5E What's to Like about Eberron?

Retreater

Adventurer
I know next to nothing about Eberron, and seeing how it's the next big book coming out from Wizards (really, the only new thing on the horizon for the rest of the calendar year), maybe some of you can tell others and me why we should be excited about the setting?

I thumbed through the book at a Barnes & Noble when it was released in the 3.5 era. That perusal didn't catch my attention because it seemed so blasted weird. At the time it caught a lot of flak online and many gamers never gave it a second thought. Then a book came out during 4E, and probably fewer people saw that book (because, you know, 4E).

So what makes it so special that it's the first campaign world (excepting a city guide for a media tie-in) released for 5E - and the only resource not affiliated with the Realms?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I have run Eberron campaigns in D&D 3.5e, D&D 4e, and (currently) D&D 5e. What appeals to me about the setting is the emphasis on pulp action and fantasy noir in a setting rife with political intrigue in the shadow of a devastating war, one that dark forces conspire to see happen again.

It's a good place for over-the-top heroes and villains in a backdrop that has a lot of possibilities given its emphasis as magic-as-a-tool, faster-then-regular-D&D travel, and somewhat morally gray viewpoint.

Also warforged.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
Keith Baker had a good idea. He noticed that Indiana Jones is a lot like D&D. That's it, that's the concept. What if D&D but twinned with the 1930s?
Hmm. I've never seen that connection. I guess I would just run it in Hollow Earth Expedition, Savage Worlds, or something like that. D&D just seems like you have to change too much about the assumptions of the game - like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Hmm. I've never seen that connection. I guess I would just run it in Hollow Earth Expedition, Savage Worlds, or something like that. D&D just seems like you have to change too much about the assumptions of the game - like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
I dunno, I feel like Indiana Jones fits pretty perfectly into D&D’s... hole... That didn’t come out right.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
I dunno, I feel like Indiana Jones fits pretty perfectly into D&D’s... hole... That didn’t come out right.
My understanding is that one of D&D's core conceits is resource management, dungeon crawling, wilderness travel, and the adventuring party. Indy is swashbuckling, cinematic, and (basically) a loner.
Are there Nazis? Not obviously, but like a universal evil organization?
And I wouldn't consider Indy a morally gray character. He's trying to keep religious artifacts from Hitler.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Hmm. I've never seen that connection. I guess I would just run it in Hollow Earth Expedition, Savage Worlds, or something like that. D&D just seems like you have to change too much about the assumptions of the game - like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
It's a bit hard to see because Baker explicitly left out guns. Which is especially glaring considering how much of an impact the new guns had on the WW1 era. (I really hope the next new D&D setting is designed with guns in mind, it's long overdue)

The rest of the setting is more or less "D&D has had all of these weird things added to it over time, lets mix it up a bit and see how everything fits at the start of world building instead of cramming it in post"
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My understanding is that one of D&D's core conceits is resource management, dungeon crawling, wilderness travel, and the adventuring party. Indy is swashbuckling, cinematic, and (basically) a loner.
You can still do that. It's just the setting is different. Though I will say I think Eberron is best with set piece encounters and event-based adventures rather than big dungeon crawls.

Are there Nazis? Not obviously, but like a universal evil organization?
There are a lot of "evil" organizations, but again, it's kind of a morally gray place. So it kind of depends on your point of view. It's not like class D&D where good and evil are very clear. It could be said the Emerald Claw is kind of the "Nazi's" of Eberron.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica isn't a "city guide," it's a campaign setting book for an Ecumenopolis, a planet that is one city. It is as much of a setting as any other.

Eberron is a post-WWI 20's-30's style fantasy setting, with 19th-20th century pulp tropes: think Maltese Falcon, Indiana Jones, the Thin Man, Tarzan, mobsters, newspapers, archeology, conspiracies, Eldritch horrors, Lost World, etc.

It is one of the most popular D&D settings of all time, which is one of the prime reasons WotC is making it: market demand.
 

MarkB

Hero
My understanding is that one of D&D's core conceits is resource management, dungeon crawling, wilderness travel, and the adventuring party. Indy is swashbuckling, cinematic, and (basically) a loner.
Are there Nazis? Not obviously, but like a universal evil organization?
And I wouldn't consider Indy a morally gray character. He's trying to keep religious artifacts from Hitler.
Eberron provides shortcuts for a lot of the travel, through airships, the Lightning Rail, and well maintained roads throughout the more civilised lands. So you can still make travel a focus, or you can turn it into no more than a brief cutscene, the equivalent of the Indiana Jones style red-line-crossing-a-map scene.

And there are several organisations considered unequivocally bad, at different levels of play. The Order of the Emerald Claw, the Cults of the Dragon Below, the Lords of Dust, and more.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica isn't a "city guide," it's a campaign setting book for an Ecumenopolis, a planet that is one city. It is as much of a setting as any other.

Eberron is a post-WWI 20's-30's style fantasy setting, with 19th-20th century pulp tropes: think Maltese Falcon, Indiana Jones, the Thin Man, Tarzan, mobsters, newspapers, archeology, conspiracies, Eldritch horrors, Lost World, etc.

It is one of the most popular D&D settings of all time, which is one of the prime reasons WotC is making it: market demand.
Hmm. I would think that they'd look to the market of people who are new to 5E and sell them something that is "D&D" and more traditional fantasy? Like an actual FR guide? (I mean, I wouldn't buy it, but that's beside the point.)

Ravnica sounds bonkers. (Not in a bad way. Just in the way that I'd never try to run it. Can't do city campaigns anymore after Ptolus.)
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
My understanding is that one of D&D's core conceits is resource management, dungeon crawling, wilderness travel, and the adventuring party. Indy is swashbuckling, cinematic, and (basically) a loner.
Exactly. The big draw of Eberron is supposed to be that it isn't your standard D&D. It's more cinematic, and less resource management.

I don't really see how you're supposed to downplay resource management when 5E has attrition-based combat, but maybe there will be something in the book to address that.
 
Hmm. I would think that they'd look to the market of people who are new to 5E and sell them something that is "D&D" and more traditional fantasy? Like an actual FR guide? (I mean, I wouldn't buy it, but that's beside the point.)

Ravnica sounds bonkers. (Not in a bad way. Just in the way that I'd never try to run it. Can't do city campaigns anymore after Ptolus.)
I think you have it backwards. A setting built for more episodic play that looks a lot like the media these new gamers already consume is an easier sell than a setting tied to one particular 50 year old fantasy world. Eberron isn't just Indiana Jones. It is also the grungy areas of Star Wars (not the Rbels v Empire, but the bounty hunters and smugglers). It is Dishonored. That it is "weird" compared to FR is a selling point. Go have a look at r/dnd on reddit and examine the player character art. It trends much closer to Eberron in visual feel than FR.

All that said, also remember 5E has been out for years and they started with the trad fantasy stuff. Time to expand.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Hmm. I would think that they'd look to the market of people who are new to 5E and sell them something that is "D&D" and more traditional fantasy? Like an actual FR guide? (I mean, I wouldn't buy it, but that's beside the point.)

Ravnica sounds bonkers. (Not in a bad way. Just in the way that I'd never try to run it. Can't do city campaigns anymore after Ptolus.)
They did put out the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide many years ago, and it is still selling and getting good reviews (selling better than the PF2 Core Rulebook recently on Amazon). They've put out Volo's, Mordenkainen's, and Xanathar's Guidebooks for standard D&D fantasy. Starting last year with Ravnica, they are branching out into other genres (in 5E now, setting books are genre books as much as anything).

Ravnica is extremely bonkers, they really let their hair down with that book and let themselves go crazy.
 

TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
For me, Eberron is neat because it deals with one of the things that has always bothered me about most Fantasy Settings, and D&D in particular.

Why is it, that in a fantasy setting with magic, which is an unlimited resource, where you can make permanent magic items, that 99% of the population lives as dirt scrabble farmers or medieval town peasants? Why are the streets of Waterdeep filled with beggars and poop (human and horse) like 1300's London?

Eberron is built on the concept that any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from Technology. Trains, Air Travel, restaurants, Indoor Plumbing, the works.

Magic is a commodity, and can be bought and sold like any other service or good.
 
For me, Eberron's big selling point is that it feels like an action-adventure movie; big set pieces, intrigue, high stakes, travel, lots of villains, romance, and excitement. 3.5 tried to capture that feel with Action Points (worked to a minor degree, but I digress) but in general it should feel cinematic, bold, and larger than life. Its also setting where anachronism doesn't feel out of place, which allows for a wider variety of stories to be told.
 

Parmandur

Legend
For me, Eberron's big selling point is that it feels like an action-adventure movie; big set pieces, intrigue, high stakes, travel, lots of villains, romance, and excitement. 3.5 tried to capture that feel with Action Points (worked to a minor degree, but I digress) but in general it should feel cinematic, bold, and larger than life. Its also setting where anachronism doesn't feel out of place, which allows for a wider variety of stories to be told.
That last point is major consideration: when you look at non-D&D fantasy on the market these days, anachronism is in: Discworld, Final Fantasy, Full Metal Alchemist, etc.
 

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