Seminar: Secrets of Eberron

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Seminar: Secrets of Eberron
Take a look at our online catalog: the Eberron Campaign Guide has been added, set for release in June 2009. What else can we now reveal about Eberron?

Thursday, 2PM (Gen Con Time): The Secrets of Eberron Seminar with Keith Baker, James Wyatt, Stephen Schubert, and Jeremy Crawford sought to answer this tricky question (although, as James pointed out, the panelists would be addressing the facts of Eberron more than its secrets).

Eberron in Novels

Discussion began with a look at the novels that have recently released, leading up to November and Keith Baker's The Queen of Stone -- a spy novel of sorts, much different from The Dreaming Dark and something with a strong Eberron feel.

2009 will see DeWolf's Death Comes Easy, Wyatt's Dragon War, Bassingthwaite's Word of Traitors, and more (look for these to be added to the online product catalog shortly). According to the panel, these novels will take a step away from traditional high fantasy novels and toward what makes Eberron more, well, Eberron.

Eberron in RPGs

Again, first a look back:

Feb 2008: City of Stormreach (the 4th Edition conversion guide has been turned over and is currently sitting with the R&D development team).
March: Adventurer's Guide to Eberron.
Now: DDI's Playing Warforged, Expeditionary Dispatches, and the Artificer playtest articles are already online and available to read. In the future, you'll see previews of next year's Eberron Campaign Guide.
Now a look ahead:

Player's Handbook II: includes gnomes, half-orcs, and shifters. What are the ghostly-looking felines on the cover? James remains coy.
Eberron Campaign Guide: June 2009, "a fresh look at a familiar world."
Eberron Player's Guide: July 2009.
Secrets of the Ashen Crown: July 2009.
DDI: continue to look for further Eberron content online in Dragon and Dungeon Magazines.
What's happening with the setting? The general philosophy involves not advancing the timeline or making drastic changes to the world but refocusing on certain components of the setting. For example:

The Last War: Just two years out, this event will be given a greater presence in the setting, as it should. No one thinks that it's truly ended -- tension remains that it is going to start again.
The Draconic Prophecy: Dragonmarks are the prophecy written on the skin of races, and characters should have a connection to this prophecy -- the fate of the world -- played out at all levels but especially seen in new epic destinies.
Points of Light: The Last War already brings this philosophy to the setting, with centers of civilization surrounded by large areas of uninhabited space. This is not entirely the humans' land.
Threats New and Old: Details and hooks to bring danger into your game, some of it new to the setting. Some of these might be things waiting to happen in your campaign, and some are "evolutionary," in that they match the levels of your players as they advance.
Questions

How will kalashtar work in the absence of psionics?
They are given a psionic flavor without confining them to a psionic class, much as current powers have a psionic flavor, dealing psychic damage.

What was easy and difficult to convert about Eberron to 4th Edition?
Dragonmarks were a challenge to balance properly because of the changes to the powers structure. Overall, though, Eberron is a D&D world, fully able to be converted to the new edition. Skill challenges, for example, work really well in this noir-style setting, and rituals show that magic is a part of everyday life.

How will the new races be worked into Eberron?
Eladrin can easily be moved between planes into Eberron. The dragonborn, tiefling, and eladrin are all given hooks to help fit them into the setting.

How is the artificer developing?
Stephen Schubert is handling this class's development and is looking at two current builds: the guy who makes 'minions' and the guy who imbues items and weapons. The design of the class is essentially complete. Now development is taking place, thanks to the feedback coming in through the message boards and [email]dndinsider@wizards.com[/email].

Is DDI the place to go for the advancement of the Eberron storyline?
Yes, that is the plan for campaign settings moving forward. Printed campaign setting books (such as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide) that are useful to all campaigns, not just those focused in that particular setting, will be accompanied by articles and support on DDI.

Will campaign setting material be legal in organized play games?
Yes.

Will Eberron's cosmology be adjusted for 4th Edition?
Yes. It will remain distinct, however. Consider an orrery as a metaphor to describe Eberron's cosmology -- while things might not have changed significantly, there may be a new metaphor to describe the cosmology.

Will eldritch devices ever be statted out?
Yes and no. Some can be statted now, while others function more as plot devices (those might be better handled with skill challenges, for examples).

Will the new races have their own dragonmarked houses?
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception. As part of making the dragonmarked houses more accessible, the race restrictions are being lessened if not outright removed.

What is the importance of the aberrant marks?
More about these will be revealed.

Was it difficult not to advance the timeline for a new edition?
Yes. Moving it only two years forward was discussed, in order to show what's changed in the setting for a new edition (such as new races being introduced). Novels were even written as if the timeline actually did advance. In the end, though, the planners decided not to do so, but to come up with a different solution.

How does the demi-god epic destiny work in Eberron?
In Eberron, there is a belief that mortals can ascend to godhood (such as the belief great dragons can become sovereigns). Are these heroes actual demi-gods or simply mad and powerful? Essentially, that's something for the DM to decide!

-Enjoy True believers! :D

18DELTA

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

Will the new races have their own dragonmarked houses?
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception. As part of making the dragonmarked houses more accessible, the race restrictions are being lessened if not outright removed.

I'm shocked. That's a pretty huge change to the flavor.

If there won't be race restrictions to dragonmarks, how will we have dragonmark families? Will the Houses not be made up of blood relations, just random strangers who got marks? How will we have the plot potentials for betrothals, excoriates, and so on? The Houses gave a lot of flavor distinction to the races and provided alternative factions to the defaults for each race, too; how will they keep this from getting really flat?

This is a really bizarre change. I have no idea why they'd do it. And accessibility is a weird reason, considering there are racially-restricted feats in the PHB...?



(The rest of the seminar info is acceptable, this just stood out as mind-bogglingly weird)
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080814
[sblock]Seminar: Secrets of Eberron

Will the new races have their own dragonmarked houses?
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception. As part of making the dragonmarked houses more accessible, the race restrictions are being lessened if not outright removed.

18DELTA

Wow... Just Wow... Dragonborn & Warforged bearing a dragonmark... House Cannith now populated with gnomes and orcs and.. Gnoll?

I really like to give the benefit of the doubt, but something like this really really changes the setting dramaticly, and sadly, to me, ruins some of the intrigue in Eberron... Although, house infighting between racial factions is kinda neat, but, Where does this leave Aberrant Marks? If anyone and everyone can now bear a mark, how do the Aberrants work?
I'm shocked. That's a pretty huge change to the flavor.

If there won't be race restrictions to dragonmarks, how will we have dragonmark families? Will the Houses not be made up of blood relations, just random strangers who got marks? How will we have the plot potentials for betrothals, excoriates, and so on? The Houses gave a lot of flavor distinction to the races and provided alternative factions to the defaults for each race, too; how will they keep this from getting really flat?

This is a really bizarre change. I have no idea why they'd do it. And accessibility is a weird reason, considering there are racially-restricted feats in the PHB...?



(The rest of it is acceptable, this just stood out as mind-bogglingly weird)

One of the huge things that stuck out to me too. While I was expecting perhaps minor changes at best due to the shift of races, this seems like a very odd way of doing. How can a house keep secrets if every Joe Smoe is part of it.
*New guy in House Phiarlin*
"You guys use the mark to do what? Watch! Help! I'm going to be killed!"

The removed is what sticks out most. If they're lessened, then it might work. I've considered the possibility of a Human in an Elf or especially in a Half-elf house through Elf & Human = Half-Elf + Human, going on. But removing them just seems like something that will make people say, "What were they thinking?"

The only race change I've even considered is Half-Orcs for Dragonborn, since they are the replacement of the 'fighter-type' race in core. While lots of people are planning to buy PHB2, it still leaves the half-orcs as non-core.

Where does this leave Aberrant Marks? If anyone and everyone can now bear a mark, how do the Aberrants work?

They don't have to change much. People of two different marks or those just corrupted by Khyber develop an Aberrant mark. It's a mark that causes destruction rather than creating a minor magical effect.
I'm imagining the racial restrictions being removed means that players will be able to have any mark regardless of race, whereas most in the world will need to be born to a House. How come players can get marks? Its a sign that the person has been singled out by prophecy to do either great deeds of good, or terrible deeds of evil. It happens because the prophecy can manifest itself regardless of bloodline.

At least that's how I'd do it ;) As for the why, It helps give the feeling that players are "special" and not just ordinary people. Also a half-orc player with the Mark of Storms could be the seed for a new House that eventually poses a threat to House Lyrandar. Although I'm guessing it primarily has to do with making Dragonmarks the Eberron equivalent of Spellscars or FR Backgrounds (not sure which, if either, they'll end up resembling more).

Alternatively there could be a ritual that the House elders perform after someone has proven their trustworthiness to the House which grants them access to the mark. But that's a larger fluff change.
My guess is now anyone can marry into the houses and any heir of that union may bear the mark. Perhaps theres some mingling of blood as part of the wedding ceremony which makes the mark available to the one marrying in? I don't know.

What's more shocking to me is they implied there was a new dragonmarked house.

Will the new races have their own dragonmarked houses?
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception.
?????
Sort of an idiotic way to answer that question. Nope! Well except for that one thing....

Isn't that a Yes then?

Anyways I'll wait to see but, I don't know about others, however it was my hope no timeline advancement would eliminate retcon crap like this being introduced. I'll see though but right now it seems like I'll be saving myself some money come 2009 with one less game book to buy.
The only race change I've even considered is Half-Orcs for Dragonborn, since they are the replacement of the 'fighter-type' race in core. While lots of people are planning to buy PHB2, it still leaves the half-orcs as non-core.

Half-Orcs are non core as per the definition of 3.x. In 4e, all the PHB are Core books.


I also, am wary of what they've said for dragonmarks.
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception. As part of making the dragonmarked houses more accessible, the race restrictions are being lessened if not outright removed.

Okay, a new dragonmarked house.. doesn't that also mean a new moon in Eberron? Now, there are going to be humans in Kunderak? Half-Orcs in Sivis? If this is true, I may just forgo getting the setting. A really stupid change in my opinion. I no longer look forward to Eberron, instead I look towards it with trepidation.

Of course, the above quoted passage concerning the dragonmarked houses could just mean that other races are allowed in the house, but still wouldn't have dragonmarks. For instance, a dragonborn in kunderak would be like a step-brother, and never get the dragonmark. If there is to be another house, I'm hoping it is for aberrant marks, considering they said there is more to be revealed about them, that may just be it.
While lots of people are planning to buy PHB2, it still leaves the half-orcs as non-core.

Half-orcs will be core in my game. As will lots of things published in books other then the first three.

Being somewhat new to D&D, I just don't understand the core vs non-core delineation. Core is whatever books the DM says are useable.
I for one really hope that Blasted is correct about it just meaning other races are allowed in the house and not that they get the marks. Though I still don't like the idea of other races in the houses, I can see a point of view where it would make sense. Many people look at the houses and see that they resemble large corporations dominating a particular market. Why wouldn't this corporation want to bring other talented individuals into their house, no matter what their race is? It would only strengthen the house.
There will be no new dragonmarked houses introduced, with one exception. As part of making the dragonmarked houses more accessible, the race restrictions are being lessened if not outright removed.

My intepretation of this is that the exception is that there is less restriction.

I suspect that it will be that the dragonmarks developed originally in a wide number of individuals, who then banded together to make the houses as the mark is passed by hereditary means.
It's not that hard to figure out what they're saying. No new houses, with one exception. There's always been 13 marks, it's just that until recently the Mark of Death was considered extinct due to the actions of the Aerenal Elves and the Dragons of Argonesse.

The new interpretation certainly intrigues me, but I'll wait until I see it printed on paper and in my hands before I put stock to anything that is said. Revisions can be made until it's gone gold (to use the IT turn of phrase).
The "advancement of the Eberron storyline" and the "'new metaphor to describe the cosmology" are also somewhat concerning to me.
The new Dragonmarked House could be House Tarkanan...


This is really disconcerting. While the changes would have been acceptable if they'd pushed the date 2 years further, implementing them without any reason is just a bad retcon.
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
I'm also in the camp of not liking the notion of any mark for any race but I'll reserve judgment until the final word is out. It just seems such a radical change to have the Dragonmarks system/houses work. If they did it, I probably would ignore that in my personal games. I just cant seem to come up with how it would work.
-Welcome to 4th Edition folks. :embarrass


18DELTA ;)

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

One more reason to stick to v3.5. Thanks, but I like Eberron as the setting designed specifically for v3.5 rules.
Except that Eberron is not really that tied to mechanics.
As I read, I understand that there won't be new Dragonmarked Houses. However, there's House Tarkanan and House Vol that never really got a whole lot of attention. My bet is that they are going to develop House Tarkanan, which is, in my opinion, a great idea. And by doing so, they'll leave House Vol and the Mark of Death a mystery.

As for the race restriction being stripped, it might only be for PCs and a few unique NPCs. However, they haven't talked about removing the family by blood and mariage restrictions. Which could suggest that members of the same d'House will remain mainly of the same race. However, seing how dragonmarked are scared of mixing blood, mariage with another race could also be tabooed.

As for the Planar Orrery, I don't really mind the change they are announcing since they never really developped the planes in 3.5. Even if the Planar Orrery is gone, I guess there will still be manifest zones and coterminous and remote phases. They might even give us tools to use that more often. Who really keeps track with a calendar to know when will be the next coterminous phase of Dolurrh anyway?

In the Eberron conversion of Keep on the Shadowfell (or discussions about it) it was said that the Plane of Shadows could be known by different names, one of which would be the Shadowfell. It was also said that the Shadowfell was a transitive plane that could make travels to Mabar and Dolurrh easier.

So, maybe the Feywild will be used as a transitive plane to Thelanis and Irian. The Elemental Chaos could hold Fernia, Risia, Lamannia, Syrania and lead to Khyber. The Astral sea could be reached by crossing the Ring of Siberys and could hold Dal Quor, Shavarath, Daanvi, Kythri. The Far Realm could be another name for Xoriat.

Rekko
Except that Eberron is not really that tied to mechanics.

You are joking, right? That was actually one of the criteria for the setting search. The most obvious example is the fact that only the v3.5 core races have dragonmarks. There are tons of other examples, but I'm not interested in spelling them out for you.
You are joking, right? That was actually one of the criteria for the setting search. The most obvious example is the fact that only the v3.5 core races have dragonmarks. There are tons of other examples, but I'm not interested in spelling them out for you.

While I agree about the setting tied to 3.x, I'm not following the "The most obvious example is the fact that only the v3.5 core races have dragonmarks" statement. I can think of a bunch of 3.5 races which don't have dragonmarks. In fact it seemed just the opposite and that it was the earlier version races which had the marks. But hey I could be missing something.
As for the Planar Orrery, I don't really mind the change they are announcing since they never really developped the planes in 3.5. Even if the Planar Orrery is gone, I guess there will still be manifest zones and coterminous and remote phases. They might even give us tools to use that more often. Who really keeps track with a calendar to know when will be the next coterminous phase of Dolurrh anyway?

In the Eberron conversion of Keep on the Shadowfell (or discussions about it) it was said that the Plane of Shadows could be known by different names, one of which would be the Shadowfell. It was also said that the Shadowfell was a transitive plane that could make travels to Mabar and Dolurrh easier.

So, maybe the Feywild will be used as a transitive plane to Thelanis and Irian. The Elemental Chaos could hold Fernia, Risia, Lamannia, Syrania and lead to Khyber. The Astral sea could be reached by crossing the Ring of Siberys and could hold Dal Quor, Shavarath, Daanvi, Kythri. The Far Realm could be another name for Xoriat.

Rekko

Well, the phases in the orrery weren't supposed to be tracked; they were designed to be used as a DM's plot device.

As far as the other planes, Eberron's planes never followed core cosmology so why should it now? The only reason I can think of is to save the writers the hassle of trying to write conversion notes or write Eberron-specific modules.
While I agree about the setting tied to 3.x, I'm not following the "The most obvious example is the fact that only the v3.5 core races have dragonmarks" statement. I can think of a bunch of 3.5 races which don't have dragonmarks. In fact it seemed just the opposite and that it was the earlier version races which had the marks. But hey I could be missing something.

You are missing something. Every race that has true dragonmarks is a core race (i.e. - from the PHB). No other races have true dragonmarks.

Humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings are the only races that have true dragonmarks.
Half-Orcs are non core as per the definition of 3.x. In 4e, all the PHB are Core books.

If it's a book that you don't have to buy, IMO, it's not core. You need the PHB, DMG, and MM to play the game. Extra races an classes are supplements to that.

As I read, I understand that there won't be new Dragonmarked Houses. However, there's House Tarkanan and House Vol that never really got a whole lot of attention. My bet is that they are going to develop House Tarkanan, which is, in my opinion, a great idea. And by doing so, they'll leave House Vol and the Mark of Death a mystery.

That doesn't really explain "new" unless House Tarkanan somehow grew and actually revealed itself. Which wouldn't be bad, but it would be an idiotic move since the other Houses would destroy it.

Being somewhat new to D&D, I just don't understand the core vs non-core delineation. Core is whatever books the DM says are useable.

1 problem being, this was one of the main reasons people liked 4e. It was going to be different and not more than core books since 3.5 had thousands of races, hundreads of base classes, and who knows how many prestige classes. Many of which were under or overpowered because they didn't receive half the attention in testing that the core had.
Look already at the new Warlock pact on the site. To me, that looks much stronger than any base class we've seen so far, and that's just from a few powers. Assuming they add more to the FR setting, all of which stronger, you now end up with a min/max character, the thing 4e was made to eliminate.
Well, Amaril, Wizards did a Planar tracking calendar in their digital tools to help DMs keep track of the phases. However, I'm totally with you when you said it was for plot devices. That was the meaning behind my statement.

I really like the Orrery. I prefer it to the Great Wheel. It cut down the number of planes by many. However, in 4E, they tried removing the symetric aspect of the planes. And the Orrery doesn't do that. You have Fernia, Risia, Syrania and Lamannia being the Elemental planes. You have Irian and Mabar being the Energy planes. You have Kythri and Daanvi being the Alignment planes. The truely original planes are Dal Quor, Xoriat, Thelanis, Shavarath which are planes attached to concepts of Dream, Passion, Beauty and War.

However, if you look at World and Monsters, and read the description of the new cosmology, you could find similar traits between the 4E planes and Eberron planes.

Lamannia is described in similar ways like the Elemental Chaos. So blend in the other Elemental Planes and you get the Eberron version of the Elemental Choas where regions of hot desert are called Fernia and icy cold tundras are called Risia.

Syrania could also blend in the Astral Sea, moreover, both are home to the Angels. However, in the Astral Sea floats dominions and other realms. Much like the Astral Plane holds the Orrery. So these dominions could be Shavarath, Dal Quor, and some of the other planes.

Shadowfell was said to hold the Plane of Shadow and Mabar, and it allowed easier travel to Dolurrh. But it doesn't say that Dolurrh can't be one of those dominions in the Astral Sea. Same thing for the Feywild.

This just means that it's pretty easy for the designers to come up with the 4E cosmology à la Eberron style.

Rekko
Something i think should be considered with the Dragonmarks Houses is that at first i was upset because i thought "A Human with the Mark of Shadow? NO!" but then i read it and thought...

No its not talking about the Marks themselves just the house... so in House Cannith you can have gnomish tinkers who joined the house through marriage or honor but don't need the mark...
You are missing something. Every race that has true dragonmarks is a core race (i.e. - from the PHB). No other races have true dragonmarks.

Humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings are the only races that have true dragonmarks.

Yeah, look like I missed the core part and must have focused in on the 3.5 part.
No its not talking about the Marks themselves just the house... so in House Cannith you can have gnomish tinkers who joined the house through marriage or honor but don't need the mark...

I hope so. However it was always that way in Eberron. There was the House and then there was the Guild it controlled. Anyone could join the Guild if they had the right skill/s. The reason other races couldn't join the houses before was that the wrong unions could not produce heirs that could develop marks. But yes perhaps they just meant the Guilds and Houses have been combined. I don't know what the point of that would be though? Were there gnome/elf whatever players dying to make their last name Cannith or something? Perhaps they will be expanding the affiliation bonuses of being a member of a house like they had in Dragonmarked and things like Favored in House will be beefed up so it's not just about the marks.
Were there gnome/elf whatever players dying to make their last name Cannith or something? Perhaps they will be expanding the affiliation bonuses of being a member of a house like they had in Dragonmarked and things like Favored in House will be beefed up so it's not just about the marks.

Or just wanting the Mark of Making? I could see that, but that's as simple as a reinterpretation of "House Cannith is gnomes."
Something i think should be considered with the Dragonmarks Houses is that at first i was upset because i thought "A Human with the Mark of Shadow? NO!" but then i read it and thought...

No its not talking about the Marks themselves just the house... so in House Cannith you can have gnomish tinkers who joined the house through marriage or honor but don't need the mark...

That's not too bad/big of a change then... I can live with that.
Or just wanting the Mark of Making?

??? Then that would be back to the human in Phiarlan with a Mark of Shadow which we are hoping is NOT the case.
??? Then that would be back to the human in Phiarlan with a Mark of Shadow which we are hoping is NOT the case.

I didn't say I agree with it.
Well... On the bright side, it sounds like the Artificer is back on track to becmoing more like its roots, rather than the Green Arrow/Crack sprinkling/ ranged leader controller the playtest made him out to be!

Maybe the book will be worth just picking up the arty class?
Well... On the bright side, it sounds like the Artificer is back on track to becmoing more like its roots, rather than the Green Arrow/Crack sprinkling/ ranged leader controller the playtest made him out to be!

Maybe the book will be worth just picking up the arty class?

Honestly, I still don't think they will have a melee-ficer. The core rules already have two leaders that both have melee-weapon-only abilities. Why make a third class like that. Leaders are all going to be very similar classes. If you wanted to be an artificer that was melee based, play a Warlord and call yourself an artificer.
Honestly, I still don't think they will have a melee-ficer. The core rules already have two leaders that both have melee-weapon-only abilities. Why make a third class like that. Leaders are all going to be very similar classes. If you wanted to be an artificer that was melee based, play a Warlord and call yourself an artificer.

*Sighs*

Sad... I really hope not. I would hope that Wizard's would side more with flavor and concept rather than nitch and role. Leaders that actually have different forms of healing thier allies apart from Identical At-wills the Warlord and the Cleric recieve. Item buffing (for ether ranged or melee), Item Creation (even if just a little bit), Item manipulation (using wand or other item abilities multiple times or at the cost of healing surges or other encounter and dailiy powers), And minion making (Homonculi !!!), would be nice rather than Arcane Ranged Leader/ Controller: Must have healing word ability like all other leaders... Bleh
Except 4e stresses flavor over mechanics. It even says in the DMG to detail stats in the monster manual any way you like, and just use those blocks to make a completely new monster.
Also, we already know that the class feature of the artificer is a Healing Word ability. Item creation is the same for the artificer as anyone else, you just use Enchant Magic Item, and their ability to identify magic items without a spell is now a core mechanic of make an Arcana check (although most magic items are instantly identified when you take a short rest).
I was actually at the seminar, the answers reposted here are very brief, Keith, James, Jeremy, and Stephen often talked at length about subject, often having to dance around things they weren't allowed to say.

For instance the running joke of the seminar became "Boy that thing on the cover of the Player's Handbook 2 looks an awful lot like a shifter doesn't it?" They never actually said "The shifter is in PHB2" but they refered to that "Very shifter looking character" all the time.

As to the dragonmarks, yes they said that other races and non Dragonmark races would be able to gain dragonmarks. HOWEVER! This was refered back to the fact that in 4th edition Eberron the Prophecy would have its importance really punched up, that the prophecy is written on the skin of mortal races is really really important.

There are still only the 13 houses (14 if you cound House Tarkanan), there will not be a teifling house or a dragonborn house. They specifically said that non 'dragonmarked' races developing dragonmarks was NOT NORMAL, its being marked by the prophecy directly, and personally. Mind you this is not unprecidented, the Cataclysm Mage and the adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen allowed non-dragonmarked races to develop dragonmarks. A dragonborn with a mark is a unique (not to say the dragonmark is unique, rather the event of the dragonborn developing a mark) pretty much PC or plot device only event. They will not be founding new houses or be expecting their children to develop marks THEY PERSONALLY have been marked by the prophecy.

Also while we don't know the mechanics fo the new Dragonmarks, the pannalists were extremely tight lipped about the new mechanics beyond saying it was "Awesome", James said awesome a lot actually. They did mention there will be Epic Destinies related to Dragonmarks and The Prophecy.
Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".
As to the dragonmarks, yes they said that other races and non Dragonmark races would be able to gain dragonmarks. HOWEVER! This was refered back to the fact that in 4th edition Eberron the Prophecy would have its importance really punched up, that the prophecy is written on the skin of mortal races is really really important.

Nived, did they say anything about the in-world frequency of dragonmarked races getting the dragonmark of a different race (like an elf getting the Mark of Warding)? If it's just a plot/PC only kind of thing, that's not so big a change. I mean, we DMs could've done that in our own campaigns pretty easily, and I'm sure quite a few of us have.

So, what is it, a dragonmark bargain bin free-for-all with Jo Shmoe NPC of any race having any mark, or is it still exceedingly rare to find a dragonmark on any race it doesn't belong to (including 3.5 PHB races, not just dragonborn or tieflings)? Do we still get to have dragonmarked families that are effectively extra-national, extra-rich nobility, and that care about who their scions have kids with because it relates directly to the House's future profit? Or is all that fun, inbred intrigue gone in the name of progress?

Just looking for clarity on this one.
Personally I have faith in the gentleman working on it. If they deem this to be better I'll trust them for now. Of course I tend to have a positive attitude about things as a whole.
They specifically said that non 'dragonmarked' races developing dragonmarks was NOT NORMAL, its being marked by the prophecy directly, and personally.

Hey! That's exactly what I said :D Well I'm glad they're going with that explanation. As I said before it helps bump up the importance of PCs (and of course BBEGs that only PCs can deal with ;)). And given that PCs are suppose to be important in Eberron and D&D 4e, that makes perfect sense.

They will not be founding new houses or be expecting their children to develop marks THEY PERSONALLY have been marked by the prophecy.

Now that's interesting. I hadn't expected that.
Nived, did they say anything about the in-world frequency of dragonmarked races getting the dragonmark of a different race (like an elf getting the Mark of Warding)? If it's just a plot/PC only kind of thing, that's not so big a change. I mean, we DMs could've done that in our own campaigns pretty easily, and I'm sure quite a few of us have.

So, what is it, a dragonmark bargain bin free-for-all with Jo Shmoe NPC of any race having any mark, or is it still exceedingly rare to find a dragonmark on any race it doesn't belong to (including 3.5 PHB races, not just dragonborn or tieflings)? Do we still get to have dragonmarked families that are effectively extra-national, extra-rich nobility, and that care about who their scions have kids with because it relates directly to the House's future profit? Or is all that fun, inbred intrigue gone in the name of progress?

Just looking for clarity on this one.

The Dragonmarked Houses aren't going away, they are still what they have been, and they are still made up by the races they have been. The impression that I got, mind you I can't remember exact quotes, that it would not be a free grab bin. It would be possible for PCs to get dragonmarks that don't belong to their race... key word is possible, its not likely, nor is it in the world, the norm.
Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".
The Dragonmarked Houses aren't going away, they are still what they have been, and they are still made up by the races they have been. The impression that I got, mind you I can't remember exact quotes, that it would not be a free grab bin. It would be possible for PCs to get dragonmarks that don't belong to their race... key word is possible, its not likely, nor is it in the world, the norm.

From what I understand, it doesn't seem there is a norm. An elf with the Mark of Shadow is just as common as a Dwarf or Elf with it. And Gnomes have the Mark of Making as often as Humans.
This is definitely a huge change to the setting. And one that seems rather odd of a choice, as stated before. Why was Vol an abomination if Dragons can develop marks now, and how was the Mark of Death wiped out if it wasn't family based, but a person to person thing?
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