An Ill Wind Blows
About the world of Eberron
A Brief Primer
There are five continents in the world of Eberron:
Khorvaire, the seat of human civilisation, and a melting pot of a vast number of humanoid races.
Aerenal, the homeland of the elves and their Undying Court.
Xen’drik, a vast and untamed wilderness strewn with the ruins of ancient civilisations.
Argonnesson, the home of Eberron’s ancient dragons, and fierce barbarian tribes.
Sarlona, home to Riedra, a human civilisation governed as the Inspired.
The heart of our tale is in Khorvaire, but will likely wander.
Ten Important Facts About Eberron
Here’s ten important facts about Eberron, lifted straight from the Player’s Guide:
- If it exists in D&D, then it has a place in Eberron. In most cases, if something exists in D&D overall, then it slots in somewhere to the Eberron world. Eberron differs slightly in aspects like its cosmology, but those are comparatively minor points.
- Tone and attitude Eberron has cinematic action and swashbuckling derring do, but also adds in a heavy pinch of scheming and mystery. Trust is a scarce commodity, particularly in the Five Nations, thanks to the Last War.
- A world of magic Eberron has an advanced rail network, ships that can fly through the air, a city that stretches into the clouds themselves, all thanks to advances in magic. Eberron’s level of technology and tooling, even for the general populace, is beyond a traditional medieval society.
- A world of adventure – Eberron is vast, and offers a diverse range of environments and adversaries. Thanks to the advanced magic of the world, a story can range across far-flung spaces without long travel times. And no matter where you go, peril is never far away. Decrepit haunted mansions crumbling into the darkness of Khyber, assassins slithering onto balconies of vertigo-inspiring towers, a muscle-bound orc fending off a ring of soldiers with no more than her bare hands…
- The Last War has ended – sort of. The Treaty of Thronehold has held peace for a little over a year after the Last War ravaged Khorvaire for a hundred years.
- The Draconic Prophecy A complex and mysterious prophecy that slowly unveils itself over thousands of years, leaving hints in omens, and the dragonmarks that give the thirteen dragonmarked houses their incredible abilities, as well as complex marks written on the landscape of Eberron itself. The Draconic Prophecy presumably details the fate of the world, but it is difficult to say – it is impenetrably cryptic and dense. Scholars devote their entire lives to tiny fragments of the prophecy, and the dragons themselves don’t agree on its interpretation.
- The Five Nations – the five nations ruled by descendants of King Galifar, the founder of the modern civilisation humans think of as Khorvaire – Aundair, Breland, Cyre, now Mournland, Karrnath and Thrane.
- Dragonmarked dynasties The thirteen dragonmarked houses are the barons of industry and commerce throughout Khorvaire, and beyond. While they might enjoy strong alliances with particular nations, typically their reach extends beyond political borders, and the houses were relatively neutral during the Last War. Each house derives its power from dragonmarks – arcane sigils unique to a particular bloodline which enhance particular abilities. It has been said that the dragonmarks themselves are part of the prophecy unveiling. Something Eberron’s dragons are apparently to hear, given that it gives significance to the ‘lesser races’ of Khorvaire.
- Dragonshards – the myth of the creation of the world of Eberron describes it as a world in three parts – the glittering ring of Siberys above, the land of Eberron itself, and Khyber below. Each of these three parts has its own type of dragonshard – stones and crystals imbued with magical power. Dragonshards are vital to a great number of magical workings, able to enhance the power of dragonmarks, and unique and rare.
- A world of intrigue – Eberron teems with intrigue and and conflict. As well as ancient and incomprehensible threats, there is the constant jockeying and brinkmanship and outright conflict along economic, political, geographical and magical boundaries between the Five Nations, the thirteen dragonmarked houses, temples, crime lords, monster gangs, psionic spies, arcane universities, royal orders of knights and wizards, secret societies, sinister masterminds, and dragons. And that’s just a short list.
The Five Nations of Khorvaire have suffered under the yoke of war for the last hundred years. After the passing of King Jarot, his five heirs were unable to settle on a line of succession to the throne. Thus began the Last War.
During this long and bloody conflict, other nations have arisen, carved out of the Five Nations through opportunity, strength of will and arms, and sometimes outright deception.
Darguun – once a territory of Cyre, now home to a nation of goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears.
Droaam – a wild place once claimed by Breland, now ruled by the Daughters of Sora Kell, peopled by fierce and monstrous races.
Eldeen Reaches – created when the Wardens of the Wood rose up to defend the west of Aundair, when Aundair itself offered no protection to its people.
Mror Holds – a confederation of dwarven clans that seized the opportunity to declare independence during the Last War.
The war itself was long and ugly, punctuated by occasional ceasefires sometimes lasting for years at a stretch. The war only came to the current uneasy ceasefire due to the destruction of Cyre – in one cataclysmic event, the nation of Cyre was turned to a toxic wasteland now known as the Mournland.
Parts of Khorvaire still bear the scars of the Last War, and its veterans are everywhere. Parts of Khorvaire experienced the Last War as a distant unpleasantness. For some, life continued as normal.
A good question to ponder, traveller, is what did the Last War hold for you?
Now five nations, and thirteen noble houses maneuver for position and advantage in a cold war, no one willing to risk open warfare lest another Cyre occur.