years ago.” In this case, the Librarian is talking about a mortal champion who embodied Aureon. But here again, part of the point is that immortals don’t get too hung up on the details. If Jaela Daran came to the Librarian, they’d likely say “I spoke to the Silver Flame today.” The Librarian spoke to a being who was the essence of Law and Lore. The distinction of whether they WERE the pre-ascended Sovereign or whether they were simply a mortal channeling the power of the Sovereign—a mighty cleric or priest—is irrelevant.

So, there were mortal champions who inspired myths and left relics behind. There are immortals who honor the Sovereigns. But the Sovereigns themselves do not manifest as physical entities, and the existence of immortals who honor them or mortals who resemble them doesn’t tell us whether they are, in fact, guiding us in this very moment.

One More Option…

I’ve suggested that the way to suggest the presence of the Sovereigns is to have people use their names and to highlight their festivals. But there’s another option, which is to suggest the presence of the Sovereigns. I wouldn’t do this casually, but let’s imagine that an adventurer—not a paladin or cleric, just whoever—is facing a demon in an epic fight that could have grave consequences for their nation. They have been paralyzed by hold person and they are about to make their next saving throw, and they may die if they fail it. I might ask them—you were raised a Vassal, right? Do you ask Dol Arrah to aid you? If they say they will, I might follow up—what do you offer? What is your vow or your sacrifice? If they give a compelling answer, well, perhaps the save will succeed on its own; if not, maybe I’ll give them a second chance or just say it succeeds. Either way… will they fulfill their vow? DID they get help from Dol Arrah, or did they just concentrate their will with such determination that THEY broke the spell? Or, perhaps did something else give them aid? In this article I talk about the fact that Divine magic should be mysterious—part of what differentiates it from Arcane magic is that it’s not scientific. I wouldn’t want to ever say “If you say a prayer to Dol Dorn at the start of combat you get a +1 Initiative.” But maybe, if it really matters, if you need it to succeed, and your character calls on a greater power—whether it’s a Sovereign, the Flame, their own divine spark—maybe it will answer. I definitely wouldn’t suggest this as a standard rule or something players could or should ever rely on… but as a DM, if you want your players to wonder if the Sovereigns are with them, you might want to occasionally give them reason to believe that they are.

As this is an IFAQ I won’t be answering questions on this topic, but please share your own thoughts or ways you’ve used the Sovereigns! And thanks to my Patrons for making these articles possible.

How We Roll: Sovereign Saints and Relics

Saint Isti the Beacon, Blessed of Dol Arrah; Phoenix art by Rich Ellis and Grace Alison!

Each month I take questions from my Patrons. This month, someone asks…

Could you provide any details on specific relics, saints, or stories of the Sovereign Host?

I’m afraid I don’t have a secret stash of Sovereign relics I’ve been saving for a special occasion. I could make up some examples off the top of my head, but in the words of Jurian the Wise, “Give a DM a relic and they have fuel for one adventure; give them a table and they have fuel for a campaign.” Far be it from me to ignore the wisdom of one beloved by Aureon—and so, here’s a table for you to work with!

But first, it’s important to define what we mean by saint. It’s commonly understood that some people form an especially close bond to the Sovereigns, and are capable of performing miracles or sharing the blessings of the Sovereigns with others. However, the Pyrinean faith doesn’t believe that these people continue to affect the world after death. The Sovereigns are always with us; you don’t need Saint Isti to bless your blade, because Dol Dorn and Dol Arrah are with you right now. However, there were saints, and they left their mark on the world. There are still stories of Saint Isti the Beacon, how she defeated hordes of undead with her shining blade. There’s a battlefield named after her, and her sword is one of the great treasures of the Sovereign Temple of Passage. You won’t call on Saint Isti to intervene on your behalf, but you might invoke her as an inspiring example, or seek out her undead-smiting blade, or stumble into a cemetery dedicated to her memory. It’s also the case that this table could be used to generate living Sovereign saints. Perhaps the small village you’re passing through turns out to be home to Davan the Old, a devotee of Arawai who is said to have brought an end to a terrible plague!

So with all that said, let’s see some saints and relics!

d20NameTraitTied ToRelicAssociated With A…
1AstaThe OldArawaiFavored Weapon… Plague
2DavanThe StrongArawaiTool… Rebellion
3IstiThe QuickAureonInstrument… Temple
4MorasThe BeaconAureonRing… Beloved Song
5TaraThe UnlovedBalinorCloak or Robe… War or Battlefield
6DragoThe KindBalinorBelt… Prison
7BesreThe ForgottenBoldreiHair… Village or Town
8JurianThe WiseBoldreiBook… Fountain or Pond
9KetThe TrueDol ArrahBoots or Shoes… Tree or Forest
10UrikThe YoungDol ArrahArmor or Shield… Cave or Peak
11ThedaThe GentleDol DornAmulet… Ruin
12LarisThe SmallDol DornMirror… Cemetery or Vault
13BelethThe CleverKol KorranScroll… University or Library
14KaineThe BoldKol KorranGloves… Marketplace
15HarielThe GrimOlladraLantern… Dragonmarked House
16CordThe FrailOlladraFingerbone… Noble Family
17SedeThe ArcaneOnatarEye… Manifest Zone
18VedimThe WarriorOnatarTooth… Undead or Aberrations
19ChantalynThe UnseenThe HostSkull… Fiend
20LukarThe BeautifulThe Dark SixMartyring Weapon… Dragon

Using the Table

A few things to keep in mind…

  • Names. I’ve given you twenty names to work with, but you can always make up a new name. You can certainly have Bob the Bold. Or take the name of a player character and roll to see which legendary saint they were named after! “Fasil, did you know you’re named after Fasil the Frail, a saint of Onatar who founded this town?”
  • Traits. Think about how the chosen trait matches up to the Sovereign associated with the character. Sede the Arcane makes perfect sense as a saint of Aureon, but Kaine the Frail may feel like a weird choice to be a saint of Dol Dorn. I say embrace and explore that. We know that the virtues of Dol Dorn are strength and courage. It could be that Kaine the Frail had fragile bones from a curse, but when his town was attacked by brigands he displayed impossible strength in fighting them; or it could be that while he was physically weak, he had indomitable courage that others knew was a gift of Dol Dorn. The trait is something that stands out about the saint, but it could be an aspect that’s in addition to the blessings they received from the Sovereigns.
  • Associated Sovereign. Vassals revere all the Sovereigns. However, saints are often associated with a particular Sovereign, and this suggests their background or skill set. Most likely, a saint associated with Dol Dorn will be celebrated for courage or skill at arms, whether they were a career soldier or a folk hero; a saint tied to Aureon might have been a scholar, a wizard, or a judge. combine this with their Trait and see what story suggests itself. A saint associated with the Dark Six could be tied to one of the Three Faces cults—they were blessed by the Mockery in the role of Dol Azur—or it could be that what they’re best known for is opposing one of the Dark Six.
  • Relic. What has the saint left behind? Have these relics been found, or have people been searching for the Gloves of Laris the Quick for generations? As with traits, think about the associated sovereign when establishing the details of the relics. Gloves associated with Dol Dorn are likely gauntlets that provide excellent protection, while gloves tied to Olladra are probably gloves of thievery. “Tool” and “Instrument” are intentionally vague because of this. A saint of Onatar will have smith’s tools, while a tool of Olladra could be dice or a deck of cards. A key question is was the relic a tool used by the saint in life, or is it simply all they’ve left behind? The point of having a skull on the table isn’t that the saint carried a skull in life; it’s that the saint’s actual skull has been preserved and is thought to be blessed.
  • Association. This suggests one of the best known legends of the saint, and the mark they’ve left on the world. The question is what they had to do with the thing in question. If they’re tied to a village, did they found the village? Protect it from disaster? Die there? If they’re associated with a plague, did they stop the plague or fight the demon that unleashed it? If they’re tied to a Dragonmarked House, was the saint a scion of the house or did they take a stand against it? If they’re associated with a prison, is it because they imprisoned a fiend (as Tira imprisoned Bel Shalor)? Because they died in a prison, which is now a cursed ruin? Or because they founded a prison, perhaps associated with their Sovereign—a debtor’s prison that’s also a temple to Kol Korran, or a prison associated with Dol Arrah that seeks to lead criminals back to the light?

You don’t need to use all these rows at once. You CAN create a saint with ties to a relic and a village… but you could also use this table when someone finds a magic item to add flavor to it. It’s a +1 sword, but guess what, it’s the sword of Hariel the Grim, who we all know from that beloved song! You might assume that because it’s a sword, it’s tied to Dol Dorn… but you could instead roll for a Sovereign and change the sword accordingly. If it’s the sword of a saint of Aureon, were they an eldritch warrior who inscribed their favorite spell into the steel of the blade? Or is the sword itself a key to a hidden vault of knowledge?

An example that came up on the Eberron discord was Jurian the Unseen, Saint of Boldrei, associated with a Ring and a Plague. On the surface, this might seem like a jumble of entirely unrelated things. My suggestion is that Saint Jurian had a ring of invisibility and traveled unseen through villages that had been sealed up due to fear of the plague, whispering messages of hope or bringing tiny gifts that lifted the spirits of those left to die, giving them the strength to fight the plague. It’s believed he eventually succumbed to the plague, but no one knows; if he died, he was still wearing his ring, and his body was never found. The main point is that if you’ve just found a ring of invisibility and it turns out it’s actually the Ring of St. Jurian, wow, are you just going to use it to pick some pockets? Or are you going to try to live up to its history? This is also an interesting way to explore sentient magic items; perhaps a fragment of Jurian lingers with the ring, and if you use it wisely and well, he will offer you guidance and unlock the additional powers of the ring.

I’ve shared Aureon’s knowledge with you—what you do with it is up to you! Thanks as always to my Patreon supporters for making these articles possible; check out the Patreon if you want to ask your own questions or see the exclusive articles!

IFAQ: Working Without Lore, Sovereign Images, Nagpa and Princess Marhya!

Every month I answer interesting questions posed by my Patreon supporters. Here’s a few more from April!

What details do you start with when trying use a Eberron location with no lore? Sometimes I get blank page paralysis.

First of all, what’s the nation? If it’s Aundair, is there something interesting going on with everyday magic or fey? If it’s Thrane, how does the faith in the Silver Flame manifest? If it’s Karrnath, is it more influenced by Seekers or by Karrnath’s martial traditions? Can you feel the weight of the Code of Kaius? If it’s Breland, is there crime? Do they support the monarchy or the Swords of Liberty? Outside the Five Nations, is there a manifest zone? Is it tied to a daelkyr or an overlord? Is there an interesting resource or an unusual creature?

Another thing to consider is the stories people tell. For example, in Frontiers of Eberron I dealt with Whitehorn Woods for the first time, which raised the question “Why do people call it Whitehorn Wood?” So, I decided that the people in the region tell stories of Whitehorn, a massive horned bear. Essentially, if a place has a name, there’s surely a reason for the name—what’s a logical explanation you can come up with?

Beyond that, I will often ask my players to help flesh these things out. If I was running a game tomorrow in the Whitehorn Woods, I’d start by telling people about the bear, and then I’d ask each player “Tell me something you’ve heard about the Whitehorn Woods.” I did this in Threshold just recently, when I asked players to tell me something they’d heard about the Byeshk Mine. I didn’t USE all those answers—not every story has to be true—but it was a useful source of inspiration.

How concrete are the appearances of the Sovereign Host — particularly at the local level. While canon has called out they have different appearances, is this a matter of everyone at one church holding a common image of Dol Arrah, or is it rather a more personal choice and imagining for each Vassal?

There’s two important things to consider here. The first is that the Sovereigns appear in many different cultures and with many different variations. Clearly Banor of the Bloody Spear, Bally-Nur, and the Pyrinean Balinor won’t all look the same; one’s a giant, one’s a halfling, one isn’t locked into any one species. Even within the Five Nations, you have many subsects within the broad Pyrinean tradition—the Church of the Wyrm Ascendant, the Restful Watch, Aureon’s Word, the Order of the Broken Blade, the Three Faces, and so on.

The second important point is that on some level, the exact appearance of the Sovereigns doesn’t matter, because the idea of the Sovereigns is that they aren’t going to appear and interact with you physically, but rather that they are with you at all times, offering guidance.

Is there art depicting the myths of the Sovereigns? Absolutely. But the key is that there’s no absolute agreement on what they look like, so instead what’s crucial is symbols. The first of these is called out in the original ECS: Dragons. Each of the Sovereigns is associated with a particular dragon; the blue dragon is a symbol of Aureon, while the silver dragon is used to represent Dol Dorn. Beyond this, each Sovereign has a particular iconic symbol, suggested in Faiths of Eberron; Aureon can be recognized by his book, while Arawai holds a sheaf of wheat. The ECS also assigns a favored weapon to each Sovereign, but I didn’t choose these and I strongly disagree with some of the choices. As Sovereign of the fields, it would make sense for Arawai to be associated with a farming implement, such as the flail or the scythe; instead, she’s canonically tied to the morningstar (which is sometimes depicted as a ball-and-chain, but definitely not a farming implement). Balinor is the Sovereign of the Hunt but is canonically tied to the battleaxe, hardly a traditional choice for a hunter. With that in mind, I’ll suggest kanonical alternatives befow.

With all this in mind, the point is that artwork depicting the Sovereigns focuses on SYMBOLS. There’s no one universally accepted depiction of Dol Dorn, but he’s always muscular and carries a longsword, often crossed over a shield. Dol Arrah holds her halberd with the sun rising behind her; if that doesn’t fit in the image, she’ll have a rising sun worked into her clothing. The humanoid models vary by sect and region, and often use historical or living figures considered to exemplify that Sovereign’s traits. For example, there may be a church in Sharn with a mural that depicts war heroes Khandan the Hammer as Dol Dorn (wielding a longsword instead of his famous hammer) and Meira the Huntress as Balinor. If you’re Brelish, you know Khandan as a warrior renowned for his strength and courage, and this combined with his pose, his obvious strength, and his sword and shield make it clear he’s representing Dol Dorn; if they really wanted to lay it on, they could add a silver dragon in a pennant or a brooch. Meanwhile, Meira the Huntress would be recognized as Balinor by her bow, by the antlers mounted on her helm, and by the fact that she’s clearly a huntress. It doesn’t matter that Balinor is considered to be male, because what this picture is truly depicting is Balinor acting through Meira—because THAT is how you’ll actually encounter the Sovereigns in the world. In using real people as models for the Sovereigns, these images remind us that the Sovereigns are with us all.

ArawaiBronzeFlailSheaf of Wheat
Dol ArrahRedHalberdRising Sun
Dol DornSilverLongswordShield
Kol KorranWhiteMaceGold Coin
OlladraBlackDaggerDomino or Dice
OnatarBrassWarhammerHammer and Tongs

Where would the Nagpa from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foe fit into your Eberron?

I’ve never used the Nagpa. As I understand the story, the idea is that they’re mortal wizards who were cursed by the Raven Queen for meddling in a war between gods. Now they plot in the shadows, but presumably on a smaller scale than, for example, the Lords of Dust; they are still cursed mortals.

The first thing I’d do is to drop the Raven Queen and evaluate the core overall story. Mortals meddle, are cursed by a wrathful being of deific power. Playing to the idea that they “interfered in a war between gods” the most obvious answer to me is that they weren’t HUMAN wizards… they were DRAGONS. They interfered in the first war—the conflict between dragon and overlord—and were cursed by Ourelonastrix, forever bound to these pathetic, humanoid forms. Powerful as they are, they’re still feeble next to the glory of a greatwyrm, and you can see how their state would be a considerable humiliation. With this in mind, they can then have been present in EVERY disaster that’s come since. They could have played a key role in Aureon’s Folly; perhaps it was one of the Nagpa who urged the giants to use the Moonbreaker. Rival Nagpa could have helped different mazes in Ohr Kaluun, or Khunan. A key point would be that unlike the Chamber or the Lords of Dust, the Nagpa aren’t driven by the Prophecy and don’t know what the long-term impact of their actions—they just enjoy sowing chaos and causing trouble for all sides. If I didn’t want to do that, the next approach that comes to mind is to make them cursed acolytes of Sul Khatesh, twisted by their devotion to the Queen of Shadows—cursed with ugly immortality until they can unlock some particular arcane mystery. This could be tied to her release—making them allies of Hektula and an adjunct of the Lords of Dust—or they could just be an entirely separate faction which, again, has no knowledge of the Prophecy and are purely devoted to pursuing their own selfish problem. Another option would be to work with Thelanis, as the whole “cursed wizard” story sounds very Thelanian. But personally, I’d either go with cursed dragons or ancient Khorvairians.

You’ve mentioned Princess Marhya ir’Wynarn of Cyre a number of times, but if she’s in any canon sources, I cannot locate her. Is there anything more you can tell us about this youngest daughter (or possibly granddaughter, again referring back to the Oargev’s suitors article) of Queen Dannel? I’m not looking for anything mechanical here.

A few years back, my friend Dan Garrison—the co-designer of Phoenix: Dawn Command—ran an Eberron campaign called “The Fall of Cyre”. It began in Metrol on the eve of the Day of Mourning, at the celebration of Princess Marhya’s betrothal. That was the night we danced the Tago with knives! Marhya was the younger sister of Oargev, which in my current view would make her a granddaughter of Dannel. My character in that campaign was the warforged envoy Rose, who was built to serve as a companion to the Princess; Rose is depicted in Exploring Eberron and mentioned in the article on Oargev’s suitors.

In Dan’s campaign, Marhya was betrothed to Prince Jurian of Aundair… though of course, this isn’t canon. Marhya was competent, trained in statecraft and with the sword, determined to do what she could to ensure peace and safety for her people. In that campaign, Metrol was also sucked into Mabar, but more in the typical Hinterlands way—so apocalyptic chaos rather than the dystopia of Dread Metrol. Marhya was the natural leader who needed to unite the survivors and find a way out of the nightmare. Good times!

As with most IFAQs, I won’t be expanding further on these topics, but feel free to discuss them in the comments! If you have questions of you’re own, I’ll be posting a new call for questions for my Patreon supporters soon!