This installment of Eberron Expanded focuses on adapting the material from Weapons of Legacy for use in an Eberron campaign. Weapons of Legacy introduces legacy items -- magic items with the potential to rival artifacts in power, though not all of that potential is available to the user right away. Instead, the power of the item grows with that of the possessor. Furthermore, only those who uncover the history of the item and perform rites and rituals to honor its legacy can uncover and use its greatest powers.
Typically, only the greatest powers of Eberron -- such as the dragons of Argonnessen, the giants of Xen'drik, or the fallen rajahs of the Age of Demons -- can produce artifacts. However, a legacy item could emerge from any source, empowered by the history it has helped to create. For example, Malleon the Reaver bathed the shores of Khorvaire in goblin blood, and his axe Redwave still harbors the shadow of his hatred within it. The Crown of Galifar, missing now for almost a century, is an item of great power, but only wearer who has proven her worthiness to rule can harness its true potential.
In addition to these random items plucked from the hands of history's heroes, two particular cultures are highly appropriate as sources for legacy items: the Dhakaani Empire and the Tairnadal elves.
The Empire of Dhakaan
The Dhakaani goblinoids ruled Khorvaire for seven thousand years before the Xoriat incursion shattered the proud civilization they had built. This goblin nation devoted itself to the art of war -- both its practice and its tools -- and its armorers and weaponsmiths were among the finest the world has ever seen. The Dhakaani worshiped no gods; rather, they revered the empire itself, recounting the deeds and history of the great heroes who defined it for all to hear.
Taken together, these facts present a compelling case for a strong tradition of legacy items among the Dhakaani. Charged with the history of the empire -- the conquest of Khorvaire, the wars with elves and demons, and the final, disastrous conflict with the daelkyr -- these weapons were made for goblin hands, though they could serve any noble warrior equally well. Today, the Heirs of Dhakaan -- the clans that went into hiding as the great goblinoid empire began to crumble -- are searching for these ancient relics, which could aid them substantially in re-establishing their former glory.
Most Dhakaani legacy items probably lie amid the ruins of the empire, though a fair number could also be buried in ancient battlefields. Since the Dhakaani have an austere culture devoted primarily to war, most of their legacy items are likely to be arms or armor, though instruments of the duur'kala bards or regalia worn by great generals or emperors would also be appropriate.
The legacy rituals for these items should be tied to war and might range from performing a small act of courage to playing a decisive role as the architect of a battle. When designing a ritual, keep in mind that the Dhakaani were not simple warmongers. One of the cornerstones of their culture was the premise that the strong (bugbears and hobgoblins) must protect the weak (goblins), so a weapon or shield might require a sacrifice in keeping with this philosophy.
Each Dhakaani legacy item is a piece of goblin history that the goblins want back, so carrying one presents a danger to any nongoblinoid character. A typical city goblin or soldier of the Ghaal'duur might not recognize the item, but the Heirs of Dhakaan would certainly be offended by an outsider who presumed to steal one of the empire's great treasures and wield it as his own. A character who works with the Heirs of Dhakaan might eventually earn enough respect to be considered an honorary goblin -- and thus a worthy bearer of the legacy item -- but considerable bloodshed is likely to occur first.
Dhakanni Legacy Items
With a few changes, the following specific items from Weapons of Legacy could be appropriate for the Dhakaani. The Eberron history of each item is given first, followed by a bulleted list of changes needed to adapt it. If no such list is given, the item's powers remain the same.
This weapon was originally forged to battle the Lords of Dust. Later, the smiths enhanced its power when the legions of Xoriat invaded.
- Add byeshk to the weapon's scourge of fiends ability.
- Change sense fiends to detect evil outsiders with the native subtype, extraplanar creatures from Xoriat, or aberrations.
Since the orcs of Eberron do not have the same militant tradition as the goblinoids do, Guurgal was not the weapon of an orcish horde. Rather, it was wielded by one of the first emperors, who put out his own eye in a display of courage and resolve.
- Change all orc and half-orc references to goblinoid.
- The ritual for the lesser legacy involves communing with the spirits of the ancient emperors rather than Gruumsh.
- The greater legacy ritual requires seeking out the shade of Emperor Bruug Dhakaan, which has been trapped in the Lair of the Keeper.
The Skull Lash predates the empire. Despite its disturbing appearance, it was often borne by the emperor or the wisest of the duur'kala, who used its abilities to gain insight.
Built for a Dhakaani officer, this armor bonded with the spirit of an orc berserker from the Shadow Marches who was slain during one of the empire's efforts to create a buffer zone on its western border.
The above items are just a few examples of weapons from the book that can relate to the Dhakanni Empire, but many other items could easily be adapted as well. In particular, since chain weapons are common among the Dhakaani, a spiked chain would make an excellent weapon of legacy. Alternatively, an existing weapon from the book could be converted to a spiked chain.
The warrior culture of the Tairnadal elves gave birth to the nation of Valenar. Every Tairnadal devotes himself to the memory of a particular ancestor and seeks to honor and emulate that person's great deeds throughout his own life.
Such a culture is a perfect match for the items in Weapons of Legacy. Any elf who can reclaim a treasured possession of an ancient elf hero is certain to devote himself to mastering its history and its power.
Since the Tairnadal are accomplished archers, riders, and masters of stealth and guerrilla warfare, any weapons or items tied to these functions could be especially appropriate for a Tairnadal legacy. But although the Tairnadal have a martial culture, they also respect the role that arcane magic can play in battle, and they are fond of decorative clothing and jewelry. Thus, almost any item could qualify as a Tairnadal legacy item.
If desired, you could restrict the use of elven items of legacy to elf champions. Since the bearer is drawing on the memory of the heroic elf who first used the item, it may not respond to people of other races. However, a human or other creature might someday be able to earn the respect of the ancient spirit, and thus the right to carry on the legacy.
Tarinadal Legacy Items
While any legacy weapon can be adapted to the Tairnadal with a few adjustments, a few of the items mentioned in Weapons of Legacy are especially well suited to the history of the elves. None of these items require changes to their powers -- only to their histories.
Bow of the Black Archer
Many drow served the giants in the ancient Xen'drik uprising, using the powers of darkness to battle their cousins. In Eberron, Shevarash did not become a god, but he was a legendary archer who slew hundreds of drow. In fact, many say it was his wrath that struck down Valderion.
This item was the tool of a great elf prince in the dry regions of Xen'drik -- one of the first provinces to stand against the giants. Desert Wind was lost when the Tairnadal first came to the Blade Desert ten thousand years ago, and the Valenar are still combing the land for any sign of it.
The elf huntress Failine acquired this weapon from a drow assassin, who used it to prey on elf rebels. After reaching Aerenal, however, the bow quickly disappeared. Rumor holds that the Stalker's Bow is now in the hands of House Thuranni, but wherever it is, the Tairnadal descendents of Failine would like it back.
In addition to the above choices, a few objects unique to the Tairnadal culture would make excellent legacy items. You can adapt items from the book to use these forms, or simply build new ones.
Valenar Double Scimitar: The history of this weapon (described on page 119 of the Eberron Campaign Setting) dates back to Xen'drik, and Tairnadal warriors take great pride in their skill with it.
Zaelshin: The zaelshin, or spirit bond, is an amulet bearing the sigil of a Tairnadal elf's patron ancestor. The zaelshin tu is a similar brooch that holds an actual physical relic of the ancestor -- usually a sliver of bone or a tooth. A zaelshin tu makes an excellent legacy item, but only an elf with a bond to the item's particular patron ancestor should be able to unlock its powers.
Zaelta: The zaelta, or spirit mask, is a veil that covers the lower face. It is intended to help the wearer submerge his identity in that of his ancestor. A zaelta that once served as a shroud for the ancestor could easily hold a powerful legacy.
Legacy Feats and Legacy Champions
As members of the cultures with the longest histories, Dhakaani goblins and Tairnadal elves are the logical choices for legacy champions, and they probably developed most, if not all, of the legacy feats. However, members of other cultures could certainly learn the same skills through contact with those civilizations. For example, a member of the Wayfinder Foundation who has lived among the Dhakaani might have studied the tradition of the legacy guardian and then applied it to his own weapon, Bloodwave.
Founding a Legacy
In the Eberron Campaign Setting, the player characters are supposed to be the greatest heroes of the age -- or, at least, they have the potential to become such. Thus, it is entirely appropriate for their deeds to create new legacies, which may be passed down into future generations. Legacy creation is especially appropriate for heroes who are facing the greatest villains of Eberron. The blade that strikes down a daelkyr lord, the shield that stands against Erandis d'Vol, the hammer that shatters the sword wielded by the Lord of Blades -- these are the items that give birth to legends.
Warforged as Legacy Items
Eberron allows one intriguing option not found in other settings: the warforged. The body of a warforged can be enhanced just as if it were a suit of magic armor. A warforged character who becomes a legacy item may have been created for some secret purpose he knows nothing about. Infused with power by Onatar and the Dragon Above, he must bide his time until his true destiny is revealed.
Allowing warforged to become legacy items is an option that a DM must carefully consider before allowing it in her campaign. After all, a legacy cannot easily be taken away or destroyed, but it could certainly make encounters with the Lord of Blades more interesting!
Monsters of Legacy
The concept of monsters of legacy is highly appropriate for Eberron. Kazdurakashtan is a dragon -- a Chamber observer who was hidden in Cyre when the Mourning struck, and was twisted into a far more terrible creature. Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes, is one of the most terrifying of the daelkyr. The Children of Winter tell tales of Coldfang, a dire serpent infused with the raw power of the Gloaming. And tales of the night hag Sora Kell have been used to terrify children since humans first came to Khorvaire. These creatures are the most obvious monsters of legacy, but many other legendary creatures could also be lurking in the shadows of Eberron, just waiting for new heroes to emerge!
Other Weapons of Legacy
The Tairnadal and Dhakaani sections above mention only a few specific items from Weapons of Legacy, but translating any object presented in the book into one suitable for your Eberron campaign is a simple matter. For example, Infiltrator could be tied into the split between House Phiarlan and House Thuranni, or even an elven betrayal dating back to Xen'drik. Mau-Jehe could have been forged by the first kalashtar, and the Simple Bow could have its roots in the monasteries of Adar. Full Moon's Trick, a remnant of one of the fallen innocents of the Lycanthropic Purge, might be hidden among the shifters of the Eldeen Reaches. Dymondheart could have been handed down from Gatekeeper to Gatekeeper, while Treebrother might actually be a shaft cut from the Great Druid Oalian himself. Just use your imagination!
About the Author
Keith Baker has been an avid fan of the Dungeons & Dragons game since grade school. His life took a dramatic turn in 2002 when he submitted the World of Eberron to the Wizards of the Coast Fantasy Setting Search. In addition to developing the Eberron Campaign Setting and Shadows of the Last War for Wizards of the Coast, Inc., he has produced material for Atlas Games, Goodman Games, and Green Ronin.