Heroes of Prophecy
Most Dragonborn are found in Argonnessen, but where few dragons have ventured into Khorvaire, dragonborn can be found in small pockets. Legends say that great dragonborn city-states exist in Argonnessen, warring with one another over territory over interpretations of the Draconic Prophecy, or at the will of their dragon masters. In Khorvaire, they are most common in Q’barra, where in ancient times dragonborn immigrants formed an empire in the jungles there. The empire fell into ruins for unknown reasons long ago, leaving behind pockets of civilized dragonborn fighting for survival in a fierce jungle.
Dragonborn worship the Dragon Sovereigns, the draconic incarnations of the deities of the Sovereign Host. Evil dragonborn, on the other hand, typically worship the Dragon Below. Dragonborn see dragons as messengers of the gods, and they believe that the Draconic Prophecy is a divine message.
Ages before the rise of Galifar, dwarven clans dwelt in the Frostfell. Dwarven historians believe that their people traveled south from this frigid land in search of a more friendly climate. Stories tell how they reached the mountains of northeastern Khorvaire and there began mining great riches as well as centuries of bloody fueds over those riches between the clans. It wasn’t until Galifar imposed peace upon the lands that the clans learned the value of cooperation. Ancient grudges and enmities remain, but today they are expressed through economic policies and occasional espionage and sabotage rather than bloody battles. Dwarves are loyal to their families and clans. They greatest influenec over the rest of Khorvaire comes through their wealth and the banking policies of House Kundarak. Most dwarves worship the Sovereign Host, particularly Dol Arrah, Kol Korran. and Onatar.
There are seven feyspires which are the cities of the eladrin. They have been appearing on Eberron since the Age of Giants,in areas between the Feywild and Eberron. This cross plane existance allows the eladrin within to emerge and experience the world and occasionally for eladrin to stay when the feyspire moved on. Sometimes this was by choice and other times forced such as when giants conquered Shae Tirias Tolai, the City of Silver and Bone. When that feyspire appeared in Xen’drik the giants seized the opportunity to attack and take the population of Shae Tirias Tolai as slaves. Elves descended from these Enslaved eladrin. Eladrin have had little historical or social impact on Eberron. Before the war, the feyspires faded in and out of Eberron rarely staying for very long. This casual relationship ended on the Day of Mourning. The feyspires were severed from the Feywild, becoming permanently stuck in Eberron. The eladrin are now adjusting to their new circumstances or searching desperately for a way back to the Feywild.
Most eladrin worship their ancestors, though a few follow select deities of the Sovereign Host, particularly Aureon and Olladra. A rare few who are bitter about their exile in Eberron are drawn to the Blood of Vol.
Elves originally came from Xen’drik where they are descended from the eladrin who were slaves taken from the feyspire city of Shae Tirias Tolai by the giants. The eladrin toiled in slavery for years before eventually rebelling and fleeing Xen’drik. Generations of isolation from the Feywild changed them into what are now known as the elves. The refugees colonized the small continent of Aerenal, where most have remained. Some left Ae renal to settle on Khorvaire before the rise of Galifar, and more elves came to Khorvaire as mercena ries during the Last War under the leadership of High King Vadallia. These elves now inhabit Valenar, and are considered brigands and opportunists by most outsiders. Most people in Khorvaire are most likely to have contact with elves via House Phiarlan and House Thuranni, who are popular among nobles and commoners, rural and urban people alike as master entertainers. With few exceptions, elves worship their ancestors in the form of the Undying Court or the Spirits of the Past.
Half-elves in Eberron are mostly a distinct race. Though elf-human pairings occasionally produce new half-elven lines, most half-elves have half-elven parents. Their decendants come from what is now Valenar, but they are currently spread across the continent, intermingled with human populations. The closest thing they have to their own society is House Lyrandar and House Medani, but half-elven individuals have played major roles in history for many human nations. Likewise their religious beliefs are as varied as humans, though most worship the Silver Flame or the Sovereign Host.
The halflings of Khorvaire began as traditional tribal hunters of the Talenta Plains and many still live this way. With the opening of trade with other nations, many others moved into the cosmopolitan areas of the cities. Their tribal ways made them excellent couriers, traveling merchants and trusted companions. However halfling ignorance of others’ laws and their loose definitions of personal property lured many into criminal activity. Halflings fill the same types of positions as humans. When Galifar claimed the Talenta Plains, the halflings barely noticed, as their way of life remained unchanged throughout his rule and the Last War. Halfling religion is focused on the Sovereign Host, particularly Balinor. House Ghallanda with the Mark of Hospitality and House Jorasco with the Mark of Healing are both halfling houses.
Humans are the dominant race on Khorvaire and the most numerous on Sarlona. They are somewhat of a young race, having only arrived on Khorvaire (from destinations unknown) about three thousand years ago. But they have certainly made their mark on the continent; most of the political upheavals of the last two thousand years have been driven by humans. Humans originate from Sarlona, though it is unknown what made them leave ages ago. Explorers wandered into what is now the Lhazaar Principalaties and Q’barra, with later expeditions further east. Few early colonies survived, but those that did began to prosper and further the spread of humanity across the continent, eventually forming the Kingdom of Galifar in ancient times. The kingdom lasted for centuries before being broken up by the Last War.
Most of Eberron’s tieflings arose from the corrupted bloodlines of the Sarlonan nation of Ohr Kaluun. Obsessed with arcane lore and power, these people made pacts with devils without any thought to the effects it would have on their descendants. When the Inspired came to wipe out unauthorized magic from Sarlona, Ohr Kaluun fell, but not before many tieflings escaped to other lands, many coming to Khorvaire. There they founded the Venomous Demesne in the Demon Wastes, though tiefling populations are also found in the Shadow Marches, Droaam, the Eldeen Reaches and even rural parts of Aundair.
Spirits of a distant age, devas are reborn again and again into a world that has all but forgotten them.
Stories tell how couatls, a noble race of winged serpents, arose from the blood of Siberys and fought against demons that sprang from the blood of Khyber. As the demons had rakshasa allies, the couatls too had comrades in this fight. Devas, spirits of light born in mortal form, aided the couatls in their battle against the demon lords. Destined to be continually reborn into the world, devas persist in Eberron even now when couatls are all but extinct and few creatures remember the devas’ ancient purpose. Devas cling to the virtuous precepts of their ancestors, believeing that anyone who drifts into evil is reborn as a rakshasa. A few devas even assert that they are rakshasa spirits that have found redemption, although most devas doubt such claims. Devas, with their spiritual nature and hatred of evil, often find kalashtar to be sympathetic allies.
The devas have no homeland and are rare in Eberron. A deva can go an entire lifetime without meeting another deva. When a deva dies and is reincarnated, he or she appears in adult form, often hundreds of miles from where he or she last lived with only vague recollections of past lives. Thus, instead of developing their own communities, devas dwell amid other races. They often live among humans and are drawn to areas where evil has a strong presence, such as regions near the Mournland or along chasms to Khyber. There, they work to stem the flow of demons and aberrant creatures.
Gnomes originally came from the Feywild in numbers far greater than did the eladrin, though no one knows how or when. Gnomes are consummate artificers and knowledge keepers, with a constant thirst for information. The most famous mediators and diplomats in Khorvaire are gnomes from House Sivis; indeed, that house was the one that provided the mediation for the Treaty of Thronehold to end the Last War. However, within their own society in Zilargo, gnomes are conniving tricksters who are constantly planning and scheming against one another. Gossip and subterfuge are done as much for entertainment, as for profit. Some gnomes think bigger, engaging in espionage and conspiracy that can topple governments. Gnome worshippers can be found among almost every religion of Eberron.
The race of goliaths originated in Xen’drik but left that continent in large numbers with the rise of giants. Those that remained were enslaved like the elves, but the proved to be poor slaves- they weakened in capacity, failed to reproduce, and died quickly. As a result, few goliaths remain in Xen’drik. Although they are far-flung, goliaths have never had sufficient population or drive to establish nations or empires. They exist today as they have for centuries, maintaining their traditional ways of life in high mountain ranges on the fringes of society.
Most half-orcs seen outside of isolated areas are agents of House Tharashk and thus maintain a certain amount of professional behavior. They are relatively uncommon, and usually live in secluded areas, or work as mercenaries on the outskirts of civilization where they can be judged on merit rather than ancestory, which many individuals of all races including humans and orcs consider tainted. Indeed many races view both orcs and half orcs as more beast than person. Half orcs tend to follow whatever religion is prominent in the region they were raised.
Called “weretouched by many, the descendents of lycanthropes, shifters are universally mistrusted and feared. People think of lycanthropes as horrid monsters and thus are wary of their offspring, so shifters are often shunned in society. The Church of the Silver Flame’s war on lycanthropes resulted in mass slaughter of shifters along with the lycanthropes. In urban areas, shifters may be accepted as exotic travelers, though much in the way bugbears, hobgoblins and such are in Eberron. In rural communities they are rarely tolerated. Shifters are often connected to nature through their ancestry, and many prefer woodland and other isolated regions.
Changelings (Eberron Player’s Guide)
Also known as doppelgangers, changelings are the masters of espionage, theft, and assassination. Changeling’s talents breed mistrust and fear, leading many changelings to hide their true nature even from their closest companions. Many changelings seek only to avoid unwanted attention and to find a place in the world.
Lacking a culture of their own, changelings adopt other races’ societies. They seek out communities that have values and interests that parallel their own. Changelings prefer cities because they are ideal places to blend in with others or to vanish if necessary.
Warforged (Eberron Player’s Guide)
Warforged are living constructs, often distant and unemotional but fully sentient and capable of developing emotions, personalities, and even gender identities. They are massive, powerful creatures built in a humanoid shape from materials such as iron, stone, obsidian, and darkwood, meshed into flexible plates connected by muscle-like fibrous bundles. They were created by House Cannith artificers to serve as soldiers during the Last War, and due to this are generally disliked by many people. Some see them as reminders of the Last War and hate them for it, while others see them only as tools. While the Treaty of Thronehold officially gave the warforged their freedom, they are still effectively slaves in some places. As a race, they are still trying to find their way and identity (as is evident in the machinations of the Lord of Blades).
Kalashtar (Eberron Player’s Guide))
Kalashtar look like somewhat ethereal humans; indeed, before interacting with one, it would be easy to mistake him for human. But for most citizens of Khorvaire, interactions with kalashtar result in them coming across as quite an odd race. They are generally good natured and benevolent, and are often diplomats. They develop a fondness for certain races and it is not uncommon to find lone kalashtar among communities of other races. However, despite their friendly nature, kalashtar are not quite normal in their thinking. Most people find them to have quite odd, ephemeral personalities; their speech is littered with esoteric phrases and their way of thinking is alien. Because of their generally friendly nature the kalashtar are commonly seen just as odd and not dangerous.
Eberron boasts a variety of races beyond those already described. Other races that might play a role in a campaign are described here.
Genasi (Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide)
Genasi are extremely rare in Eberron, and although theories regarding their origins abound, even the genasi cannot say how their race came to exist. Whatever their origin, few genasi live in Eberron. There are rumors of a genasi village in the wilds of the Eldeen Reaches, genasi have no territories of their own. Most dwell on the fringes of human communities, avoiding their neighbors. The people of Eberron are familiar enough with magic that they don’t hate or mistrust genasi, but neither are they comfortable around the strange and clearly unnatural beings.
Drow (Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide)
Drow are very rarely seen on Khorvaire; few would know what to make of a dark-skinned elf. Adventurers who come back alive from Xen’drik sometimes bring wild tales of such creatures, but few pay attention to such stories.
Gnolls (Monster Manual)
Although most of Eberron’s gnolls are the ravenous demon-worshipping creatures of campfire stories, a small number have risen above their chaotic, bestial natures. Called the Znir Pact- named for the location in Droaam where they abandoned their demonic overlord- these gnolls banded together in a small but remarkably stable gnoll nation. The group is strong enough to retain it’s independence, and the gnolls earn healthy sums of money serving as mercenaries, trackers, and raiders for warlords of Droaam or anyone outside the borders of that nation who can pay appropriately.
Typical gnolls still worship the demon known as the Beast of Butchery.
Goblinoids (Monster Manual)
More than simply evil raiders, goblinoids (i.e. goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears) are common as mercenaries across Khorvaire. The kingdom of Darguun is ruled by hobgoblins, with normal goblins and bugbears as shock troops. However, goblinoids also serve as a lower class in several of Khorvaire’s major industrial centers and even as slaves in some areas; thus goblin relations sometimes become much more complicated than in settings where goblins are merely bandits.
Orcs (Monster Manual)
The orcs of Khorvaire are traditionally a tribal people, but they also have a strong druidic tradition. Rarely seen in civilized areas, they are well respected in the Eldeen Reaches and other woodland areas. The orcs are a fading race who have contact with those in their direct vicinity but, unlike their goblinoid brethren, have little interest in adapting to the modern world.
Though many minotaurs are demon worshippers, there are some who have personalities and beliefs more agreeable to other races. House Tharashk and the militias of Droaam respect minotaurs for their strength and sense of honor and use them as mercenaries.
Other Major Creature Types
Many of the creatures called aberrations by the common races are spawned by Khyber or are the creations of the daelkyr (aberration overlords from Xoriat), and inspire fear and terror where they emerge. Most are incredibly dangerous and are worshipped by those who follow the Dragon Below (either subserviently or appeasingly).
Demons in Ebberron are led by the rakshasas. They are a historical force that now seem to be biding their time, seeking to free their masters—the godlike rajahs—who are bound beneath Khyber.
Giants were once the great overlords of the continent of Xen’drik, creating an unmatched civilization. However, they have been mostly reduced to brutes and savages, their ancient civilization in ruins, for reasons unknown to the common races.
Dragons are mythical creatures in Eberron, creatures tied in with the creation of the world and many of the greatest legends of the past. Far from mere treasure hoarders, dragons are seen as almost divine in stature; a person would probably have about the same reaction to a dragon’s appearance as to that of an angel. Although everyone in their right minds believes in dragons (too much lore from too many places for their existence to be false), almost nobody in recent history has seen one. Of course, sometimes a dragon is just a dragon—cut off from their more advanced kin, barbaric dragons sometimes live just as one would expect; other times younger dragons leave Argonnessen to tour Khorvaire out of curiosity, hunger, or greed.
Note that unlike in other settings, chromatic dragons are not necessarily evil and metallic dragons are not necessarily good; instead, any dragon can take on any alignment.