Gods & Faith in Eberron for Dungeons & Dragons

The following is a video transcript

Todd Kenreck: Gods, devils, demons and celestials all have a different approach in the world of Eberron where faith matters most.

Where do gods and demons and devils and all these other creatures fit into a world like Eberron?

Keth Baker: Well, Eberron takes a very different approach to gods specifically. So, the common myth of the world, the sort of our answer to the flood, every culture has some form of this myth, is that the world began with three dragons, the three Progenitor dragons, Siberys, Eberron, and Khyber, that they created the planes, they created the material, as they rested after creating the planes, Khyber turned on Siberys and killed Siberys, tore Siberys to pieces, and that's the ring. There's a ring around the world of Dragonshards, and that's the remnants of Siberys or so they say. It's the Ring of Siberys.

Eberron fought with Khyber but couldn't defeat her. It was clear I'm not strong enough to do this, so she wrapped around her and became the world to imprison her becoming a living prison, so the idea is that Khyber is the underworld, the source of darkness, the creator of themes and monsters. Eberron is the natural world that holds that darkness within it, and then Siberys is the ring around the world.

So, that's a sort of base that we just say, "This is our explanation for sky, darkness, the natural world." Then what we say is that Eberron does not have gods that manifest in the world. You will never meet a god even in the planes. You can't meet something that we would see as a god as they exist in other settings. Clerics get power from divine power sources and from belief, but the idea, the main sort of pantheon of Eberron is called the Sovereign Host, and essentially as a believer in the Sovereign Host, my thing is the gods are everywhere.

Onatar, the god of the forge, anytime a smith picks up a hammer, Onatar is there with him. Anytime you draw a sword, Dol Dorn and Dol Arrah are there with you. Again, it's all about the gods are guiding us if we know how to listen, but they're never just going to appear, and like I couldn't punch one of them. That's like fighting against the ocean, and the critical part of this is the idea that everyone is a world where faith actually matters. That as a cleric, aside from the fact I can perform magic, but so can that wizard that there is no concrete proof, I cannot absolutely prove that the sovereigns exist. It is about the fact that I believe they exist.

And so because of that, there are a lot of different ... You can follow a philosophy. The Silver Flame is one of the primary religions of Eberron, and it's closer to like the force than to a traditional god. There is a force of noble souls that holds demons at bay, and if you are fighting against supernatural evil, you can draw on its power, but it's not a god. It is a pool of energy that is serving this purpose in the world. And the reason I like this is making it about faith gives us a lot more room for interesting stories that don't work in a world where the gods concretely exist.

One of the things are schisms in heresies. How do you have a heresy when that guy can literally commune and ask the source to say which one of us is right about this? How can you have a crusade being fought for the wrong reasons when wouldn't the god step in and stop it? And so you get to have everything we have in our world of people being driven by faith to do things that don't necessarily seem to make sense to other people, but then also it is about acting with compassion, acting with charity.

With all of the religions, we're looking at what is it that makes this bind the community together? Why is this a positive force in someone's life? Other than that a big guy could pop down and actually sort of punch someone for you.

So, the gods are distant. It is entirely possible to be an atheist in Eberron and just say, "I don't think there are gods. I think the clerics are just sort of a weird form of sorcerer sort of drawing off their willpower." There are certainly, however, celestials, and this comes back to that but my cleric can cast commune, and what we're saying is yes, when your cleric casts commune, he's actually communing either sort of subconsciously with the sort of greater force or with an angel who also happens to believe in your god. They can't prove your god exists either. They just happen to believe in the same thing.

And so celestials exist. For the most part, celestials and fiends are very much the planes of Eberron, have their own stuff going on. They are not really interested. The plane of war has a war that has been fought since the dawn of time that determines the balance between good and evil, and they do not have time to come down here and mess with you people. Just stay out of their way. And maybe if you summon one, he'll pop in for a moment and help you out, but he doesn't really want to be here. He's got a job to do.

So on Eberron itself, you then have native fiends and celestials, and this is the idea that the closest thing we do have to gods, if you want to fight something that has the power you're used to of that level, those are the Overlords of the First Age who are essentially archfiends or the greatest evil powers that the world had ever seen, that in the first age of the world, you had about 30 of these, and they just ruled the world, and it was a time of chaos and sort of raw magic.

They have been bound, but some of their servants, mostly rakshasa, but it could be any kind of devil or demon, are still out in the world sort of working towards their release and manipulating things from the shadows. And this is part of the idea of it was the dragons who first bound the demons, but the dragons, as well. You can have isolated rogue dragons doing their own thing, but the majority of dragons are part of the nation of Argonnessen, and they have a culture, and it is the oldest, most advanced powerful culture in the world, and they really have no time for you. You are basically the mice living on the corner of their house.

But what you have is both dragons and demons moving in the background of the world sort of essentially fighting over keeping these ancient fiends locked down, and so part of the idea is as an adventurer, you're starting off fighting evil necromancers or doing whatever you're doing, but the further you go, you can realize that there's this bigger cold war that's being fought over the course of tens of thousands of years that you're going to start stumbling into once you reach a certain tier of power.

Todd Kenreck: You can purchase the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron right now on dndbeyond.com by clicking on the link in this video description. I'm Todd Kenreck. Thank you for watching.

 

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