Eberrron Q&A

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I'm going to start posting an Eberron Q&A piece on my website on Wednesday (though perhaps not every Wednesday). The first one went up today. Post your questions here or at the site!
You briefly mentioned in this Dragonshard that the Riedrans play a game called "Path" and Five Nations mentions that "Conqueror", a chess-like board game, is popular among Karrns. Were any rules ever invented for these games in your campaigns that you would be able to share?

EDIT: I do realize that the Explorer's Handbook provides in-game rules for playing Conqueror using Knowlege (History) checks, but I mean actual out-of-game methods of playing.
Call me Ender.
Yay insight! Smile
It's Wednesday, and that means there's a new Dragonmark blog up at my website.Today's subject: alignment. Please feel free to submit questions here or in the comments of the blog!
Great initiative Keith! Thank you for the opportunity.

I have a question if you don't mind, about a shady and may be less know Eberronian figure: the Finch family. 
 
Question: Did you ever used the Finch family in one of your campaign and where did the inspiration came from for their creation ?


For those that don't know the Finch [sblock]

The Family Finch (Eberron Campaign Guide  pg 253.) are a family residing on the outskirt s of Zarash'ak where civililzation pretends to dwell in Ihe heart of the Shadow Marches. Their estate is sprawling and grand, but its fences are rusted, its paths overgrown and its walls peeling. They are one of the region's oldest families. Family members mostly keep to themselves, except when they send servants or younger members into town to buy goods and supplies. They're a stiff, proper, unsmiling bunch but they've been decent enough to the community. 



Some more details:



  • The Finch family is ruled with iron fists by Thdonius and Lucretia. They have one son, Julius, who's not known for his intellectual capacity. Their favored heir is Lucretia's niece. Eliza Winthrope, who came to live with them when she was just a child.

  • Rumor has it that the Finch estate is haunted, but that the Finches won't admit to it in order to avoid shaming the family. This, some locals say, is the reason for their stern, unbending demeanor.

  • In reality, every Finch for generations uncounted has a burning, inherited madness.

  • The Finches have their gods: dark, alien powers who they believe will restore the family's weallh and power and set the Finches to rule atop the festering graveyard of twisted flesh once called Eberron.


I love them and think they are a bunch of weirdos. The Finches are the perfect candidates for every creepy, insular, darkness-worshiping, backwoods family story you've ever imagined. They are the cut off, secluded clan of degenerated people living outside your village, that appear almost normal on the surface. They can be used in any Campaign or Setting, in any part of a town, remote region or small Village and not just in Eberron. I've used them twice already, once in an Eberron campaign and once in a non-Eberron campaign. They are the Ravenloft creepyness you can introduce just about anywhere, the kind of people not right in their mind that everyone distrust. They could be Cultist venerating people, or simply evil and disjointed family like those upstaged in many horror movies, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I have a question if you don't mind, about a shady and may be less know Eberronian figure: the Finch family.


If memory serves me right - and it may not - the Finch family is the work of Ari Marmell. As such, I haven't personally used them. However, they are certainly a Marcher archetype, and I've used variations of my own in the past. I'd certainly point to Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror and Shadow Over Innsmouth as good inspiration for this sort of Marcher. 
Show
One Marcher scene I like is to have the family who, while a little off, are generally friendly; a member of the family may be a friend of the party, or even one of the PCs (a star/vestige warlock would work well, if they are interested). While staying overnight, whispers draw you to the basement, where you find they have a gibbering mouther. Family tradition holds that anyone who grows ill or reaches a certain age is concumed by the mouther; they believe that the spirits live on, and that the maddening voices are the souls of all the ancestors gone before... and they claim to be able to understand the whispers. Is it true? Or is it a mad family with a monster in the basement?
Great Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror reference.  Ari huh ? Thank you Keith for the reply!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Hey, guys.

Yup, the Finch family was my creation. As Keith suggests, they were inspired mostly by the "backwood folks" of many of Lovecraft's stories, though I also got a little bit of inspiration from a few episodes of Supernatural and the X-Files.

(Of course, let's be fair. There's a pretty good chance that portions of Supernatural and the X-Files were both inspired, in part, by Lovecraft. Lovecraft is everywhere. Ia, ia!) ;)

I've actually not had the chance to use them in a campaign myself, actually. (Whether Eberron or not; they could be tweaked pretty easily to fit in elsewhere.) I'd very much like to, but the opportunity simply hasn't come up.
Ari Marmell aka Mouseferatu --Rodent of the Dark www.mouseferatu.com Twitter Facebook
Thanks Ari for chiming in on the Finch as well !

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Certainly anything relating to the planes would be interesting
(though anything mentioned would probably skirt NDA issues, so I wouldn't be expecting to see it)
Call me Ender.
Certainly anything relating to the planes would be interesting


The important thing to understand about the Dragonmarks is that it's not an outlet for concrete game material like Eye on Eberron or the Dragonshard articles. It's a Q & A column. I can't just post an Dragonmark about, say, Fernia like the Eye on Eberron article I wrote on Baator. However, if you had a specific question about Fernia ("What's the relationship between the pit fiends of Fernia and those in Baator?") I could answer that. Or if you wanted to know Why we decided not to use the Great Wheel in the first place, or some examples how I've used the planes in my games, I could write about that. In other words, the more specific the question the more chance you'll get an answer that helps.

Meanwhile, there's a new article up about religion. It's a little less focused than last weeks, but like I said, informal!
So, the guidelines are, specific focus questions?

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
So, the guidelines are, specific focus questions?


I think it is things like specific focused questions and descriptions of play/DM experiences (houserules, etc).
So, the guidelines are, specific focus questions?


I've placed a thread on my website as the ideal place to ask questions. The main thing is that Eye on Eberron is essentially content you could find in an Eberron sourcebook. The website content is more what it would be like if you had a chance to ask me a question at a convention. If you just say "I'd like to know more about the Lhazaar Principalities" I'm going to say "And I wish I had the opportunity to write more about them. If you say "What's the relationship between House Thuranni and the Bloodsail Principalities?" I'll say "It's actually something we don't discuss at all, but given that the ancestors of both fled from Aerenal following the destruction of the Mark of Death, I think there's room for something interesting. I might do this..." Of course, it will still be conversational in tone, as opposed to a sourcebook-ready chunk about Bloodsails & Thuranni.

I'm also happy to have questions or issues that people want to discuss. Someone's brought up what might happen if Boranel died. When I answer this, I'd love to see anyone else who's had Boranel die chip in with their experiences. Where Eye on Eberron is an article, this is more of a conversation.

SO: The following questions would be great.
"Why doesn't the Dreaming Dark kill PCs early on while they are weak?"
"Why's the Church of the Silver Flame allow evil people to be priests?"
"What's your favorite theory about the Mourning?"
"What's the point of having the Mourning in the setting?
"Who do you think would win the next war?"
"Why is Queen Aurala so unlikeable?"
"Do planes like Fernia have civilizations?"

The following questions AREN'T so likely to get answered.
"Can you tell us more about the planes?"
"I'd like (game system) stats for the (insert thing here)."
"I'd like to know more about Zilargo."
... again, either too general or too concrete (in the case of stats).

The goal is to have a new article up by Wednesday evening, Central time USA.
Your examples clear it up even more. Thanks for that.

I asked one on that thread earlier, but think it was overlooked:

Also, is there any way to still get a hold of the Dolurrh’s Dawn charity adventure? I missed it and would be willing to purchase it/donate if need be. 

 
Thanks again!
The latest Dragonmark addresses the question "I want the Mark of Death... what happens next?" Read it here!
"What are your personal views on the nature of souls in Eberron?"

Personally, I use the "oversoul" or "paramatman" ideology in my games. That basically, there is one supereme conciousness that pervades everything, but that this supreme soul has no direct means of interaction with anything.  So, it spins off small portions of itself as empty slates that are sent into the "mortal world" to gain experiences, to grow on their own, and upon "death" their souls return to the oversoul where their knowledge, personality, and experiences are re-absorbed into the oversoul, enriching it and allowing it to grow.

For me, it fills in consistant flavor for two big areas in Eberron pertaining to the soul, that spending too much time in Dolurrh strips the soul of it's personality and experience so that, even if you could raise it, it wouldn't be that person anymore, and the origin of Warforged souls (that the creation forges forcibly remove a chunk of the oversoul and it's amalgamated knowledge, which is why a warforged can prove so skilled at virtually anything so shortly after "birth", the soul fragments aren't properly "cleaned" before being put into a mortal shell).

Interested to hear how you handle it (or even if you ever thought that far into it).
"What are your personal views on the nature of souls in Eberron?"


I posted the answer here at first, but then I decided to keep this thread to a place to ASK questions as opposed to clogging it with answers and discussions. So, I went ahead and answered this, but I added it to the existing Religion, Faith and Souls post instead of starting a new post.

Oh, and lest it go without saying: your idea seems perfectly sound to me. And with this or any subject, I hope that people will add to the blog posts with comments about what they have done in their own campaigns. As noted in the post, I have the vassals believing in a higher realm of the Sovereigns; that higher realm could simply be the Oversoul from your campaign.


There's a new post up at my site!
There's a new post up at my site!

Nice! I like how you are going back and forth between detailed, longer entries and collections of shorter answers. It has kept me coming back and wanting more each time. Thanks for doing this!

Do you tend to run more sandbox games or pre-planned adventures (either your own creations or published stuff)? Can you go into some detail how you go about running a game for those of us that have not been lucky enough to travel to our city for Have Dice, Will Travel?

and related:

Any plans to come to Phoenix, Arizona so that I can try and convince you to run a game for me and my group?

Thanks for brining yourself back to the Eberron forums. I've been thinking about restarting my long ago fizzled campaign and this is the kind of stuff that makes my brain start spinning.

I may return with questions. :D

Wait, I got one.

If the warforged have "reincarnated" souls of the dead and the ghulra were their dewey decimal system ID.... where would the card catalog be?
Character optimization is a group decision not an individual one.
New post up one day early this week - answering some questions about the Dragonmarked houses!
New post up: I've expanded the discussion on the War of the Mark into its own thread. Check it out and add your own comments! I've aslo expanded the Dragonmarked House post and Faith post.
New lightning round Q&A up here. Warforged! The Tarrasque! d'Answers!
New lightning round Q&A up here. Warforged! The Tarrasque! d'Answers!


You linked the admin version and so we can't see it.

It looks like the correct link is this one.
You linked the admin version and so we can't see it. It looks like the correct link is this one.


Whoops! Fixed, but your link is also correct.
Ah, question.

So, do the Riedrans as a whole consider Khorvaire to be culturally backward? (have Secrets of Sarlona, nothing's said about this).  Or can I rule that the Riedrans are a bit decadent?

 

Author of Elementalism in Atlas Games' Occult Lore. DAZ 3D

So, do the Riedrans as a whole consider Khorvaire to be culturally backward? (have Secrets of Sarlona, nothing's said about this).  Or can I rule that the Riedrans are a bit decadent?


The following comes from the description of Dar San in Sharn: City of Towers -

Riedrans do not drink alcohol, nor do they use dreamlily or other narcotics; they view such behavior as an example of the corruption that grips
Khorvaire.

Meanwhile, in Secrets of Sarlona, the relevant section is page 46-51. The most relevant quote would be...

While Riedrans rarely have concrete knowledge of other cultures, their opinions are shaped by dreams and stories. They know about the treacherous kalashtar, who are bound to demons and seek to undermine the Inspired. They know that the altavars hunger for innocent souls. They have even heard of the corrupt and violent people of Khorvaire, who destroyed an entire nation with war. Riedrans are thankful for the protection of the Inspired in such a dangerous world.

Now, CAN you rule that the Riedrans are decadant? Of course! Make them what you need them to be. But there's the canon links.
Got it!

Spiritually decadent, maybe. :D  

Author of Elementalism in Atlas Games' Occult Lore. DAZ 3D

You can also draw a distinction between Riedran commoners and the Chosen. The Chosen are born to be Inspired and live an entirely separate life from the commoners; they certainly have more luxuries available to them.
You can also draw a distinction between Riedran commoners and the Chosen. The Chosen are born to be Inspired and live an entirely separate life from the commoners; they certainly have more luxuries available to them.

Yeah.  That's an awesome thought.

Another question: Kalataresh is one of the few Quori of this Age that isn't actually evil.  Wouldn't be cool if he were Lawful Good?  There is room for interpretation, but look at what he's doing: he's protecting his people.  He feels that the Kalashtar are the traitors.  He doesn't savor violence.  He is truly concerned with Eberron.

(page 71 of Secrets of Sarlona).  Based on this, Lord Kaltaresh is Lawful Good.  If the other Chosen are in bloodlines that have access to a lot of luxuries, his line of Chosen would feel that it would be a great honor to be so, because in a small way they are helping him do a lot of good.

I often wonder what it would take for the Kalashtar to convince him that creating a Kalashtar line with one of the Chosen?  Perhaps a total paradigm change, yes?  

Author of Elementalism in Atlas Games' Occult Lore. DAZ 3D

Another question: Kalataresh is one of the few Quori of this Age that isn't actually evil.  Wouldn't be cool if he were Lawful Good?  There is room for interpretation, but look at what he's doing: he's protecting his people.  He feels that the Kalashtar are the traitors.  He doesn't savor violence.  He is truly concerned with Eberron. 


Sure, but the two things I bolded are true of all of the quori. One of the things that makes the quori interesting as villains is that they ARE protecting their people. They believe that they MUST enslave humanity for their society to survive - and the Kalashtar are, in fact, attempting to commit genocide. Kaltaresh is concerned with the stability of Eberron and disturbed by the Mourning. He created the Edgewalkers to protect Riedra from planar incursions. But bear in mind that these are essentially the actions of a farmer making sure his battery hens are safe from the fox; at the end of the day, those hens are still laying eggs or going in the oven. Kaltaresh isn't cruel, but neither is he acting to give Riedrans greater freedom... at least as presented in canon.
Another question: Kalataresh is one of the few Quori of this Age that isn't actually evil.  Wouldn't be cool if he were Lawful Good?  There is room for interpretation, but look at what he's doing: he's protecting his people.  He feels that the Kalashtar are the traitors.  He doesn't savor violence.  He is truly concerned with Eberron. 


Sure, but the two things I bolded are true of all of the quori. One of the things that makes the quori interesting as villains is that they ARE protecting their people. They believe that they MUST enslave humanity for their society to survive - and the Kalashtar are, in fact, attempting to commit genocide. Kaltaresh is concerned with the stability of Eberron and disturbed by the Mourning. He created the Edgewalkers to protect Riedra from planar incursions. But bear in mind that these are essentially the actions of a farmer making sure his battery hens are safe from the fox; at the end of the day, those hens are still laying eggs or going in the oven. Kaltaresh isn't cruel, but neither is he acting to give Riedrans greater freedom... at least as presented in canon.



Not all Lawful Good is about creating Freedom. Sometimes, its wrapped up in maintaining the status quo.

Although I think the Schism in the Quori was, at first, an honest debate.  However, as word spread to the Quori leaders, they find that the talk of a turning of an Age, and the turning evitable that they felt that it would take away their power.   So, they attacked Taratai and her followers and drove them out.

Fear is what drives the Dreaming Dark, a deathly fear of genocide.  It's nothing more than fear, that's what I see in the Dreaming Dark.  Unfortunately, they have force of numbers.  And a Minority 66 strong isn't going to make them see reason.  The Dreaming Dark is a Conspiracy of FEAR rather than the control of a commodity used in the facilation of trade of other commodities. 

Author of Elementalism in Atlas Games' Occult Lore. DAZ 3D

Not all Lawful Good is about creating Freedom. Sometimes, its wrapped up in maintaining the status quo.


Right - but what is GOOD about what he is doing? He is protecting the people of Riedra. However, he has a selfish, personal interest in doing so: in doing so, he ensures the survival of his race. He isn't behaving in a cruel manner, but neither is he acting to make things better than they already are. Which is why I set him as neutral rather than good. The next question is what he will be willing to do in order to preserve his people. In comparing Aurala and Kaius, my point is that Kaius will murder, torture, or imprison anyone if it's what he has to do in the service of the greater good. Aurala won't. In her opinion, the ends don't justify the means. What makes her good is her conviction that torture is wrong, regardless of its cause. Kaltaresh won't torture himself, but he's perfectly willing to be part of the machine that will - and he's been part of that machine for over a thousand years. You could certainly play it as a sudden change of heart and conviction that he needs to do more - but I think it would be hard to have held a long-term position of authority among the quori with a good alignment.

However, as word spread to the Quori leaders, they find that the talk of a turning of an Age, and the turning evitable that they felt that it would take away their power.


Well, as long as we're talking canon, remember that we're not simply talking about loss of power. We are talking about loss of identity as well. No modern quori remembers the age that came before, nor will they remember the one that comes after. Even if it is an age of light, the Kalashtar quori are products of this dark time and their spirits will be reborn as something new, as well. Think of it as forced reincarnation. The spiritual energy that composes them will remain in a new form, but all memory will be gone, which might just as well be death. The kalashtar maintain that it's best to let this cycle take its course, and that the next age will be better for all reality. The Dreaming Dark is absolutely driven by fear, because no one knows when the age will turn or what lies beyond... but that fear is based on the absolute destruction of their civilization.

... And of course a side note is that it's entirely appropriate for the quori to be driven by fear, because particularly in the case of the tsucora quori, that's what they ARE: living nightmares, embodiments of fear. Just sayin'.
Hey Keith, I just have a simple question-... Something I'm not sure about.

Who, exactly, is Sora-Kell? I believe you mentioned somewhere that she was the First Hag, though beyond that I haven't heard much about Sora-Kell herself.
Alongside that, what exactly are her daughters motives, in your version of Eberron, at least? 
Who, exactly, is Sora-Kell? I believe you mentioned somewhere that she was the First Hag, though beyond that I haven't heard much about Sora-Kell herself.


Hi Aeith! The Daughters will be the subject of a full post in upcoming weeks, and I'll address the question of motives there. However, the first question is easily answered, as Sora Kell is described in this Dragonshard article.
Who, exactly, is Sora-Kell? I believe you mentioned somewhere that she was the First Hag, though beyond that I haven't heard much about Sora-Kell herself.


Hi Aeith! The Daughters will be the subject of a full post in upcoming weeks, and I'll address the question of motives there. However, the first question is easily answered, as Sora Kell is described in this Dragonshard article.

Wonderful! Thanks a lot, Keith.
There's a new Q&A up at my website. Draconic miscegenation, mysterious monsters, and more!
Awesome.

BTW. I have chosen that my D&D playtest will be set in Eberron, Keith.    If you want to know what happens, you'll know where to look at it.
 

Author of Elementalism in Atlas Games' Occult Lore. DAZ 3D

I had a few questions--

Where might eladrin who don't live in Feyspires--eladrin who maybe have been living in Khorvaire for generations--fit into Khorvarian society?  Would they organize in small communities that kept to themselves?  Would it be likely that any exist in Valenar or Aerenal as minority members of society?  If they were members of House Thuranni or Phiarlan, would there be any important distinctions between them and the more common elves?

When interacting with Khorvariains, how do the Inspired present themselves?  What about the Chosen?  Do the Quori and the Chosen take any pleasure out of living in the 'real' world through their hosts, or do they see it as an unpleasant necessity?

Is it likely Sarlonans many any attempts to colonize Khorvaire before the mass migrations? 
All good questions, SC. They'll get dropped behind Sora Kell and the dwarves in the queue, but I will add them to the list. With that said, I'll give you a few quick answers:

In canon Eberron, I do not see the Eladrin as being a statistically significant factor in most population centers. In Sharn you might have a single Eladrin family. As with Dragonborn and Tieflings, they exist but have not had a dramatic impact on the culture or history of the Five Nations. With that said, that's canon, and I'll be happy to discuss other approaches I might take in a future Q&A article.

As for "Do the Quori and the Chosen take any pleasure out of living in the 'real' world through their hosts, or do they see it as an unpleasant necessity?" That depends entirely on the individual Quori, Some undoubtedly do, whether they take pleasure in the alternate physical experience or in the game of manipulating mortals. Others likely see it as a necessary duty. But I don't think one rule can apply to all Quori. Again, I'll discuss this in more detail in the future.