Eberron Rises From the D&D VaultNovember 19, 2019
The wind whistled across the bow of The Nautilus , as the massive floating ship drifted effortlessly between the clouds. A lone creature stood watch, gazing outward across a ragged landscape; the Last War had ended, but much of Khorvaire remained a blighted testament to that century of bloodshed.
The remnants of burned out villages and ruined cities dotted the land in all directions, but high above the world they passed quickly, as if they were only a dream.
Over the horizon their destination gradually rose into view: Sharn, the City of Towers, crown jewel of the world. As the city neared, the sentry felt a magical energy pulsing through its skin. Reflexively the creature reached up to its neck, as the dragonmark, the magical sigil seared into its flesh, flared hot.
“At last,” its lips almost creaked as they fought their nature, forming into an awkward smile. “We’ve found it.”
Today, Dungeons & Dragons launches its newest product, Eberron: Rising From The Last War. Based on the world of Eberron, created by Keith Baker in the early 2000s, Eberron: Rising From The Last War, is a campaign setting sourcebook, with a twist: not only does it contain the standards players have come to expect from a sourcebook of this kind, new features, regional gazateer, campaign hooks, etc., it also contains the first new Fifth Edition class since the Player’s Handbook was released in 2014.
Eberron is a pulpy fantasy setting infused with elements of steampunk thrown in for good measure. Elementals magically bound into ships to make them fly? Check. Humanoids forged with a blend of organic and inorganic materials, originally built as automatons to fight in the Last War, but eventually gaining sentience? Check.
The world blends many of the elements common to Dungeons & Dragons, of course, like elves, dwarves, and humans, but adds its own unique touches, with magic-forged technology, new races, and dragonmarks: magical ability seared into flesh.
What started as a 1000 word introduction in in a Fantasy Setting Search has spawned sourcebooks, novels, and more across three editions of the game, and Eberron: Rising from The Last War is a proud entry into this library.
As mentioned, Eberron: Rising From The Last War introduces the first new character class in Fifth Edition, The Artificer. Artificers infuse magic into ordinary objects, making them extraordinary. They use these tools to power their abilities. Artificers, like Wizards, crave new magical knowledge, exploring, and seeking new power.
There are three sub-classes for The Artificer, Alchemist, Artillerist, and Battle Smith.
Alchemist is pretty self-explanatory: creator of experimental elixirs (each of which has a unique property), user of reagents, and tester of substances.
Artillerist is pretty self-explanatory as well: the artillerist specializes in using their abilities to make things go BOOM. You get to create an eldritch cannon: that’s right. An eldritch cannon which can serve as a flamethrower, a force ballista, or a protector, the latter provides more love (healing) than war.
Most of the artillerist’s abilities are focused on improving their arcane cannon and giving it new and enhanced powers.
Battle Smith is focused on repair and healing, and improving the defense of itself and its allies. Also, most importantly, you create a steadfast ally in the form of a “steel defender” that can take a two-legged or four-legged form of your choice (who’s ready for a steel battle panda?)
Each of these sub-classes adds additional spells to the Artificer class list at 3rd, 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels, as appropriate for their theme.
The book also re-introduces the Eberron races for the Fifth Edition game, and provides updates for the existing races, as well.
The Warforged were built as automatons to fight in the Last War, but through the machinations of House Cannith gained sentience. Made from wood and steel, they can feel pain and have emotions, but like their humanoid cousins, are healed through normal spells.
The race, unsurprisingly, is strong against poison, and doesn’t need to sleep.
Due to their construction, they also have some defensive benefits as well.
Shifters are humanoids that forged a bond with the “beast within,” embracing different totemic aspects of animals to enhance their abilities. Multiple subraces exist to allow for even further customization.
Shifters “shift” into a more animalistic version of themselves as a bonus action, and depending on the subrace chosen at creation, has a different effect.
Changelings are shapechangers and live amongst the races of Eberron; some in the open, and some not. The ability to assume other forms is a powerful one, and Changelings were used to great effect during the Last War.
Very much centered around the social pillar of the game, Changelings are masters of conversation and deception, and would fit very well in a game of intrigue, diplomacy, and betrayal.
The Kalashtar are humanoids bound to spirits from the plane of dreams. Their connection to the plane of dreams give them the ability to touch the minds of others, provides wisdom, and they are particularly strong at repelling psychic attacks.
The game also introduces dragonmarks: “tattoos” that give a character magical powers, and change them slightly, providing abilities not generally seen amongst others of their race.
Dragonmarks are tied to specific houses and races, so they can’t be used across the board; for example a human couldn’t use a dragonmark traditionally seen amongst the halflings of the plains.
The dragonmark can serve as a variant race that replaces the standard race traits (for humans and half-orcs, for example) or serve as an entirely new sub-race (for halflings, dwarves, gnomes, and elves.)
Should you buy it?
There’s a lot of reasons to own Eberron: Rising From The Last War. The art, unsurprisingly, is beautiful and sets the tone of the setting brilliantly; a world of magic and technology, with inventions of great power, is an excellent setting for a new campaign.
The artificer class will satisfy those eager to try something a little different in their Fifth Edition games but it, like the new races, may not fit in every high fantasy world. It is definitely worth discussing with your DM before you dive headlong into creating a new character from one of these races.
Each has a unique flavour, though, and they do fit well in Fifth Edition; Warforged in particular, seem balanced, where in the original Eberron sourcebook they may have been slightly over-powered compared with some of the other standard races.
In the end, if you’re looking for new character options: this is it. Own it. The first new class for Fifth Edition, complete with new races, and subraces (dragonmarks).
With a little finesse, Eberron: Rising From The Last War can introduce dozens of new elements into your Fifth Edition Campaign, or serve as the foundation for an entirely new D&D experience.
A copy of Eberron: Rising From The Last War was provided for review purposes.
Images are copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise indicated.