Author's note: I am providing a quick primer on Eberron for any who might not be familiar with this world. Hopefully I have been descriptive enough that you'll still be able to muddle through my stories without reading this information, but if you run across any term you don't know, check back here. If the world sounds interesting, I encourage you to go find a copy of the Eberron Campaign Setting, or just read some of Keith Baker's Eberron novels. It's a cool, fun world.
Eberron is a world in which magic has been tamed and advanced to the point of replacing technology. Magewrights work tirelessly at powerful creation forges, turning out everburning lamps, healing draughts, and even the Warforged: golem-soldiers made of living stone and metal. The continent of Khorvaire, the main continent of Eberron, is criss-crossed with railroad tracks on which fantastic, elementally-fuelled Lightning Rails carry goods and passengers all over the world. An information network made up of crystal balls and whisper-stones allows for the free flow of news and stories across the world, and there is even an international newspaper: the Korranberg Chronicles. In the last few years the inventors of House Cannith have even discovered how to build grand flying airships.
Eberron is also a world at war. Civil war has gripped the grand nation of Galifor for nearly a century, splitting it into five lesser nations and numerous splinter territories. Generations have been born and died knowing only war, and many fear that if peace does not come soon, it may destroy the continent. Nations, sickened of sending their brave boys and girls into the grinder, have lately taken to employing vast armies of loyal, intelligent living golems called Warforged. The living constructs are little more than slaves, fighting and dying loyally for any faction that can afford them.
The five nations of Eberron are:
Aundair: a haughty nation famed for its arcane libraries and ample farmland. Aundair has used the war to settle a longstanding grudge with Thrane and Breland.
Breland: a cosmopolitan, democratic country whose economy is based on trade and manufacturing. The Brelish navy is larger than most and, until recently, they supplemented their forces with goblinoid mercenaries and monsters.
Cyre: the center of art, fashion, and invention for much of Khorvaire. Also literally the center of Khorvaire, Cyre, surrounded on all sides by enemies, has suffered the worst under the war. Only their technological edge, including masses of Warforged infantry, and a core of seasoned veterans has allowed them to survive.
Karrnath: a cold, regimented country with a historic tradition of military conquest. Karrnath is a land of dark secrets and strong fortresses. In Karrnath, even the dead defend the fatherland, and the ranks of the Karrnathi infantry are supplemented by skeletons, zombies, and other undead warriors.
Thrane: The holy land of Thrane is the home of Eberron's newest religion, the Silver Flame. At their capital of Flamekeep, a divine pillar of holy fire makes its commandments known to worshipful apostles by possessing the body of a young girl, the Keeper of the Flame. Thranes fight with discipline and bravery, faithfully defending not only their nation but their god.
Additionally, Khorvaire is home to the Dragonmarked Houses: powerful international guilds that have used ingenuity and magic to gain a virtual monopoly in their fields of expertise. House Cannith, for instance, is the last word in the creation of magical weapons and vehicles. House Orien controls the powerful Lightning Rails that allow passengers to cross the continent in a matter of days. House Phiarlan is holds sway in the field of entertainment (and espionage, but few know that), House Deneith provides bodyguards, House Sivis relays messages magically, House Lyrandar runs elementally powered ships and airships, etc. The guilds have a policy of strict neutrality towards all sides in the war.
In addition to the new factions and nations, there are also a few new races that make their home on Eberron. As well as the regular assortment of elves, humans, dwarves, Halflings, and Orcs, there are also Shifters, Changelings, Kalashtar, and Warforged.
Changelings are the descendants of humans and doppelgangers. They possess limited shapeshifting power, allowing them to alter their appearance and disguise themselves as nearly anything with two arms, two legs, and a head. In their natural form they have gray skin, white hair, white eyes, and faces that look human but lack definition. Changelings are widely distrusted, and no one is sure exactly how many of them there are scattered throughout the world. They tend to be politically and morally neutral, and often sell their services to the highest bidder.
Shifters are the descendants of humans cursed with Lycanthropy. While not actively able to turn into were-beasts themselves, they possess subtle animalistic characteristics; they often have pointed teeth, pointed ears, oddly colored eyes, and/or excess body hair. Many consider them wild and barbaric, and, indeed, shifters often prefer to live out of doors or close to nature. In times of stress or anger, shifters can call upon their were-beast heritage to become stronger, faster, and more dangerous for a short time.
Kalashtar are psionic human hosts to beings from the Realm of Dreams. They look like beautiful, elegant humans. Kalashtar are generally good natured, if aloof, and nearly always possess some form of psychic power. Little is known of the Kalashtar, or the strange, exotic continent across the sea from which they hail.
Warforged are durable stone, wood, and metal golems created for the sole purposes of fighting in war. They are tougher and more enduring than their human counterparts: they do not sleep, eat, breathe, rest, or complain. Warforged have a featureless humanoid form, with glowing eyes and a single rune inscribed on their forehead. They are servants and slaves to anyone with the money to purchase them. Warforged possess free will, but are largely unused to the idea of freedom. The subject of Warforged autonomy is currently the most hotly debated topic in Khorvaire.