Excerpts Archive | 6/29/2009
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Excerpts: ECG Thrane & Dragonmarks
Eberron Campaign Guide

In today’s Eberron Campaign Guide preview, we take a look at Thrane as well as explore dragonmarks and their houses -- including House Cannith!

Thrane

With enemies on all sides and evil stalking the lands, Thrane is the light in the darkness, an island in a sea of corruption. Its pure, unwavering flame shines the way for all to attain salvation and freedom from the world's cruelty. Religion rules Thrane, its royal blood marginalized by a clear need to protect the people and religious institutions from those who would quench the holy flames and plunge the world into shadow. Thrane's people cling to virtue and order, and look to the Church of the Silver Flame to guide them through the Last War's wreckage to a future in which all embrace the purity of faith.

Lore of Thrane

History

Common Knowledge: That Thrane survived the Last War more or less intact is a testament to the power of the Church of the Silver Flame. Over twenty years after the war started, pious King Thalin's death left Thrane at the center of a raging storm, with enemies to all sides. Faced with internal strife, Prince Daslin renounced his claim to the throne. The church was forced to step forward and guide the nation through the war. As a result, the people fought for more than just their homes and lands—they fought for faith. Their conviction gave them the strength to soldier on no matter the odds.

History DC 15: Divorcing the church's history from the nation's is impossible—their stories are too tightly bound. The province of Thrane, like its sister realms, came to be when Thrane ir'Wynarn, King Galifar I's third son, assumed power as regent and ruler. For three centuries, Thrane grew in power and influence, benefiting from its proximity to Thronehold and its position as Galifar's crossroads of culture and commerce.

At the close of the third century, an ancient lord of darkness called Bel Shalor broke free from his bonds and emerged from Khyber, spawning monstrous threats upon the land and spreading misery and death. As the church's history recounts, the paladin Tira Miron heard the call of the ancient light that had long imprisoned the demons and responded to the challenge, leading a band of heroes to the site where Flamekeep now stands to battle the monstrous tide and face the burgeoning evil. Facing the fiendish overlord, Tira allowed herself to become a vessel for the Flame, sacrificing her own life to defeat the mighty fiend. A fountain of silver flame marks the site of her sacrifice and ascension, and her example inspired a new religion . . . perhaps the greatest religion ever formed on Khorvaire.

From these noble origins grew the Church of the Silver Flame. Word spread throughout Thrane and beyond, bringing the curious and the skeptical to behold its power. Those who witnessed the shining beacon were transformed, adding their numbers to the growing movement, until the church's power and influence could not be ignored. Tira Miron lives on in spirit as the Voice of the Flame, revered by all who follow the faith.

History DC 20: As the church grew, so too did its hold on Thrane's royal scions until the regents came to see themselves as the ultimate champions of the faith. When Galifar broke into disparate nations following King Jarot's death, Thalin declared himself King of Thrane and seized the opportunity to extend the church throughout the dying kingdom, to become head of a grand empire devoted to the Silver Flame. His zealotry plunged Thrane into war and set the tone for its fanaticism throughout the Last War.

Upon Thalin's death, the crown was to pass to his heir, Prince Daslin. The people rose up against the prince, whom most deemed weak and unworthy. At the urging of the masses, the church stepped forward, assuming both temporal and spiritual leadership of the state. Intimidated by the church's authority and fearing a bloody civil war if he didn't step aside, Daslin surrendered his claim to the crown, ceding all authority to the Keeper of the Flame, the mortal who serves as titular head of the church. During the Last War, the royal heirs remained loyal but lost any vestige of power and became nothing more than symbols. The current blood regent is Diani ir'Wynarn, and she often appears alongside the Keeper of the Flame to show solidarity with the church.

Members of the old nobility retained their holdings as long as they supported the church. Those nobles who did so continued to rule as they had before the theocracy. Those who resisted lost everything, including, in some cases, their lives.

History DC 25: Thrane abides by the Thronehold Accords, and the church's young Keeper of the Flame is not eager to see her people victimized in another war. Even so, extremist elements among the nation's leaders seek to channel rebuilding resources to Thrane's military, to establish a new Galifar with the church at its head.

Secret Knowledge: Queen Diani is a dutiful follower of the faith in the public, but secretly she covets the power she believes is hers by right. Diani stands at the center of a royalist conspiracy, forging bonds with likeminded citizens and brokering with foreign nations to gain their assistance in ousting the church from power.

Dragonmarks

Dragonmarks might well be the defining element of the current age. They are believed to be a manifestation of the mysterious Draconic Prophecy, yet even the draconic sages of Argonnessen are uncertain about their true nature and purpose. Clearly more than random genetic mutations, dragonmarks have appeared only on members of certain bloodlines and races. In the 3,000 years that they have appeared on the flesh of living beings, why do dragonmarks appear in some families and not others? Why do some children of a line develop a mark when other children do not? What is the meaning of the aberrant marks that have to begun to appear in great numbers throughout the populace—or of those heroes who have developed dragonmarks without any blood connection to one of the great houses? Is possession of a dragonmark a sign of destiny, branding the bearer as part of the greater puzzle—a living symbol of the Prophecy?

These are among the great secrets of Eberron, and they might never be revealed. But whatever role the dragonmarks serve in the larger universe, their existence has changed the balance of power in this world. Over the centuries, the families that carry these marks have come to dominate the economy of Khorvaire, establishing guilds that control every major trade. In the past, the strength of the united kingdom of Galifar held the houses in check. Now, it remains to be seen whether the ambitions of these merchant princes will eventually challenge the dominion of kings.

The dragonmarked houses can affect a campaign in many ways. They can be patrons that drive an adventure, especially if one or more of the player characters are heirs of a dragonmarked bloodline. They can be a source of services or information. And they can be dangerous enemies if PCs interfere with their plans.

Although the dragonmarked houses work together under the banner of the Twelve, each house has its own goals and ambitions, which can easily set the houses at cross-purposes. There are bitter rivalries between House Tharashk and House Deneith, House Thuranni and House Phiarlan, and House Lyrandar and House Orien. Feuds can arise within a house, as shown by the widening schism within House Cannith. The following chapter explores each house in turn.

History of the Houses

The first dragonmarks appeared over 3,000 years ago, and it was not until many centuries later that the houses assumed their current forms. During this time, aberrant marks began to spread across the land, in part because of the mingling of pure dragonmarked bloodlines. The stories told by the houses' historians say that the bearers of aberrant marks had terrible powers, and were often gripped by madness. The fear and enmity engendered by those tales led to the War of the Mark. More about this struggle can be found in the sidebar on the facing page; it served to unify the newly formed houses, as they joined forces to exterminate the perceived aberrant threat. In the wake of the war, many of the current customs and structures of the houses were set into place, including the taboo on marriage between members of different houses. Following the war, House Cannith drew the other houses into the alliance known as The Twelve, a foundation formed to pursue the mutual interests of the houses and to undertake interdisciplinary research.

The second major factor in the history of the houses occurred when Galifar Wynarn I united the nations of Khorvaire. At the time, the houses didn’t have the strength to challenge Galifar's rule; recognizing the threat they could pose, the king instituted the Korth Edicts. These laws prevent a member of a dragonmarked house from owning land or holding any title of nobility, and place limits on the size of house enclaves and the troops they can maintain (with special dispensations for House Deneith). With the fall of Galifar, it is questionable whether the Five Nations are sufficiently unified to continue to enforce the Korth Edicts.

House Cannith

Creator of the warforged and the lightning rails, House Cannith profited most from the century-long Last War—and was perhaps most hurt by the Day of Mourning and the Treaty of Thronehold ending the war. Members of House Cannith bear the Mark of Making, and are among the most gifted inventors, magicians, and artisans of the age. But the Mark of Making compels House Cannith to continue blending the magical and the mundane—even when its creations are forbidden or spectacularly dangerous.

Every warforged PC has some connection to House Cannith—although not actual membership—because that PC was given life in a Cannith forgehold. Any PC who seeks powerful magic—especially magic contained within a crafted object—will eventually encounter the schemes and schemers of House Cannith.

Guilds and Organizations

The house has two guilds that are responsible for the lion’s share of Cannith's postwar profits.

Fabricators Guild: This guild runs shops that produce all manner of mundane equipment, much of which it creates with the aid of magic. The stamp of the gorgon—the symbol of House Cannith—is a sign of good quality and reasonable price, and can be found on items as varied as horseshoes, longsword hilts, and watertight barrels.

The guild maintains some retail establishments, but it is largely content to focus on production and leave the selling to others. Cannith goods can be found everywhere, both in the emporiums of Khorvaire’s largest cities and in the general stores on the edges of civilization.

Tinkers Guild: Harkening back to the Cannith family's original profession, members of this guild go from town to town, using magic to repair broken or damaged items. Much of Cannith's popularity among those who do not have dragonmarks can be attributed to periodic visits from Cannith tinkers. House elders maintain that the wandering life of a tinker is a character-building exercise, and most of the important dragonmarked heirs spend some of their adolescence traveling among the tinkers.

Cannith Magewright
Level 6 Artillery
Medium natural humanoid, human
XP 250
Initiative +5 Senses Perception +6
HP 55; Bloodied 27
AC 18; Fortitude 16, Reflex 18, Will 19
Speed 6
Melee Mace (standard; at-will) Weapon
+13 vs. AC; 1d8 + 2 damage.
Ranged Wand Spark (standard; at-will) Fire, Implement
+11 vs. Reflex; 2d4 + 8 damage.
Ranged Magewright’s Fiery Wand (standard; at-will) Fire, Implement
Ranged 10; +11 vs. Reflex; 1d4 + 4 fire damage, and each enemy adjacent to the target takes 4 fire damage.
Area Burst Alchemical Explosion (standard; recharge 56) Fire
Area burst 2 within 10; +11 vs. Refl ex; 1d6 + 4 fire damage and ongoing 5 fire damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Close Burst Lightning Withdrawal (immediate reaction, when an enemy enters an adjacent square; encounter) Lightning, Teleportation
Close burst 1; +11 vs. Fortitude, 2d6 + 4 lightning damage, and the Cannith magewright teleports 5 squares.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages Common
Skills Arcana +12
Str 16 (+6)
Dex 14 (+5)
Wis 16 (+6)
Con 13 (+4)
Int 19 (+7)
Cha 12 (+4)
Equipment wand

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

June 15

Aundair & the World of Eberron

June 19

Breland & Threats to Eberron

June 22

Karrnath & Travel in Eberron

June 26

Mournland & Monsters of Eberron

June 29

Thrane & Dragonmarks

July 3

Xen'drik & Religion of Eberron

July 6

Droaan & Sample Encounter

July 10

Q'barra & Table of Contents