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D&D 3E
Eberron: Scifi or fantasy? 
24th-Mar-2005 03:35 pm
DND
From gypsylover's thread here, I figured I'd break it out here so as to not continue hijacking their thread, assuming people care to debate this. This is my most recent response, with a minor correction so as to not look like a fool twice...

--
Okay, let's try to phrase it this way...

I don't want to run a campaign with besouled constructs.

I don't want to run a campaign with a train-like system.

I don't want to run a campaign with flying boats.

It's as simple as that. Look, I'm not crazy about how things work in the Forgotten Realms either, but I take things in the other direction. I prefer magic to be rare, something of a mystery, even to those who use it. In my own home-brew campaign world, there are maybe half-a-dozen NPCs who'd qualify for "Epic" status and the ratio of caster-to-mundane is around 1 to 1000 (and that's ALL casters, including Paladins, Bards, etc). And there just isn't enough free-flowing money in my campaign world to justify the existence of robot...erm..."besouled construct" armies running around.

Eberron, from everything I've seen (including the information that's crept into non-Eberron sourcebooks, like MMIII), just isn't for me. And you haven't really said anything that convinces me of otherwise (or really anything that refutes the comments I made above, in my opinion...I still hold that whether you want to call it a robot, a "besouled construct," or a Warforged, it amounts to the same hill of beans to me.

D&D has gone through "Star Wars" phases before...sure, Spelljammer didn't have X-Wings, but it was essentially D&D in space. And about the same time came Dark Sun, erm...Two Suns...erm...Tatooine...it even had rules for "the force." I hear psionics are pretty heavily integrated into Eberron as well...

Okay, now I'm joking...well, mostly...

In all seriousness, I'm not trying to begrudge you your favorite campaign world. If you like Eberron, that's cool by me. Just please understand its not for everyone.

I mean, it's got robots ;D

Lucifer >:}
Comments 
24th-Mar-2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
This is almost the same thing as the question, "Sci Fi and Fantasy, same thing?" The only real difference is the exact form your flights of fancy take, and the root explanation.

You can invoke the Mystical Thingamajig, or you can jettison the Warp Core. It really just comes down to "wouldn't it be cool if..." and making it up from there, most of the time.

Fans of Eberron would probably really dig China Mieville.
24th-Mar-2005 09:23 pm (UTC) - Yup.
I like both.
24th-Mar-2005 09:22 pm (UTC) - It's a little shy of steampunk.
Which is why it looks most interesting to me. It blends a lot of different eras of our history into a game, and gives you the flexibility to run a very cinematic game. I'm looking forward to running my first Eberron session in a month (exactly).
24th-Mar-2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
And let me be clear, in case it wasn't, I don't want to be overly critical of Eberron. Everyone's got stuff they like, stuff they don't. I just felt the original responder was taking things a bit far with things. I'm sure Eberron's all that and a bag of bunnies, if you're into that kind of fantasy. It's just "not for me."

Lucifer >:}
24th-Mar-2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
You may want to look at the campaign I'm Running now

Http://www.angelfire.com/goth/gaming

just scroll down and click on the West End Link. It's fairly low magic, and has some technology, but tech that makes sense like metallurgy, alchemy, etc. Check it out for ideas.
24th-Mar-2005 09:47 pm (UTC)
Pretty nifty stuff there, Fox (though I can't resist the urge to recommend you get away from using angelfire...the pop-ups and ads are maddening). It's definitely more along the lines of my personal tastes in campaigns.

Lucifer >:}
24th-Mar-2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
Sure its not for everyone but its nice to think people know a bit about it before they comment on it.

Psionics are an option in Eberron and can be quite easily ignored if you wish.
Warforged are actually a good take on a construct based PC race, with great roleplaying opportunities.

Eberron just takes the basics of whats in 3.x DnD and develops a world using that; a world that developped with these magics, rather than copy/pasting them into a medieval setting. If you want the Dark ages with DnD rules, then no, its not for you

Neither flying boats nor sentient constructs are anything new in DnD tho...
24th-Mar-2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
My point is that I have read a bit about it, without actually buying the main campaign book. And not just internet rumors (which, having been on the internet since very early on, I know to ignore). I've perused what WotC has on their official site in addition to reading about Eberron-specific monsters in the Monster Manuals. I'm not coming from an angle of ignorance here.

And no, flying boats and sentient constructs aren't new to D&D. But before, they were generally very, very unique things. Or they were Spelljammer. Which opens up a whole new can of purple worms.

Lucifer >:}
(Deleted comment)
24th-Mar-2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Full of? I was under the impression that the Princess Ark was one of the few (if not the only).

Lucifer >:}
(Deleted comment)
25th-Mar-2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
Ah...while I have read some Mystara stuff (most of which is good quality stuff), I never did run the campaign world, mainly because it had too much of a Late Renaissance feel for me in some places.

Lucifer >:}
24th-Mar-2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
Well, obviously Ravenloft's better. I'm not sure we needed an entry just for that. ;)
24th-Mar-2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
I love robots.

Most of the tech in Eberron (warforged aside) is designed in a way to emulate a setting similar to 1920s-1930s adventure fiction. Sure Indiana Jones can dodge a bullet from a nazi, or he could dodge a lightning bolt from a Dragon Below spellcaster. It's all about evoking a different feel.

I just think it's fascinating to explore a world with magic being developed nearly to the exclusion of traditional technology.
25th-Mar-2005 02:25 am (UTC)
Eberron, from everything I've seen (including the information that's crept into non-Eberron sourcebooks, like MMIII), just isn't for me. And you haven't really said anything that convinces me of otherwise (or really anything that refutes the comments I made above, in my opinion...I still hold that whether you want to call it a robot, a "besouled construct," or a Warforged, it amounts to the same hill of beans to me.

I was the same way with FR, and still am. I am not a fan by anymeans, and only use some of the FR material that I find interesting, and modify it for my GH-style campaign.

I like robots myself.

But, GH did have robots, in 1st edition, in module S3 - Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (I believe, I remeber it being an "S" series module), but they were tastefully introduced, and weren't set up to be a PC race, they were opponents, and limited in number.
25th-Mar-2005 03:23 am (UTC)
let's face it..Eberron was developed with an eye toward power gaming...the most promanent evidence being dragonmarks....cities thaqt would defy explaination in Harry Potter's world.....and yes, the Warforged, Shifters, Changlings....and of course, living spells....

now personally, I don't have a problem with that, because I am a good enough writer that I can write a good role-playing mod with Eberron...

and honestly i was looking forward to its release, and bought a book when i had a chance

but my writing style can take from any source and turn it into a unique campaign based on any D&D world (or my own)

I think Eberron has a lot to offer, not just to the power gamers (which it looks like WOTC is catering to right now) as well as the role players....you just have to find what you like and ignore the rest
25th-Mar-2005 07:28 am (UTC)
Eberron is a high-magic world. But this isn't the same as a world made for power-gaming. The magic is instead expressed in numerous ways that do not necessarily make the PCs more powerful (and even for the dragonmarks you have to give up precious feats), but instead add to the local color. And yes, there are new races - but what in them makes them good use for "powergamers"? And the Living Spells are unthinking monsters, and don't even provide any useful treasure when they are slain...

So I am afraid I don't see what you are talking about.
25th-Mar-2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
then let me try to break it down further:

the Warforged first off, as good as they are, hold the biggest possible potential for abuse. when their biggest weakness (their inability to naturally recover hp) can be overcome with a single choice of class (warforged artificier) it makes me question how I can personally try to balance things...

and the living spells.....they are more than just unthinking monsters...the abuse potential here is on the DM, because there is nothing that i've seen (unless its on an errata/FAQ sheet) that wouldn't allow for a living spell to be metamagicked....

as for the dragonmarks....anything that gives a nonmagical class/race magic abilities at first level (without level adjustment) is unbalancing at low levels, and the fact that they can be improved later on is more unbalancing if the wrong DM is at the helm

and the mere fact that magic is as readily available as a decent night's meal means that if the PCs manage to get a good hoarde before midlevel then they can pretty much buy the solution to most of the challenges they would face on a scroll, in a wand, shield, sword....

i've been gaming long enough that I can see the potential for abuse...

and yes, I do have the book, and once again, yes, I think its a great world...matter of fact i'm planning on running some Mark of Heroes events at Gen Con Indy this summer as well as the Green Regent finale
26th-Mar-2005 07:02 am (UTC)
the Warforged first off, as good as they are, hold the biggest possible potential for abuse. when their biggest weakness (their inability to naturally recover hp) can be overcome with a single choice of class (warforged artificier) it makes me question how I can personally try to balance things...

Well, "natural recovery" only really becomes much of an issue in parties without a cleric or druid, in my experience. And artificers are nowhere as good at healing warforged as a cleric is at healing humans. And it doesn't help that that Charisma is a very important attribute for artificers - and warforged are penalized in it.

Yes, an artificer warforged is a good combination - but no more so than a dwarven fighter, a half-orc barbarian, or a halfling rogue.

and the living spells.....they are more than just unthinking monsters...the abuse potential here is on the DM, because there is nothing that i've seen (unless its on an errata/FAQ sheet) that wouldn't allow for a living spell to be metamagicked....

What would be wrong with metamagicking living spells? Then they would be of a higher level, which in turn increases their CR, which would be entirely appropriate. Are you afraid that metamagicking them makes them "too powerful"? But there are plenty of monsters around that are "too powerful" for any given party!

Frankly, a good DM doesn't "abuse" monsters. It is his job to come up with appropriate challlenges for the party, and as long as the party succeeds with some difficulties, he has done his job. I mean, any DM can just kill off his PCs by, for example, sending an ancient red dragon against a first-level party, but that doesn't mean that red dragons are "abusive". All this means is that the DM didn't pick the right tool for the situation.

as for the dragonmarks....anything that gives a nonmagical class/race magic abilities at first level (without level adjustment) is unbalancing at low levels, and the fact that they can be improved later on is more unbalancing if the wrong DM is at the helm

Well, gnomes have some magic abilties built right into their race. And most of the Least Marks are the equivalent of one first or two 0-level spells - nothing I consider to be too unbalancing, especially since unlike regular spellcasters they can't switch between different spells of the same level. And yes, they can get more powerful abilties later on, but they will suffer for it through their reduced number of feats available for other things, and they will always be much weaker and more limited at these abilities than a dedicated spellcaster.

Besides, as a DM I want one or more PCs to take a dragonmark, as this would tie them to huge organizations with lots of internal divisions, intrigue, and backstabbing. That's what I call instant story hooks! Too bad that none of my PCs took them...

and the mere fact that magic is as readily available as a decent night's meal means that if the PCs manage to get a good hoarde before midlevel then they can pretty much buy the solution to most of the challenges they would face on a scroll, in a wand, shield, sword....

This is generally true for low-level spells - and once the PCs are sufficiently powerful, I have no issue with them buying low-powered items. As a DM, I am always on the lookout for ways of making the PCs part with their money out of their own free will (money is such a great motivator), and if this gives them an edge in certain situations, then it is just a part of the genre - and something that I have to adjust my adventures for. But I can do that, so there is no problem.

But the truly good stuff of higher levels is out of reach, because there simply aren't all that many high-level NPCs in Eberron as in other worlds (like the Forgotten Realms). This means that if they want to have powerful magic items, they will have to either create them themselves, or find them - which is another opportunity for a new adventure.

i've been gaming long enough that I can see the potential for abuse...

Well, I've been gaming for a long time too, and I just don't see it.
26th-Mar-2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
pretty much buy the solution to most of the challenges they would face on a scroll, in a wand, shield, sword....

How else do PCs overcome chllenges in DnD? Easy access to these solutions doesnt necessarily mean the ingenuity factor is lessened

As for the drgonmarks, as jhubert points out they are only low level abilities and great hooks for the DM, and none can cause damage directly (apart from aberratn mark burning hands. I'd not call it unblancing for a PC to be able to know direction 2/day, or jump out of a pit once per day. The DM will know the ability and can adjust encounters if really necessary but I cant see it - particularly when the PC are explicitly meant to be heroes

And as for metamagic living spells - a widened spell rolling over ta rise to bear down on the party would be quite good - and as a CR balanced encounter it wouldnt be unbalanced
25th-Mar-2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Wow. It's amazing what stemmed from my personal comment.

My opinion of Eberron is not, in fact, from firsthand experience. Since I don't tend to pick up anything involving campaign settings (I'm an aspiring fantasy novelist, so I like to make up my own worlds -- it's great practice), I asked someone to sum up Eberron for me... to tell me what set it apart from other campaign settings. The reply was, "tech."

Now, I don't personally understand "tech" to mean robots, machines, electricity, etc. "Tech" is technology... which simply means more advanced tools and constructions than the basic necessities of a civilization. I did *not* have Star Wars in my mind when my friend said "tech."

It's not that I'm opposed to just Eberron -- I just don't care for campaign settings in general (though I *was* given the Forgotton Realms CS book for my birthday). No hard feelings with anyone out there who loves Eberron? If so, I'll try to grovel a little more in my next comment!

Happy gaming, everyone!
25th-Mar-2005 07:30 am (UTC)
I love Eberron - in fact, I'm running a campaign set in it - but I realize that it isn't for everyone.
25th-Mar-2005 07:21 am (UTC)
To me, Eberron is a "kitchen sink setting" that works - and which works extremely well. And that's rare - the only other setting like that I can think of is Fading Suns, which is high praise...
25th-Mar-2005 11:31 am (UTC)
I'm sorry but this thread pisses me off quite a bit.

Ebberon from what WOTC officially posted was supposed to move away from traditional fantasy and be slightly more indiana jones based.

Its not everything and the kitchen sink, instead its taking traditional looks and taking them in new directions.

The setting has a limited number of true spellcasters, however the majority of PC characters are true heroes and generally a common guardsman, even the most skilled will not be a fighter.
They have magical artisans, but the world is supposed to be magic rich. The dragonmarks are unique and more a metaplot to get things moving rather than a "I will kill all" ability.

Flying ships are rare in ebberon, as with the flying ships in halruaa (FR), the train system was supposed to cut down on time between travelling and have world spanning conflicts.

Psions was supposed to be an interesting addition, which reflects its like to the dream realms and the new races and options presented through that link.

If you don't like magic rich campaign settings that break the traditional settings, then this is obviously not for you.
If you don't like dramatic, your hero is a true hero, style gaming, don't play in ebberon.

Admittedly, I don't particularly like all the ideas presented in it, but I feel its worth the money to look at and take ideas from.

But please, respectfully, stop bloody bitching about it... either don't buy the product, don't run it... or give it a spin and see if its interesting. But don't get the torches and pitchforks out simply because its not to your tastes... unless we want to return to the days of Demon VII and celestrial XII.
25th-Mar-2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
You very much misunderstand me.

The person I was originally replying to was implying that the only reason I didn't like Eberron is because I hadn't read the campaign book from cover to cover. The assumption being there that _everyone_ who read Eberron cover to cover would absolutely love the game and everything in it. I told him why I didn't like it and he made some points which tended to bolster my opinion of why it wasn't for me.

I never intended to start a witch hunt. To each his own, is my feeling. And you're right, I don't tend to like magic rich campaigns (though you can still play a dramatic, your hero is a true hero type game, which I do like, without Eberron). Thus why Eberron isn't for me.

I never, ever meant to imply it shouldn't be for anyone and I'm extremely sorry if I came across that way.

Lucifer >:}
25th-Mar-2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
I just have to say I love the Icon
25th-Mar-2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks :D

Lucifer >:}
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