Eberron: Rising from the Last War CAMPAIGN SOURCEBOOK REVIEW

Cover art for Eberron: Rising from the Last War by Wesley Burt.

Eberron: Rising from the Last War is a beautifully unique divergence for Dungeons and Dragons, and is the result of a fantastic partnership between Wizards of the Coast and their community of creators. Keith Baker’s world exists within and at the same time separate from the rest of the Dungeons and Dragons multiverse, making it realistically connected or contained as a setting. First introduced to fifth edition in Baker’s Wayfarer’s Guide to Eberron campaign prototype through DM’s Guild, it is now fully realized in this official publication with Wizards of the Coast. Eberron is a world of soaring skyships and elemental-powered engines, where magic is a part of everyday life and convenience, artificers craft fantastical creations and machines, and swashbuckling adventure awaits.

Welcome to Eberron

As a newer setting to Dungeons and Dragons, this massive (clocking in at 320 pages, it is the largest campaign sourcebook from Wizards of the Coast for fifth edition) sourcebook rightly starts with the key information regarding Eberron that distinguishes it from other settings. Primary are the Seven Things to Know, pillars of the foundation for a Dungeon Master, but also useful to have those key aspects nailed down and understood by the players who will be exploring the world. This section explores topics that range from the history and lore of the world as a plane and its place within the multiverse, but also as to the nature of the world and what it means to have characters and adventures set in Eberron. 

The history of Eberron that Baker has created and was then expanded upon through work with the team at Wizards of the Coast feels both original and creative. It expands to the mythology of the setting, with key information about the Progenitor Dragons at the dawn of time, the role of dragonshards, as well as how the different races scattered across history, and which rose to power and prominence. A majority is centered around Khorvaire, the primary continent, and the Five Nations that made up the former Kingdom of Galifar, but it does expand to the other continents and regions of Eberron, at least to some degree.

The continent of Khorvaire takes center stage as the primary setting in Eberron, especially as it was the site of the Last War. The history of Khorvaire is presented as regarding the modern age, long after the fall of the Dhakaani Empire and the rise of the Kingdom of Galifar, only recently collapsed, and the ensuing civil war that resulted in the Five Nations becoming their own separate countries. The Last War came to an end after one nation was utterly destroyed in a cataclysmic event known only as the Mourning, and the Treaty of Thronehold established a peace across the continent as well as recognizing the new sovereign states at the end of hostilities. There are other important details for Dungeon Masters regarding life on the continent, such as languages of the nations, names and surnames, the common calendar, and currencies of the realms. The themes of Eberron are also introduced, as it is intended to be a setting of pulp adventure where things are exceptional, which includes locations, heroes, and villains. Noir intrigue is a prevalent theme, with most aspects of Eberron containing a dark twist and a tinge of grey morality. The intent of the world is seen through those many shades of grey, and those bleed into locations, politics, social structures, and the characters who inhabit it. 

Art by Philip Straub.

Eberron is unique in its approach to access to resources and services in a high magic setting. Different from medieval fantasy or even heroic fantasy, as the nature of magic is unique in Eberron, and that is quickly seen in the different ways in which it is harnessed and utilized in everyday life. Magic is used in exceptional and ordinary ways, from making mundane tasks easier, to expediting the means of the powerful and wealthy, it is ingrained in most aspects of life in Eberron. From traveling to healing, to communication and legal treatises and contract, magic has uses beyond the scope of what other settings might offer, and this section has mechanics and suggestions as to how to incorporate that into your game. 

There are also details about how the history of Ebrron can affect characters and plot aspects. The Last War and the Mourning are significant in the history of Eberron, and are likely important aspects in the backstories of characters set in an adventure which occurs shortly after the conclusion of the Last War and the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold, which is how this campaign sourcebook is presented. An array of details are included and explored, all of which serve to expand the context for Dungeon Masters who can then distribute information and lore as necessary to their players. 

Character Creation

Eberron: Rising from the Last War brings new character creation options as well as ways to incorporate existing options from the Player’s Handbook into Eberron adventures. As the setting is unique, the playable races of the Player’s Handbook are presented with new options as to how they fit into the world of Eberron. The unique aspects to the races of Eberron are significant in changes to goblinoids and orcs, as well as for the new playable races; changelings, kalashtar, shifters, and warforged. Dragonmarks are presented as optional additions to players, along with a new background that allows for a character to be pledged or tied to a dragonmarked house. The new artificer class makes its debut in Eberron: Rising from the Last War, thorough in its inclusion of three subclasses, lists of spells available, and optional rules for bonus proficiencies and multiclassing. 

Group Patrons are presented as a variant dynamic that feels right at home in a political intrigue and noir-heavy setting such as Eberron. Friends, allies, and trust have an important role in an adventure that makes proper use of the themes Keith Baker set forth in his world. Examples of different types of patrons (such as criminal syndicates or dragonmarked houses) are given along with specific examples based on locations, the benefits they can grant, as well as tasks or contracts undertaken to earn that patron’s trust or membership into a faction, as well as what it takes to maintain good standing. Group Patrons open a variety of new opportunities in an adventure, everything from new friends and allies, exposing the characters to new enemies, roles that might take once they gain membership to a guild or organization, and much more. 

Khorvaire

Remnants of the Last War can be found across Eberron.

The nations of Khorvaire are presented with relevant information for Dungeon Masters and players whether creating NPCs or characters from different parts of the continent, or to simply better expand the setting. The nations and sovereign states, as of the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold, each have their subsection with details ranging from the nation’s capital, what each nation is known for, significant cities and locations, and distinguishing aspects for characters native to certain regions. Other locations beyond the continent of Khorvaire are given their own focus in the case of adventures expanding to other lands, or for significant NPCs or lore related to the lands beyond the boundaries of Khorvaire. The religions of Eberron have a detailed section, exploring how religion holds a different place in the world compared to other settings such as the Forgotten Realms. 

The most detailed part of the book is certainly looking at Sharn, the City of Towers, which has its own dedicated chapter. Sharn is a massive city divided into districts horizontally and reaches vertically as the city stretches towards the sky high above the ground. Likewise, it has its own subsection in Building Eberron Adventures that includes tables and content as resources and inspiration for adventures set within Sharn.

Eberron Adventures

Eberron: Rising from the Last War has the opportunity for wonderfully creative and unique adventures, but with such an expansive setting it can feel overwhelming. The Building Eberron Adventures chapter is a fantastic starting point for Dungeon Masters looking for a starting point, inspiration, or to fully build out an adventure using the resources of the book. There are hints and suggestions for villains and suspense, along with how to best use and introduce them. There are tables and subsections with choices for story openers of different types, how an adventure might kick off or hook players, additional adventure development, further hooks, and more to be used whether to directly create an adventure or to provide inspiration for an original adventure of the Dungeon Master’s own making. 

Art of Sharn by Eric Deschamps.

Forgotten Relics is a short adventure written for four to six 1st level characters who will advance to 2nd level by its conclusion. It is set in Sharn to provide an introduction to the city and to adventuring in Eberron. It introduces mechanics and themes, as well as NPCs that spur decisions that could have lasting implications for the players in the event of a longer adventure, creating allies or rivals depending on how they address the situation and the decisions they make. Forgotten Relics has themes of power struggles and intrigue, and provides a perfect introductory view into the multi-layered dealings in Sharn. 

Bestiary

A unique and important aspect of Eberron, the daelkyr and their twisted nature as lords of madness are a significant piece of Eberron that sets it apart. Before delving into actual stat blocks, it also looks at how most of the various aberrations on Eberron are the creations of the daelkyr, and how certain creatures were either influenced or created by the daelkyr. Both their twisted creations and the daelkyr themselves are given stat blocks. Other powerful figures in Eberron are given stat blocks, from the immortal overlords to ancient liches. Living spells make an appearance, anomalies from the Mournlands; as well as massive warforged behemoths created for the Last War. The section concludes with listings of generic NPCs stat blocks and details to reflect the new playable races, such as shifters or kalashtar; as well as roles within societies of Khorvaire, such as magewrights, warforged soldiers, or Tarkanan assassins.

Parting Thoughts

Keith Baker’s contribution of Eberron to the great multiverse of Dungeons and Dragons is spectacular, from the first adventure he wrote that inspired the setting, to this official publication. He has other expanded material for the setting, including Wayfarer’s Guide to Eberron on DMs Guild, and his website is a wealth of expanded lore and mythology regarding all aspects of Eberron for anyone wanting a deeper dive into his creation. The setting of Eberron is unlike any other in Dungeons and Dragons, it offers a completely unique world setting which informs everything else around it. With such a significant event like the Last War looming as recent history, it creates a post-conflict world that still carries the strife, contention, and suspicion of wartime without open hostilities. With themes and options for noir adventure where everything is painted in shades of grey, Eberron: Rising from the Last War is a treasure trove for creative Dungeon Masters and offers limitless adventures for players. 

Eberron: Rising from the Last War is published by Wizards of the Coast.

Want to pick up a copy of Eberron: Rising from the Last War for yourself or someone you know? Purchase a copy through this link, and you will help support the Writer in White with your purchase.

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