Newspapers are alive and well — at least in fantasy worlds like D&D’s Eberron.
Eberron: Rising From the Last War for Dungeons & Dragons’ Fifth Edition is the latest iteration of the optional campaign setting that began back in the game’s Third Edition as a contest-winning creation that was published under the game’s official auspices. It’s not a re-tread of your standard fantasy world of elves, dwarves, wizards and warriors — those are all here, as are other D&D denizens and devices from the “holy trinity” core rulebooks: Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide. But in Eberron’s war-torn land of Khorvaire, they take on different aspects and personalities and sometimes occupy more eclectic and diverse roles than you may expect.
But even these “fractured fairytale” mashups and misfits are joined by nontraditional D&D elements such as living machines called Warforged, airships, electric railways and dinosaur mounts.
And then there are the newspapers, ranging from actual bulletins pinned up in the town square to broadsheets. D&D isn’t the only tabletop roleplaying game out there, and it’s hardly the only one to offer fantasy professions in general or even newspaper reporter gigs specifically, but Eberron: Rising From the Last War’s “group patrons” system is a neat way to bring the group of players together with a shared background and goals that extend beyond simply raiding dungeons and killing things. (Instead of publishers, the player characters could represent other patrons like universities, religious orders and even more fantastic or sinister organizations; either way, this system is a great way to apply more subtle themes to an adventuring group’s purpose — if that’s desired.)
Eberron: Rising From the Last War is also notable for being the first D&D 5E sourcebook to introduce a complete, new character class for players to choose from, and it’s a tantalizing one: the artificer. Instead of D&D’s more traditional barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlock or wizard, players can choose to become these distinctive crafters of magical objects infused with arcane energy.
While it may seem the artificer class is unique to the Eberron campaign setting, this sourcebook reaches back into extended D&D lore to tie the role to classic adventures like Greyhawk’s tech-teeming “Expedition to the Barriet Peaks,” Dragonlance’s infamous tinker gnomes and Magic: The Gathering’s own epic artificers. Dragonlance has yet to pop up in 5th Edition officialdom, but the card game Magic — part of D&D brand owner Wizards of the Coast’s own empire of artifice — is, in the form of the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica sourcebook.
Despite all these options, Eberron is still indubitably D&D — it’s not “Artificers & Freelance Reporters.” Unless you want it to be, that is …
Wizards of the Coast provided this product for review.
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