What is Eberron?
Eberron is a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, and the first full campaign setting since the release of Third Edition D&D. Just as as Greyhawk did for the original D&D rules and Forgotten Realms did for AD&D ("2nd edition"), Eberron provides a world that fully complements the D&D 3.5 ruleset. It's heroic fantasy with a more modern sensibility, and it's filled with exotic cultures, spectacular magic, and shadowy conspiracies. It's also a world that needs heroes; villains are numerous and mighty, and when the world needs saving, it's up to the PCs.What sets Eberron apart from other D&D campaign settings?
Eberron is designed to include all the elements that make D&D such an appealing, classic game, while adding depth and style that takes the world beyond generic medieval fantasy. No one "high concept" defines the world, but twists and details make it a unique and compelling place.
In Eberron, arcane magic has been applied scientifically to create wonders like towering cities and elemental-powered airships. Divine magic is mysterious and belief is a matter of faith. The world's history has been marked by extraplanar incursions, some as regular and accepted as the seasons, some which have caused worlwide devastation. Noble houses and crime guilds vie for power in wartorn nations. Monstrous NPCs have backgrounds as detailed as the PC races. Diverse, vibrant cultures are separated by memories of battles during the catacylsmic Last War, but are united in a commitment to keep history from repeating itself. Myriad organizations look to the ruins of goblin and giant empires for powerful secrets, while the mysterious dragons study an ancient Prophecy and observe the lesser races from their own continent.What is the general tone and spirit of Eberron?
In the words of Wizards of the Coast, "Eberron is a cinematic world of pulp/noir action, adventure, and intrigue." So what's that mean? "Pulp" refers to the kind of high-octane, seat-of-your-pants adventure first popularized in paperbacks and magazine stories like Doc Savage and Conan, continuing today in the form of action heroes like Indiana Jones and Hellboy. "Noir" describes stories with a darker edge, where imperfect heroes face tough decisions and morality isn't always black and white. Combine the two and you get swashbuckling action combined with uncertainty and intrigue. Those have always been the elements of great D&D adventures, and they're a big part of the focus of Eberron. As for "cinematic," that's easy. Heroes in Eberron do more than slay legions of monsters or converse with tavern owners; they should be the kind of heroes who you'd want to watch a movie about.What playable races are included in Eberron?
Because everything in the core rulebooks has a place in Eberron, all Player's Handbook
races are represented:
Humans are a relatively young race, but are populous and enterprising. Until 100 years ago, a human kingdom dominated the Eberron's most prominent continent, Khorvaire. In the wake of a massive war, the human nations are still among the most powerful in Khorvaire: theocratic Thrane, indutrious Breland, educated Aundair and militaristic Karrnath. Humans also wield considerable control over commerce, and more dragonmarked houses are passed on through human bloodlines than among any other race.
Elves are an ancient race who once toiled as slaves for the giants of Xen'drik. The Aerenal elves dominate a large landmass off the coast of Khorvaire. In many ways a nation of philosophers, the Aereni take a measured, careful view of all things. They so prize the wisdom afforded by their long lifespans that they keep their ancestors alive as undying advisors. The Valenar elves are warriors who honor their heroic ancestors with martial exploits. They carved out a nation in the Last War, and continue to indulge their love of battle and horses; they can be found both as mercenaries or ruthless raiders. Still other elves live in their own distinct communities, adapting cultures of younger races.
Dwarves are a disciplined and regimented race with a barbaric past. Their love of gold and their talents for security make dwarves Eberron's foremost bankers. The largest dwarven nation is the Mror holds, which is actually a collection of smaller nations and clans.
Halflings are adventurous wanderers with a nomadic heritage. Some halflings remain true to their ancestral roots, living as hunter-gatherers on the Talenta plains. These halflings have managed to tame the Talenta region's indigenous dinosaurs. Many other halflings are fully civilized, having lived for generations in the cities and towns of Eberron. These halflings work as healers, innkeepers, and thieves, making themselves a part of the local culture in nearly every society.
Gnomes are concentrated in the southern nation of Zilargo. Gnomes possess a natural talent for magic and a fascination with history. Studious and intelligent, their ardent thirst for knowledge and love of strategy produces cunning spies as well as brilliant scholars and diplomats. While they cultivate a harmless, charming exterior, they make deadly, calculating enemies. The incredible Library of Korranberg is the pride of many gnomes, and gnome scribes are valued throughout Khorvaire.
Half-orcs and half-elves have been a part of Eberron for thousands of years. While a few halfbreeds experience the alientation of being torn between two worlds, most are raised in communities entirely composed of mixed-race people. Half-orcs are likely to live in areas like the Shadow Marches, where their orc ancestors may work as chaotic raiders or fierce guardians of the natural world. Half-elves, or khoravar, were born from the mingling of the first human and elf settlers in Khorvaire. Many are affiliated with half-elf dragonmarked houses, and only half-elves with the Mark of Storm may control the bound air elementals that power Lyrandar airships.
Eberron also introduces four new PC races. The warforged are constructs with souls, living weapons of wood and steel created during the Last War. Changelings are the offspring of doppelgangers and humans, often treated as outcasts by their families but empowered with shapechanging abilities. Shifters are humanoids descended from lycanthropes, now a distinct race with the ability to tap into brief bursts of animalistic power. Kalashtar are a psionically gifted race of half-humans that share their souls with exiled outsiders from Dal Quor, the dream plane.What D&D rulebooks are required for playing in Eberron?
Players will need the Player's Handbook
. Dungeon Masters will need the Player's Handbook
, Dungeon Master's Guide
, and Monster Manual
. Eberron is specifically written to support the 3.5 update of these rules. Use of the Expanded Psionics
handbook is encouraged and supported, but is not required.
One of the goals for Eberron is to have a place for everything in the core rulebooks, from paladins and monks to dragons and dinosaurs. That doesn't mean that there's a defined
place for every monster in the Monster Manual
, but there is a logical home for every monster, item, and class in the core rulebooks.What original rules material does Eberron include?
The Eberron campaign setting book includes world-specific prestige classes, feats, spells, domains, deities, monsters, and NPCs. It also includes a new basic class, the artificer. Artificers are master craftsmen with a knack for creating and using magic items; they gain a bonus XP pool for magic item creation and the ability to "cast" a limited number of equipment-enhancing infusions. Eberron includes a new kind of feat, the dragonmark, which comes in least, lesser and greater varieties. Dragonmarks give characters who belong to racially-based noble houses access to limited spell-like abilities. Related to both of these new elements are a new type of magic item called dragonshards. Dragonshards come in three varieties, and can be used to enhance dragonmark abilities, bind elementals, or augment the power of magic items.
Eberron also uses Action Points, a rule originally developed for d20 Modern and adapted to D&D in Unearthed Arcana. Action Points represent characters' ability to "give it their all" during critical moments. In game terms, Action Points are a limited pool of points that can be spent to do add a random bonus to a d20 check, stabilize a dying character, or use a "spent" class feature. Eberron includes one prestige class and a few feats that emphasize Action Points, but use of Action Points is optional.What are adventures like in Eberron?
Eberron is intended to provide a logical home for evey kind of D&D adventure. Many options are available for classic dungeon delving, like the lost continent of Xen'drik, the fiend-infested depths of Khyber, and the postapocalyptic Mournland. Eberron also supports urban adventures, from simple heists or gang wars to murder mysteries that span the many levels of Sharn. For political intrigue, look no further than the courts of more than a dozen nations, or the houses of international merchant guilds. Looking for epic-level challenges? Help the kalashtar overthrow the insidious psionic tyrants who rule the continent of Sarlona, make a preemptive strike against another plane before it becomes coterminous with Eberron, or explore Argonessen, the continent of dragons. Whether you're infiltrating a cult of the Dragon Below, recovering a powerful artifact for Morgrave University, or serving as a bodyguard at the forbidden wedding of dragonmarked nobles from different houses, there's an adventure around every corner in Eberron.What is Eberron's technology level?
Eberron uses the core D&D rulebooks as its foundation, and its technology level is essentially what D&D has always used: a blend of Middle Ages and Rennaisance technology. Eberron features no steam power, cars, or firearms. Wars in Eberron are fought with swords and longbows. Horses and sailing ships are the most common forms of transportation.
However, Eberron is also a world where arcane magic has been studied as the science that it is. While powerful mages are rare, especially after the Last War, wizards and artificers have created many powerful magic items. Some magic items exist which perform functions similar to modern technology. The warforged are one example; because they are constructed beings, they remind some players of robots, even though they are animated by magic rather than electricity or gears. Eberron's most famous city, Sharn, features towers that touch the sky. Several nations and groups own airships powered by bound elementals. The Lightning Rail hovers along a track of magic crystals, carrying passengers between several major cities.
Most players compare this "magitech" to games like Final Fantasy or Arcanum, which feature mechanical objects enhanced by arcane power. The primary difference between Eberron and steampunk/magitech settings is that Eberron's items are not mechanical in nature. Without magic, they would be totally inert objects. The stone platforms that carry pedestrians between towers in Sharn would fall without magic, and an airship would crash as surely as a magic carpet in an antimagic field. Eberron's emphasis is not on reproducing modern technology, but on applying existing D&D magic, particularly low-level magic like prestidigitation
, in practical ways. A secondary but important difference between Eberron and other magitech settings is that there is no conflict between magic and technology; the two have evolved together, and a flying ship is seen as no more "technological" than an enchanted sword.What products has Wizards of the Coast release to support the Eberron campaign setting?
The first and most essential Eberron release was the Eberron Campaign Setting book
. Other Eberron sourcebooks include:Sharn: City of Towers
- a detailed look at the magic-rich city of SharnRaces of Eberron
- a sourcebook dedicated to warforged, kalashtar, shifters, changelings, and the other races of EberronThe Five Nations
- a detailed study of the nations' cultures, people, and adventure sitesThe Explorer's Handbook
- a guide to intercontinental adventuresMagic of Eberron
- a crunch-heavy tome of exotic magic contentPlayer's Guide to Eberron
- a gazetteer that explains what PCs would know about the world
Other adventures and supplements:Shadows of the Last War
- an adventure for 2nd-level charactersWhispers of the Vampire's Blade
- an adventure for 4th-level charactersGrasp of the Emerald Claw
- an adventure for 6th-level charactersDeluxe Eberron Dungeon Master’s Screen
- DM screen and labeled poster mapVoyage of the Golden Dragon
- a standalone adventure featuring a unique airship
Eberron adventures are also available in Dungeon
The Lord of Blades (a Critical Threat write-up)Dungeon #113:
"The Queen With Burning Eyes" by James Wyatt (1st level)Dungeon #115:
"Steel Shadows" by Keith Baker (7th level)Dungeon #117:
"Fallen Angel" by Keith Baker (3rd level)Dungeon #122:
"Backdrop: Xen'drik's Ring of Storms"Dungeon #123:
"Shards of Eberron Part 1: Crypt of Crimson Stars" by Andy Collins and James WyattDungeon #124:
“Shards of Eberron, Part 2: Temple of the Scorpion God” by Andy Collins and James Wyatt Dungeon #125:
“Shards of Eberron, Part 3: Pit of the Fire Lord” by Andy Collins and James WyattDungeon #129:
“Murder in Oakbridge” by Uri Kurlianchick
(The "Age of Worms" Adventure Path also includes Eberron conversion notes written by Keith Baker, which are collected in the online overload
magazine regularly publishes original Eberron content:Dragon #311:
"Introducing Eberron" (concept art)
Dragon #315-320: "Countdown to Eberron" articles (setting previews)Dragon #324:
"Living Nightmares" by Keith Baker (stats for new Quori types)Dragon #329:
"A Novel Approach: Marked for Death" (living fireball stats)Dragon #330:
"Shapers of Shadow: Eberron’s Umbragen" by Keith Baker (mechanics for Shadow Elves) and "Coming Home" by Matt Forbeck (short story)Dragon #332:
"Cults of the Dragon Below" by Keith BakerEberron #337:
“Lords of the Dust” by Keith Baker (stats for several epic-level fiends)Eberron #339:
“Sage Advice” (Eberron rules FAQs, mostly about warforged)
Select Eberron miniatures have appeared in randomly assorted D&D Miniatures
packs since the Giants of Legend expansion.What other licensed products use the Eberron campaign setting?
Wizards of the Coast is publishing several series of Eberron novels. Unfortunately, discussion of novels is prohibited on the Wizards.COMmmunity message boards (due to some nasty author-bashing in the past). To learn more about the books, visit Eberron novels
page at Essential Eberron.Dungeons & Dragons Online
is a massively-multiplayer game set in Eberron.Dragonshard
is a real-time-strategy game set in Eberron.Where can I learn more about Eberron?
For an overview of the setting, visit the official Eberron home page
. If you still haven't purchased the sourcebook, get a taste for the setting with the Across Eberron
PDF and the Gearing Up for Eberron
For in-depth articles that expand on the information in the campaign setting book, check out Keith Baker's Dragonshards
For official "in-character" news, read The Sharn Inquisitive
by David Noonan.
For adventure hooks, check out Steal This Hook!
by Doug Beyer.
To learn how to make the most of your existing D&D books in Eberron, check out Keith Baker's Eberron Expanded
Sean K. Reynolds also published some Eberron articles
examining what's unique about the campaign world.What other Eberron resources are available on the web?
A high-quality community of fan sites has grown to support the Eberron campaign setting. None of this information is official, but it can help inspire your own campaigns.Essential Eberron
is a comprehensive site that includes information about Eberron sourcebooks and novels, as well as an encylcopedia.
The Eberron Journal
is no longer updated, but includes an archive of prerelease information and concept art, and tips for using older D&D sourcebooks in Eberron.
The Korranberg Chronicle
provides unofficial "in-character" news and original adventures. The Chronicle features fan-created stories from across Khorvaire, all designed to provide adventure hooks and immerse you in the world of Eberron.
The Breland Ledger
is an "out-of-character" news source affiliated with the Eberron Journal. It features the latest news for Eberron fans, including links to Eberron-related articles and fan-created content.
The Eberron Bestiary
features weekly updates of high-quality, original, Eberron-themed monsters.
For more Eberron fan pages, check out the Keith Baker's links page
.Where can I find a labeled map of Khorvaire?
While the campaign setting book does not include a fully-labeled map of Khorvaire, WotC has made one available online
. A high-quality printed version is available for purchase with the Deluxe Eberron Dungeon Master’s Screen
. Some unofficial fan-created alternatives are also available at Maps of Eberron
.As a DM, I'd like to introduce my players to Eberron without revealing all the campaign's secrets. Where can I find a summary of the world from a PC's perspective?
The first Eberron novel, City of Towers
by Keith Baker, contains a 20-page appendix with exactly the details you're looking for. (And the book it comes with is a must-read for serious Eberron fans.)Where can I find Eberron-related art?
Board member Joni-san has collected an excellent list of art resources for Eberron campaigns. It is called the Comprehensive Eberron Art Thread
.Wait! I have another question!
If you want to learn more about Eberron, and you've already read the available sourcebooks, head to the Ask Keith Baker FAQ
. It contains hundreds of answers that further detail the exciting world of Eberron. Still can't fund what you're looking for? Post a question in the most recent Ask Keith Baker thread. Just keep in mind that Keith's a busy guy, and he's not always in a position to answer every question sent his way.