The wait is over. We have the Eberron Player’s Guide now and we’re reviewing the entire book today. We’re revealing everything about the feats, the magic items and most importantly the Dragonmarks. We covered the races and the classes in the Eberron Player’s Guide Review (part 1) that we posted earlier today. Now we complete the review and reveal all the remaining secrets.
Chapter 4: Character Options
The Feats section begins with Dragonmarks. Dragonmark feats are available to ALL PCs regardless of their race or class. There are absolutely no prerequisites to taking a Dragonmark. If you choose to take a Dragonmark feat there are four options.
- You choose to become an heir of a Dragonmarked house. The example in the book is a Half-elf choosing the Mark of Storm feat and becoming a member of House Lyrandar. You are a recognized member of the house and the Dragonmarked bloodline.
- You choose to become a distant offshoot of Dragonmarked bloodline. So just like in option 1 you choose the race most commonly associated with the house and the Dragonmark it possesses. So again you’d be a Half-elf with a Mark of Storm feat, but in this case you’re not affiliated with the house. The house will take interest in you if they learn of you.
- You choose any Dragonmark, regardless of your race. In this example you might be a Human, Deva, Shifter or Warforged with the Mark of Storm feat. This makes you extremely unique. The Dragonmarked houses have no interest in you. Your Dragonmark is considered to be a direct manifestation of the Draconic Prophesy and has nothing to do with the Dragonmarked Houses.
- You choose an aberrant Dragonmark. Your mark is not one of the established Dragonmarks and the houses will hunt you down if they learn of your Dragonmark.
Once you take a Dragonmark feat, you’re pretty much stuck with it. There is a side bar that clearly states that “Dragonmarks should not be casually retrained.” So although the mechanics of 4e allow you to retrain feats, the DM is advised to strongly discourage it in this case.
All the dragonmarked feats are heroic tier. I can’t find any reference to distinction between least, lesser, greater and Siberys Dragonmarks. Looks like that mechanic was removed during the 4e revamp.
In the section Other Common Races in chapter 2, the entry for each race has a section called Dragonmarked Houses. This provides a brief description of the established houses by race and suggestions for how to play PCs of races that don’t typically possess Dragonmarks.
Below is a quick preview of the powers that come with each of the Dragonmark feats. In addition to those listed, each Dragonmark allows the PCs possessing it to perform rituals associated with their particular mark.
- Mark of Detection: You roll twice for Perception checks. You can sense magic and can use Perception in place of Arcana to detect magic.
- Mark of Finding: An enemy granting combat advantage shifts you can shift into the square he just vacated.
- Mark of Handling: Benefits of Mounted Combat feat and while mounted +2 to speed and +1 AC. The same benefits apply to your beast companion.
- Mark of Healing: Allies can make a save whenever you heal them.
- Mark of Hospitality: Allies within 10 restore maximum hp possible during a short rest.
- Mark of Making: Use Enchant Magic Item ritual and make Alchemical items as two levels higher.
- Mark of Passage: When a power lets you shift or teleport, +1 square.
- Mark of Scribing: Gain fluency in four new languages and +2 to Diplomacy.
- Mark of Sentinel: When making an opportunity attack shift 1 as a free action before or after.
- Mark of Shadow: Remain hidden or invisible if you miss with your attack.
- Mark of Storm: You gain +1 to speed when flying and thunder or lightning powers slide enemies 1 square.
- Mark of Warding: +1 AC to powers that provide defense bonuses and marked enemies suffer -3 to attacks when targeting others.
- There are 18 new alchemical items.
- There new are Holy Symbols for each of 15 different deities. All symbols come in 5 or 6 different power levels (which means there are over 75 new Holy Symbols to choose from).
- Dragonshard Augments are compressed into two pages, which I found disappointing. The augments themselves are mostly just +1 to damage from a particular energy type.
- There are 11 new Warforged Components ranging from level 2 to level 29 which means over 50 to choose from. The write-up on component traits and converting items to Warforged components provides additional ways to make Warforged PCs unique and even more fun to play.
- There are 16 new rituals.
Chapter 5: World of Eberron
The world is broken into three categories: The Five Nations, Greater Khorvaire and Beyond Khorvaire. Each category is further divided by country or region. The description for each country provides Common Knowledge, Regional Features, People and Adventurers. The Adventurers section describes regional traits including associated skills.
Dragonmarked Houses Backgrounds
PCs can choose to take a Dragonmarked House background. Three different background options are presented under each of the thirteen Dragonmarked Houses with each option providing different benefits.
An additional twelve backgrounds that are not associated with any of the Dragonmarked Houses or geographic region are available for a PC who doesn’t find any of the alternatives to their liking.
I really like this book. It provides a lot of new options for players. If your campaign takes place in Eberron then you should definitely pick up the Eberron Player’s Guide. It’s important to remember that this book shouldn’t be judged on own since it’s only half of a set. Until its companion, the Eberron Campaign Guide, is released next month I reserve final judgment. However, as much as I like this book I found it lacking in some areas.
When the 3e version of the original Eberron Campaign Setting came out, it had everything for everyone. Although additional supplements were released in the following months, this one book provided enough detail to start a campaign in Eberron. The new 4e book is just a resource for players. If you’ve played in Eberron before then it will allow you to convert from 3e to 4e, but if this is your first look at Eberron then I think you’ll have a lot of questions.
The Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide spent a lot more time describing the geography of the world. The Eberron Player’s Guide is seriously lacking in this regard. It’s possible that more detail will be provided in the Eberron Campaign Guide but for now we just don’t know. A sizable portion of the Eberron Player’s Guide is dedicated to Dragonmarks and the Dragonmarked Houses, something not relevant to the Forgotten Realms, and the details about Eberron’s geography seems compressed to make room.
If you don’t play in Eberron and you don’t think you’re going to play in Eberron then I don’t think you need to purchase this book if you have a Dungeons & Dragons Insider subscription. All of the relevant details will be incorporated into the Character Builder in July.
So for now, if you’re a hard core Eberron fan then I recommend you pick up the Eberron Player’s Guide next week. You’ll enjoy the 4e makeover and the changes to the campaign setting you know and love. If you’re just a casual observer, I’d say get a DDI subscription.
8 on a d10