When people begin to play Dungeons & Dragons, they have certain expectations about the setting. D&D is famous for establishing a fantasy world of magic, elves, castles, and all the stories and locations that go along with that. However, Wizards of the Coast once played with a pulp/noir setting called Eberron. Eberron was created back during 3rd edition D&D in the early 2000s. Now a new Eberron book, Eberron: Rising From The Last War, modernizes the setting for today's players. Players and DMs who use the book can look forward to a world of magical technology, 5th edition's first new class, and adventures with moral ambiguity.

Eberron For Players

via: Wizards of the Coast

The thing that must be clarified first is that Eberron is a campaign sourcebook. That makes it different from most other 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons books on the market. It contains rules for specific Eberron game mechanics and even a short sample adventure, but the bulk of the product is written as a guide for Dungeon Masters who want to run an Eberron campaign. For that reason, it makes more sense for the DM to own the book than the players. That said, there are plenty of exciting things for players to delve into.

The biggest player-oriented addition is the Artificer class. This actually marks the first time a class has been added to 5th edition. The Artificer marks the occasion, and represents the theme of Eberron, by combining magic with science. Artificers can infuse mundane items with magic, basically allowing them to create magic items. They also get three subclasses to choose from. The Alchemist can mix experimental elixirs to heal allies or bestow random abilities to them. The Artillerist can create a magic turret that can fortify allies or fire upon opponents. And the Battle Smith builds a robotic companion that joins them in combat.

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Players who enjoy tinkerers or love playing with turrets in strategy games will love the artificer. The class also adds an interesting way to play a support class without being totally devoid of offensive options. This is especially true of the Artillerist, who can direct their turret to either give allies temporary HP, fire force bullets, or be a flamethrower.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Eberron Explained

Outside of combat, Rising From The Last War gives players new ways to deepen a character's backstory. Eberron has a unique magic called Dragonmarks. These marks manifest on members of certain families that hold tremendous standing in Eberron. Players get the option to have a Dragonmark, but this will naturally alter their backstory. Even if they don't have a Dragonmark, the book still expands on options for powerful factions players can be employed by as they adventure through Eberron. They can choose to seek treasure for a shady company, investigate corruption for the local newspaper, or try to go it alone and maneuver between the various factions. True to its noir inspiration, Eberron lets players live in the moral grey area.

Eberron For Dungeon Masters

via: Wizards of the Coast

All of those player options are only chapter one of the book! Chapters five and six contain the usual list of magic items and bestiary of enemies and NPCs found in hardcover adventures. That's not to disparage that content. The magic items of Eberron are quite inspired and really lean into the unique fusion of magic and technology. They also serve as a lore reminder that Eberron is a world fresh out of war. There's a pair of magical lungs that protect the user from chemical weapon attacks. That's both wonderfully bizarre and a dark indication of how cruel war in Eberron is.

The majority of the book is a primer on the state of Eberron and the people who inhabit it. How useful this is depends entirely on the reader. Again, this is not a standard adventure book. There is one sample adventure meant to take players from level one to two, but the purpose of this book is not to say "have your players go here and do this stuff."

The writers of Rising From The Last War did a wonderful job laying out the theory behind adventure crafting. As much as the material refers to the dark, technology-infused world of Eberron, there are plenty of universal lessons on storytelling. Guidance on how to continually raise the stakes and how to create a compelling villain can be applied to any setting. To get the most out of the book, a DM will have to read it thoroughly and put in the work to create their own Eberron adventure.

That's really what the value of Eberron: Rising From The Last War is in the end. It's a fantastic setting full of possibilities for DMs and players who are willing to put in the work of researching Eberron's lore.

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