Converting Tyranny of Dragons for Eberron: Character Creation and Session Zero

I am currently running a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign which follows the Tyranny of Dragons published adventures. Instead of using the base setting for DnD (and the campaign as written), I am converting it to my favorite setting: Eberron!

I have previously laid the groundwork for the Tyranny of Dragons by exploring the locations and factions.

To get my players, especially my new players, ready for the world, I usually offer up this video from Runesmith, which offers the best, and funniest, breakdown of the world of Eberron.

But what kinds of characters fit best within the story?

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Someone from the Government (of one of the Five Nations)

I place the original plot action in Marketplace, Aundair– a location smack in the middle of Aundair, Breland, and Thrane.

While a character from Karrnath or Cyre could work, it’s very likely one of these nations have a vested interest in stopping this band of random bandits from attacking– especially now that they apparently have a DRAGON!

For the sake of ease, an Aundairian would be great. It does happen in the nation of Queen Aurala and she’s not one to take any threat to her realm easily. She would likely have a Royal Eye or a Knight Arcane out on the mission as soon as possible.

Likely, this character would be human, a high elf, or a khoravar (half-elf). (They could have a dragonmark, but it’s not necessary and– it might mean they question your loyalty. After all, are you more loyal to your house or the crown?)

To be a Knight Arcane, it’s as easy as creating an eldritch knight fighter, likely with the soldier or sage background.

To be a Royal Eye, you can go the divination wizard route, the investigator rogue route– or take levels in both! Regardless, take the spy background.

Another option would be to make this character the Dragon Scholar recommendation from the Tyranny of Dragons book itself– a perfect background option for a wizard of any kind from Arcanix.

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Gatekeeper Druid/Ghaash’kala

The elders among the Gatekeepers and/or Ghaash’kala felt the ripple from beyond the material plane and knew that they had to dispatch someone to keep an eye on things, report back, and ensure that the realms don’t break apart. They sent you.

Your character is either a human, orc, or half-orc; they could have a dragonmark of finding (which would be a great reason they chose you to go at level 1).

To be a Gatekeeper, take paladin (oath of ancients or watchers), nature cleric, ranger (gloom stalker or horizon walker), or druid (moon, spores, or swamp land). Take the outlander or hermit background.

To be a Ghaash’kala, take paladin (oath of devotion or watchers), barbarian (path of the zealot), light cleric, or ranger (horizon walker). Take the outlander background.

Now you’re ready to be the outsider here to save the day.

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Chamber Operative

Whether your character actually knows it or not, you work for the Chamber– the secret cabal of dragons who keep watch on the world.

While this could be anyone, I personally like the idea that a character would be a dragonborn. (Or a kobold!)

It takes all sorts to work for the chamber, but I like the idea of sticking specifically to a dragon theme. Monk (way of the ascendant dragon), drakewarden ranger, or draconic bloodline sorcerer are my top choices.

Bard (college of creation or whispers), paladin (oath of the watchers), mastermind rogue, or wizard of any school make great choices. I also like thinking that circle of stars druids are particularly valued (I connect them with the ring of Siberys).

Any background works well, but soldier, criminal/spy, or urchin work best because they capture those who serve or those down on their luck– both ideal for the purposes of dragons.

Former Cultist

Your character broke away from the cult. Could fit with almost any other choice– and a solid tie-in. You know the dangers of letting the cult get their way first hand!

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Session Zero

As a DM, it’s important to have a session zero for a number of reasons. For this campaign specifically, your players need to know a few things:

  1. This is a long campaign– technically two put together! There are easy jumping off points if someone is in need of a break and is willing/able to wait for them, but this is a campaign for the long haul.
  2. Tiamat shows up in the end. No matter what, this campaign ends with a big boss fight of the biggest bad to ever walk Eberron, the daughter of Khyber: Tiamat. While there should definitely be stakes (as outlined in the book), which will make that fight easier or harder, if the story doesn’t end with THE dragon demon showing up herself, it’s going to be a let down. Having that out of the way lets players know that they can affect a lot of the world, and while their character might be disappointed along the way, the player doesn’t have to be disappointed when the main bad guys still gather enough strength for the ritual.
  3. Always let you players know if you’re doing something different than they might expect. House rules, changes to the story, etc. I let my players know of my house rules in an easy to read handout (mostly used in combat) and a couple of pages for specific situations. I let my players know that I’m running the game in Eberron NOT the Forgotten Realms– and that this changes some significant parts of the story as written; that I am also drawing from games like Assassin’s Creed for how the cult is structured; that I am including vestiges similar to those created by Matt Mercer for Critical Role (but based on the Sovereign Host).

Thank you for reading!

Now, all my basic principals for how to get ready for the game are out! I’m going to keep releasing details on my adaptations of the campaign as I go, some of what my players decided to do in situations, and notes for improvements as I work on making an adaptation of this adventure for the DMs Guild!

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