Eberron - Huge battle scene on a lightning rail with a Talenta halfling riding a pterasaur, a 2-weapon wielding Warforged soldier, and a goblin artificer being assaulted by at least 4 darkly clad assailants.

The Fate of Eberron 5E

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Introduction

Eberron?

Overview

Our GM would like to start a new campaign in the Dungeons and Dragon‘s campaign setting of Eberron, which is a more of a pulp-noir magi-punk fantasy sort of setting. I was a long time Forgotten Realms fanboi since I started in RPGs at about 1989, until Eberron came out in 2004 and then I fell in love again.

Here are some images just to get you stared in case you are curious as to what Eberron is like. You can do you own investigation from there.

5E Eberron Source Books

Currently, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has 2 books out for Eberron in Fifth Edition (5E). Throughout this document I will be using links to the DnD Beyond site which has online book access:

Maps of Eberron

Here are some maps of Eberron so you can see the world:

Eberron and Fate

This post will be more useful if you are familiar with the Fate Core System, Dungeons and Dragons, and the Eberron campaign setting. I will NOT go over each in detail.

In this post I will attempt to provide a way to use Fate Core’s amazing storytelling tools to help drive the game forward and to increase the depth of storytelling for our game. I have my Fate Guides on my website which I will reference as we go. There are some differences in the way characters are created from the standard setting (in either system) so I will go over how to pull that all together into one integrated process so that everyone wins, even the DM.

A Suggested Process

So, here is the process I am suggesting for an Eberron campaign (or really any D&D campaign) which will use Fate’s amazing tools to drive the storytelling and role playing forward while still utilizing the few tools storytelling tools that D&D and Eberron provides, so let’s get started:

There are 3 main phases to this process:

  1. Campaign Creation
  2. Character Creation
  3. Story Creation

If you would like to see my other posts like this that talk about using Fate as a storytelling engine for other RPG’s, then here they are:

1. Campaign Creation

Overview

Because most of the Fate Core campaign creation process is really system neutral, we will start with pretty much all of steps from my Campaign Creation Primer (CCP), although we will skip steps 6 and 8 which are specific to Fate Core. We will also have to insert a new step – Choose Group’s Patron – which is specific to the 5E Eberron setting.

Integrating the Campaign Creation process into our D&D campaign development process will provide us with some powerful storytelling tools not just for the GM, but also the players. Some of the amazing tools you will get out of this process are the Campaign Aspects:

  1. Legacy Issue – This is used to flavor the narrative with what happened in the past and may have lead to the campaign’s current circumstances or will significantly affect the narrative.
  2. Current Issue – This is the first arc for our game. Most likely the first one will be short just to get the players acclimated to the system, their characters, and the campaign.
  3. Impending Issue – The first real campaign issue that will drive the game forward once we have dealt with the intro arc.
  4. Thematic Aspects – These 1 or 2 optional aspects may be used to reinforce campaign themes not only for the GM narratively, but also for the players narratively too throughout the campaign, especially when we are using the Inspiration Points.

You will also generate an incredible amount of campaign elements:

  • group’s patron
  • the campaign’s general geographic location
  • organizations
  • places
  • conflict points for organizations and places
  • NPC’s with some defining traits add a defined place with in world

All of these will make life for the GM so much easier because it provides known anchor points for character histories, as well as provides powerful tools for storytelling and role playing:

  • Player Goodies
    • get player investment
    • get the player creative juices flowing
    • increase player excitement
    • create elements inspire players and to tie their characters into the world
  • DM Goodies
    • make the GM’s life easier by creating a plethora of story and campaign assets to tell amazing stories with
    • have character driven subplots already available
    • know how to flavor your game
    • know what the basic staring plots are going to be

Process

Here are the modified steps of this Fate based process for Eberron RPG storytelling:

  1. Campaign Creation Overview
  2. Genre – just fill this out as fantasy or magipunk fantasy or similar, no real discussion necessarily needed (unless there is a reason – it is your game)
  3. Scale – just fill this part out, no real discussion necessarily needed because the scale is fairly well set within D&D (unless there is a reason – it is your game)
  4. Eberron Elements – Do these in which ever order works out for your group. This is a sort of a “chicken and the egg” sort of thing.
    1. Home Base: Choose where within Eberron the campaign will be based. For that you will need a map of Eberron (see links in intro).
    1. Choose Group’s Patron – This is specific to Eberron and will be very important to that campaign creation process for it will heavily influence the tone and adventures of your campaign.
  5. Campaign Issues
    • Note: Most likely your Legacy Issue will be something like: Scars of the Last War which will harken back to the fact that the Last War just ended like 2 years ago after the Treaty of Thronehold.
  6. Filling Out Your Campaign
  7. Thematic Campaign Aspects (optional)
  8. Campaign Name
  9. Campaign Description Sheet

2. Character Creation

Introduction

First, we are going to create Fate based aspects for our characters. Then, using the Fate aspects as a powerful guide, we can create the final crunchy elements (D&D RPG stats) such as race, class, background, and other crunchy mechanical selections.

This is Your Life

If you check Xanathar’s Guide to Everything you will find a section titled This is Your Life which can get you a good start to putting your background together to give you some ideas.

Fate Aspects for Eberron Characters

Introduction

Ok, now that we have the campaign and its assets from Phase 1 – Campaign Creation made let’s increase the narrative power of your campaign and characters with some Fate aspects which will guide your role playing and the rest of your character creation process. If you want more general guidance on this process see my guides which are linked to in the list below.

Now, we are going to create the Fate aspects for your character:

We will also include the parts from the D&D Suggested Characteristics which are found in individual the backgrounds so we can get you brain juices flowing about your character before we get to the crunchy bits ad that selection process.

  • Personality Aspects
    • Personality Trait – this is just one more personality based aspect. See Personality trait from below.
    • Flaws – see Trouble below.
  • Oaths, Vow, or Code of Conduct – These two are more of a Oath or Code of Conduct similar to a paladin’s code, the chivalrous code, a thieve’s code, or a personal rule of thumb. You can check the individual background section for some ideas on these.
    • Ideals
    • Bonds

Core Fate Aspects

About Fate Aspects

So, here are going to get to the meat of your character’s personae and place within the game and your adventuring group. If you want more info on character aspects you can also check these 2 appendicies:

You should have plenty to inspire your character creation process at this point from the various campaign assets created in the first phase:

  • group’s patron, geographic Location
  • Legacy Issue, Current Issue, Impending Issue
  • faces, places, and organizations

Now, on to crafting your character:

A. High Concept

Create your High Concept like you would normally for Fate, although you will want to keep it more general. Generalize your role within the group and do NOT hamstring your creativity yet by declaring classes, background, or other mechanical pieces-parts yet. There are few different ways to embody a similar character concept using different classes, backgrounds, or race combinations.

So choose divine warrior instead of a specific class because there there are some different ways a divine warrior might manifest with D&D’s mechanics depending on what you want to play:

  • Single Classes
    • paladin
    • war priest
    • ranger
    • barbarian
  • Multiclass Combinations
    • fighter/druid or cleric
    • rogue/cleric or druid
  • Background Magic
    • fighter with the acolyte background
    • rogue with the acolyte background
    • druid with soldier background
    • cleric with soldier background
    • hexblade with the acolyte background
    • any class with the Ritual Caster feat
  • Rules Higgery Jiggery
    • hexblade or eldritch knight with divine instead of arcane spells
    • a custom Divine Initiate feat

I am sure you can think of other options. Once you get into the next phase you can look at choosing your specific class.

Here is a quick fill in the blank sentence to get you started on putting together your High Concept:

  • [adjective(s) or verbs] [noun] of the [place or organization or event]

Here is a quick example:

  • Guilt-ridden divine warrior from the Crimson Skull tribe of the Talenta Plains
B. Trouble

Create a Personal Trouble aspect which can create a role playing problems or situations for your character. This can act as your Flaw from Suggested Characteristics from you background when you choose that.

  • Anger Management Issues
  • Sucker for a Pretty Face
  • The Bottle Calls to Me
  • The Manners of a Goat
  • Tempted by Shiny Things
  • Racist from a Slaver Family

Here are the options specifically pulled from the Acolyte background which work pretty well, although are not really in a Fate aspect form, but it is a decent start:

  1. I judge others harshly, and myself even more severely.
  2. I put too much trust in those who wield power within my temple’s hierarchy.
  3. My piety sometimes leads me to blindly trust those that profess faith in my god.
  4. I am inflexible in my thinking.
  5. I am suspicious of strangers and expect the worst of them.
  6. Once I pick a goal, I become obsessed with it to the detriment of everything else in my life.
C. Unresolved Issue

Create an aspect which is an Unresolved Issues to help give the GM more tools to work with (a character driven subplot) and to provide a campaign driver and complication for your character and team. See the following entry for more information on how to get more out of this aspect:

Fate’s aspects tend to have a more of an aura of immediacy with the way they are formed. Whereas the Bonds from the Suggested Characteristics are more passive which could be narratively problematic due to lack of a call to action.

Here are the Bonds as pulled from the Acolyte background:

  1. I would die to recover an ancient relic of my faith that was lost long ago.
  2. I will someday get revenge on the corrupt temple hierarchy who branded me a heretic.
  3. I owe my life to the priest who took me in when my parents died.
  4. Everything I do is for the common people.
  5. I will do anything to protect the temple where I served.
  6. I seek to preserve a sacred text that my enemies consider heretical and seek to destroy.

We could shift this to be a little better with some word changes:

  • Delf Forest Citadel stated he may atone for his deeds by recovering the Lost Idol of the Trickster from the Kruag Fang Tribes of the Talenta Plains or die trying.

This way has a higher level of specificity and immediacy as well as who, what, where etc. You do not have to get this specific, but doing so greatly helps the DM and the players to know what is going on.

D. Character Trait

This is another character or personality trait either positive or negative. Better to go positive to balance out the Trouble from above. This can most likely act as your Personality Trait from you Suggested Characteristics from you background when you choose that.

Fate’s aspects tend to have a more of an aura of immediacy with the way they are formed. Whereas the Personal Traits from the Suggested Characteristics are more passive which could be narratively problematic due to lack of a call to action.

Here are the Personality Traits pulled from the Acolyte background:

  1. I idolize a particular hero of my faith, and constantly refer to that person’s deeds and example.
  2. I can find common ground between the fiercest enemies, empathizing with them and always working toward peace.
  3. I see omens in every event and action. The gods try to speak to us, we just need to listen.
  4. Nothing can shake my optimistic attitude.
  5. I quote (or misquote) sacred texts and proverbs in almost every situation.
  6. I am tolerant (or intolerant) of other faiths and respect (or condemn) the worship of other gods.
  7. I’ve enjoyed fine food, drink, and high society among my temple’s elite. Rough living grates on me.
  8. I’ve spent so long in the temple that I have little practical experience dealing with people in the outside world.

We could shift this to be a little better with some word changes:

  • Zealous Scion of Delmis the Palidinson, Hero of Beltan Creek

This way has a higher level of specificity and immediacy as well as who, what, where etc. You do not have to get this specific, but doing so greatly helps the DM and the players to know what is going on. Doing so adds so much more to the campaign – people, places, events so that the world comes more alive through your character’s very creation.

Not every aspect has to be this specific, but if the aspect is of this type then it should be. Take a look at the Personal Trouble which does not have this level of specificity. Not to completely confuse things but: More specificity is better unless it is not needed. =) =O

E. Personal Ideal

A Personal Ideal is a powerful personal belief that drives the character forward and can be a positive or negative thing depending on the circumstances. You can find something similar in:

  • a paladin’s oath
  • a rule of conduct from a thieves or assassin’s guild
  • military code
  • religious code
  • chivalrous code
  • or such similar things.

Although, here are the entries for the Personal Ideal from the Acolyte background which have a slightly different use – sometimes it is a sort of like a vow, oath, or code or it is more like what drives or motivates the character. The Expanse RPG has something similar. Use it however it works for how your character is developing.

  1. The ancient traditions of worship and sacrifice must be preserved and upheld. (Lawful)
  2. Charity. I always try to help those in need, no matter what the personal cost. (Good)
  3. Change. We must help bring about the changes the gods are constantly working in the world. (Chaotic)
  4. Power. I hope to one day rise to the top of my faith’s religious hierarchy. (Lawful)
  5. Faith. I trust that my deity will guide my actions. I have faith that if I work hard, things will go well. (Lawful)
  6. Aspiration. I seek

Fate’s aspects tend to have a more of an aura of immediacy with the way they are formed. Whereas the Ideals from the Suggested Characteristics are more passive which could be narratively problematic due to lack of a call to action. How about:

  • Mercy to the weak. Retribution for the infidels.
F. Bond

A Bond is a person, place, organization, or thing that the character has a powerful concern, interest, oath, loyalty, vow, or indebtedness to.

Here are the Bonds pulled from the Acolyte background:

  1. I would die to recover an ancient relic of my faith that was lost long ago.
  2. I will someday get revenge on the corrupt temple hierarchy who branded me a heretic.
  3. I owe my life to the priest who took me in when my parents died.
  4. Everything I do is for the common people.
  5. I will do anything to protect the temple where I served.
  6. I seek to preserve a sacred text that my enemies consider heretical and seek to destroy.

Fate’s aspects tend to have a more of an aura of immediacy with the way they are formed. Whereas the Ideals from the Suggested Characteristics are more passive which could be narratively problematic due to lack of a call to action. How about:

  • The Lost Idol of the Trickster was a precious family relic forged by my great grandfather, Andua Kal, 200 years ago at the behest of Delmis the Palidinson.

This way has a higher level of specificity and immediacy as well as who, what, where etc. You do not have to get this specific, but doing so greatly helps the DM and the players to know what is going on. Doing so adds so much more to the campaign – people, places, events so that the world comes more alive through your character’s very creation.

G. Personal Regret

Then we have some Eberron specific optionals that add depth through the flavor of Neo-noir Intrigue – a Personal Regret:

This is something that happened in your past that you regret. This might be specifically related to your Unresolved Issue from above so you may not need this as an extra, although having something different gives your DM more to work with too. Get a feel for it an see how it works for you.

You can tie your Personal Regret and your Personal Debt together, and even tie it to your Personal Ideal. In this case our Personal Ideal is Tempted by Shiny Things.

  • Your brother, Trast, entrusted you to personally deliver a precious item for him to someone on the other side of the Talenta Plains so he could attend to something important, but you never delivered it keeping it for yourself, because it was sooo shiny. However, that item has been recently lost or stolen.
H. Personal Debt

Then we have some Eberron specific optionals that add depth through the flavor of Neo-noir Intrigue – a Personal Debt. You owe money somewhere or you have a drive to purchase something. Again, this might be good to tie to your above aspects in some way.

  • You have been avoiding your brother and and/or unable to pay the client for the loss of the precious item you were supposed to deliver. They want their payment ad your brother wants answers.
Conclusion

Here is the final list of character aspect for this sample character:

Aspect Description
High Concept Guilt-ridden divine warrior from the Crimson Skull tribe of the Talenta Plains
Trouble Tempted by Shiny Things
Unresolved Issue Delf Forest Citadel stated he may atone for his deeds by recovering the Lost Idol of the Trickster from the Kruag Fang Tribes of the Talenta Plains or die trying.
Character Trait Zealous Scion of Delmis the Palidinson, Hero of Beltan Creek
Personal Ideal Mercy to the weak.
Retribution for the infidels.
Bond The Lost Idol of the Trickster was a precious family relic forged by my great, great grandfather, Andua Kal, 200 years ago at the behest of Delmis the Palidinson.
Personal Regret Your brother , Trast, entrusted you to personally deliver a precious item for him to someone on the other side of the Talenta Plains so he could attend to something important, but you never delivered it keeping it for yourself, because it was sooo shiny. However, that item has been recently lost or stolen.
Debt You have been avoiding your brother and and/or unable to pay the client for the loss of the precious item you were supposed to deliver. They want their payment ad your brother wants answers.

At the end here we appear to have something akin to a perhaps a halfling divine warrior with some perhaps significant roguish elements to them, so perhaps a paladin with a criminal background, or a priest with the trickery domain and the criminal background, paladin/rogue??? I would have to research what is happening and around the Talenta Plains to know what our options are, especially for race options and interplay.

Here is a simple Google Doc Fate of Eberron Character Aspect Sheet so you can keep track of it for your characters.

Crunchy Character Creation

Here, we will just walk through the basic D&D character generation process just like it is with no changes needed. Just use the above Fate aspects we created to guide you in the mechanical manifestation of your character:

  1. Choose your race.
  2. Determine your ability scores.
  3. Choose your class.
  4. Choose your background.
  5. Choose your name.
  6. Decide on your appearance.
  7. Determine money.
  8. Pick/purchase gear.

3. Story Creation

Review Your Current Campaign Assets

This section is for the DM so they can create the campaign,story, arcs, and adventures together for everyone to enjoy.

With the Campaign Creation process completed you know your campaign’s first arc from the Current Issue. You will also know what the next arc will be from the Impending issue so that will tell you what your current and future story will be about.

Also, from that process you have additionally created some narrative flavorings with your Legacy Issue and your Thematic Aspects if you chose to use them which will help you to flavor your narrative and role playing aspects.

You have also created a stable of organizations, places, and people that you can use, not only from the Campaign Creation process (Phase 1) but also from the Characters Creation process (Phase 2) too. Soooo much great stuff to make a DM’s life easier.

Creating the Story

Take a look at my Storytelling and Campaign Planning Guide (a work in progress – Part I is done, still working on Part II) from this point for assistance in creating your story and to assemble your campaign – arc by arc and act by act.

Just drape your Current Issue over the 5 Act Structure and fill in the blanks as you go.

Happy storytelling!

Expanding Your Inspiration

This section needs more, but the links below are pretty good.
I will take a closer look when I get a chance.

Our game play rarely uses Inspiration Points, but this might be a great way to really get more use out of them and to drive more role playing within the game.

At the start of each game each player starts with 1 Inspiration Die. The DM could use Inspiration Points to invoke a player’s aspects that we created above as normal. If the character accepts an invocation of their aspect then they receive an Inspiration Die. If they refuse, then maybe the GM gains a Challenge Die – a die that can be used to either give disadvantage to a PC or advantage to the DM or and PC, much like a Dark Side Destiny Points in Star Wars.

I will update this later on, but will be looking at increasing use of inspiration points to power more role playing in a Fate like manner, but am a bit concerned with giving PC’s too much room to succeed with additional inspiration points per game.

Here are some links about this idea:

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