Khorvaire Schmorvaire — This is the Coolest Thing About Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discussed an overview of Eberron: Rising from the Last War for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The Eberron campaign setting remains hugely popular, since it was first introduced for third edition D&D. Everybody loves warforged, and artificers, and dragonmarks and elemental airships. But my favorite thing about Eberron only shows up in a few paragraphs at the end of Chapter 2: Khorvaire Gazetteer. Y’all can have Sharn, Breland, Droaam and the Mournlands. I’ll take Xen’drik.
Xen’drik is where it’s at in Eberron
I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons Online for just about 13 years to the day as I write this. Way back when I discovered this MMO I’d heard of Eberron — I had a subscription to Dragon Magazine after all — but I wasn’t too familiar with the campaign setting specifics. DDO at the time began with your character arriving in Stormreach harbor, on the continent of Xen’drik. While DDO expanded tremendously since then, taking characters to Sharn in one expansion and other planes and planets like Ravenloft, the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk in others, I always feel like Xen’drik is home.
“The Sovereigns and Six each laid a curse upon the land. Aureon decreed that the creatures of Xen’drik would have no knowledge of law, and Boldrei proclaimed that no city would stand. The Traveler distorted the land so that no path followed twice. The Devourer unleashed fire and storm. And so Xen’drik remains a land of mystery, a realm that cannot be mapped, a place that holds secrets that could shatter the world.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lifted quests straight out of DDO for games of 5E D&D. Eberron: Rising from the Last War illustrates a few examples of the kinds of adventures you can find in Xen’drik. They’re broad ideas but in my experience with DDO it rivals the Sword Coast for devastating threats. Early in the game’s history the big threat focused on the Stormreaver Prophecy, a doomsday scenario involving giants, dracolichs and literally a doomsday device. The quest took you through Gianthold, a landscape blasted by ancient magic. Sounds kind of Mournland-y, right? Maybe in your Eberron campaign world there’s a link between the two events. The possibility is definitely worth sending some adventurers to the mysterious continent of Xen’drik to investigate.
In another quest, House Deneith supervises an archaeological dig and the excavators uncover a vast underground complex built thousands of years ago. And what do you know, there’s a portal to Xoriat down there. Meanwhile in the Orchard of the Macabre, the Black Abbot seeks godhood and adventurers must ally with the lich’s lieutenants like an undead beholder and a golem crafter to stop the ascension. A sect of psychic dream eaters infiltrates Stormreach, the Lord of Blades seizes a quori creation forge and devils assault the city among other things.
But my favorite Xen’drik adventure is the Attack on Stormreach. Armies from Drooam attack the city and adventurers defend the walls, sabotage naval vessels and thwart a kobold explosives expert attempting to collapse the city.
All of the quests in Xen’drik, whether in Stormreach itself or out in the wilderness really evoke one of the classic themes of D&D. The modern world is built upon the ruins of the past. Secrets and powerful magic persist because of the curse on the land, keeping these things hidden and forgotten.
If your 5E D&D Eberron campaign includes a group patron, one of the cool new features in Rising from the Last War, take a look at The Twelve. These magical researchers work around and with the Dragonmarked Houses, so the organization would make a great patron for a group with characters representing different houses. The Twelve could finance an expedition to Xen’drik and send the party on an airship ride to kick off the campaign. If you want to lean further into DDO, maybe a dragon attacks the airship and it crashes on Korthos Island near Shargon’s Teeth. I can tell you from personal experience, lifting the entire starting location from the game and dropping it right into 5E D&D works great.
Eberron: Rising from the Last War might not have a whole lot about Xen’drik, but content from previous editions sure does. Over at the Dungeon Master’s Guild you can find a ton of resources to create your own Xen’drink campaign. Check it out and get started here. And if DDO intrigues you, it’s a free to play MMO you can check out here. (I’m on the Sarlona server usually playing Experimenta hmu!)
Even if you don’t play DDO the robust wiki makes a fantastic resource too. If nothing else you can check out the quests to get ideas for adventures. You could do a lot worse than starting a campaign with a dragon attack, a crashed airship and the usually peaceful village of Korthos besieged by a force of evil Sahuagin… and something worse. The Salvation of Korthos, which is a lot like Against the Cult of the Reptile God structurally and thematically, introduces a lot of Eberron concepts like dragonshards and the sort of ambiguous morality or shades of gray the campaign setting operates under.
But I’m curious what part of Eberron captures your imagination. Is it the magical technology? Are you a warforged enthusiast? Do you want to root out criminals and take on the Sharn Syndicate? Let me know and I’ll see you in Stormreach!