Eberron

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Eberron
WotC Eberron.jpg
Designer(s)Keith Baker
Publisher(s)Wizards of the Coast
Publication date2004
Genre(s)Fantasy
Language(s)English
System(s)D&D v3.5
4th edition
5th edition
Random chanceDice rolling

Eberron is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game. The game is set primarily on the continent of Khorvaire following a vast destructive war. Eberron is designed to accommodate traditional D&D elements and races within a differently toned setting; Eberron combines a fantasy tone with pulp and dark adventure elements, and some non-traditional fantasy technologies such as trains, skyships, and mechanical beings which are all powered by magic.[1]

Eberron was created by author and game designer Keith Baker as the winning entry for Wizards of the Coast's Fantasy Setting Search, a competition run in 2002 to establish a new setting for the D&D game. Eberron was chosen from more than 11,000 entries, and was officially released with the publication of the Eberron Campaign Setting hardback book in June 2004.[2]

Publication history[edit]

The 2004 campaign setting book for Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 was written by Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, and James Wyatt.[2] In June 2005, the Eberron Campaign Setting book won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game Supplement of 2004.[3][4]

Over the next four years, over 20 supplements for Eberron were released.[5] Shannon Appelcline (author of Designers & Dragons) wrote "meanwhile, it had also become the setting for Dungeons & Dragons Online (2006), Atari's major multimedia expansion of the D&D brand. By 2009, Eberron was still big, and that's why it won out as 4e's second setting".[5]

In June 2009, the Eberron Player's Guide and the free adventure Khyber's Harvest (2009) brought the setting to the new 4th edition of D&D. It was followed in July by the Eberron Campaign Guide (2009) and the not-free adventure Seekers of the Ashen Crown (2009).[6][5] On the impact of the edition change, Appelcline wrote "Players were wondering if Eberron would also be changed to more closely match the Points of Light ideals and surprisingly … it wasn't. Instead, Eberron appears much as it did before. There wasn't even a timeline change; though rumors at one points suggested a two-year advancement was in the works, the world ended up remaining in 998YK. Eberron's designers and developers said that players interested in metaplot should read the novels and decide themselves whether they wanted to include those events in their games. Though Eberron didn't become a Points of Light world, it did adopt many of the other assumptions of 4e".[5]

In February 2015, the very first instance of the online feature "Unearthed Arcana" provided Eberron content for public playtesting for the 5th edition.[7] However, further official Eberron content did not appear until 3 years later, when the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron was released on July 23, 2018 as a PDF on Dungeon Masters Guild; it was described as a "living document" that would be updated as the included concepts were refined.[8] The included races,[9] and dragonmarks,[10] magic items,[11] as well as the artificer class and subclasses,[12][13] also went through the "Unearthed Arcana" public playtest process over the next year. An "exploratory campaign featuring Eberron"[14] was released for the D&D Adventurers League as PDFs between September 2018 and December 2018.[15]

Eberron: Rising From The Last War, a hardcover campaign book, was announced in August 2019, and was published on November 19, 2019.[16][17][18] An alternative art cover by Vance Kelly for the book was also released in local game stores on November 17, 2019.[19] At the same time, the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron was updated to include the final versions of the included content as it appears in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and add the artificer class from the same book (with only one subclass – the Alchemist – of the three included in Rising from the Last War). To correspond with this release, the D&D Adventurers League will have a new season of stories called The Oracle of War that takes place in the Mournland.[18]

Characteristics[edit]

One of the most obvious differences between Eberron and generic Dungeons & Dragons is the level of magic. High-level magic, including resurrection spells, is less common than in most other settings. However, low-level magic is much more pervasive, primarily provided by the Dragonmarked houses. Many cities have magical lanterns throughout the streets. A continent-spanning magical "lightning rail" provides high speed transportation.[20]

Alignment is slightly more muddied than in other official settings. Evil beings of traditionally good races and good beings of traditionally evil races are encouraged; but alignment definition remains true to D&D standards, with good and evil retaining their meanings. However, the situation often arises in the campaign world that oppositely aligned characters will side with each other briefly if a threat looms over all, and also both good and evil characters will infiltrate each other's organizations for purposes of espionage.[21][22][23]

Religion is similarly less clear-cut. The pantheon of Eberron does not make itself overtly known. The existence of divine magic is not evidence of the gods, as clerics who worship no deities but instead follow a path or belief system also receive spells. A cleric can even actively work against their own church and continue to receive spells. As a result, religion is largely a matter of faith. Unlike in many other 3rd edition D&D settings, a cleric does not have to be within one step of his deity's or religion's alignment, and is not restricted from casting certain spells because of alignment.[24]

The setting adds a new base character class, the artificer. Artificers are spellcasters focusing on magical item creation. Artificer infusions (their equivalent to spells) focus on temporarily imbuing objects with the desired effects. For example, instead of casting bull's strength on a character, an artificer would cast it upon a belt to create a short term magical Belt of Bull's Strength. Artificers have access to a pool of "craft points" which act as extra experience points (only) for use in creating magical items without sacrificing level attainment. This pool is refilled when the artificer gains levels, or by draining power from an existing magical item (destroying the item in the process).[25]

Eberron also introduces a new non-player character class known as the magewright, which is an arcane caster who has a limited selection of low-level spells. The existence of magewrights is part of the reason for the prevalence of low-level magic in Eberron.[26]

The setting added four new races to Dungeons & Dragons: Changelings, Shifters, Kalashtar, and Warforged. Changelings and Shifters were based on preexisting Dungeons and Dragons monsters, doppelgangers and lycanthropes respectively. Warforged, sentient constructs created by artificers during the Last War, and Kalashtar, psionic humanoids combined with quori spirits, were created for Eberron.[27][28] Eberron also utilized traditional Dungeons & Dragons races but gave them entirely localized lore, history and national ties. Eberron emphasizes national and cultural ties over racial ties. Sean K. Reynolds wrote "for example, the elves of House Phiarlan are an old dragonmarked house with a centuries-long history of entertainment and artistry; most common folk praise them and their work. In contrast to that house, the elves of the new nation of Valenar are seen as land thieves and a threat to the peace established by the Treaty of Thronehold".[28]

To try to create a pulp setting, Eberron initially used "action points" that allow a player to add a six-sided die to the result of rolls made with a twenty-sided die. Characters receive a set allotment of single-use action points each character level. The Eberron Campaign Setting also includes feats which grant additional uses for action points, such as allowing a player to add an eight-sided die instead of a six-sided die, or spending two action points to grant your character an additional move or standard action. Certain class features with uses per day, like a barbarian's rage ability, a cleric's turn/rebuke undead ability, or a druid's wild shape ability, can be used again by spending 2 action points. The final use for action points is to spend one to stabilize a dying character.[29][30][31]

World[edit]

The world of Eberron contains 7 continents. The setting primarily takes place in Khorvaire, the most populated continent. Humans are the most populous race in Khorvaire, living primarily in the area known as the Five Nations.[32] Southeast is the small continent of Aerenal, ruled by elves. Due south is the jungle continent of Xen'drik, once ruled by an empire of giants that collapsed. It is now largely wilderness, with some areas under tribal dominion of the drow. Further south of Xen'drik is Everice, a continent-sized sheet of ice possibly covering several land masses. Frostfell is an unexplored land of ice in the north. The other two main continents are Sarlona (a continent ruled by quori, creatures from the Region of Dreams) and Argonnessen (a continent inhabited by dragons). The world of Eberron has twelve moons; some sages believe there is a thirteenth moon that has vanished or is invisible to the naked eye.[33]

"Eberron" is also the name for the land of the world, and is also referred to as the Dragon Between. Siberys, the Dragon Above, is the name given to the planetary rings which surround the planet. Khyber, the Dragon Below, is the name given to the underworld, and is similar to the Underdark in many other settings. According to the creation story, the world was formed when the progenitor wyrms changed their form into what they are now. Siberys and Khyber fought, leading to Siberys' body being broken into pieces. To stop Khyber, Eberron wrapped around him, and Siberys' broken body became a ring around them both. Siberys created the dragons, Eberron created humanoids and other "lower races", and Khyber created the "demons" of the world.[34][35][36] According to Keith Baker, there is some significance to the fact that each name contains the morpheme "ber", but he has not stated what this is.[citation needed]

Roots and influences[edit]

The inspiration for Eberron came when Keith Baker was working on VR-1's cancelled pulp MMORPG Lost Continents. Baker aimed to fuse the energy of pulp adventure and film noir settings to traditional fantasy settings[37] and steampunk. The Eberron Campaign Setting sourcebook lists the following movies as inspirations for Eberron's tone and attitude: Brotherhood of the Wolf, Casablanca, From Hell, The Maltese Falcon, The Mummy, The Name of the Rose, Pirates of the Caribbean, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Sleepy Hollow.[2]

Baker said inspiration for the war-torn setting came from the unstable period of world history between World War I and World War II.[38]

Reception[edit]

Wired, on the release of the 4th Edition Eberron Campaign Guide, reported "Eberron is my new favorite game world. [...] The world feels like it was designed from the ground up to be original and different, and still feels consistent and logical. The world's continents have an interlocking and compelling history [...]. Magic is treated as an integral part of society. You can take a magical train (the 'lightning rail') or fly elemental-powered airships. [...] I love the section on 'everyday magic' which describes how magic affects the daily lives of the ordinary citizens, covering agriculture, communications, crafts, law enforcement and so on. [...] Most worlds have politics but I can't think of any whose residents foment such complex, yet totally logical machinations. [...] The best thing bout the setting, however, may be that it simply takes the classic D&D tropes like dragons and elves and mixes them up in a new and interesting way".[39]

Polygon, on the release of the 5th Edition Eberron: Rising From The Last War, reported that "Eberron is an amazing place, and Wizards of the Coast does an excellent job in this new book explaining it and giving players the tools to have fun there".[40]

Geek & Sundry wrote "Winner of Wizards of the Coast’s Fantasy Setting Search contest in 2002, Eberron marries magic with steampunk’s technology, offering a world of elemental-powered airships, industrial nobility, and arcane tinkerers. [...] I dig the playable Warforged race, which puts you in the mind of a soldier drone seeking purpose (although their explicit maleness serves a pedantic point). If you want to sling spells in a tailored coat, check out Eberron".[41]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Mat (December 16, 2002). "Gearing Up for Eberron: Overview". archive.wizards.com. Archived from the original on October 2, 2015. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  2. ^ a b c Newman, Kyle; Witwer, Michael; Peterson, Jon; Witwer, Sam (2018). Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History. Joe Manganiello. California: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony/Rodale. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-399-58094-9. OCLC 1033548473.
  3. ^ "List of Winners - Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design". Origins Awards. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  4. ^ "NEWS: Wizards of the Coast Receives Origins Award for Eberron". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast. June 30, 2005. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  5. ^ a b c d Appelcline, Shannon. "Eberron Campaign Guide (4e) - Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  6. ^ Appelcline, Shannon. "Eberron Player's Guide (4e) - Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  7. ^ Mearls, Mike (2015-02-02). "Unearthed Arcana: Eberron". Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  8. ^ "Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e) - Wizards of the Coast | Dungeon Masters Guild". www.dmsguild.com. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  9. ^ Baker, Keith; Crawford, Jeremy; Mearls, Mike; Rutenberg, Ruty; Welch, Kate (2018-07-23). "Unearthed Arcana: Races of Eberron". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  10. ^ Baker, Keith; Rutenberg, Ruty; Petrisor, Ben (2018-09-10). "Unearthed Arcana: Dragonmarks". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  11. ^ Baker, Keith; Rutenberg, Ruty; Petrisor, Ben (2018-10-08). "Unearthed Arcana: Magic Items of Eberron". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  12. ^ Crawford, Jeremy; Baker, Keith; Mearls, Mike; Petrisor, Ben; Wyatt, James (2019-02-28). "Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Revisited". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ Crawford, Jeremy; Baker, Keith; Mearls, Mike; Petrisor, Ben; Wyatt, James (2019-05-14). "Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Returns". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  14. ^ Lindsay, Chris (July 31, 2018). "An Exploratory Commencement". Dungeons & Dragons. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  15. ^ Patrick, Alan (2018-08-07). "Embers of the Last War". D&D Adventurers League.
  16. ^ Heller, Emily (2019-08-19). "Fantasy steampunk setting Eberron finally comes to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  17. ^ Ryan, Jon (August 19, 2019). "Dungeons & Dragons Announces New Sourcebook and Player Class". IGN. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Sheehan, Gavin (2019-08-19). ""Dungeons & Dragons" Announces "Eberron: Rising From The Last War"". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  19. ^ Tito, Greg (2019-08-19). "Eberron! Check out this alternate cover for Eberron: Rising from the Last War designed by @VanceKelly available only through game stores on November 17!". Twitter @Gregtito. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  20. ^ Smith, Mat (December 16, 2002). "Gearing Up for Eberron: Overview". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  21. ^ Baker, Keith (June 18, 2004). "Dragonshards - So It Begins". D&D 3.5 Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  22. ^ Baker, Keith (August 9, 2004). "Dragonshards - Intrigue and Betrayal". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  23. ^ Baker, Keith (March 28, 2018). "Eberron Flashback: Good and Evil". Keith Baker. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  24. ^ Baker, Keith (2004-07-05). "Religion in Eberron". Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-09.
  25. ^ Williams, Skip (March 28, 2006). "Character Class: Artificer, Magical Technologist". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast.
  26. ^ Baker, Keith (2004-08-23). "Magic in Eberron: Magewrights". Archived from the original on January 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-09.
  27. ^ Schubert, Stephen (March 10, 2005). "NEWS: Warforged, Shifters, Changelings, and Kalashtar in Your D&D Game". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  28. ^ a b Reynolds, Sean K. (November 14, 2004). "Eberron Under the Glass - Race Relations and Prejudice". D&D 3.5 Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  29. ^ Baker, Keith; Slavicsek, Bill; Wyatt, James (2004). Eberron Campaign Setting. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. pp. 45. ISBN 978-0-7869-3274-0. OCLC 55943911.
  30. ^ Lemon, Marshall (February 2, 2015). "Dungeons & Dragons Eberron Setting Updated To Fifth Edition". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  31. ^ Baker, Keith (2012-10-19). "Dragonmarks 10/18: Converting Eberron". Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  32. ^ Smith, Mat (June 8, 2004). "Whirlwind Tour of Khorvaire". 3.5 D&D Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Baker, Keith; Perkins, Chris (2005-03-07). "The Moons of Eberron".
  34. ^ Haeck, James (July 23, 2018). "Welcome to Eberron! An Introduction to a Realm of Swashbuckling Fantasy". D&D Beyond. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  35. ^ Baker, Keith (December 27, 2004). "Dragonshards - The Draconic Prophecy". 3.5 D&D Archive. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  36. ^ Smith, Mat (March 9, 2004). "Some Perspective on the World of Eberron". 3.5 D&D Archive. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  37. ^ "Interview with Turbine and Keith Baker, the Creator of Eberron". 2004-07-08. Retrieved 2005-12-30.[dead link]
  38. ^ Reed, Bill (March 22, 2005). "Dungeons & Dragons Makeover: Boulder Gaming Geek Creates Whole New World for Famous Franchise". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  39. ^ Staff, WIRED (2009-10-05). "D&D's Eberron Campaign Sourebook Details a Fascinating World". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  40. ^ Hall, Charlie (2019-11-18). "D&D's first new character class in 5 years could cause nightmares for DMs". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  41. ^ "The Coolest Campaign Settings in D&D". Geek and Sundry. 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2019-11-25.

References[edit]