As a new campaign setting, Eberron offered a clean slate for innovative design. Thus, it served as a Petri dish for growing new and original ideas, some of which became integral to the flavor of the campaign setting as they evolved. But many of these new concepts can find applications outside the world of Eberron as well. Races of Eberron brings the four new Eberron races together in a format that allows you to insert one or more of them into any D&D campaign world.
All the rules for creating changeling, kalashtar, shifter, and warforged characters are provided in the pages of this book. Because these new races draw on existing concepts within the game, DMs can freely use them to augment campaign flavor, and players can gain more alternatives to the typical core races. Below are ten reasons to see what Races of Eberron can bring to your game.
10. Warforged: Some believe that warforged are too robotic, "too techno," or just plain too weird to fit into a fantasy game. But how hard is it to imagine an awakened construct in a world full of golems, walking trees, or floating eyes that shoot eye-beams? Sure, warforged don't make much sense in a strict medieval European setting, but such a setting is also inhospitable to a whole host of other fantasy elements, such as magic.
Because warforged are examples of magical creation at its peak, they're perfect for high-magic games. However, they could also be ancient relics of a bygone civilization that have recently been uncovered by adventurers. The detailed race description provides a perspective on how a warforged character fits into each of the classes, plus some advice on how to advance both the character's statistics and his personality.
9. Shifters: Also called weretouched, shifters can add the flavor of lycanthropy to a campaign without the unnecessary complications and level adjustments involved with actually transforming a character into a lycanthrope. In a horror-themed campaign, shifters could be tied even more directly to lycanthropes. For example, perhaps characters infected with lycanthropy could become shifters instead of full werecreatures. Races of Eberron also provides a detailed village of shifters -- complete with statistics for many of the residents -- so that DMs who wish to add shifters to their campaigns can drop it into an appropriate area with only minimal work.
8. Changelings: A campaign focused on intrigue could benefit greatly from a race whose members can change their appearance at will. As PCs, these descendants of doppelgangers can lead your party into no end of trouble -- the good kind as well as the bad. The in-depth discussion of changeling psychology provided in Races of Eberron offers both players and DMs insights that may help to answer many questions about these creatures. What does a changeling think when interacting with other races? Is a changeling PC content with just passing himself off as a human? Does he adopt multiple identities? Or does he reject his deceptive powers altogether?
7. Kalashtar: Psionics is a part of both Eberron and D&D campaigns, and the kalashtar provide another psionic option for players to explore. Even if your campaign doesn't use the rules from the Expanded Psionics Handbook, components of the kalashtar race description can be used to describe a race or nation that is constantly hunted and persecuted by an overwhelming force. The members of such a race must be constantly on their guard because an attack could come at any moment.
Like the other race descriptions, this one includes Roleplaying Application sections and offers suggestions on how to integrate the race's history, culture, leisure activities, and psychology into the actions and mannerisms of a player character. But though they can be used in any setting, kalashtar do work better in a campaign that utilizes psionics. In such a setting, soulknives supplant paladins as the holy warriors of the kalashtar race.
6. Core Races: While Races of Eberron focuses primarily on the four new races from the Eberron Campaign Setting, it also addresses the core player character races from the Player's Handbook. Even outside an Eberron campaign, this information can help DMs flesh out how elves, dwarves, halflings, and other races fit into their own worlds. Perhaps more importantly, it can augment roleplaying by helping players understand the breadth of culture that forms the basis of their PCs' personalities.
5. New Rules:Races of Eberron also offers a number of feats and substitution levels for characters of the new races. These choices give players and DMs a great deal of versatility in customizing characters by highlighting the classes that members of each race might be inclined to pursue.
4. A Bit of Prestige: Several new race-based prestige classes are presented in these pages, each in the new, more flavorful prestige class format. Not only do you get the mechanics for these new classes, but you also benefit from designer notes on how they can fit into your game.
3. Gear and More Gear: Looking for new exotic weapons and magic items? Check out equipment such as the drow scorpion chain (a cousin of the spiked chain) and the ever-useful burglar's vest that contains at least one of any item a thief would ever need for his profession. The equipment section even offers a couple psionic items, including the mind blade gauntlet, which every soulknife will want to own. And those who like taking big chances will be thrilled with the special deck of transformations.
2. Caster Candy:Races of Eberron offers a dozen pages of brand-new spells. Some, such as the drow-themed scorpion's tail, evoke the flavor of the various races. Others build upon the racial abilities of the new races, such as the shifter's shifting ability and the changeling's change shape power. In addition, this book introduces the concept of a racial component -- a spell component that limits the casting of a spell to members of the appropriate race (changeling, shifter, drow, halfling, and so forth).
1. A Glimpse into the World of Eberron: Still trying to decide whether to run an Eberron campaign? Reading through this book is a great way to get a sense of the history and culture that has been developed for the campaign setting. Even DMs running homebrew worlds can draw from the background and adventure hooks given here to help flesh out their own creations. Use all of the material, use a piece of it, or just let it spark your imagination, but be sure to pick up Races of Eberron. You'll be glad you did.