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Monday, August 23, 2004

GenCon Eberron Seminar Report

Breland Ledger reporter Brueklen D’Cannith was on the scene at GenCon yesterday to chronicle the Eberron Seminar. The cast included Eberron designers Chris Perkins, Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, and James Wyatt, as well as Peter Archer, Brand Manager for novels at Wizards of the Coast.

The following information was announced at the seminar:

Keith’s first Eberron novel, City of Towers, will be released in February 2005

The “Eberron Preview” Flash movie was shown again; it contained art from the Eberron Campaign Setting Book and concept images not used in ECS.

A slide show was displayed, including images from announced Eberron products and novels, including cover images.

Bill discussed how Eberron was chosen. It was the 11th setting summary chosen by the council. Keith’s 100-page bible was actually 125 pages.

Some of the game material was developed around art concepts. James created the Carcass Crab from an art concept drawing.

Shadows of the Last War, Whispers of the Vampires Blade, and Grasp of the Emerald Claw tie together.

As previously reported, the Sharn: City of Towers regional sourcebook includes a bonus CD of Eberron-inspired background music.

Races of Eberron gives you new “toys” to play with, similar to other race books like Races of Stone. It covers the new races as well as entries on all the standard races in Eberron.

The War-Torn Novel Deadline Submission is August 31.

We will be seeing more and better maps for Eberron.

In regard to low-level characters after war, Keith noted that Eberron is like a pulp movie. The majority of the world doesn’t have to follow the same XP rules. They just don’t have the same potential that characters do. Keith enjoys starting PC’s in the war at 1st level, and jumping forward to the current date for their 2nd level.

When will we see more information on the Mark of Death? Bill wants to hold off on that.

What happened on the Day of Mourning will remain a secret.

What was the main inspiration for Eberron? Keith said, “I’d been spending lots of time watching pulp/noir. When the setting search came along I submitted seven ideas. What became Eberron was one I did just by having fun writing it. I was just trying to toss in all the interesting things in D&D that don’t make sense.”

Chris joked, “Keith is much easier to control then Ed Greenwood.”

What steps went into balancing the Warforged? Warforged were originally 2 races, Warforged Scout, and Warforged Warrior, originally ECL +1 and +2. Bill shot it down and wanted everything to work out of the gate and Warforged Warrior was redesigned for +0. Warforged Scout appears in Monster Manual III.

Races of Eberron has a prestige class based on the warforged embracing the living part of his ancestry, the opposite of the Warforged juggernaut that embraces the construct part.

Races of Eberron will not include new races. Eberron focuses on cultural differences within a race, not so much on separate subraces.

Races of Eberron has options for warforged to help them blend in with the other common races.

Races of Eberron has a possible origin story for the Lord of Blades. Another product (yet to be named) will have another set of different stats for him and another possible creation story. No solid stats for him will ever be posted.

Races of Eberron will include racial substitution levels. It also gives information to play Eberron races in any setting.

Atari, along with Turbine and Liquid, will be developing games along the entire Eberron lifeline.

As previously reported, the City of Stormreach in Xen’drik is the home base in D&D Online.

How difficult is it to merge Eberron to other campaign settings? James: “We wanted Eberron to be believable. There is no reason FR can’t have shifters… The Plane of Shadow has a mythical property that connects all the campaign settings (including D20 Modern).”

Why no firearms in Eberron? The goal is to keep it a fantasy world. James: “We tried to avoid crossing the line between letting magic take the place of technology and where you have telephones that use message spells. The Lightning Rail is the closest thing to an analog of modern technology.”

Keith: “Magic is science, so they aren’t looking to advance or create new techniques that aren’t magic.”

Going forward, at least one adventure a year will be produced for each line.

There will be an advancing storyline in Eberron, which will be very carefully coordinated between Wizards of the Coast's novel and RPG departments.

The climate of Xendrik is equatorial, but DMs should make it whatever they want it to be. It has suffered magical cataclysms over thousands of years.

There are artificer-based prestige classes planned.

Xendrik is meant to be mysterious, it’s a place for DM’s to use to add and create what they want.

Epic-level play is possible in Eberron. The setting was designed with challenges for all levels of play.

A Player’s Guide to Eberron, if it gets written, would include rules and options for all PC classes, and epic level options.

Bill “can’t” tell us that a book called The Five Nations may come out some time next year.

The design team claims that they are very pleased with the reception Eberron has received, financially and otherwise.

In response to a question about the biggest thing removed from the earlier drafts of Eberron, the design team answered that it had a different name. Nothing was really removed from the original one-pager, although it does have a slightly different tone.

What was added? The shifters, which came into their current form from group brainstorming.

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