Dragonmarks 6/14: Lightning Round 4!

Big week this week, but it may be two weeks before there’s another update; I’m getting ready to move back to Portland and there’s a lot of work to be done! As always, these are my personal thoughts and may not always mesh with canon sources. Take ‘em for what they are worth.

Did you sneak any personal data into Eberron? Is “Eberron” the name of a favourite cat as a child? Is Merrix a best friend?

Bear in mind that not all the names are mine; many things changed in the big brainstorming phase when I was working with James Wyatt, Bill Slaviscek, Chris Perkins, and the rest, and many NPCs were developed in that phase. For example, I think it was Bill Slaviscek who came up with the name “Khorvaire”, so maybe someone in his family drove a Corvair. Everyone on the original design team left their marks on the world somewhere.

On my part, the only one that comes to mind is Greykeyll from Eye of the Wolf and City of Towers. In real life, Greykell is my adopted sister. The character in City of Towers essentially is her, dropped into Eberron. When I was developing ideas for the comic and decided to use a Cyran veteran, she seemed like a logical choice – and as I mentioned earlier, her background became much more interesting at that point. And hey, she’s got a great fantasy name!

The real Greykell!

Sharn and Stormreach are two cities that have seen a decent amount of source material. Are there any other cities that you would like to see fleshed out? Which ones and could you elaborate on what is interesting about those places?

I want to see EVERYTHING fleshed out. But I’ll pick out a few specific examples.

Graywall. I got started with this in this Dungeon Backdrop, but it’s one of my favorite cities and I’d love to do more. I love the frontier feel and the chance to explore monsters in a role beyond “the creatures you kill for treasure.” It’s also a great haven for dissidents, deserters, and war criminals. As I like to say, it’s Casablanca with more trolls.

Thaliost. It’s a powder keg right in the heart of the Five Nations, and a chance to take a deeper look at both Aundair and Thrane. it was something that was in the running for a 2012 Dragonshard, but Eston ended up winning the “undeveloped city” slot.

Pylas Talaear. This port city serves as the gateway to Aerenal. We haven’t taken a close look at what daily life is like in Aerenal, and what it’s like for foreigners who visit; I think it would be a great place to explore.

Atur. Ancient stronghold of the Blood of Vol in Karrnath. The crown has distanced itself from the faith, but Kaius still holds court in Nighthold. This is an interesting place to explore the full spectrum of the Blood of Vol and its relationship with Karrnath, and the conflict between the Emerald Claw and other elements of the faith.

Did you have explanation for the day of mourning when you first developed the setting?

No. I had half a dozen explanations that all made sense to me, which is essentially the approach you get with a lot of things in Eberron. To me, the cause of the Mourning was far less important than the impact it had on the world. The unsolved Mourning is what holds the Next War at bay and keeps the world in a cold war, and that interests me far more than an adventure in which people solve it. So here’s a few I considered:

* It was an environmental consequence of the amount of magic being used in the war – both war magic and increased production on the part of the houses. This is one thing driving the ceasefire; until people can be sure that using war magic won’t cause another Mourning, it’s hard to start firing the siege staffs again.

* It was a misfire of a weapon that was being developed, most likely by Cannith. The question then becomes if any of the current Cannith heirs know anything about it, or if all information was lost.

* It was a successful test of a weapon, and whoever did it is waiting to “reload” before they take credit for their actions.

* It was the result of the release of a demon Overlord or Daelkyr, who is currently sitting in the Mournland rebuilding its strength and studying the world. This could be an interesting blend with the Becoming God or Mournland Magebred.

* The Children of Winter are right: it is simply the beginning of the end. Whether or not it was triggered by magic, it is a catastrophic environmental failure that will soon start to spread across the world until the entire world is transformed; at that point, an entirely new world will be created.

* It’s the work of the Sovereigns – a warning to get people to stop and reconsider.

* It’s tied to the appearance of the Feyspires (see The Fading Dream).

… I could continue, but you get the idea. Any of these could be true. And as long as any could be true, people have to proceed as if they are all potential threats.

Some people may say “But in The Gates of Night it’s implied that Lei’s parents know what caused the Mourning! So that means you had an answer!” Well, if you read closely, they don’t say they know WHAT caused the Mourning, they say they know WHO caused the Mourning. They have a specific answer in mind, and it could apply to any of those explanations I’ve given above… and I’ll leave it at that.

If you have a ‘new favorite’ explanation of the day of mourning, and if so, what is it?

Clearly, it’s the Spellplague!

… OK, maybe not.

It’s sometimes mentioned that cultists of the Dragon Below have some kind of “promised reward” in the form of a wonderful place deep within Khyber. Have you ever fleshed out any details about what this promised land would be for them, or is this something that’s intentionally vague and/or subject to change depending on the particular cult?

A key principle of the Cults of the Dragon Below is that they aren’t monolithic in any way. The majority of cultists don’t even think of themselves as “cultists of the Dragon Below”; it’s a label that academics use to cover the diverse range of sects. Common elements are connections to or affection for aberrations; ties to Daelkyr or Overlords; and bizarre beliefs which may actually be schizophrenic in nature. I’ve talked about a sect that believes there’s a glorious kingdom below that you can only reach by paving the path with the blood of enemies. It could be that this is a literal, physical place. Khyber is supposed to include, essentially, demiplanes – there could be some bizarre wonder-world you can only get to through this cavern in the Shadow Marches. Or it could be utter lunacy. This same basic belief could appear in another cult across the nation, especially if it’s tied to the same Overlord or Daelkyr; but that doesn’t imply any communication between the two cults, and it’s possible cult two has an entirely different idea of their paradise… or that their paradise also exists but is a different demiplane.

Were there any other potential races you thought of for Eberron before settling on Changelings, Warforged, and Shifters? Also, regarding Changelings, what are your personal ways for keeping Changeling PC’s in check?

First, you left Kalashtar out of the list, and they were in from day one. Beyond that, there were no other NEW races in the original proposal. It was suggested that goblinoids should be viable characters. As for changeling PCs, it depends what they’re trying to do; I’ve played in quite a few games with changeling PCs without problems. Can you be more specific (in the comments) about exactly what problems you’re having (and what edition you’re using)? Their clothing and equipment doesn’t change, and in a society in which changelings exist people will pay attention to such things. In a city like Sharn, groups such as the Tyrants may actually police their own, as someone passing through and giving changelings a bad name will hurt them in the long term. Beyond that, though, anyone can be a changeling with a hat of disguise or first levelillusion spell – and there they can change clothes, too! Changeling abilities are useful, but they shouldn’t be foolproof – and bear in mind that this is a world where changelings, illusionists, rakshasa and more are simply known fact.

In a real society, the medieval urban elite would be bankers, traders, captains of industry. But in Eberron, industry and trade is dominated by the Dragonmarked. How do hypothetical non-Dragonmarked urban elites compete without the magical edge the Dragonmarked possess?

Not easily, which is why the Houses are typically described as having monopolistic power over their fields of industry. Thus, the simplest way for a non-dragonmarked urban elite to thrive is to run a business sanctioned by one of the houses; this is something described in the Dragonmarked sourcebook. Not every inn is a Ghallanda inn; but if it’s got the Ghallanda seal of approval, you know it’s of quality… and that it gives the house a share of its profits. To be licensed, you need to adhere to house standards (and put up with inspections) and pay your dues. But it’s possible for everyone to profit.

There are other options. You can find a niche that none of the houses cover. While we’ve never mentioned it, it’s possible Cannith has a line of clothes. But they aren’t competing with people like Davandi in the field of high fashion. You could specialize in a particular field; you can’t make smoothies as quickly as someone using a Ghallanda prestidigitation-based blender, but you have a special recipe that makes it worth the wait and higher price. This is the point of, say, The Oaks in Sharn. The food is simply better than you’ll get in the Gold Dragon Inn. But it’s due to the genius of that single chef. You could also possess a resource that the house needs and doesn’t have. The Mror lords are wealthy because they own the gold and steel mines.

I’ve talked about how the houses may bring their power to bear on someone who threatens their monopolies. The thing is, it has to really be a viable threat. Ghallanda doesn’t care if the Oaks is the best restaurant in Sharn; they still make fat dragons every day from all of their restaurants. It’s only if the Oaks’ chef tried to create a national chain and a series of low-end cheap eateries that they’d start to worry. Likewise, Cannith doesn’t need to drive every single smith out of business. However, if you buy from a smith who doesn’t have the Gorgon seal, you don’t know what sort of steel you’re getting!

Considering the masses of Warforged that have been produced , what countermeasures against Warforged have been created? How likely would it be for an influential Individual like Nolan Toranak to find/create them ?

Honestly, the masses of warforged still make up a relatively small number of the total troops fielded during the war. With that said, you don’t need something to be entirely developed to destroy warforged; anything that would be especially effective against armored infantry will work. Heat metal, some sort of corrosive cloud, a swarm of rust monsters… take your pick. And if you’re using 3.5 rules, you have a wide range of inflict damage/disable construct spells you can build into weapons. I don’t think Nolan Toranak could create them, but he could certainly buy them.

What do the leaders of Aerenal think about Xen’drik and the recent trend of expeditions looting all those giant relics? I can’t imagine them to be neutral about this, since they know better than almost anyone else what the ancient giants were capable of.

What are they going to do – blockade the Thunder Sea? There’s more humans than elves. I think the most likely approach would be for them to send their own forces – a specialized unit of the Cairdal Blades – to try to destroy the things they feel are too dangerous to be found. So when your adventurers have just found a really, really cool artifact, have some elves show up who want to destroy it.

What does the Dreaming Dark think of Aerenal? I imagine they must be pretty concerned with the power of the Undying Court, and the fact that the elves will likely know some of the stuff that happened back when the Quori invaded Xen’drik.

Maybe yes, maybe no. The Dreaming Dark seeks to impose order upon the chaotic minds of humanity because mortal dreamers affect Dal Quor. Elves don’t dream, therefore it’s quite likely that their actions have no impact on Dal Quor; and setting aside that tiff with Vol, Aerenal has shown itself to be an incredibly stable society that has barely changed in twenty thousand years. What more could the Quori want from it?Essentially, their best bet is to leave it alone and hope that nothing changes.

As for the elves remembering the Quori invasion, there’s all sorts of issues there.

* It’s not like the elves who founded Aerenal were big on pre-war history. They don’t even have concrete info about the Qabalrin; the line of Vol was just using scraps of Qabalrin lore.

* The exact details of the Quori “invasion” are still very mysterious. While it’s logical to assume that they were seeking to evade the turn of the Age as the current Quori are, it’s entirely possible that they were trying to do this in a non-aggressive manner; the existence of the docent Shira shows the possibility that they simply sought to ESCAPE Dal Quor, but had no desire to conquer the people of Eberron. Another possibility that’s come up is that the giants – who were clearly aggressive – actually sought to conquer Dal Quor, and that the actions of the Quori were in fact self-defense.

* Any way you slice it, that war involved an entirely different age of Dal Quor, and the Quori were nothing like those of the present day. So even if there are elves who kept excellent records, those records describe interactions with a very different culture and species.

How would the Dreaming Dark feel about Warforged , since they do not sleep and therefore dont dream ?

See the above, and for that matter, read The Dreaming Dark trilogy. It was written by this Keith Baker guy – you might have heard of him. It’s out of print, but still available in ebook form: City of Towers, The Shattered Land, and The Gates of Night.

“Do warforged dream of humunculi sheep?” A question that came up in game recently when one character offered to show the warforged character her dreams. The warforged said that “they don’t dream.” Other than a “Blade Runner” type adventure, how do you interpret this concept?

How do *I* interpret it? Well, you might want to check out The Dreaming Dark trilogy. I hear it’s available on Amazon. Now in time for the holidays!

Could Karrnathi skeletons theoretically act autonomously like a warforged or do they require Karrnathi military orders to act?

Karrnathi skeletons can make autonomous decisions based on pre-existing orders. So if a Bone Knight tells his undead regiment “Hold this pass at any cost” and then dies, the regiment is capable of adapting their tactics to deal with whatever new threat comes along. However, they cannot do any of the following:

* Decide that they are sick of holding the pass and want to do something else.

* Conclude that circumstances have changed and that the pass is no longer strategically important.

* Compose poetry while they are waiting.

* Improve their skills – which is to say, gain class levels.

* Have any sort of emotional attachment to anyone or anything in their unit.

Karrnathi undead aren’t like vampires or liches. They can only be made from the corpses of elite Karrnathi soldiers, but a newly risen Karrnathi skeleton is identical to every other Karrnathi skeleton; it has none of the memories of the original soldier. The ritual isn’t some cheap form of raise dead. One way to look at it: a warforged has a soul; Karrnathi undead do not. FOr more on Karrnathi undead and possible dark secrets about them, check out the Fort Bones Eye on Eberron article.

On the Ashbound: do you see there being room in the Ashbound doctrine for members who oppose not arcane magic, but the mundane pollution of Eberron?

Allow me to answer with a quote from the Player’s Guide to Eberron: “To the Ashbound, many things violate the natural order, with arcane magic at the top of the list. The Ashbound see such magic as the epitome of the unnatural, using formulas and rituals to twist the laws of nature and create deadly effects that were never meant to exist. Cities and other physical manifestations of civilization are next on the list, along with structured agriculture and the magebreeding of animals—twisted attempts to reshape the world.”

“Pollution” is just a symptom; civilization is the disease.

How would the Ashbound regard an arcane caster who draws their magic from nature, such as the Pathfinder witch?

That depends. How does it manifest, from a practical in-world standpoint? How does someone looking at the witch recognize that her magic is arcane in the first place, and how can they tell that it comes from a “natural source”? If she is using the verbal, somatic, and material components of a wizard, then the Ashbound will treat her like a wizard. If she looks more like a druid, then most will treat her like a druid; it would take some sort of magehunter who’s actually trained to sniff out arcane magic to recognize her and decide what to do.

What is a cutting disk, what does one look like & how did it come to be a kalashtar weapon?

One is shown here in the hand of the Atavist Lanhareth. The kalashtar prefer curved things to hard angles. In my opinion it was developed as a soulknife weapon long before it was used in steel. As a result, they come in many styles; any soulknife could come up with a different take on it.

If Eberron religions were replaced with Earth religions what would their analogues be?

The Sovereign Host is a pantheistic faith dealing with anthropomorphic deities, and as such could map to any number of Earthly religions. Frankly, the others weren’t intended to mirror Earthly religions and don’t map well at all.

The Church of the Silver Flame doesn’t worship an anthropomorphic deity. It doesn’t believe that its divine power created the world; rather, it believes that this power was created to combat the evil in the world. Add to that the fact that supernatural evil unquestionably exists. The current human church (as opposed to other Flame sects like the Shulassakar) was founded when Tira Miron was empowered by the Flame to defeat Bel Shalor. This is sort of like Godzilla appearing in North America and stomping on Texas and Oklahoma before being defeated by someone who was given a special gun by aliens and invited to join the Galactic Federation of Godzilla Binders. People don’t “worship” the Flame as such; the Flame is a source of power noble people can draw on to protect the innocent from evil, and the Church is the organization that coordinates that (and as the Shulassakar show, you don’t have to be part of the church to form a connection to the Flame). It has as much in common with the Jedi and the Men In Black as it does with Christianity.

The Blood of Vol is based on the question “What just god would allow suffering and death?” – with the conclusion “None, so the gods must be our enemies.” It’s tied to the fact that the people of Eberron KNOW what the afterlife is like, and it’s not pretty. The Elven religions seek to avoid going to Dolurrh; the Silver Flame believes its people join with the Flame; and the Vassals say “Well, we go to Dolurrh, but you just don’t understand what it really is.” The Seekers say “You’re kidding yourself. Dolurrh is extinction. But we have the divine spark within us. We can become gods – and even if we can’t, we will spit in the face of death.” Again, not a very direct map to anything.

Concerning religions, while the Silver Flame is certainly no direct analogue of a real-world religion, to my mind many of its elements are similar to Catholic and Christian elements. Aside from cardinals, the idea of sacrificing oneself for getting rid of evil (Tira Miron, etc.) and the existence of exorcisms are some of them.

Certainly. Note that I said “it has as much to do with the Jedi as Christianity” – which is to say, there are elements of each. The elements you mention are good examples – and bear in mind, long before Tira Miron was born, the Flame itself was formed by the sacrifice of the Couatl; the most fundamental principle of the Flame is noble sacrifice to defeat evil. It’s simply the case that while there are important similarities, there are also some very fundamental differences – people can be blinded by one and not see the other.

Blood of Vol is cult like, individual, secret. How do you reconcile that with a massive Monastery in Atur? How old is that?

I think we have very different views of the Blood of Vol. Have you read the Eye on Eberron article on Fort Bones? One pertinent quote: “The Blood of Vol has had a presence in Karrnath for many centuries, and followers of this faith served under Karrn the Conqueror and Galifar I.” There are many Karrnathi villages where it’s always been the dominant faith for over a thousand years, and in any major Karrnathi city it should be easy to find the neighborhood of the Seekers or the local priest; Atur has long been its urban stronghold. However, it was never endorsed or supported by the royal family, and this is what Kaius did – he made it the religion of the state and gave its priests real political power. Now he’s reversed that, disbanded the orders, and condemned the Emerald Claw. In my campaign, Moranna and Kaius are also using the Seekers as scapegoats for many of Karrnath’s troubles and defeats – why, their dark magics are probably why Karrnath had such troubles with the plagues in the first place, and then they tricked us to relying on them. This is an effort to undercut the power the faith gained during the war and to strengthen Kaius’ support by saying “all our past problems can be blamed on these people, and I’m taking steps to change that.”  So life can be difficult for the faithful. But it’s still not a crime to follow the faith, and most who follow it remain loyal to Karrnath even though their fortunes have changed; the commander of Fort Bones is a seeker.

As for being individual and cult-like, there’s two paths Seekers tend to follow. You have the hermit-like followers who carry out a solitary pursuit of the Divinity Within, which is after all a personal quest. However, most Seekers believe that you CAN’T find the Divinity Within in a human lifespan, which is precisely why they believe the Sovereigns created the curse of mortality – to prevent humans from attaining their true potential and becoming the equals of the Sovereigns. These Seekers hope that their undead martyrs (martyrs in that an undead creature can never attain the Divinity Within, which is tied to the blood and spark of life) and the champions of the church will some day break the chains of death for all people, Seekers and non-Seekers alike. In the meantime, the faith places a very strong emphasis on community. The universe is against us and death is the end. Therefore, hold tight to your friends and neighbors. Present a united front. Every death diminishes us, and we must stand together in the face of this. The most common religious rite is bringing the community together and sharing blood in a basin; this emphasizes that the community is one, and must stand together. I’ll also note that a cleric of the Blood of Vol is more likely to raise the dead than one of the Sovereign Host (who believes that Dolurrh is the gateway to joining the Sovereigns) or the Silver Flame (who believes noble souls strengthen the Flame). The Seeker cleric knows that nothing better is waiting for you, and if he can get you back, he will.

Now, the Order of the Emerald Claw is secret and cult-like. But it’s an extremist sect. Some Seekers support its actions even if they won’t join it; but others despise the Emerald Claw and oppose it when they can.

Where does the Emerald Claw keep finding those gullible kids to be their minions?

Who says they’re gullible? There’s a few different things that drive them.

* The principle of the Blood of Vol is that the ancient undead champions have the wisdom to guide the living towards the Divinity Within and that if anyone can defeat the Sovereigns and free the living from the curse of mortality, it’s them. And what undead champion is mightier than the Queen of Death? The sad part is that by canon, Erandis doesn’t care about that, but hey, they don’t know that. “There is no greater champion than the Queen of Death. She will usher in the new Age of Life.”

* The Blood of Vol came to the aid of Karrnath in its hour of need. Seekers who could have stayed out of harm’s way joined the battle because their priests called on them to do so. They shared secrets of the faith with the king, created Fort Zombie and Fort Bones, helped the nation to survive. Now the King has turned on them and condemned them without reason. He ignores their good works and blames his own failings on them. “My father gave his life for this kingdom! He spilled his blood on its soil! And this king spits upon his sacrifice? i will give MY loyalty to a Queen who will never betray us.”

* Most Seekers don’t actually WANT to be undead. They want the Divinity Within; being a corpse driven by a blood-thirst that cannot be slaked pretty much sucks next to that. However, there are some who are purely driven by a desire for personal immortality and power, and Erandis plays to that. “The Queen of Death has promised that I shall be one of her next blood lords if I succeed at this mission!”

* Kaius’ actions have angered many of the non-Seeker warlords. His efforts to broker a peace are seen as weakness. Many Emerald Claw recruits aren’t seekers at all; they have simply been lured by the idea that this Queen of Death will overthrow Kaius and place their warlord of choice (who might be one of those she’s promised to make a vampire, or even Erandis herself) on the throne of Galifar. “I fight for Karrnath! This lily-white king is sucking the blood from our country – the Queen of Death shall lead us all to victory!”

I could go on, but I do have to do some work that pays bills sometime. But you get the idea.

Are you aware of any 4e conversions of the Master Inquisitive?

Not personally. I’d make it a theme. Have a base ability that helps with investigation and utilities tied to Perception, Insight, and Steetwise (look to the skill powers for inspiration). Not sure about what I’d do with the combat powers, you could tie it to the way they handle Sherlock Holmes in the Downey movies – using Insight to anticipate an opponent’s moves and make a more effective attack.

Do representitives from Adar / Kalashtar not speak to the nations of Khorvaire?  Do they not say ‘Hey guys Riedra is ruled by extra planar denizeniens bent on world (means everyone) domination, we should do something!’   Does no one care?

This is covered in more detail in sources like ​Races of Eberron. To a certain degree, the kalashtar suffer from a level of cultural arrogance; “This is our battle to fight.” There’s also the fact that most of the kalashtar of Adar don’t approve of active warfare in the first place; they believe that it is through their continued passive resistance that they will force the turn of the age, and THIS is what will win the war. if you want to do something to help, stop fighting your wars and letting the quori turn you against one another, because THAT is how they conquered Sarlona. However, there are kalashtar in Khorvaire who want to do more. Some of these might try to raise awareness. But here’s the problems with that:

  • Riedra is a global superpower. It is a valuable ally and trade partner, and many nations received Riedran aid during and since the Last War. In short, nations have good reason to want to keep Riedra as an ally.
  • Riedra has taken no offensive action against any nation in Khorvaire.
  • Riedra asserts that the Adarans are religious fanatics and terrorists, much like the Order of the Emerald Claw – something the common folk of Khorvaire can identify with.
  • The leaders of Riedra are demons trying to enslave us all!” If this is true, why hasn’t Riedra tried to enslave anyone? Even the history of Riedra is one of the common people embracing the Inspired as their saviors, not one of conquest. Beyond this, bear in mind that the leaders of Riedra don’t deny that they are possessed; they simply assert that the spirits that possess them are benevolent ancestors. It’s not particularly different from the Tairnadal or the Undying Court.
  • No-one is especially concerned about having Adar as an ally.
  • The Dreaming Dark is careful to keep its operations entirely separate from Riedran ambassadors, and the Dreaming Dark has no recognized authority in Riedra; if the action can be traced to Riedra at all, it would be something the Inspired could dismiss as criminal.
  • There are mind seeds and quori agents scattered across Khorvaire, some in positions of power. Essentially, the Kalashtar who goes to the Duke and announces his suspicions about a local Dreaming Dark plot may simply be exposing himself to the agents of the Dark.

So: Riedra has in the past shown itself to be a valuable ally to Khorvaire. Adar can’t prove any claims it might make, and drawing itself into the spotlight actually makes it easier for the Dreaming Dark to use propaganda against it. The kalashtar believe that it’s their task to oppose the Inspired. Some feel that they do this simply by surviving and continuing their devotion to the Path of Light. Others seek to identify, expose, and destroy individual operations of the Dreaming Dark (which, remember, more often then not have no obvious connection to Riedra). Experience has shown that it’s more effective to gather a small skilled force – say, a party of adventurers – and handle things directly.

Kalishstar resemeble humans so much, how evident would it be for someone to identify a character as Kalishtar instead of human …

Following 3.5 rules, a kalashtar receives no penalty if it attempts to disguise itself as human. So if they TRY to appear human, it’s not very hard for them to do. If the kalashtar makes no effort to conceal its identity, its mannerisms, appearance (unnatural symmetry, etc), and potentially clothing will make it stand out as unusual, even if the observer isn’t familiar enough with kalashtar to recognize it for what it is.

You mentioned the Duke being controlled by a “mind seed.”

A mind seed is a psychic infection that rewrites the personality of the victim to that of a quori. So the mind seed isn’t controlling the Duke as such; he’s become a willing servant of the Dark.

Aren’t all Kalashtar seen as enemies of the Dreaming Dark? Therefore he wouldn’t even have to talk to the infected Duke, merely be seen by him … or would that Duke necessarily immediately know if someone was Kalishtar or Human by sight?

To address the second part first, if the kalashtar disguises his appearance – wearing a hooded robe, taking some effort to adjust his body language – he can easily pass as human. Beyond that, does the duke actually see every traveler who passes through his domain? However, if he walks up to the duke and says “I am a lightbringer of Adar, and I tell you that there is evil in this place!” – well, the cat-of-light’s out of the bag at that point.

As to the first question: is every kalashtar seen as an enemy? Every kalashtar is connected to a rebel quori, and as such the Dark would be happy to destroy every kalashtar of a line in order to reclaim that spirit. However, on a daily level, not every kalashtar is actively engaged in conflict with the Dreaming Dark, and of those who are the vast majority do so simply by performing the rituals of the Path of Light, which are ever-so-slowly keeping the wheel of the age turning. The net result of this is that yes, the Dark is always a potential threat to a kalashtar, which is why they generally live in Adaran communities and draw little attention to themselves. But in practice, the death of any single random kalashtar is a very very low priority to the Dreaming Dark. So let’s go back to that infected duke. He’s a very valuable tool for the Dreaming Dark and likely engaged in long-term political schemes. He sees some random kalashtar on the street. Risking exposure and the upset of all his plans just to kill some random, possibly harmless kalashtar isn’t remotely worthwhile. On the other hand, if that kalashtar is either drawing attention to himself or directly threatening the operations of the Dark – suddenly it may be worthwhile to risk exposure in order to eliminate him. Of course, they’d try to eliminate him in a way that DIDN’T risk exposure – frame the kalashtar for a crime, for example, so the duke can execute him legally. But if the kalashtar stays in the shadows, keeping a low profile and concealing his true nature from those he doesn’t know, he’s far safer than if he walks around saying “LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE DREAMING DARK!” – which is why they don’t do it.

Another way to look at the lightbringers’ approach to the Dreaming Dark is very much Tommy Lee Jones’ statement to Wil Smith in the original Men in Black. Why don’t they tell the world about all the aliens? Because ignorance is what lets these people live their normal, happy lives. If you tell them that there are evil monsters in their dreams they are never going to sleep soundly again, and yet that won’t help one bit in making those dreams safer. The Lightbringers are aware the threat. They will identify it and deal with it. If you’re a capable adventurer, perhaps you can help. But revealing it to the world will only cause panic for no purpose. There’s a certain arrogance to this – they frankly think they can handle this better than you can, paladin of the Silver Flame – but there it is.

Look for more about the Dreaming Dark in an upcoming Eye on Eberron article!

As always, I’d love to hear what you’ve done in your campaign or your thoughts on any of these things. The next Q&A is going to concern the nobility of the Five Nations – feel free to ask questions here!

36 Responses to “Dragonmarks 6/14: Lightning Round 4!”

  1. Christopher Adams says:

    Great post, Keith! You know I always love it when the subject of religion comes up.

    On nobility:

    The dragonmarked houses have been around for a very long time, but my impression is that their current organisation as more-or-less monolithic corporate entities is not nearly as old as the monarchic and aristocratic traditions of Galifar and the Five Nations.

    So . . . in what ways have the noble families of Khorvaire tried to distinguish themselves from the dragonmarked houses and preserve their privileges in the face of the economic and magical power the dragonmarked possess?

    The immediate possibility is the prohibition against dragonmarked houses owning (or at least holding, in a feudal sense) land. Do noble families rely largely upon their possession of estates (and ports, mines, forests, et cetera) to remain powerful and relevant in the world?

    Likewise, I can think of historical examples of political and social positions which were only open to those of noble birth (however the society construed it). Roman Republican offices and religious appointments, knightly orders and organisations across medieval and early modern Europe, et cetera. Is it possible, for instance, that there are or have been prohibitions against dragonmarked students at Arcanix, or dragonmarked cadets at Rekkenmark?

  2. Keith Baker says:

    I’ll address this fully in the nobility post, but the answer to all the questions you raise is “yes’. This is the purpose of the Korth edicts forbid the Dragonmarked from holding land, office, or maintaining military forces. While we haven’t specifically said that members of dragonmarked houses can’t go to Arcanix or Rekkenmark, there’s certainly logic to it; these things are institutions of Galifar. Mind you, Cannith maintains its own magewright trade schools which many of the commonfolk of Galifar attend, but Arcanix is far more than a trade school.

  3. Vaelorn says:

    Love your sister’s t-shirt!

  4. Nibelung says:

    Mentioning Thaliost remembered me of my last Silver Flame-themed campaign. I had the leader of Thaliost church to burn the whole city down, so that Aundair would “forget about it, and leave those people in peace”. He promptly commited suicide right after that, and the PCs saved half of the city from burning.

    Obviously, Aundair took that as a declaration of war, and things started to get fun from there. That was a good campaign.

    I loved the concept that a seeker is more willing to raise you from dead. For convenience, I never turned down any atempt of my players to raise a friend, but getting into a small discussion about it the next time the situation arrives will be cool. Thanks for the insight.

  5. You see two women in a bar in Sharn. Do you hit on the one with the Flame symbol because she might be repressed, or the one with the Blood of Vol symbol because she might be freaky?

  6. Keith Baker says:

    Why are you at that bar in the first place? Have you seen the party going on at Olladra’s shrine?

  7. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Thaliost is certainly a very interesting place, and it makes a great starting point because many elements of the political tension in Khorvaire can be roleplayed or experienced there. Concerning religions, while the Silver Flame is certainly no direct analogue of a real-world religion, to my mind many of its elements are similar to Catholic and Christian elements. Aside from cardinals, the idea of sacrificing oneself for getting rid of evil (Tira Miron, etc.) and the existence of exorcisms are some of them.
    Another question I have is the following: is Breland your favorite among the five nations? I have the feeling that many authors love that country, and while interesting it is actually not my favorite. Despite the mention of corruption and greed, I think that it tends to be cast in a good light, or at least better than other nations. It engages in questionable criminal operations through its agents (dark lanterns, mostly) in spite of its claims of freedom. This is why I secretly hope Thorn is someday outwitted by one of the royal eyes of Aundair, Daask or, better yet, a Thrane (I have a soft spot for them).
    Lastly, while you once mentioned that Galifar was a lost dream, do you consider it impossible to unite the nations again?

  8. Antariuk says:

    Thanks for answering all those questions! Also, your sister’s t-shirt is awesome. It’s like the “Favoured in House” feat, only in real life.

    Questions about nobility:

    Assumed that at least a part of Khorvaire’s nobility knows about the chance of aberrant dragonmarks between lovers of two different dragonmarked houses, wouldn’t they use this as a strategy to segregate heirs that have become bothersome? Pay off some low-ranking dragonmarked heir and let him/her seduce your target under false pretenses. I certainly would do that, given the ressources and power of dragonmarked houses against nobility.

    With doppelgangers, changelings, and (potential) forgers like house Sivis scribes around, what techniques were developed against imposters? When familiy ties cover almost an entire continent, I imagine you meet a “lost cousin” like every other week, especially in the aftermath of the Last War.

    From a children’s point of view, how much is the archetypical fairy-tale prince/princess challenged by all the dragonmarked ideals? When you can play to be the dashing Lyrandar captain, or the mighty Deneith fighter, how popular is nobility among the youth of central Khorvaire?

  9. Axe says:

    So, speaking of nobility!
    What is the standard tactics Krozen uses when dealing with the nobility whenever the Queen gets silly ideas of taking power over Thrane?

    I’d be very interested in hearing some victories of the clergy of Thrane over the nobility, and how they play their opponents.
    After all, no matter what the queen would like, the Church is the power in Thrane, so there has to be some fairly big victories they’ve had.

  10. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Axe’s question is one I’ve always pondered on, expanding on it, while foreign powers seek to support the queen, perhaps to destabilize or weaken Thrane, are there other foreign or power groups that support the Church in Thrane, offsetting foreign influence? This would make interesting stories on several groups trying to create a Thrane civil conflict. I imagine Aundair is interested in this to claim Thaliost

  11. Axe says:

    Could be an interesting game to play from the Thranish pov.
    Play the various foreign factions against each other, and build up Thrane while you bleed the various other groups who dare acting on Thranish ground dry of resources.

    In fact, there should be plenty of foreign powers that would not want Aundair to have a weak Thrane right next doors (Breland, for instance, is close to getting a crisis, so having a too safe Aundair can’t be in their interests), so I think it could work.

  12. Antariuk says:

    That would be certainly be a valid angle, but for example Karrnath might be interested in playing all sides by secretly helping Thrane, mich in return will keep Aundair and Breland in check, only that Karrnath also tries to make sure that Thrane will never thrive beyond a certain point. Lots of ideas for cloak and dagger games…

  13. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Great ideas Axe and Antariuk!

  14. Keith Baker says:

    I’m going to add a response to one of your points in the text of this response, Nicolas – but lots of good questions for the upcoming Q&A from everyone. Thanks to everyone who’s participated so far.

  15. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Thanks for the answer Keith! Concerning foreign influence ithe Thrane conflict. I wonder whether strategy is more important to Karrnath than the fact that Thrane ideology is contrary to many beliefs of its population (blood of Vol, etc.), and there was a bitter enmity between both nations during the last war. In legacy of wolves it is told how a Thrane village was razed by Karrnath. Perhaps Kaius amd other Karrnathis do not care whether Aundair seizes Thaliost and would enjoy this. Or they may temporarily support Thrane in secret intending to ensure it is weak. While Kaius wants peace, perhaps a warlord from Karrnath has in mind invading Thrane

  16. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    I promise I won’t say much more :) : apart from espionage aspects, there are many interesting diplomatic and legal things that can be roleplayed: if Thrane discovers and exposes the support of actors operating against it by another nation, it could denounce that nation as violating the treaty of Thronehold. In real-life, the UN and the International Court of Justice consider this as breaching the prohibitions of the use of force and of not interfering in the affairs of other States.

  17. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    (continued) If on top of this supporters of royalists attack the Church, Flamers from abroad may attach more importance to their religious allegiance over national ones, which could destabilize other nations in turn

  18. Axe says:

    Sure, that could be a way of doing it, especially if Karrnath doesn’t want a war to happen while they might be busy having to fend off those dickish elves who are all being annoying and pretending they matter /Karrnathi view of things.
    As you said, a strong Thrane means that Aundair can’t just try and finish off, say, Breland, while Karrnathi is forced to deal with the Valenar.
    Because if they do, then the Church of the Silver Flame would probably go “Hey now, what’s this?” and send in the Clerics and Paladins. :p
    Thrane couldn’t really do that, if they were weakened, so it’d probably be in his best interests to make sure Thrane doesn’t get weaker than Aundair.

    Which would be a good way for Thrane PCs to drain resources from Karrnath!
    Just keep playing the game against Kaius, make sure he doesn’t get too much from you and trick him into sending resources to Thrane (unless he wants to risk a strong Aundair as a neighbor), and build up your Nation again.
    Could even use some to make the life in Thaliost better, so they’ll like living in Thrane more, and thus get a fortified position against Aundair!

    …Not that you’d need to, of course.
    Because, after all: peace for our time.
    It’d be quite silly to even consider preparing for war against that dear peace-loving Aundarian queen.

    There really is TONS of ways that this could work out.
    A cloak and dagger game in Thrane is definitely doable.
    And if you come out ahead, good old Thrane will grow strong, fed by the money of Breland, Karrnath and Aundair, who all think they’ve got you where they want.

    Kaius is the one in charge, though, so he probably wouldn’t mind that Thrane doesn’t like the Blood of Vol very much – given his history, that could very well be a plus.

  19. Axe says:

    I meant to write Antariuk.
    Geez, now I feel silly…

  20. Antariuk says:

    Oh man, this is really good. I always thought about giving Thrane a bit more spotlight in a future game, this gives me tons of ideas.

    The way I see it, Thrane is kind of condemned to either outwit all their neighboors or risk being consumed by sheer numbers when a new war starts.

    And, as already mentioned by someone else, you have additional friction with the church and the remaining nobility in Thrane. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of gnomes immigrate to Thrane, must feel like paradise with all those agendas you could play against one another :P

  21. Chris says:

    Concerning Riedra:

    Nice read, Riedra kinda sounds like modern day China.

    That being said IN MY EBERRON with the level of ‘technology’, culture etc… I always pictured the Five nations as having the mindset /flavor of Europe in the age of Imperialism. In accordance with that mindset, the phrase ‘Riedra is a good trading partner, so we should let them be’ is far to modern. I would have them think like: ‘Riedra is a good trading partner, it would be even more profitable if we were in control’. Which would be more of a typical thought pattern for that level of social development.

  22. Keith Baker says:

    Another question I have is the following: is Breland your favorite among the five nations?
    I’ll address this and the other questions more fully in an upcoming post, but the short answer is no. Every country in Eberron has something about it that I like or would like to use in a story, but I have no particular love for Breland. If I had to pick my favorite nation, Droaam and Zilargo would both come in before any of the Five Nations. Thrane, Karrnath, and Aundair all have interesting aspects that I’d love to develop in more depth. Sometime I’d like to explore their Sarlonan roots and cultural influences in more detail. Hopefully there will be a chance!

  23. Chris Handforth says:

    “That depends. How does it manifest, from a practical in-world standpoint? How does someone looking at the witch recognize that her magic is arcane in the first place, and how can they tell that it comes from a “natural source”?”

    I think that the Witch and Wu Jen make for a good comparison here. Both use natural and elemental magic, but in the Wu Jen it is very much a thing that is learned and studied in books, while the Witch has to bond to both an animal and a spirit to learn their magic… often a spirit of the natural world. A similar sort of gig as a Fey Warlock in 4e actually, just more druidish than sorcererish. I could see witches being mistaken for druids my a layman.

    I’m also a big fan of the Ashbound having a more moderate branch that calls for a reigning in of civilization as opposed to its destruction. Obviously they are not in power right now, but it creates some conflict within the organization as opposed to them just being radicals. It also allows for some aspects of the Ashbound to interact or even ally with PCs against a greater threat, such as an Overlord. Which is completely relevant in my campaign, since it’s the Age of Worms set in Aundair and the Eldeen. I don’t imagine that the Ashbound are very fond of either Kyuss or The Gatekeeper.

    Actually, that brings up another question. If PCs closely tied to civilization allied with those of nature to defeat a great threat to Eberron and the Ashbound were involved, could that help precipitate a more modern branch of the druids, assuming the ‘civilized’ PCs would help them preach a message of moderation of civilization?

    “People don’t “worship” the Flame as such; the Flame is a source of power noble people can draw on to protect the innocent from evil, and the Church is the organization that coordinates that (and as the Shulassakar show, you don’t have to be part of the church to form a connection to the Flame). It has as much in common with the Jedi and the Men In Black as it does with Christianity.”

    This is something I actually play with with the Kalashtar. A very small but vocal group of them ally with the Flame in my campaign and are part of the Church. They still follow the Path of Light, but they consider the Flame to be both a helpful guide and a powerful ally in warding off the Dreaming Dark (plus with bonus points for symbolism appropriate names!). I also have another group do the same thing with the Greensingers, although they are much more interested in learning about Dal Quor via planer sages than actively fighting the Dark… although they certainly pass the knowledge on to those who do!

    “But it’s still not a crime to follow the faith, and most who follow it remain loyal to Karrnath even though their fortunes have changed; the commander of Fort Bones is a seeker.”

    As was my second and longest lived Eberron PC. A devote half-orc noble. Absolutely a seeker. Totally loyal to Kaius III. I explicitly told our DM that had be been born 30 years earlier, he’d have been part of the Emerald Claw to serve his country. Instead he graduated from Rekkenmark only after the order had been banned and was much more cosmopolitan (and moral) because of it. He hated the Emerald Claw, but there really was very little besides time and circumstance to distinguish him from them.

  24. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Perhaps, one of the reasons why Thrane supports the Church instead of the monarchy, apart from spiritual reasons and beliefs and disappointment in the host, as explained in son of Khyber, is the fact that the Church provided public and essential services while nobles only cared about themselves. Economists and political scientists have argued how this happened in the Middle Ages in many places

  25. Axe says:

    Yep, I can definitely see what you mean.
    Thrane really has to pull out all the stops, to come out ahead.
    Luckily, that’s where the PCs could come in!
    They can save Thrane from the evils the other Nations intend to inflict upon them.
    Or whatever it is you’d like to go, with such a plot!

    The point is, Thrane offers a lot of stuff to do.

    @Keith Baker
    I’m certainly looking forward to anything Thrane-related you can provide!
    I feel there hasn’t been enough information about Thrane, and Thrane-focused plots as well as things that Thrane PCs can do.

    @Chris Handforth
    Kalashtar allied with the Church?
    That sounds WONDERFUL!
    I especially like the idea that they join up against the Dreaming Dark.
    Especially fun since the Silver Flame is a confirmed divine power, so the Dreaming Dark might be honestly scared of it (especially with what it tends to do to powerful evil forces that threatens the world).

    …I’ll admit one of the reasons I like it is because it’d give PCs a chance to go “So you’ve come. Like moths to the Flame”.
    And then have a fight where they kick Inspired ass.

    @Nicolas Carillo
    Adding to that, the clergy of the Silver Flame can do much more than most of the nobility for the local population (what with walking around with power that can cure ills), and you’ve got a Nation that vastly favors the Clergy.
    Compare that to to nobility, who mostly just sit around and do politics against each other!
    No wonder Thrane turned towards the Silver Flame, which has protected them so long, as leaders.

    The more I think about it, the more I’m really looking forward to seeing what will be said about this, in future post(s)!
    Because, really, the Clergy has to have won some pretty damn impressive political victories against the queen and her nobility, to rule Thrane like they currently do.

  26. Keith Baker says:

    I could see witches being mistaken for druids my a layman.
    My point is simply that the typical Ashbound berserker has no great insight into these things. When you get to the druids who might, I think you need to look at what the Ashbound are all about. They aren’t against arcane magic for the sake of being against arcane magic. They oppose it because it is fundamentally unnatural: using formulas and rituals to break the laws of nature. If someone is tapping that same source of energy yet doing so in a way that respects and supports the natural world, they probably wouldn’t have an issue with it. At the end of the day, what they are against is science. If the witch uses arcane energy in a natural way – working through spirits – it seems like it’s something of an arbitrary decision to call it “arcane” in the first place.

    I’m also a big fan of the Ashbound having a more moderate branch that calls for a reigning in of civilization as opposed to its destruction.

    Certainly, just as the Children of Winter have sects who believe that the Mourning is not a sign of Winter and that those who are pushing an apocalyptic agenda are going too far. The PGtE says “However, moderates among the sect seek to convince others of their misdeeds through discussion instead of destruction. These Ashbound believe that people can be shown the error of their ways and encouraged to slowly change over time.” And in the case of both the Children of Winter and Ashbound, it’s been called out that regardless of their own personal agendas, they both hate things that are CLEARLY unnatural… such as undead and aberrations.

    This is something I actually play with with the Kalashtar. A very small but vocal group of them ally with the Flame in my campaign and are part of the Church.

    I see no conflict here.

  27. Keith Baker says:

    Especially fun since the Silver Flame is a confirmed divine power, so the Dreaming Dark might be honestly scared of it (especially with what it tends to do to powerful evil forces that threatens the world).
    Just as a point of clarification, the Flame alone doesn’t do anything; it grants power to mortals so they can oppose evil forces that threaten the world. It’s not omniscient or anything like that. In the case of Tira Miron, Bel Shalor had escaped from the Flame and was ravaging the land; they empowered Tira to imprison him once more. With that said, in answer to the question “Doesn’t anyone care about the Dreaming Dark”, the Church of the Silver Flame is the most obvious force that would listen. The key point here is that the elders of Adar don’t believe you can defeat the Dreaming Dark by physically fighting it. They believe that the only true solution is the turn of the age. They don’t reach out to the world because they don’t believe the world can actually help in this. I think it’s entirely appropriate for some lightbringers in Khorvaire to join forces with the Silver Flame to oppose the actions of the Dark in Khorvaire. But I would see the Kalashtar of Adar actively opposing, for example, a crusade of the Silver Flame into Riedra – because they would see this as something that would result in the deaths of many innocent humans without actually being able to destroy the Dark itself.

    No wonder Thrane turned towards the Silver Flame, which has protected them so long, as leaders… Because, really, the Clergy has to have won some pretty damn impressive political victories against the queen and her nobility, to rule Thrane like they currently do.
    Bear in mind that King Thalin refused to accept Mishann’s claims because he wanted to see a Galifar united by the Silver Flame. The majority of the people of Thrane are followers of the Flame – nobility and commoners alike. And the fact of the matter is that Thrane – and potentially Galifar – wouldn’t exist if not for the Silver Flame. Children are raised on tales of Bel Shalor and the Year of Shadows; and more recently, the kingdom could have been overrun by a savage tide from the Eldeen Reaches if not for the brave Templars who held the line in the Purge. I’ll talk more about it in the future, but the central point is that the nobles of Thrane are in a different position from those in, say, Karrnath – and many of them support the church as well, even if some feel that it’s not the place of the church to govern the nation.

  28. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Where can I know more about the templar defense from the tide from the Reaches? This makes Thrane much more interesting. I hope someday you can write more on Thrane (even a novel, hopefully), it’s actually my favorite nation

  29. Keith Baker says:

    Where can I know more about the templar defense from the tide from the Reaches?
    You may know of it by one of its other names… the Silver Crusade or the Lycanthropic Purge. It’s discussed in some detail in this Dragonshard article. The key point is that while people like to focus on the “witch-hunt” mentality at the end, it began as a desperate struggle. The curse was running rampant through the Reaches. One bite was all it took to pass the curse. Think of 28 Days Later, but with werewolves instead of zombies. And the further the curse spread, the more powerful it became. Left unchecked, it could have swept across Aundair… and once there was a critical mass of lycanthropes it would have been all but impossible to contain. The Templars of Thrane went to the Reaches and held the line against the curse. Once the tide turned, the Thranes left matters in the hands of Aundairian converts, and many of the worst excesses of the witch-hunting era come from that time, as the Aundairians were desperate both for revenge against the beasts that had terrorized them and slaughtered their families, and desperate to make absolutely certain the danger was utterly eradicated.

    However it ended, it was a brave sacrifice at the start – and if the church hadn’t taken a stand, we might all be howling at the moons right now.

  30. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Thanks! I did know about it by its official names of the purge and crusade, and its intersting that you mention both its good and bad aspects, because Eberron authors seem to tend to focus on the latter almost exclusively

  31. Keith Baker says:

    Most do focus on the negative aspects, which is unfortunate. When people fixate on the Silver Flame as “witch hunters”, I like to point out that in modern parlance, “witch hunt” generally implies pursuit of a non-existent threat… while in Eberron, these threats are very real. The fact that the shifters suffered in the Purge is a tragedy, and one largely born of the fear and rage of a people who had been living in terror of lycanthropes for decades and suffered terrible losses to them. My point is always that the Keeper didn’t just wake up one day and decide “Today’s a good day to wipe out lycanthropes.” It was a response to a rising threat which, unchecked, could have destroyed human civilization – and protecting the innocent from supernatural threats is the purpose of the church. Looking to 3.5 mechanics, it’s important to bear in mind that the typical templar isn’t a PC-classed character. So if you think of a first or second level warrior going up against any kind of lycanthrope, that’s a very frightening match-up – and the templars were fighting to defend the people of a neighboring country, not even facing a threat in their own border. It was a brave and noble effort. It’s simply the case that like many wars, many innocents were harmed in the course of it – and at the end, the survivors’ thirst for vengeance was laid upon the shifters.

  32. Axe says:

    I would like to second my fellow Thrane fan Nicolas Carillo.
    I would very much like to read more about Thrane.
    Wouldn’t have to be a whole novel, of course, but, well, something would be nice!

    Also, I am thankful that you mention that it was, in fact, the Aundarian faction that was the one who attacked the Shifters.
    It seems to give a chance to mend relations between Thrane itself and the Eldeen Reaches (especially when there’s mention of Shifters who have fought werewolves as well!)

    (Which, come to think of it, could be an interesting plot!
    Thrane decides they rather like the idea of Aundair not ruling the Eldeen Reaches, and the Reaches decide they like the idea of a Nation backing them against Aundair.
    Then you can have human/shifter (well ok there would be Orcs and such involved as well) politics, adventures and hijinx!)

    I can’t see anything that’d go against such an idea, in the books.

  33. Keith Baker says:

    Also, I am thankful that you mention that it was, in fact, the Aundarian faction that was the one who attacked the Shifters. It seems to give a chance to mend relations between Thrane itself and the Eldeen Reaches (especially when there’s mention of Shifters who have fought werewolves as well!)
    Well, it’s not quite as simple as “All the bad stuff was Aundair’s fault.”

    Evil ‘thropes are supernaturally driven to be murderous predators. It doesn’t matter if you’re a shifter or a human, harboring such a thing is like the frog offering the scorpion a lift across the river. So the shifters had no love of the evil ‘thropes. When the Templars arrived, the more cunning ‘thropes quickly realized that an ideal solution was to set human and shifter against one another. Humans knew little about the shifters and were easily confused. Wererat shifters would use their shifter forms while attacking humans or otherwise performing terrible deeds – and wererat humans would do the same to shifters. So while these two forces shared a common enemy, due to general lack of communication and the cunning of the foe they were set at odds, resulting in innocent deaths on both sides. So templars from Thrane DID kill innocent ‘thropes – because they had been tricked by ‘thropes into believing the shifters were a threat, or because the ‘thropes had tricked the shifters into attacking the templars.

    The point is that the conflict between the Thrane templars and shifters occurred during the heat of war. It was the Aundairians who persecuted shifters after the war was won. The true inquisition-style persecution, hunting for ‘thropes at a time when nearly none were left and even those who were no longer posed such a contagious threat… this was the work of Aundairians. As I said, they had suffer through decades of terror. They’d lost friends and family and been afraid that they would lose their country. They were driven by a mad thirst for vengeance and determination to see every ‘thrope eliminated at any cost – and the shifters were the scapegoat they had at hand. The Aundairian farmer who lost his wife and children to werewolves wants to have a werewolf to burn. He doesn’t… but for now, you’ll have to do, longtooth.

    With that said, bear in mind that most shifters simply look at this and say “We suffered at the hands of the Silver Flame.” Because those inquisitions WERE carried out by templars and pirests. Perhaps they were newly-minted Aundairian converts, but they carried the same banners as the Thranes… and the Thranes didn’t come back to save the shifters from the Aundairians.

    So the whole thing doesn’t reflect as badly on Thrane as it might, but neither do shifters say “Oh, those Thranes are all right – the whole things was just a big misunderstanding.”

  34. Nicolas Carrillo (paladinnicolas) says:

    Hey guys, just wanted to share with you denizens of Eberron that a future keeper of the flame (my daughter) was just born!

  35. Keith Baker says:

    Congratulations Nicolas!

  36. Paul Gipson says:

    Since you mentioned Kalishtar in this article, I have always struggled a little with this …

    Kalishstar resemeble humans so much, how evident would it be for someone to identify a character as Kalishtar instead of human … this seems to come up frequently. You mentioned the Duke being controlled by a “mind seed.” Aren’t all Kalishtar seen as enemies of the Dreaming Dark, and therefore he wouldn’t even have to talk to the infected Duke, merely be seen by him … or would that Duke necessarily immediately know if someone was Kalishtar or Human by sight?

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