Fortune Favors the Bold!
The world of the Eberron setting holds many wonders beyond the soaring spires of Sharn. Explorers who chase distant horizons might find themselves infiltrating the demon-haunted city of Ashtakala, prowling the jungles of Xen’drik, snatching relics from the City of the Dead, or invading a dragon observatory in the mountains of Argonnessen. The secrets of an entire world are within your reach, but be warned: Glory and peril walk hand in hand, and a journey’s end can come sooner than you think!
This book gives players everything they need to explore a variety of sites across Eberron, including modes of travel, exploring tips, and rules for joining organizations such as the prestigious Wayfinder Foundation. For DMs, the book describes several likely “launching pads” and destinations, complete with maps, ready-to-play encounters, and pregenerated NPCs. The EBERRON Explorer’s Handbook also provides rules and maps for various modes of transport, including lightning rail coaches and elemental-bound vessels.
To use this supplement, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, and EBERRON Campaign Setting. A player needs only the Player’s Handbook and EBERRON Campaign Setting.
EBERRON Explorer's Handbook (2005), by David Noonan, Frank Brunner and Rich Burlew, is designed for those who dream of seeking out the dark and mysterious corners of Eberron's world. Want to explore the caverns of Khyber, the jungles of Xen'drik, the lost city of the giants, or a Quori Monolith? This is where to start. EBERRON Explorer's Handbook will tell you how to get there, what you'll find once you arrive, and who may want to stop you on the way. It's a solid supplement for DMs with some new and interesting material for players as well; three new prestige classes (cataclysm mage, thunder guide, and windwright captain) accompany extensive material on transportation across the continents.
Moving across the World. Elemental vessels, airships, caravans, horses, teleportation, the lightning rail, sailing ships, and courier services are all discussed. However your heroes want to go about reaching their destination, tables showing travel times will help you estimate how long it might take them. Plot hooks and suggestions for encounters while traveling allow you to easily make the heroes' lives more interesting in the process.
Organizations of Explorers. The best-known organization for explorers and travelers is the Wayfinder Foundation, the group that promotes professional exploration and expeditions. The other (and rival) organization detailed in the Explorer's Handbook is the Twelve's Acquisition Directorate, a group with far more ambition than ethics. Heroes can work for either, and it's likely that they'll run up against the other organization as a rival at one point in their adventuring career. Lord help the adventuring party that contains members of both groups; I imagine there's some raised voices when it's time to hand over any magical and historical items that are discovered during an expedition.
Midpoints and Destinations. No question about it, the heart of the Explorer's Handbook are the maps and locations. Using beautiful cartography and supplying innumerable plot hooks, three chapters are devoted to the places that heroes depart from, the gateways they pass through to reach the unknown, and notable locations within that unknown itself.
These chapters also bring up an interesting question. If one of the selling points about your campaign world is that it is full of mystery, how do you produce a book on exploration and still maintain that sense of wonder and mystery? I think the authors handled it correctly here; they focus on specific and memorable locations, allowing DMs to fill in everything in between. They provide options and ideas, maps and plot hooks, but don't feel need to exhaustively catalog the dark places of the world. It's a good choice, and makes the book an excellent choice for any DM who wants flavorful locations for their own Eberron campaign (or their own campaign world) as well.
About the Creators. David Noonan joined WotC in 1998 and worked on more than two dozen books for 3e and 3.5e D&D. You'll also find his work in Paizo's Shackled City Adventure Path. Nowadays he works for En Masse Entertainment.
Frank Brunner's work includes Spellbound Kingdoms, Player's Handbook II, Magic of Incarnum, and numerous articles and adventures for both Dragon and Dungeon.
Rich Burlew's campaign setting was purchased by Wizards as part of the same campaign setting competition that Eberron originated from; these days he writes the web comic Order of the Stick... which if you play D&D but haven't read, what the heck are you waiting for?
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.