According to myth, the emptiness before creation was the domain of three mighty dragons. Golden Siberys was the source of all magic. Gentle Eberron was the fountain of life. Cruel Khyber was the master of secret knowledge, and of the powers that lurk in the darkness. Together, they held dominion over the fate of all, and they pondered the proper shape of the universe.
In the beginning, the Progenitors worked together. They started with the thirteen planes, but as they molded reality, rifts began to form between them. Dark Khyber grew greedy, and noble Siberys responded by becoming more forceful; each sought greater influence in the work. Daanvi, Fernia, and Irian bear the prevailing mark of Siberys. Kythri, Mabar, and Xoriat show the dominant touch of Khyber. Eberron sought to mediate but could not bridge the divide.
Eventually, the Progenitors created (some say discovered) a prophecy that wove the planes together and tied them to the plane at the center of them all. When it came time to determine the destiny of the final, central plane, the tensions between Siberys and Khyber could not be contained. The dark one tore into her sibling, mortally wounding the gold dragon and scattering his scales across the sky. Although not powerful enough to defeat her, Eberron knew that Khyber could not be allowed to benefit from her deeds. The gentle one refused to fight Khyber with claw and tooth. Instead, Eberron embraced her, trapping Khyber within her smothering coils. Eberron called on the powers of life, giving birth to soil, tree, and ocean, and so transformed herself into a living prison that Khyber could never escape.
Thus Eberron became the world on which all life grew. To this day, she nurtures and sustains all. Siberys’s remains became the ring around the world; his scattered scales became the stars. Khyber remains trapped within—the Dragon Below, the Mother of Monsters, the source of all darkness—forever struggling to escape and bring an end to it all.
The World Today
Modern Eberron features a growing industrial revolution fueled by magic. The setting supposes a world that developed not through the advancement of science, but by the mastery of magic. Magic allows for conveniences and services undreamed of in traditional medieval fantasy. Bound elemental creatures power elemental airships, rail transport, and high-speed ocean vessels. A working class of minor mages uses ritual magic to provide energy and other necessities in towns and cities. Advances in magic item creation have led to everything from self-propelled farming implements to sentient, free-willed constructs.
The great dragonmarked families are the barons of industry and commerce throughout Khorvaire and beyond. Their influence transcends political boundaries. The heads of each house, not technically citizens of any nation, live in splendor within their enclaves and emporiums located throughout Khorvaire. These dynastic houses of commerce derive their power from the dragonmarks—unique, hereditary arcane sigils—that manifest on certain individuals within the family, granting them limited but very useful magical abilities associated with the trade guilds the family controls.
The growth of industry has also been fueled by war. The continent of Khorvaire was embroiled in a war of succession for more than a century. This civil war was so long and terrible that people began to call it the Last War. The war raged across the continent until a magical cataclysm called the Mourning destroyed the nation of Cyre 4 years ago, prompting a ceasefire among the other nations. Unsure of the cause of the Mourning, the remaining nations feared that continued fighting could cause another such catastrophe and eventually signed the Treaty of Thronehold 2 years ago, which has maintained a tentative peace since. The conflicts, the anger, and the bitter pain of the long war remain, however, and the new nations seek every advantage as they prepare for the next war that they believe will inevitably eventually break out on the continent.
The empire of Galifar once claimed dominion over most of this continent but fell to a war of succession so long and terrible it was named the Last War. The empire was at one time divided into 5 prinicipalities, which are now know as the 5 Nations. It was the leaders of these nations that competed for the right claim the throne of Galifar and dominion over their neighbors. The five nations include:
Aundair—a rural, magical nation.
Breland—an industrial constitutional monarchy
Cyre—once the financial and cultural center of the empire, now a wasteland called The Mourning
Karrnath—a grim, militaristic nation that turned to necromancy to fill it’s army’s ranks
Thrane—a theocracy dedicated to the Silver Flame
The Treaty of Thronehold recognized the existence of several new nations that became independent during the Last War. There are also wild regions of Khorvaire with no recognized sovereignty:
Darguun—a nation of goblins seeking to reclaim the heritage of an a kingdom that predates humans’ arrival on Khorvaire
The Demon Wastes—a wasteland home to orcs, demons, and horrors
Droaam—the so-called “monstrous nation” ruled by a trio of legendary hags served by gnolls, ogres, trolls, orcs, medusas, and many other monstrous humanoids
The Eldeen Reaches—a vast forested wilderness home to many druidic tradions
Lhazaar Principalities—an archipelago of loosely affiliated island nations known for piracy
The Mror Holds—home land of the dwarves
Q’barra—a jungle frontier nation comprised of idealists and refugees seeking to escape the Last War
The Shadow Marches—swampland home of the orcs
The Talenta Plains—homeland of nomadic halflings and dinosaurs
Valenar—homeland of fierce elven warrior-nomads
Zilargo—homeland of the gnomes, famed inventors and librarians
Aerenal—island homeland of the elves where they preserve their ancestors beyond death
Xendrik—uncharted continent that was once the site of a great civilization of giants
Sarlona—this continent is home to a reclusive human civilization that venerates political and spiritual leaders possessed by otherworldly spirits
Argonessan—here there be dragons . . . literally