The Inspired in Sharn

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Hello,

I am working on an eberron game in the future, currently just in the infancy of the planning stages. Anyways the Campaign will be primarly set in Sharn, and one of the antagonists I am thinking of using are the Inspired. So I have some questions about them.

1.) I am assuming the Inspired of Redra while connected to the Dreaming Dark are a seperate and distinct group?

2.) the Sharn Book mentions that Bersten ir'Tonn IIRC is a dreaming dark agent due to a mind seed.  and that he is one of three moles. I could not find the other 2 moles info. so I am assuming that 2 of the other councilors are moles or would this just be 2 other people of importance in the city? Also how do these moles interact with the Inspired? 

3.) would the Inspired from Redra be teaching the virtures of the Path of Insperation in Sharn? I am thinking that some NPCs may be drawn towards the ideas of the Path of insperation.

4.) related to question 3, I am looking at ways to show the Inspired in a decent light, since they are trying to manipulate things and would not want to seem like they are evil people. In particular showing their seductive power and how maninpulative they can be.


any other advice about using them is welcome

-herkles 
If you have it available, I'd recommend reading Secrets of Sarlona for a fairly comprehensive overview of The Inspired, Riedra, and The Dreaming Dark. There's some nice bits in Races of Eberron and even Faiths of Eberron as well (not to mention the obvious choices of the ECS and PGtE). Also the Dragonshard articles "The Reach of Riedra" Part One and Part Two.

Aaaaand... Keith's own Ask the Dreaming Dark series:

Main Page - Contains some small bits and the links to the rest of the archive.
July 18, 2006 - Has a good comparison of the Inspired, Dreaming Dark, and Quori.
July 26, 2006 - All about using The Dreaming Dark as a villain in your campaign.

But assuming you don't have access to Secrets of Sarlona, here's what info I can give you from my memory (and some brief page-turning):

1) The Inspired are human(oid) vessels bred to be posessed by Quori spirits. Generally, they come from the nation of Riedra where they have been conditioned to believe from birth that their rulers are benevolent and seek the best for their subjects. The propaganda has them believe that those with the greatest potential will eventually undergo an ascension where they accept celestial beings into their bodies (in reality, they end up accepting Quori into their bodies who then take control of the Inspired vessels). Since the Quori cannot physically enter the material plane, they must work through these vessels and through dreams.

Riedra and The Inspired are, at their core, simply a nation. They are not evil, nor do they seek conquest of other nations. The Dreaming Dark, on the other hand, has its own goals. Most would find these goals insidious or vile, though, if you take a look at their motives, they're doing it so they can survive. Riedra has no official ties to the Dreaming Dark and the Dark wouldn't use Riedran Inspired vessels for their plans if they had another alternative. Mostly, the Dreaming Dark uses mind seeds and other vessels that have willingly accepted posession.

2) Sharn: City of Towers lists Councilor Bestan ir'Tonn and Lady Warden Maira ir'Talan as two of the Dreaming Dark's mind seeds in the city. I don't see it specifically saying three moles, because I can assure you there are many more. Almost the entirety of the House Deneith enclave in Sharn is under the control of the Dreaming Dark. They don't realize this, mind you. They're under false pretenses, much like the Inspired of Riedra, though they've been led to believe somewhat different lies. One of the things about the Dreaming Dark is that they can have spies and mind seeds anywhere you want to have them. Their tendrils have spread throughout society quite surreptitiously.

3) Personally, I wouldn't imagine they would try to teach the Path of Inspiration in Khorvaire. Or at least, they would have very few followers. The Path of Inspiration teaches a very minimalist lifestyle that forgoes many of what most Khorvairian people would consider everyday amenities. In addition, it teaches strict adherence to the word of the Inspired and the belief in a faith as well as a philosophy. I certainly don't see many followers of the Sovereign Host or the Silver Flame flocking to the Path. The Blood of Vol may find the idea of ascension to a higher level of power interesting, but would scoff at the notion of requiring some other being to empower you who already posess the Divinity Within. Interestingly, I might see the Path appealing to some Warforged that don't know what to believe yet. The caste-oriented Path of Inspiration could easily fit into the lifestyle of the Warforged accepting their role in life, and it would be interesting to see how the Inspired would adapt the reincarnation aspects to creatures that don't die of age.

4) It's important to realize that The Inspired aren't trying to manipulate things. It's really the Dreaming Dark that does the scheming. Considering the kinds of mental manipulations the Dreaming Dark does, it'd be hard to paint them in a good light. It's fairly easy to show the "good" of the Inspired. They united a continent that had nearly destroyed its people with war. They seek nonagression rather than violence. They favor diplomacy and kindness as opposed to intimidation and force. They provided aid (minimal as it was) during The Last War. Riedra, to the casual observer, looks like either a utopia or a simplistic nation. Either way, not very threatening. The Dreaming Dark, though, if ever discovered for what it was by the right people... well... I don't know how I'd explain away their actions.

---

I cannot stress enough how much I recommend reading Secrets of Sarlona, though. It really covers this in more detail. The Dreaming Dark is one of my favorite villains and I'm running them as the primary villain in my current campaign. My recommendation is to use The Dreaming Dark behind the scenes for the majority of their plotting. You can have mind seeded villains carrying out their plans or maybe they have manipulated the dreams of certain members of the Dragonmarked Houses in an attempt to bring about a specific course of action. Only later should the players realize that their enemies (and maybe even the players themselves) have all been pawns of the Dreaming Dark. At that point, its up to the players to put all the pieces together and save the day!

And that brings us to another thing I love about the Dreaming Dark: there's always a Plan B. The Dreaming Dark never just has one plot in motion. They have dozens, maybe hundreds, going at once. Each one working toward the same end goal: stop or slow the Turning of the Age. The players may foil one plot, but what about the next? Killing an Inspired vessel only shunts the Quori spirit right back to Dal Quor. The Quori itself never dies. This is a beautiful opportunity for a recurring villain or villains. The players may think they've defeated their foe, only to find he has returned in a new body and is still carrying out his master plan.

Personally, I'm a schemer at heart, so I love using The Dreaming Dark :D
Call me Ender.

Note that the seperation between Inspired and Dreaming Dark is in my opinion not as distinct as EnderXenocide0 makes it out to be. The quori and the Dreaming Dark are almost the same entity - not that all quori are members of the Dreaming Dark, but they do all work towards the same goals. A quori can possess any Inspired, so in theory any Inspired you come across can be an active quori agent of the Dreaming Dark. It is just that the Dreaming Dark is the department of the quori that does the illegal and evil things necessary to reach the Quori's goal and using public figures from Riedra in general work counter productive to their goals. If the Dreaming Dark need the Riedran ambassador to do something important, they will do so without much consideration for the fate of the Inspired.

While I love the Dreaming Dark, be careful not to make it impossible to defeat them and even more importantly to turn any victory meaningless by having the villain have a backup plan ready.

The quori and the Dreaming Dark are almost the same entity - not that all quori are members of the Dreaming Dark, but they do all work towards the same goals. A quori can possess any Inspired, so in theory any Inspired you come across can be an active quori agent of the Dreaming Dark.

This is true. I suppose I was making more of a distinction between The Dreaming Dark and Riedra. Page 57 of Secrets of Sarlona clarifies: "All quori bow to the authority of the Dreaming Dark, and all Inspired provide the agents of the Dark with whatever they require."

If the Dreaming Dark need the Riedran ambassador to do something important, they will do so without much consideration for the fate of the Inspired.

I'd be hesitant to say this, only because Riedra has much value to the Dreaming Dark. It's a massive nation spanning almost and entire continent whose subjects' lives and dreams are run by the Quori. They have the stability the Quori want that they believe will aid them in slowing the Turning of the Age. Should they be seen as villains by the outside world, this may cause unwanted unrest and extra troubles maintaining their society. The chances of this happening would probably be slim, and, even if they were discovered, there's little that the Five Nations could do about it in their post-war state. So, if they do decide to utilize a Riedran ambassador, I'd say they'd be taking extra precautions not to be discovered... or make sure the vessel dies at the end.

While I love the Dreaming Dark, be careful not to make it impossible to defeat them and even more importantly to turn any victory meaningless by having the villain have a backup plan ready.

Ooh, yeah, I should have stressed this when I said they make great recurring villains and always have a Plan B. The players should never feel as though their actions have been all for nothing (unless you have players that enjoy such a turn of events). I simply meant to say that defeating the Dreaming Dark as a whole would require the Turning of the Age. Anything short of that, and the Quori are all still around, continuing their plans. But the players are still performing heroic deeds each time they foil a plot of the Dreaming Dark. Perhaps they expose the mind seeded House Deneith enclave in Sharn or destroy a Hanbalan being built in Q'barra that would warp the dreams of those nearby. Sure, the Dreaming Dark may come back later with a new scheme to start mind seeding the royal bloodline (though good luck with Kaius) or maybe they've altered dreamlily in a way that makes the addicts accept Quori spirits. Yes, they might have come back, but that doesn't diminish the actions of your heroes. I'd try to use that to strengthen the resolve of my players. Instead of the players saying "We can never truly end this threat!", I'd shoot for "We've stopped your plans before and will do so yet again!" Things like that.

In my campaign, I have a number of different Quori threads running. The players' choices will determine which adventures they go on and which plots they stop. Ultimately, though, they will discover a few they did not know about. Luckily, these plots all tie together in the latticework of a grand plot that the players will eventually cease (just in the nick of time, of course ;) ). So even if the Dreaming Dark does come back, it will be with a new plot that the players can stop. Though, always having an endgame scenario for your villain is a good thing. I wouldn't recommend running The Dreaming Dark as a neverending factory of villainous schemes :P

PS. Regarding the drug Dreamlily, that's certainly a plot you could use in Sharn. The dreamlily trade is, I'm sure, fairly profitable in the seedy underbelly of the City of Towers.
Call me Ender.
Thanks for all that info and links, it is helpful. I forgot about House Dennith and the warden, more NPCs to throw at my players

I am also a fan of ravenloft, so making sure that players have victories even if they are small, is something I know and like. The dreaming Dark after all has thousands of years, its next plan may not happen till after the PCs are long dead anyways.

Though I do have some new comments and questions.

1.) I know dream lilly is a drug, does it have any properties that help the dreaming dark's agenda?
2.) what is the agenda of the Inspired themselves in Sharn? 

I am also curious about the short term goals of the Mind Seeded. Particularly when it comes to the Royal family. Since who succedes Borenal is uncertain, I had the idea that the dreaming dark would be pushing for civil war in Breland, and having agents on both sides. I do know that one of the Main Royal NPCs I plan to use is Haydith, but I am curious how many other royals are in Breland, since I do believe that Borenal lost a son or two.

-herkles 
I am also a fan of ravenloft

YES. That is all.

1.) I know dream lilly is a drug, does it have any properties that help the dreaming dark's agenda?

Dreamlily, like many drugs, is addictive. The main reason the Dreaming Dark would aid the spread of the drug in Khorvaire is that it ultimately weakens the body, but gives the user 8 hours (for the purpose of game mechanics) of peace. I'd say it's very much an opiate (look at the effects of Heroin for a good analog). Having a percentage of the populace eventually hooked onto something that makes them sheep while also being the only supplier of said drug would be a real boon in the long-term.

2.) what is the agenda of the Inspired themselves in Sharn?

That's pretty much up to you. The Dreaming Dark ultimately wants to prevent the Turning of the Age. How they go about doing that is for the DM to decide. They certainly appear to be creating a network of sleeper agents and cells with their mind seeds and some are outright controlling a few individuals. The Dreaming Dark is Oz, the man behind the curtain, pulling strings to further their goals. Some say that they fed King Jarot terrible dreams of war and drove him to insanity, thus leading to the Last War. Maybe they're trying to start it again? It's up to you!

I am also curious about the short term goals of the Mind Seeded.

Well, it should also be noted that the Mind Seeded don't necessarily have to do what the Dreaming Dark wants. They are their own people, just with the memories and some powers of the Quori that mind seeded them. Generally, that's enough to make them want the same things, but there are those that go their own way.
Call me Ender.
I do know that one of the Main Royal NPCs I plan to use is Haydith, but I am curious how many other royals are in Breland, since I do believe that Borenal lost a son or two.

Here is a post detailing the known Wynarn bloodline. I kind of feel like making an interactive timeline/family tree of the royal bloodline. Just a simple HTML thing where you can see a visual representation of the known bloodline, their birth and death, and be able to click on their names for a more detailed biography.
Call me Ender.
Also remember that dream lilly give dreams and that the quori can invade/observe those with much more ease than normal sleep.
Really? I don't recall it doing that. I think that would certainly make it even more interesting, perhaps giving you waking dreams in which the Quori could act, but I don't see anything about it in the description of Dreamlily.
Call me Ender.
Really? I don't recall it doing that. I think that would certainly make it even more interesting, perhaps giving you waking dreams in which the Quori could act, but I don't see anything about it in the description of Dreamlily.

I distinctly remembering reading something along that order, but I have way too many Eberron resources to find the reference...

It's in the Sharn book. I believe the Quori actually can influence those dreams and possibly even posses thdruses during that time. 
It's in the Sharn book. I believe the Quori actually can influence those dreams and possibly even posses thdruses during that time. 

The description given on page 161 of Sharn: City of Towers is almost identical to the one in Secrets of Sarlona, but neither mentions vivid dreams. I'm pretty certain they can't be possessed just by taking the drug, but I do still think the vivid dreams is a good idea. (The vivid dreams, though, could perhaps be used by the Quori to convince the drug users to willingly accept possession. I could see that.)

EDIT: You may have been thinking of the drug Absentia, which allows a users body to be possessed while they are remotely viewing someone else's life. 
Call me Ender.
EnderXenocide has already linked to articles where I yap about this subject at great length, so check those links if you want my opinions on the matter. However, I do want to clarify one point.

A quori can possess any Inspired, so in theory any Inspired you come across can be an active quori agent of the Dreaming Dark.


This depends how you define the word "can" in "can possess." The Chosen are bred to be vessels of a specific quori spirit. That specific quori spirit can possess any Chosen vessel of its bloodline whenever it wants, regardless of the wishes of the vessel. If any other quori wishes to possess the vessel, the vessel must voluntarily submit to possession... same as a potential host of any other species.

Now, the fact of the matter is that most Chosen are fanatically devoted to the Quori and will thus allow said possession. However, I can imagine many circumstances where they would not. A vessel who has been assigned a task from his personal spirit may believe that this trumps the desires of an unknown quori who wants to butt in. You may have factions among the quori that order their vessels to refuse to assist rival quori. The Dreaming Dark has secret vessel families kept hidden from the mainstream quori. And if you do have a rebellious vessel, it's only the bloodline-linked quori that can claim it against its will.

So any Inspired you come across can potentially be an agent of the Dreaming Dark, but if so, it's by choice. And when it comes to that, ANY MORTAL WHO CAN DREAM can potentially be an agent of the Dreaming Dark. And while we're at it, they could be a shapeshifted rakshasa or dragon, or a mad cultist of the Dragon Below...
 And when it comes to that, ANY MORTAL WHO CAN DREAM can potentially be an agent of the Dreaming Dark. And while we're at it, they could be a shapeshifted rakshasa or dragon, or a mad cultist of the Dragon Below...



This makes me wonder. Can Quori possess other spirits that are able to dream? 
 And when it comes to that, ANY MORTAL WHO CAN DREAM can potentially be an agent of the Dreaming Dark. And while we're at it, they could be a shapeshifted rakshasa or dragon, or a mad cultist of the Dragon Below...



This makes me wonder. Can Quori possess other spirits that are able to dream? 

Do those spirits dream? I mean, eladrin for example most certainly do not dream (they do not sleep), but the reason we know this is because it is a PC race. For PCs sleeping or not sleeping matters, for monsters not and hence the MM never goes into it ;) We recently had this discussion in our home game where the quori are the main villains, and I play an eladrin (which highlights the fact that not everything actually sleeps).

Note that we know that dragons dream. We also know that the demon overlords "dream" in that while imprisoned they still do influence the outside world through their subconsciousness, but is that truly dreaming or something else?

Note that we know that dragons dream. We also know that the demon overlords "dream" in that while imprisoned they still do influence the outside world through their subconsciousness, but is that truly dreaming or something else?


In my opinion, immortal spirits don't dream. When a mortal dreams, part of its soul travels to Dal Quor. Mortals themselves are inherently influenced by all the planes; they dream, they can be inspired or driven to madness; they can know both war and peace. Immortal spirits are primarily embodiments of a single concept; there is no separation of body and soul. If an Overlord went to Dal Quor, it would go there in its entirety; it wouldn't leave a physical body behind.