Kalashtar are in!

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A retailer at a convention I'm at has the materials for Free RPG Day on display. These include Khyber's Harvest, the 4E Eberron adventure by Keith Baker. When I had a chance to check it out I looked at the pregen characters, which included a human artificer and a kalashtar invoker. Without going into full detail (how much game material are we allowed to post in terms of things like racial abilities? I've never quite figured it out) the character definitely had some psi-flavored racial abilities/feats, one being telepathy 5 as a language (so an at will ability as opposed to a mindlink encounter power). It looked fun to me, and seems to back up the psi-flavor-even-though-you-may-be-playing-a-non-psi-class vibe that's been suggested.
Uh. Well that sounds intresting. So they actualy had Psi-like racial powers? Also, I thought it was alll ready confimed that they were in. So what else was their? Something else that's juicey I hope.
Awesome. Thanks for the info.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Good to hear.
Telepathy 5 as a language? Fricken Sweet! I always thought Mindlink 1/day was too limiting.

*imagines a kalashtar family inviting a non-kalashtar to dinner, who then sits through utter silence as the kalashtar converse amongst themselves telepathicly*
Planes Wanderer
Fantastic news, thanks for posting!
The Dragon Above - Eberron news and new content for both 3E and 4E. Home of the Eberron Bestiary.
Telepathy 5 as a language? Fricken Sweet! I always thought Mindlink 1/day was too limiting.

*imagines a kalashtar family inviting a non-kalashtar to dinner, who then sits through utter silence as the kalashtar converse amongst themselves telepathicly*

I think an episode of Star Trek: TNG did that with a Betazoid dinner Riker was attending.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Now I'm really wondering if this module was supposed to be shown, because there's a lot of stuff in the characters. What are the rules on posting non-SRD stuff on the boards? Because the other characters included a dwarf paladin with the Mark of Warding, a human artificer with the Mark of Making, and a half-elf sorcerer with the Mark of Storm...
You can't reproduce the exact text of the abilities (i.e. don't say "this power is Int vs Will, causes 2d6 damage"), but you can give a fairly detailed description. I.e. "the Mark of Storm can be obtained by a paragon feat, it grants you among other things a daily power that creates a burst 1 sustainable zone where creatures can't fly" (just making it up).

*waits*

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Awesome if they have telepathy 5 as a language. Mindlink just wasn't that great to be as limited as it was. This also validates one of the choices I made in developing my homebrew Illithid race.

I'm really hoping then that Kalashtar get something nice and juicy...and that there is some sort of option for playing a non-possessed Inspired...maybe a "failed" inspired or Elan or something of the sort. Meh...maybe elan in another setting or PHB.

Still though, glad to hear about the Kalashtar.
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Would someone mind telling me what Telepathy 5 is?

I'm guessing its the range (in squares) that your telepathy can carry, but that seems monstrously overpowered (don't ever worry about learning a language again. Just have your friendly kalashtar be within 5 squares). The only instance where it wouldn't be too useful is if 2 people are talking 6 squares away loud and yet still loud enough to be heard.
Would someone mind telling me what Telepathy 5 is?

I'm guessing its the range (in squares) that your telepathy can carry, but that seems monstrously overpowered (don't ever worry about learning a language again. Just have your friendly kalashtar be within 5 squares). The only instance where it wouldn't be too useful is if 2 people are talking 6 squares away loud and yet still loud enough to be heard.

You're guess is right - it's telepathy out to 5 squares.
Good points about the language, though. It does say in the MM glossary that a telepath can communicate with any intelligent creature with a language. Perhaps the racial stats will note that you can only communicate in the languages you know.

Now I'm really wondering if this module was supposed to be shown, because there's a lot of stuff in the characters. What are the rules on posting non-SRD stuff on the boards? Because the other characters included a dwarf paladin with the Mark of Warding, a human artificer with the Mark of Making, and a half-elf sorcerer with the Mark of Storm...

As Omen said, so long as you aren't posting rules whole it's fine. You can give us a general idea of what the powers are like and how they work etc.
So leak away! :D
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You can give a fairly detailed description. I.e. "the Mark of Storm can be obtained by a paragon feat, it grants you among other things a daily power that creates a burst 1 sustainable zone where creatures can't fly" (just making it up).

The marks are feats possessed by second level characters. There's no way to know if they have prereqs or what progression might be. They generally seem to provide a broadly useful ability (an overall enhancement to other powers or abilities as opposed to a new power) and access to certain rituals. So the Mark of Warding is useful to any class that has marking abilities, the Mark of Storm helps if you do lightning or thunder damage, and the Mark of Making is good for (surprise) making things. Overall, I like the looks of them, but it is a very limited amount of info to work with.
The marks are feats possessed by second level characters. There's no way to know if they have prereqs or what progression might be. They generally seem to provide a broadly useful ability (an overall enhancement to other powers or abilities as opposed to a new power) and access to certain rituals. So the Mark of Warding is useful to any class that has marking abilities, the Mark of Storm helps if you do lightning or thunder damage, and the Mark of Making is good for (surprise) making things. Overall, I like the looks of them, but it is a very limited amount of info to work with.

Interesting stuff.
So does the Mark of Making improve conjurations and artifices (assuming they still exist in the updated artificer)? I can't imagine they'd give a feat to a delve character that just improves the Enchant Magic Item ritual.
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Good points about the language, though. It does say in the MM glossary that a telepath can communicate with any intelligent creature with a language. Perhaps the racial stats will note that you can only communicate in the languages you know.

That would be a good easy fix. Although its possible their other racial properties truly suck to such a degree that it makes up for it? That or maybe everyone is paranoid enough to make sure they're always 5 squares away from any window and doorway when discussing secret stuff :P

The marks are feats possessed by second level characters. There's no way to know if they have prereqs or what progression might be. They generally seem to provide a broadly useful ability (an overall enhancement to other powers or abilities as opposed to a new power) and access to certain rituals. So the Mark of Warding is useful to any class that has marking abilities, the Mark of Storm helps if you do lightning or thunder damage, and the Mark of Making is good for (surprise) making things. Overall, I like the looks of them, but it is a very limited amount of info to work with.

Interesting That seems closer to the dhampyr feats then the Spellscarred feats.

Which suits me I wanted to introduce the Spellscarred "class" as people who have travelled to the Mournland (or maybe even survived the Day of Mourning!) and been twisted by the energies of the Mournland. Although if it was too similar to the Dragonmarks that wouldn't have really fit.

However I'll be interested to see what feats there are and see if its worthwhile for a non-defender to take the Mark of Warding.
I'm guessing its the range (in squares) that your telepathy can carry, but that seems monstrously overpowered (don't ever worry about learning a language again. Just have your friendly kalashtar be within 5 squares).

Well, just to hit a few points...
  • If your target is more than 25 feet away, it's useless.
  • It lets you communicate with a living creature. If you want to read a book or a street sign, you're out of luck.
  • It only works on a single creature at a time. If you're trying to address a crowd, it's useless. And if you run into five hostile creatures, the ability to speak to one of them when he's within 5 squares has lots of problems. By the time he's that close, it may be too late for diplomacy. His companions may not realize you are communicating... or may believe you are manipulating their companion's mind.
  • It only works if the target wants to communicate with you. If you know Deep Speech, then you can eavesdrop on the dolgrims and understand what they are saying. You can't eavesdrop with telepathy. You run into three dolgrims. You address one with your telepathy. He ignores you and says something in Deep Speech to his companions. Was it "He's trying to talk with me, should I listen" or "He's trying to talk to me - I call dibs on his brain after we lead him into the ambush"? If you know the language, you know - otherwise, you're in the dark.
  • Some creatures are just going to be freaked out by it. If you speak their language, you're showing that you've made some effort to learn about their culture. If you use telepathy, you are spooky invading-my-thoughts man. How do we know you aren't trying to manipulate our thoughts?

It's very versatile. It certainly facilitates communication with other creatures. But is that really a bad thing? Is it FUN to have your group of adventurers run into Drow in Xen'drik and be completely unable to communicate with them? If you've got the kalashtar, your problems aren't magically wiped away; you still have to convince them to let the kalashtar within 5 squares, to keep them calm when the kalashtar speaks into their minds, to coordinate with them when the kalashtar can only communicate with one of them at a time and has to stay close... and he still can't understand them when they talk amongst themselves. Are they afraid of you, or actively plotting treachery? To me, this is something that provides lots of interesting RP hooks. It's more challenging than having PCs who simply speak their language, and easier than playing full-on charades if there's no common language. So you could certainly rule that it's only usable if you share a language, at which point it just becomes short-distance silent communication. But what I like most about it IS the fact that it lets the kalashtar function as a social bridge - to help interpret and mediate in situations where language would otherwise be a difficult barrier and potentially prevent interaction and roleplaying.

As for the explanation, consider this: All things dream. You can usually understand the creatures in your dreams when they talk to you. This is really what kalashtar telepathy is all about... the voice of the dream, speaking directly to your dream-self. If you followed this idea to its logical limits, you might say that they couldn't telepathically communicate with creatures that don't dream.

So I think it's versatile and useful. But I don't see it as MONSTROUSLY overpowered; I see it as making a telepathic race a great match for players who place high priority on social interaction and diplomacy.
That or maybe everyone is paranoid enough to make sure they're always 5 squares away from any window and doorway when discussing secret stuff.

But you don't get to eavesdrop with telepathy, JL. You open a channel with it. They decide whether to speak across it. If they don't want to engage in two way communication with you, you get nothing; you can't tear thoughts from their minds with this form of telepathy. It's not a universal translator or a mind probe; it's a tool that facilitates communication if both parties are willing.
It only works on a single creature at a time......It only works if the target wants to communicate with you.

Aaah, well that addresses my concerns completely. It also turns out to work a lot like psionics in an MMORPG I played

Is it FUN to have your group of adventurers run into Drow in Xen'drik and be completely unable to communicate with them?

Not really. Although that's one reason I often take language feats ;) I was just afraid kalashtar were basically getting access to every language for free with the only limitations being they had to be within 5 squares and they couldn't read stuff. Although for the price of not being able to read stuff, they can communicate silently with allies (which I would kill to get with any of my characters ).

But I don't see it as MONSTROUSLY overpowered;

That's what happens when you speculate on limited information ;)

All in all, a good racial ability. And not overpowered, like it sounds at first (at least to me :P). Thanks a bunch for clarifying all that. That's a lot more info then I expected to get in this thread :D

Now someone else act all outraged and concerned about something else in the EPG so we get more info :P

(kidding, kidding ;)).
The marks are feats possessed by second level characters. There's no way to know if they have prereqs or what progression might be. They generally seem to provide a broadly useful ability (an overall enhancement to other powers or abilities as opposed to a new power) and access to certain rituals. So the Mark of Warding is useful to any class that has marking abilities, the Mark of Storm helps if you do lightning or thunder damage, and the Mark of Making is good for (surprise) making things. Overall, I like the looks of them, but it is a very limited amount of info to work with.

Veery interesting. This is actually a boost from the 3.5 version. From the old "bonus to skill check and a free daily spell" we go to a "bonus to powers related to mark and free use of rituals (once per day I assume)". I'm very keen to see what these bonuses are exactly and if they are amplified by the bigger marks.
Thanks for that Keith, it definitely wiped away any reservations I had about the ability!

Here's another question for Smug (or Keith, if he's willing!):
Do kalashtar have a racial power as well as the telepathy? If so, what's it like?
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Thanks to both Smug and Keith for the info so far. A few more questions:

Can you tell what ability score bonuses they get?

As Trolls asked, do they have a racial power other than the telepathy and if so what is it?

Are the Dragonmark ritual abilities being able to perform one ritual once a day, or is it different than that?
The marks are feats possessed by second level characters. There's no way to know if they have prereqs or what progression might be. They generally seem to provide a broadly useful ability (an overall enhancement to other powers or abilities as opposed to a new power) and access to certain rituals. So the Mark of Warding is useful to any class that has marking abilities, the Mark of Storm helps if you do lightning or thunder damage, and the Mark of Making is good for (surprise) making things. Overall, I like the looks of them, but it is a very limited amount of info to work with.

So that means that it's not a spellscared like thing. And that kind of means that I've been on the right track. Although from what you’re saying about not getting whole new I'm disappointed. It's sort of like taking a metamagic (3.5) feat. All it does is upgrade a power. And how is this supposed to work if you’re not someone whose attack powers are not really leaning towards the magical side?


Thanks to both Smug and Keith for the info so far. A few more questions:

Can you tell what ability score bonuses they get?

As Trolls asked, do they have a racial power other than the telepathy and if so what is it?

Are the Dragonmark ritual abilities being able to perform one ritual once a day, or is it different than that?

I got the same questions.

Thanks Keith (and smug to)! Although we well know no matter what in less than a month it's still fun to discuss isn't it?
Can you tell what ability score bonuses they get?

Given that Keith suggested kalashtar make good thaneborn barbarians, I think Cha is is a safe bet for one of their bonuses. I'd go with Int, Dex or Wis for the other one. Since the pre-gen in an invoker, I think we're looking at Wis or Int.
So Wis/Cha or Int/Cha are my bets!

So that means that it's not a spellscared like thing. And that kind of means that I've been on the right track. Although from what you’re saying about not getting whole new I'm disappointed. It's sort of like taking a metamagic (3.5) feat. All it does is upgrade a power. And how is this supposed to work if you’re not someone whose attack powers are not really leaning towards the magical side?

I'd hold off judgement until we see the other feats. If you consider the entry level dragonmark feats like multiclass feats, then this is sort of what we expect anyway.

As for non-magical powers interacting with dragonmark abilities - think of it like using a little bit of magic to spice up an otherwise mundane power.
The Dragon Above - Eberron news and new content for both 3E and 4E. Home of the Eberron Bestiary.
Well if a Mark power works off doing Lighting or Thunder damage, and you're playing a Fighter, you can always get a Lighting or Resounding weapon.
Planes Wanderer
Can you tell what ability score bonuses they get?

No. Wisdom is a sure thing, but it could be Wis/Cha or Wis/Int.

As Trolls asked, do they have a racial power other than the telepathy and if so what is it?

An encounter power that lets them help protect themselves and their allies from Will attacks.

Are the Dragonmark ritual abilities being able to perform one ritual once a day, or is it different than that?

Different. It looks like they can perform the rituals without being ritual casters... so the dwarf paladin can perform Arcane Lock (and a bunch of other rituals, including one called "Fluid Funds"). Not for free, not once per day... but he can do it.
I'm not going to reveal anything new. But since at least some of this information is now in the public domain, I'll clarify a little. Bear in mind that while I was involved in the initial discussions, I did not work on the EPG and thus do not know all of the final details.

And how is this supposed to work if you’re not someone whose attack powers are not really leaning towards the magical side?

Power source makes no difference. If a mark provides a benefit, it doesn't matter if the power affected is primal, arcane, or martial. And not all marks interact with powers. Again, beware speculation on limited information. I'm not going to discuss the specifics of any mark unless I see it mentioned elsewhere first, and there is a broad range of effects among them.

We had a lot of discussions about dragonmarks. One of the biggest problems that came up is that many of the 3E marks don't accomplish the purpose of making the marked people feel like they have an edge on their field. The Mark of Healing lets you cure light wounds once per day. Neat trick if you're a fighter... but if you're a cleric, so what? You can already cure wounds right and left; one more is fairly irrelevant. We wanted the Mark of Healing to be something that would give Jorasco healers a unique edge, that would make you WANT your healer to have the Mark of Healing... as opposed to it being something of more interest to the healer than the fighter.

As a result, many of the 4E marks (though not all) do lean towards certain character types. The Mark of Healing is going to be far more useful to a character who has healing powers (whatever the source of those powers). The Mark of Warding is more useful to a defender. With that said, they aren't COMPLETELY useless to others thanks to the ritual access. Since Smug has mentioned it, yes, the Mark of Warding lets you do Arcane Lock and other rituals... so that's what you get if you take it as a non-defender. Looking to the NPC population, your Kundarak locksmith may not be a defender, but that's fine - he's using his mark to lock doors. With all of this being said, the goal was also to ensure that there are multiple marks that appeal to each character type... so it's not the case that ALL leaders want the Mark of Healing, all defenders want the Mark of Warding, etc.

I'll say this part because I'm not 100% sure it's actually in the EPG. In my mind, the point of the ritual access is that you're capable of performing the rituals in question without ritual books (as long as you're of the appropriate level). To me, this emphasizes the idea of magical evolution. The Arcane Lock ritual was developed so that other people could artificially duplicate what Kundarak did naturally (at least on Khorvaire - the giants probably had their own version of Arcane Lock long ago). Thus the mark gives you the inborn ability to lock doors, and for a long time on Khorvaire, Kundarak was the only source of this service... but over time, the Arcane Congress (or whoever) has developed a ritual that performs the same function.
I see what you’re saying about the edge business and all but what if I'm a warlock that wants to take the mark of hospitality? Do warlocks have any powers that are naturally orientated to hospitality? I don’t think so. That said it doesn't really benefit him to take it does it? Why would he want to take it, though? Simply for the sake of his character.
Well this thread just keeps getting juicier by the minute :D
Thanks to Smug and Keith for ongoing participation!

I see what you’re saying about the edge business and all but what if I'm a warlock that wants to take the mark of hospitality? Do warlocks have any powers that are naturally orientated to hospitality? I don’t think so. That said it doesn't really benefit him to take it does it? Why would he want to take it, though? Simply for the sake of his character.

It's hard to say without seeing the feats, but if the mark abilities aren't closely tied to a class, think of it like multiclassing - the motivation for a warlock taking the Mark of Hospitality is the same as a warlock multiclassing as a cleric. It's about diversifying.
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And, of course, all this discussion of dragonmarks brings up one very important question:

What are the Aberrent Dragonmarks going to be like?
Perhaps Aberrant marks could give similar bonuses, though with a skew towards violent bonuses.

Though I expect they won't do it in the EPG, you could also run it using spellscars from Forgotten Realms.
(Potentially, I could see the same system for both with a different powers in each book, so both aberrant marks and spellscars have an effective double-helping of powers with the fans crying "swiz" over reprinting several pages of spellscar powers.)
Given that Keith suggested kalashtar make good thaneborn barbarians, I think Cha is is a safe bet for one of their bonuses. I'd go with Int, Dex or Wis for the other one. Since the pre-gen in an invoker, I think we're looking at Wis or Int.
So Wis/Cha or Int/Cha are my bets!

Personally, I'd hope for Wis/Cha.
While either are quite fitting we've already got at least 3 Int/Cha race options but no Wis/Cha so far.
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With all of this being said, the goal was also to ensure that there are multiple marks that appeal to each character type... so it's not the case that ALL leaders want the Mark of Healing, all defenders want the Mark of Warding, etc.

Now that's good to hear. It would start to get boring if every Defender took the Mark of Warding.

To me, this emphasizes the idea of magical evolution. The Arcane Lock ritual was developed so that other people could artificially duplicate what Kundarak did naturally (at least on Khorvaire - the giants probably had their own version of Arcane Lock long ago). Thus the mark gives you the inborn ability to lock doors, and for a long time on Khorvaire, Kundarak was the only source of this service... but over time, the Arcane Congress (or whoever) has developed a ritual that performs the same function.

Now that's interesting. It would be interesting to set a game in the time when rituals are starting to get invented so you could have a war between the Dragonmarked Houses and those creating rituals.

Why would he want to take it, though? Simply for the sake of his character.

That would be one good reason. I've got a Warforged Warden who would love to have the Mark of Hospitality. There could also be some synergy between multiclassing and the marks. If you take Student of the Sword feat and a Mark of Warding feat, you gain the ability to mark people like a defender can.

That probably won't happen, but it'd be neat if they did.

Also a Playtest for Hybrid Characters is getting printed again so it could be this will be a more balanced version and with it getting put in the Character Builder, people could start experimenting with hybrid classes. So a cleric who normally wouldn't get marking, could as a Fighter/Cleric hybrid, making the Mark of Warding useful for them.

What are the Aberrent Dragonmarks going to be like?

Where would they be? Are PCs suppose to have free access to Abberant Dragonmarks?
That would be one good reason. I've got a Warforged Warden who would love to have the Mark of Hospitality. There could also be some synergy between multiclassing and the marks. If you take Student of the Sword feat and a Mark of Warding feat, you gain the ability to mark people like a defender can.

There is the issue of race though: if Warforged can suddenly get any Mark, that would upend the setting quite a bit.


I hope the Mark of Warding enhancing marking will be an exception, and that most classes get to benefit from most Marks (yes, I know, the rituals are always there). Hospitality seems fine if it grants a healing power: anyone can use that.


Wis/Cha makes sense to me too for Kalashtars.

Thanks for the info !

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
There is the issue of race though: if Warforged can suddenly get any Mark, that would upend the setting quite a bit.

No it doesn't actually. To my understanding, all that has been stated about the marks is that they can now appear on other races, but is extremely rare. ie they only appear on players of a race not normally allowable, because the players are the exceptional beings in the world and can be marked by the prophecy. NPC's however, should almost always follow the rule that they have to be from the specific house/race - Jorasco are halflings, Kundarak are dwarves, Lyrandar are half-elves, etc, etc. Now, depending on the house, some may be more accepting of seeing a warforged with a mark, others may not and the same goes for other races. If your group is giving out or taking dragonmarks with every character, there is a good chance that your group is powergaming. Marks should still be extremely rare. But that is, of course, just a personal opinion.
I hope the Mark of Warding enhancing marking will be an exception, and that most classes get to benefit from most Marks (yes, I know, the rituals are always there). Hospitality seems fine if it grants a healing power: anyone can use that.

[Yoda]Benefit always there must be for class hmmm? Always a need for mechanical advantages there are?

Long have I watched these players.

Never a thought on what is good for story, hmm.. What is good for plot.

No, game with these players, I cannot.

Too munchkin they are to begin the story[/yoda]
In all seriousness though, this is the flaw that is making me like D&D less and less - the idea that every choice you make has to be the optimal one. If I want to have a wizard that has the mark of warding and uses it to protect the women he loves, who happens to be the defender, by 'drawing aggro' and marking the target, isn't that a great reason to take a feat that is less than optimal for your build? Story and character wise I'd say hell yes.



Wis/Cha makes sense to me too for Kalashtars.

Thanks for the info !

I do agree with this, though, wisdom and charisma the way they are worded both represent willpower - something Kalashtar need to help them stay focused and 'sane'.
There is the issue of race though: if Warforged can suddenly get any Mark, that would upend the setting quite a bit.

That's thinking too much about my example (which was a spontaneous comment rather then a deep thought as to how marks work in the world of Eberron). My Warforged isn't actually a Warforged and isn't even set in Eberron. Its a stone golem servant (hence why it would like the mark of hospitality) to a player wizard.
While I've been happy to clarify to this point, I'm not going to say anything more until more information has been revealed. All that's been seen are the stats for three marks, without seeing any of the supporting material. I will say that decisions made regarding who can have what dragonmark will not affect the overall flavor of the setting. I can't go into more detail than that. Lyrandar are still Khoravar. Sivis are still gnomes. The world isn't full of armies of dragonmarked warforged. The EPG will go into full details about what is and isn't possible (and of course DMs can always change it themselves).

Beyond that, I'm not going to say more until enough information is available to address the issue fully. Until then, enjoy the speculation. ;)
That's thinking too much about my example (which was a spontaneous comment rather then a deep thought as to how marks work in the world of Eberron). My Warforged isn't actually a Warforged and isn't even set in Eberron. Its a stone golem servant (hence why it would like the mark of hospitality) to a player wizard.

Well, how was I to know ? ;) It wasn't a criticism in any way either.
Still, given Somoflange's post I can understand.

No it doesn't actually. To my understanding, all that has been stated about the marks is that they can now appear on other races, but is extremely rare. ie they only appear on players of a race not normally allowable, because the players are the exceptional beings in the world and can be marked by the prophecy. NPC's however, should almost always follow the rule that they have to be from the specific house/race - Jorasco are halflings, Kundarak are dwarves, Lyrandar are half-elves, etc, etc. Now, depending on the house, some may be more accepting of seeing a warforged with a mark, others may not and the same goes for other races. If your group is giving out or taking dragonmarks with every character, there is a good chance that your group is powergaming. Marks should still be extremely rare. But that is, of course, just a personal opinion.

You read too much into my words. If exceptional dragonmarks (i.e. dragonmarks not appearing on the "appropriate" races) are reserved to PCs, i.e. to 1 in a 100 million cases, then of course the setting won't change much. In the original Eberron the racial exclusivity enabled the founding of the dragonmarked houses IMHO.
I wonder what this has to do with powergaming.

[Yoda]Benefit always there must be for class hmmm? Always a need for mechanical advantages there are?

Long have I watched these players.

Never a thought on what is good for story, hmm.. What is good for plot.

No, game with these players, I cannot.

Too munchkin they are to begin the story[/yoda]
In all seriousness though, this is the flaw that is making me like D&D less and less - the idea that every choice you make has to be the optimal one. If I want to have a wizard that has the mark of making and uses it to protect the women he loves, who happens to be the defender, by 'drawing aggro' and marking the target, isn't that a great reason to take a feat that is less than optimal for your build? Story and character wise I'd say hell yes.

Coming near to calling me a munchkin and then pretending you're joking ?

This has got nothing to do with "optimality". I want mechanical choices to be meaningful, not optimal. As described earlier in this thread, the Mark of Warding seems to only enhance a mark. Hence your wizard would only get to use a certain ritual without a ritual book - I find that prospect unexciting, but of course this is largely speculation on my part since I don't know the exact wording.

I didn't think the setting was going to be upended in the first place but thanks for the reassurance, Keith.
And indeed, speculating is fun ! :D

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
It's hard to say without seeing the feats, but if the mark abilities aren't closely tied to a class, think of it like multiclassing - the motivation for a warlock taking the Mark of Hospitality is the same as a warlock multiclassing as a cleric. It's about diversifying.

Yes, but why would you multiclass in to something that doesn't benifit you? In my opinion multiclassing is about diversifying and making your self better. If you're are a warlock and you take this feat for the Mark of Hospitality it doesn't inprove your powers or make you more dianamic, it's a waist of a feat.

Whatever it actualy turns out to be I'll probaly like it anyway. So I don't know why am arguing.
If you're are a warlock and you take this feat for the Mark of Hospitality it doesn't inprove your powers or make you more dianamic, it's a waist of a feat.

Thing is, in 4e anyone can heal if they really put their mind to it. Multiclassing into a Leader class usually gives you a 'Healing Word' type power 1/day (further multiclassing for more healing powers). Beyond that, various magic items actually let you heal allies. My current Wizard (Cleric) has at least half of his slots filled with leadery-ey items.

And we haven't even seen these feats yet. I wonder if there are multiple feats per mark (beyond the obvious Lesser/Greater).
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
If you're are a warlock and you take this feat for the Mark of Hospitality it doesn't inprove your powers or make you more dianamic, it's a waist of a feat.

So is Linguist a waste of a feat?

Linguist doesn't improve your powers. Its benefits are purely social. If you're in a dungeon and the DM hasn't specifically worked in some way for knowledge of Infernal to play a role, the fact that you can read Infernal is utterly meaningless. However, if the DM has created an adventure in which you're infiltrating an enclave of demons, Linguist (Infernal) may be far more powerful than Power Attack or Astral Fire.

From what we've seen, marks have three components:
  • A mechanical enhancement effect that improves certain powers or class abilities. According to Hellcow, many to these are more useful to particular character types, but not all of them.
  • Some form of preferential ritual access.
  • The less tangible benefit of being a member of a dragonmarked house (presuming you're of the right race and choose not to be an orphan or excoriate).
  • In 3E, certain magic items could only be used by people with a particular dragonmark. Since some of these items (message stones, airships) are vital to the economic power of the houses, I see no reason to assume that the same isn't true in 4E.

So, you have a dwarf invoker and you want to take the Mark of Warding. You don't mark people and you have no interest in multiclassing to gain a marking ability. You already have Ritual Caster as a bonus feat. So what does the mark get you? Well, there's the minor benefit of being able to cast the rituals in question without a ritual book. Fairly trivial, but there is still some flavor to that. There's the issue of Dragonmark focus items; we don't know how useful these are. More important, you are a member of House Kundarak. You have access to their enclaves. You are likely to be more trusted by their barons. If you spend your entire time in a dungeon, this may be utterly useless... just like Linguist in a dungeon where you never encounter the languages you chose. In a highly political game where the houses play a major role, this social connection could be incredibly important. You'll have to decide whether you're better off with a +1 feat bonus to damage... or three languages... or a social connection to dragonmark houses.

So the Mark of Warding as shown is clearly more useful to a character with a marking ability than any other character. But it's not entirely useless to another character; it's simply a social benefit as opposed to a combat benefit.

Beyond that, as said, we haven't seen if there's higher-tier feats that build on it; if there's dragonmark focus items or rituals that can only be used by people with dragonmarks, like bardic rituals (for example, the Mark of Warding references a ritual called "Fluid Funds"; perhaps it's Kundarak only). Unique mark-only rituals seems like a logical way to add flavor to the houses IMO.
Linguist and the Marks don't match up in your analogy. Linguist doesn't mechanically help any class; combat wise, it's equally subpar for all classes. The Marks, however, aren't; some classes benefit fully from the combat benefits, while others don't. In and of itself that's not bad, but considering the fluff, it'd be preferable if they were equally useful across the board.

For example, If the Mark of Storm increases lightning damage, then one of my favorite archetypes ('Marked Airship Captain Rogue) is less enticing because of the need for a weapon that deals lightning damage; I wanted a duelist weapon! It's great for swordmages and sorcerers, though. (Same reason I really dislike the Stormsoul Genasi racial power, actually...)

I'd prefer the non-ritual benefit to be more general. We'll have to wait and see what marks look like, I guess...
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"I see it as making a telepathic race a great match for players who place high priority on social interaction and diplomacy."



Ooooooh, I can see a Kalashtar Bard having lots of fun with this. Warlocks, too, in a "creeping people out" kinda way.