Return to Eberron in the Playtest Adventure Path: Embers of the Last War

The world of Eberron is once more on the brink of war. Now, a new adventure path lets you explore the streets of the great city of Sharn on an ever-expanding quest to uncover a plot that could shake the city to its very foundations.

Eberron is D&D’s youngest campaign setting, being introduced to the D&D Multiverse in 2004. It was originally created by game designer Keith Baker, after his Eberron entry won Wizards of the Coast’s Fantasy Setting Search contest in 2002. It has existed in some form in third, fourth, and fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Its most recent incarnation, the Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron is a digital-only rulebook which updates certain mechanical elements of the setting, such as its unique races, magic items, and setting-defining dragonmarks to fifth edition.

The Wayfinder’s Guide, designed by Keith Baker and Maze Arcana streamer Ruty Rutenberg, is also a living document that is undergoing a community-wide playtesting effort to refine core concepts—hopefully in anticipation of an expanded, hardcover release. Its setting lore is largely restricted to city of Sharn, which while Sharn is a metropolis, it’s only a tiny fragment of the expansive world of Eberron. Though, with Waterdeep: Dragon Heist recently released, it’s the perfect time for a grand urban campaign in the Eberron setting.

And now, the D&D Adventurers League has begun an official playtest campaign set in Eberron—specifically in the city of Sharn. Adventuring in Sharn was possible as soon as day 1 of the Wayfinder’s Guide’s release, thanks to the release of Encounters in Sharn, a level-spanning adventure book by the Guild Adepts. Just as soon as those short adventures began to run out for Adventurers League players, a new campaign was announced: Embers of the Last War.

Embers of the Last War is a level 1–10 Adventurers League-legal adventure path set entirely within the city of Sharn. It is a story of investigation, duplicity, and ambition that perfectly encapsulates the setting’s punkish, fantasy-noir aesthetic. Comprised of 12 adventures, including its full-length prologue, Embers of the Last War is a fully realized Adventurers League project, featuring some of its best regular talent, including authors such as James Introcaso (Waterdeep: Dragon Heist), Will Doyle (Tomb of Annihilation), Lysa Chen, game designer and Community Manager for both the Adventurers League and M.T. Black, a top creator of the DMs Guild that was chosen to join the ranks of the Guild Adepts.

Adventures of Embers of the Last War

This section contains minor spoilers for Embers of the Last War. Players, turn away!

A full list of adventures has been released on the Adventures League website, providing a short summary of each and a timeline for the release of the adventure path. One adventure is released each week, providing a steady stream of adventure content for weekly AL tables and for the eager Eberron fanbase. So far, only three of the adventures have been released, giving you plenty of time to organize a weekly campaign and feel that tug of anticipation as you wait to find out what happens next week?

These adventures are part of the ongoing Eberron playtest campaign, giving players a consistent adventure series that will help the designers test the fifth edition incarnation of the setting and its mechanics. While the full scope of this adventure series’ story is unknown, we know that the outcome of this adventure could affect the destiny of the realm. Three adventures are currently released, including the series’ optional prologue, and the adventure’s third main episode is set to release on Friday, October 12th. If you’re a DM considering running this series, here’s a few small spoilers for all three currently released episodes so far. Don’t expect to foresee the end of this series just by looking at the first quarter of the story—Embers of the Last War is a pulpy, noir adventure filled with twists and turns. This story will dig deep into Eberron’s body of lore and dig out some of the juiciest parts.

What’s Past is Prologue

Written by Adventurers League admin Alan Patrick, What’s Past is Prologue is a high-flying introduction of the main plot of the entire adventure path through one of its smallest events. It shows that this adventure path can be subtle as a slow-burn noir film, it’s not afraid to throw in a few exploding airships to keep the adrenaline high from start to finish. This adventure introduces the agents of one of the setting’s most powerful Dragonmarked houses, and suggests that not everything in Sharn is as it seems.

A core concept of the Eberron setting is that it takes place in what history will recount as an interbellum period. It takes place right after the end of the Last War, a terrible fantasy conflict that in many ways parallel the technology-driven “war to end all wars,” World War I. But, just as in our world, the blooms of the Last War sowed the seeds of the war sure to follow. The common people of the divided continent of Khorvaire do not wish for open war, but it seems that many of the world’s most ambitious and power-hungry people long to profit from a new war, and they are planning to position themselves in advantageous positions when the powderkeg that is Eberron finally explodes.

Murder in Skyway

But now is not the time to consider the fate of the world. In Murder in Skyway by Adventurers League admin Greg Marks, the action is zoomed in from grand political schemes and to a tiny event that takes place in the streets of Sharn, the City of Towers. The murder of one insignificant courier flicks the first domino in a chain that could set all of Khorvaire on the path to war. The player characters are wrapped up in the investigation for this murder and must fight for their own freedom by tracking the courier’s real murderer.

Many wars have inauspicious beginnings. The death of a single person, be they king or peasant, can cast an ember that could ignite an entire world.

Boromar Ball

Written by D&D Associate Producer Bill Benham, Boromar Ball takes the adventure from the gritty streets of Sharn to the extravagant affairs of high society. But it just so happens that this grand fête is being thrown not by the crowned heads of Khorvaire, but by organize crime chewing at the roots of the City of Towers. In a scene straight out of a thriller, the player characters infiltrate a ball thrown by the Boromar Clan, a vast crime family that controls swathes of the Sharnite criminal underworld.

The characters are searching for a letter—a letter worth killing for.

The Cannith Code

This adventure is written by yours truly, James Haeck, and will be released at the end of this week, on Friday, October 12th. Following up right where Boromar Ball left off, The Cannith Code seeks to tug on the threads of conspiracy even further. The player characters learn that they are in desperate need of a codebreaker, and are contacted by a mysterious spy who claims to be the codebreaker they need. The only trouble is that this spy is deep undercover in a House Cannith researcher compound. In order to get their letter decoded, they need to break her out… and these matters are never as simple or straightforward as they seem.

Sharn’s Dragonmarked houses are just as dangerous as organized crime; they are just as willing to gamble with other people’s lives for their own political benefit.

Further Adventures

Since a new Embers of the Last War adventure is released every week, you’ll have plenty of content to keep your party on the move in Sharn. These adventures follow the dark and twisting path of conspiracy as more and more of the shadowy powers-that-be are revealed—and unleashes a magical power long thought forgotten.

What do you think of this new adventure series set in Eberron? This is the first additional Adventurers League campaign, and bids the Forgotten Realms adieu as the program continues to expand to more beloved D&D campaign settings. Personally, I can’t wait to see more and more Eberron content spill forth from Keith Baker and a group of both veteran and new designers. It’s always exciting to speculate on what will come next.

James Haeck is the lead writer for D&D Beyond, the co-author of  Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the Critical Role Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, the DM of  Worlds Apartand a freelance writer for Wizards of the Coast, the D&D Adventurers League, and Kobold Press. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his partner Hannah and his city girl kitties, Mei and Marzipan. You can usually find him wasting time on Twitter at @jamesjhaeck.


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