Secrets of Eberron Revealed (Part 10)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 28, 2011

The Thronehold Tournament is the most mysterious and lucrative gambling tournament in Eberron. It happens every year in the very castle that once housed the Five Nations’ one true king. Today we reveal the history of the card tournament that according to the castles’ guardians, House Deneith, doesn’t exist. Are you ready to learn about the fastest way to earn a fortune in Eberron?

Click on the Eberron tab above the Dungeon’s Master banner to find the previous installments in this ongoing series as well as many other great Eberron articles and resources.

The Thronehold Tournament

Thronehold is the island in Scion Sound that was home to the king of the Five Nations for centuries – until the last war began. Since that time Castle Thronehold has remained empty of everyone but the House Deneith soldiers guarding it while they await the return of a one true king. Although the castle remained empty during the war, the nearby town of Throneport continued to thrive. Under no nation’s jurisdiction the town became a haven for illicit activity, smugglers and criminals of all kinds. It was hear that the Thronehold Tournament began.

Over twenty years ago a chance encounter between a high ranking Deneith captain with a love for card games and an opportunistic gambler led to the very first Thronehold Tournament, a card game with some of the highest stakes ever imagined. The gambler was looking for a way to launder a sizable amount of gold pieces, while the Deneith captain searched desperately for a way to make his mundane task of guarding an empty castle more exciting. The two realized that they could help each other.

Together they organized a card tournament. The Deneith captain would supply the location, an unused room in the abandoned Thronehold Castle, while the gambler would find other like-minded participants looking for a way to legitimize their unlawfully obtained spoils.

Each participant in the tournament had to provide a considerable entry fee. The top five finishers would each collect a share of the total pot, notarized by House Deneith and thereby legitimizing the payout. House Deneith charged a minimal fee for handling the transaction, but considering the incredible stakes, even a small percentage was a very large amount.

After the first tournament two things happened. The Deneith captain’s actions were discovered by a very high ranking member of his house and everyone who participated in the tournament started asking when the next one would take place.

The Deneith captain expected to loose his post (at best) and be excoriated from the house (at worst). However, the House realized the incredibly boons that this kind of event could yield if handled properly. The captain was made the lifetime commander of Deneith’s solders at Thronehold Castle and charged with running the Thronehold Tournament each year.

It didn’t take long for the word of the Thronehold Tournament to spread among the rogues and ruffians. With so much interest, filling the seats for subsequent tournaments would be easy. In fact, they had to raise the stakes because demand for the limited seats in the tournament became so fierce.

Although the tournament itself was kept very hush-hush, the rumour mill could not be kept in check. People from across the Five Nations began hearing about a high-stakes tournament held annually inside Castle Thronehold. House Deneith officials have always denied that such an even happens in the castle under their watch, but the rumours continue.

As the years passed and the tournament’s entry fee continued climbing the Thronehold Tournament became more and more prestigious. Although House Deneith publically denied the tournament, in actuality they realized that they had so much more to gain by keeping it alive.

After the first year, House Deneith arranged for a select number of seats in the tournament to be made available to their own people at no charge. Suddenly every Deneith soldier wanted to sever a tour at Thronehold Castle since only those assigned to Thronehold were eligible to participate. Deneith now actively promoted a rotation at Thronehold as something their members could earn through exemplary service to the house.

The rumours of the Thronehold Tournament still persist. No one has ever publicly admitted to participating in the tournament, let alone winning it. House Deneith laughs off any suggestion of their involvement in such a tournament or any accusation that they let anyone other than authorized House Deneith soldiers into Castle Thronehold.

Adventure Hooks

  • The PCs overhear a drunkard in a tavern talking about how years before he participated in the Thronehold Tournament. No one is taking him seriously, but some of the details he has about the interior of Castle Thronehold seem a little bit too accurate for just drunk talk.
  • The PCs are in Throneport on business (legal or otherwise). One of them sees a gentleman in fancy clothes being attacked by a gang of hoods. The man is killed just as the PCs arrive. After they deal with the street thugs (or chase them away) they find an envelope in the victim’s jacket with the House Deneith seal upon it. The only information within is a time and a seat number.
  • One of the PCs has a knack for gambling and games of chance. He is approached by a questionable character. The man wants to stake the PC in a very exclusive and high-stakes card tournament. He’s willing to split the PC’s winning 50/50.
  • A PCs with the Mark of Sentinel is rewarded by House Deneith for exemplary service. His reward is a short, mandatory rotation as part of the guard unit at Thronehold Castle.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alton March 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Good to know! I am learning more and more from the Eberron world and I am piqued and will start reading the Eberron players guide.
Alton´s last blog post ..Tactics 101- Flying Creatures

2 Sunyaku March 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm

This post makes me want to gamble. :-) I wonder how my players would react to an adventure that involved a card-playing challenge… hmm…
Sunyaku´s last blog post ..Heroes of Shadow Necromancer and Nethermancer

3 Ameron March 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm

@Alton
The Dungeon’s Master team runs a weekly D&D game set in Eberron. A lot of the “Secrets” that we’ve revealed came right from our own campaigns. The world is so rich and there’s already so much great material out there that we have yet to run out of exciting adventures, plot hooks and locations. If you’re just discovering the world of Eberron then you’re in for a real treat. I’d also recommend picking up some of the novels.

@Sunyaku
I’ve found that when there’s gambling in the RPG it usually ends up being player vs player rather than character vs character. The only way I’ve found to level the playing field is to stick to dice games. But if you find a good card game system that works using dice mechanics, please feel free to share it with me.

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