Shards of Light, Shards of Shadow
Changelings are shapeshifters, able to become almost anyone. While this gives them advantages in certain situations, known changelings are often untrusted or outright feared in more rural areas of Khorvaire. Because of this stigma, changelings are found largely in urban environments where they can blend in more easily and are common in Brelish and Aundairian cities. Changelings tends to follow one of three philosophies regarding their abilities: Passers tend to blend and assimilate into their native culture, downplaying their ability; Becomers believe that changelings are meant to lead multiple parallel lives and take on many different persona; Seekers hold that there is truth that only changelings can see in their true form and tend to change shape only rarely.
Changeling PCs tend to classes that befit their philosophy, with Rogue most common. Changelings make adaptable Wizards. Few take to Primal paths due to their affiliation for civilization.
Dwarves immigrated to Khorvaire before the founding of Dhakaan from the far north. Formerly a warring bunch, dwarves are now more focused on their business ventures than military might. Legends hold that the dwarves of the Mror Holds are descended from clans exiled from the depths for their infighting, and that their ancient kingdom is now an empty husk. Few dwarves discuss this supposed history with outsiders.
Due to their subjugation under Karrn the Conqueror and the subsequent forming of Galifar, dwarves are found throughout the Five Nations with the highest numbers in Karrnath and Breland. House Kundarak has enclaves in all the nations and sizable holdings in Stormreach.
Khorvaire dwarves favor Martial classes, particularly Fighter. They make excellent Artificers with a much smaller tradition for Wizardry. Most dwarves have some devotion to the Host, and thus are sometimes Clerics or Paladins.
The elves of Eberron are categorized into four categories: Khorvaire elves, Aerenal elves, Tairnadal elves, and Drow. Drow have their own entry (see below).
Khorvaire elves are the descendent of distant elven immigrants from Aerenal. They do not self-identify with their distant cousins, instead identifying with their local nation, region, or House if dragonmarked. Most Khorvaire elves live in bounds of “civilization,” though more rustic and naturalisic elves may be found in the Eldeen Reaches. House Phiarlan and House Thuranni both bear the Mark of Shadow and are primarily Khorvaire elves. While most Khorvaire elves follow the Host, aspects of their traditional ancestor worship can still be found, especially in their Dragonmarked House’s reverence for the past. Khorvaire elves may be found among all classes, though Primal classes are found largely in the Reaches.
Aerenal elves are descended from elves that fled Xen’drik before its destruction. They practice ancestor worship and retain their ancestors as Deathless—a type of benign undead. Aereni elves are focused on tradition and rarely leave their island unless on specific business. They favor Divine classes, though they have potent Wizards.
Like the Aereni, the Tairnadal elves fled Xen’drik before its destruction. They also worship their ancestors, but seek to emulate them as a form of reincarnation as opposed to resurrecting them as Deathless. Tairnadal have strong martial traditions, as evidence in the elves of Valenar, and are likely to take Martial classes or martially themed Arcane and Divine classes.
The Mark of Shadow occasionally manifests in Aereni or Tairnadal elves.
Gnomes are inquisitive by nature: It is partly due to their curious nature and partly as a defense mechanism. Gnomes learned long ago that to survive in a world of large creatures, knowledge provides power. This thirst for knowledge is evident in the large number of gnome scholars, archeologists, bards, and spies. This penchant for information manifests as the Mark of Scribing in House Sivis, responsible for communication and officiation across the Five Nations. Though one might question a general gnome’s motives, members of House Sivis have carefully cultivated their neutrality and thus benefit from an impeccable reputation.
Though known for their libraries and diplomats, gnomes also have a long history of sailing and shipbuilding. In fact, the largest concentration of shipyards are in Zilargo.
Gnomes tend to the Arcane naturally, and make notable Bards and Wizards. As the only wide-spread masters of elemental binding, Gnome Artificers are in high demand.
Half-elves are known as Khoravar (“Children of Khorvaire“) as their genesis is from the elves and humans from that land. Most Khoravar belong to long established lines of half-elves and have developed their own cultures around their two Dragonmarked Houses (House Lyrandar and Medani) or their own half-elf enclaves. While half-elf progeny of humans and elves still occur, their numbers are small compared to the Khoravar.
Khoravar adventures are varied and take up many Martial, Arcane, and Divine classes. Primal classes are generally only found amongst those half-elves who have chosen to take up residence in the Marches.
Half-orcs, also called halforks or Jhorgun’taal (“Children of Two Bloods”), are another blended race only to be found in Khorvaire. They are proof that the humans and orcs of the Marches are kin, as blood ties are vital to the Marshers. Halforks often take positions of leadership in the Marshes, and their ties to House Tharashk cement this position. Like most Marshers, they are highly spiritual, usually favoring the druidic faiths, though Host worship is not uncommon.
Halforks found in the rest of Khorvaire are generally descended from Marsher lines and are well integrated into the culture of the Five Nations. They often associate with the House Tharashk for employment. There is a sizable group of such halforks in the Eldeen Reaches.
Amongst the Ghaash’kala orcs and humans of the Demon Wastes there a few halforks. These have no ties to the Marsher lines. Like the other Ghaash’kala, they worship Kalok Shash, an incarnation of the motive force that binds the fiends of Eberron.
Marsher and Eldeen halforks tend to favor Primal classes with several Beastmaster Rangers amongst them. Halforks in the rest of Khorvaire take on a variety of classes, though non-Martial classes are rarer. Ghaash’kala halforks tend toward Avengers, Paladins, and Fighters.
Halflings are a divided people. While all can trace their roots to the vast Talenta Plains, most halflings have left their tribal past far behind and would be aghast to be associated with the nomadic, dinosaur riding “savages”. Non-Talenta halflings are fully assimilated into their native lands, filling many niches.
Talenta halflings were isolationist for most of the history of the Five Nations, but when their lands were often used as battlefields during the Last War, they had no choice but to speak out. While the Talenta Plains is recognized as a nation by the Treaty of Thronehold, Talenta halflings are associate more with their own tribe than any government. While Lathon Halpum represented Talenta at Thronehold and holds leadership of several tribes, the tribes as a whole do not follow his every edict.
Haflings of the Five Nations have no preferred classes, though like most outside the Reaches and Marshes, are not commonly Primal classes. Those of the Plains tend towards Battlerager Fighters and Beastmaster Rangers as opposed to Primal classes—though druidism is not unheard of on the Plains, it originated with the orcs and is less common here.
Humans make up the majority of the inhabitants of Khorvaire, though they are not native to its lands. Four of the thirteen dragonmarks are human (Handling, Making, Passage, and Sentinel). Due to their adaptability, they are known to take up any class.
Orcs, like the goblin races, were once part of one of the oldest civilizations on Khorvaire. There are three primary cultures of orcs on Khorvaire: Shadow Marsh orcs, orcs from the Demon Wastes, and orcs near the Mror Holds.
Orcs in the Marshes are divided into two groups: The primitive, human-shunning, Dragon Below worshiping tribes and the Gatekeeper-following, human-bonded clans. While both have an aggressive streak to them, they are not typically the bloodthirsty, rampaging monsters depicted in the MM. Both groups are highly spiritual, though the isolationist tribes follow the darker path of the Cults of the Dragon Below.
Clan orcs from the Marshes (and those elsewhere in the Five Nations are generally from or can trace back to the Marshes) are hard working and valued members of the Marsh communities. Though they nominally follow Gatekeeper believes, the typical orc knows nothing about the historical genesis of druidism or the war against the daelkyr. Due to the favor of House Tharashk, orcs outside the Marshes are generally looked on with more favor than the goblin races.
Orcs of the Demon Wastes—the Ghaash’kala—are very different from their Marsher cousins. They are much more militant, following a belief in “the Binding Flame” they call Kalok Shash. These orcs try to keep the tainted ones from the Wastes from escaping, and believe any who enter will become tainted as well. Few Ghaash’kala leave the wastes.
A savage group of orcs much more in line with their MM role exist in the Ironroot Mountains and occasionally plague the Mror Holds.
Orcs with Marsher backgrounds tends to Martial or Primal classes. Ghaash’kala orcs favor Martial or martially themed Divine classes.
Also known as the “weretouched,” Shifters have distant lycanthrope and human ancestry from long before recorded history. This association with lycanthropes, however, has cast the shadow of suspicion over the race, and it is occasionally difficult for shifters to integrate into mainstream society. This is especially true in areas of Aundair hit hardest by the Purge centuries ago. More metropolitan areas, such as Sharn, have little problem with shifters; even then, Shifters tend towards their own communities.
Shifters value independence and self-reliance, and are fond of athletic pursuits. They make capable Martial class members, particularly Fighters and Rangers, and have their own Primal class traditions.
A created race, Warforged were built for the purpose of fighting the Last War. Even though they were recognized as sentient beings and given their freedom at the Treaty of Thronehold, in places like Thrane and Karrnath there are those who consider Warforged lesser beings; in some places, Warforged are often in virtual slavery through indentured servitude.
It is commonly held that the secret to the creation of Warforged was discovered in the Giant ruins of Xen’drik by House Cannith artificers. Since the Last War, however, the creation of new Warforged has been banned. Rumors abound, however, of some still functioning Creation Forges that churn out Warforged; House Cannith or the mysterious warforged demogauge The Lord of Blades are often mentioned as owning these forges.
Built for battle, Warforged tend toward Martial classes, particularly Fighter. They make capable Artificers as well.
Uncommon races are not as wide-spread or integrated into Khorvaire society as the common races. Some, like the goblin races, are treated as full citizens under the Treaty of Thronehold; others, like the secretive drow of Xen’drik or the isolationist kobolds, have less rights.
In ancient Dhaakan, Bugbears were the honored warriors, serving as shock troops or elite forces under the hobgoblin rulers. This tradition still holds in the small number of Dhaakani tribes and to a smaller part in the ruling Ghaal’dar tribes of Darguun. The bugbear only Marguul tribe has thrown off hobgoblin rule, though they still support Lhesh Haruuc’s leadership.
Bugbears outside of Darguun, like the rest of the goblin races, tend to be from long ago slave stocks of human conquerors. They are integrated in the lower classes of Five Nation cities. They may be oppressed, but they thrive in these city’s underbelly.
Like other goblin races, Bugbears have limited faith in the Host, with several following the Shadow or the Mockery. Traditional Dhakaani Bugbears follow the atheist path of the Dirge Singers, who laud their ancestors to provide spiritual guidance.
Bugbears tend to Martial classes: Fighters dominate the troops of Darguun, while Rogues are common for city Bugbears. Unlike the MM description, Bugbears do not gain the Oversized quality.
Drow are the elves still native to Xen’drik. They claim that they are the true heirs of elven culture, unlike the elves of Aerenal that abandoned the continent. The dark skin, white hair, and different elven traits of the drow are a subject of much speculation; common belief is that the changes were the result of giant experimentation, perhaps done by Fire Giants of the Su’lat Empire.
Drow tribes are scattered across Xen’drik. The groups most encountered by explorers are worshipers of Vulkoor, a warlike scorpion god scholars identify with the Mockery. These are jungle dwelling nomads that scar themselves with scorpion poison, giving them their characteristic white body markings. Vulkoor drow almost uniformly come into conflict with any that “invade” their domains though a few outcasts have been known to work with adventurers.
Two other drow societies are known of, though regular contact with them has not been established. The Sulatar are an advanced sect, possessing the secrets of elemental binding—it is suspected gnomes stole this secret from the Sulatar. Stories also tell of a group of Underdark dwelling drow called the Umbragen.
Drow adventurers, usually Vulkoor exiles, are commonly Rogues, Barbians, Druids, or Shamans.
Quick and crafty, goblins were the tradesmen, laborers, and peasants of ancient Dhaakan and these roles have carried over to modern Darguun. City goblins, however, form the basis of several lower class underworlds.
Few Goblins worship the Host, many favoring the Shadow or the Mockery. Traditional Dhakaani goblins follow the atheist path of the Dirge Singers, who laud their ancestors to provide spiritual guidance.
Like other goblin races, Goblins favor Martial classes, particularly Rogue. In cities, they have been known to take up Wizardry or Artifice.
The leaders of the Dhakaani Empire, hobgoblins form the elite of Darguun to this day. Though there are no hobgoblins in the Marguul tribe, that tribe still follows the lead of the hobgoblin warlord Lhesh Harruuc. Traditionally, males handled the warmaking while females dealt with healing, magic, and diplomacy.
As with other goblins, few Hobgoblin worship the Host, with more favoring the Mockery. Traditional Dhakaani goblins follow the atheist path of the Dirge Singers, who laud their ancestors to provide spiritual guidance.
Hobgoblins are the fewest in number amongst lower class city goblins.
Hobgoblin, especially male ones, favor Martial classes, with most becoming Warlords or Fighters. Female hobgoblins tend to Arcane classes, with special favor for Bards—the tradition of Dirge Singer leaders is strongest in the Dhaakani tribes.
Kobolds are a reclusive race who believe they have close ties to the Progenitor dragons. Seen as pests or slaves by the other races, kobolds have their own civilization hidden from the rest of Khorvaire.
Known non-slave kobold tribes identify as iredar (supposedly tied to the Dragon Between) and irvhir (tied to the Dragon Below); kobolds can distinguish the two groups by scent. The two groups are distrustful of each other. These kobolds live in unworked caverns deep below the earth, forming devious natural traps to keep others out. Rumors of a third race of kobolds, supposedly winged and with ties to the Dragon Above, persist. For more information, see The Kobolds of Khorvaire.
Kobold adventurers have natural Arcane talent and posses many Sorcerers. Those without this talent often become Rogues. Religious leaders of non-slave kobolds tend toward dark Clerics of Khyber for irvhir Kobolds or Druids and Shamans for iredar Kobolds.
Rare races are generally unheard of by the population of the [[Five Nations.]] Many of the more monstrous races (Gnolls, Minotaurs) do not have full rights under the Code of Galifar.
The origin of the immortal Deva are unknown. Scholars speculate there is some connection to the noble couatl, as if some of the feathered serpents assumed mortal form long ago. This might explain the Deva’s ability to reincarnate and their distant memories.
Dragonborn are a mystery. Though they have obvious ties to dragons, the nature of the relationship is unknown. Groups of dragonborns have been found in the far frontiers of the Five Nations, especially near the Wastes and in Argonnessen and Xen’drik.
The Eladrin are native to the Faerie Courts of Thelanis where they make up part of the noble courts. Scholars believe that the elves of Eberron are descended from Eladrin who migrated to Xen’drik during a conjunction and who were subsequently subjugated by the Giants. If so, neither side claims any kinship. Today, Eladrin may be found near Thelanis manifest zones, such as in the Reaches.
Genasi are the results of pregnancies or births during a planar conjunction or near a manifest zone. While genasi can breed true, their numbers are too scattered and small for a breeding population. No known culture specific to the genasi is known to exist.
Gnolls are violent, hyena-like humanoids known to populate Droaam, parts of the Shadow Marshes, and the Demon Wastes. It is suspected that fiends somehow touched the race during the Age of Fiends. Primal instinct is strong in the race, and they are more given to savagery than the other races, especially those in the Wastes (who worship the Overlords).
Gnolls in Droaam are usually part of the Gnoll Brotherhood, mercenaries that will work with any who hire them but will not fight each others. Thus, they are part of the stabilizing force in that region. Gnolls of the Brotherhood tend to worship the Dark Six. Other Gnolls, member of the Znir Pact, reject worship of gods or demons, but devote themselves to ancestor worship instead. Either group of gnolls can be found as Deneith or Tharashk mercenaries.
Gnolls favor the Ranger, Warlord, or Barbarian classes, with demon or Dark Six worshiping Gnolls accepting some Warlock pacts. Gnolls speak Giant instead of Abyssal.
Goliaths stick to the mountains, rarely venturing into more civilized lands. Goliaths originated in Xen’drik, where they can still be found, but a colony of them is known to be found in the Eldeen Reaches.
Tieflings are generally accepted to originate near the Demon Wastes. Occasionally, one of the humans in the Wastes, or occasionally those that are part of the Ghaash’kala, exhibit fiendish features due to the land’s taint. Amongst the barbians, these Sakah (“touched ones”) become leaders of their depraved ways; they are normally exiled from the Ghaash’kala. A long history of these exiles have established a population of tieflings within Droaam. An unrelated, and thus unexplained, population of tieflings is known to exist in Q’Barra as well.