It’s the 14th of Lharvion, and it’s too damn hot. Today is Bounty’s Blessing, the feast of Arawai; there’s a farmer’s market in the square, and a baking competition to see if anyone can make something palatable using “sand fruit”, a local succulent that is anything but succulent. In the cliffs above town, a group of adventurers have found ruins filled with petrified goblins, a dead but perfectly preserved Gatekeeper, and an altar dedicated to the mysterious Still Lord. Who is the Still Lord? Are their cultists hidden in Threshold? And can anyone actually make a satisfying sand fruit fritter?
I’m currently working on Frontiers of Eberron: Threshold, a sourcebook that explores the region between Breland and Droaam; I discuss it further in this interview. In Threshold, there’s a party of gnolls loitering at the Gold Dragon Inn while they wait for the lightning rail. Three-Widow Jane’s facing Rusty in a showdown at high noon. But there’s powers at work that overshadow such mundane concerns. Who is the Still Lord? What is the secret history of the region, and how does it threaten the future?
Frontiers of Eberron: Threshold is going to be a large book—comparable to Exploring Eberron—and won’t be out until later this year. I’m enjoying the chance to take a deeper dive into a piece of the setting, a region that’s not as well known as Sharn or Stormreach; I also love any chance to work with Droaam, as the nation of monsters is one of my favorite pieces of Eberron. While the book itself won’t be out for months to come, I’m currently running a campaign set in Threshold online—and my Patreon supporters have an opportunity to watch the campaign and potentially, to play in it. My Patreon has a Threshold tier. In addition to the Inner Circle benefits, this grants the following things.
- Threshold patrons have access to all previous sessions of the campaign.
- I run one session each month. The characters and the stories are persistent, but the players change each month and are drawn from the patrons. Patreon doesn’t allow me to select players randomly, but each session I post a creative challenge—challenging would-be players to add a detail to a character or to the town—and the winners play in the upcoming session. i change the recording time with each session so that sooner or later people will have a chance to play regardless of their time zone.
- Patrons can participate in polls that help establish details about the characters, the story, and the town—so even if you don’t get a chance to play, you have an opportunity to shape the story. The ten player characters used in the campaign were developed through a series of these polls.
- Patrons have access to the Threshold channels on the Eberron Discord server, and I drop by when I can to talk about the campaign and all things Eberron. Currently I’m trying an experiment: an ongoing story running in a Threshold channel, where Patrons can choose the path that events take.
Collaborative storytelling is my favorite aspect of TTRPGs. While I there’s only a few seats at the table in each session, this experiment allows me to collaborate with patrons even if they don’t get to roll dice in the session. I enjoy the characters we’ve created and it’s fun to see how different players interpret those characters—and it’s always fun for me to meet new people. So I can’t promise that you’ll get to play at the table if you become a Threshold patron, but you will have an opportunity to affect the story and to see the sessions (which currently aren’t available to the public), and you just might end up at the table! The next episode will be recorded on Friday, May 28th and the casting challenge is open until noon Pacific time on Tuesday the 25th.
Post any questions about Frontiers of Eberron or Threshold below! Otherwise, you can find more information at my Patreon. And the
Well I can’t say Droaam’s my favourite (Sarlona in it’s entirety takes that), so depending how you figure it, Droaam’s either second favourite or fifth. But I love everything about it, all the stuff. The culture, the economy, the religions, the food! The FOOD!!
So I guess I’ll be waiting for baited breath for every update.
A couple questions, not necessarily about Threshold but Droaam beyond
1) will we ever get more information on Vralkek and how it relates to the ports near it (Zarash’ak, Sharn and Stormreach)? Is it a recent port, one built by Gorodan the Ash Lord when he arrived to Khorvaire, or one dating back to the Dhakaani Empire?
2) I love the Gaa’ran orcs, very flavourful and suggest amazing character ideas. It’s mentioned in Exploring Eberron that they are skilled in agriculture and often gave produce to warlords in exchange for not being invaded, and that they believe bloodshed is abhorrent. Would they be vegetarian? Or something akin to Jain vegetarianism in our own world, where they consume dairy but not root vegetables for fear of harming insects?
Also, have the Gaa’ran farmers (undertaking agricultural projects for the Daughters) introduced vegetables to the Droaam diet yet, or is everything always grist?
Will we ever get more information on Vralkek and how it relates to the ports near it?
I’d like to address it at some point. However, it’s not going to be covered in Frontiers, which focuses on the region that lies between Breland and Droaam. This incorporates Graywall, Turakbar’s Fist, and Shaarat Kol, but Vralkek is too far west for this book.
I love the Gaa’ran orcs… Would they be vegetarian?
The Gaa’ran seek to avoid spilling of blood or the taking of lives. They’d definitely be vegetarians. I’m on the fence on dairy; they could be vegan, or they could make use of dairy and eggs, but only at a sustainable level that allows for the humane treatment of livestock. I could imagine them treating their livestock as members of their family. With that said, I don’t think I’d go so far as to have them avoid the killing of insects. I think they’d try to avoid any death, but I think roots are OK.
Also, have the Gaa’ran farmers introduced vegetables to the Droaam diet yet, or is everything always grist?
This is addressed in Exploring Eberron: “Though grist is the primary source of sustenance in Droaam, the Daughters recognize the value of agriculture, and Gaa’ran tribes have been given resources and placed in charge of a number of agricultural projects.” Grist is the primary source of sustenance, but the Daughters are actively working to diversify this and to build the infrastructure for more widespread agriculture. Remember that Droaam is still a VERY young nation and that the Gaa’ran are fairly few in number. This follows the general principle that this transition is something that is actively happening NOW — something player characters could get involved in — as opposed to something that has happened in the past. Two other factors to keep in mind are that some of Droaam’s species are carnivorous, and that control of the grist supply is an important source of power for the Daughters — so while they are interested in diversifying the food base for the long term good of the nation, they don’t want to create an alternative to grist too quickly.
I figured it wasn’t something that had made it over to the East Droaam yet. Good to know. I did see the quote in Exploring Eberron but wasn’t clear on if the process was still in its infancy.
I hadn’t considered the political problems that the Gaa’ran might cause if their agriculture was too quickly introduced to the rest of Droaam, real potential there.
Thank you for the information
Were Terry Pratchett’s books an influence in your imagining of Droaam’s urban features?
No, I’m afraid not. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve never actually read a Discworld book; I only know Pratchett through Good Omens (which I loved). I’m not sure why this is the case, it’s just one of those odd gaps in my knowledge.
Is the Pasha cheating?
Good question! Given that he’s lost to Jane twice, if he IS cheating he’s not very good at it. But it’s possible that he’s VERY good at it and is playing the long game here—and that he actually WANTS Jane to have his wand out in the world. Only time will tell…
Do you have a favorite establishment in Threshold that has already been revealed?
That HAS already been revealed, or that HASN’T already been revealed? My favorite that has been revealed would be the Crown, the old local tavern. There’s quite a few interesting places that haven’t been revealed yet; maybe Tuuva Mercantile?
Hmmm. How about a novel set in Threshold later on?
New Eberron novels aren’t currently permitted by Wizards of the Coast…
Okay. Too bad, then. OH well, I’ll just have to buy Wizards of the Coast.
Oooo. Is WotC for sale right now?
Sort of. Don’t think of buying stock just yet.
Got insider info eh?
I’ve been talking about buying Wizards of the Coast with my best friend for two years right now. Insider information? Nope. But they will only sell to me.
Oh rad. It will be interesting to see what Wizards is like under new leadership. Is your best friend someone high up at Hasbro? How did you get exclusive rights to be sold Wizards of the Coast?
That is something I can’t explain. Just that the first thing we talked about was buying the D&D brand and the rights to a few campaign settings and some of the 3e books. However, as time progressed, we just talked about buying the whole company.
Our plans include supporting three campaign settings as official. These will be Dragonlance, Eberron, and Forgotten Realms. There will be a DM’s Guild still.
I feel like I saw you talking about this same thing on the Facebook group several years back. So, uh, what’s your anticipated timeline on this master plan? What’s been the CEO’s response thus far?
Golly! You must have spent quite a while planning this and building up the capital to purchase the whole company from Hasbro, not to mention the connections to have an exclusive deal. Is it okay for you to be openly talking about this? I feel like this might be sensitive information and you might consider how you might get in trouble with the feds with talking about this openly.
Actually, the feds don’t know about it. Yet. They’ll know after I purchased Wizards of the Coast. After that, I have one other company to purchase in Redmond, then I’m done with being in Seattle.
RE: I feel like I saw you talking about this same thing on the Facebook group several years back. So, uh, what’s your anticipated timeline on this master plan? What’s been the CEO’s response thus far?
That’s a question to ask of my best friend. He knows what the response will be. I haven’t been communicating with Hasbro or WotC yet. But I’m definitely going to buy Wizards.
Cannot wait for this book; I’ve always loved Droaam!
Can we expect any Znir or Venemous Demesne goodies in Threshold? And do you have hypothetical other Frontiers you’d like to explore someday?
Though we can hope, I’d imagine they’d be people who’ve come FROM those areas, as the Znir and Venomous Demesne are both in the middle/west parts of Droaam, like Vralkek which I asked about above. All the places mentioned to be covered in the Frontiers book seem to be on the border directly
Znir gnolls and Demesne tieflings both play a role on the frontier, so there will be some “goodies” — but the Demesne itself is on the opposite side of Droaam, so it’s not a primary focus.
Hypothetically, Q’barra and the Eldeen/Aundair border are both frontiers I’d like to explore someday — though I have other things in the queue!