While magewrights and adepts play important roles in the world of Eberron, true artificers, wizards, and sorcerers are relatively rare — and high-level characters with these classes are rarer still. So when a wizard reaches 17th level, where should she expect to find 9th-level spells she can copy? Where do powerful scrolls and magic items come from?
A complete list of the mightiest wizards of Eberron could fill a book. The dragons of Argonnessen have forgotten more about magic than the Twelve have discovered. The dragons shared many of their secrets with the giants of Xen’drik, and artifacts exist in the shattered land that House Cannith cannot duplicate. The rakshasas have an innate gift for magic, and the broken library of Ashtakala holds wonders that would amaze the wizards of Aundair. Humanity has produced its own legends over the course of history, even if most of these have fallen to the passage of time. This article presents a few mighty mages — but this is a foundation for DMs to build upon, nothing more.
Mordain the Fleshweaver
While the Twelve seeks to advance arcane science, its members are expected to abide by codes of ethical conduct. But there have always been wizards who believe that any sacrifice can be justified in the name of arcane progress. One of these is Mordain d’Phiarlan, now known as Mordain the Fleshweaver. As a provost of the Twelve, Mordain sought to advance the arts of transmutation in new and terrible ways. He delved into the forbidden studies of the Closed Circle of Sharn and sought to claim the powers of the daelkyr as his own. The council of the Twelve have sealed all records of his work, but people still whisper of the horrors found in his workshop when his research was finally exposed. Many wonder why he wasn’t executed for these crimes; some say that his family connections were too powerful, while others suggest that the lords of the Twelve still hoped to benefit from his work — even if they couldn’t officially condone it.
Whatever the truth, Mordain was excoriated from House Phiarlan and banished from the Twelve in 797 YK. Thirty years later, rumors arose of a dark tower in the far wastes of western Breland, in the region now known as Droaam. Mordain had found a new home, and for the last two centuries he has remained in his sinister keep, shunning all contact with the outside world. The lands around his tower are filled with deadly monsters, and the tales say that these are his creations — and that the horrors within his fortress are far, far worse.
Some say that Mordain has formed an alliance with the Daughters of Sora Kell, and that they are providing him with knowledge and resources in exchange for living weapons. But it is just as likely that the hags and the wizard have a simple truce: The hags leave Mordain alone, and he keeps his terrors from threatening their rule.
By now, Mordain should be 438 years old — well into his twilight years. However, a few among the Twelve say that Mordain experimented on himself — that while he is no lich, he has blended the blood of dragon and troll in his veins, and is no longer an elf in any meaningful sense of the word. Others say that Mordain is a feeble, decrepit creature, but that he never allows outsiders to see him — he has an army of organic constructs, and projects his thoughts through these vessels. Should a party decide to face Mordain in person, the DM needs to decide whether Mordain is himself a monster — or whether it is even possible to meet with the Fleshweaver.
Mordain is an 18th-level elf transmuter specializing in the transformation of living creatures. Polymorph any object, shapechange, clone, and soul bind are all in his library, along with a host of lower-level transmutations. If a DM wishes to introduce new spells of transformation or new types of flesh golems into the game, Mordain is a likely source. Mordain can even justify the addition of unusual creatures into the world. Do you like abeil, but don’t want to explain why they don’t have a widespread culture? Perhaps Mordain created the first bee-people a year ago, and they are just starting to spread beyond his tower. . . .
More information about Mordain can be found on page 167 of the Eberron Campaign Setting.
Sora Kell, the Queen of the Night
Along with the rakshasas, the night hags were the first children of Khyber, born in the first age of the world. But the night hags are far fewer in number, and they are secretive creatures who haunt waste and dream. One of the few who has become known in legends is the dreadful Sora Kell, mother to the hags of Droaam. Hundreds of legends of Sora Kell exist, and many directly contradict one another. In one story she seems to be a wizard with epic powers, while in another she destroys an army with only her claws. Sora Kell is best known as a wanderer, traveling across the world and the myriad planes in search of mystical knowledge, which she may take by force or cunning. Some say that she is aligned with the Traveler, and a few believe that she IS the Traveler — or at least, that many of the tales of the Traveler actually describe the exploits of the hag. Regardless of her personal abilities, Sora Kell could be the source of almost any spell or magic object; her lairs are hidden across the planes, and most contains racks of scrolls and libraries of ancient spells, along with maps of forgotten ruins and lore about the mysteries of the multiverse.
Despite the many tales she has spawned, there has been no confirmed sighting of Sora Kell for over a century. Perhaps she has set a task before her daughters and is content to watch events unfold. Maybe she is trapped in another plane or working on a spell that could shake the foundations of the world. But whether the hag ever returns, her secret troves are hidden across the world, waiting to be found.
Orlassk, the Lord of Stone
The daelkyr are creatures of madness. A daelkyr drives mundane creatures mad with its presence, and it twists and corrupts everything that it touches. But not all daelkyr are alike. The greatest of the lords of Xoriat have their own specialties and unique powers.
Orlasskis the master of stone. Stories credit this daelkyr with the creation of the medusas, basilisks, and all other creatures with the power to turn flesh to stone. The medusas of Droaam deny having any ties to the daelkyr, and they are not aberrations. But the records of the Gatekeepers clearly show that medusas fought on the side of the daelkyr in the battle for Cazhaak Draal; whether they were creations of Orlassk or simply its slaves is open to debate. Orlassk’s citadel is said to be formed of living stone — a giant gargoyle that prowls the depths of Khyber.
The daelkyr are creatures of magic. Orlassk is no wizard, and it can produce effects or artifacts no wizard could duplicate. But a character could learn new secrets of transmutation by studying one or Orlassk’s workshops or items it has created — whether these are spells like statue or flesh to stone, or entirely new and more terrifying rituals of petrification. The same could be true of other daelkyr: A wizard might learn prying eyes by studying the works of the dread Belashyrra, but perhaps she could find far worse — say, a version of the spell whose floating eyes can unleash the deadly rays of a beholder!
Jhazaal Dhakaan, the Voice of Doom
The goblinoid Empire of Dhakaan was an agnostic civilization with no tradition of wizardry. But magic was still a part of goblin society: bardic magic, the songs of the duur’kala. The greatest dirge singer in history was Jhazaal Dhakaan, who united the six kings and forged the foundation of the empire. It is said that she could win the heart of a listener with but a word, or bring down an army with a scream. Whatever personal powers she possessed, she crafted many powerful artifacts. Jhazaal made the mighty horn Ghaal’duur (Eberron Campaign Setting page 272), and this is but one of her legendary creations.
If a Dungeon Master wishes to introduce new bard spells into a campaign, the ancient traditions of the Dhakaani are certainly a logical way to do it. A bard could attempt to recreate one of the ancient songs of Jhazaal. And the dirge singers of Dhakaan are a source for magic instruments of all kinds, from horns of blasting to drums of panic.
Seven Magical Encounters
- Rakshasas love to gamble. Just after the party has found a magic artifact, a rakshasa appears to the group. He can teach the group’s wizard a powerful spell known only to the fiends — if they are willing to wager the artifact in a game of skill or chance. Of course, victory might have long-term consequences: The Lords of Dust always look to the long term, and the rakshasa may have a sinister reason to place the knowledge in the hands of the heroes!
- A plague of petrification is slowly spreading across western Breland. Is this the work of the Daughters of Sora Kell, or is it an ancient weapon from the Xoriat incursion? Either way, the only hope of countering this disaster lies in the living citadel of Orlassk, which is wandering the caverns deep below Cazhaak Draal.
- One of the heroes’ relatives is afflicted with a terrible wasting disease caused by the Mourning, and divine magic has proven useless. An oracle says that Mordain the Fleshweaver could undo this damage. Can the heroes obtain an audience with the transmuter and convince him to aid the ailing heir? What terrible price might Mordain ask for his assistance?
- Exploring an ancient ruin, the party recovers a series of scrolls — lost songs of Jhazaal Dhakaan. If a bard holds onto these scrolls, he can learn the new spells when he advances to a sufficient level. However, the Dhakaani will be furious to find their songs being desecrated by outsiders, and shaarat’khesh assassins are sent to silence the bard forever.
- Traveling through the Mournland, the party encounters a village populated by living statues. Each of these stone golems is a perfect replica of one of the former inhabitants who were killed in the Mourning, in both appearance and memory, but they cannot perceive their own condition or that of the ruins around them. Why has Orlassk rebuilt this village? Can the inhabitants leave the Mournland, or will they revert to inert stone if they try?
- Mordain is using his magic to lure wizards’ familiars to his tower, where he transforms them into humanoid creatures and sends them back to kill their masters. When a character’s familiar disappears, can the party rescue her before it’s too late?
- An old woman asks the party to help free her daughter — a young sorcerer who has been become trapped in Dal Quor, the region of dreams. The woman is actually Sora Katra — and her “daughter” is Sora Kell herself. After a century in Dal Quor, Sora Kell has learned much of the plans of the Dreaming Dark — but can the party trust the hag?
Originally Published by Keith Baker in the Wizards Archive on 07-25-2005. Keith Baker is the creator of Eberron when in 2002 when he submitted the world of Eberron to the Wizards of the Coast Fantasy Setting Search and won. Please note that since these are old articles they will reference game mechanics for 3.5E and not those that are relevant to 5E.