When it Rains
Dragonmarks and Houses
The dragonmarked houses have existed for thousands of years. For some reason not completely understood, the common races living on the continents of Khorvaire and Aerenal developed dragonmarks and the spell-like abilities associated with them. Some sages believe that the abundance of Eberron dragonshards on these continents has something to do with the development of dragonmarks, but no one can prove this theory. What is known is that humans and elves never manifested dragonmarks while living in the Eberron-dragonshard-deficient regions of Sarlona and Xen’drik.
Individual dragonmarks appeared within bloodlines, and soon family dynasties sprang up to take advantage of the dragonmark powers. Each family created an economic empire using the dragonmarks, and the dragonmarked houses developed into independent commerce states operating across multiple nations. The War of the Mark, which ended about fifteen hundred years ago, stabilized the houses and ended the threat of aberrant and mixed marks that might have destroyed the economy of Khorvaire. Today, twelve dragonmarks shared among thirteen houses form the basis for economic power across the continent.
Agreements reached at the end of the War of the Mark formalized tenets and traditions that all the houses adhere to. These include rules concerning neutrality (all houses make a show of remaining neutral so that they can operate in all nations), fair trade and practices, family naming conventions, and a ban on marriages between houses so that the dragonmarks remain pure.
Family members run each house, with either a matriarch or patriarch serving as the chief executive of both family and economic business. House family members form an economic aristocracy on par with the royal and noble families of the various nations, and family leaders are literally barons of industry and commerce. Each house also employs retainers and hirelings to aid in the family business. Those retainers and hirelings who show initiative and promise can rise through the ranks to hold important positions within the house. The most effective and promising of these might be invited into the family through marriage to the young scions of the blood, thus making sure the bloodline continues.
Even though the house blood f lows through the veins of every family member, not every one of them has a dragonmark; only a small percentage of every generation manifests a mark. Among those who do, the least mark is the most common to appear, with fewer lesser marks, and fewer still greater marks appearing in each generation. Those who do develop a dragonmark are singled out for great things and have responsibilities to the family that scions without marks never have to worry about.
House Cannith, consisting of humans with the Mark of Making, includes alchemists, artificers, and magewrights of great skill, as well as the best mundane crafters on the continent. House Cannith arose in pre-Galifar Cyre almost twenty-five hundred years ago. Originally, the Cannith clan consisted of traveling tinkers, repairers, and crafters whose burgeoning dragonmarks gave them an edge over the competition. As the house developed, it turned its attention to supernatural disciplines, studying alchemy and pioneering the techniques of artificers and magewrights. As builders, fixers, and creators, the house maintains a lawful outlook. Some of its greatest accomplishments include the lightning rail, the warforged, and the high-rising towers of Sharn.
The destruction of Cannith’s ancestral estates in Cyre and the death of the patriarch have thrown the house into chaos. Three leaders have emerged, each intending to lead the house into the future. While the situation hasn’t yet grown as bad as the split in the Mark of Shadow family that resulted in the creation of a new house, none of the emerging Cannith leaders is willing to accept the others as the new house patriarch. So far, they have reluctantly shared influence in the family by concentrating on their own regions and not attempting to pull the entire family together.
The proud humans of House Deneith carry the Mark of Sentinel. Born in pre-Galifar Karrnath about twenty-six hundred years ago, today the house offers the services of the Defenders Guild and Blademarks Guild, one devoted to protection and the other to supply mercenaries to the highest bidders.
The Mark of Hospitality appeared among the half lings of the Talenta Plains nearly thirty-two hundred years ago. By using its powers related to food and shelter, the Ghallanda clan became a powerful force among the nomads of the Plains.
The Mark of Healing first appeared among the Halflings of the Talenta Plains about three thousand years ago, but the Jorasco family eventually moved its headquarters to Karrnath to better serve greater Khorvaire.
Possessing great wealth and the magical Mark of Warding, the dwarves of House Kundarak have established themselves as the bankers and moneylenders of Khorvaire, as well as providers of persistent security for businesses and precious goods.
House Lyrandar consists of half-elves with the Mark of Storm. The house appeared in pre-Galifar Thrane two thousand years ago, but today it operates out of Aundair to avoid the restrictive rule of Thrane’s theocracy.
The half-elves of House Medani carry the Mark of Detection. House Medani originated in pre-Galifar Breland fifteen hundred years ago, using its abilities to detect threats to foresee dangers and establish a base of power related to knowledge in the wake of the War of the Mark.
The humans of House Orien bear the Mark of Passage. The house originated in pre-Galifar Aundair almost two thousand years ago; its abilities related to transportation and teleportation quickly earned it a place among the economic powers
The first dragonmarks appeared among the elves of Aerenal more than three thousand years ago. The Mark of Shadow and the Mark of Death appeared at about the same time, and the elves quickly understood the significance of the event. House Phiarlan organized around the Mark of Shadow and began turning the abilities provided by the mark into an economic dynasty.
Using natural talent and the Mark of Scribing, the gnomes of House Sivis have established themselves as the masters of the written and spoken word. In addition to maintaining the lines of mystical communication that connect the nations of Khorvaire, House Sivis provides translators, notaries, mediators, and advocates to cities across the continent.
The humans and half-orcs of House Tharashk use the Mark of Finding to work as prospectors, inquisitives, and bounty hunters. The Mark of Finding first appeared in the Shadow Marches about one thousand years ago. After being visited by House Sivis representatives five hundred years ago, the holders of the mark decided to follow the example of the gnomes and form an economic force of their own.
Once part of House Phiarlan, the elves of House Thuranni formed their own house during the Last War as the conflict began to turn various house factions against each other. Now Thuranni competes directly with Phiarlan in the areas of espionage, surveillance, and information brokering, as well as in entertainment and artisan endeavors. The two houses share the Mark of Shadow, though the newer version of the house in many ways remains the weaker of the two.
House Vadalis bears the Mark of Handling, which has the power to calm and control animals. The Vadalis Handlers Guild breeds and sells a tremendous variety of animals, and Vadalis handlers serve as teamsters, trainers, and stablekeepers across Khorvaire.
MARK OF DETECTION
• Least Mark of Detection: detect magic 2/day or detect poison 2/day; +2 bonus on Spot checks.
• Lesser Mark of Detection: detect scrying 1/day or see invisibility 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Detection: true seeing 1/day.
MARK OF FINDING
• Least Mark of Finding: identify 1/day, know direction 2/day, or locate object 1/day; +2 bonus on Search checks.
• Lesser Mark of Finding: helping hand 1/day or locate creature 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Finding: find the path 1/day.
MARK OF HANDLING
• Least Mark of Handling: calm animals 1/day, charm animal 1/day, or speak with animals 1/day; +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks.
• Lesser Mark of Handling: dominate animal 1/day or greater magic fang 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Handling: animal growth 1/day or summon nature’s ally V 1/day.
MARK OF HEALING
• Least Mark of Healing: cure light wounds 1/day or lesser restoration 1/day; +2 bonus on Heal checks.
• Lesser Mark of Healing: cure serious wounds 1/day, neutralize poison 1/day, remove disease 1/day, or restoration 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Healing: heal 1/day.
MARK OF HOSPITALITY
• Least Mark of Hospitality: purify food and drink 2/day, prestidigitation 2/day, or unseen servant 1/day; +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
• Lesser Mark of Hospitality: create food and water 1/day or Leomund’s secure shelter 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Hospitality: heroes’ feast 1/day or Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion 1/day.
MARK OF MAKING
• Least Mark of Making: make whole 1/day, mending 2/day, or repair light damage* 1/day; +2 bonus on Craft checks.
• Lesser Mark of Making: minor creation 1/day or repair serious damage* 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Making: fabricate 1/day or major creation 1/day.
MARK OF PASSAGE
• Least Mark of Passage: expeditious retreat 1/day, mount 1/day, or dimension leap 1/day; +2 bonus on Survival checks. A character with the dimension leap spell-like ability can teleport up to a total of 10 feet per character level per use. The character can leap a shorter distance than his maximum, as long as the distance is in 10-foot increments. Using dimension leap is a standard action.
• Lesser Mark of Passage: dimension door 1/day or phantom steed 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Passage: overland flight 1/day or teleport 1/day.
MARK OF SCRIBING
• Least Mark of Scribing: arcane mark 2/day, comprehend languages 1/day, or whispering wind 1/day; +2 bonus on Decipher Script checks.
• Lesser Mark of Scribing: illusory script 1/day, secret page 1/day, or tongues 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Scribing: sending 1/day (a description provided by a client makes you familiar with the recipient).
MARK OF SENTINEL
• Least Mark of Sentinel: mage armor 1/day, protection from arrows 1/day, shield of faith 1/day, or shield other 1/day; +2 bonus on Sense Motive checks.
• Lesser Mark of Sentinel: protection from energy 1/day or lesser globe of invulnerability 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Sentinel: globe of invulnerability 1/day.
MARK OF SHADOW
• Least Mark of Shadow: darkness 1/day, disguise self 1/day, or minor image 1/day; +2 bonus on Gather Information checks.
• Lesser Mark of Shadow: clairaudience/clairvoyance 1/day, shadow conjuration 1/day, or scrying 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Shadow: mislead 1/day, prying eyes 1/day, or shadow walk 1/day.
MARK OF STORM
• Least Mark of Storm: endure elements 1/day, fog cloud 1/day, or gust of wind 1/day; +2 bonus on Balance checks.
• Lesser Mark of Storm: sleet storm 1/day, wind’s favor 1/day, or wind wall 1/day. With sleet storm, a character can create either warm rain or freezing sleet. A character using wind’s favor can create a localized area of strong wind (approximately 30 mph) in an area 10 feet wide, 10 feet high, and 100 feet + 20 feet per caster level long. The wind blows for 1 hour per caster level or until the character dismisses it. By concentrating as a full round action, the character can change the direction of the wind by 45 degrees.
• Greater Mark of Storm: control winds 1/day or control weather 1/day.
MARK OF WARDING
• Least Mark of Warding: alarm 1/day, arcane lock 1/day, firetrap1/day, or misdirection 1/day; +2 bonus on Search checks.
• Lesser Mark of Warding: explosive runes 1/day, glyph of warding 1/day, or nondetection 1/day.
• Greater Mark of Warding: Mordenkainen’s faithful hound 1/day, greater glyph of warding 1/day, or guards and wards 1/day.
All text quoted from the Eberron Campaign Setting