Excerpts 01/16/2006

Player's Guide to Eberron Excerpt
By James Wyatt, Keith Baker,
Luke Johnson, Steven Stan! Brown

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.

Dungeons of Eberron

From million-year-old ruins in the Demon Wastes to the secret magical chambers just completed beneath the Library of Korranberg, Eberron is a world strewn with dungeons. Countless ancient ruins dot the landscape, and the Last War created a significant number of ruins of much more recent provenance. At the same time, the widespread use of magic makes underground spaces -- and extradimensional locations -- both relatively easy to construct and remarkably safe for storing precious goods. These sites represent prime locations for adventuring.

Ruins from the Age of Demons are rarely found intact, but some do remain, kept relatively undamaged by the powerful ancient magic of the fiends. In some cases, the preservation of the ruins can be traced to the influence of a rakshasa rajah imprisoned beneath the ruins, so adventurers exploring such a site are well advised to be wary of releasing a terrible foe. Ruins of such incredibly ancient date are most common in the Demon Wastes, though several exist in Q'barra and Xen'drik as well, such as the lizardfolk city of Ka'rhashan in Q'barra.

The Age of Giants left numerous ruins strewn across the landscape of Xen'drik, causing the word "cyclopean" to be inextricably associated with that continent in popular imagination. (Consult the entry on Xen'drik beginning on page 152 for more information about those ruins.) The ancient giants of Xen'drik built outposts in other lands as well, so ruins from this era can also be found in the Shadow Marches and in parts of Sarlona.

The Age of Monsters might more properly be called the Age of Dhakaan, and this goblinoid empire left the most numerous ancient ruins across Khorvaire. These ruins are most common in the southwestern part of Khorvaire, in modern Droaam, Breland, Zilargo, and Darguun. However, Valenar contains both elf and goblin ruins from this period, and before the Day of Mourning, scholars performed extensive excavation of Dhakaani ruins within Cyre.

Much more recently, the Last War left ruins scattered across the continent. The Mournland is a vast, devastated nation ripe for exploration, although the conditions are quite hostile to living adventurers. The war also left ruins in Breland (particularly in the northeast and along the former Cyran border), between Aundair and Thrane, and in the Talenta Plains. Any number of families would like to recover heirlooms lost in razed cities, but these areas have become home to dangerous monsters.

Not every ruin and dungeon in Eberron is connected to one of its great ancient civilizations or more recent catastrophic events. Abandoned settlements such as Desolate (in the Demon Wastes) and Noldrunhold (in the Mror Holds) are the victims of isolated circumstances. Somewhere in the Blade Desert, a small shrine lies mostly covered with blowing sand, the last remains of a civilization now otherwise completely forgotten. A castle in the Shadow Marches is a rare reminder of the first wave of human settlement in that region. In the heart of the Eldeen Reaches stands an ancient tower, not crumbling to ruin despite its evidently very ancient origin, its builders unknown and its secrets as yet unplumbed.

Finally, the vast expanses of Khyber, untouched by any mortal intrusion, provide a fertile ground for exploration and adventure. In places, the tunnels of Khyber resemble the mundane limestone caves and other caverns found near the surface. Elsewhere, long tunnels, strangely smooth and even, extend for miles without branching, perhaps shaped by the daelkyr and their minions in ancient eons. Khyber is an alien environment, hostile to surface life but full of ancient secrets to unearth, magical and monetary treasures to acquire, and alien monsters to overcome.

What Do You Know?

Knowledge (arcana)

DC 30: It is possible that magic more powerful than any currently known flourished in the ancient giant empire of Xen'drik, learned from the dragons. The ruins of Xen'drik might provide clues to this truly epic magic, and the elves of Aerenal may also hold keys to this lost knowledge.

Knowledge (dungeoneering)

DC 10: The Last War left dozens of towns and cities across Khorvaire lying in ruins, to say nothing of the Mournland. These ruins are now inhabited by monstrous creatures.

DC 15: Goblinoid ruins built during the Dhakaani Empire dot the landscape of Khorvaire, particularly in the southwest. Xen'drik, meanwhile, is sometimes called the Ruined Land for the number of giant-built structures that now lie in ruins there. Both the Dhakaani and giant ruins are lucrative prospects for adventurers and archeologists looking for knowledge, adventure, and treasure.

DC 20: A handful of ruins from the Age of Demons are scattered around Khorvaire, particularly in the Demon Wastes. These areas are typically very dangerous.

DC 25: The depths of Khyber are an alien, subterranean landscape, ranging from natural-seeming caverns to bizarre, smooth tunnels shaped by no known force of nature.

Knowledge (history)

DC 10: If you are interested in the history of Xen'drik, ruins lie scattered across the continent. The ruins on the northern peninsula are the best known, but few have been fully explored. Much remains to be learned about the ancient giant civilizations.

Ruins from the goblinoid empire of Dhakaan can be found across Khorvaire, particularly in the south.

DC 15: Before the start of recorded history, fiends ruled the world until they were overthrown by dragons and their couatl allies. Remnants of this incredibly ancient era can still be found in the Demon Wastes, Q'barra, Xen'drik, and other remote locations.

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