Reflavoring Races for Eberron

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In thinking about starting a new Eberron campaign, I was considering what to do to outline and emphasize aspects of the setting for character creation; it's very possible that some players would have little to no prior knowledge of the Eberron setting and its alterations to some of D&D's default racial assumptions.

First up, Races. I'd like to keep the list of races low, but maintain player choices. So, reflavoring!

As standard for Eberron (per the 4e Eberron Player's Guide and Eberron Campaign Guide):
Changeling, Dragonborn (Q'Barra), Dwarf, Drow (Xen'drik), Eladrin, Elf, Gnoll (Znir Pact mercenaries), Gnome, Halfling, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Human, Kalashtar, Minotaur (Droaam mercenaries), Shifter (Longtooth and Razorclaw), Tiefling (descended from bloodlines of Ohr Kaluun), Warforged

From Into the Unknown, giving them the existing Eberron treatment:
Goblin, Kobold, Svirfneblin

Possibles from the Monster Manual, giving them the existing Eberron treatment:
Bugbear, Hobgoblin, Orc

From Heroes of the Feywild; these would be coming from one of the Feyspires (or its surroundings):
Hamadryad, Pixie, Satyr

Others I am generally inclined to reflavor (or explain) as being one of the above as a default explanation; if a player wants to create a custom origin/explanation, connect their racial abilities to a Divine or Arcane power source, or have them come from a Dragonmark they certainly can:


  • Deva (add Low-light Vision, change to Fey origin, and make them an elven bloodline; their memory racial power is drawing on ancestor spirits)

  • Goliath (human bloodline, perhaps magebred)

  • Wilden (elven bloodline; their aspect racial power is drawing on ancestor spirits)

  • Genasi (humans descended from pacts with elemental entities, similar to Tieflings)

  • Shade (humans touched by Mabar, sort of as-is)

  • Vryloka (descended from Blood of Vol worshippers)

  • Revenant (touched by/embraced Dolurrh, sort of as-is but missing the Raven Queen connection)

  • Shadar-kai (bloodline of Eladrin from the Winter feyspire)

  • Mul (bloodline of dwarves, or magebred humans, or just as-is)

  • Thri-Kreen (already exist in Xen'drik… )



Ones that I can't quite think of yet:


  • Shardmind (immortal living constructs… uh... )

  • Githzerai (variant Kalashtar?)

  • Kenku (humanoid ravens, could just exist in Droaam)



Does anyone have any thoughts/feedback?
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
  Have you picked up the new 4E Eberron book?  It has mention of several of the PHB2 races in there.

  Daeva are amongst the celestials that aided the coatuls in creating the silver flame and binding the Rajahs.  As reincarnated celestials, they actually fit rather well as opposites of the Rhakshasas (reincarnated fiends).

   Goliaths are described as living in remote places and can likely be descended from giants, but Kieth has mentioned that their stats work excellently for the Half-Ogres of Sarlonna.

   Eberron has lots of manifest zones, with Thelanis (the land of nature and fey) being the closest.  Wilden can easily cross the border.  Also, since manifest zones impact the material plane, Genasi can be freak children exposed to a manifest zone for an extended period before birth.  I can easily see a place like Sharn having more Air Genasi than normal (but still extremely rare).

  Vryloka, Revnants, and Shades are clearly undead, and should be applicable to pretty much any undead character. Eberron has Karnath, the Emerald Claw, Erenal, and other origins for undead characters.
Disclaimer: These are based on 3rd-ed setting assumptions. I don't know whether much changed in 4th-ed Eberron.

Shardminds sound like something the Quori would work on: a psionic spirit trapped within a body made of dragonshards. Or they could be something that has just walked out of the mournland after someone started playing with a corrupted Creation Forge. Perhaps the Lord of Blades was trying to get around the requirement for a Dragonmark of Making with a pile of dragonshards.
Or they could be the ultimate evolution of the psiforged: one which has replaced its entire body with crystal. 

Kenku might be from Droam. I'd actually link them to Sharn though, and have them live in a large displaced community roosting at the top of the towers. There might even be a form of gang warfare between them at the heights and the goblins in the depths, generally unnoticed by most of the inhabitants.
In Droam they might have a ninja tradition with an ancient rivalry to the goblin ninja.

Gith already exist in Eberron don't they? Creations of the Daelkyr who rebelled and help the Gatekeepers maintain the planar seals.

The undead type characters could be surviving scions of the House of Vol, or Aerenal Elves who undergo a process to bring them closer to death.
 They could be the result of Blood of Vol religious rites but remember that followers don't aspire to undeath like the elves do. To them, undeath is failure to achieve the divinity within.

Shadar-Kai could be Drow who were accepted by the elves and left Xen'drik with them. The Drow were originally elves who were bonded with Shadow by the giants, so the Shadar-Kai could just be more extreme manifestations of this.
Personally, I like to limit the number of races crowding the world. As a result, with many of the exotic races - like Shardminds - I'm more inclined to make them unique characters than a "race" at all. For example, when I played a deva avenger in a game a few years back, we established that I was a human from Cyre who'd been caught in the Mourning; the restless souls of thousands of people who died were bound to me, and this was the source of my racial and class powers. So while I was mechanically a deva avenger, by backstory I was a unique altered human, and potentially the only "deva" in the world.

Perhaps a Warden of the Wood was slain and returned as a Wilden; a Genasi is a one-of-a-kind Vadalis/Zil magebreeding/elemental binding experiment; and so on. Just something to consider.
a Genasi is a one-of-a-kind Vadalis/Zil magebreeding/elemental binding experiment



One of the characters in my home game is a Warforged/Genasi cross. We just looked at the stuff from both races, and combined them to get a good blend of the two. She's awesome.

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a Genasi is a one-of-a-kind Vadalis/Zil magebreeding/elemental binding experiment



One of the characters in my home game is a Warforged/Genasi cross. We just looked at the stuff from both races, and combined them to get a good blend of the two. She's awesome.


That's pretty cool. Fire-forged or Storm-forged or something like that? Right.

Got a "half-elf" with the mark of shadow that was sold/given to the Goblin King (as in Labrynth, David Bowie), in Thelanis. Who was sent to Eberron on a mysterious task. While not a big reflavor I thought of it as an example of creative character design. You know adding a little twist. 
I tend to use Goliaths as essentially Half-Giants, keep reading the older books to see their place in Eberron. Shardminds I think work great as either Psiforged or, if one wanted to use them in their own way, pieces of Syra the Dreamer that have fallen to Eberron below and gained a strange sentience. Shadar-Kai essentially work as is, in Dolurrh or associated manifest zones. Mul work as simple offspring of Dwarves and Humans, I would think.

Revenants and Deva mightn't really matter 'till a player wanted to play as one, considering such races are so ridiculously rare. As for Shades, I am to understand they were mentioned in Secrets of Sarlona, read into it recently, hoping I might get the opportunity to play one in a Sarlona campaign at some point. I've not a clue about Wildren. Tongue Out

I love the idea of Kenku in Sharn!
In regards to genasi, instead of being freak accidents of being born in manifest zones or being the result of deals with elemental creatures in the past, I have them as the result of a humanoid merging with an elemental (or more) during a special ritual. In theory PCs could perform the ritual at a much later level during the actual campaign, but my players never asked and so I have not given it much thought.
Personally, I like to limit the number of races crowding the world. As a result, with many of the exotic races - like Shardminds - I'm more inclined to make them unique characters than a "race" at all. For example, when I played a deva avenger in a game a few years back, we established that I was a human from Cyre who'd been caught in the Mourning; the restless souls of thousands of people who died were bound to me, and this was the source of my racial and class powers. So while I was mechanically a deva avenger, by backstory I was a unique altered human, and potentially the only "deva" in the world.

Perhaps a Warden of the Wood was slain and returned as a Wilden; a Genasi is a one-of-a-kind Vadalis/Zil magebreeding/elemental binding experiment; and so on. Just something to consider.



Funny, because I was thinking something very similar regarding a shardmind in Eberron.  That he was the unique result of the Mourning (perhaps even discovering that his creation triggered said event?), and was trying to find his place in the world and answer the question of his origin.

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