Review: Eberron Player's Guide

Aside from Planescape, Eberron was really the only other campaign setting that ever clicked with me. Maybe it was the lack of established history, but I think it was mostly its unique tone and style. Eberron isnt like other campaign settings that have come before, meshing a pulp noir feel with swashbuckling action and magic-as-technology. I'm a huge fan of China Mieville's stuff, and Eberron is a very natural fit.

I'm going to avoid talking about the mechanical aspects of this book where I can, since thats been done to death in many places (including here).

Eberron Player's Guide is divided into five chapters. Life in Eberron is an overview of the world with a tiny map that details a single-page map of the Khorvaire (the starting continent) and the rest of the world. A poster map will be included in Eberron Campaign Setting, as it was in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, so no need to fret about this.

Life across Khorvaire
does a great job of setting the stage for the players. It describes everyday life, the popular perceptions of adventurers, and what to expect.

Movers and shakers
briefs players on the Draconic Prophesy in more detail than what we initially saw, and I think this is an important concept for players to grasp right away. I'm also pleased that it touches on types of adventures, locations, and travel modes. This information is great to help players create characters consistent with the setting and provide excellent springboards for DMs.

Races presents us with slightly modified (again) warforged, heavily modified changlings, and (for the first time...again) kalashtar. Strangely, there arent any new shifter traits, which sucks because 3rd Edition provided a good number in Eberron Campaign Setting, and many more in Races of Eberron. Oh well, cant have it all.

Races from Player's Handbook, Player's Handbook 2, genasi, and orcs get some treatment/placement. Ironically, drow do not despite them being major players in Xen'drik. Anyway, most of these I found satisfying in the sense that its where I was going anyway (such as dragonborn "always being in Argonessen"), but there are a few origins that I am more than happy to work in in addition to the "official" descriptions (such as some tiefling families being the result of pacts with rakshasas).

Classes gives us the artificer in all her glory. Its been a long-time coming, and I am extremely pleased with the completed work after over a year. Good things take time, and this is a very awesome class that better captures the feel than 3rd Edition ever could.
I never really dug the original artificer since it felt like you had to burn your action points in order to use your abilities in a timely fashion. Sure, with enough prep time you could do some interesting shit, but in a lot of cases? Kiss your action points goodbye. The craft reserve and bonus Item Creation feats just made making magic items reasonable.
Even if you playtested it out of Dragon, this is a whole new animal. It has a lot of the original powers and class features, but most are renamed and/or changed in some way, and the list has more than doubled in size. Players out there with artificers can rejoice...a lot.

There are 22 paragon paths, 13 pertaining to Dragonmarked Houses, and the rest for races, classes, or other concepts specific to Eberron. The Dragonmarked paragon paths seem to fill in the niche left by the absense of the dragonmarked heir (ECS, pg X) in that they require a specific dragonmark and expand upon it in very cool ways.
I like that the Vadalis griffonmaster lets you swap out your beast companion for a griffon. Fucking rad.

Conversely, there are only four epic destinies. However, this is all forgiven thanks to the mourning savior, which is all about discovering the source of the Day of Mourning and reverse the process. It is hard to think of a cooler way to put a capper at the end of a epic-tier campaign.

Character Options has Dragonmark feats, which are now available to any race. The idea is that in the campaign world, only specific races have a certain Dragonmark, but PCs being special as they are can be recognized by the Draconic Prophecy regardless. At first I had reservations about this, but on the other hand the Draconic Prophecy can choose whoever the fuck it wants, and who am I to disagree?

Other feats provide expected benefits by boosting race/class features from the new races and classes, though there are a ton of Channel Divinity feats for Eberron's own Sovereign Host and a feat that works for shifter rangers. Feats from Playing Warforged are reprinted here, which will draw nerd-rage from some but an apathetic shrug from myself.

World of Eberron wraps things up by providing information about the Five Nations, Khorvaire at large, and finally the areas beyond. Each area gets some description, adventurer concepts, and associated background skills. There is also a section on Dragonmarked House backgrounds if you want to go that route.

I've read a couple criticisms about the book. One is that you "need" Player's Handbook 2 to get full use out of this book, which isnt necessarily true. There are a few things in here that cater to primal classes, but then druids are pretty major players in Eberron so this was unavoidable.

Having read every other Eberron supplement ever released by Wizards of the Coast, I can say that while EPG isnt nearly as comprehensive as its numerous forebears (for very obvious reasons), I enjoy it a lot more as it crams the most important information relevant to players in a single book. I dont need to reference Eberron Campaign Setting, Races of Eberron, Explorer's Handbook, and Player's Guide to Eberron in order to feel like I've covered all the bases.

If you are an Eberron fan, then you probably already have this book, are waiting til tomorrow, or your pre-order is on the way (and if not you are probably broke). If you are not an Eberron fan, then I'd say that its still a great buy if you are a DM/player-with-a-DM who doesnt mind stealing ideas from other campaigns to use (the races, class, and feats are great).
Otherwise, you can easily afford to pass this up. Its not very large and runs $30, so...yeah.


  1. Amen. If I ever shed the Curse of the Gamemaster (which is what I like to jokingly call being the only one in the group capable of being a DM), the first class I want to play is an Eladrin Artificer. Thievery from 5 squares away! Yay!

  2. I feel that. It is rare that anyone besides me runs something, and when they do it usually does not last long.


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