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d20 Addict: Series 1: The Eberron Campaign

(all d20 Addict articles written by GamingNews Editor T. Rob Brown)

(Thursday, Feb. 24, 2006) INTRODUCTION...

Like many Dungeons & Dragons fans out there, I began playing back in the '80s with a group of friends from junior high school. We would play pretty much wherever we could find a place to play -- some of the best memories came from playing in a friend's basement or playing on a Boy Scouts overnight trip.

Most of us who have been playing that long have traversed the original scape of Blackmoor, journeyed the lands of Greyhawk, shared space with Elminster and Drizz't on Toril and its chief continent Faerun (Forgotten Realms), skimmed the mists of Ravenloft, darted through space in Spelljammer, avoided the Kender of Krynn (DragonLance), suffered the heated deserts of Dark Sun, and lamented the tortures of Planescape. We have journeyed the lands to and fro and as Bilbo Baggins said in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, we have gone, "There and back again."

Through all those grand adventures we have been guided by creators of these worlds: Dave Arneson (Blackmoor), Gary Gygax (Greyhawk), Ed Greenwood (Forgotten Realms), Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (DragonLance), and countless others. For most, we have come to treasure each and everyone of these worlds. For some, certain worlds have been hated or even despised for one reason or another.

Whether you have grown tired of the old worlds that we have journeyed so much in the past or if you're just looking for something new -- there is Eberron and its creator, Keith Baker.

If you're new to Eberron, it's quite an interesting place -- similar, yet also disimilar to the D&D worlds of old. For some, this is exactly what they've been searching for in a new world to explore. For others, it just isn't on their to-do list.

"What makes Eberron so special?" you might ask.

The world of Eberron combines the feel of traditional D&D with a sprinkling of steampunk, some action-adventure of the Indiana Jones variety, and a dab of the old gumshoe-style private investigator stories. You put all that together, stir in some gnomish contraptions, high magic, introduce technology -- but not as technology -- as magical enchantments, and an in-depth history of a war that completely reshaped the world, and you have a very unique place indeed.

Ever since its release in 2004, the Eberron campaign setting created by Keith Baker has become a big hit with D&D fans. It was the first campaign setting completely built using the 3.5 edition rules, it was Wizards of the Coast's (WOTC) elite choice from thousands of campaign settings submitted in a major campaign search, and is being fully supported by WOTC with frequent book releases, novels, and now two computer games (the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) D&D Online: Stormreach and the real-time strategy (RTS) game Dragonshard).

For some fans, the Eberron campaign setting is new and fresh -- for others, it is too disimilar to Ed Greenwood's Forgotten Realms campaign setting, which older fans have come to love and cherish through the years. For those new to Eberron, it is a world that follows all the rules and traditions of D&D staples like Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms but offers many new twists -- the chief, of which, are the warforged. Warforged are living constructs forged during a great war that spread across Eberron. Although they share some of the same traits with the monsters known as constructs, they are sentient and constructed differently so they do have critical locations and do not possess all the amazing abilities of a true construct. As a player race, a warforged can be great at most anything -- but they are excellent fighters and barbarians.

In addition to the warforged race, there are three other new player races introduced with the Eberron campaign setting: The shifter (lycanthrope descendant), changeling (doppleganger descendant), and kalashtar (human-alien hybrid race). Aside from the four new races, the game also introduces a new core player class: The artificer.

With the popularity of this new campaign setting, one of my many gaming groups decided it was time to adventure in this newer world...

(Friday, Feb. 25, 2006) SESSION 1: THE CHARACTERS MEET...

After spending a week or so to get the characters created, work out character backgrounds, and to give the dungeon master (DM), yours truly, an opportunity to read over the starting materials and necessary background information, we finally were ready for our first session.

I suppose first you must learn about the players and their characters if you are to better understand the journey that is to come.

Our first culprit, I mean adventurer -- or expert treasure hunter, is a chaotic good, female changeling rogue Tegan played by Jim "Nimrod" Stokes. Far from the party leader, but often useful in those tough situations, this rogue has saved the party's skin several times.

The second party member is the chaotic good, male human cleric Thragar Wittenhelm played by John Manard. This character worships the Sovereign Host. This character is perhaps one of the party leaders.

Third on the list is the lawful good, male human marshal Garland Von Jord played by Jesse White. This character is perhaps one of the party leaders.

Fourth among them is the tank, the neutral good, male personality warforged fighter who has yet to be named by the party played by Tim Marcum. When there's a fight to be made, he's the one that gets to taking care of the situation.

Fifth is the magic support character, the chaotic good, female shifter sorcerer Xxxx Xxxx played by Phil Xxxx. Xxxx keeps his raven familiar onhand for spying purposes.

Sixth is chaotic good, male shifter ranger-barbarian Kegan played by Jonathan Gruver.

Seventh is choatic good, female gnome bard Hevyn Glitterdust played by Phill Hilt.

Outside of those chief seven player characters (PCs), there have been four other PCs who have joined in their adventures from time-to-time and could possibly re-join the adventures as things progress. For now, we will stick the main seven characters.

As our "little" tale begins, the adventurers are in the towered metropolis of Sharn, a major city in Breland on the continent of Khorvaire. For those of you who have the Eberron campaign setting book, feel free to browse the map there -- there's possibly a map located on the Wizards of the Coast (WotC) website. I prefer to use the map of Khorvaire created by WotC that was included in the Eberron DM Screen pack.

The adventure we started is located in the campaign setting book -- and of course, as always, I twisted a few things around and changed a few things just to keep the players on their toes, er... well, maybe on the edge of the comfy sofa or loveseat in my living room.



[Editor's Note: Edits for grammar, punctuation, artifacts, and syntax made to press releases by GamingNews Editor T. Rob Brown,]

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