Khorvaire

Khorvaire

Six continents support the vast diversity of life on Eberron. One of these, Khorvaire, is the heart of the world, at least as far as humans are concerned. On this continent, the last and greatest of the human empires grew and thrived before the Last War tore it asunder. Most player characters are from Khorvaire, since members of most of the races of Eberron can be found there.

Humanity’s great nations were once one, then five, and now four: scholarly Aundair. militaritiiic Karrnath, theocratic Thrane, and cosmopolitan Breland. These four kingdoms. together with a dead
nation once called Cyre, occupy central Khorvaire. In addition to being home to humans, the nations are melting pots of other cultures. Dwarves, elves, halflings, dragonborn, half-elves, and less common races make their homes in the towns and cities of the central nations. Warforged are a particularly common sight—House Cannith’s humans fashioned this race in their arcane creation forges.

The doomed nation of Cyre is now the Mournland, a desolate, haunted realm where gray mists suck the life from travelers. Few can survive its hardships. but the treasures of a fallen nation tempt some to try their luck. The only creatures here are treasure hunters, travelers. and those beings that do not possess a life force on which the land can prey: warforged, undead, and stranger creatures.

Aundair. Breland. Cyre, Karrnath. and Thrane were called the Five Nations In the distant past. and the name is still used despite the loss of one of their number. These nations once formed the cornerstone of the great Kingdom ofGalifar. Only a few human lands fall outside the Five Nations. These countries include the I.hazaar Principalities in the northeast, tropical (=Marra in the southeast. and the wild Eldeen Reaches in the west.

Homelands of other races are also found in Khor• vaire. The dwarves’ ancestral home is the Mror
Holds, near Karrnath in the northeast. Nomadic ‘millings travel across the Talenta Plains in the east. Elves from the island continent of Aerenal have established a land called Valenar in Khorvaire’s southeast. Communities dons and half- ores are concentrated in the swampy Shadow Marches to the far west. Gnomes call southern Zilargo their homeland, and tieflings long ago found refuge in western Khorvaire when they fled the ruin of their ancient kingdom, Ohr Kaluun.

Shifters roam the wild forests across the continent. Dragonhorn enclaves in the east recall the great empire of their ancient past. Eladrin have long visited Khorvaire from their homes in the Feywild, but many fey arc now trapped in the world, and one of their cities has shared the devastating fate of the Mournland. Even the monstrous races—medusas. ogres, and the like—claim Droaam as their own nation in Khorvaire, although the continent’s other countries refuse
to acknowledge its sovereignty.

Life In Ebberon
Almost fbur years ago, the people of Khorvaire took the first drastic steps to pull themselves out of a devastating, century-long conflict called the Last War. In its aftermath, the great Kingdom of Galifar was no more. In Galifar’s place were a handful of smaller, depleted nations nursing long-standing grudges and deep wounds. The Last War and. to a lesser extent,
the memory of Galifar’s golden age define how the people of Khorvaire think and act.

Khorvaire is a disparate land. However, much of it was once a single kingdom, and thus its nations share a number of similarities. The Last War and the destruction ofCyrc left people with a deep cynicism and smoldering distrust. A feeling of doom lies heavily
on the land. Many people see the ravaging of Cyre as the harbinger of an even greater apocalyptic event. Many speculate that if Cyre could fall, then all of Khorvaire is at risk of becoming a lifeless gray landscape where only ghosts walk.

These dark thoughts are pervasive and profound. Some people remain optimistic despite the hard
times (citing the Treaty of Thronehold as evidence that the nations can work together). but, for most Khorvairians, trust is dead. The average person suspects his neighbor of something. His neighbor. in turn, suspects the same of him. and going to the market is an experience rife with cold glances and whispered conversations.

The nations’ political leaders foster this sense of unease. None of the kings or queens got what they wanted in the Last War. National pride is not nearly as strong a feeling as xenophobia. and although the nations work together to some degree. distrust among their leaders is echoed by distrust among their citizenry. Each nation suspects the others of secretly stockpiling weapons. directing saboteurs, and commissioning spies. The general atmosphere is not relief
that the war is finally over. Khorvairians know that although the surviving nations are now exhausted from the brutality and the effort of the war, they will soon leap back into the fight.

GOVERNMENT
Galifar was a hereditary, feudal monarchy, and most of the nations that came from it follow its example. Kings and queens are supported by an array of nobles—barons, earls, counts, and other landholders—who oversee local affairs. Peasants are taxed and exploited to varying degrees, depending upon the nation in which they live.

Although nobles ostensibly rule the nations, other organizations wield comparable power in Khorvaire. The most important of these groups are the twelve dragonmarked houses. Each of these extended families dominates a particular aspect of trade, he it transportation, weaponry. or healing. With potent. hereditary magic at their command and scores of cousins and vassals, central members of the dragonmarked houses wield power akin to that of high nobility. The houses’ barons possess political and mercantile clout akin to that of queens and kings. The
houses’ influence stretches across Khorvaire. Breland might be able to survive without a king, but the face of Khorvaire would change dramatically if House Lyrandar were leaderless.

Two organized religions also maintain great power in Khorvaire: the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame. In these uncertain, postwar times. the power of religion Is growing. Scared people turn to spiritual authority for comfort. Although the doctrines of both the Sovereign Host and the Silver
Flame promote virtue and order, high-ranking members of these faiths sometimes abuse their status.

Although respected, religious officials usually don’t wield as much power as their noble or mercantile counterparts. The Sovereign Host has no distinct hierarchy through which to wield authority, and the Church of the Silver Flame has limited influence bq). outside Thrane.

EVERYDAY LIFE
The cornerstone of life on Khorva ire is the small town: a dim but important point of light in the world’s darkness. Most Khorvairians are farmers or laborers, living in farmsteads and hamlets within a couple of miles of a central town. A larger settlement serves as a trading nexus, to which farmers bring crops, livestock, wool, and similar goods. Crafters from the town trade plows, leather goods. imported items, and similar objects or services in exchange for farm goods. Farmers, crafters. and laborers pay taxes to a local lord, who lives nearby. The lord uses this tax money to raise an army, train a militia, or otherwise ensure that the people under his or her
protection are safe.

In truth, this system isn’t perfect. Brigands—many of them ex-soldiers from the Last War—plague the countryside. Monsters roam the vast distances between towns, occasionally attacking farms and
trade routes. Corrupt nobles hoard their wealth and let their people suffer.

Rural life is simple and sometimes peaceful. Away from the bustle of the city, people are more connected to the natural world. The rural population of Kim!, vaire tends to distrust visitors and strangers. News travels slowly, and rural people are often suspicious of
anything that happens more than a dozen miles away. %laity still feel the pain of the Last War and its aftermath—cousins dead, lathers disappeared, and siblings gone to work in the big cities.

Just as farms surround a town, towns surround a city—although usually the city is miles away and
travelers must spend a day or more to traverse the distance (if they travel by conventional means). Although Khorvaire’s cities are few, they are vital. These points of light arc beacons of both civilization and depravity, of scholarship and corruption, of organization and filth. Cities are far more cosmopolitan than the countryside. Individuals oral! races and backgrounds come together in the great metropolises of Sharn and Elamekeep, sharing food, living space,
and rumors.

City residents are more comfortable with diversity and more wary of the wilderness than are rural
people. They also have more opportunities to improve their economic means. Members of the middle and ripper classes are found more often in cities than in the country.

Urban dwellers have access to resources that country folk generally lack. Magic is common— residents of cities regularly enjoy minor spells and enchanted items that improve their lives. Also, the remnants of Galifar’s educational system are intact M most of Khorvaire’s cities; public education is free (supported by taxes) for all who care to take advantage of it. higher education is available at a few universities that teach subjects such as history and geography, as well as more esoteric topics such as magic and monster lore.

MONEY
Most rural folk are farmers or laborers, and they make up the majority of Khorvaire’s population.
Indeed, six out of every ten Khorvairians are members of the lower class. A rural Khorvairian would rarely have more than a handful of silver pieces at one time. and might only with difficulty find a few dozen gold pieces in an emergency.

Three out of every ten Khorvairians are members of the middle class. They are merchants, artisans, skilled professionals, minor nobles, members of the clergy, professors. or heroic tier adventurers. Each might have several hundred gold pieces within easy access. and could gather a couple of thousand or more if necessary. The majority of the middle class resides in cities, but a few members—skilled artisans, minor lords, and retired adventurers—live in the country.
One in ten Khorvairians belongs to the upper class, including high nobles, ranking clergy, masters of the dragontnarked houses, and adventurers in the paragon and epic tiers. These individuals can easily obtain thousands of gold pieces to support their life. styles, and can access even greater wealth if need he.

ADVENTURERS
Adventurers break rules and defy stereotypes. Although they are not common, most people in
Khorvaire know what adventurers are, and have romantic notions about what they do. Becoming an
adventurer—and surviving—is a good way to become rich, see interesting places, and gain everlasting fame. News pamphlets such as the Korrariberti Chronicle encourage this notion, because the public loves great adventure tales. Such stories are even better when
they’re true. Adventurers whose stories end badly arc rarely featured, and novice do-gooders who disappear in the wild on a first outing are rarely discussed. Adventuring is the epitome Ufa high-risk. highreward career.

Few adventurers travel alone. They know that there is safety in numbers, that five heads are
better than one. and that a group is more than the sum of its parts. Many adventuring parties work as freelancers, going wherever their. noses (and more arcane senses) point. Others accept the patronage of wealthy individuals. governments, or organizations. These patrons supply adventurers with missions and rewards and serve as sources of information and intrigue. These relationships work best when the adventurers and their patrons share common interests.
A party fascinated by Xcn’drik’s mysteries, for example. would do well to consider patronage from
Morgrave University.

LANGUAGES
Across Khorvaire, people of all races speak Common. As the official language of the Kingdom
of Ga lifar, it became nearly universal on the coral , nent. Nonhuman racesuch as elves andwarves
have their own languages. but those tongues are not as well known.

The languages in Eberron are the same as those presented on page 25 attic Player’s Handbook’’’. with a few exceptions. Ores speak Goblin (not Giant) from their days as members of the Dhakaani Empire. and drow speak Giant (not Elven) due to their long tenure as slaves oldie giants. In addition, three new languages appear in Eberron.

Argon is an altered farm of Common spoken by numerous barbarians. especially those in and around
the northern islands and shores of Argonnessen. Quori is an ancient, mystical language spoken
primarily among the most learned and important of Sarlona’s kalashtar and Inspired.

Riedran is spoken by the Sarlonan lower classes. Its script is an antiquated farm of Common called Old Common, Although both Riedran and Coint T1011 evolved from the same root language, they are different enough that speakerscannot understand each other.

Khorvaire

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