Dragonmarked houses are organizations in the fictional Eberron campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game that are based on . Dragonmarks are elaborate skin patterns that grant spellcasting abilities. Each type of mark is tied to families that control a different industry or trade in Eberron. How do you guys like the new take on Dragonmarks as Variant races and Subraces?.
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Before getting to the current questions, I want to bring up a key point from the earlier article. The power of the houses comes from the fact that they offer services that are unavailable elsewhere, at least on the scope and scale they can provide. In 4E, I suggest restricting many rituals to the Dragonmarked to reflect this. Groups like the Arcane Congress are always working on this, and your PC might be an innovator who can make some of these effects no one has until now.
But the key point is that while the houses are monopolies, this is often because no one knows how to replicate what they can do on an international scale; only a few have to actively deal with serious competition.
What would happen to Eberron if all the Dragonmarks suddenly went dormant? It would be a serious blow to the culture of the Five Nations. Swift long distance communication relies on Orien and Sivis.
Orien and Lyrandar are cornerstones of mass transit and freight. Loss of Jorasco removes basic medical services, which would likely lead to plagues. Loss of Cannith brings mass production of common goods and primary creation of magical goods to a halt. Breaking the Kundarak vault system suddenly cuts many people off from their wealth, which could seriously impact some nobles.
Some standard magical services would remain intact. Furthermore, there ARE skilled dragnomarked and artificers outside of the houses. Nobles would still have access to some of those old services by hiring the best independent mages money can buy.
But much of the system that provides magical services to the middle class would fall apart, and people would have to implement mundane systems to take their place.
Aundair would be in a strong position because of the Arcane Congress and the general effort to bring arcane magic into everyday life.
Dragonmmarked has the highest percentage of divine casters and would thus have the best ability to counter the loss of Dragonmwrked healing. Karrnath has a decent war magic program, but would be ebberron by the loss of things like communication, transportation, and weather control.
If my character starts a mercenary Company, would they have to eventually join with house Deneith? It is entirely possible to operate a business without being affiliated with a house. But an independent mercenary army of 10, people with branches in multiple cities DOES pose a threat to Deneith, and they would attempt to stop it or assimilate it before it reached that level.
With that said, assimilation is always the preferred path. Most houses would rather just get a share of drxgonmarked profits that wipe you out. As described in DragonmarkedGuild membership comes in three flavors. Most businesses are licensed.
They pay a small percentage of profits and vow to uphold guild standards, and in exchange they get to show the guild stamp. Bound businesses are essentially franchises, and the nature of the services they offer are dictated by the guild. So an inn licensed by Ghallanda can serve whatever food it wants, as long as the quality meets Guild standards; but a Gold Dragon Inn has to serve the same core menu as all other Gold Dragon Inns.
The Dragonmarked Houses
So back to you: You want to start a mercenary company. However, you might find that clients pass you up and hire licensed Deneith mercenaries instead, because the Deneith seal assures them that the soldiers meet Deneith standards of training and discipline, and because they can go to the house for compensation if the eberrpn fail to perform. How do the different houses respond to a dragonmark going from least to lesser, lesser to greater, etc?
There are system reasons why it happens, but does anyone in the game world have theories? Well, now we venture into the realm of house rules. We have pictures of each of those four sizes.
Dagonmarked believe that marks grow organically over time. So take three people with Least Marks and they might all be different sizes and shapes — all clearly recognizable as somewhere between Least and Lesser, but different stages of development. However, there are any number of other theories, ranging from diet and mental exercise to planar alignment and the influence of the Prophecy.
Every house is made up of multiple families; the Shadow Schism that created House Thuranni was a civil war between the Phiarlan families. Wberron different Cannith factions are likewise largely divided along family lines. Meanwhile, a different Cannith family may strictly forbid people marrying outside the house. Now, why might they interfere? Vadalis is highly likely to arrange marriages for marks.
Tharashk is remakably liberal and sees outside marriage as a good way to increase its influence. Dragonmarks are seen only on the peoples living on Khorvaire. Why are there none on the goblin race, who lived before humans? And why do they appear on half-orcs but not full orcs? And why not on gnolls or shifters or changelings? Nothing about the marks is clear. And, of course, one answer is that the marks have only appeared at certain times and on certain races because they are an experiment of, say, the Daelkyr; they are actively picking and choosing who gets what mark.
No one knows for certain. The common belief is that the strongest bloodlines were wiped out in the War of the Mark and that strength is simply rdagonmarked from the world. If another house started to form, under what kind of mark do you think would be new and novel? With that said, I like the structure… so what I might do is to have one of these two races develop the Mark of Death.
Is this a sign? Will the other marks start migrating too? Any reason why, or ideas to that effect? Which is most of them. For that matter, magebreeders are only a small segment of the house; most heirs are ranchers, teamsters, veterinarians, handlers, jockeys, and more; people who love working with animals and whose animals can do amazing things.
Which house do you think has most potential as an outright villain? Would your answer be different for adventure v. Again, I think Vadalis has a cragonmarked of long-term potential because magebred humans are creepy and an extremely logical source of homegrown Inspired for the Dreaming Dark to use. Lyrandar xragonmarked tremendous ambition. They may not have manufacturing facilities drsgonmarked match South, but their unique form of ingenuity is building better weapons.
Dragonmaroed all marks of a kind are the same, what about the Draconic Prophecy? Not every Mark of Making can indicate the same destiny, can it?
Think of dragonmarked individuals as tarot cards or runes. Do you think there is tension or rivalry between houses Tharashk and Medani given how both work with inquisitives? However, one issue here is that Medani is a very subtle house; its services also overlap with Deneith when it comes to bodyguards. Medani is the warning guild. Its specialty is counterintelligence and predictive work. You hire a Deneith bodyguard dragknmarked you want muscle at your side; you hire Medani for defense when you want them to identify and neutralize the threat before it actually manifests.
The same is true of inquisitives. Tharashk inquisitives are more of your classic private eyes. Think someone might have spies watching you, or an assassin after you? Medani inquisitives handle complex cases for wealthy clients; Tharashk inquisitives solve basic problems for a broader client base. I wonder why house Phiarlan does not seek to outlaw Thuranni. After all, both houses have the same dragonmark.
Dragonmarks 5/1: The Dragonmarked Houses |
Among other things, because they are family. The Shadow Schism only occurred a few decades ago. The Mark of Shadow has been around for thousands of years, and elves themselves live for centuries. There are still members of the Thuranni families in House Phiarlan and vice versa. They are now professional rivals, and the wounds of the schism run deep for some; but they are still brothers and sisters. Moreover, why do not the sentinel marshals or national authorities imprison and prosecute those they know are killers from Thuranni?
Granted, in the shadow eberrn there is a place for spies and assassins, but an overt assassin organization should be frowned upon by the populace, and despite their alibies, eberroon are aware of the true business of house Thuranni.
And as the Captain of the local city watch, do YOU really want to make a personal enemy of a family of professional assassins? Someone who starts a crusade to bring down Thuranni assassins will immediately become a target.
The Shadow Network is a guild of entertainers and artists, including many of the finest performers in Khorvaire. If you want those other services, you have to know the right channels to take, and they will reach out to YOU. Now for a perennial question… Also, what happened to Cyre, really? Dragonmar,ed must have a personal Canon, right?
To me, the Mourning is much more powerful as a mystery. Once the answer is defined, it is possible to predict if it can happen again and whether it can be harnessed. Once that information becomes public, it will completely change the balance of the cold war between the Five Nations.
Meanwhile, I can think of a dozen answers that all could be true. One appears in The Fading Dream. With that said, you are exactly right: This last question is something of a spoiler for my novel The Son of Khyber.