As you must have picked up by now, we don't theme entire sets around specific worlds or settings. We'd rather cherry pick from all of D&D's worlds to get the best mix of creatures and characters. Even so, specific sets can end up with a number of minis drawn from the same background. Archfiends, for example, had quite a few minis from the Forgotten Realms. Aberrations draws several minis from Eberron. The first two this week are uncommon, and the second two are rare. We know they'll be useful to Eberron players, to people splicing Eberron bits into their campaigns, and to people who just like the minis so much that they'll find a way to use them in any setting.
Page 154 of the EberronCampaign Setting mentions the Bladebearers clan of the Dhakaani people. They're named after a powerful magic artifact that helped them expand and take over at least two smaller tribes.
Our Bladebearer Fighter branded the clan's sword onto both his forearms. He wears masterwork studded leather to keep his speed high and fights with two magic shortswords. As a 4th-level fighter, he has the Weapon Specialization feat to get the most out of his weapons.
Known for keeping his cool and attacking when he can do the most damage, the Bladebearer Hobgoblin has the Executioner's Blade ability last seen on the Human Executioner from Harbinger: melee attack +4 and melee damage +5 against creatures that are out of command or routing. The new combo in the Lawful Evil playbook: Bladebearer Hobgoblin + Mind Flayer Telepath, which can put each enemy noncommander out of command for a round.
Shifters are one of Eberron's major new races. Distantly descended from lycanthropes, they can call on pieces of their bestial heritage for quick bursts of power.
In a pinch, this longtooth shifter could be used for most of the other shifter lineages, particularly since we took pains to picture him running before drawing his sword, so that he could plausibly be interpreted as readying attacks with his claws.
The Longtooth Barbarian is very fast (9 Speed), tough (65 hp), and solid in melee. Chaotic Good may be the faction of ranged attackers but it doesn't do half-bad running fast-striking barbarians. The Longtooth Barbarian is ready to join the Frenzied Berserker on a first-strike rampage near the enemy's assembly tile while your spellcasters rain destruction from afar.
The Valenar elves are proud rebels against elven conformity, seeking to revitalize elvish culture with a new start as nomads in a land they must conquer. Unlike the elves of Aerenal, the Valenar nomads rely on their own fighting skills instead of the power of deathless legions.
This splendid-looking elf fighter echoes the garb of the Tuareg and other desert nomads, a style that D&D Miniatures hasn't done much with until now. The double-scimitar, an exotic weapon traditional with the Valenar nomads, appears on page 119 of the Eberron Campaign Setting.
Speaking of raining destruction from afar, this elf provides Chaotic Good with an ability it has hungered for. The Valenar Commander's commander effect is, "Followers making ranged attacks can target any noncommander enemy." This commander effect won't help spells or special abilities but hitting any enemy follower with your ranged attacks greatly alters most tactical dynamics.
Unlike the Arcane Archer in Harbinger, the Valenar Commander does not have a ranged attack of his own. He is, however, a better commander than the Arcane Archer, considerably less pricy, and eager to fight in melee when the wounded enemy reaches the archers under your command.
We already did one Warforged PC-type in Giants of Legend but we knew there was more we wanted out of the concept. The Warforged Hero ups the ante, providing an amazing looking mini that all of us are excited about using as our character. Any PC group that runs into this guy as an enemy NPC should expect trouble.
A supreme 8th-level fighter for only 36 points -- wow! His DR is standard DR 5 instead of the amped-up version possessed by the Warforged Fighter in Giants of Legend but with an AC of 22, maybe you don't care. He's not quick but he has a Powerful Charge ability, and his Stable Footing ability means that he can move through Difficult terrain without being slowed. The Spike Stones terrain tile coming up in the new Starter Box is the Warforged Hero's friend; he can move straight through Spike Stones without being slowed or taking damage.
Not to be outdone, the Forgotten Realms demands a hearing in our next weekly preview, "Steel Regent, Dark Master."
About the Author
Rob Heinsoo started playing D&D with the original brown box in 1975. He's now the lead designer of D&D Miniatures.