Add depth to your Eberron characters with the help of Player's Guide to Eberron. Presenting information in an innovative spread format, this comprehensive gazetteer covers key topics a character should know about, from Aerenal to Zilargo, house politics to the Last War, dragons to the Lords of Dust, without revealing information meant for Dungeon Masters only. New feats, prestige classes, magic items, and spells are included in the relevant entries. The excerpts give you a look at building a character plus some location-based information.
Building a Character
The Eberron Campaign Setting provides all the rules necessary for creating a character to play in Eberron. Key rules elements introduced in that book for new characters include four new races -- changelings, kalashtar, shifters, and warforged -- and one new class, the artificer, as well as a number of feats, prestige classes, and spells. It also offers guidance in choosing race, class, feats, and prestige class based on a character's region of origin, so you can make a Brelish character feel more Brelish than one from Aundair.
What the Eberron Campaign Setting doesn't tell you is how to make your character feel like he or she belongs in the world of Eberron. That's what this section does. It outlines a dozen character archetypes -- basic personality and background packages that can help you make a character who feels like a coherent part of the setting. Some of these archetypes are fairly generic: Any setting could feature outlanders, for example, or restless wanderers. Others are quite specific to Eberron, including chroniclers and inquisitives.
Most archetypes work just fine for characters of any class and race. An outlander, for example, could be a halfling barbarian from the Talenta Plains or a half-orc warlock from the Shadow Marches. Not every combination of race, class, region of origin, and archetype will make sense to you, though. Try to find a combination that appeals to you and work from there.
There is no game-mechanical benefit to choosing a character archetype. Rather, each archetype consists solely of suggestions for developing the background, personality, and mannerisms of your character.
"If you're the ambassador, I'm the Lord of Blades. Now, how about the truth?"
-- Creilath Movanek, half-elf master inquisitive
As a resident of one of Khorvaire's great cities, you've spent far too much time immersed in its shadows. You've seen it all, and nothing fazes you anymore.
Adventuring: Adventuring, to you, is all about investigating crimes and making sure the criminals get what they're due. You probe murders, find missing people, stop blackmailers, and break up smuggling rings. Your investigations are not necessarily limited to such mundane problems: You might unmask a rakshasa posing as a city councilor, find the possessed ancient mask that forced the professor to commit all those grisly murders, or dispel the magic keeping the house scion's son in his comatose slumber.
This archetype is best suited for a campaign with a limited geographical scope, whether it takes place in a single metropolis (such as Sharn) or hops from city to city. Occasional adventures might take you out into the wilderness, but you're most at home in dark alleys and bustling roadways.
Personality: The city's underbelly can be a bleak place, and that fact has certainly had an effect on your disposition. You're so used to corruption and crime that you don't expect to meet honest people, and you're surprised at acts of selflessness and sacrifice. "Jaded" doesn't begin to describe how cynical and bitter you can be in your worst moments. You've been cheated so many times that you always ask for money up front. You've seen so much hatred and death that nothing shocks you at this point -- or at least that's the image you project.
Deep inside, there might be a part of you that still mourns over every corpse you find sprawled in an alley, still grieves for the lost soul of humanity and its kin, and still believes there might be some hope and goodness left in the world. But you know full well that if anyone sees that tiny part of you, they'll exploit it -- or at least mock it mercilessly.
Behavior: Cultivate behavior that conveys just how tough you are. Sharpen your sword or fiddle with a dagger during down time. Never open a door when you can kick it in. You might be able to talk your way out of tricky situations, but you should also be prepared to fight your way out: The kinds of people you deal with usually prefer to fight.
Language: The wisecrack is like an off-hand weapon for you. In every battle, you can attack with your primary weapon and get in a verbal barb or two as well. Even when you're not in combat, your speech reflects your cynicism.
Variants: You might be a freelance investigator or work for a law-enforcement organization. For a slightly different take on this archetype, you could work in espionage, focusing on intrigue among nations or dragonmarked houses rather than crime on a local scale.
"After a hundred years of fighting, any idiot could see that the whole war was pointless."
-- Dania ir'Vran, human fighter
Khorvaire is largely defined by the travails of the Last War, and that is just as true of its adventurers. You fought on the front lines of the Last War. You killed a great many enemy soldiers, and you carry plenty of scars -- on your body and on your soul.
Adventuring: You adventure because you can't think of anything else to do. You joined the army as soon as you were old enough and never learned a peacetime trade. After years spent in war, you can't just go back to your place of birth and learn to be a blacksmith. Your home might not even be there anymore. Adventuring seems like the only option left to you, and it offers the opportunity to continue using the skills you learned on the battlefield. In some cases, it might even be a literal continuation of your wartime activities -- such as chasing Valenar raiders across the Talenta Plains or racing Emerald Claw agents to Xen'drik ruins.
As a member of an adventuring party, you have a sense of belonging and companionship. You have a steady source of wealth, more than enough to live comfortably. You have some sense of purpose and meaning in your life. You've made a reasonable approximation of the one thing you really want and can never again have: a home where you belong.
Personality: The war savaged your soul far worse than it could ever hurt your body, and you remain bitterly wounded. Your life is a contradiction. Violence sickens you. You saw so much death and mutilation in the course of the war that you had to steel yourself to it; still, you can never shake the waves of disgust that course through you when violence is necessary. But you live by violence, and you're not sure you know how to give it up.
Behavior: You cling to the discipline of military life because it is comfortable and familiar. You rise early in the morning and practice weapon or spell routines. You like to know the chain of command in your adventuring party and prefer clear orders about standard operating procedure. Even if some chaotic part of your belief system chafes at these disciplines, a larger part of you relies on them to give meaning and structure to every day. Without them, your life might just fall apart.
Language: Yours is the language of combat. You have a rich vocabulary to describe the maneuvers of the battlefield and various aspects of your daily life. You speak of base camps and rations, of reconnaissance and sabotage. To some extent, just like your practice of military discipline, using military terminology helps to keep your life ordered in your mind.
Variants: The warforged as a race are almost by definition war-torn heroes. However, their emotional response to the transition from wartime to peace varies widely, and warforged are less bitter and wounded than war-torn humanoids. A warforged has no memory of a life before the war to idealize and attempt to recreate. Warforged find it extremely difficult to shake military practices and jargon that are part of their earliest formative experiences.