Secrets of Eberron Revealed (Part 12)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on August 16, 2011

The affairs of Eberron’s surface dwellers are well known and well documented, but very little is known or recorded about the intelligent life that thrives beneath Eberron’s seas. Anyone who’s travelled by sea from Khorvaire to Xen’drik has likely dealt with the Sahuagin, but very few know about the vast underwater society of which they are but a small part. Beneath Eberron’s seas lie vast civilizations as complex and filled with as much intrigue as the cities of the surface world the largest and most cosmopolitan of which is Madidus.

Madidus is the undersea equivalent of Sharn. All intelligent aquatic races live, play and do business here. It’s the centre of underwater commerce. Much like Sharn, Madidus was built around a manifest zone. Where Sharn’s connection to the plane of Syrania allows building to reach heights that seem impossible, Madidus is connected to the plane of air which crates permanent pockets of breathable air. This allows surface dwellers to live in Madidus comfortably. The area of the city enveloped with breathable air is home to hundreds of people from the surface including Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings. Few who end up here make any effort to leave.

The existence of Madidus is known only to select few surface dwellers. Many members of House Lyrandar are aware of the city’s existence. Captains travelling the waves above Madidus with any regularity are informed of its existence so that they can pay appropriate tribute and take advantage of possible trading opportunities.

The Daughters of Sora Kell along with a many of Droam’s populace are aware that a vast underwater civilization exists if not the specific details of where such cities are located. Representatives from Madidus have even sent diplomats to Droam asking for the monstrous nation’s assistance in facilitating introductions with the leaders of the other surface nations.

Madidus may be unknown to most surface dwellers but it is a very welcoming place once discovered. Many adventurers have come to the city in the past decade. Some have sought Madidus out for no other reason than to prove its existence. Others find the idea of interacting with such a foreign culture exhilarating. Some seek to leave behind their past and begin anew in a place where their problems will never catch up to them.

Adventure Hooks

  • We’re on a diplomatic mission
    A contingent of diplomats from one of the surface nations which includes the PC and a team of Warforged bodyguards accept an invitation to visit Madidus. While touring the section of the city overlapping the manifest zone one of the dignitaries recognized some of the city’s inhabitants as deserters. During the war those fleeing the violence and carnage managed get to Madidus. Here they found a safe haven away from scrutiny or punishment undersea. Although presumed dead, many of Madidus’s residents are still wanted criminals. Should their existence and whereabouts become common knowledge, the leaders of Madidus will have a diplomatic nightmare on their hands and they can forget any peaceful relationship with the surface worlds.
  • The missing undersea vessel
    Members of House Cannith and House Orion have created new vessels capable of traveling underwater. While they continue testing the vessels’ capabilities they strive to keep its existence a secret, especially from House Lyrandar. With a fleet of five working vessels, they are almost ready to announce their latest venture to the world and give House Lyrandar some real competition. Unfortunately one of the vessels has disappeared. It was on a survey mission, mapping the undersea floor and was supposed to return to port days ago. Some fear that the vessel might have been attacked; others believe that House Lyrandar is somehow involved. The PCs are asked to join the rescue mission and accompany they search party just in case hey run into any trouble. During the third day of searching for the missing vessel the search party discovered the underwater city of Madidus. What is this place? Could this be where the missing vessel ended up?
  • Trapped inside a sinking ship
    Following a battle that doomed their ship, the PCs find themselves trapped in the hull as their vessel sinks. Superior craftsmanship has kept the hull intact, trapping enough air within for the heroes to survive in the short term. However, if a rescue is not forthcoming the PCs may end up in a watery grave. Shortly after the ship touches down on the seafloor the PCs are beset upon by Sahuagin. However, these normally aggressive and dangerous sea creatures explain that they were sent from the undersea city of Madidus to rescue the PCs. Can the PCs trust them? Do they have any other choices?

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.

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1 DungeonMaster Johnny (on Facebook) August 17, 2011 at 2:08 am

very nice. I use places like Eberron and Darksun as different parts of the world, not as thier own worlds. My players will be headed to Eberron soon and I think I’ll use one of these beautiful hooks. Thanks

2 Ameron August 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

@DungeonMaster Johnny
I’m glad you found this useful. I know that Eberron-specific articles may not appeal to everyone who visits our site, but I’d like to think that DMs can find something in this series that they can still use in their campaign even if it’s set somewhere else. With 12 articles in this series so far there’s a lot to draw from if you need an idea.

3 Ginasteri August 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I know this isn’t the best place for this question, so I understand if you move or delete it. I skipped over 3rd edition and have fallen in love with 4th ed and Eberron. Do you know of an existing living eberron campaign aside from the play by post that enworld does? I’d heard there was a living eberron during 3rd edition.

4 Ameron August 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’ve never heard of a living Eberron campaign (regrettably). I believe that there is (or was) an online D&D video game that is set in Eberron, but I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for. I’ve never played it so I’m certainly not the best to comment on it’s pros or cons. I for one would love to see Living Eberron like Living Forgotten Realms of the now defunct Living Greyhawk, but sadly I doubt it’ll ever come to be.

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