Instead, Eberron appears much as it did before. High-level magic, including resurrection spells, is less common than in most other settings. However, low-level magic is much more pervasive, primarily provided by the Dragonmarked houses. Many cities have magical lanterns throughout the streets. A continent-spanning magical "lightning rail" provides high speed transportation. The pantheon of Eberron does not make itself overtly known.
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The clearest example of this attitude is the provision of the Treaty of Thronehold that called for the destruction of the creation forges that House Cannith used to create the warforged. At the time the treaty was signed, House Cannith was divided, reeling from the loss of its baron and its Cyran holdings in the Mourning. The houses are not bound by national borders. With the threat of renewed war looming on the horizon, the possibility of losing the services of a house is one that few nations can afford.
Indeed, some leaders are working to build close ties with the houses. All this creates a situation rife with intrigue and ready for adventure, as player characters—especially those who bear dragonmarks themselves—negotiate the ever-changing alliances and plots among the houses and the nations.
Aside from the individual intrigues of each dragonmarked house, you might also consider the growing influence of the houses as a whole. Meanwhile, the reach of the merchant houses grows stronger with each day. There are many who whisper that if the nations of Khorvaire are ever to be united again, it will not be a descendant of Galifar who sits on the throne, but a dragonmarked heir of one of the houses. Eberron is a world where magic is a part of industry, where it provides services that are part of everyday life—communication, transportation, medical services.
Just as the stars may not be right for the daelkyr to arise, it could be that in YOUR Eberron the houses have no sinister agenda and are simply friendly, reliable service providers.
But the idea is there that the houses are forces with the power to rival nations, driven purely by the interests of their families and an endless hunger for profit. They could knowingly peddle substandard goods, or take advantage of their customers in any number of ways. By default—and you can of course change this—the houses are essentially nations.
They put the interests of their nation and their citizens above the good of outsiders; Jorasco is first and foremost considered with the stability and profitability of House Jorasco, just as King Boranel puts the interests of Breland ahead of the needs of the people of Thrane. With that said, while a house as a whole may not be a force for evil, there are cabals and factions WITHIN the houses that are certainly engaged in cruel or ruthless actions.
The nosomantic chiurgeons are an order that twist the power of the Mark of Healing to do harm rather than to prevent it. So the houses could be involved in a campaign in a number of ways… As neutral service providers who shape the general landscape and flavor of the world, providing the everyday services adventurers come to rely on.
As forces whose ambitions drive adventure—either because they are seeking rare resources, exploring or seeking to establish a presence in new regions, or pushing the envelope of arcane science in dangerous ways.
A Cannith artificer is creating warforged that appear human; she may have no evil purpose for them, but the Lord of Blades has a few ideas. Such situations could involve the player characters working as operatives for one of the houses, cleaning up a mess made by the house, or competing with house agents. As opponents whose quests for profit or power puts innocents or allies of the PCs in danger. This could be something on a grand scale, or it could be quite specific: the PC artificer has made a remarkable discovery and House Cannith wants to either buy it or destroy it.
Again, this may involve a specific faction within a house rather than the entire organization: a Traveler cult within House Cannith, a specific unit of assassins in House Thuranni, a Vadalis cabal magebreeding supersoldiers, or just a single ruthless baron with a vision and vast resources. You can even blend this with other forces, introducing a Cult of the Dragon Below or Dreaming Dark cell within a dragonmarked enclave.
Needless to say, these ideas would usually involve a particular house or a cabal within a house… and could involve two houses working at cross-purposes. House Deneith resents House Tharashk for edging into the mercenary trade by brokering the services of monstrous forces. House Thuranni split from House Phiarlan less than thirty years ago. It remains to be seen if one of them can unite the house behind them, or if it will shatter and follow the example of Thuranni and Phiarlan.
House Medani and House Tharashk are rivals in the Inquisitive business, and Medani and Deneith have overlap in personal protection. All of the dragonmarked houses are made up of multiple family lines, and there can always be intrigue between them. The biggest example of this is the split of the Houses of Shadow, which occured when the Thuranni erradicated the Paelion, another Phiarlan line. But this is always a possible source of tension and intrigue. The Twelve is an organization formed specifically to help mediate these sorts of disputes and to foster cooperation between the houses.
House Sivis likewise actively works to keep the peace between and within the houses. But these are certainly points of tension that could form the basis of a plot. Agent or Excoriate? What does it mean to be a dragonmarked character? Are you complicit in the actions of your house or bound by its rules? Could you be a rebel, or a spy engaging in covert operations on behalf of the house? The houses are massive organizations with thousands of heirs. Are you close to the powers that run the house, or did you grow up working on the factory floor?
The Agent As an agent of a dragonmarked house, you have close ties to a house and its leaders. Your influence as an agent is based on your actions, so this is something you have to earn over time. Would you prefer to stay at a distance? Would you be interested in being drawn more deeply in over time as your reputation grows? The house could definitely take an interest in you as you gain influence and power. You could discover corruption within the house and have to decide whether to fight it or whether to simply break ties with it.
While a scion could have any background, there are a few that could reflect your ties to your house. This often happens when an heir wants to engage in actions forbidden by the Korth Edicts, such as marrying into a noble family. But it can also be driven by a matter of principle: a Jorasco heir wants to devote their life to charitable healing, or a Deneith soldier wants to fight for a particular cause instead of for gold.
If your circumstances change, you could even potentially return to it. Was it driven by the Edicts? Was it a matter of principle? Was it tied to love, or to prevent a scandal? In many ways being an orphan is the simplest way to play a dragonmarked character, if all you want is the abilities of the mark. The main question is if you want the house to play a role in your life. If you left to avoid a scandal, do you want it to come back up?
If you were driven away by love gone wrong, do you want to cross paths with your lover or your rival? If you left because of a principle, do you want that to be a theme as your story evolves? Or do you just want to focus on a career as an adventurer with a dragonmark, without getting into any of that?
An orphan can follow almost any background. The main point is that the benefits of your background will not reflect an active tie to your house. Of course, you could take the Noble background with the Retainers option, suggesting that you turned your back on your life of privilege but a few loyal retainers remain by your side. The Excoriate An Excoriate has committed a crime against the house and been formally cast out of it.
This is far more severe than being an orphan. Your likeness is circulated; heirs of the house are forbidden from providing you with any sort of aid or assistance, and even members of other houses will usually shun excoriates. Did you actually commit treason or make an attack against your house?
Did you deserve your excoriation, or is it the result of political maneuvering—you uncovered corruption or some other secret the house needed to keep hidden? If it was possible, would you want to find a way to return to your house, or do you despise your family and everything it stands for? An excoriate is an orphan with an extra serving of drama. If the adventure requires interaction with a house, you may have to disguise yourself or make yourself scare.
On the other hand, perhaps you still have friends or contacts in the family… but are you willing to place them at risk by asking for their help? The Foundling As a foundling you never had a connection to a house.
Or are you AFRAID of the houses… either because you know a terrible secret about them, or for purely irrational reasons? If your reputation grows and your mark is revealed, your house may pressure you to join—is that a story that you want to explore? If not, you might be better off as an orphan. Why did you decide to limit dragonmarks to specific bloodlines as opposed to making them available to all members of a particular race?
The second aspect is the fact that families have drama. This is also something that clearly and concretely distinguishes the houses from aberrant dragonmarks, which do appear entirely at random.
Was it intentional for House Jorasco to come across as a heartlessly capitalistic organization? The Dragonmarked sourcebook presents a particularly heartless view of House Jorasco, requiring every heir to swear an oath never to heal without payment and suggesting that heirs can actually be excoriated for breaking this oath… when excoriation is elsewhere said as a rare punishment reserved for treason and similar acts. They need to make a profit to prosper and continue to provide their services.
Therefore, they will limit their services to those who can pay. And people KNOW that. Would it be better if everyone had all the services they needed? Of course! Otherwise, does the agent feel that the actions of the party are increasing the reputation of the house?
While they are at a healing house, they have to follow the rules, just as a Cannith smith has to meet the standards and follow the pricing established by the house.
One is the fact that while Jorasco is BEST known for its healing magic, the most COMMON and affordable services are mundane treatment enhanced by the power of the mark—which is to say, use of the Medicine skill with the intuition bonus granted by the mark.
So in looking to the fact that they expect payment, most of what they do is an actual SERVICE—not just the work of a moment and a spell slot. The second is that there are people who provide charitable healing.
The Church of the Silver Flame and adepts of Boldrei sometimes operate free clinics. The critical points here… These places look after people who are truly in need. This is Faela in Sharn, caring for the destitute people of Fallen.
How strong or fragile are the limitations of the Korth Edicts after the War? The Korth Edicts are the laws put in place by the united kingdom of Galifar to limit the power of the dragonmarked houses. These include restrictions on the houses holding land or maintaining military forces.
The issue with the Korth Edicts is that Galifar is no longer a united entity.
The Dragonmarked Houses
Creation[ edit ] In the mythic past, the world was one great mass. The progenitor wyrms, the first and the greatest of dragon-kind, ruled all. The three most powerful — Siberys, Eberron, and Khyber — discovered the Prophecy. A world shattering struggle ensued. The battle split the world into three parts.
World of Eberron
Edit Aberrant Dragonmarks can be clearly distinguished from a standard house dragonmark and no two are alike The dragonmarks are passed through bloodlines and when two members of different dragonmarked families reproduce it often results in aberrant dragonmarks. The aberrant marks do not manifest identically each time therefore it is possible for two individuals with completely different looking marks to produce the same magical effect using the mark. Indeed each aberrant dragonmark is completely unique to its bearer. Originally aberrant marked were seen as outcasts and outsiders. Often they were shunned by the houses and eked out a pitiful existence. Many members bearing these aberrant dragonmarks have since united in their differences and formed House Tarkanan , most notably present in Sharn.