Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If I were to sum up my impression of Eberron in one word, that word would be "juicy"

In this post, I will talk about our "regular" D&D game, the one that we play at a friend's house with people we know rather than the pick-up Encounters games we play at the game store.

We started the campaign in Fallcrest, which is set in the default D&D setting (which may or may not still be called Greyhawk, I'm not totally clear on this). We fought some kobolds, slew a dragon, and got a magical sword as loot. It was all very straightforward D&D stuff. The next adventure we ran was set in Eberron, where things turned out to be somewhat more... juicy.

First, I should take a moment to talk about our campaign, and how we went from Greyhawk to Fallcrest. Our Dungeon Master (who plays Jarvix in my other campaign) has set up his world as a mix of every Dungeons and Dragons setting. People in various parts of the world believe in various pantheons, and depending on how people see the world, the world itself manifests in different ways. At least, that's the way I interpret it.

This feels a lot more real to me than the normal D&D approach, where a campaign setting has a strictly delineated pantheon of gods, who each have their distinct areas of influence. This feels too neat and tidy for my tastes. I like the idea that the gods are sort of trying to scratch out an area of influence while competing with similar gods from neighboring countries.

In any case, we got to Eberron and things seemed pretty normal. We had a bit of a laugh at the place names, as we were in the Darkswamp at the edge of the Blacktree Forest or something like that. The town we were investigating was populated mostly by humans, orcs, and half-orcs. That was a bit weird, but not totally unknown in a setting like Forgotten Realms.

But things got really weird when we entered the inevitable nearby monster-filled cave. We started things off by fighting cultists with eyes growing all over their bodies, who were led by an eyeless, psychic, tentacular horror. Meanwhile, an eye growing out of the wall tried to take over our minds.

Things got even weirder as we descended into Khyber, which is apparently Eberron's version of the underworld. Here we met monsters without heads but with two mouths, formed by evil wizards who had magically fused two goblins. At one point, the DM mentioned that the monsters' eyes were looking for us, and someone asked a question that you should probably avoid asking in Eberron: "But without a head, where are its eyes?" In this case, the DM deadpanned, "Oh, all over." (For those wondering about the mouths, they're on the shoulders.)

The deeper we get into the Khyber, the softer the walls get, and in our current room the walls are distinctly fleshy. I joked that, if we poked them, they'd probably bleed, but I'm in no hurry to test that. Let's just say that the floor has mouths.

I'm not one to get all squeamish, and part of me thinks that this stuff is pretty cool. I'm just glad that, when I run my Dark Sun, things are going to be decidedly drier.


Kyle said...

I'd just like to point out that, when he says "Let's just say that the floor has mouths," that sounds like an exaggeration. But it is not. It's the absolute, dead-serious truth about the room they're in.

Kyle said...

Oh, one other thing. He didn't mention the previous room, containing a Well of Darkness, and a Living Darkness monster. That was fun. ;) It gives the players a chance to use the classic phrase, "I attack the darkness!" in a totally non-ironic, non-joking fashion.

Russell said...

I do the same thing in my homebrew. Eberron is a different continent. I find one interesting way to bring out the fluff of a setting is to play a character who is NOT native to that setting. It's easier for him to notice strange customs and edifices. Really helps to bring out the flavor elements. I played a paladin of the raven queen who was a "missionary" of sorts to Eberron who sought to prove that their gods were false. I killed a lot of heathens (pretty much anyone who worshipped an Eberron god) and made a lot of converts (thanks to my DM's loose interpretation of the Intimidate skill). It's good to be in a strange land.