Unearthed Arcana: Dragonmarks
  • Unearthed Arcana: Dragonmarks


    This month's Unearthed Arcana, by Keith Baker, Ruty Rutenberg, and Ben Petrisor, features Dragonmarks! "This month, we explore how to make a character who bears a dragonmark, a mystic sigil that appears on the skin. The mark is a source of magical power and enhances the bearerís ability to perform certain tasks. In the world of Eberron, each mark is tied to specific bloodlines. The families that carry these marks joined together to form the Dragonmarked Houses, powerful forces that dominate different industries. Even though these marks are associated with Eberron, you could explore using them in other worlds as well."





    It's an 8-page PDF. "A dragonmark is a mystic sigil that appears on the skin. The mark is a source of mystical power and enhances the bearerís ability to perform certain tasks. In Eberron, each mark is tied to specific bloodlines."WotC notes that this material is also in Wayfarer's Guide to Eberron, available as a PDF over on DMs Guild.
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. Paul Farquhar's Avatar
      Paul Farquhar -
      There, is a text error in the pdf, with the description of the mark of scribing overwriting part of the description of the Mark of the Sentinel.

      The Mark of Making looks far more useful to adventurers than the others: 2 wizard cantrips and can make a temporary magic weapon -very useful at low level when magic weapons might be unavailable.

      The Healing and Detection Greater Dragonmarks look useful though.
    1. Reynard -
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
    1. Tallifer's Avatar
      Tallifer -
      I understand that canonically in 3.5E, Dragonmarks were tied to races, but I would prefer them open to everyone. I suppose that a player can simply build a character using these races and subraces, and then just refluff the appearance and culture.
    1. The Big BZ's Avatar
      The Big BZ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
      It's not really strange at all to be honest, UA is their playtest vehicle and they need to playtest Dragon Marks. I bought WGtE and I'm guessing you did too but loads of people did not so here they are giving away the material for free to get a bigger sample size etc.
    1. machineelf's Avatar
      machineelf -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tallifer View Post
      I understand that canonically in 3.5E, Dragonmarks were tied to races, but I would prefer them open to everyone. I suppose that a player can simply build a character using these races and subraces, and then just refluff the appearance and culture.
      Ew. You do what you want in your game, but that's not for me. One of the game mechanic reasons for limiting dragonmarks to some of the core, basic races is to encourage players to play those races. It gives greater balance, and you less often have a group composed completely of unusual and "weird" races constantly drawing attention to themselves. That makes it harder for the group, if the DM is consistent with how the world works.

      I let my players play whatever they want, but the dragonmarks limited to core races means I more often have a balanced group that makes more sense in the world.

      Plus it makes those core races a bit more interesting. If you opened dragonmarks to all races, everyone in the group would have one, and the group would actually be less diverse, and hence less interesting, in my opinion.
    1. MarkB's Avatar
      MarkB -
      As someone who's preparing to run an Eberron campaign, I'm glad to see this article, as it means I can make this information easily available to my players without them having to purchase the Wayfinders Guide. Between that and the already published Races article, most of the essential player-facing material is now freely available.
    1. Paul Farquhar's Avatar
      Paul Farquhar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
      It will be so they can do the survey.
    1. Reynard -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Big BZ View Post
      It's not really strange at all to be honest, UA is their playtest vehicle and they need to playtest Dragon Marks. I bought WGtE and I'm guessing you did too but loads of people did not so here they are giving away the material for free to get a bigger sample size etc.
      That's certainly possible. And if it leads to a better Wayfarer's Guide final version, it's okay by me. I just was hoping to see the last core element* of Eberron (the artificer) get a beta release sooner rather than later.

      * Yeas, psionics are also arguably a core element to the setting, but since it can be pretty easily emulated with the existing magic system, I think it is a lower priority.
    1. Paul Farquhar's Avatar
      Paul Farquhar -
      Oh the Aberrant Dragonmark:

      1) this makes dragonmarks available to all races. lore consistent?

      2) It says "you can increase the power of your aberrant dragonmark spells" plural. However, you only get one spell (and a cantrip, which can't benefit). Is there an unlisted "Greater Aberrant Dragonmark" feat that grants additional spells?

      3) It doesn't say the spell fails if you are reduced to zero hp. Wait till you are down to 1hp, then let rip with a level 9 suicide Thunderwave? For added cheese, combine with Relentless Endurance.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
      Oh the Aberrant Dragonmark:

      1) this makes dragonmarks available to all races. lore consistent?
      I believe it's an expansion on the lore, I got this from Keith's website, circa 2016:

      "Second question- have the aberrant marks been (so far) confined to races that already have dragonmarks?

      Per the 3.5 ECS, they were confined to the Dragonmarked races. However, thatís up to the GM. I played a dragonborn that developed an aberrant mark in a 4E Eberron campaign, and The Son of Khyber has a warforged with an aberrant mark. The main thing about aberrant marks is that theyíre unpredictable!"
    1. Mercule's Avatar
      Mercule -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
      Since the Wayfarer's Guide is still considered playtest, this gives folks a chance to give structured feedback on certain aspects of it. Muy bueno.
    1. Mercule's Avatar
      Mercule -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tallifer View Post
      I understand that canonically in 3.5E, Dragonmarks were tied to races, but I would prefer them open to everyone. I suppose that a player can simply build a character using these races and subraces, and then just refluff the appearance and culture.
      There's no balance reason why other races can't have Marks, but there's a lot of flavor reason. One of my big peeves with 4E Eberron was the space they spent on saying you could add Marks to any race.

      In other words: I think taking Marks as a template for a home brew variant is fantastic and have considered doing so for my own custom world. When it comes to Eberron, they need to stay race-specific and anything to the contrary should be killed with fire.
    1. Mercule's Avatar
      Mercule -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      I believe it's an expansion on the lore, I got this from Keith's website, circa 2016:

      "Second question- have the aberrant marks been (so far) confined to races that already have dragonmarks?

      Per the 3.5 ECS, they were confined to the Dragonmarked races. However, thatís up to the GM. I played a dragonborn that developed an aberrant mark in a 4E Eberron campaign, and The Son of Khyber has a warforged with an aberrant mark. The main thing about aberrant marks is that theyíre unpredictable!"
      Huh. I thought aberrant marks were always open to all races.

      Regardless, this is the exception to my "kill it with fire" comment. Aberrant Marks are freakish and unpredictable.
    1. Over the Hill Gamer's Avatar
      Over the Hill Gamer -
      Quote Originally Posted by machineelf View Post
      ...It gives greater balance, and you less often have a group composed completely of unusual and "weird" races constantly drawing attention to themselves. That makes it harder for the group, if the DM is consistent with how the world works...
      This is a bit off-topic and I am not faulting the views of this writer in any way but is anyone else tired of the petty racism of the D&D world? If I had a dime for every snide comment directed towards an elf or dwarf player character by another player character, I'd be a rich man. With all of the new races, it seems to intensify, especially if they are considered very rare races. I know such racial rivalries are part and parcel of some very influential fantasy literature but it becomes a bit wearisome to me to hear these views perpetually mouthed by characters. Most DMs feel compelled to express the shock of villagers when confronted by strange player races they've never met before and this often sounds just like common racism. I find such situations to be tedious and too much the case of art imitating life. My feeling is that any race played by a player should be able to walk into the village tavern without eliciting racial comments. I am not seeking a utopian setting but at the same time is there a way to avoid trotting out the worst aspects of our own world, if only for player interactions?
    1. jgsugden's Avatar
      jgsugden -
      Any differences between Wayfinders and this version?
    1. machineelf's Avatar
      machineelf -
      Quote Originally Posted by Over the Hill Gamer View Post
      This is a bit off-topic and I am not faulting the views of this writer in any way but is anyone else tired of the petty racism of the D&D world? If I had a dime for every snide comment directed towards an elf or dwarf player character by another player character, I'd be a rich man. With all of the new races, it seems to intensify, especially if they are considered very rare races. I know such racial rivalries are part and parcel of some very influential fantasy literature but it becomes a bit wearisome to me to hear these views perpetually mouthed by characters. Most DMs feel compelled to express the shock of villagers when confronted by strange player races they've never met before and this often sounds just like common racism. I find such situations to be tedious and too much the case of art imitating life. My feeling is that any race played by a player should be able to walk into the village tavern without eliciting racial comments. I am not seeking a utopian setting but at the same time is there a way to avoid trotting out the worst aspects of our own world, if only for player interactions?
      I'm a little confused. Do you not have rogues stealing in your games? Villains murdering or kidnapping? Slavers slaving?

      Just because those elements are in a game does not mean that the DM or players approve of stealing or murdering or slaving, etc. It means they want to be heroes in a world that is a fantasy world but has a feeling that it could be real in some way, with the good and bad.

      I would not stand for my players themselves being racists. But their characters can be heroes in a world that has bad elements in it. That's as far as real racism is concerned. When players make a lighthearted in jest comment between an elf (which doesn't actually exist in the real world) and a dwarf (which doesn't actually exist in the real world), and they Don't have any mean intent toward any real person or real group of people, then I'd say you should measure intent, and maybe ease up on your judgment of other people. Just my two cents.

      My feeling is that any race played by a player should be able to walk into the village tavern without eliciting racial comments.
      I'd like there to be no murdering or people trying to destroy the world in real life. But in an RPG game, evil is the backdrop upon which heroes can act. Presumably you're ok with murder themes in your game, but other things are just too real for you? I agree that some DM's can overdo it and it can get tiresome, but interjecting some of those real issues can deepen a story. It doesn't mean the story Crafters are ok with those things in real life. And we are telling a story after all. Do you object to novels like To Kill a Mockingbird? Sometimes good stories deal with evil in a real way, for a purpose. I like my games to be deep and meaningful, so that when my heroes overcome real evil, the victory is meaningful too.

      Maybe my "weird" races comment bothered you. I thought it was fairly clear that I meant "weird" races from the perspective of the people who live in the Five Nations in the world of Eberron, meaning most elves, dwarves, gnomes, shifters, etc. have never seen a dragonborn or a tiefling or a tabaxi, they would draw more attention.

      None of these things actually exist in the real world, and all of us real humans can admit that any one of them would be unusual if we saw them in the real world. This is a game.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
      As others have said, they wanted to playtest this material as widely as possible.
      But it is unfortunate that they didn't let people know they were going to after releasing the book, or some people might have waited to buy.

      They release UA once a month, so I don't see how they could have gotten this out any sooner without delaying the races to this month. I expect artificer in another month or two. (They even said outright in August that the artificer wouldn't be this month.)
    1. collin's Avatar
      collin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
      It seems strange that they are reprinting material from the Wayfarers Guide as UA content. I assume it is mostly a marketing ploy. Since I bought the WG on day 1 I would have preferred a playtest artificer or something else new.
      If it is a marketing ploy, then it failed because the only reason I would have bought the Wayfarers Guide to Eberron is for the Dragonmarks section.
    1. Paul Farquhar's Avatar
      Paul Farquhar -
      Quote Originally Posted by collin View Post
      If it is a marketing ploy, then it failed because the only reason I would have bought the Wayfarers Guide to Eberron is for the Dragonmarks section.
      The dragonmarks where already in the free area of D&D Beyond.
    1. collin's Avatar
      collin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
      The dragonmarks where already in the free area of D&D Beyond.
      Good to know. Thanks!
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