Exploring the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron

When WotC announced the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron as a PDF release it caused a great disturbance as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in joy and frustration. The joy is because the most requested setting in the player surveys was finally being released for 5th Edition. The frustration is because it's not a physical book, it's not legal for D&D Adventurer's League and it said that Wayfinder's “will serve to collect feedback on adjusted races, dragon marks, new backgrounds and more,” making it seem like a beta release. By contrast, Curse of Strahd Ravenloft was presented as an adventure and source material.

While the disappointment is understandable, Wayfinder's is a meatier release than I expected. At 176 pages, it does an excellent job of presenting Eberron's setting, tone and the type of adventures.

However, Wayfinder's isn't a comprehensive guide to Eberron. It has a lot – far more than I expected from the announcement – but no classes and the world background focuses primarily on Khorvaire, with only brief information on the rest of the world.

Despite what's missing, a GM could could home brew an Eberron campaign for 5th Edition using Wayfinder's. Several times through the book Wayfinder's gives tips or idea starters for how to blend Eberron with the Forgotten Realms setting or a home brew campaign. In fact, it has a section in Chapter One called “If It Exists in D&D, There's a Place for It in Eberron.”

Chapter Three includes the Eberron-specific races Changelings, Kalashtar, Shifters and Warforged along with Eberron customizations for the classic races and as less commonly used ones like gnolls, minotaurs, etc. Eberron's tendency toward shades of gray is much appreciated for those who want something other than “orcs are evil” stereotypes.

Chapter Four focuses on Dragonmarks, a key characteristic of Eberron along with Warforged and Artificers. These inherited sigils of power designate a person's house and special abilities. Dragonmarks allow you to roll an Intuition die for a specific ability check associated with the mark. The abilities provide a boost without overpowering a character. Meanwhile the house connections provide a lot of prospective character and plot hooks.

As with Curse of Strahd, Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron was created in cooperation with its original creator. According to Keith Baker, Wayfinder's represents the setting refinements he has made over the years in his private games, adapted to 5th Edition. As with other 5th Edition books, it presents a lot of options for roleplay and characterization.

One's of Eberron's strengths has always been how it imagined magic would affect every day life and create technology. That remains and fits with the description of Eberron magic being wide but not deep. Minor magic is common. Powerful spells are rare or don't exist in Eberron, depending upon the situation.

To help a GM create an Eberron adventure “A Quick Sharn Story” provides a series of random tables. Additionally the “Starting Points” are interesting locations and adventure ideas for each section of the city.

The artwork is lovely and really helps to set the tone for Eberron's pulpy, magicpunk adventures, though two pieces were jarringly cartoonish. Not only do they not fit in with the rest of Wayfinder's, but they also don't fit the consistent art tone established in 5th Edition books.

While Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron is less than I had hoped, if it's testing whether people will buy the older D&D settings, it's definitely worth it. Whether you're an Eberron fan already or a newcomer looking for break from Forgotten Realms, Wayfinder's provides a lot of material while still leaving space for a formal book release. I hope we get one soon.

This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of ENWorld's User-Generated Content (UGC) program. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!

log in or register to remove this ad

Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels


I prefer the 4e artwork myself.

sorry, but I think the Wayne Reynolds' art is simply too busy. Too much is happening within it, and I can't see enough of the background to get a "feel" for both the environment, and whatever the emotional context is supposed to be (aside from the 2nd and 4th pieces by Wayne Reynolds, because I can actually see enough of the background in those two to understand that it is going on)

That's a thing I remember being slightly annoyed at with lots of 3e art (though less so with the non-panel Eberron art): it featured people, often doing things, but without any background showing where they do it.

log in or register to remove this ad


The composition seems very empty and almost peaceful, like everything is barely moving and sort of paused. There's lots of plain, brown negative space that's not doing a whole lot for the piece. Its like the concept of the scene is great in theory, but it's not a final draft.

Compare that with the old WAR pieces, which always showed entire adventuring parties engaging in over-the-top, detailed, and dynamic action scenes. The new cover feels like a level 1 solo adventure while the old pics are like a crazy level 15 pulp action scenes. I miss the old stuff.

New Eberron:

Old Eberron:




I prefer the new cover: evocative without being over the top.

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement