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.

Devastation Everywhere

The Stagnation

The Mournland was once the human nation of Cyre, but on the Day of Mourning in 994 YK a cataclysm of unknown origin wiped out its people and ravaged the cities and countryside. Now the once-noble nation is dead, its land fused and barren. Lingering magic effects strew chaos across the jagged landscape and living spells, twisted monsters, and stranger things roam its crags. Nature is suppressed within its borders; neither magical nor natural healing functions, and dead bodies remain fresh and undisturbed. The Lord of Blades gathers militant warforged in some hidden stronghold. Despite these dangers, the Mournland has much to offer: Relics lie within its ruins, and many seek an answer to the mystery of the Mournland's creation.

The first obstacle that any visitor to the Mournland faces is the dead-gray mist that surrounds it. The mist is disorienting, and travelers within it grow weary and depressed. Some areas of the mist display this property more strongly than others. These areas are a darker gray than the surrounding mist -- a character can note the difference with a DC 10 Spot check and identify its significance with a DC 20 Knowledge (geography) check. Traveling within these areas forces characters to make Will saves each hour (DC 15, + 1 per hour). Failure indicates that a character becomes fatigued, and remains that way until he leaves the mist.

After penetrating the dead-gray mist, adventurers face numerous other obstacles.

The Lord of Blades, a charismatic warforged prophet, holds court somewhere in the Mournland. Though no one knows where he makes his base, his patrols scour the land. Warforged operate more freely in the Mournland than do living creatures, because their repair spells function normally. Those who follow the Lord of Blades have no pity or mercy for their living counterparts, and encounters with these warforged usually end in drawn blades.

Warped monsters wander the Mournland. These creatures take many forms. Some are amalgamations of several different creatures, sporting numerous limbs and bulging with muscle. Others have features not normally seen in their kind, such as wings or stinging tails. Perhaps the most dangerous are those whose mental faculties have improved, allowing them to gather less able creatures about them and carve temporary territories in the shattered land.

Adventurers who overcome the Mournland's dangers are privy to its mysteries. Two of the Mournland's most unusual features are the Glowing Chasm and the Glass Plateau. Between these two areas is the Stagnation, a flat and moribund lake that gives off a faint blue iridescence. Skeletons lie half submerged along its shore, their bones causing not a ripple in the syrup-thick water. The water smells of dying things but tastes, so some claim, of honeysuckle and lavender with a hint of something sweeter. Some say that those who imbibe the stuff without retching can take the Mournland's magic into themselves, changing into something stronger than they were before.

Also within the Mournland is the Mile-Mark Station. This ruin was once a lightning rail station at the junction of two tracks; now, it is half fallen into rubble, though the great clock in its tower still functions properly. A lightning rail coach, bodies spilling from its attached carts, is crashed into the station's side. The building's interior is scorched, and the bodies of hundreds of civilians -- mostly children and the elderly -- are heaped inside, their wounds still fresh. Only a handful of them appear to have burned to death, leaving explorers to guess how the corpses ended up here. Rumors say that the ghosts of the lightning rail coach passengers appear every night, racing away into the darkness with mad cackles.

What Do You Know?

Knowledge (arcana)

DC 10: Mysterious lingering magical effects make the Mournland hazardous and unpredictable.

DC 15: The Day of Mourning had many strange repercussions. It gave life and a degree of sentience to some spells, which wander the Mournland today. It changed and twisted its native monsters, which also pose a danger.

DC 20: Rumor has it that the secrets of the Day of Mourning can be found beneath the Glass Plateau, an area of fused and jagged glass where living spells congregate.

Knowledge (geography)

DC 5: The Mournland was once Cyre.

DC 10: A disaster on the Day of Mourning killed all intelligent life in Cyre.

Knowledge (history)

DC 10: Cyre was destroyed by an arcane cataclysm in 994 YK, on what is now called the Day of Mourning.

DC 15: Cyran ruins cover the landscape of the Mournland.

Knowledge (local)

DC 15: The Mournland is unclaimed and, for the most part, uncontested. A colony of militant warforged and a few treasure-seeking expeditions are its only nods toward civilization.

Knowledge (nature)

DC 10: Travelers are easily lost in the dead-gray mist that surrounds the Mournland.

DC 15: Natural healing does not function in the Mournland, nor does natural decay. The dead lie where they fell years ago, looking as they did then.

Knowledge (nobility and royalty)

DC 10: Cyre was the headquarters of House Cannith. The Day of Mourning devastated the house and split it into factions.

DC 20: House Phiarlann was also based in Cyre. Its leaders were conspicuously absent on the Day of Mourning.

Knowledge (religion)

DC 15: Spells of the healing subschool do not function in the Mournland.

DC 18: Many warforged see the Lord of Blades as a religious figure. They take his words as doctrine.

So You Want to Enter the Mournland?

By Hathius Rote

Excerpted from the Korranberg Chronicle, Zolday, Dravago 4th

Greetings, good reader! If you are perusing this article, you are probably considering entering the Mournland in search of treasure and fame. You must already know the dangers you'll face -- living spells, becoming lost in the dead-gray mist, encountering warped monsters and lingering magic effects, and running afoul of rogue warforged, to name a few -- and I don't imagine that I will be able to dissuade you. Instead, take heed, for I will tell you what you need to know if you are to return from your expedition.

The most important thing that you must understand is that you will be unable to heal in the Mournland. Neither natural nor magical healing functions in that blasted place. However, the druid spell goodberry seems unaffected in the Mournland. Also, a paladin's ability to heal wounds by laying on hands is not affected. Magic that allows extradimensional travel is valuable, because you can heal (and be healed) while in that otherworldly space. If your expedition includes warforged, they should have little trouble; spells that repair constructs do function in the Mournland.

After properly outfitting yourself, the first obstacle you will encounter is the dead-gray mist that surrounds the Mournland. You might find that you become saddened and listless within the mist -- do not doubt your heroism, my friend, for the mist is magical, and these feelings come from outside forces! Certain patches of the mist carry this enchantment heavily -- watch out for the dark gray areas and avoid them. The mist is also disorienting. This reporter has heard many tales of expeditions that got lost in the mist and were never seen again.

That's pretty much all the help I can give you for now. Good luck, brave adventurer, and watch for my next essay:

"So You Want to Enter the Demon Wastes?"

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