Heroes with no Homeland
Mark of Handling
House Cannith: This house was formed by humans bearing the Mark of Making. Creators of the warforged, the airships (with House Lyrandar), and the lightning rail (with House Orien), the members of House Cannith are the greatest artificers and inventors in the world. In the wake of the Last War, many artificers flocked to House Cannith, where they found work under Merrix d’Cannith. In his service they created magic weapons and warforged without regard for the risks inherent in making the tools of battle.
Originally from Cyre, much of the house’s assets, including its ancestral estates and its leader, were destroyed in the Mourning. The house still reels from the blow, its leadership split and struggling for dominance. After the Treaty of Thronehold, the warforged have been freed and House Cannith enjoined from making more. Each faction of the crafting house strives to replace that aspect of the house’s business with something similarly lucrative.
House Deneith: This house is dominated by humans with the Mark of Sentinel. Its Blademarks Guild provided companies of mercenary troops to all sides during the Last War. Today, most members of the house are veterans of the Last War. While the need for mercenaries has diminished, it has not disappeared. Furthermore, the dangerous postwar world has meant booming business for Deneith’s Defenders Guild, Khorvaire’s premier bodyguards.
Finally, just as it did before the Last War broke out, House Deneith provides the Sentinel Marshals responsible for chasing down criminals who flee across national borders to escape justice. House Deneith is the most militarily powerful dragonmarked house. Although historically neutral, the house has the means to take advantage of the current chaos. Some members of the house feel it is time for Deneith to unite the quarreling nations of Khorvaire into a new kingdom.
House Ghallanda: This house is ruled by halflings with the Mark of Hospitality, who take a broad view of the mandate that comes with the mark. The house maintains and licenses inns, restaurants, and similar establishments throughout the continent, running both roadside inns on the frontier and self-sufficient enclaves in major cities. With secret agents, deserters, fugitives, renegades, war criminals, and mysterious strangers of all sorts crowding the streets, House Ghallanda provides a safe haven for clandestine meetings and a jumping-off point for thrilling escapes from the pursuers waiting just outside a Ghallanda enclave’s walls.
If the way to a person’s heart is indeed through his stomach, then House Ghallanda holds the
hearts of all in Khorvaire. Its largest base of operations is the city of Gatherhold, the only permanent settlement amid the nomadic halflings of the Talenta Plains.
House Jorasco: This house is especially popular among adventurers because its most valued members bear the Mark of Healing. The Last War meant thousands of battlefield wounds and periodic epidemics of disease, and that in turn meant booming business for this halfling house. Its medics were officially noncombatants hired by the armies of the Five Nations during the war, but House Jorasco healers quickly became accustomed to working amid the dangers of the front lines. Recently, some members of House Jorasco have sought training among druids and shamans, responding to a call to heal the land broken by the Last War and the Day of Mourning.
House Jorasco maintains hospitals and clinics across Khorvaire that use alchemy, herbalism, and
healing talents (both magical and mundane) to cure disease and knit wounds.
House Kundarak: This house is responsible for much of modern commerce. Its dwarf elites bear the Mark of Warding, which helps secure items, papers, and money deposited in their fortresslike facilities. Deeply enmeshed in the world of finance, Kundarak institutions are the bankers and moneylenders of Khorvaire. In this role, they provide loans and letters of credit and serve as moneychangers.
Although the house possesses vast wealth, it has other treasures within its vaults, including some of the most powerful magic items ever fashioned by dwarf artisans. The single-minded zeal with which House Kundarak pursues thieves who abscond with house property is both quintessentially dwarven and a demonstration of stubbornness that beggars the imagination.
House Lyrandar: This house’s half-elves carry the Mark of Storm, which allows them great influence over air and sea trade. Master of the winds and rain, this house possesses the greatest concentration of the magnificent airships that sail the skies of Khorvaire. These ships traverse Khorvaire, taking valuable goods and wealthy passengers from place to place. Even so, the house earns most of its revenue from its elementally augmented sea galleons and its ability to magically improve the weather—an ability that both farmers and generals are willing to pay dearly for.
House Medani: This house is one of the more mysterious of the dragonmarked houses. The house
is composed of half-elves with the Mark of Detection who take great pride in their mental and magical training. They hire out as specialists in everything from poison detection to personal security to old-fashioned inquisitive work. Although they aren’t spies, House Medani’s members are adept at catching spies—a field just as important now as it was during the war. At times, this specialty draws them into conflict with House Phiarlan and House Thuranni—two houses whose members travel widely and gain access to important places, allowing them access to details unavailable to others.
House Orien: This house dominates transportation, especially on land. Its human members bear
the Mark of Passage. High-value goods and wealthy passengers with cause to travel quickly board the war-damaged lightning rail network, while more mundane goods and less wealthy travelers ride in Orien’s horse-drawn caravans. Powers over teleportation allow the house to transport important people and objects instantaneously—for a price, of course. Their dragonmarks also help House Orien’s members with the house’s most notorious not-quite-secret: smuggling.
House Phiarlan: This house is dominated by elves and its members are known across
Khorvaire as superlative musicians, dancers, and entertainers. Their concerts and exhibitions are the highlight of the social season for many nobles of the Five Nations. The best of the best—those members with the Mark of Shadow—can be found in performance halls and manors all across the continent. Their marks allow them to create illusions that excite awe and wonder in their audiences.
Given their extensive travels and association with citizens high and low, House Phiarlan’s members learn much that is hidden to others. They are great storytellers and potential sources of fascinating information. The house has a turbulent history; a faction of it broke away during the Last War to form House Thuranni.
House Sivis: This house is heavily invested in the lines of communication across Khorvaire. Its gnomes possess the Mark of Scribing. They operate traditional post offices, a magical message service, and speaking stones that allow conversations between speakers half a world apart. Although it’s rarely the stuff of adventures, House Sivis also has a monopoly on the notary and accounting business and extensive clout in the legal system. I f you are arrested for a crime you didn’t commit (or even one you did), a House Sivis barrister is one of the best ways to spend the gold you earned adventuring. House Sivis is famous for its impartiality and its complicated bureaucracy.
House Tharashk: This house consists of humans and half-ores with the Mark of Finding. The majority of this house’s business is extracting and processing dragonshards for myriad magical uses. It entered the mercenary business in the waning days of the Last War, using monstrous shock troops from Droaam, and it also has a steady demand for its inquisitives, who specialize in locating stolen goods and missing persons.
House Thuranni: This house split from House Phiarlan 26 years ago, after a series of assassination plots converged into a fratricidal bloodbath. There’s no love lost between the rival houses today. House Thuranni is strongest in northern and eastern Khorvaire, although it remains much smaller than House Phiarlan. Also manifesting the Mark of Shadow, its entertainers are darker, more audacious, and more iconoclastic. They compete directly with House Phiarlan, offering similar, if less refined, services.
House Vadalis: Members of this house bear the Mark of Handling, which grants them great facility in the breeding and training of animals. Although famous for their magebred horses and the griffons used by most armies in the latter days of the Last War, House Vadalis experiments with both traditional animals and captured monsters. Recently it has begun to turn the power of its mark toward the cultivation of rare herbs and other plants.