Aerenal and the Court

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hey all! I've been reading about Aerenal quite a bit, I'm left thinking quite a bit about the unclear points and I'm looking for my follow Eberronian's(?) ideas on such things.

Firstly, there's the topic of Prophecy - Aeren's Prophecy and the plan she left for the Elves. What are everyone's ideas on it's outcome and the steps the Court might take to achieve it?

There are other points. Does Aeren still live/exist?

What did the Dragons hope to gain by attacking Aerenal?

How many Deathless are there on the actual Undying Court? (Baker's Dozen? :P)

Who dwelt on Aerenal before the arrival of the Elves?

I'm sure there'll be some interesting ideas coming up in this discussion.

Post away!
I've seen Aeren refered to as a "He" and as a "She", is it official one way or the other? I'm going with "She" personally.

And I could never think of a satisfactory 'endgame' for Aeren's prophecy. I've considered the idea that intend to eventually have the Elven race transcend out of existence, like the Dwemer in the Elder Scrolls, but that seemed a bit too 'simple' for me. Maybe the Undying Court is just a prototype, so to speak, for an eventual God construct that will take the souls of the dead into itself to spare them the fate of Dolurrh. Or maybe its a state of enlightenment that will turn the Elven race into true Gods.

I think Aeren died before reaching Aerenal, which is why the island is called "Aeren's Rest". You could have her be Deathless, but it would really centralize the whole court, and instead of being a body governed through consensus they'd just do what Aeren says. Or that's what I imagine would happen, given their hard-on for tradition.

I read somewhere that the Dragons are attacking Aerenal to train the Elves for something. Like they're going to use them as a sword, but first they're sharpening it up. So they're sending flights of dragons to attack the continent, but not enough to overwhelm them, just enough to bring the newest heroes of their race to light and give them a reason to improve. Shake them out of that traditionalism and force them to constantly make improvements. I really don't like this explanation, because it downplays the fact that the Undying Court has god-like power. Really I don't like the idea, that the other races of Eberron exist because the dragons don't care enough to kill us, in the first place. But I don't have a better reason, other than it being tied to Aeren's prophecy.

I think the number of Deathless in the court is somewhere in the thousands. But if you want to inject a Baker's Dozen in there (which lets admit, is just oodles of fun) then say there were 13 Deathless who founded the Court, but one left and established a chain of Dairy Queens in Xen'drik. His business did terribly, and now he operates a single store in the waters of Everice. If the players question why there's a Deathless Elf operating a Dairy Queen on an iceberg, distract them with half-off Blizzards and make a run for it.

I have no idea, but that's a good question. I must gather some thoughts on that. I wonder if there are any ruins from the Age of Demons on Aerenal. And whether those had any effect on the magic and eventual fate of the line of Vol...
I believe the official version is 'she', I only really saw Aeren mentioned as male in Magic of Eberron.

I've always thought the endgame of Aeren's Prophecy might be the ascension of the Court. The Court is already linked, not sure if this is just a minor connection or if they're a full blown collective mind, either way, the outcome could be complete fusion-... They already border on divine, when completely fused they could be unstoppable (The motivation of the Dragon/Elf war?).
Another thought, was the less 'epic' thought. Aeren's Prophecy is instructions for the Elves to prepare for and confront any danger that might oppose them-... I lean toward the other. Finally, it could be a sort of manifest destiny, the Elves will inherit Eberron.

I'm not precisely sure of Aeren-... She could be a Deathless, simply dead or so much more. Or, perhaps she's dead but found a way to combat the amnesiac properties of Dolurrh? :P I think that makes for some interesting goings-on in the realm of the dead, maybe she has come to rule a sort of dominion created to combat Dolurrh's amnesiac properties with magic and discipline? Hehe, a bit strange, but could be interesting in the right hands. If nothing else, I'd set her tomb up as something interesting.

On the note of the Dragon/Elf War, I've read that interpretation before and don't really like it. I like the idea of it being connected to the Court itself-... Perhaps the war is a cover for sabotage of Aeren's Prophecy? They don't want to destroy Aerenal, but they do want to keep the Elves/Undying Court from ascending and becoming more powerful than even the Dragons.

As for the number of the Undying Court-... I'm not sure about that number, I was under the impression that not all Deathless became Undying and that even then, they took a thousand years to join the Court itself. Not to mention the fact that only those of the Noble Houses can become Deathless in the first place. I would have imagined it to be in the hundreds, at most. Not sure however. As for the Deathless going off to Everice and setting up a Dairy Queen-... With some alterations I might use that, a Deathless Innkeeper in the middle of the most frozen place in Eberron would likely raise a few eyebrows. *Shrugs* Everice is connected to Xen'Drik, much in the way of craziness there.

As for the last point, I could imagine Aerenal was a couatl territory-... Though there's another idea. Considering the Irian and Mabar manifest zones there, there could have been Angelic settlements. Or, assuming the Madwood is a Xoriat manifest zone, a number of Aberrant monsters? Next to no information on it, though many possibilities.
I always thought that the Dragons went to war with the Elves because the Undying Court are, well, undying, and some of the few individuals around who are old and powerful enough to understand and mess with the Draconic Prophecy. And if there's one thing you don't do, its mess with the Prophecy. Maybe Aeren's Prophecy contradicts the Draconic Prophecy?
Obviously, this is a question about the ideas people have come up with as opposed to finding a single canon answer. But if you want the canon...

Does Aeren still live/exist?


Per this Dragonshard, no. She died before reaching Aerenal and was interred there, and this is the source of the name "Aerenal."

While you could have her still exist in some way, to do so does undermine the pricniple that shaped elven society. The line of Vol, Undying Court, and Tairnadal beliefs are three separate approaches to the same issue: We have lost our greatest heroes. We believe that there is nothing waiting after death but Dolurrh and dissolution. We cannot allow this to continue. Vol and the Undying Court both seek to physically preserve their new heroes; the Tairnadal keep their heroes from fading by anchoring them in their descendants - which is not unlike the way the rebel quori live on in the kalashtar, just as a point.

IIRC, Magic of Eberron - a book I didn't work on - suggests that Aeren discovered the process of creating deathless in Xen'drik. Personally, I have many issues with this.

* As stated, the idea has always been that elven society split into three paths as people tried to find a solution - a process that took time. If they'd already HAD a working solution, there wouldn't hae been as much of a basis for the philosophical split. The Deathless are a solution to a specific problem - an Aeren's death is one of the most vital examples of that problem. They developed the Undying Court to ensure that the NEXT Aeren would be preserved.

* This deathless-in-Xen'drik theory misses the things that differentiate Deathless from negative undead. Deathless are sustained by positive energy. This is derived either from manifest zones - binding the deathless to a physical location - or by mass devotion. The love the Aereni have for the Undying Court keeps it alive. Essentially, they needed to have that fiath in place to start the Court - though Aerenal also gave them powerful Irian manifest zones to use as a foundation. This is the reason the Aereni have never spread far from Aerenal; you need to have a comunity of a significant size (or a manifest zone) to sustain deathless. This is noted in Stormreach, where the Aereni community is specifically called out as being sufficient to maintain one deathless.

How many Deathless are there on the actual Undying Court?


There's supposed to be quite a few. Remember, the court has been around for twenty thousand years. However, there's deathless, and then there's Ascendant Councilors. You could certainly limit the number of the latter.

What did the Dragons hope to gain by attacking Aerenal?


This is discussed on page 11 of Dragons of Eberron. Three separate theories are presented, and none of them asserted as "the" answer. One is that the dragons are preparing the elves; another is simply that it's a form of training exercise for the Light of Siberys, who are after all hard-pressed to find truly challenging foes to fight. In either case, the point isn't that the dragons aren't actually trying; the fighting is real. The issue is that the dragons have never committed the full resources of Argonnessen; the forces committed to these conflicts have always been a fraction of their full power. Could they win if they committed it all? We don't know, because they never have.

Again, these are canon answers, but that doesn't make them the best ideas - and as noted, the reason for the Elf-Dragon wars is intentionally left as a mystery in canon, like the Mourning. So it's certainly a good subject for speculation.
Ah! Of course, I seem to have been somewhat confused. I was under the assumption that the Ascendant Councilors were the only Deathless who were actually part of the Undying Court, with the other's simply being Deathless and little more, though that in itself is a great honour-... Probably misread it, I'll have to read back over it. :X 
On that note, any advice on how to play an Ascendent Councilor in an antagonistic role, or a patron role for that matter?

With the point of Aeren, it's probably better to just let dead Elves lie. Though there are more interesting things that could be done with her legacy, and her Prophecy, assuming it's more than an Elven legend. :P

Finally, do the Eladrin share this Religious connection to the past ancestors? Grah, I suppose this is already answered somewhere, though I've not seen it.


 
Ah! Of course, I seem to have been somewhat confused. I was under the assumption that the Ascendant Councilors were the only Deathless who were actually part of the Undying Court, with the other's simply being Deathless and little more, though that in itself is a great honour-... Probably misread it, I'll have to read back over it.


If you check the 3.5 ECS, there are statistics for a Undying Councillor and an Ascendant Councillor, with the note that the Undying "make up the bulk of the Undying Court" while the Ascendants "are the most holy, powerful, and revered of the ancient dead of Aerenal."

On that note, any advice on how to play an Ascendent Councilor in an antagonistic role, or a patron role for that matter?


Not with the amount of time I have now, but go and add it to the most recent "Ask questions here" thread on my website and I'll get around to it.

With the point of Aeren, it's probably better to just let dead Elves lie.


Well, I contradict myself. I quoted the Aerenal dragonshard, which clearly states that she died. However, the 4E ECG piece on Aerenal, which I wrote, says "Accounts differ as to whether Aeren herself survived. Some record that she died and was buried on Aerenal, but no known tomb exists. Others tell that, unlike her martyred peers, her ritual made her the first of the undying. She used her newfound power to secretly aid her kin in their eventual escape. A few even say that the elven heroes who joined in Aeren’s ritual actually became one great being sharing Aeren’s undead body.  No one might ever know the truth. But if Aeren still lives, she does not walk among the members of the Undying Court."

AHA! I've just remembered what this is about. This was my attempt to reconcile the Dragonshard (which came first) with Magic of Eberron, which completely contradicts it and is in a print book. Personally, I prefer to say that there were no true deathless in Xen'drik for all the reasons I described above. However, the point is that this is Eberron and you should always consider alternatives!

Finally, do the Eladrin share this Religious connection to the past ancestors?


This is another long question. Have you read The Fading Dream? This gives my picture of what Eladrin life is like. A key point here is that there is no current cultural connection between the Eladrin and Aerenal; elves are ultimately descended from eladrin, but modern Aerenal never had ties to Thelanis. A second important point is that the Eladrin are primarily from Thelanis, and being fae, don't experience life the same way true mortals do. Ghaele can live for tens of thousands of years without ever becoming undead... and the eladrin also don't reproduce with anywhere near the frequency of the fully mortal races. So the whole ancestral connection is a very different thing.

In short, though: The eladrin of the feyspires have no cultural ties to Aerenal, and do not have religious practices that resemble those of the Aereni or Tairnadal. I will throw out something that came up recently, which is the thought that the double scimitar is a weapon used by some of the warrior eladrin (not used in all spires, but certainly the feyspire sacked by the giants) - so there are some tiny bits of Thelanian culture that have leaked into the elves.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of The Fading Dream. I probably could order it online, however.
I really liked the implementation of the Eladrin in Eberron, same with Tieflings and Dragonborn, I hope they remain in the next edition's ECS-... That is, if Eberron is supported next edition, which I'm certain it shall.

I really liked the implementation of the Eladrin in Eberron, same with Tieflings and Dragonborn, I hope they remain in the next edition's ECS-... That is, if Eberron is supported next edition, which I'm certain it shall.




Honestly, I could live without the Eladrin.  recently a player in my group made a new Dragonborn character and we've been having to do a little research on them. some of the other players thought that the dragonborn treatment was a little forced, until i reminded him that he was playing an eladrin avenger.  

I've always gone with eladrin and elves being different subsets of the same species, its just that this elf can teleport because he is Aundairn, this elf can teleport because she is a swordmage, and the third elf in our party can't teleport but can ignore difficult terain because he's a ranger and a Valenar (needs to get out of quicksand).  

the whole yuan-ti/lizard folk thing into dragon born makes sence to me.  it implies that there are sub-species/tribal/cultural differences in Q'bara that the explorers sent there to tell Kieth what to write about were unaware of untill they further investigated.  The whole 3.5ed to 4e thing of these cities just showed up, but they've been here all along,  seems like an ill fitting squeeze to me.

then again, to each his own. 
some of the other players thought that the dragonborn treatment was a little forced, until i reminded him that he was playing an eladrin avenger.


Did you read the Q'barra backdrop articles, or just the material in the books? 

I've always gone with eladrin and elves being different subsets of the same species, its just that this elf can teleport because he is Aundairn, this elf can teleport because she is a swordmage, and the third elf in our party can't teleport but can ignore difficult terain because he's a ranger and a Valenar (needs to get out of quicksand).  


I think this sort of thing is a fine way to handle things, and in that case, I wouldn't even call the character an eladrin (which I think is what you're saying). I did the same thing in a campaign I played in, in which I was mechanically a deva avenger w/shaman multiclass; but from a story perspective I was a Cyran human who'd been caught in the Mourning and possessed by thousands of spirits of people killed in the Mourning. His "memories of a thousand lives" were the other people trapped inside him. His racial damage resistance was the result of the force within him repelling these influences. His avenger abilities were likewise all derived from the angry ghosts within him or the guidance they could give him, while his shaman ability to manifest a spirit was literally pulling one out for a few moments.

I didn't want to introduce deva as such into the game, though there's lots of fine ways to do it - but here, the mechanics were great for the character and I really liked the way the story played out. 

With that said, I do like the Feyspires, because I've always liked Thelanis and faerie tales in general; as shown with The Fading Dream, the key to me was to give eladrin culture a distinctly fey feel, and not to simply have them be more elves. The Twilight Demesne is a known example of a fey city that people can sometimes fine; adding the others was simply saying "The Twilight Demesne is simply the only one people know about."

some of the other players thought that the dragonborn treatment was a little forced, until i reminded him that he was playing an eladrin avenger.


Did you read the Q'barra backdrop articles, or just the material in the books? 


  i had, he hadn't.  i think the only ones in our group that read those articles are me (the DM) and the dragonborn. Everyone else seems satisfied with the sumery of the articles i gave but i did point out the articles to them.



  i had, he hadn't.  i think the only ones in our group that read those articles are me (the DM) and the dragonborn. Everyone else seems satisfied with the sumery of the articles i gave but i did point out the articles to them.


The Dragonborn player's husband read it as well dear DM. 
 
For the most part I like the way the dragonborn are resolved into the setting.
I would prefer them to come from Aargonessen as some Coloumbian era invasion force.

What abount the inevitable inclusion of new races in 4.9/5.0
 is there room on Eberron for more?
&  Will Kaius Sparkle?
 
57189838 wrote:
It may be late to post this suggestion, get a small booklet and write PC Rules on the front, and then inside start making up PC Rules to counter DM rules. Remember to use Ink, it's official if it is in Ink. If he says "it is DM's rules" then consult your PC rulebook for an appropriate rule such as "When the DM is railroading you then a PC may transfer to a train of his own choosing" ... ...If cash isn't an issue, have your rules Notorized, ussually this only costs about $20 or so a page, obviously Notorized rules will trump his rules, and most courts of law would agree, plus think of the entertainment value of presenting these rules to a Notary Public.
I realize this is an old thread, but it caught my eye. 


The Elf/Dragon war is one of my favorite themes!  Here's how I play it:  


The Cataclysm in Xen'drik had wide-ranging effects, and in Aerenal, the result was a splintering of night and day/positive and negative.  Teh Irian and Mabar manifest zones are the result.  It's not exactly the Irian zones, alone, that anchor the Court.  Individual councilors can be sustained by a zone, but to anchor the whole thing, they need Aerenal.  The subcontinent acts like a giant, magical capacitor of life energy.  Before the elves arrived, the island was just a jungle, but random discharges of life energy altered some of the flora and fauna, creating the bronzewood and other exotic trees, and the golden mandrills noted in one of the dragonshards.  

Now that power is regulated by funneling it into the Court, supplementing their faith energy.  Faith is the element that allows some councilors to fully ascend. 


The dragons who attack Aerenal's motive is singular:  to stop them.  The Court's aim is similar to Dal Quor's:  to create a permanent, completely open conduit to Irian, broadening the Court's power to cover the entire globe....  At least, that's what the attacking dragons think. 


The larger societies of older dragons, though, don't stop their more fanatic counterparts.  They consider attacks as a good test.  These dragons see the imprisoned fiends loosening their bonds, but don't think the Silver Flame is up to the task.  Having no intention of sacrificing themselves like the couatl, the dragons think they can manipulate the moralistic Court to stand against the demons, if and when the need arises. 


Of course, the Court reads the prophecy with as much acumen as the dragons.  But a pseudo-hive mind of semi-corporeal undead tend to be far less chatty than individual dragons, so how they view the whole matter is unclear.