[Let's Read] Eberron Campaign Guide, 4e version

LJSilver

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Hello everyone!

After quite a lot of delays, procrastinations and reschedulingsI finally got toDMing in Eberron, undoubtedly my favourite D&D setting, after more or less five years. As it turns out, I find the need to reacquaint myself with some of the setting's aspects and, since I am going to get to some reading anyway, why not try to do it as a let's read thread?

A few notes:

1) It's my first attempt on a "Let's Read". Let's hope I won't make a mess of it.
2) I'm not going to get too much in the crunchy side of the book. Oh, I will describe things as I find them, but I do not intend to focus too much on,say, judging a monster's attacks and defences compared to its intended level of challenge to 4e characters with the edition's complete array at their disposal, considering that
a) it's been four years since I last played or GMed 4e and, while I enjoyed it, my 4e-fu is slightly under mothballs. We'll see what I can remember.
b) my new campaign will be a 13th Age one anyway.
I will try,but I expect some criticism incoming. Which is perfectly all right and welcome, of course.


Now,I hope that my ramblings will be deemed enjoyable :).
 

Ozreth

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Been debating getting into Eberron lately. Subscribed (also the first let's read I've ever subscribed to).
 

LJSilver

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To no one's surprise, we begin with the...


COVER




Featuring the ever popular Lord of Blades, a.k.a. the LOBster in certain forum circles. An impressively spikey figure remininding somewhat of Megatron, accompanied by its homunculi. To be honest, I consider this as a case of trying waaay too hard with its huge bulky upper body, twin-or triplet blades of dubious use and tiny waist . Now, i understand that with that name enormous sharp things are to be expected but still...too much. Then again, as the relevant excerpt will show later, the Lord of Blade is not exactly among the most balanced of Eberron's people so,for all we know, these are self-inflicted modifications of an insane prophet/lunatic/would-be construct messiah.

On the other hand, i believe that the LOBster was a good choice for the cover, A popular Eberron villain and a representative of the setting's most distinctive and widespread native races, the cover certainly makes clear that Eberron is not exactly a typical medieval fantasy world.

Ok, enough about the cover. Time to move to the


INTRODUCTION

Two pages long-a good size as these things go, i believe.Following a cryptic excerpt of the Draconic Prophecy (thus, business as usual) we are presented with ten important facts. If I remever correctly, 3rd edition's ECG used the same format. Let's check them out:

1. If it exists in the D&D world,then it has a place in Eberron. Even if that place is a half-sunken ruin in Xen'drik, I guess. Personally, I like this policy of being inclusive, though I've seen Dms being wary of it.
2. Tone and attitude. Shades of gray. Murky situations. Noirish vibes here. Of course, in the end what the tone and attitude depends on the group first.
3. A world of magic. Definitely an important point of the setting. Magic used for commercial purposes, magewrights, magitech, airships, lightning rails etc.
4. A world of adventure. Namedropping some of Eberron's distinctive loction, this one is a point that would certainly intrigue Indiana Jones.
5.The Last War has ended-sort of. Where the continent of Khorvaire is mentioned for the first time. After the treaty of Thronehold, the continent has entered an Interwar or perhapsa Cold War era. We also get the first "official" campaign date-one year after the War. It used to be two years in the 3rd edition ECG. I'm not sure why this change has occurred. Perhaps it is not an important issue.
6.-The Draconic Prophecy. Just the bare bones at this point. Cryptic,mysterious, almost incomprehensible to most people. Reminds me of my handwriting.
7. The Five Nations Name-dropping the, well, five nations, and the "Belle Epoque" of the Kingdom of Galifar. At this point, the 1920s-30s clearly look like an inspiration for the setting's atmosphere, if the previous points had not already made that clear.
8.-A world of intrigue. Everyone schemes. Everyone.
9.- Dragonmark Dynasties Another central part of the setting. My players have been divided on them-half of them really liked dealing with those mercantile powerhouses. The other half is very wary of them. Patrons or antagonists, ialways find them useful
10.- Dragonshards Eberron's prime arcane resources, those crystals are worth more than their weight in gold.

All in all, the Ten Important Facts are the same as 3e's with one replacement-the Draconic Perophecy section replaces the "New Races" one, since at this point Shifters,changelings, Warforged and the Kalashtar have been around for years.

The introduction concludes with mentions of other relevant books(Core books, the Player's Guide,3e era books etc) and a "Loot this Book!" sidebar for the times when one wishes to kill te book, take its stuff and use whatever looks useful for her own campaign world.

NEXT: Chapter 1-Adventures.
 
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keehnelf

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Is there no table of contents in this book? Or am I just the only one to be include them in my Let's Read lately?

I think we can learn a lot from a ToC (in addition to simple info about what's in the book and where).
 

Gilphon

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I love that they give you explicit permission to mine the book for ideas. I mean, not that anyone needed permission, but it's still to see that as something they're actively encouraging. It makes the book a lot more useful, after all.
 

LJSilver

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Is there no table of contents in this book? Or am I just the only one to be include them in my Let's Read lately?

I think we can learn a lot from a ToC (in addition to simple info about what's in the book and where).
A reasonable request :). Let's talk about

CONTENTS


The book's contents are divided into 7 main chapters:

Chapter 1-Adventures (43 pages).
This chapter is furtherly divided in 6 more sections: A general overview of the world of Eberron[/B(2 pages)], a Campaign Themessection (14 pages, focusing on the Last War, the Draconic Prophecy, the Dragonmarked, Urban Intrigue and Dungeon Delving), a Global Threats section (9 pages, describing an organisation for each tierplay-the Aurum for Heroic, the Chamber for Paragon and the Lords of Dust for the Epic tier, although this division is by no means an absolute one), a History section ( 6 pages including a Timeline), an Everyday Magic section (3 pages), a Travel section (5 pages) and the Wondrous Locations section (4 pages, with a special subsection for the eladrin Feyspires, appearing on the setting for the first time)

Chapter 2-The City of Towers (16 pages)
Possibly Eberron's most iconic city, Sharn has been promoted as a good base of operations for the PCs from the setting's very beginning. In the 3e ECG Sharn was merely a part of the Breland section, which makes sense since the Sharn:the City of Towers was the book the followed it. Here, it has its very own chapter.

Chapter 3-The Five Nations (42 pages)
Khorvaire's traditional human(&Co)kingdoms. A short intro, 7 pages for Aundair and Breland(of course, Breland has alreadyconquered chapter 2), 9 for Karrnath, 10 for the Mournland and 7 for Thrane.The post-magoapocalyptic land has the largest page count? I had never realised that.

Chapter 4-Greater Khorvaire (64 pages)
The rest of the continent. Six pages dedicated to the goblinoids of Darguun and the Demon Wastes, 10 pages to the monstrous kingdom of Droaam, 6 pages tothe (mostly)druidic Eldeen Reaches, 7 pages to the seafolk of the Lhazaar Principalities, 4 pages tothe dwarven Mror Holds, 5 pages for tropical Q'Barra and the Shadow Marches, 4 pages to the Talenta Plains, birthplace of the halflings, 6 pages to the elven nation of Valenar and 4 pages to the gnomes of Zilargo.

Chapter 5-Beyond Khorvaire (34 pages)
A smaller chapter for four continents and Eberron's Underdark,Khyber, at least before it gives way to other planes altogether. After all, these are the lands that are less known or utterly unexplored. Aerenal, the ancient land of the elves, covers 5 pages. The section of Argonessen (here be dragons...a whole civilisation of them) numbers another 5. 9 pages for Sarlona(including the Inspired and Dreaming Dark sections, hence its greater length), 6 pages for the pulpiness of Xen'drik and 7 pages for darkKhyber.

Chapter 6-Dragonmarks (32 pages)

The Dragonmarked houses' power and influence rival those of entire nations, hence a solid chapter dedicated to them. Apart from the 13 Houses(Cannith, Deneith, Ghallanda, Jorasco, Kundarak, Lyrandar, Medani, Orien, Phiarlan, Sivis, Tharashk, Thuranni and Vadalis), it also includes House Tarkanan, the aberrant one. More on that later.

Chapter 7-Gods and Cosmology (26 pages)

Perhpas Faiths and Cosmology would have been more apt,considering Eberron's stance on divine worship. 18 pages are dedicated to religions (the Sovereign Host the Dark Sixthe Silver Flame, the Blood of Vol, the Cults of the Dragon Below, the Path of Light and the Elven Religions, the Undying Court and the Spirits of the Past. 5 pages deal with Eberron's planes.

Chapter 7 is followed by a 26-page Appendix describing an introductory adventure, the Mark of Prophecy(which I don't think I ever actually read-first time for everything, I guess), a 2-page Index and a New Monsters page.
 
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Silvercat Moonpaw

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We also get the first "official" campaign date-one year after the War. It used to be two years in the 3rd edition ECG. I'm not sure why this change has occurred. Perhaps it is not an important issue.
I somehow remember it being longer than 5 in the original Eberron Campaign Setting, but I'm probably wrong
...it also includes House Tarkanan, the aberrant one. More on that later.
Is this one new? I don't remember one for the aberrant marks.
 
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