The party is simply minding its own business on the streets of Aundair when they’re accosted by “Maestro Hennedy of Gault”. Seems this troubadour has decided he wants to witness your heroic deeds himself, and then make both you and himself famous with the resulting songs. It’s a nice opportunity . . . if he would just. Stop. Talking. And keep himself out of trouble. This is just one of the many encounters, run-ins, and occasions that your adventuring party could run in to with Eberron Random Events: Sharn and the Five Nations by Michael J Winegar!
For each area of the Eberron setting that this supplement covers – the city of Sharn and the nations of Aundair, Breland, Cyre (The Mournland), Karrnath, and Thrane – there’s a list of twenty events, so you can pick out ones you’re particularly interested in or roll a d20 to see what the party stumbles upon. There’s a pretty wide variety here, including in terms of what the events mean for the campaign: some really are just little events that can be dealt with in a single scene, but several are full-blown adventuring hooks that may take a few sessions to resolve, and in some cases may take you out of the region the original event occurred in. Now I could do a broad overview over the events on offer, but nothing gives a real look at what you’ll be getting like a proper sneak peek. . . so I’m going to roll myself for a pair of events in each region. Let’s see what Sharn and the Five Nations have to offer around some random corner!
9 – “The party spots wanted posters for Drexler Arken, a member of the famous adventuring company, the Jade Ravens . . .” Drexler is wanted for a list of heinous crimes, but that doesn’t fit with what the party knows of him; King Boranel himself praised the Jade Ravens after the Last War, and besides that at least one of the party has a personal connection to the man. Tracking down Drexler before the authorities won’t be easy, especially without spreading the net far and wide, but once the party succeeds they’ll find themselves on the trail of a changeling . . . because of a crime that his fellow changelings view as worse than anything else Drexler has been accused of.
13 – “The party is served with papers declaring that they are being sued for 2,000 galifars each. The charges are: Wanton Destruction of Property, Neglectful Use of Magic and/or Magic Items, Indirect Infliction of Injury, Causing a Crisis of Faith, Creating Nightmares By Presenting a Frightening Aspect, and Stunting the Growth of Children with the Singing of Vulgar Songs.” Wait, what? Could there be any truth to the charges, somewhere in the party’s recent adventures? Is someone out to get them into trouble? Even if the charges might be a little true, how are the party to get out of it? The adventurers will have to make their case in court, try to skip town, or maybe even try to silence the accuser, but failure might just see more charges being added and the party’s Breland Wanted Score (more on that later) shooting up.
2 – “A bumper crop in the vineyards outside Bluevine has led to steeply discounted fine wine. The party could enjoy it themselves, or it could net them a tidy profit in a distant nation.” Whether you’ve got a drunk in the party are are looking for some quick profits in the market, this is a nice opportunity. 5 gold galifars for each bottle, and you can get up to 20 galifars for them if you can get to some of the farthest reaches of the continent . . . but take advantage fast, because the market will have returned to normal in a month.
17 – “After the Last War, the University of Wynarn opened its doors to students from all over Khorvaire. Initially surprised when a considerable number of hobgoblins applied, the University decided to cautiously embrace the education of goblinoids . . .” Some things are universal, however, and your party finds themselves in a Fairhome tavern when several hobgoblin students have had a little too much to drink. One of them starts to try and pick a fight with the party, despite the pleas of his more sober companion. A public incident could set goblinoid education back for years. Can the party defuse the situation? If punches start flying, will they let the hobs take the blame, or get their own Aundair Wanted Score raised . . . in exchange for hospitality the next time they’re in Darguun?
8 – “House Orien is starting a program that pays adventurers to map and explore dangerous areas within 200 miles of its trade roads . . .” It might involve going into some of the more harrowing locales on the continent, from the Mournland to Droaam to Valenar, but there’s a good sum of galifars (more if the party is skilled with Cartographer’s Tools or Painter’s Supplies) and passes on the lightning rail if the adventurers are willing to do some ‘simple’ exploring for a week or so. And hey, if you were heading there anyways, why not?
20 – “The Last War may be over for the city folk, but shifters and lycanthropes from the Eldeen Reaches have never stopped raiding the ranches around the village of Shavalant. They often kill human and cattle alike. Two shifters from Sylbaran have been captured on private land nearby. Now the villagers are calling for them to be executed and their bodies placed on display near the border.” The local commander of Brelish forces seems agreeable to the idea, and the spokesperson for the village is a member of House Vidalis, giving the impression that the House approves as well (they really don’t). Will the party try to rescue the apparently innocent shifters? Will they be able to convince the commander and the village spokesperson to let them go? Will it all go south and simply move the day of execution (and the level of tension in the region) up faster?
Cyre (The Mournland)
17 – “After a long, restless night, everyone in the party shares the nightmares they had of living through the Day of Mourning as if they were actually there . . .” A true one-and-done event, party members will need to make a Wisdom or Constitution save to avoid gaining a level of exhaustion from the lack of restful sleep . . . and either way everyone in the party is so scared the nightmares will come back that nobody’s getting a long rest for the next 24 hours.
19 – “You meet a platoon of the Cyran Repossession Army Patrol wearing stained and worn out uniforms, most of which do not fit very well. Their leader, a halfling named Sergeant Fiana Belindo, cheerily explains that anything the party finds in the Mournland rightly belongs to Cyran citizens . . .” The Sergeant and her troops are ‘obnoxiously persistent’, but not actually up for a fight. It’s up to the party to decide how they want to avoid this particularly absurd attempt at a customs check . . . although the patrol does have a pretty good sketch artist. Hey, maybe the party can get a personal sketch done?
15 – “The Healer’s Guild in Vedykar also runs an asylum just outside the city. A wildly mad, dragonmarked heir of House Jorasco has escaped and Warden Fareli d’Jorasco is quite desperate to see him returned quickly. The dragonmarked heir in question, Antimmon d’Jorasco, believes himself to be the reincarnation of Hard-to-Eat Bartu, a legendary halfling warlord from the Age of Monsters . . .” Antimmon is making a beeline for the Talenta Plains, 300 miles away from Vedykar, plotting to stir up the people into an army that could conquer the continent. It’s a crazy plan from a crazy Jorasco, but he is very persuasive or else he’d never have been able to break loose in the first place. It’ll be a long chase to catch him before he reaches the border, and once the party does things seem to get even weirder. Fail to catch him, and the party will find themselves swarmed by bladetooth riders . . .
18 – “The Soarwood Players, an elven troupe of actors from Breland, have stirred up controversy by performing “Shadows Over Korth.” The play is a political satire written by the infamous playwright known only as Verity. In addition to criticizing the feudal system perpetuated by hereditary nobility, some say the play also likens the noble families of Karrnath to vampires feeding on the lower classes . . .” Suffice to say this eventually gets the Royal Swords on the move looking to round up the Players and arrest them. Will the party delay the Royal Swords and improve the troupe’s chances of escaping? Actually help the Swords in their arrest attempt? If the Players get pinched, will the party be the ones to try and break them out? There’s a lot of ways for this one to go wrong . . . and even if you fail, what will the Players do?
1 – “Foot traffic in the town square of Nathyrr has all but halted as two priests shout competing sermons until it turns into a debate. One, a priest of Boldrei, advocates mercy on the few, even when it affects a larger population. The other priest, from the Church of the Silver Flame, preaches that it is just to protect the many at the expense of the few, if no other way can be found. Tempers rise, spittle flies, and the tension is palpable . . .” Whatever the party believes, the ruckus is starting to spread and it’s making it impossible to get anything else done in town. Will the party pick a side? Will they attempt to help both sides reach a middle ground, at least for now? Will they try to heckle the priests into giving up and going home? The party may find themselves welcomed by one church or another, respected by the Thranites for their well-spoken words, or chased out of town by an irate crowd.
7 – The rural area around Lessyk is holding their annual archery tournament in a field behind a roadside inn called The Moving Target (despite its name, it does not actually move). Bows and arrows are provided and anyone is welcome to join for an entry fee of 1 sovereign. No magic of any kind is permitted. The prize is the loan of a magic bow called Perenthesy . . .” It’s a simply enough archery competition, and there’s a good quantity of galifars and a few other prizes up for grabs, but it’s really Perenthesy that everyone’s after, a weapon capable of dealing both silvered and radiant damage and glowing when fiends come near. You could try and cheat, but you’ll get in a lot of trouble if you get caught. You’ll be in even deeper trouble if you win the bow and don’t return it to Lessyk in time for next year’s tournament.
So, as you can tell there’s a wide variety in these random events. Personally I’d advise rolling in between sessions to see what’s coming up, since some of the events can get pretty involved and might derail your campaign a bit, but even in the introduction this supplement advises simply rerolling until you get a result that fits with where your party is and what’s going on. All in all, it’s a solid selection of things to spice up your session and provide some interesting little side adventures.
I do hope we get to see more later, though. Winegar’s written a few other ‘Random Events’ products, and this is simply the first dip into Eberron-specific territory. Hopefully a future Eberron Random Events will take us outside of the Five Nations and maybe even off of Khorvaire.
Random events actually aren’t the only thing that this Random Events product has to offer, though.
Wanted Scores were mentioned a few times up above, and they are a set of rules that ERE:SatFN offers in Appendix 2 (Appendix 1 is a sheet for recording information about countries the party visits, and Appendix 3 features all the NPCs and monsters found in the Random Events). In short, a player’s Wanted Score is a region-specific way to track how notorious/in trouble with the law they are.
It’s all very abstract, so here’s how it works in broad terms. A score of 1-2 means you’re a Known Troublemaker: law enforcement is going to keep an eye on you, you’re one of the ‘usual suspects’ they’ll track down when something bad happens, and there are probably some fines in your future. 3-4 makes you a Lawbreaker, literally, so there’s probably a warrant out for your arrest, potentially leading to weeks or months of jail time or some heavy fines once you’re caught. You’re an outright Criminal at 5-6, presumably a career one, and considered an outright threat to society. Bounty hunters will come crawling out of the woodwork for the price on your head, and if you don’t get years in jail it’s probably because you’ve been executed. 7+, and you’re an Enemy of the State, a level of infamy reserved for insurrectionists, mass murderers . . . the real nasty folk. Get this score and get caught, you’re dead, probably on sight.
There are additional mechanics built in as well when it comes to things like getting your Wanted Score reduced, being recognized, dealing with the punishment side of things, different Wanted Scores within the party, being protected from the consequences of your actions by someone more powerful, and so on. There’s also good advice on when and when not to raise a character’s Score, doling out punishment that doesn’t just kill characters right away, and dealing with a character who ends up spending a chunk of time behind bars.
Overall? I like it! It takes a bit of nuance on the DM’s part, but it’s a simple and easy-to-use way to track just how much trouble the player characters are getting in to. I particularly like that it’s region-based, meaning that skipping across the borders between the Five Nations will let you get away free and clear . . . although I think it’s important to remember that the Sentinel Marshals can skip across those borders too . . .
In one word, Sharn and the Five Nations is utilitarian. The only piece of color art is the cover depicting the city of Wroat in Breland, and all of the other art is limited to Appendix 3. The body of the book isn’t divided up into chapters or sections other than the name of a region at the top of a new table (although the PDF itself is thankfully bookmarked, at least to a point), and the only thing separating different results is . . . nothing, really. Results in the tables are differentiated by alternating between text on a white background and text on a shaded background.
Despite the plainness, though, it really is easy to read on a technical level, and I’ve only found one extremely minor typo. While you’re not likely to ooh and ah at a page, the product works just fine for delivering the content it wants to, and isn’t that the point anyways?
Eberron Random Events: Sharn and the Five Nations can be found on the DM’s Guild for $4.99, although you can find the rules for Wanted Scores there as well on their own for PWYW. With more than a hundred events for you to use, that’s definitely worth the price, along with some interesting new rules for you to try out. Get yourself a copy and find out what random events will happen to your Eberron adventurers!
Thanks to Michael for getting in touch and sending us a review copy! Got a game or other product of your own that you want checked out? Drop us a line @HungryHalfling on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org!
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