Chapter 4: Dragonmarks

A halfling healer touches a dying man; the mark on her forehead blazes with blue fire as his wounds close and vanish. A half-orc bounty hunter reaches out with the power of his mark to find his prey. A human artificer touches a creation forge and the symbol on her hand flares as the eldritch machine rumbles to life.

Each of these people possesses a dragonmark, a symbol etched on the skin in colors more vivid than any tattoo. This sigil is a source of mystical power. A dragonmark enhances the user’s ability to perform certain tasks. The Mark of Making guides the hands of the smith, while the Mark of Shadows helps its bearer avoid enemies. The power of a dragonmark can also manifest in more dramatic ways. An heir with the Mark of Storms can scatter enemies with a blast of wind, while someone with the Mark of Shadows can weave illusions. While these effects may function in the same way as spells, the power is drawn and focused through the dragonmark.

You can’t buy a dragonmark, or simply choose to develop one. Each mark is tied to specific bloodlines. A dragonmark appears around adolescence, but not every heir manifests the mark. Long ago the families that carry the marks joined together to form the Dragonmarked Houses. Over the course of centuries, the houses have used their gifts to establish powerful economic monopolies. House Jorasco holds the Mark of Healing, and Jorasco maintains the vast majority of healing houses and clinics. Only House Lyrandar heirs with the Mark of Storms can pilot airships. Control over vital services — medicine, transportation, communication, manufacturing — gives the houses tremendous power.

In the past, the Dragonmarked Houses were held in check by the united kingdom of Galifar. But in the wake of the Last War, people wonder if any one nation has the power to enforce its wishes on the houses. It seems the Dragonmarked Barons wield more power than kings and queens.

Creating a Dragonmarked Character

Dragonmarks are associated with race, depicted by a combination of variant races and subraces.

  • For humans and half-orcs, a dragonmark is a variant race that replaces normal traits associated with those races.
  • For half-elves, a dragonmark is a variant race. You keep some of the standard halfelf traits and replace others with the traits associated with your mark.
  • For dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings, the dragonmark replaces your subrace.

So, if you’re making an elf character, you can choose to take the Mark of Shadow instead of being a wood elf or high elf.

There is another option related to dragonmarks if your group uses feats: the Aberrant Dragonmark feat grants potentially dangerous magical abilities. Aberrant dragonmarks aren’t tied to the dragonmark houses and can be taken by a character of any race.

Dragonmarks and Backgrounds

Dragonmarks are bound to certain bloodlines, and by choosing a mark you are establishing that your character has a blood connection to one of the families in the Dragonmarked Houses. However, it’s up to you to decide on your relationship to the house. Were you brought up in the house? Or are you completely independent from it? This is best represented by your background. Consider the following options.

Agent. You have a close, ongoing relationship with your house. The house agent background is a good choice if you are actively working for the house. Alternately, you could take the noble background to reflect a blood tie to the leaders of the house.

Independent Scion. You were raised or trained by the house, but you’ve kept your independence. This means you don’t have many special privileges, but you also don’t have responsibilities. Guild artisan is a good choice to reflect basic house training, but you could choose entertainer for the Mark of Shadow, sailor for the Mark of Storms, soldier for the Mark of Sentinel, sage for the Mark of Scribing, and so on.

Dragonmarks and Houses Table

DragonmarkHouseRaceGuild Specialties
DetectionMedaniHalf-ElfBodyguards, Investigation, Risk Management
FindingTharashkHalf-OrcHalf-Orc Bounty Hunting, Investigation, Prospecting
HandlingVadalisHumanAnimal Training and Breeding
HealingJorascoHalflingHealing
HospitalityGhallandaHalflingFood, Lodging, Urban Information
MakingCannithHumanManufacturing
PassageOrienHumanLand Transportation
ScribingSivisGnomeCommunication, Translation, Verification
SentinelDeneithHumanBodyguards, Mercenaries
ShadowPhiarlanElfEntertainment, Espionage
 ThuranniElfAssassination
StormLyrandarHalf-ElfAir and Sea Transportation
WardingKundarakDwarfBanking, Storage, Prisons

Excoriate. When a dragonmarked heir defies their house, they may be cut off from it. In the past, your mark would be flayed from your body. Although this mutilation is no longer practiced, such exiles are still called excoriates. If you’re an excoriate, consider what you did to deserve this punishment. Were you a criminal? A charlatan? Or perhaps a sage who engaged in forbidden research?

Foundling. Your ancestors left the house long ago. You have no ties to the house and may not have known you were connected by blood before you manifested your dragonmark. As an outlander or an urchin you might know nothing about the houses. As an acolyte or hermit, you could have put your faith ahead of worldly things, choosing not to pursue a connection with the houses. Whatever you decide, this is an opportunity to talk with your DM about the role you’d like the house to play in a campaign. Do you want them to be your enemy? Would you prefer to avoid them completely? Or do you want to work your way into a position of power in the house, despite being an outsider?

The Powers of the Mark

Each dragonmark grants a set of abilities that reflect the inherent powers of the mark. Your dragonmarked race gives you a set of traits derived from the magic of your mark. If you are a spellcaster, your dragonmark also fuels or channels some of your spells. Each dragonmark’s description includes a list of dragonmark spells that flow from the magic of the mark. If you play a character with the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, your dragonmark spells are added to the spell list for each of your spellcasting classes, thereby expanding the spell options available to you.

You might also consider your dragonmark the source of any or all of your spells or class features. As a cleric with the Mark of Healing, for example, you could say your mark is the sole source of the healing and supportive spells you cast, or your magic might come from a combination of your mark’s power and your faith in the gods. As a warlock, your aberrant dragonmark might actually be your fiendish patron, the source of all your magic. These descriptions add flavor to your character but don’t change your character’s abilities, beyond the dragonmark spells added to your spell list.

Over the centuries, the houses have developed tools that enhance and channel the powers of a mark, and these items give the houses much of their economic power.

Dragonmark Appearance

A dragonmark appears on the skin. There are twelve known dragonmarks, each unique in design and power. A dragonmark can appear on any part of the body. One half-elf could have the Mark of Detection across an eye, while another has it in the palm of the hand. Dragonmarks appear with vivid shades of blue and purple and shimmer or even move slightly. When used, they grow warm to the touch and sometimes glow (though this doesn’t produce useful illumination). A dragonmark can’t be removed — even if a limb bearing a dragonmark is cut away, the mark eventually manifests on another part of the bearer’s body. All dragonmarks share a similar initial appearance, but a dragonmark can grow in size and complexity as a character gains levels and uses it to cast more powerful magic.

While dragonmarks share the same general appearance, your dragonmark could have a unique quality. Roll on the Dragonmark Quirks table for inspiration.

Dragonmark Quirks

d6Quirk
1Your dragonmark is unusually small or remarkably large.
2Your dragonmark slowly moves around your body.
3Your dragonmark glows dramatically when you use it.
4Your dragonmark tingles when you’re near someone with the same mark.
5Your dragonmark tickles when you use it.
6Your dragonmark is an unusual color but a normal shape.

 

ALL ABOUT THE HOUSES!

Every house has traditions, cabals, and secrets. Here’s a few facts that apply to most of the houses.

  • Most Dragonmarked houses maintain enclaves in major cities. These serve as hubs for house businesses and strongholds for the house families. A city may also have any number of businesses tied to the house — a Ghallanda inn, a Cannith smith, a Sivis message station — but these are simply providing services and don’t have any direct connection to house leadership.
  • Any heir of the house who develops a dragonmark is allowed to add the d’ prefix to the house name: Merrix d’Cannith. Regional leaders within the houses are called Barons. Most houses are led by a matriarch or patriarch, though some are led by councils.
  • The Twelve is an organization that facilitates communication and cooperation between the Dragonmarked houses. Excoriates are dragonmarked heirs who have been cut off from their houses. Foundlings are people who develop a mark outside of a house and have no connection to it.
  • Dragonmarks manifest around adolescence. Each house puts its heirs through a trial called The Test of Siberys. The specific trials vary by house, but they place the heir in circumstances where they are likely to manifest the mark, if they have it. About half of the members of a bloodline manifest the mark.
  • The Korth Edicts prevent the houses from owning land, holding noble titles, or maintaining military forces (with an exception for Deneith). The Edicts were established long ago when the Five Nations were united. Today, many in the houses feel the Korth Edicts have become obsolete in the wake of the Last War.

Background

Here is an important background for Eberron.

House Agent

You have sworn fealty to a Dragonmarked House, one of the mighty mercantile guilds that shapes Khorvaire. If you possess a dragonmark, you’re likely a member of one of the influential families within the house, otherwise you’re an outsider who hopes to make your fortune by allying with this great power. Your primary task is to observe, gathering useful information and serving as the eyes of your house. But you could be called upon at any time to act as a hand of the house. Such missions can be dangerous — but they’ll surely be lucrative.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Persuasion

Tool Proficiency: Two tools by house:

  • Cannith: alchemist’s supplies and tinker’s tools
  • Deneith: one gaming set and vehicles (land)
  • Ghallanda: brewer’s supplies and cook’s utensils
  • Jorasco: alchemist’s supplies and herbalism kit
  • Kundarak: tinker’s tools and thieves’ tools
  • Lyrandar: vehicles (sea/air) and navigator’s tools
  • Medani: thieves’ tools and disguise kit
  • Orien: vehicles (land) and one gaming set
  • Phiarlan: disguise kit and one musical instrument
  • Sivis: calligrapher’s tools and forgery kit
  • Tharashk: thieves’ tools and one gaming set
  • Thuranni: poisoner’s kit and one musical instrument
  • Vadalis: vehicles (land) and herbalism kit

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, house signet ring, ID papers, and a purse containing 20 gp.

Role

You are always gathering information for your house. But when the barons come to you with a specific mission, what sort of work do you usually do? Choose your role or roll on the table below.

House Agent Role

d8Role
1Acquisition
2Investigation
3Research & Development
4Security
5Intimidation
6Exploration
7Negotiation
8Covert Operations

Feature: House Connections

As an agent of your house, you can always get food and lodging for your friends at a house enclave. When the house assigns you a mission, it will usually provide you with necessary supplies and transportation. Beyond this, you have many old friends, mentors, and rivals in your house and you may encounter one of them when you interact with a house business. As a Lyrandar agent you may know the captain of an airship; as a Ghallanda agent you know a lot of innkeepers and bartenders. The degree to which such acquaintances will be willing to help you out will depend on your current standing in your house.

Suggested Characteristics

House agents are a diverse lot. Consider the house you serve and the type of work you do in developing or selecting characteristics.

d8Personality Trait
1I never let emotion complicate work.
2I’m always looking to improve efficiency.
3I share trivia about my house’s business (medicine, ships, warforged).
4I hold myself and anyone I work with to extremely high standards.
5I never forget an insult made against myself or my house.
6I’m very excited and enthusiastic about everything my house does.
7I’m representing my house and take great pride in my personal appearance.
8I’m critical of monarchies and opposed to any restrictions on the houses.
d6Ideal
1Common Good. My house serves a vital function, and its prosperity will help everyone. (Good)
2Tradition. I uphold traditions of my house and bring honor to my family. (Lawful)
3Innovation. Abandon old traditions and find better ways to do things. (Chaotic)
4Power. I want to ensure the prosperity of my house and wield its power myself. (Evil)
5Discovery. I want to learn all I can, both for my house and for my own curiosity. (Any)
6Comfort. I want to ensure that me and mine enjoy the best things in life. (Any)
d6Bond
1My house is my family, and I would do anything for my family.
2I love someone from another house, but such relationships are forbidden.
3Someone I love was killed by a rival faction within my house, and I will have revenge.
4I don’t care about the house as a whole, but I would do anything for my old mentor.
5I believe my house needs to evolve to survive, and I need to lead that change.
6I am determined to impress the leaders of my house, and to become a leader myself.
d6Flaw
1I’m overly concerned with following established procedures and protocols.
2I’m obsessed with conspiracy theories and worried about secret societies and hidden demons.
3I believe that my house and bloodline makes me better than everyone else.
4I’m concealing a secret that could get me driven from my house.
5I have strong religious beliefs that aren’t shared by others in my house.
6I’m working for a hidden faction in my house that gives me secret assignments.

The Mark of Detection

mark of detection

“If you want a wall of muscle to get between you and a blade, go to House Deneith. If you want someone to anticipate the threat and make sure you aren’t even in the room with whoever’s holding that blade… that’s what we do.”

— Baron Trelib d’Medani

The Mark of Detection is an inquisitive’s dream. It sharpens powers of observation and intuition, allowing the bearer to draw connections and interpret clues others might miss. By actively drawing on its powers, the bearer can detect poisons and study the energies of magic.

House Medani

The Warning Guild of House Medani brokers the services of bodyguards and inquisitives. Medani advisors specialize in risk assessment and management, protecting clients from both physical and social threats. While Medani overlaps with the inquisitives of House Tharashk and the bodyguards of House Deneith, the Warning Guild specializes in subtle threats and complex mysteries.

The members of House Medani are half-elves with deep roots in Breland. Medani has little interest in the power struggles that sometimes break out between the other Dragonmarked houses. Many Medani heirs are more interested in helping their communities than in raw profit, and Medani heirs often work with local law enforcement or help those who can’t afford their services.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are a few examples of characters with the Mark of Detection.

House Agent Bard. With the kind of threats your house deals with, words are often more effective than weapons. You serve as one of the eyes of the house, listening for rumors and watching for dangerous cabals and conspiracies. Along the way you do your best to mediate disputes and defuse dangerous situations.

Rogue Folk Hero. You’re an inquisitive trained by your house. You grew up in a bad neighborhood, and while you could make more gold solving the problems of nobles, you’re more interested in helping your community. You’ve had a few good cases and you’ve helped a lot of people, and word has spread.

Sage Wizard. You’re a brilliant diviner and inquisitive, and your talents have gotten you into trouble. You have a knack for uncovering conspiracies, and you found one in House Medani. It might involve shape-changed demons or dragons — or both. You don’t know how deep it goes, but you’re certain that other Dragonmarked houses and noble families have been infiltrated. People think you’re a little intense. Some say paranoid. But you’ll show them all when you finally get to the bottom of this draconic conspiracy!

Mark of Detection Traits

If your half-elf character has the Mark of Detection, the following traits replace the half-elf’s Ability Score Increase and Skill Versatility traits in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.

Deductive Intuition. When you make an Intelligence (Investigation) or a Wisdom (Insight) check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Magical Detection. You can cast the detect magic and detect poison and disease spells with this trait. Starting at 3rd level, you can also cast the see invisibility spell with it. Once you cast any of these spells with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells, and you don’t require material components for them.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Detection Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Detection Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stdetect evil and good, detect poison and disease
2nddetect thoughts, find traps
3rdclairvoyance, nondetection
4tharcane eye, divination
5thlegend lore

The Mark of Finding

mark of finding

“My ancestors used their gift to track beasts in the swamps. I use mine to find fugitives in the slums of Sharn. I’m still a hunter. I always find my mark.”

— Hondar’Aashta, Tharashk bounty hunter

The Mark of Finding sharpens the senses, guiding the hunter to prey. Alone among the dragonmarks, the Mark of Finding is carried by half-orcs. It first appeared in the Shadow Marches, where clan hunters used it to find their prey. The mark helped unite humans and orcs in the Marches and brought House Tharashk to the Five Nations.

House Tharashk

House Tharashk traditionally licenses inquisitives and bounty hunters. Recently the Finder’s Guild has expanded into dragonshard prospecting. Dragonshards are the lifesblood of the magical economy. A talent for finding this resource has given the house new wealth and influence.

Tharashk is the youngest of the Dragonmarked Houses and hasn’t embraced all of the customs of the Twelve. Heirs often use family names instead of the house surname and many hold on to beliefs and traditions carried from the Shadow Marches — like the druidic faith of the Gatekeepers or secretive cults of the Dragon Below.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are examples of characters with this mark.

Druid House Agent. House Tharashk is home to an ancient order of druids who protect the world from aberrant threats. Although you are officially an operative of the house, you are truly an agent of the Gatekeepers, and investigate the activities of mad cultists and the Daelkyr.

Criminal Rogue. You’re an inquisitive who works the mean streets of Sharn. You’ve got friends on both sides of the law. Sometimes you walk a crooked line to unravel a tough case.

Mark of Finding Traits

If your half-orc or human character has the Mark of Finding, the following traits replace the character’s racial traits in the Player’s Handbook, aside from age, alignment, size, and speed.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Hunter’s Intuition. When you make a Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Finder’s Magic. You can cast the hunter’s mark spell with this trait. Starting at 3rd level, you can also cast the locate object spell with it. Once you cast either spell with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Finding Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Finding Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stfaerie fire, longstrider
2ndlocate animals or plants, locate object
3rdclairvoyance, speak with plants
4thdivination, locate creature
5thcommune with nature

The Mark of Handling

mark of handling

“Don’t get sentimental. A beast is a tool. Our role is to find the right tool for the task and to make sure they’re of the finest quality. Nature is our kingdom; never forget that we were born to rule it.”

— Baron Hella d’Vadalis

The Mark of Handling gives its bearer a primal connection to beasts and the natural world, granting the power to calm and coax.

House Vadalis

The ranches of House Vadalis play a key role in daily life, producing meat, mounts, and more. Vadalis isn’t one of the most powerful houses, but its barons are generally content; they’re more interested in discovering new creatures than engaging in the politics of the dragonmarked houses.

House Vadalis breeds and trains beasts for a range of purposes. While they maintain vast cattle ranches and train horses and hounds, the Mark of Handling allows Vadalis to work with more exotic creatures as well. Griffons, hippogriffs, and even bullettes can be bred and trained. Vadalis also works with more intelligent beasts, such as giant owls, displacers beasts, and pegasi. Even with the Mark of Handling, this is dangerous work; there’s a lot of turnover at the bullette ranch. But these exotic creatures aren’t enough to satisfy the most innovative members of the house, and this has led to the practice of magebreeding. Using the Mark of Handling and dragonshard focus items, Vadalis has found ways to create magical creatures. Typically, this results in a superior version of a mundane creature — an animal that is stronger, faster, and smarter. But rumors claim that Vadalis has crafted monsters of its own. Some rumors even insist that Vadalis has been trying to magebreed better humans.

Dragonmarked Characters

Some characters with the Mark of Handling:

Noble Druid. Your family is one of the most powerful in the house. You’re a druid, but you don’t hold any druidic beliefs; rather, you believe that your mark gives you rightful dominion over the natural world.

Ranger House Agent. You’ve been trained to track and handle the wildest monstrosities. You’re still mastering your skills, but you want to get out into the world and discover new creatures that have never been harnessed.

Outlander Druid. Your dragonmark gives you a powerful connection to the natural world. You hate what your house is doing with this power — turning this gift into a business, exploiting the creatures you’re connected to.

Mark of Handling Traits

If your human character has the Mark of Handling, the following traits replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.

Wild Intuition. When you make a Wisdom (Animal Handling) or Intelligence (Nature) check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Primal Connection. You can cast the animal friendship and speak with animals spells with this trait, requiring no material component. Once you cast either spell with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a short or long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

The Bigger They Are. Starting at 3rd level, you can target a beast or monstrosity when you cast animal friendship or speak with animals, provided the creature’s Intelligence score is 3 or lower.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Handling Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Handling Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stanimal friendship, speak with animals
2ndbeast sense, calm emotions
3rdbeacon of hope, conjure animals
4thaura of life, dominate beast
5thawaken

The Mark of Healing

mark of healing

“What’s the price of a life? Well, I’ve got a rate sheet right over here. I’d be happy to discuss it.”

— Bessi d’Jorasco, Fairhaven healer

A halfling with the Mark of Healing can save a life with a touch, restoring vitality and the will to live. When dealing with mundane medicine, the mark helps its bearer sense the nature of maladies and afflictions and find the best solution. When equipped with dragonshard focus items, the mark can even draw the dead back from the depths of Dolurrh.

House Jorasco

The Healer’s Guild provides a vital service to Khorvaire, and the Last War ensured that there was great need for healers. The guild runs the schools that teach medicine and houses of healing that provide both mundane and magical services. If it could save a life, it’s probably tied to Jorasco… and it will come with a cost. If you have the gold, Jorasco healers can remove a disease instantly with lesser restoration. If you can’t afford such a service, they will treat you with mundane techniques (the Medicine skill). House Jorasco is also the source of potions of healing. While many criticize Jorasco’s demands for payment, the leaders of the house maintain that it’s not about greed; it’s about ensuring the survival and prosperity of the house, so they can continue to help future generations.

While the public face of Jorasco is that of the healer, there are rumors that the house engaged in disturbing experiments during the Last War, working with House Vadalis to develop biological weapons and strange new creatures. A Jorasco heir will have to decide if they want to investigate these rumors… and what they’ll do if the rumors are true.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are a few examples of characters who carry the Mark of Healing.

Noble Cleric. You are one of the heirs of Baron Ulara, the matriarch of House Jorasco. Your mark is remarkable (and the source of your clerical abilities) and you feel that you’re just beginning to unlock its power. Are you willing to devote your abilities to your house? Or do you think that you may have a greater calling?

Folk Hero Bard. You served as a medic in the Last War, using humor and stories to keep up the spirits of your patients. You’ve seen too much suffering, and you need to do something about it. You’ve broken away from the house and you’ve been doing charitable work in your community. But you want to find a way to do more.

Criminal Rogue. You grew up as an orphan in Sharn. One of your parents must have been tied to Jorasco, but you found a different family: the Boramar Clan, a criminal guild run by halflings. You’ve learned how to heal and how to hurt people. Now you need to decide which path you want to follow.

Mark of Healing Traits

If you’re a halfling with the Mark of Healing, you have this subrace, with the following traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Medical Intuition. When you make a Wisdom (Medicine) check or an ability check using an herbalism kit, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Healing Touch. You can cast the cure wounds spell with this trait. Starting at 3rd level, you can also cast lesser restoration with it. Once you cast either spell with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Healing Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Healing Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stcure wounds, healing word
2ndlesser restoration, prayer of healing
3rdaura of vitality, mass healing word
4thaura of purity, aura of life
5thgreater restoration

The Mark of Hospitality

mark of hospitality

“Welcome, welcome! So good to see you again. Let me get your drink — blackroot tal with honey, yes? And then you have to listen to this story I’ve heard about the strange things going on in the Cogs. ”

— Alara d’Ghallanda, halfling bartender

They may not always have gold, but a halfling with the Mark of Hospitality is sure to be rich in friends. The magic of the mark allows the bearer to keep a place clean and to heat, chill, and season food. But it also helps the bearer connect with others, setting troubled minds at ease.

House Ghallanda

The majority of inns, taverns, and restaurants in the Five Nations are either directly owned by House Ghallanda or licensed by its Hosteler’s Guild. Most people give little thought to House Ghallanda; when compared to the soldiers of House Deneith and the factories of House Cannith, an alliance of innkeepers seems harmless and inconsequential. But Ghallanda’s strength lies in charm and connections. A Ghallanda innkeeper hears many things — if you want to know what’s really going on in a community, talk to the halfling bartender. The leaders of House Ghallanda don’t sell information; they prefer to build friendship and deal in favors. But should a Ghallanda baron every truly need something, they likely have a favor they can call in.

Ghallanda has a number of “bound businesses” — franchises run directly by the house. The Gold Dragon Inn is such a business, and Gold Dragon Inns can be found in every major city, each serving a familiar menu and providing similar services. But many Ghallanda heirs take pride in creating their own unique businesses. There are also many independent restaurants, inns, and taverns that are licensed by Ghallanda. The blink dog seal is an assurance that a locale meets Ghallanda standards of health and quality — but not every inn is run by a halfling.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are some characters who carry this mark.

Noble Warlock (Archfey). Your parents run a score of Gold Dragon Inns. You’ve never gotten your hands dirty with the family business; you’ve been too busy going to the best parties. Just the other day, you were dancing with druids, and they summoned an Archfey from Thelanis. You don’t remember all the details — it was one of those parties — but it seems like you made a deal with the fey prince. You’re not sure what you agreed to; you’d better find out!

Guild Artisan Bard. You ran the finest bar in Cyre, until the Mourning destroyed it. You know a group of adventurers — regulars from your lost tavern — and you’re tagging along with them until you figure out your next step.

Mark of Hospitality Traits

If you’re a halfling with the Mark of Hospitality, you have this subrace, with the following traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.

Ever Hospitable. When you make a Charisma (Persuasion) check or an ability check involving brewer’s supplies or cook’s utensils, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Innkeeper’s Magic. You know the prestidigitation cantrip. You can also cast the purify food and drink and unseen servant spells with this trait. Once you cast either spell with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Hospitality Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Hospitality Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stgoodberry, sleep
2ndaid, calm emotions
3rdcreate food & water, Leomund's tiny hut
4thaura of purity, Mordenkainen's private sanctum
5thhallow

The Mark of Making

mark of making

“My house built the modern world. Orien may drive the lightning rail, but it’s Cannith who builds the cars and lays the stones it travels on. Cannith makes the everbright lanterns hold the night at bay. Smith, carpenter, alchemist — the best all carry my seal.”

— Baron Merrix d’Cannith

The Mark of Making guides its bearer through any act of creation. The bearer of the mark can mend broken things with a touch, and always has a minor magic item they’ve been working on. An artificer or a wizard will get the most out of the mark, but anyone can find a use for an enchanted blade.

House Cannith

House Cannith dominates all forms of manufacturing, both mystical and mundane. Cannith forgeholds use streamlined forms of production to quickly produce common goods. Even independent artisans often learn their trade at Cannith academies and adhere to Cannith standards. The House of Making builds the tools the other houses rely upon, and it has always been the unspoken leader of the Twelve.

The Last War was a time of great opportunity for Cannith. Every nation wanted weapons and warforged, along with mundane arms and armor. The war raised the house up, and then tore it down. House Cannith was based in Cyre, and the Mourning destroyed the house leadership and key facilities. Now three barons jockey to fill the leadership vacuum: the alchemist Jorlanna of Fairhaven, weaponsmith Zorlan of Korth, and warforged innovator Merrix of Sharn. It remains to be seen whether one of these leaders will unite the house, or if it will shatter under the strain. If you’re an heir of House Cannith, you should decide which of these barons you serve — or if you have other ideas about the future of the house.

Dragonmarked Characters

Some characters with the Mark of Making:

Noble Wizard. Born to one of the most powerful families in House Cannith, you’re a dilettante who has so far squandered your arcane training. Will you find purpose in your life as an adventurer? Or will the house demand that you live up to the duties of your rank?

Criminal Artificer. Your parents were excoriated from House Cannith for engaging in forbidden research. They died when you were young. You’ve never learned what they were working on. But you inherited their talent for artifice and you’ve been hiding in the shadows of Sharn. It’s time to pursue your parents’ legacy.

Mark of Making Traits

If your human character has the Mark of Making, the following traits replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.

Artisan’s Intuition. When you make an Arcana check or an ability check involving artisan’s tools, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Maker’s Gift. You gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools of your choice.

Spellsmith. You know the mending cantrip. You can also cast the magic weapon spell with this trait. When you do so, the spell lasts for 1 hour and doesn’t require concentration. Once you cast the spell with this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Making Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Making Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stidentify, Tenser's floating disk
2ndcontinual flame, magic weapon
3rdconjure barrage, elemental weapon
4thfabricate, stone shape
5thcreation

The Mark of Passage

mark of passage.png

“We get things where they need to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a letter, a person, or a hundred tons of steel. Whether we have to cross mountains, rivers, or the Mournland itself, Orien finds a way.”

— Bali d’Orien, veteran courier

The Mark of Passage governs motion, allowing its bearer to move with uncanny speed and precision. Running, leaping, climbing — the Mark of Passage enhances every form of movement. The bearer of the mark can even slip through space, leaping from point to point in the blink of an eye.

House Orien

The House of Passage manages land transportation. The Lightning Rail is the house’s most dramatic tool, but Orien runs caravans and coaches across the length of Khorvaire. Dragonshard focus items ensure that the fastest vehicles are those driven by heirs with the Mark of Passage, but the house also licenses unmarked teamsters. The Courier’s Guild of House Orien delivers mail and packages and has a branch that handles more covert and dangerous deliveries.

Orien has dominated transportation for centuries, but now the house is facing challenges. The Mournland is a dramatic obstacle for ground transportation, and the expanding role of Lyrandar airships threatens Orien’s business. Long distance teleportation is a service only the strongest Orien heirs can provide. Now Orien, seeking to expand its use of teleportation, is working with Cannith to find ways to unlock and enhance this ultimate gift of the Mark of Making. Orien heirs may be caught up in these experiments or in the rivalry with House Lyrandar, or they may stay close to the ground and just keep moving.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are examples of characters who carry the Mark of Passage.

Outlander Ranger. You’re a courier who specializes in dangerous deliveries to exotic locations. Your assignments take you into the wilds, the Mournland, and worse. Hopefully you have a team of capable friends!

Rogue Urchin. You grew up as a foundling in the worst slums of Sharn. For you, the city is a vast vertical jungle, and you love climbing towers and leaping between bridges. You value friendship and freedom. You’re more interested in having fun and helping your companions than in joining up with some stuffy house.

Mark of Passage Traits

If your human character has the Mark of Passage, the following traits replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.

Courier’s Speed. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Intuitive Motion. When you make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or any ability check to operate or maintain a land vehicle, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Magical Passage. You can cast the misty step spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a long rest. Dexterity is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Passage Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Passage Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stexpeditious retreat, jump
2ndmisty step, pass without trace
3rdblink, phantom steed
4thdimension door, freedom of movement
5thteleportation circle

The Mark of Scribing

mark of scribing

“Communication is the foundation of civilization.”

— Lysse Lorridan d’Sivis, House Matriarch

The Mark of Scribing deals with communication — both the written and spoken word. A gnome who bears the mark can feel words as though they are living creatures, struggling to make their meaning known. The mark provides a range of gifts. It translates languages, but it also allows its bearer to communicate with others at a distance.

House Sivis

The gnomes of House Sivis facilitate communication. This is seen most literally in speaking stones, magic items allowing a Sivis heir to send a short message to another speaking stone; House Sivis’s network of message stations is the backbone of long-distance communication. But Sivis also trains and licenses scribes, notaries, interpreters, cartographers, barristers, heralds, bookbinders and more. House Sivis has an especially close relationship with House Kundarak, as Kundarak letters of credit must be notarized with a Sivis arcane mark.

House Sivis has taken great pains to maintain the trust of its clients and takes a position of absolute neutrality in all disputes, whether between houses or nations. Gnomes have a natural love of intrigue, and the different families within the house often engage in subtle schemes and feuds, but these are never allowed to threaten the house as a whole. Sivis gnomes are typically friendly, curious, and engaging; but that kindly exterior may conceal a scheming mind.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are examples of characters who carry the Mark of Scribing.

House Agent Bard. The Draconic Prophecy is one of the greatest mysteries of all. You’re an observer tasked to keep your eyes open for any sort of manifestation of the Prophecy. You are part detective, part spy. Always keep your eyes open for leads and see where they take you.

Sage Wizard. You started out as a scribe and discovered a talent for arcane magic and a love of history. You’re eager to explore ancient ruins and lost civilizations, and you’re especially interested in uncovering old records, spellbooks, and ancient lore.

Hermit Warlock (Great Old One). The Mark of Scribing allows you to read the code of reality itself, to understand voices no one else can hear. You have no interest in the business of your house; you are on a grander quest, unraveling a secret that lesser minds can’t comprehend. Your patron could be a daelkyr or your mark may truly be connecting you to some primordial force.

Mark of Scribing Traits

If you’re a gnome with the Mark of Scribing, you have this subrace, with the following traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.

Gifted Scribe. When you make an Intelligence (History) check or an ability check using calligrapher’s supplies, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Scribe’s Insight. You know the message cantrip. You can also cast comprehend languages once with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a short or long rest. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the magic mouth spell with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Scribing Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Scribing Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stcomprehend languages, illusory script
2ndanimal messenger, silence
3rdsending, tongues
4tharcane eye, confusion
5thdream

The Mark of Sentinel

mark of sentinel

“Protection is my purpose. I defend the innocent from those who would do them harm. For my siblings, this is a job; for me, it’s a calling.”

— Harric d’Deneith, Sentinel Marshal

The Mark of Sentinel warns and protects. It heightens senses and reflexes, allowing an heir to respond to threats with uncanny speed. It can shield its bearer from harm. Whether on the battlefield or the ballroom, someone who carries the Mark of Sentinel is prepared for danger.

House Deneith

House Deneith was born in Karrnath, and war flows in its veins. For centuries, the Blademarks Guild of House Deneith has governed the mercenary trade. While warriors with the Mark of Sentinel are among its most elite forces, House Deneith brokers the services of a wide range of soldiers, including Valenar warbands and the goblins of Droaam. Beyond the battlefield, the Defender’s Guild provides exceptional bodyguards for those who can afford their services. House Deneith is also renowned for its Sentinel Marshals, agents that hold the authority to pursue criminals and enforce the law across the length of Khorvaire. The Sentinel Marshals hold the honor of the house in their hands. Being a Marshal is a privilege, and it comes with high expectations.

The Dragonmarked Houses aren’t allowed to own land or hold noble titles. House Deneith has always abided by these edicts, maintaining absolute neutrality and selling its services to all sides of a conflict. However, there’s a faction that feels that Deneith should use its power for its own purposes, not just in the service of others. House Deneith is also caught in an escalating rivalry with House Tharashk, which is edging into the mercenary trade.

Dragonmarked Characters

Some examples of characters with this mark:

Paladin Soldier. You’re a Sentinel Marshal, and you feel a divine calling to the cause of justice. You may follow Dol Arrah or the Silver Flame, but your paladin abilities could reflect the powers of your mark and your devotion to justice. Your “military rank” benefit reflects your authority as a marshal and is recognized by law enforcement, rather than soldiers.

Monk Entertainer. You love being in the thick of battle, but you’ve never had an interesting in being a mercenary. Instead, you found your path as a gladiator. You draw your Ki through your mark, enhancing your reflexes and speed. You love life in the arena and the fans love you, but perhaps it’s time to find a greater purpose.

Mark of Sentinel Traits

If your human character has the Mark of Sentinel, the following traits replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Sentinel’s Intuition. When you make a Wisdom (Insight) or Wisdom (Perception) check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Guardian’s Shield. You can cast the shield spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it after you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Vigilant Guardian. When a creature you can see within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack roll, you can use your reaction to swap places with that creature, and you are hit by the attack instead. Once you use this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Sentinel Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Sentinel Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stcompelled duel, shield of faith
2ndwarding bond, zone of truth
3rdcounterspell, protection from energy
4thdeath ward, guardian of faith
5thBigby's hand

The Mark of Shadow

mark of shadow

“The illusions that I weave dazzle and deceive. Sometimes that deception eases your burdens, letting you forget your troubles for a moment. But I can also ease your burdens by ending your life.”

— Lady Elara d’Thuranni, shadow dancer

The Mark of Shadows lets an elf weave illusions from shadows, crafting sounds and images to distract or delight. The mark also allows its bearer to draw on the shadows, making it an easy matter to avoid detection or even disappear while in plain sight. It is a valuable tool for an entertainer, a spy, or an assassin.

The Houses of Shadow

The elves have carried the Mark of Shadow for thousands of years. The families that carry the mark left Aerenal after the conflict that wiped out the Mark of Death and established House Phiarlan in Khorvaire. These elves are the finest entertainers in the land, giving them access to all manner of places and secrets. But the elves do more than entertain. There has always been an elite force of spies and assassins within the house. Common folk know nothing of this. Only special clients — powerful nobles, merchant lords, and the like — have access to these shadowmarked spies.

Towards the end of the Last War, a bitter feud broke out between the major families of the house. Known as the Shadow Schism, it resulted in a split withinin Phiarlan — and the foundation of House Thuranni. House Phiarlan continues to offer entertainment and espionage in the lands west of the Mournland, while Thuranni operates in Karrnath, the Lhazaar Principalities, and the eastern lands. As a rule, Phiarlan elves are the better spies and Thuranni agents are superior assassins. On the surface Thuranni and Phiarlan maintain a peaceful relationship, but rivalries run deep.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are a few examples of characters who carry the Mark of Shadow.

House Agent Rogue. You’re a young agent in House Thuranni. You’ve studied the performing arts, but you’re far more interested in the darker side of the house. At the moment you’re building your skills and reputation as an observer and investigator, but once you prove yourself you hope you’ll get to be a player in the shadow war.

Bard Entertainer. You’re a rising star. Your performances have already earned you a name across the Five Nations, and your fame will surely only increase as you develop your talents. The house has helped with your career, and they’ve dropped hints to see if you want to get involved in the other side of the house, but at the moment you’re just in this for the music.

Mark of Shadow Traits

If you’re an elf with the Mark of Shadow, you have this subrace, with the following traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.

Cunning Intuition. When you make a Charisma (Performance) or Dexterity (Stealth) check, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Shape Shadows. You know the minor illusion cantrip. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the invisibility spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Shadow Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Shadow Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stdisguise self, silent image
2nddarkness, pass without trace
3rdclairvoyance, major image
4thgreater invisibility, hallucinatory terrain
5thmislead

The Mark of Storm

mark of storm

“Sovereigns and Firstborn, grant me the four blessings promised to our people: dominion over the air, dominion over the water, fortune for my family, and fortune for my future.”

— From the Oath of Lyrandar

Wind and water welcome the half-elf who carries the Mark of Storms. The wind catches them when they fall, and they swim with remarkable speed. Those who possess the Greater Dragonmark and dragonshard focus items can call on even greater powers, shaping the weather and calling on the power of the storm.

House Lyrandar

House Lyrandar has long ruled the seas. Their galleons harness air and water elementals and are faster than any mundane vessel. Control of the sea and river trade gave Lyrandar considerable power. Now they reach out to the skies. Merely a decade old, Lyrander airships are already shifting the balance of power in overland travel, previously dominated by House Orien’s lightning rail.

House Lyrandar also controls the air in a more literal way. The Raincallers’ Guild can use the Mark of Storms to control the weather for its clients, but at a considerable price.

House Lyrandar is made up of half-elves. For many of its members, it’s more than simply family or business — it is the closest thing their people have to a homeland. House Lyrandar is ambitious and often acts in what it sees as the interests of all half-elves. Lyrandar heirs have been helping the Valenar elves run their young kingdom, and some believe that Valenar could become a true homeland for the Khoravar.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are a few examples of characters who carry the Mark of Storms.

Noble Sorcerer. You are heir to one of the oldest families of Lyrandar, a direct descendant of the Firstborn. You can draw on your mark and your bloodline to wield power beyond those of other heirs. You’re a noble of the house: are you a carefree celebrity, or are you driven by duty and a deep desire to help your house and your people?

Sailor Fighter. You served on the first airship that went into service, and spent the Last War fighting in the skies. You know your way around the clouds and on the water, and you’re looking for adventurers that will take you back to either of them.

Criminal Rogue. You’ve never been one to play by the rules. You always dreamed of being a smuggler or a sky pirate, and when you were old enough, you stole a small airship and headed to Sharn. You and your DM will have to decide how that worked out and if you still have the airship; it turns out they’re hard to hide. Either way, you’ve been kicked out of the house and you’re looking for jobs that cater to your sense of adventure.

Mark of Storm Traits

If your half-elf character has the Mark of Storm, the following traits replace the half-elf’s Ability Score Increase and Skill Versatility traits in the Player’s Handbook.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.

Windwright’s Intuition. When you make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or any ability check involving navigator’s tools, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Storm’s Boon. You have resistance to lightning damage.

Headwinds. You know the gust cantrip. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the gust of wind spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Storm Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Storm Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stfeather fall, fog cloud
2ndgust of wind, levitate
3rdsleet storm, wind wall
4thconjure minor elementals, control water
5thconjure elemental

Gust

Transmutation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 30 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

You seize the air and compel it to create one of the following effects at a point you can see within range:

  • One Medium or smaller creature that you choose must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 5 feet away from you.
  • You create a small blast of air capable of moving one object that is neither held nor carried and that weighs no more than 5 pounds. This object is pushed up to 10 feet away from you. It isn’t pushed with enough force to cause damage.
  • You create a harmless sensory effect using air, such as causing leaves to rustle, wind to slam shutters closed, or your clothing to billow impressively in a breeze.

The Mark of Warding

mark of warding

“My family has the finest vaults you can imagine. They forge the locks that secure the jewels of kings and queens. And I learned to pick those locks when I was barely out of the crib.”

— Cutter, burglar and Kundarak excoriate

The Mark of Warding helps its bearers protect things of value. Using the mark, a dwarf can weave wards and seal portals with mystic force. It also provides its bearer with an intuitive understanding of locks and mechanisms used to protect and seal. The decision each heir has to make is whether they’ll use this power to keep things safe, or whether they’re more interested in opening locks and taking what’s inside.

House Kundarak

If you want to keep something safe — jewels, secrets, prisoners — Kundarak is there to help. The Defenders Guild of House Kundarak trains locksmiths, security specialists, and more. It maintains the infamous prison of Dreadhold, along with a number of smaller prisons. As useful as these services are, it’s the Banking Guild that truly defines the house. Kundarak’s lands in the Mror Holds include deep veins of precious metals and stones, and the dwarves have used this wealth to establish the banking industry of Khorvaire. Anyone who makes a living from coin — from bankers to goldsmiths — likely learned their skills at House Kundarak. The security of Kundarak banks is legendary. The house also provides a special service to those who can afford it: a system of extradimensional vaults, allowing a client to store their goods in one location and retrieve them at any other Kundarak enclave.

House Kundarak has a close alliance with House Sivis. Like the House of Scribing, Kundarak has worked to earn the trust of its clients and to establish a reputation for unshakeable integrity. The house has no love of renegade dwarves using their marks to turn a profit, and such rogues will want to avoid the eye of Kundarak.

Dragonmarked Characters

Here are examples of characters with the Mark of Warding.

Artificer House Agent. Some people want to build a better mousetrap. Better isn’t enough for you — you want to build the best. Your basic job: go out in the world, find the finest and most unusual security systems, and see what you can learn from them. When you go into an ancient ruin, you’re hoping there are traps.

Criminal Rogue. It’s not that you’re a bad person. You’ve just never met a lock you didn’t want to open. It’s like they speak to you, whispering “Free me! Free me!” You’re not even in it for the gold; you’ve just fallen in with a bad crowd because most people who like opening locks are criminals. Perhaps it’s time to make some new friends.

Mark of Warding Traits

If you’re a dwarf with the Mark of Warding, you have this subrace, with the following traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Warder’s Intuition. When you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check or an ability check using thieves’ tools, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Wards and Seals. You can cast the alarm and mage armor spells with this trait. Starting at 3rd level, you can also cast the arcane lock spell with it. Once you cast any of these spells with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells, and you don’t need material components for them when you cast them with this trait.

Spells of the Mark. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Warding Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Warding Spells

Spell LevelSpells
1stalarm, armor of Agathys
2ndarcane lock, knock
3rdglyph of warding, magic circle
4thLeomund's secret chest, Mordenkainen's faithful hound
5thantilife shell

Aberrant Dragonmarks

“Your sigil creates, child of Cannith. Mine holds the power to destroy.”

— Rotting Bal, Tarkanan Enforcer

The twelve dragonmarks are tied to specific bloodlines and passed down through families. They are reliable and predictable, and their powers are constructive. They create; they heal; they protect.

But there is another kind of dragonmark: marks that are unpredictable and dangerous to both the bearer and the people around them. Someone with such a mark can kill with a touch or control minds with a glance. Aberrant marks often appear when people from different dragonmarked families produce a child, and for this reason such unions are absolutely forbidden by the Twelve. But aberrant dragonmarks can appear on members of any race, at any age, regardless of bloodline. No two aberrant dragonmarks are exactly alike — even if they grant the same power, they may appear and manifest in different ways. If two aberrant marks might grant fire bolt, one mark may be formed from scar tissue while another is traced on the skin in lines of cold fire.

While aberrant dragonmarks can be disturbing, on the surface an aberrant mark seems no more dangerous or threatening than the powers of a sorcerer. So, what makes them significant? First of all, aberrant marks always have flaws. These may not actively hurt a character, but they are always a burden in some way — a burden that could drive a weak-willed person to madness.

It takes time for a character to learn to control their mark, and in time people may be hurt. If an aberrant mark grants fire bolt, the person who carries it might have severely burned or even killed a loved one. Imagine having the power to cast charm person but being unable to control it and having people you care about suddenly becoming slavishly devoted to you. All of these factors have led to the general superstition that people with aberrant dragonmarks are dangerous, that their marks drive them crazy or turn them into sociopaths. These are things that can happen; people have a right to be afraid. But it is possible for an aberrant to learn to control their mark and to endure the flaw.

Aberrant marks are feared for another reason, too. Long ago aberrant marks were more frequent and some people had aberrant marks that held greater powers. Aberrant leader Halas Tarkanan could devastate cities with powerful earthquakes, while the Dreambreaker shattered minds. The Lady of the Plague wielded disease and commanded hordes of vermin. The Dragonmarked Houses united in an inquisition called The War of the Mark. Some say that this was a persecution of innocents; but most feared the aberrants and stood by as the houses hunted them down. Ever since the War of the Mark, aberrant dragonmarks have been few in number and relatively week. But since the Mourning aberrant marks have been appearing in greater numbers, and people wonder if those who carry them could develop greater power.

Feat: Aberrant Dragonmark

Prerequisite: No existing dragonmark.

You have manifested an aberrant dragonmark. Determine its appearance and the flaw associated with it. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn a cantrip from the sorcerer spell list. In addition, choose a 1st-level spell from the sorcerer spell list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • You can increase the power of your aberrant spells at the risk of your own vitality. When you cast a spell with your aberrant mark, you can use one of your Hit Dice to increase the spell’s level by 1. Immediately after you cast the spell, roll the Hit Die. You take damage equal to the number rolled.

You also develop a random flaw from the Aberrant Dragonmark Flaws table.

Aberrant Mark Flaws

d8Flaw
1Your mark is a source of constant physical pain.
2Your mark whispers to you, though you may not understand what it says.
3In times of stress, your mark may trigger a cantrip effect involuntarily.
4The skin around your mark has an unusual appearance: burned, scaly, withered, etc.
5Mundane animals become uneasy around you.
6You have dramatic mood swings any time you use your mark.
7Your appearance changes in a minor way every time you use your mark.
8You have horrific nightmares after you use your mark.

Option: Greater Aberrant Powers

At the DM’s option, a character who has the Aberrant Dragonmark feat has a chance of manifesting greater power. Upon reaching 10th level, such a character has a 10 percent chance of gaining an epic boon from among the options in chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. If the character fails to gain a boon, they have a 10 percent chance the next time they gain a level.

If the character gains a boon, the DM chooses it or determines it randomly. The character also permanently loses one of their Hit Dice, and their hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to a roll of that die plus their Constitution modifier (minimum reduction of 1). This reduction can’t be reversed by any means.