Backgrounds

PC Backgrounds

PC Background traits use the rules from the Player’s Handbook 2. Up to three Backgrounds may be chosen; one of these must include a region listed below. Changes to PH2 Backgrounds are also detailed.

Geography

Backgrounds chosen here should be consistent with the region chosen for your character (see below).

Birth

The “On Another Plane” background is generally discouraged as planar travel is not a staple of Eberron. However, this can represent a pregnancy/birth when one of the planes was coterminous or that the birth/pregnancy occurred in a manifest region of the plane (such as Sharn, in the manifest zone of Syrania).

Society

Note, that nobles are indicated by an “ir’” prefix to their surname (for those taking the Noble trait). Add the following background:

Dragonmarked Scion: You may or may not be a marked member of a Dragonmarked House, but you are an established member of their bloodline. You are identified by the “d’” prefix to your surname. Being exposed to the intrigues and inner workings of the Houses gave you an appreciation for wealth and subtlety.
Associated Skills: Arcana, Diplomacy

Occupation

Add the following background:

Dragonmarked Guild: You worked a trade associated with a Dragonmark House. Choose another occupation and a relevant Dragonmarked House (see their descriptions here for details). In addition to the skills listed, add Diplomacy or Insight (your choice) to the given list.

Racial

Dragonborn have no ties to Arkhosia; likely, the “Brush with the Past” ties into elements tied to the Dragons of Argonessen.

Drow are only found in Xen’drik. Outcasts are outcasts from their tribe, not from Lolth-led city states (Lolth does not exist in this setting). Similarly, Orphans are from lost tribes, not lost Underdark enclaves.

The Dwarven ancestral home is in the Mror Holds, which has not been destroyed nor lost. Thus “Ancestral Home Lost” is not an appropriate background.

Eladrin have no dealings with the drow of Xen’drik; thus, the “Drowscarred” background is inappropriate.

Elves with the “Fey Ally” trait are Khovaire elves likely living in the Eldeen Reaches due to its various Thelanis manifest zones; these groups are also likely to be “Wild Elves”. Urban Elves are generally the Elves of Khovaire who have been in Khovaire for generations and may replace Thievery with Diplomacy if they so choose. Tairnadal and Aereni elves are generally identified by Region (see below) but may consider the following background:

Dreams of the Past: You feel particularly connected to the elves’ past on Xen’drik. If a Tairnadal elf, do you revere an ancestor that had specific deeds or failures attributed to them during the uprising? If Aereni, did one of your great ancestors participate in significant events in the Lost Continent? If a Khorvaire elf, why does your character feels a strange connection to the distant lands?
Associated Languages: Giant
Associated Skills: History

Genasi are the result of manifest zone exposure during pregnancy; “Chaos Born” is thus not an appropriate trait. The trait can be used to indicate a particularly strong connection to the manifesting plane, however.

Gnomes are not tied to Fomorians or Thelanis (the Feywild); they have been native to Eberron for thousands of years. Thus, neither background is appropriate. Consider the following backgrounds instead:

Traveling Gnomes: Your family moved around often, rarely in one place for one period of time. Your journeys may have been only within your homeland or throughout the Five Nations and Beyond. This made it hard to make long term connections, but you have had a wide exposure to many people. Was your family on the run? Was one of your parents a member of the Trust keeping eyes on the world’s dangers? Any particular connections that you miss?
Associated Skills: Streetwise

Out of Zilargo: Your family left Zilargo either before your were born or soon after. Growing up among non-gnomes provides its own challenges, but raises questions why your parents left. Did they run afoul the Trust? Do they maintain connections to their homeland? Would you be welcome if you return?
Associated Skills: Bluff, Insight

Half-Orcs may have orc, human, or half-orc parents without particular stigma. The orcs of the Shadow Marshes are not savage, though they might not be particularly well-off. Thus, savage-related backgrounds should be altered to incorporate these changes.

Halflings are either urban halflings or savages from the Talenta plains. The former are likely to have the Storyteller trait, while the latter too might have Avandra’s Kiss (representing some other auspicious birth) or have been Banned.

Humans with the Ancenstral Holdings were likely landed before the Last War and lost it during the chaos of those years; this is particularly appropriate for Cyrans. Heir to the Forgotten Gods represents a strong connection to some mysterious past agent, but not a forgotten or lost god.

Tieflings with Infernal Nightmares do not dream of the Nine Hells but have some connections to the fiends of Khyber that disturb them.

Region

All players should choose at least one Region Background. Noted classes and races make up the majority of folks of the region, but are not generally prescriptive.

Argonnessen: The Continent of Dragons, Argonnessen hides many secrets. Characters from this region are likely from the Seren islands, groups of savage humans who worship dragons from afar. A few dragonborn are known to have originated from here, but they keep what they know about the place secret.
Appropriate Classes: Primal classes
Appropriate Races: Dragonborn, Human
Associated Languages: Draconic
Associated Skills: Endurance

Aundair: The land of earth and sky, Aundair is a mostly rural land known for bountiful crops and vineyards. Its cities are known for their sophistication, and nowhere are the arcane arts more respected than in Aundair. Wit, debate, and intellectual pursuits are all valued in Aundair from the most lowly commoner to the high mages of Arcanix.
Appropriate Classes: Arcane classes primarily; Martial or Divine secondary.
Appropriate Races: Doppelganger, Elf (Urban), Half-elf, Halfling (City), Human, Shifter
Associated Skills: Arcana, History, Nature

Aerenal: Land of the Undying Court, it is the heart of the old elven ways. Both true Aereni and Tairnadal elves make their homes here, though in separate enclaves. Tradition and ancestor worship (either literally in the case of the Tairnadal or figuratively for the Aereni) dominate the island. Outsiders are few and far between.
Appropriate Classes: Divine classes primary, Wizard secondary (Aereni); Martial Classes (Tairnadal)
Appropriate Races: Elf
Associated Languages: Elven
Associated Skills: Athletics (Tairnadal), Religion (Aereni)

Breland: Brelish value freedom and independence, with a progressive outlook. This gives an air of superiority to the common Brelish citizen who feel other nations are in need of their social advances. Breland boast the largest city in Khorvaire—Sharn—whose metropolitan nature demonstrates both the blessings and failings of Brelish progressivism.
Appropriate Classes: Divine classes (Aereni), Martial Classes (Tairnadal)
Appropriate Races: Doppelganger, Elf (Urban), Goblinoids, Gnomes, Half-elf, Halfling (City), Human, Orc
Associated Languages: Goblin
Associated Skills: History, Streetwise

Cyre: Former Crown of Galifar, Cyre was the future made manifest. Where Aundair is known for its arcane studies, Cyre was known for integration of magic into the everyday. The “Cyre Appreciation” embodied the Cyran appreciate for art in all of its form. While those outside of Cyre may consider Cyrans decadant and arrogant, to Cyrans, their land was a paradise. Now, it lays under the blasted Mournland, its people scattered.
Appropriate Classes: Arcane classes primarily, Martial secondary.
Appropriate Races: Doppelganger, Elf (Urban), Half-elf, Halfling (City), Human
Associated Languages: Goblin
Associated Skills: Arcana, Insight

Darguun: In the shadow of the Dhakaani Empire, Darguun split of from Cyre during the last war. It is a land of goblinoid pride, slavery, and tribal infighting. The warlord Lhesh Haruuc seeks to recapture Dhakaan’s lost glory, but old tribal allegiances are disrupting that process.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes and Bards (generally female)
Appropriate Races: Goblinoid, Human, Kobold
Associated Languages: Goblin
Associated Skills: Athletics, Endurance

Demon Wastes: Khovaire attempts to deny the existence of the Demon Wastes, the lurking taint of evil on its borders. Former stronghold during the Age of Fiends, it is a inhospitable land haunted by darkness. Common races in the Wastes are divided amongst the fiend-worshipping human Carrion Tribes and the Ghaash’kala orcs, half-orcs, and humans that worship an echo of what seems to be the Silver Flame. Tieflings are more common here than anywhere else in Eberron, generally as unusual births amongst the Tribes.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primarily; Barbarians or Warlocks secondary
Appropriate Races: Half-Orc, Human, Orc, Tiefling
Associated Skills: Endurance, Intimidate

Droaam: A civilization of monsters, Droaam is the land of barely civilized tribes of competing monstrous factions. Only the humans and half-orcs of House Tharashk do any regular business there, but it is a profitable one. Many monstrous mercenaries come from Droaam.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primary, Barbarian or Sorcerer secondary
Appropriate Races: Gnoll, Goblinoid, Half-Orc, Minotaur, Orc
Associated Languages: Giant
Associated Skills: Athletics

Eldeen Reaches: Separated from Aundair during the Last War, the Reaches is home to the druidic sects. It is an ancient forest that saw great conflict during the Daelkyr invasion, and is still touched by the planes in the form of gateways to Thelanis and Lamannia. It is home to a significant population of shifters, and most Eberron eladrin crossed from their home plane here. Some goliaths who left Xen’drik long ago can be found in the Reaches.
Appropriate Classes: Druid, Shaman, and Ranger primary, other Primal classes secondary.
Appropriate Races: Eladrin, Elf, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Elf, Halfling, Human, Shifters, Orc
Associated Languages: Elven
Associated Skills: Nature

Karrnath: A country forged in war and toughened by harsh weather, Karrnath is the birthplace of the five nations. It is a land of martial law and strict warlords, a land of famine and undead. The people of the land are hard in order to survive, and will continue on long past when others have gone soft.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primary
Appropriate Races: Dwarf, Elves (Urban), Half-elf, Halflings (City and Savage), Human
Associated Skills: Endurance

Lhazaar Principalities: Land of pirates, privateers, and merchants, the Principalities is a hodge-podge of powerful captains that control individual domains. Each domain has its own rule of law (or lack thereof), but all are dependent on the sea. It is a land of fierce independence and survival.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primary, others secondary
Appropriate Races: Doppelganger, Dwarf, Elf (Urban), Gnome, Halfling (Both), Half-Elves, Humans
Associated Skills: Acrobatics

Mror Holds: A confederation of the remaining 12 clans of dwarves, the Holds are the ancestral home of Khorvaire dwarves. Formerly a militant nation focused on infighting, they now battle over contracts and games of skill. They control significant mining and mineral interests, but still run into conflict with the savage orcs of the Ironroot mountains.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primary, Divine and Arcane secondary; Some Barbarians
Appropriate Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling (Both), Human, Orc
Associated Languages: Dwarf
Associated Skills: Endurance

Q’Barra: A land on the frontier of Khorvaire, Q’Barra holds the fading candle of old Galifar. Swamp and jungle cover the land, and it is constantly threatened by lizardfolk, kobolds, Valenar raids, and Lhazaar pirates. Q’Barra has two major settlements: New Galifar, which attempts to hold to the old Galifar ways, and Hope, a collection of refugee villages more concerned with moving on than ideology.
Appropriate Classes: Arcane, Divine, and Martial classes; Primal amongst the savage inhabitants
Appropriate Races: Dwarf, Kobold, Half-Elf, Halfling (Both), Human
Associated Skills: Nature

Shadow Marches: Long populated by orcs, the Marches combine the resilience of orc nature with the drive of the human exiles from long-ago Sarlona. It is the bastion of House Tharashk, and the birthplace of druidism upon Khorvaire. Marchers are deeply spiritual people, be they tied to the Gatekeeper’s benevolent ways or the suspicions of Cults of the Dragon Below.
Appropriate Classes: Primal classes primary, Martial secondary
Appropriate Races: Goblins, Half-Orc, Human, Orc
Associated Languages: Giant
Associated Skills: Nature

Talenta Plains: A vast grassland of dinosaurs and buffalo, the Plains are the ancestral home of the halflings. Nomadic and clannish, these little folk would eventually be incorporated into every city on Khorvaire. The Plains hold ruins of Dhakaani and the Age of Fiends, and is an intermittent battleground between Karrnath and Valenar.
Appropriate Classes: Martial classes primary, some Barbarians
Appropriate Races: Doppelganger, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling (Both), Human
Associated Skills: Endurance

Thrane: The seat of the Silver Flame, Thrane is a theocracy that long abandoned its monarchy. Devoted to its Church, the average Thrane is devout and dedicated to their faith. While this sometimes turns to zealotry or corruption, the average citizen seeks to bring the light of the Flame to all people.
Appropriate Classes: Divine classes primary, Martial secondary
Appropriate Races: Elf (Urban), Dwarf, Half-Elf, Halfling (City), Human
Associated Skills: Religion

Valenar: Long ago, Aerenal formed a colony on southern Khorvaire. Conflict with the Dhakaani Empire forced its abandonment, though significant number of elves stayed behind. These would integrate into society and become urban elves, and are the genesis of the Khoravar—Half-elves. Centuries later, a Tairnadal elf offshoot, the Valenar, claimed the land as their own, separating it from Cyre. It is now a land of nomadic Valenar horsemen, Lyrandar interest, and several former Cyrans who have no ties to their former homeland.
Appropriate Classes: Divine classes primary, Martial secondary
Appropriate Races: Elf (Urban and Valenar), Half-Elf, Halfling (Savage), Hobgoblin, Human
Associated Languages: Elven Associated Skills: Athletics

Xen’drik: The Contient of Secrets, Xen’drik is the home to the Giant Empire broken by the Dragons of Argonnessen. The homeland of the elves, all but the drow left the land. It is also the homeland of goliaths, though any race can be found in the turbulent city of Stormreach.
Appropriate Classes: Any
Appropriate Races: Any
Associated Languages: Elven, Giant
Associated Skills: History

Zilargo: The gnomes are a friendly and cheerful people, eager to make friends. But beneath this veneer is a society based on hoarding information for protection. A jolly gnome may be no match for the larger races in a fair fight—but a gnome rarely fights fair. Gnomes are master of the arcane arts, especially that of elemental binding.
Appropriate Classes: Arcane classes primary
Appropriate Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling (Savage), Kobold, Human
Associated Skills: Insight

Backgrounds

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