Wednesday, 16 September 2015

More Eberron by Gaslight

Sorry for the gap. Where were we?

Oh yes.

Last time, I talked about the history of this Victorian setting embracing Eberron going back to the reign of Elizabeth I. One of the things I seized on when I was leafing through the original Eberron campaign book was the section on cosmology, where different planes would align with the game world (including the realm of the dead, the plane of the monstrous Quori, and Xoriat - the realm of madness). That seemed too interesting to lose. I began imagining a world where the Dal Quor, the home realm of the Quori, was going to align with our world and unleash a massive Quori invasion. To defend their territory, Elizabeth I and Titania strike an alliance that is made manifest in their very bodies - they join together to form a new being, Gloriana. Good Queen Glory.

Together, mortals and faeries manage to fend off this invasion, which takes place all over the world. Mortal aristocrats (and some commoners) joining their power to the war effort are rewarded with Dragonmarks, magic symbols that give them amazing powers. Dal Quor slips out of alignment with the physical world, and peace returns - for a time. Clever mortals and magical faerie folk live together, sharing their secrets, gradually creating a new, hybrid culture that embraces the best of both realms.

And preparing against the day Dal Quor will align with the world again. (Of course, it has to happen at some point during the campaign, which would likely occur in the 1880s-1890s.) This gives a motivation for the two cultures to develop things like elemental airships, lightning railways, and of course the Warforged.

The wide scope of the Dal Quor invasion during the Elizabethan era means that there are a lot of places that monstrous invaders might still lurk on Earth, even right under the noses of the Glorious British Empire if they're Inspired agents. Hidden alien ruins and hideous creatures from other planes might slumber in any number of teeming jungles or remote mountain ranges, motivating the Empire to explore (and, yes, conquer).

Now the alignment is drawing nigh, but the Glorious Empire has grown decadent and corrupt after centuries of preparation and vigilance. The Dragonmarked lines have forgotten about war, and grown fat and content on the spoils of world conquest. Even Good Queen Glory herself seems not to hear the warnings of the seers and the emissaries from the Dragon realms and the elven Undying Court.

The streets of London teem with life, struggling to feed their families in the shadow of the Empire's magic-driven factories and mills. What do they know of war, beyond serving as the poor, bloody infantry for the Glorious Empire? That's for toffs to worry about. The Quori and their monsters are just another story out of penny dreadfuls.

Something is stirring in the darkness, and the Empire sees it not...

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