Whispers of Forgotten Ages
World of Eberron
The world of Eberron is one of swashbuckling action and dark heroic fantasy, a world where magic is harnessed in the form of fantastic technology and conspiracies and intrigue abound. The result of a ground-breaking campaign setting search undertaken by Wizards of the Coast for the Third Edition of the Dungeon and Dragons game in 2002, the Eberron setting, created by Keith Baker, was eventually chosen out of more than 11,000 one-page proposals from around the world.
The features that first set Eberron apart for Wizards of the Coast and for thousands of other fans, Dungeon Masters and players alike was that it combined traditional medieval fantasy with pulp action and dark, intrigue-laden adventure. The world of Eberron possesses an incredibly rich fictional history stretching back for millennia that has been built on the deeds of countless heroes, potent magic and the suffering of a long, devastating, continent-spanning war. And, unlike in more traditional fantasy settings, in the wake of this Last War the world has emerged into an age when life cannot be painted in the monochromatic shades of black and white but only in a thousand shades of gray.
Magic is also presented differently in the world of Eberron than in previous settings. It pervades and influences the everyday life of the people of the world and provides comforts and conveniences unknown either in our own world or any other world of medieval fantasy. In essence, in Eberron magic is a form of technology that has been harnessed for the betterment of that world’s people much as science has been harnessed by the citizens of Earth. Massive cities with sky-scraping castles and towers can be found throughout Eberron’s continent of Khorvaire, while a thriving aristocracy (some would say monopoly) of mercantile familes controls most of that continent’s economy through their possession of the rare and powerful dragonmarks.
The pseudo-medieval world of Eberron is a place of magic and monsters from the furthest corners of the human imagination, a place where arcane energies have infused the landscape and greatly influenced the subsequent development of both culture and industry. Thanks to a developing mastery of arcane magic, the great cities of the continent of Khorvaire contain skyscraping towers, elemental-powered carriages, galleons and airships. Arcane magic is involved in every industry across the face of Eberron and represents the cornerstone of the innovation that propels the society of men forward, just as science does in our own world.
The advances of and conveniences provided by the mastery of magic augment the traditional trappings of a world that would otherwise be considered equivalent to the late medieval or early Renaissance period in Earth’s own history. Magic and the technological adaptation of the arcane arts allowed the society of Khorvaire to enjoy certain conveniences that mimic the technological marvels that first appeared on Earth in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A device resembling a telegraph powered by magic rather than electricity provides long-range communication between two locations. An arcane analog of a railroad connects defined routes among the civilized areas of Khorvaire. Magic is used to accomplish tasks otherwise impossible for the pre-industrial technology of the day—if one can find the right arcanist and there is enough gold available to pay for the privilege. Even in Eberron money talks.
As any campaign opens in Eberron, the continent of Khorvaire is emerging from a long and devastating war similar in scope and damage to the world-spanning wars of the Earth’s eighteenth century. The five major kingdoms of the continent of Khorvaire were once part of a greater kingdom of legend, the mighty state of Galifar. When King Jarot, the last Galifaran monarch died, his five heirs, each in command of one of the Five Nations that comprised the kingdom, refused to bow to ancient tradition in regards to the succession. Instead of allowing the eldest scion to take the crown, the siblings rallied their vassals and individually sought to gain control of the kingdom for themselves. Over time, this decades-long destructive conflict became known as the Last War, for everyone involved came to imagine that the taste for bloodshed and violence would be wiped from the face of Khorvaire when it ended, never to return.
The Last War continued for more than a century, with each of the Five Nations alternately fighting againt or alongside one or more of the others as alliances shifted with the wind. In time, new, independent kingdoms were formed as deals were cut and opportunities for rebellion presented themselves. After 102 years of war, the leaders of the twelve recognized nations of Khorvaire that had emerged from the wreckage of Galifar met at the city of Thronehold, the ancient capital city of that kingdom, to draft a peace agreement. With the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold, the Last War at last came to an end.
- The Grand History of Eberron, by Christopher Monte