Guide to Eberron, for those not familiar with it

Sharn, the City of Towers, is known as a place to find anything. As Night rises, this city's mettle will be put to the test.
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Guide to Eberron, for those not familiar with it

Post by shai-hulud » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:49 pm

Eberron is a world of high magic crafted into technology. From bound elementals to artificers, magic erupts from every facet of life. It even tattoos itself to the very skin of the planet's inhabitants, granting spell-like abilities to those who train to use their latent abilities.

Races:
  • Humans
    • The races of Eberron are not like the races of most campaign settings. Here are some of the main distinctions:

      Humans tend to come from seven "areas" in the setting. The five nations of the Galifar kingdom, Seren, and Sarlona. The five nations are all very similar, but have minute differences. Most of these differences are minor. The five nations humans are the most similar to traditional D&D races as possible.

      Humans from Seren are barbarians living just off the coast of Argonessen, the continent of Dragons. Not much is known about the mysterious continent, but the barbarians of Seren would know the most. They worship the dragons as their protectors, and in return, the dragons ignore their existance. Most of the time. Some times, some evil dragons may get the taste for Seren flesh, and other times, a good dragon may offer the tribes some counsil or advice. There is little intermingling, and half-dragons are less than rare, they are practically non-existant. Good dragons will rarely help the tribes, though, unless they have reason. Of course, reason for a dragon is a rather relative term, as their existance spans millenia, their reasons are often incomprehensible to "the lesser races".

      The human race originated in Sarlona, and spread to the different continents from there. Not much is known about the humans of Sarlona now, except that they have developed psionic abilites. (More information is available to those who are interested in playing a psionic character).
    Elves
    • Elves are divided into three categories, Khorvaire elves, Aerenal elves, and Valenar elves.

      Khorvaire elves live among the short-lived, ever-changing races such as humans and halflings. They have learned to identify themselves more by nation and culture than by race, capable of blending the long-lived perspective common to other elves and the quick, adaptable nature of other races.

      Aerenal elves worship their ancestors. Not much is known about them, but the rumors are that they worship the dead, and that their dead ancestors rule them. Some of their tribes are said to paint themselves up to look like they are dead. It is a truly gruesome sight for most denizens of Khorvaire.

      Valenar elves are warriors seemingly born in the saddle. Diplomacy among these elves is handled with a blade in their hand. They don't have the same devotion to their undying ancestors in Aerenal, but more to the spirit they feel their ancestors lived; the spirit of war.
    Dwarves
    • From a history of barbarism and warfare, the dwarves have risen to a position of enormous economic might. For eight centuries, dwarves have dominated banking and finance in the bourgeoning mercantile industries of Khorvaire, leaving their brutal past behind them. They remain a race of proud warriors, and they present an appearance of elegant sophistication--beards cut close, armor trimmed with fur and brocade, and the fury of an ancient barbarian warrior simmering deep beneath the fair facade.
    Gnomes
    • The nation of Zilargo is a study in contradictions. One the surface, it is an easily accessible, remarkably open nation, filled with beautiful architecture, friendly inhabitants, and a peaceful yet energized feeling that welcomes visitors to stay and unburden their weary souls. Zilargo itself is seemingly idyllic, with song and cheer taking the place of the violence and crime common in the other nations of Khorvaire.

      Gnomes thirst for knowledge. This has brought them to the edge of technology with their study of alchemy and elemental binding. They are the friendliest of all races.
    Goblinoids
    • Goblinoids are fierce savages scratching at the edge of civilization. In times passed, they ruled an empire that spanned the continent, much as the Galifar empire did until the Last War. Now, their are nothing more than barbarians, scrambling to regain some of the power they feel they once had over the continent. Interestingly enough, the ruins of their empire has craftsmanship that even the dwarves have trouble replicating.
    Half-elves
    • Half-elves share the continent of Khorvaire with the other common races. When the elves first came to the continent andbegan mingling with the human settlers, the first half-elves were born. Over time, the half-elves gathered and formed two distinct family groups--the groups that eventually became House Lyrandar and House Medani (dragonmarked houses to be described later). For two thousand years, the half-elves of Khorvaire have possessed a culture and society of their own. Occasionally, elves and humans still produce helf-elves, but those belonging to the two half-elf dragonmarked houses breed true as a race of their own.
    Half-orcs
    • Strong and capable, half-orcs ably straddle two worlds: the civilized culture of humans and the tribal nature of orcs. Having existed alongside humans for centuries, half-orcs tend to be accepted among other races when found. Their hard work and brave hearts are valued by many.

      Half-orcs hail from many locales, but the tribes of the Shadow Marches have an oriental flavor to them (because when I look at the pictures, they all are wearing rice hats like you would think a vietnamese farmer should be wearing). Because of that, most of the classes, like ninja, samurai, etc., come from that area (not by the campaign setting's creator's design, but by my own.)
    Halflings
    • Halflings are divided into two main cultures. The Khorvaire halflings are much like the Khorvaire elves, and have adapted to life within human kingdoms. But the Talenta halflings are very different. They are barbarian tribes living in a land that time forgot. Their home is the Talenta Plains, where they live among dinosaurs. They frequently raise dinosaurs as mounts. For a well balanced fighter, oddly enough, I would recommend the Master Thrower prestige class combined with the Talenta Warrior feat. This gives the character many feats, essentially for free.
    Orcs
    • Wise and wild, the orcs stand out as a race always on the edge of savagery. With a proud history and a sacred duty, orcs are guardians of some of the world's most ancient secrets.
    Warforged
    • Born from the strife of the Last War, warforged remain as constant reminders of that terrible time. To look upon one is to see an instrument of destruction, a heartless killing machine, a siege engine in the shape of a man. Despite the purposes for which House Cannith builth them, however, warforged can choose to be peaceful. When given thinking minds, warforged were granted the ability to surpass the limited uses for which their creators had designed them.

      When peace finally came, the nations of Khorvaire agreed to free the warforged, granting them their first opportunity to make their own choices. Although tireless creatins, the warforged had long ago become tired of war and chose to live among the other races. Unlike other veterans of the Last War, however, the warforged have never known peace and have no homes to which to return. The warforged thus live uneasily among the other races of the world, seeking to create a place for themselves in unwelcoming lands.
    Shifters
    • Shifters, sometimes called the weretouched, trace their lineage to distant human and lycanthropic ancestors. Unlike their lycanthropic ancestors, shifters cannot fully change form. Instead, they can take on animalistic features, an ability they call shifting.

      A unique species that breeds true, shifters long ago founded their own culture and traditions. Never numerous when compared to the other races of Khorvaire, the majority of the shifter population lives in small villages and tribes throughout the Eldeen Reaches. Other shifters live across the continent within communities dominated by other races.

      Due in part to the fifty-year crusade against lycanthropes conducted by the Church of the Silver Flame more than a century ago, shifters prefer the company of their own kind and often form enclaves or districts when living within a community dominated by another race.
    Changelings
    • Changelings originated from the unions between doppelgangers and humanoids in the distant past. Eventually, their descendants became the changeling race. Like shifters, they are a unique race that breeds true. Unlike shifters, they have no distinct community and culture as a species. For most of their history, they have ived in humanoid settlements, often mistrusted and rarely at ease. This scattering and dispersion of populations with no central cultural focus has led to a variety of copying techniques.
    Kalashtar
    • The kalashtar are widely a mystery among the peoples of Khorvaire. Other than being naturally psionic, little is known about them.
    Monstrous races
    • Nothing is a certainty in Eberron. A red dragon may be lawful good, and a solar may be chaotic evil. These are rarities, but still possible. Because of this, almost any race is playable. Want to be a medusa? They are found in Sharn. Want to play a pit fiend? Hey, if we ever reach level 60, you might be able to. The idea is that nothing is certain. Stereotypes will frequently turn out true, but not always. Treating all monsters as evil filth not worth your time may result in overlooking a potentially valuable ally to your cause.
Also, all that I am posting is the common conceptions about each race. If you decide to play one of these races, more information may come to light, especially for non-human races.

More to come, but my hands are getting tired from typing :-P
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Post by shai-hulud » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm

Dragonmarks

Magic is the lifeblood of Eberron, encircling it like the Ring of Siberys and seeping up through the earth from the bones of Khyber. Perhaps the clearest manifestation of this pervasive magic is the appearance of dragonmarks among seven of Khorvaire's common races. Dragonmarks are elaborate skin patters--more intricate and colorful than birthmarks, more distinctive than any tattoo--that also grant their bearers innate spell-like abilities. There are twelve families of dragonmarks, each one associated with a number of closely related manifestations. A thirteenth mark, the Mark of Death, has faded from history, and no living creature on Eberron carries it.

To possess a dragonmark, a character must take the Least Dragonmark feat. He or she can increase the power of the dragonmark by adding the Lesser Dragonmark and Greater Dragonmark feats, and by taking the dragonmark heir prestige class. Also, the Aberrant Mark feat (and associated feats) and the Heir of Siberys prestige class grant alternative dragonmark-like abilities.

When it is used, a character's dragonmark grows warm to the touch. It becomes fever hot when its spell-like abilities are used up for the day, and must be allowed to cool before its power can be drawn upon again.

Dragonmarks--

Code: Select all

Mark            House            Race             Influence
----            -----            ----             ---------
Detection       Medani           Half-elf         Warning Guild
Finding         Tharashk         Half-orc, human  Finders Guild
Handling        Vidalis          Human            Handlers Guild
Healing         Jorasco          Halfling         Healers Guild
Hospitality     Jorasco          Halfling         Hostelers Guild
Making          Cannith          Human            Tinkers Guild, Fabricators Guild
Passage         Orien            Human            Couriers Guild, Transportation Guild
Scribing        Sivis            Gnome            Notaries Guild, Speakers Guild
Sentinel        Deneith          Human            Blademarks Guild, Defenders Guild
Shadow          Phiarlan         Elf              Entertainers and Artisans Guild
                Thuranni         Elf              Shadow Network
Storm           Lyrandar         Half-elf         Windwrights Guild, Raincallers Guild
Warding         Kundarak         Dwarf            Banking Guild, Warding Guild
The dragonmarked houses possess the greatest economic strength in all the lands.
Last edited by shai-hulud on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by shai-hulud » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:03 am

Dragonshards

Crystalline objects with tremendous magical potential, dragonshards are one of the most important natural resources found in Eberron. As iron shapes the technology of warfare, so do dragonshards shape the technology of magic.

Dragonshards appear as transluscent rock or crystal, with opaque veins of swirling color embedded within them. These colorful veins move and pulse as if the shard were a living thing. Most dragonshards are less than 1 inch in diameter, while some are as large as a human fist.

Much of Eberron's magic and technology is tied to dragonshards, making their retrieval very lucrative.
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Post by shai-hulud » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:29 am

The Five Nations

Although Khorvaire now contains no fewer than fourteen different countries, principalities, and territories (not to mention the desolate Mournland and the Demon Wastes), the vast central region of the continent is still referred to as the Five Nations by a great many people. For most of the last thousand years, this name was not a confusing moniker but the literal truth. Five nations held sway over the majority of the land--the five nations that made up the Kingdom of Galifar.

The calendar used throughout Khorvaire counts years from the date 1 YK (the first Year of the Kingdom), when Galifar I united five disparate nations into a single kingdom that carried his name. Even as Galifar ascended the throne of the Kingdom of Galifar, he set his five children up as the governor-princes of the Five Nations, each of which retained much of its unique culture and antional identity through the life of the united kingdom. Today, they remain the heart of Khorvaire, carrying the names of Galifar's children despite conquest, unification, and the devastating effects of the Last War.

In theory at least, the Five Nations once covered all of Khorvaire. In reality, the Demon Wastes, the Shadow Marches, Droaam, Q'barra, the Lhazaar Principalities, and Valenar--all the lands that lie far beyond the central core of Khorvaire--were never solidly under Galifar's control. Maps of the united Galifar from around 500 YK show these lands as parts of the Five Nations, but the reality is that Cyre never had a strong presence in what is now Valenar, for example. Some of the frontier areas had scattered settlements (such as what is now present-day Valenar and the Shadow Marches), while others were home to monstrous races until relatively recently (including Q'barra and Droaam).

Aundair lies in the northwestern part of Khorvaire's central core. Today it is the most sparsely populated of the remaining four nations, with much of its land occupied by farms and vineyards. Fairhaven, its capital and largest city, is less than half the size of Sharn, and Aundair in general is far less urbanized and industrial than Breland and the other nations. As a center of learning, it exports books and scholars alongside its wines, cheeses, and grains.

Breland, the largest surviving nation in population as well as land area, has a highly industrialized economy, relying on mining and metalwork of various kinds. Despite the urban image it presents--primarily because of Sharn (Khorvaire's largest city) and the bustling metropolis of its capital, Wroat--Breland covers large tracts of land that include tilled fields as well as mines, quarries, and forests.

Karrnath rivals Breland in sheer size, but can hardly compete in numbers of people. Karrnath suffered under plague and famine at the start of the Last War and has never quite recovered. It is best known for its militaristic mindset and extensive use of undead troops. For all that, it is not a nation of necromancers. Because the nation is heavily forested, Karrnath's economy is based on its lumber industry, and it also exports ale, livestock, and dairy products.

Thrane, the smallest of the Five Nations in land area, boasts a population larger than that of Aundair. Thrane is a theocracy, no longer ruled by a descendant of Galifar but controlled by the Church of the Silver Flame. Outside the great cities of Flamekeep and Thaliost, orchards and ranches help support the nation's economy, while textile production and other fine crafts drive its industry.

Cyre, the fifth nation that carried the name of a scion of Galifar, no longer exists. The outlying lands that once belonged to Cyre have been divided among Darguun, Valenar, and the Talenta Plains, while the former heart of the nation has become a blasted waste call the Mournland. Created by a magical catastrophe near the end of the Last War, the Mournland remains hostile to all life. The remnants of the Cyran population live in its old territories, Q'barra, and eastern Breland.

Although only four nations remain of the original five (and with some of those partitioned into smaller kingdoms now), the name still carries a powerful emotional weight. Few living people have any memory of a united Galifar, but "the Five Nations" evokes images of a better time, when the diverse cultures of Khorvaire lived in harmony and cooperated to their mutual benefit. "By the Five Nations!" remains a common exclamation of surprise or indignation, and the people who once lived under the rule of Galifar's heirs still consider themselves residents of the Five Nations.
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Post by shai-hulud » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:34 am

The Last War

The roots of the Last War run far back into the history of the Galifar kingdom, if not to the founding of the Five Nations themselves. The very fact that the united kingdom continued to be referred to as the Five Nations points to the sense of national pride that persisted even after King Galifar I's successful military campaign to forge a unified realm.

King Jarot, the last king of Galifar, accomplished many great things during his reign. Wonders such as the warforged and the floating fortress of Breland appeared, and the lightning rail expanded throughout central Khorvaire during this period. But Jarot also was a bit paranoid and built up the largest military in the history of the kingdom.

These preparations increased tensions throughout the Five Nations. Soon, everyone was seeing threats and dangers in every shadow, and in this environment of growing fear, national ties became stronger than those binding the kingdom together. With great armies at their command, the governor-princes were more than a little drunk with power when the spark that ignited the war occurred.

That spark was the unexpected death of King Jarot. The Last War began in earnest when three of Jarot's children--Thalin of Thrane, Kaius of Karrnath, and Wroann of Breland--rejected their eldest sibling Mishann's rightful claim to the throne. Initially, Thalin and Kaius wanted to explore options other than the accident of order of birth to determine the best one of them to ascend the throne. Wroann, however, knew who was best suited to rule. She believed that her love of freedom demanded that she take the crown and then use the power of the throne to reshape Galifar into a more progressive and liberty-infused country. Mishann wasn't about to relinquish her claim, and soon each governor-prince decided that the crown would best fit on his or her own head.

Once begun, the Last War endured for a hundred years. Of course, times of relative calm reigned during that century of warfare. At times, battles raged in parts of Khorvaire while peace (or at least truce) held sway in others. What began as a battle between two relatively unified alliances--Cyre and Aundair on one side, and Breland, Karrnath, and Thrane on the other--quickly dissolved into a general melee. Alliances were forged and broken countless times during the course of the war. Before the war had ended, the Kingdom of Galifar and each of its constituent nations, at least one dragonmarked house, and ordinary families everywhere were sundered and turned against each other.

The Last War wrought inestimable harm to portions of Khorvaire, but from some persectives, it also brought change for the better. Eight recognized nations gained their independence over the course of the conflict. From war, a new race was born. Magical technology, originally developed for military use, now makes life in peacetime more comfortable, with the airship being the most recent such innovation. Just as the ancient and legendary war between dragons and fiends is thought by some to have paved the way for the new glory of the giant empires, so many believe that the tragedy of the Last War created the potential for a new golden age of civilization to emerge across Khorvaire.

While peace currently reigns, all of the problems and grievances that came to the forefront during the Last War remain. Old wounds and lingering resentments, ongouing struggles and desperate competition, secret deals and double-crosses--these factors and more leave the threat of another great war looming on the horizon. Some believe it is only a matter of time before such a conflict erupts across the land.

The Day of Mourning
What happened on 20 Olarune, 994 YK? No one can say for certain--at least no one who survived that day. Some catastrophe, certainly magical in nature, swept through the lands of Cyre, and nothing was left alive.

Though not all its territories were lost, Cyre ceased to exist as a nation on that day. The lands that were not destroyed were incorporated into Darguun, Valenar, and the Talenta Plains. The rest became the Mournland.

The war did not cease on the Day of Mourning, however. Cyran forces in Breland and Karrnath surrendered almost immediately, but battle continued to rage in Thrane, Aundair, and Breland for at least another year. In fact, the war intesified with no side knowing what had happened and all fearing that another such catastrophe might be unleashed if decisive victory was not quickly achieved.

There are as many theories about the nature of the Day of Mourning as there are people who think about it. Many blame House Cannith, believing that some arcane experiments taking place within its forgeholds caused the catastrophe. Some say that a secretive cabal of Cyran wizards called on the same forces that the giants had used to stop the quori invasion forty thousand years ago, accidentally unleashing those forces on their own. Still others accuse Cyre's enemies of unleashing those same forces, but intentionally. Some believes that the Day of Mourning was a natural catastrophe, while others hold that its origin was divine--either a deadly warning or a horrific punishment from the gods.

A few people point to the Day of Mourning as evidence that events long prophesied have begun to take place, signaling the eventual destruction of the whole world in a similar manner. Some believe that the prophets of doom gather into small communities on the borders of the Mournland, living lives of pious devotion in the hopes of being spared from the coming devastation. Others abandon themselves to lives of hedonistic luxury, making merry before their lives hasten to an end. Still others look for ways to manipulate the uncertainty in the Day of Mourning's aftermath to achieve their own mysterious goals. The Children of Winter fall into this category

Thronehold
Despite the escalation of hostilities after the destruction of Cyre, it was clear that the participants in the Last War had become willing to find a way to the end of a century of hostilities. Even before the Day of Mourning, King Kaius III began searching for a place that could be considered neutral ground to host for peace talks. He finally settled on Thronehold, the castle from which the kings and queens of Galifar had ruled. Perched on an island in the middle of Scions Sound, it was a prize coveted by all the combatants but which none had been able to claim.

During all the years of the Last War. Thronehold was guarded and maintaned by an elite group of warriors from House Deneith, known as the Throne Wardens. They acknowledged no legitimate heir to the throne, and protected the castle and all its belongings from usurpers.

The peace talks included the leaders of the original Five Nations plus representatives from Darguun, Zilargo, the Mror Holds, the Eldeen Reaches, Q'barra, Valenar, the Lhazaar Principalities, and even a halfling empowered to speak for all the tribes of the Talenta Plains. Other groups petitioned to be included in the Thronehold Accords, but were refused. The deliberations merely to settle the question of who would participate occupied the initial period of the conferences. The groups that were not granted recognization and the right to participate included a delegation from Droaam as well as a representatives from a number of ethnic or religion minorities who hoped to carve their own sliver of land out of the wreckage of postwar Khorvaire.

Each group that did participate in the treaty process had its own agenda and demands. At first some refused to sit even across from each other, but the desire for peace soon overcame mutual distrust.

Over the course of several weeks, this group hammered out the accords that defined the borders as they are seen on current maps. Sovereignty was granted to several groups, nominal independence to others and a binding peace agreement was signed by all.

Two other items of business, aside from the overarching question of natural boundaries and reparations, occupied the delegates to Thronehold. The first was a philisophical dilemma with profound implications for society. The chronicals ran articles for months about the "warforged question," and how the nations would treat this new race that had come to exist as a direct result of war. Never before had a public body spent so much time in the consideretaion of such metaphysical questions. (It should be noted that no warforged was allowed to participate in any of these discussions.) In the end, the new race was given a two-edged sword. On one hand, House Cannith was ordered to halt production of warforged and dismantle its creation forges. On the other, all existing warforged were granted the full rights of citizenship in the nations of Khorvaire, rather than being deemed objects to be possessed by other citizens. (Interestingly, the delegates also neglected to address the question of whether elementals that had been bound to service should receive the same rights.)

As a final accord, and at the insistence of the Throne Wardens, the thriving city of Throneport was declared neutral ground, accessible to all nations but belonging to none. The castle and its grounds, on the other hand, remain off limits under the protection of the Throne Wardens.
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Post by shai-hulud » Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:45 pm

The Mournland

Devastation Everywhere

The Mournland was once the human nation of Cyre, but on the Day of Mourning in 994 YK a cataclysm of unknown origin wiped out its people and ravaged the cities and countryside. Now the once-noble nation is dead, its land fused and barren. Cursed land and horrible monsters emerge from a dead-grey mist that surrounds the entirety of the land. Dead bodies remain fresh and undisturbed, and healing magics fail. A mysterious warforged calling himself the Lord of Blades gathers militant warforged in some hidden stronghold there. Despite these dangers, the Mournland has much to offer: Relics lie within its ruins, and many seek an answer to the mystery of the Mournland's cration.
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Post by shai-hulud » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:12 pm

Creation Myth

First Ages of the World
Siberys danced through the void, setting the stars in their places. Khyber prowled behind, consuming stars nearly as fast as Siberys placed them. Eberron sang, apart from the others, and life sprouted in the void.

Finally Siberys turned to confront Khyber, to stop the dragon from devouring the stars. The two fought, tearing at each other in their hatred. At last Khyber arose victorious as Siberys was shattered into a million fragments. Now thirsty for blood, Khyber wheeled upon Eberron.

Where Khyber lunged, Eberon snaked aside and around. No more blood was spilled, but the battle continued on and on. Khyber grew tired, and finally Eberron enfolded and imprisoned Khyber, and the two dragons ceased their struggles.

And so the world was born, Eberron forming its surface and Khyber the world beneath. Both dragons slumbered after their long battle, and hardened into earth. The fragments of Siberys's broken body encircled Eberon. These three became known as the Dragon Above, the Dragon Below, and the Dragon Between.

The drops of Siberys's blood scattered upon the earth below. There they sprouted into life, becoming the dragons of the earth: red and gold, silver and whte, blue and bronze, copper and green, brass and black. They found that Eberron had formed them a paradise in which to dwell, and they lived in peace for long ages.

Within the imprisoning folds of Eberron, the blood of Khyber festered and fermented, taking on its own dark life. Shaped by the dreams of the lumbering dragon, Khyber's blood became the fiends: rakshasas, night hags, and other monstrosities. Slowly, the fiends made their way through Eberron's encircling body, seeping through cracks and holes in the earth, rising with the molten rock in the eruption of volcanoes, bubbling up from the depths of the sea. Gradually, they began to threaten the peace of the dragons. And so eventually began the first war between the dragons and the fiends.

As Khyber first triumphed over Siberys, so did the fiends at first triumph over the dragons. The dragons retreated to the land of Argonnessen, while the fiends divided Khorvaire, Sarlona, and Xen'drik among themselves. So began the Age of Demons.

The fiends ruled the world for millions of years. Whenever the dragons dared venture from Argonnessen, the fiends struck hard, driving them back to their retreat.

Things began to change when the dragons rediscovered the Prophecy and found allies. During Eberron's primordial dance, as life sprang from the dancing dragons, the couatls were born, adding their wingbeats to the dance. Like the dragons, they had retreated into hiding from the fiends that ruled the world. Together, however, the dragons and the couatls were able at last to launch an assault on the ancient empires of the fiends.

For thousands upon thousands of years, war raged between the dragons (and their couatl allies) and the fiends of Khyber. The battles ended at last when the couatls discovered a means to imprison the mightiest fiends in the deep earth from which they had emerged. The couatls paid a huge price for this victory; only bonds of pure spirit could hold the mighty fiends, and the greatest of the couatls sacrificed their physical forms to trap the fiends within their spiritual coils. With the ruling fiends imprisoned, the remaining couatls and the dragons were easily able to drive the lesser fiends into hiding.

The dragons were so weakened by their long years of fighting that they were unable to enjoy the fruits of their victory. Most dragons returned to Argonnessen to study the Prophecy, leaving Sarlona, Khorvaire, and Xen'drik wasted and empty.


Other tales of creation
The tale of the three dragons and the Age of Demons is widely retold and generally accepted as an explanation for the birth of the world. It is not the only such explanation, however. Several alternative myths exist, even within the major churches of Khorvaire, with none having a dogmatic claim to absolute authority. These tales give the gods of the Sovereign Host (and the Dark Six) a role in the creation of the cosmos.

For example, devotees of the Traveler tell a great many tales about that mysterious deity creating things--sometimes the earth itself, more often specific kinds of creatures or geographical features. Lakes and canyons around the world carry names such as "The Traveler's Footprint" in local languages, and at least two myths popular among doppelgangers speak of the Traveler creating the world out of pieces scavenged from another creation--either an earlier one that was ruined or a parallel one that the Traveler sought to imitate.

Aureon is sometimes identified as a creator who spoke the world into being, embedding all the secrets of creation in the language of arcane magic. Followers of Onatar credit him with the creation of the world, recounting how he shaped it in his forge and hammered it on his anvil.

Remnants of Creation
In the Age of Demons, the dragons rose up against the fiends that ruled Eberron, waging a war that lasted for more than a million years. Some legends claim that both sides forged mighty weapons to be wielded by their greatest champion and a dragon champior wore a crown and carried a scepter and an orb that embodied the powers of the cosmos. It is not clear which were forged first--the fiendish or the draconic regalia.

These mighty artifacts were first wielded by single champions, but soon were divided so that three heroes of each side could carry their power into battle. They have not been reunited since that time, and it is entirely possible that they no longer exist. Through countless ages of demons, dragons, and mortals, tales have continually surfaced of great artifacts--crowns, orbs, and scepters. The most recent records of these items, still hundreds of years old, give them names connected to the mortals who wielded and were ultimately destroyed by the ancient power they tried to harness.

The draconic Crown of Sondar Thaj is said to lie buried in a shrine in the midst of the Marsh of Desolation in Xen'drik. The draconic scepter, called the Silver Rod or the Mithril Scepter is believed to be in Argonnessen, hidden in a shrine in the Wyrmsperch Mountains on the western coast. Explorers who survived a journey to the land of dragons reported that the shrine was buried centuries ago by a massive avalanche or volcanic eruption. The draconic orb, called the Orb of Kevrik the Crusader, is the most recently seen of the three draconic items, but its last owner (who fancied herself a spiritual descendant of Kevrik the Crusader) disappeared in the Demon Wastes.

The fiendish crown is called the Crown of the Black Fire or the Crown of the Frozen Hammer, after a mighty frost giant king who wore it into battle against the daelkyr. It is believed to still lie in Icehammer Plaace, a skyberg that bloats above Icewhite Island between the Frostfell and the Demon Wastes. The Scepter of Fell Khadash is the poetic name for the fiendish scepter, which is believed to lie in a vault in Xen'drik--though recent rumors suggest that its location has been identified and is currently being sought. The fiendish orb, called the Sphere of Iron Fire is believed to lie in the depths of Khyber. Legend says that it sank into the earth when it fell to the ground on a Xen'drik battlefield.
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shai-hulud
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Post by shai-hulud » Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:32 pm

The sights and feel of Eberron

Eberron is a world of high magic. It developed much differently from many other campaign settings. Monstrous races live alongside the common races. Magictech is everywhere. A spellcaster or artificer would be knowledgable in this area. They would be able to look at an item and they would understand how it works from a magical point of view. They would know what that item is. To the general population, unless they have specifically worked with the item, they don't know what it is, or what it is for.

An example: Everyone knows what the lightning rail is, most probably even know that the technology allowing it to work is a bound elemental, yet if someone saw a bound elemental, they most likely would not know what it was. Why? Because they have not studied it. They would have no reason to connect the item they are looking at with the technology they have only heard about.

Relating to the current thread, when someone sees an item that looks like, "This rod is a flat iron bar with a small button on one end", I might fail to describe that it has a button. A flat iron bar works excellently as a club. The bar is very well balanced (due to the fact that it is a magic item, it must be). To the casual observer, he is holding a masterwork iron club. There is no mystical force of Eberron that would tell this observer that he holds anything other than an iron club. With a little examination, he would have discovered the button and would quickly have figured out that he had more than what he thought.

As for the differences in settings, your characters were right to be afraid of medusas and fire giants. It is not typical company for a party of adventurers to just hang out in a bar like that. Most of your characters probably have seen a medusa or passed a fire giant, but not had any contact with them. You would know that such creatures are exceedingly dangerous. Whats more, your characters would probably feel the desire for flight. That is a natural instinct when facing dangerous creatures such as those. Eberron is no different in that regard. When you as a player finds something out of the ordinary, it is quite possible--even likely--that your character would find it out of the ordinary, as well. It is possible in Eberron to have fallen celestials who want nothing more than the destruction of all they once sought to protect. You can have demons and devils working together. You can have apathetic rakshasas who just want to live in the lap of luxury, so rather than plot their ascention, they shapechange into dragonmarked people and live among humans. You can have lawful good red dragons and chaotic evil gold ones. You can find men so depraved that the muck they walk on shudders from their footsteps and beasts so pure that the celestials sing their praises. And the common thing among all of these findings is that they should shock every single character who comes across them. These are not normal things, but in Eberron, they are possible.

Eberron is the one campaign setting where a cleric of the sovereign host may decide that the will of his gods is done through the sacrifice of small children. Another cleric devoted to the Dragon Below might team up with a cleric devoted to the Blood of Vol to rescue the children from a small orphanage in hopes of pleasing their deities. Are these activities common? Absolutely not. Should your character be expecting that every Blood of Vol member and cultist of the Dragon Below is off finding orphans to save? Absolutely not. That is not the norm. It is the exception. But in Eberron, the exception is not discouraged any more than it is encouraged. It is simply there.

So, I have the question, when I see a magic item in a world filled with magic, shouldn't I know what that item is? No. Absolutely not. You would no more know what a random magic item is than I would know what a random tool in a factory is. In the real world, factories are everywhere. We live in a world with tall buildings, but if I were to look at a random device in the factory across the street, I should no more expect to understand what it is or what it does than a character should expect to understand a magic item. I see a little car, and I assume that the little car takes me from point A to point B. I might have no clue that the little car is a forklift that carries heavy pallettes from point A to point B (I of course know what a forklift is, but I use this example because I hope everyone knows what this is and can see the analogy).

For a better example, let's discuss compact technology. I don't have an iPod, nor have I ever seen one. I am being honest here. I don't own one and I have never seen one, yet I know that it plays music. If I were to come across an iPod, I could easily discern what it was because I am sure somewhere on it is embossed the label iPod. But when I first see one, what will I think it is? Will I recognize it as a musical device? Will I think it is a tape measure? Will I believe it to be a carrying case for jewelry? I have no idea. I have never seen one. But if I did see one, I would not necessarily think (I have never seen this before. I should examine it closely). I might think that I know exactly what it is. It might look just like something that I use all the time. And how silly would I feel once I discovered its true nature?

If you have any questions about the setting, please either roleplay them or ask here.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
"Danger is like Jello. There's always room for more."

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