How to Fit Eberron into D&D 5e? Keith Baker Explains

Eberron Campaign Setting Book Cover

Designer Keith Baker explains the basics of how to run a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign in the Eberron setting, before full support is released.

An issue a lot of Dungeon Masters are facing right now is the staggered release of the core D&D manuals. We have the Player’s Handbook, but little else to work with. Worse still, if you happen to be running a campaign set in Eberron and were hoping to convert to the latest 5th edition, you’re left wondering how to reconcile a number of discrepancies. Where are the shifters? The artificers? The high-magic setting?

Keith Baker has come to the rescue with some preliminary advice. “I am confident that there is going to be official 5E support for Eberron, but I don’t know when it will happen or how extensive it will be,” writes Baker on his website. He goes on to explain that he doesn’t know the system well enough to provide extensive support for the time being, but does offer some initial tips on getting a 5E Eberron campaign up and running.

Baker’s main piece of advice is to simply reskin: retain the 5e mechanics, while changing the flavor to fit an Eberron idea. For instance, a Beasthide Shifter Warrior becomes a 5e Half-Orc Barbarian with the bear totem spirit – his barbarian rage can be described as shifting. A Longtooth Shifter is a 5e Wood Elf – any time she moves 35 feet in one action (faster than a human), you could describe it as her shifting temporarily into beast form. An archer artificer may actually be a 5e Warlock with the Pact of the Tome – the crossbows he cobbles together to fire enchanted bolts are actually Eldritch Blast, Sacred Flame, Fireball, etc.

“I have thoughts on how to handle Dragonmarks, but my ideas are still very half-baked,” writes Baker. He provides some reskinning ideas and some tentative mechanics for insistent players, but explains that it is simplest to avoid running a character with a Dragonmark.

As far as Warforged, Changelings, Kalashtar, and Psionics are concerned… “While all of these things are important parts of Eberron,” writes Baker, “you can have an Eberron game without them – and for now, that’s what I suggest you do.”

But there’s one thing that you can’t run an Eberron campaign without – Eberron. The setting is decidedly high-magic, but the base 5e setting has magic remain rare and, well, magical. “The idea of 5E is that even a +1 magic sword is a special thing, and I’m okay with that as a concept,” writes Baker. “Low-level magic remains a driving force of Eberron – it just turns out than many magic items that used to be low-level are now in fact high-level.”

Are you running an Eberron campaign? Do you plan to convert?

Source: Keith Baker

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