Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted hail an airship and get starting Exploring Eberron through the character options included in the Dungeon Master’s Guild book produced by the megapopular Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting’s original creator. Eberron is an extremely rich and detailed setting beloved by D&D players from its very beginning. Exploring Eberron illustrates wonderfully how curating character options creates a tremendous opportunity to show, rather than tell, what is special about your world. Exploring Eberron includes several subclasses for 5E D&D characters to choose from specially tailored to the setting, and of course Nerdarchy plans to explore them all. In the case of the Way of the Living Weapon monk I’m going through the book to find the connection points between the Monastic Tradition and the larger world it comes from. So let’s get into it.
Way of the Living Weapon in Exploring Eberron
We find a first reference to living weapons in the very first chapter: Discovering Eberron. This introductory section covers the history and timeline of the world, which not only helps establish the current state of things but also provides Dungeon Masters and players with tons of awesome tidbits and hooks to connect characters and adventures into the setting.
- Way back in the Age of Giants somewhere between 40,000-80,000 years ago the Sulat League of giants created the drow as living weapons to deal with rebellious elves. While the context differs from the Monastic Tradition, this deeply historical connection might be represented by your own drow monk character.
- Changelings, covered in chapter 2, explains how the Living Weapon Monastic Tradition blends perfectly with these shapeshifters by combining their signature feature with martial discipline.
- Kalashtar and their quori ridealongs receive more detail in the book, with different varieties of quori bond described. One of these, the tsucora, feed on terror and Living Weapon monks of this sort can sow that fear through their very touch.
- Psychic Power in Exploring Eberron touches on how different 5E D&D character classes interact with the concept and the Living Weapon Monastic Tradition builds on the idea of ki as representing your psionic ability.
- Like kalashtar, shifters get solid development of their place in the world through the type of beasts their primal nature most identifies with. Here again the versatility of the Living Weapon Monastic Tradition incorporates elements of this new thematic material for shifters.
- Not to be left out warforged — maybe the most popular concept to come out of Eberron full stop — encompass one aspect of the Living Weapon subclass too, with those features representing physical evolution of the living constructs.
- Dyrrn, the Corrupter, one of the enigmatic entities making up the pantheon of Eberron and any living weapon might be tied to this infamous daelkyr. Valaara, the Crawling Queen is another such entity. Both include tons of cool lore and details you might find spark your imagination.
- Droaam (one of the coolest regions of Eberrron!) describes how shifters from there frequently train to become Living Weapon monks. Likewise the Kech Ghaalrac or Clan of Heroes of the Dhakaani touches on that empire’s development of powerful living weapons.
- Here’s a fun sidebar fact I never heard of explaining how the first illithids were transformed champions of Dyrrn the Corruptor deployed as living weapons by gith to subjugate their own people.
- The Monastic Tradition itself makes a design choice I dig with decision points built into level based class features, sort of like the Path of the Totem Warrior barbarian. Characters are free to mix and match or stick with the same theme. Each of the choices allows Living Weapon monks to tailor the subclass to their character, perhaps with influence from the other points on this list with regards to race choice, history or where a character comes from originally. There’s also a terrific sidebar explaining more about the Living Weapon monk with some suggestions how to interpret their features. Really neat!
- Sahuagin — one of my favorite creatures! — always felt like a powerful part of Eberron and they show up here as the impetus for aboleths to create chuul as living weapons to unleash against them. Guess what? Powerful sahuagin priests of the Eternal Dominion consumed the chuuls and took their power. Ancient beings of power in Eberron sure seem to dig creating living weapons, making them great paths to connect Living Weapon monks to various entities in the world.
Your Exploring Eberron stories
And there you have it. Will I have the same luck with this format concept when it comes to Forge Adept, Maverick and Infusions artificers, College of the Dirge Singer bards, Mind Domain clerics and Circle of the Forged druids? I hope so but even if there’s no direct link between those subclasses and elements of the larger campaign world, I’ll find something!
We recently started a Community Spotlight on our weekly Nerdarchy the Newsletter and we want to know what you’re up to around your gaming tables. Are you playing a Living Weapon monk? Did you find inspiration from one of our videos, website posts or products? Let us know! Comment on this post, tag us on social media or send us a message and share your stories and images. We love making all sorts of content for you and we want to hear about your adventures too. You get a special coupon for $9.99 when you sign up for the newsletter too. If you want to grab your own copy of this great mini you can grab a copy here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this campaign setting Exploring Eberron is a big 250 page book available at Dungeon Masters Guild in both PDF and hardcover options here.