Players Handout from the beginning of the schema campaign.
The oldest myths say that our world was born in war, born of the struggle between the first dragons. The Seren Tablets describe this battle, how the dark wyrm Khyber tore her brother Siberys into pieces before being bound within the coils of her sister Eberron.
In these enlightened times, we can see this as metaphor. Looking to the sky, it is easy to understand how the ancients could see the ring of Siberys as a great gold dragon stretching across the horizon. Eberron is the world on which we walk, the mother of all that is natural. Khyber is the darkness that lies beneath the surface of the soil, giving birth to horrors that haunt the night and things that should not be. Today, we may consider ourselves too wise to believe in such tales, but ~he ancients believed that Eberron was formed from magic and from war-and these forces have certainly shaped the world in which we live in today.
Magical energy is all around us, invisible and unknown. It is a force we are slowly learning to control. The wizard can draw on this power to reshape reality with a gesture and an incantation. The priestess calls on gods to work magic on her behalf. The artificer crafts tools that can produce the same effects as either. And then there are the dragonmarked, who carry mystic power in their very blood. As we have learned to control the powers of magic, we have created many wonders that have changed the world in which we live. There was a time when a journey from one edge of Khorvaire to the other would take months. Today the lightning rail and the airship allow the wealthy to traverse the continent in comfort and safety. The message stones of House Sivis send words across the world with the speed of the wind. Communication, entertainment, the healing arts . . . magic touches them all.
Over the course of the last century, we have created horrors far worse than any monster of legend. We have harnessed the power of fire and storm and turned them against our enemies. We have given birth to an army of living weapons. And in so doing we have destroyed the heart of our realm. Chroniclers are calling the recent conflict “The Last War,” claiming-or at the very least hoping-that no one who has seen the destruction could thirst for war ever again. Perhaps they are correct. Surely, if we continue to toy with powers that we do not understand” with forces that can destroy an entire nation, our next war will be our last.Khorvaire, Galifar, and the Last War
Though much of this world remains shrouded in mystery, scholars have kept records for thousands of years and many other secrets have been unlocked through exploration; The continent of Sarlona gave birth to humanity, but for the last millennium the; people of Riedra, that continent’s largest nation, have restricted contact with the outside world. Tales say that Xen’drik was once home to a civilization of giants who possessed mystical secrets far beyond anything known in the modern age, but this society vanished tens of thousands of years ago. The dragons reputed to live in Argonnessen, if they exist at all, hide their secrets. To date no one has penetrated the interior of this dark continent and returned to tell the tale.
Only one continent is known to us – Khorvaire. Human and elf, dwarf and gnome, we all have our homes here. According to the legends, many of these races traveled to this land – human settlers from Sarlona, dwarves from the frozen north, elves from Xen’drik by way of the isle of Aerenal. Though they were last to arrive, it was humanity that reshaped Khorvaire in its own image. Those who opposed the humans were conquered or driven from their lands. In time, one man managed to unite the budding human nations with sword and word – King Galifar I, founder of a kingdom that would last almost nine hundred years.
Galifar had five children, and he divided his kingdom into five provinces, one for each of his heirs. Each region had its own customs and strengths, and these would continue to develop over time. Aundair was renowned for wisdom, both mundane knowledge and the study of the mystical arts. The people of Karrnath were known for stoic temperaments and military skill. Breland was a center for innovation in philosophy and industry. Thrane soon became the seat of the Church of the Silver Flame, and its people were devoted to this altruistic religion. Cyre was the heart of the kingdom, a center of art and culture. While there were other out- posts of culture in Khorvaire-the gnomes of Zilargo, the people of the Shadow Marches, the Lhazaar Pirates-the provinces were seen as the primary repository of civilization and culture. Collectively they were referred to as the Five Nations, and this phrase became so engrained in the psyche of the kingdom that it remains in use to this day, even though Cyre is no more.
The Kingdom of Galifar worked hand in hand with the dragonmarked houses, and for centuries civilization flourished across Khorvaire – until the death of King Jarot in 894 YK.
In accordance with the customs laid down by the first king, Jarot’s children had been appointed as governors of the Five Nations. As the eldest child and governor of Cyre, Lady Mishann d’Wyrnarn was the rightful heir to the throne of the Five Nations. According to the ancient laws, her brothers and sisters were to step down from their posts and install Mishann’s children as governors.
It was a precarious system, and there had been upheavals before – times when a governor refused to relinquish control. But a rightful heir to the throne had never had to contend with three rebellious siblings, as Mishann did. Lord Thalin of Thrane, Lady Wroanne of Breland, and Lord Kaius of Karrnath rose together to challenge Mishann and the traditions of Galifar. When Mishann fought for her claim, the three governors broke from the old throne, declaring themselves kings and queens. The Last War had begun.
The war lasted for over a century – far longer than the alliance of the three rebel rulers. Over the course of the conflict alliances shifted more often than the sands of the Blade Desert. Cultures long held in check by the power of Galifar shook off the yoke of old. Aundair was shattered by an internal rebellion. The strange creatures of Droaam rose up to declare their own nation. The goblinoids came down from the Seawall Mountains to claim the kingdom of Darguun. The elf mercenaries brought in to fight the war seized a territory of their own, creating the nation of Valenar. But even as the old kingdom crumbled, many advances were made. War encourages innovation, and across Khorvaire wizards and artificers crafted new tools of destruction. Greatest among these were the spellworkers of House Cannith, and their greatest creations were the warforged, tireless soldiers of steel and stone, born with the skill of elite soldiers and able to fight without rest or food. The first warforged soldiers were produced in 965YK, and today each of the Five Nations has its own army of armored warforged. Some question the morality of this practice, for the warforged seem to have the sentience of living creatures, and priests still debate the question of the warforged soul. But most generals see the warforged as weapons. They may be able to think and to speak, but they are tools to be used, nothing more.
Today it seems that the war is finally coming to an end. At the time of this writing, ambassadors have gathered at the isle of Thronehold, and while the conflict continues on the borders, the thirst. for bloodshed has surely dimmed. All it took was the destruction of Cyre, the heart of the ancient kingdom. No one knows what force was unleashed in Gyre in 994 YK, and many would say that is the primary reason the nations now discuss the terms of treaty – fear, pure and simple. Was House Cannith working on a weapon in the depths of Gyre, something that went horribly wrong? Or was the devastation the result of the aggregation of magic used in the battles – a slow building of energies that finally reached a breaking point? Is It something that can happen again, and what nation will be next?
The kingdom of Galifar is no more, and even if a treaty of Thronehold brings peace, we can never recover what has been lost. The fertile realm of Cyre has been transformed into a warped wasteland, a place filled with all manner of unnatural horrors.. Survivors have taken to calling this region the Mournland. Only time will tell if there is a way to reclaim this lost land – or if the destruction of Cyre is a harbinger of what lies ahead for all of Khorvaire.The Dragonmarked
Dragonmarks are one of the greatest mysteries of the age, and they have had a tremendous impact on the cultures of Khorvaire. A dragonmark is a design that appears on the skin, similar in appearance to a complex tattoo. The bearer of a dragonmark can call on the powers of this mark to perform a specific act of magic. Twelve different dragonmarks are now known to exist, each bound to a particular bloodline.
Over the course of two thousand years, these families have evolved into powerful dynasties. When Galifar l. laid the foundation of his kingdom, he set severe limits on the dragonmarked houses to prevent them from becoming a threat to his realm. Aside from House Deneith, the houses are prohibited from maintaining armies or holding an office of the crown. But while the houses may have limited military might, they have developed considerable economic power and an infrastructure stretching across the length of Khorvaire. With the collapse of the kingdom of Galifar, many believe that the dragonmarked houses are now the greatest power in the land, and that the mercantile and magical power of the houses is a deadlier weapon than the armies of the Five Nations.
Although the dragonmarked families have no ties to the royal lines of Galifar, out of respect for their power and wealth, the heirs of a dragonmarked house are generally accorded the title of “lord” or “lady.” The leader of the regional enclave of a house holds the title of “baron.” Those who possess a dragonmark may add the suffix d’ to the house name. Thus, Baron Merrix d’Cannith carries the Mark of Making, while Lord Heldoran Cannith does not. Currently there are thirteen dragonmark houses.The City of Sharn
Sharn is the largest city in Khorvaire and one of the wonders of the modern age, a symbol of what can be accomplished with magic and skill. Little useable land exists on the edge of the Dagger River, but Sharn stretches up into the sky. The tips of its tallest spires are over a mile in height. Only magic could support the columns of Sharn, and the spells woven into the stone are unique to the city. Sharn is built on a manifest zone, where the wall between physical reality and the mystical domain of Syrania has worn thin. The energy of Syrania lends power to spells of flight and levitation, and it is this that keeps the towers from tumbling. Skycoaches, levitating disks, and flying beasts are all used to support commerce and communication within Sharn. It is truly inspiring to see the hippogriffs circling the glittering spires of Daggerwatch as the last rays of the sun fall over the towers.
Sharn is divided both horizontally and vertically. Along the base of the city, it is split into five regions called quarters. The five quarters of Sharn are Dura, Central Plateau, Tavick’s Landing, Northedge, and Menthis Plateau.
Vertically, these clusters of towers are broken into three distinct levels or wards. Thus a citizen of Sharn may refer to Upper Central, Middle Dura, or Lower Northedge.
Each Ward is subdivided into a cluster of neighborhoods known as districts. Each of these districts often caters towards a particular segment of the population or a particular field. The Bazaar of Middle Dura is a mercantile district, while the Dag- gerwatch district of Upper Dura is a garrison.
ln addition to the system of quarters, wards, and districts, Sharn extends farther above and below. The district of Skyway actually floats above Sharn, supported by a vast disk of magical force. Below the streets of the lower wards lie the twisting tunnels of the Cogs and Khyber’s Gate, home to the sewers and foundries that maintain the city. Deeper still are the remnants of human and goblin settlements buried by shifting stone and ancient wars.
Sharn has been a center of trade and communication for centuries. When this Last War began, the population of Sharn included people of all of the Five Nations along with Zil gnomes, Mror dwarves, Talenta halflings, goblins, and others. Many of the nationals fled and returned to their homelands, but others had been established in Sharn for generations. While they still held to the customs of their homelands, they nonetheless had deep roots in the city. Over the course of the war, many of these foreign nationals were relocated into secured districts, such as High Walls. Nonetheless, the population remained. In the wake of the destruction of Cyre, many refugees from that ruined land have traveled to Sharn in search of relatives still living in the City of Towers.The Religions of Eberron
The primary religions of Eberron draw on a system of shared beliefs. The creation myth of the three dragons forms a common foundation for all of the common religions. The most influential religions on Khorvaire are the Church of the Silver Flame and the Sovereign Host.
The worship of the Sovereign Host
and the Dark Six
is the oldest known religion in Khorvaire. Each of the Sovereigns embodies a particular concept, and slight variations of the Sovereigns can be found among many different races and cultures. Some say that even the dragons worship the Nine, and in some of the oldest images the Sovereigns are depicted as dragons themselves.
There are a total of fifteen deities associated with this mythology. The nine Sovereigns embody positive and benevolent ideas and are called upon for guidance and protection. The Dark Six are sinister and malevolent, and their names are not spoken. The followers of the Host rely on the Sovereigns to shield them from the powers of the Six.
The Church of the Silver Flame was founded in 299 YK.
When an ancient evil rose from Khyber, an army of fiends threatened Galifar itself. This darkness seemed unstoppable; until a woman named Tira Miron challenged the demon king and gave her life to bind him below once more, Tira was guided and empowered by an ancient force of spiritual energy – a silver flame that had been forged to bind the demons. In death, she became a conduit for that force, allowing other noble warriors to touch the Silver Flame and use its power to drive evil from the world.
The Church of the Silver Flame has grown exponentially since that time. It is based in Thrane, where a font of silver fire rises from the point of Tira’s sacrifice, but it has spread across all of Khorvaire. Only the Sovereign Host has more worshippers, and the followers of the Flame are typically more fervent in their beliefs.