Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron
Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!
Product- Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron
Producer- Wizards of the Coast
Price- $20 here http://www.dmsguild.com-
TL; DR- A much needed update on nearly everyone's favorite modern crazy setting. 88%
Basics-Whose ready for some Dragonpunk? Wayfinder’s guide to Eberron is a 5e update to Eberron from Keith Baker. Eberron debuted in 3.5 DnD, received a 4e update, and this is the updated 5e version. What Eberron is is hard to describe. It's a post-magic war, Noir, fantasy, semi-modern sci-fi non-standard epic with sprinkles of Cthulhu mythos added in, with massive changes to the standard DnD world as magic is extremely common and every race doesn’t follow any of the normal conventions set before. The book itself has one chapter setting the tone and feel of the world. After that is a chapter on the geography of the main continent followed by a chapter on the different races of Eberron. From there the book shifts to magic, focusing one chapter on Dragonmark houses (think magic family guilds with tattoos that appear under stress providing magic powers), and then new magic creation rules as well as items for the world. The book wraps up by focusing on a major city of the world called Sharn, and finally providing additional resources like extra reading, a glossary, and pictures you can use for your game.
Theme or Fluff-I like the stuff in this book. It is travel guide to the world of Eberron providing a much needed update for the most recent system of DnD. Players get to learn about the world, and GMs get enough story seeds that they can set a story anywhere. The races feel fresh since that is a major point of Eberron, and the world is deep. My major complaint is this book feels short. Under 3.5, whole books were written about each of the different countries, and here each place gets about a page. For a book published by Wizards of the Coast itself, I expect a bit more for a $20 PDF. Nothing here is bad, but I expect a bit more from the main publisher. 4.5/5
Mechanics or Crunch-Wizards of the Coast put out a book, so they know their own system. I love the new races and am glad to see the races specific to Eberron get a 5e DnD coat of paint. I also can’t give enough praise and love to how Dragonmarks and magic item creation is handled. Dragonmarks are one of the core elements of the Eberron setting as these magic family businesses run large chunks of the world, at least by proxy. Previous editions handled this by feats, but this one sets them up as races. You are born a Dragonmark, which feels thematically true, but I also like the crunch of how each Dragonmark is handled. Magic items are extremely common with an almost cellphone like network existing in Eberron, so magic item rules needed an update. This book provides new item creation rules and providing costs for items. This is an update the system needed long ago as some DnD Adventurers’ League players are swimming in gold but have no real use for it. In Eberron, that gold has a place to go! 5/5
Execution- HOOOOLLLLYYYY COW! Wizards of the Cost put out a PDF and its hyperlinked!? Overall, I like the flow in this book. I don’t hate reading the book as it doesn’t hurt my eyes to scan or dive deeply into each topic. The text is laid out well, font is good, and I like the art. Now, the art is very recycled, but the DMs Guild lets authors use art from previous editions, so I don’t hate it. I would like a bit more from the mothership, but its is not bad. The book does feel short, and that short nature hurts it a bit. I could easily see expanding each country to two pages and adding in more art assets from other books. This also kinds of makes me angry as your charging roughly full price compared to Chaosium and Paizo for a book that the fluff is already written for and your art is already written for. The art is already made, and you have the graphics sitting on a hard drive, so why not use them? The maps are ok, but they are the most general ones from the setting, so you don’t even see the capital cities on them. This would also break up the text a bit more as multiple pages are two columns in a row. There is enough white space to not make reading boring, but I’d like more. 3.75/5
Summary-Eberron is an amazing setting that everyone should experience. From how it flips the script of traditional RPG elements to its Noir setting of morally gray characters, it should be on every RPG player's bucket list. This book provides a great new update to the world, providing both DMs and players with a wealth of information. My main complaint is that I would like more. For a $20 PDF, I would like a bit more, and some of the more I want are things that Wizards of the Coast already has like maps and art assets. Some are included in the back of the book, but putting them where they are mentioned in the book might help a bit more. That said, you can’t really go wrong with this book. If you are tired of the same Tolkien inspired fantasy, then check out Eberron. This book will give you the 5e shot in the arm you’ve been looking for to start your own game. 88%
[4 of 5 Stars!]