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I know Eberron and Faerûn are different planes but I have players who want to play warforged. What connections exist between the planes to facilitate a Eberron race ending up in Faerûn?

I am looking for a way to explain how the level 0/1 got to Faerûn. He does not need to be the source of the effect.

It was my understanding that there are locations in lore that describe semi-permanent gateways between planes, and I am trying to find out if there is a chain I could use to get someone from Eberron to The Sword Coast.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 18 '18 at 13:31
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Eberron and Faerûn might be connected, possibly

It is the default of D&D campaign settings that they are connected to one another through the “multiverse,” which refers to all the other planes beyond the Material one the campaign setting is set on. In AD&D 2e, those planes themselves became their own major campaign setting, Planescape. And it is possible for Eberron to be connected to Planescape’s “Great Wheel” of planes, but it certainly is awkward.

Originally, in 3rd edition, Eberron’s cosmology was unique. It had Astral, Ethereal, and Shadow planes, or approximations of them (i.e. spells relying on them still work), but they didn’t seem to connect to the wider Great Wheel or serve the same “connective” value. The planes it does have weren’t other dimensions, but literally moons you could see from the surface of Eberron. And they didn’t neatly line up with the planes of the Great Wheel. And the afterlife and gods were all different, too.

But then, nothing said Eberron didn’t connect to the wider multiverse, per se. Any such connection was left out, but not ruled out. You could definitely make it work—noted expert afroakuma does so in his Planescape Q&As, for example. For that matter, as Quadratic Wizard points out, Player’s Handbook lists Eberron as being one of the campaign settings connected to the multiverse, though it doesn’t bother to explain how.1 The moons seen in the sky could just be lenses into the outer planes, appearing as bubbles in the night sky, for instance. This takes some hand-waving since several of those planes aren’t really any one plane in the Great Wheel, but it can be made to work. We’ll assume connections exists, then.

  1. And, for that matter, it also lists Mystara, which is even harder to make fit into the multiverse than Eberron is.

Those connections, if they exist, are rarely used, but we have Merrix

Even if those connections exist, they are rarely used; Toril doesn’t know about Eberron and Eberron certainly doesn’t know about Toril or the rest of the planes. If people did, they’d almost-certainly seek them out rather than the fairly-extreme approaches to avoiding Dolurhh that some in Eberron take—like joining the Blood of Vol or a cult to the Keeper. We’d hear about it, and by-and-large we do not.

But those connections could be rare and difficult to use. The “lensing” effect that produces Eberron’s moons can also make those sections of the planes difficult to leave for the wider Great Wheel. Outsiders native to them could have restrictions on their behavior that prevents them from explaining the situation or allowing Eberron’s peoples out—or the wider planes’ peoples in.

And then the limited ways out of Eberron would be known to extremely few. Some dragons, presumably. Maybe Erandis d’Vol herself. Tira Miron, at least if she’s everything she’s purported to be, probably would, and so would Oalian. The Aereni Undying Court, perhaps.

But if anyone knows it, then we can be damn sure that Merrix d’Cannith knows it. Because knowing all the secrets and darkest lore about the metaphysics of his world is pretty much Merrix d’Cannith’s raison d’être.

That leads us to an easy explanation: the only person known to still be creating (normal, functional, playable) warforged is Merrix d’Cannith, operating out of an illegal creation forge buried deep within Cannith South’s holdings in Sharn. He is known (to players and DMs, if not to any of the Eberron public) to continue producing warforged for the sake of various experiments. And if he knew about connections to Faerûn? It would be weird if he didn’t send some through.

As for how, Eberron’s always got eldritch machines, which are literally just “plot hook” in industrial form. I prefer that over an awkward trek through Eberron’s moon–lenses to get to the Great Wheel and then somehow get to Toril, because that’s a rather-unlikely journey for a 1st-level character. Merrix d’Cannith has already known to have performed several experiments on eldritch machines, so this is no great stretch.

Faerûn could reasonably produce warforged too

Faerûn is just chock-full of preposterously-powerful mages, and things like golems are already things there. And given Faerûn’s propensity for mages who sit in towers doing research without ever interacting with the rest of the world, for one of those to have pursued the idea of imbuing an artificial construct with real life, succeed, and then not tell anybody about it, is entirely in keeping with the campaign setting as a whole. In comments, nitsua60 mentions that the new Dragon Heist adventure includes new constructs, and in his answer, Matt Vincent mentions the techsmiths of Gond and their Gondsmen, which are much of the way to warforged already. So for there to be just one, or a handful, of warforged in Faerûn is quite plausible.

The key thing that separates Faerûn and Eberron here isn’t the prevalence of magic, but Eberron’s industrialization of magic, which Faerûn hasn’t done. As long as warforged aren’t disrupting Faerûnian societies through large populations demanding rights and recognition, and having disruptive economic effects, then the setting of Faerûn won’t be threatened by their existence.


A semi-aside: connecting Eberron to the Great Wheel

As described above, you can connect Eberron to the Great Wheel, but it is awkward. Below, I’ll describe some of what has to be dealt with in general for this, but since you’re not playing in Eberron there isn’t really any reason you need to pin any of these answers down. Faerûn doesn’t really care about how Eberron links up to its cosmology, just whether or not it does. For the purposes of a Faerûn character, it’s enough to just say “it does” and leave the details of how that works out and how you explain Eberron’s unique features unexplained (and possibly to be explored later, in play, since after all the characters themselves probably wouldn’t know).

Dealing with moons: Shavarath as an example

For example, Shavarath is basically the Blood War: celestials vs. demons vs. devils. In the Great Wheel, the Blood War plays out across the three planes between Hell and the Abyss, with the celestials coming from yet another set of planes, and numerous schemes and flanking maneuvers spreading out across all the planes. In Eberron, that all is confined to just Shavarath.

To make that work, you have to imagine that Shavarath is connected to some particular plane or portion of a plane in the Great Wheel—perhaps, the place where the fighting of the Blood War is thickest. And then there are portals, perhaps, in each of the encampments for the three sides, connecting further on to the Heavens, Hells, or Abyss, making those seem like part of Shavarath from an Eberron perspective.

Afterlife: what is Dolurhh?

The other major issue is the afterlife. If Eberron’s beliefs are true (and while there’s wiggle room to make them not true, the consistency of these beliefs across many cultures and religions makes that a bit of a stretch), souls mostly don’t go to some befitting afterlife, as they do in the rest of the multiverse (and there is not much wiggle room on that!). Instead, they go to Dolurhh, a gray blandness where they are broken down and recycled. The Church of the Silver Flame believes that this fate can be avoided by joining the Flame in death, and some cultists of the Keeper believe that proper devotion to him and/or the Dark Six can result in one’s soul being “kept” in some other (better?) afterlife.

The beliefs of the devotees to the Flame or Keeper fit within the Great Wheel pretty well, and the lack of Faerûn’s particular idiosyncracies (Wall of the Faithless etc.) is no big deal because that is known to be something specific to the Realms set up by Ao, the Realms’ overgod. No overgod is known for Eberron, but presumably it would have one if it is just another Material Plane within the Great Wheel—so it is possible that the unnamed overgod of Eberron has decreed that souls (usually) go to Dolurhh—wherever that is—on death, instead of their usual resting place with the appropriate plane or divine realm. Dolurhh itself might be just a demiplane, for example, since it doesn’t have anything in it and there’s no particular reason it would need to be large.

About gods in general

Talking about gods brings us to another issue: the gods themselves. Gods in Eberron work very differently from everywhere else, being so distant and aloof that you can’t actually be sure they exist at all.

This is pretty easily explained, though: just as Ao requires the gods of the Realms to deal special hoops to jump through (necessitating the Wall of the Faithless), the unnamed overgod of Eberron requires gods there to be extremely hands-off, or limits how powerful the gods there are allowed to be, or bans them entirely.

Regardless, those gods, if they exist, are only those willing to put up with the requirements—which isn’t the major powers of the Great Wheel. Important deities in Eberron wouldn’t be worth even noticing elsewhere; they’re just the only ones willing to deal with the rules. Or quite simply none are (or the rules are simply “no gods”), and the faiths of Eberron are entirely in their believers’ imaginations.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I particularly like the section addressing: Faerûn could reasonably produce warforged too As ever, another fine KR_Productions offering. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 17 '18 at 21:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a bit of support for your "Faerun's lousy with mages, somebody's probably done it," there're new constructs in Dragon Heist that back your assertion up. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Sep 17 '18 at 23:08
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4e's Dragon #371 ("Origin Stories: Incorporating Races") discussed the idea of Warforged in Faerun, mentioning the following five possibilities:

  1. a one off wizard experiment
  2. a product of a (non-Thayan) Red Wizard Enclave
  3. coming from Ebberon by way of Sigil
  4. travelling from the Returned Abeir nation of Gontal (possibly from a primordial's ancient shattered metallic fortress) or
  5. awakening after a century of slumber near Lantan

That last one is my favorite:

Prior to Lantan sinking during Faerûn's Spellplague, it was a technologically advanced island (much like the legendary Atlantis) that developed highly advanced clockwork mechanisms and worshipped Gond. Indeed, techsmiths of Gond could construct a mechanical Gondsman as a loyal mechanical warrior, assistant, bodyguard, and friend (confusingly, priests of Gond were sometimes called Gondsmen as well).

Also note: the new Chult map in Tomb of Annihilation shows nearby Lantan as apparently resurfaced, so it might be an excellent time for a Gondsman (or similar construct) to appear.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 Lantan makes sense to me, we already know that they construct nimblewrights. \$\endgroup\$ – Raj Mar 22 at 19:36
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Travel to Eberron is possible, but poorly documented.

There is little to no evidence in Eberron lore that anyone has travelled there from another campaign setting. Nevertheless, it may be possible.

Visiting Eberron

According to the Player's Handbook, p.5:

The worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons game exist within a vast cosmos called the multiverse, connected in strange and mysterious ways to one another and to other planes of existence [...] The legends of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Dark Sun, Mystara, and Eberron settings are woven together in the fabric of the multiverse.

The DM is free to define just how, but traditionally, travel between campaign settings uses one of the following methods:

  • Planar travel: One may travel betwen worlds using vast and mysterious other planes, such as the Astral Plane, Plane of Shadow (Shadowfell) or the Ethereal Plane. One might step into a doorway in the planar city of Sigil and find oneself in Khorvaire.
  • Spelljamming: Ships are known to travel through the ether between the solar systems of worlds including those of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance and Greyhawk. The Spelljammer campaign setting pre-dates the release of Eberron, so there is no mention of Eberron in Spelljammer, but it remains possible.
  • Portals: The Forgotten Realms has many portals to other worlds, including our Earth. It is not inconceivable that one would lead to Eberron.

Warforged built in Faerûn

Warforged may be built in the Forgotten Realms, as a kind of covergent evolution in design. The Realms has had many exceptionally talented mages, and it's very easy to imagine that one of them invented the Warforged, a kind of intelligent construct. Some possibilities:

  • Warforged were built by an ancient fallen civilization. The secrets are lost, but some warforged have recently been built from parts kits found in the ruins of their dungeons. Were they creating an army? Host bodies to be possessed by mages seeking eternal life? We may never know.
  • The warforged are an ancient race whose progenitors are unknown. They are all programmed with the secret knowledge of how to build new creatures of their type. They are rare and have avoided society for some time, to avoid being forced to create new members of their kind for evil uses.
  • A Cannith forge was shifted to Toril during the Sundering, or captured and taken there by some deity.
  • When Abeir and Toril were merged, it turned out that the warforged had existed on Abeir for thousands of years, where they were built as foot soldiers by a decadent civilization who did not wish to dirty their hands with the base matter of war. When the worlds split again, many warforged were left over on Toril.
  • Warforged have simply existed in Faerûn for some time now, as a natural evolution of the traditional art of building iron golems.

Mystery

  • You have no memory of your origins, and your reason for adventuring is to find answers. Who created you? Are there more of your kind?
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For an easy connection: a two legged journey (layover in Sigil)

Based on a recent discussion with a 5e dev, that addresses how 5e is accounting for previous lore and settings that have not yet (in this edition) gotten full treatment, your Warforged can "get there from here." Have a listen to this discussion with one of the deves.

A key to solving the problem was pointed out in this summary of the youtube linked above:
(1) Eberron's Crystal Sphere is cracking, possibly eventually allowing, say, a Spelljammer visit
and
(2) A portal, or portals, to Eberron exist in Sigil.

(Caveat: this is a dev talking, in the youtube. As far as I know this is not yet in official published material, so you have to decide if you find it authoritative enough. I do. So does the DM in a campaign I am in where we have a Warforged PC).

Sigil (originally from the Planescape setting) is mentioned in the 5e Dungeon Masters guide, as is Eberron; their existence are both accepted in 5e official material. The key piece is getting out of Eberron: due to the Crystal Sphere cosmology, this has been a tough nut to crack in previous edition lore.

How does the Warforged get from Eberron-to-Sigil-to-Faerun?

  1. The PC is doing something on Eberron, and is
    (a) fleeing from (X) and has to go through a gate.
    (b) gets a mission/tasking from powerful patron and is sent through the gate

    and ends up in Sigil.

  2. Once in Sigil, PC is helped by someone, or gets tricked by someone, with the result being that they go through a gate that takes them to Faerun.

    Gates are a thing in 5e, however you want to manage them. You can use spells, or magical items, as the trigger for the PC going through a gate.

  3. There's your Warforged PC, in Faerun. (As usual, the PC's luggage got sent to Denver. 8^D )

Even less complicated: use a Wish spell

The Weave is not limited to Toril/Faerun. Given how broad wish is in terms of what it can do, and since the Weave is a common thread across settings in D&D 5e, you can cut out all of the complications and have the travel from Eberron to Faerun be the result of a wish; make the details fit your setting and your world.

  • Example scenario:
    The PC is a low rank warrior in a large fighting formation that is overrun by a numerically superior enemy. The last few surviving members are on a mountain top. The warforged PC picks up the fallen leader's sword (known to be magical) keeps on fighting this hopeless battle as more enemy come up the hill. As the last of his comrades fall, and the sword sticks into the shield of his latest attacker, he mutters out loud:

    "I wish I were somewhere else; anywhere else!"

    The sword happens to be a luck blade with one last wish remaining on it.

    The PC ends up in Faerun. The sword doesn't.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I truly hope they aren’t exporting the Weave garbage to Eberron. Bad enough that they describe it generically rather than as Realms-specific nonsense. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 18 '18 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan It's all part of their vague, nebulous, forgotten-realms-totally-isn't-the-default-setting multiverse stance. It's pretty safe to assume anything that isn't setting-specific to a setting other than FR is actually just FR. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Sep 18 '18 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan At this point, I am a little lost as to what Mearls and Crawford are up to. This is the old "stay tuned" deal ... \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 18 '18 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan The text box on page 205 of the PHB makes it clear that magic is magic across the whole multiverse, whatever one calls it. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 18 '18 at 11:44

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