What Every Player Should Know
1) Tone and attitude. The campaign combines traditional medieval D&D fantasy with swashbuckling action and dark adventure. Nothing is exactly as it seems. Traditionally good-aligned creatures may wind up opposed to the heroes, while well-known agents of evil might provide assistance when it’s least expected.
2) Magic is everywhere. The societies of Eberron developed not through the advance of science, but by the mastery of magic. This concept allows for certain conveniences unimagined in other medieval timeframes. The binding and harnessing of elemental creatures makes airships and rail transport possible. A working class of minor mages uses spells to provide energy and other necessities in towns and cities. Advances in magic item creation have led to everything from self-propelled farming implements to sentient, free-willed constructs of wood and stone.
3) The Last War has ended-sort of. The Last War. which plunged the continent of Khorvaire into civil war more than a century ago. ended with the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold and the establishment of twelve recognized nations occupying what was once the kingdom of Galifar. At least overtly. the peace has held for almost two years as the campaign begins. The conflicts. the anger. and the pain of the long war remain. however. and the new nations seek every advantage as they prepare for the inevitable next war that will eventually break out on the continent.
4) The Five Nations. The human-dominated civilizations on the continent of Khorvaire trace a lineage to the ancient kingdom of Galifar. which was made up of five distinct regions. or nations. These were Aundair. Breland, Cyre. Karrnath. and Thrane. Four of these survive to the present day as independent countries; Cyre was destroyed before the start of the campaign. The devastated territory it once occupied is now known as the Mournland. A common epithet among the people of Khorvaire is “By the Five Nations.” or some version thereof. The Five Nations refers to the ancient kingdom of Galifar and harkens back to a legendary time of peace and prosperity.
5) The Day of Mourning. No one expected the sudden and complete destruction of Cyre, a day now memorialized each year as the “Day of Mourning”. People from every nation suffered that day, as each nation had soldiers, diplomats, traders, or distant family members in Cyre at the time it was destroyed and no one knew if the same fate awaited their nation. After Cyre’s destruction, no one stepped forward to explain the event or offer an explanation. Four years later, everyone remembers where they were when they heard of Cyre’s destruction, and everyone has their own pet theories on what caused the complete destruction of one of the Five Nations of Galifar.
6) Eberron is a world of intrigue. The war is over, and the nations of Khorvaire now try to build a new age of peace and prosperity. Ancient threats linger. however. and the world desperately needs heroes to take up the cause. Nations compete on many levels-economic. political influence. territory. magical power—each looking to maintain or improve its current status by any means short of all-out war. Espionage and sabotage services create big business in certain circles. The dragon marked houses, churches both pure and corrupt, crime lords, monster gangs, psionic spies, arcane universities, royal orders of knights and wizards, secret societies, sinister masterminds, dragons, and a multitude of organizations and factions jockey for position in the afterglow of the Last War.
7) Dragonmark dynasties. The great dragonmarked families are the barons of industry and commerce throughout Khorvaire and beyond. Their influence transcends political boundaries, and they remained mostly neutral during the Last War. While not technically citizens of any nation, the matriarchs and patriarchs of each house live in splendor within their enclaves and emporiums located throughout Khorvaire. These dynastic houses of commerce derive their power from the dragon marks-unique, hereditary arcane sigils that manifest on certain individuals within the family, granting them limited but very useful magical abilities associated with the trade guilds the family controls.
8) Dragonshards. Ancient legends and creation myths describe Eberron as a world in three parts, the ring above. the subterranean realm below, and the land between. Each of these world sections is tied to a great dragon of legend-Siberys, Khyber. and Eberron. Each section of the world produces stones and crystals imbued with arcane power—dragonshards. With dragonshards, dragon marks can be made more powerful, elementals can be controlled and harnessed, and magic items of all sorts can be crafted and shaped. These shards, however, are rare and difficult to come by. making them expensive and often the goals of great quests and adventures.
9) The people of Eberron have a cosmopolitan outlook towards others, sort of. Throughout the last war, citizens of the Five Nations fought alongside warforged constructs, elven warriors, and monstrous mercenaries of all sorts. Because of this exposure, the people of Khorvaire are accustomed to being many different kinds of people. Prejudices have not vanished- non-elves are second-class citizens in Valenar, the goblins of Darguun eye all others with suspicion, lizardfolk battle with the non-lizardfolk settlers of Q’barra, warforged are not recognized as sentient beings in Karrnath, the Inspired of Riedra would drive out all non-humans from its borders, and the barbarians of the Seren Coast kill all outsiders on sight. However, the average person living in Khorvaire is more likely to care about which side you fought for in the Last War than your race or species.
Wizards of the Coast