The Eberron campaign setting for 3.5e and the Player’s Guide for 4e both offer four new races: from the shapechangers changelings to the feral shifters, including the psionic-enhanced kalashtar. But for me, it’s the warforged who steal the spotlight. Built during the Last War as soldiers, now that the conflict is over they are left without an identity or purpose in a world that sees them as a reminder of violent times and questions if they have a soul or not.
The ultimate masters of disguise, changelings have evolved as humans and doppelgangers had offspring who-knows-when. In natural form, they look indistinct with just a subtle nose and mouth. Their skin is gray and their hair is fair, almost white. With just a thought, they can totally change their looks to any other humanoid with an approximate same size and weight as theirs.
Of course, this ability makes them excellent spies, but the same makes them have trouble finding a place in society. Play a changeling if you want to excel at deception and trickery, but consider incorporating a conflict within his own history and how he or she sees their place in society. Maybe you want to consider creating a favorite “mask” they have built during their whole life.
- Changeling characteristics: Adaptable, compelling, cunning, devious, evasive, furtive, insightful, mysterious, prudent, sly, subtle.
Born in the continent of Sarlona, the enigmatic kalashtar come from the union of a quori spirit into a willing human. This created a different species known for their mental powers: psionics. The kalashtar are always seeking perfection in three aspects: mind, body and spirit. More empathetic than the average member of any other race, the kalashtar take as their own mission to protect other creatures, not only from danger but even more so from corruption. They follow a strange and alien set of beliefs known as the Path of Light, which is more a universal force of purity, than an actual deity. Consider playing a kalashtar if you want to play a wise and contemplative character who is also capable of momentary madness or a fugitive on the run from enemies that could be anywhere.
- Kalashtar characteristics: Balanced, commanding, compassionate, contemplative, disciplined, graceful, insightful, intellectual, spiritual, thougthful.
Just as the other two, shifters are also descendants of a previous union: in this case, lycanthropes. When adopting and embracing their feral self, shifters become stronger, faster and even more durable, some of them even growing fangs and claws. There are many varieties with evocative names, but in general they share a common trait that revolves around primal instincts and extreme emotions. If you decide to play a shifter, you may want to incorporate these elements into their personality, along with their adaptability and readiness. Feel free to tap into your savage nature in order to get your inner BraveStarr into battle.
- Shifter characteristics: Active, alert, fierce, free-spirited, intuitive, perceptive, predatory, self-reliant, unrestrained, wild.
These living mechanical constructs are the ultimate representation of technological advancement in warfare: a sentient race created to bring destruction in to an opposing army. Invented before the end of the Last War, an innovative breakthrough gave them true intelligence and self-awareness. Even if they were created as soldiers (with the bulk, size, strength and focus to become the perfect ones), some of them have found new occupations now that the war is over.
When playing a warforged, there are many things you can keep in mind to take advantage of their very particular and unique background. First and foremost, they were property until very recently. Second, some people still resent them as they see them as a dark memory from the war. Third, they still have an army-oriented mindset: Their friends are allies and people they fight along with are comrades. Finally, it’s very likely that they have chosen their own names, sometimes just taking as their own how other people call them.
- Warforged characteristics: Aggressive, alert, brave, curious, forthright, industrious, loyal, methodical, naïve, practical, reserved, simple.
Have you ever used any of the Eberron-original races? Tell us your story in the comments below!