Wizards of the Coast released a new sourcebook last week, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, finally adapting the popular Eberron setting to the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a unique setting that differs from the standard D&D setting of Faerun, and the sourcebook includes some interesting new features.
Eberron is a classic setting in D&D, having been introduced to the series during edition 3.5, back in 2004. It even won an award for Best Roleplaying Game Supplement of that year. It was so popular that it returned as a second setting for 4th Edition in 2009 with the Eberron Player’s Guide and a few published adventures. In 2015, Eberron content appeared in Unearthed Arcana, Wizards of the Coast’s playtesting feature. Now, after testing and tweaking, it has been officially published and is ready for play.
Eberron is very different from the primary setting of Dungeons & Dragons, Faerun. Faerun is mainly a classic swords and sorcery type setting; it’s what people imagine when they think of D&D. There are a few variations from the classic fantasy genre in Faerun – the Sword Coast can add a bit of a pirate flair and the Forgotten Realms planar system is something else entirely – but it mostly sticks to the standard theme.
Eberron, on the other hand, offers a brand new setting with a much more arcane-punk setting, complete with magic technology that permeates the world. Magic streetlights line the streets, sentient robot-like constructs left over from an old war walk the streets, and magic-powered high speed rail stretches across the continent. Technology and magic are blended in the industrialized Eberron in a way that is unfamiliar to the classic fantasy setting of Faerun.
The magic system in Eberron reflects the industrialized setting. Low-level magic is pervasive. It is integrated into the technology of the world and into daily life in general thanks to magical civil servants that keep things running smoothly. Conversely, high-level magic is almost unheard of. You’re unlikely to be able to find a cleric at any public temple that will be able to bring the dead back to life for the right price, for example.
Players will get to benefit from Eberron’s focus on inventions and technology through the new class that is introduced in this source book. The new Artificer class focuses on the ability to create items and imbue them with magic. When an Artificer starts out, they have the ability to cast spells using a set of tools as a focus, as well as making items have small magical effects – essentially creating things like glow sticks, air fresheners, and the like. When the Artificer levels up it gains abilities called infusions that let it create a wider variety of magical objects. It also gains the ability to create non-magical tools, store a spell in an object for a certain number of uses, and attune many more magic items than normal.
The three subclasses for the Artificer class are Alchemist, Artillerist, and Battle Smith. The Alchemist focuses on making potions. Alchemists can create an Experimental Elixir that gains a random beneficial effect upon creation, and provides guaranteed temporary hit points at a higher level. The subclass also gets some free healing spells that can be cast without spell slots or preparation a certain number of times per day, as well as bonus damage for some damage types and certain damage resistances that come from working with chemicals all day.
The Artillerist focuses on damage and explosions. The main ability of this subclass is Eldritch Cannon, which lets the Artillerist summon cannons that shoot fire, magical force, or shields. The cannons can be handheld or free-standing, and can even have legs that let it walk around. At higher levels the cannons get better and more numerous. There’s also an ability Arcane Firearm, which sounds very cool but is basically just a spellcasting focus that deals bonus damage on damaging spells.
Battle Smith is another combat-oriented Artificer subclass, but focusing on defense rather than attack. It makes hand-to-hand combat easier for Artificers, giving proficiency with martial weapons and using Intelligence for magic weapon attacks instead of Strength or Dexterity, as well as an extra attack. The ability Arcane Jolt gives this subclass a good variety of damage or in-battle healing, and improves later on. Also, Battle Smiths get a robot dog, which almost makes the subclass a good choice on its own.
Several new playable races are included in the sourcebook as well. In addition to various Goblinoids and Orcs (not just Half-Orcs), Eberron: Rising from the Last War includes Changelings, Kalashtar, Shifters, and Warforged. Changelings are shapeshifters with a culture based on unmoored identities and changing faces. Kalashtar are a human-like race of people that have psychic powers thanks to their connection with mysterious spirits. Shifters are descendants of humans and lycanthropes, with more variety to their animal nature than the standard werewolf. Warforged are sentient robots from a past war that now have to live in a world where they no longer have a purpose.
There are a few other mechanics; Dragonmarks let players replace some of the abilities that certain races have with different magical powers and Patrons add some game mechanics to the different groups players can ally with. The book also includes plenty of information on the world and guides on how to make adventures in Eberron. Overall, Eberron: Rising from the Last War provides everything players and DMs will need to start a campaign in the popular Eberron setting.
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