Eberron is a setting that has always been a favorite of fans made by fans. From its inception by Keith Baker as part of the Fantasy Setting Search in 2002, to the recent release of Eberron: Rising from the Last War, this setting has a special place in the hearts of many fans.It’s a wonder that Wizards took this long to bring the most popular setting to their most popular edition, but here we are. Was the wait worth it? I’ll leave that for you to decide. For now let’s look at what this new book offers and share some of my first thoughts about it.
The first thing I noted about this book was right as I picked it up. I got myself the alternate cover, and it is stunning. Seriously, go to your local lgs and check this bad boy out because the pictures online do not do it justice. This has to be my favorite art from any cover of a 5e product so far. The foil artwork, evocative landscape, and geometric shapes fading into art all give you an immediate sense of what Eberron is like. However, I do have to knock it down a peg for being misprinted slightly off center. This will surely get fixed in their next printing run, but it feels a bit like tripping at the finish line. Still gorgeous though.
After a brief introduction to the setting, the book jumps into new options for players to use. There are a whopping seven races to choose from here, though three of them can also be found in Volo’s Guide. To compare, the two books share the three goblinoid races, Volo’s has ten more than that, and Eberron has four more. These races do include Changelings and Warforged which are fan favorites. The next part of this section goes into dragonmarks. These arcane markings give your character unique powers at the cost of your subrace. This was an interesting update I wasn’t expecting, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Dragonmarks are an especially Eberron thing, so I’m not sure if they will or can be used in other settings. There is also a section here that introduces group patrons. This is an interesting concept to get the party together very easily, and in the case of some patrons I’m seeing can even set up entire campaigns on their own.
The final addition is a big one: the first new class to be officially added to fifth edition, the artificer! I’ve been waiting long for this one. Artificer is my second favorite class, behind the warden from 4e (get on it, Wizards!) and I’ve been giddily awaiting its arrival to print since seeing the first Unearthed Arcana of it. This iteration is different than its playtest version by a fair amount. I could spend a great deal of time going over the changes here, but we’ve got a lot more book to go through. But the changes really differentiate the subclasses, and they all seem healthy and fun from a first look.
The next section of the book, accounting for approximately a quarter of its pages, is dedicated to informing the setting. Details from every part of Eberron can be found here, with an entire chapter dedicated to the main city Sharn. The pages are absolutely packed; no space on here is uncovered. It’s absolutely dense with content. And it is glorious. My inner lore nerd is teeming with excitement at delving into this world once again, and it seems that this book will provide all the needs of anyone looking to dive in.
The next section is a particularly helpful section that gives advice for building Eberron adventures. There’s a plethora of adventure hooks to pluck from, and it is here that the book lays them out nicely for you. There are ideas for campaigns of all levels and tones, from down to earth noir mysteries, to full on war epics. This chapter is a treasure trove for DMs, even if they don’t plan on running the setting itself. There’s even a nice little part about making recurring villains and improving them. Solid advice in any book always gets my gold star.
The last section of the book, before the standard magic items and monster stats, is a small introductory adventure. And I mean small. Only going through levels one and two, this is the smallest adventure we’ve seen. It also happens to be at my two least favorite levels, but I digress. The adventure looks fine enough. It has a nice mix of social and combat action. The themes also seem to be on point with Eberron’s style. It’s not a greatly flashy or exciting adventure, but it gets the job done.
Overall I think fans of the setting will find a lot to love here. The wait has proven to be worth what we got in the end. I’m not so sure the book will prove useful to those with no interest in the setting itself, as the mechanical parts of the book are small in comparison to the world building done. I do believe that this is a great book, and it has definitely been worth the price for me. What do you think? Have you picked it up? Love it or hate it? Let me know down below!
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