A Tangled Skein
A few important notes from the Eberron Player’s Guide (4e).
A world of magic
The setting supposes a world that developed not through the advancement of science, but by the mastery of magic. Magic allows for conveniences and services undreamed of in traditional medieval fantasy. Round elemental creatures power elemental airships, rail transport, and high-speed ocean vessels. A working class of minor mages uses ritual magic to provide energy and other necessities in towns and cities. Advances in magic item creation have led to everything from self-propelled Farming implements to sentient, freewilled constructs.
The Lost War has ended—sort of…
The Last War. which plunged the continent of Khorvaire into civil war more than a century ago, ended with the signing of the Treaty ofThronehold and the establishment of twelve recognized nations occupying what was once the kingdom of Galifar. At least overtly, the peace has held for just over a year as the campaign begins. The conflicts. the anger. and the bitter pain of the long war remain, however, and the new nations seek every advantage as they prepare for the next war that they believe will inevitably eventually break out on the continent.
The Draconic Prophecy
The dragons, long-lived and patient in all things. seek meaning in the patterns found in the world and the heavens. These patterns play out in the Prophecy, a record of things to come that has been emerging since the creation of the world. The Dracanic Prophecy is as complex and unfathomable as the dragons themselves. It hints at events of doom and dread as often as it helps push the world toward exalted events. It seems to point toward transformation rather than destruction, but to most people, the Prophecy remains as alien as the dragons themselves.
The Five Nations
The human-dominated civilizations on the continent of Khorvaire trace a lineage to the ancient kingdom of Galifar. which was made up of five distinct regions, or nations. These were Aundair. Breland, Cyre, Karrnath, and Thrane. Four of these nations survive to the present day as independent countries: Cyre was destroyed before the start of the campaign. The devastated territory it once occupied is now known as the Mournland. A common oath or exclamation among the people of Khorvaire is “By the Five Nations,” or some version thereof. The Five Nations refers to the ancient kingdom of Galifar and evokes a legendary time of peace and prosperity.
The great dragonmarked families are the barons of industry and commerce throughout Khorvaire and beyond. Their influence transcends political boundaries, and they remained mostly neutral during the Last War. The heads of each house, not technically citizens of any nation, live in splendor within their enclaves and emporiums located throughout Khorvaire. These dynastic houses of commerce derive their power from the d ragon marks—tin ique, hereditary arcane sigils—that manifest on certain individuals within the family, granting them limited but very useful magical abilities associated with the trade guilds the family controls. Dragonmarks are said to be the Prophecy written on mortal flesh—a supposition that incenses the dragons.
Ancient legends and creation myths describe Eberron as a world in three parts: the ring above, the subterranean realm below, and the land between_ Each of these world sections is tied to a great dragon of legend—Siberys. Khyber, and Eberron. respectively. Each section of the world produces dragonshards, stones and crystals imbued with arcane power. With the aid of dragonshards, dragonmarks become more powerful, elementals are controlled and harnessed, and magic items of all sorts are crafted and shaped. These shards, however. are rare and difficult to come by. making them expensive and often the goals of great quests and adventures.