Well, the Eberron campaign guide is here. Well, it’s mostly here. Currently, you can pick up a PDF version of the guide, which is called Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, on the DM’s Guild by clicking the link. The current cost is $19.99, and having had a quick look at it, I have to say that thus far, there is quite a bit to enjoy.
What I’ve read so far is well-written and engaging, and there appears to be quite a lot that I will want to use. It also makes me want to run a setting in Eberron, which is saying quite a lot since I am mainly a homebrewer.
However, there’s a bit to unpack when it comes to exactly what this book is and why there is not currently a hardback release, as one might initially expect from a D&D release from Wizards of the Coast.
First, you have to realize that even though this is coming from Wizards of the Coast, it is not officially a part of the game yet. The mechanics are still in draft form and they are entirely usable. So, it is definitely good to go for your home games. They are just not permitted in D&D Adventurer’s League events. Right in the introduction to the book, it says as much. This is essentially playtest material that is still in final development pending feedback from customers for changes, additions. etc. I am okay with that, and I will tell you why later.
What’s In the Book?
The book currently offers 176 pages of goodness to explore. Chapter One is an overview of the world, while Chapter Two heads into the continent of Khorvaire. Chapter Three delves into the races of Eberron, including changelings, shifters, and warforged. Chapter Four covers Dragonmarks, Chapter Five covers magic Items, and Chapter Six covers Sharn, City of Towers.
While there is certainly a lot here, you will note that there are some things that are missing, namely psionics. I am not sure whether they have deliberately chosen to leave psionics out or if it might come later down the line. We will have to wait and see.
Why Do I Feel This Is a Good Way to Present the Material?
There is a lot I like. The $19.99 price point for the PDF is still affordable to most, even though I am sure many will complain that this is playtest material that they are paying for. While that might be true, Wizards is going to update the PDF that is available as changes, refinements, and additions are made, which means all you will need to do is go back to the DM’s Guild and download the updated version(s) when they are released. In fact, just a couple of hours ago, they released an updated version of the title with revised page numbering and layout adjustments. I expect that is going to be happening with all of the larger changes, as well.
While there is a possibility that they might charge again for a finalized PDF rather than simply updating, I can’t see them doing this from a customer experience perspective. There would be too much backlash if they tried to double-dip like that.
I also think that releasing it as a PDF early like this and allowing players to get their hands on it and provide feedback is a very good thing. This way, elements can be added that people want, rules can be changed and tweaked until they work well, and there is a much better chance of having a final product that is going to make more people happy.
If they had just come out with a full setting guide as a hardback book and said, “here it is”, there would be no way that it could be updated later. With this method, the book will be able to evolve to a certain point where more people are happy, and then they will be able to offer a hardcover version. At least, that’s my take on it.
In fact, in the introduction, it says, “If Wizards of the Coast decides to make this material official, it will be refined based on your feedback and then appear in a D&D book.” Even the cover has the words “campaign prototype”, so people know what they are getting into before they buy the PDF.
I imagine that there will eventually be a hardcover of this book released as long as there is enough positive feedback and interest. It might be six months or a year down the line, but the book will be all the better for the time it has taken to develop. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and will wait to see what happens.
I may do a bit more of a breakdown of what’s in the book and take a look at some of the new races in some future posts. If there is anything that you want to see, let me know. I plan to be fully reading through the guide soon. I will also be learning more about Ravnica to see what that’s all about since I have 0 experience with Magic: The Gathering.
Are you happy that Eberron was one of the settings revealed (and essentially released on the same day as the reveal), or were you hoping for something else?