EBERRON RISING FROM THE LAST WAR / AUTHOR: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / PUBLISHER: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
One of the things that has made Dungeons and Dragons so enduring is the way that you can tweak and modify the stories to be told in any way that you wish. It’s pretty fundamental to the concept of the game but, over the years, the variety of ideas and settings has seen some pretty brilliant things.
Eberron Rising From The Last War introduces the popular Eberron setting to D&D’s fifth edition. The world was first introduced way back in third edition and it’s been sorely missed. Eberron is a world where society has integrated magic into everyday use. Airships and rail transport are possible thanks to everyday people (called magewrights) maintaining powerful magical items. Whole dynasties rely on innate magical powers to provide services such as healthcare and communications. It is a world recovering from a war that devastated one of the major nations in an explosion that no one quite understands. It’s a setting where sentient war machines (called Warforged) now roam the land, looking for a better purpose. Mixed into all this is a pulp-adventure vibe. 1940’s style adventure mixed in with D&D’s unique style of swords and sorcery. Indiana Jones meets Krull.
It’s a setting full of detail and cool ideas, with everything from dinosaur-riding halflings to dense jungles filled with elves. The move to fifth edition is pretty smooth and comprehensive. The various magically-blessed families (known as Dragonmarked Houses) now count as a version of the core D&D races, which works both mechanically and narratively. Iconic races such as the ambiguous changelings and the feral shifters are now balanced and filled with ideas for different playstyles. We also finally get Artificers back in D&D, a specialised type of wizard who can make magical items (and tend to have mechanical sidekicks).
The book is also stuffed with story and setting ideas. All of the fifth edition source books have been absolutely crammed with ideas and tools for dungeon masters to create stories, and Eberron Rising From The Last War is the most comprehensive to date, as they try to cram in some of the greatest bits of the setting into one place. The writing is smooth and accessible, it’s very well edited and the artwork is gorgeous with plenty of new art mixed in with some familiar pictures from previous books.
Players will, of course, want to grab this tome for all the cool new races and character options, and though there are plenty it’s important to remember that there is a lot more to the game than magical robots and gadget-making gnomes. They’ve done a sterling job of cramming a lot of source material into one place. It’s a great resource for player and DM alike, but we do hope this isn’t our only trip to Eberron in book form; there are plenty of adventures to be had, after all.