Competencies represent the background capabilities of a character. Unlike Skills, competencies are not intended to be proactively used in situations with meaningful consequences for failure. Rather, competencies summarize passive facts about a character. For example, knowledge competencies mean a character has experience with a subject and knows both useful and interesting facts about it. Dramatic and plot-relevant information may not be known by a character - in such cases, research or investigation rolls may be necessary, but having a relevant competency grants edge (+1d4) on the roll. Similarly, tool competencies and the like simply express passive capabilities, but grant edge on associated skill checks such as repairs.
At first level select four competencies. Some races, classes, and feats may grant additional competencies. When you pick a competency, pick an individual competency from within the categories, e.g. Knowledge of Creatures (Animate).
Some example choices are presented below to represent classic backgrounds.
List of Competencies
Knowledge of Creatures
Knowledge of Creatures covers knowing general traits of creatures in the category, from general society to vulnerabilities and resistances
Animated creatures are ones that are created through some form of magic. They don't need to eat, breathe, or sleep. Example: golems, skeletons, and warforged
Beasts are ordinary animals and other creatures akin to them that operate on instinct. Examples: Deer, Owlbears, Squarks
Humanoid creatures either are human or resemble humans in form, behavior, facial features, or all three. Most humanoids are bipedal. Examples: elves, gnolls, hobgoblins, and humans.
Immortals are spirits bound to a plane. Immortals cannot be killed or born, instead their spiritual energy is merely dispersed and will usually later reform. Examples: angels, demons, elementals
This category covers anything that's not part of the above. Examples: beholders, dragons, and manticores
Knowledge of Culture
Knowledge of Culture covers knowing organizational structures, membership, functions, and mythology.
The Dragonmarked Houses are the economic backbone of Khorvaire. Competency in Dragonmarked Houses means you know the heads of each house, their guilds, and important historical events related to the guild
When you choose this proficiency you learn one language of your choice. You may choose this proficiency any number of times.
The royal families of the Five Nations do not uniformly hold power over their subjects, but they are still at the center of political power in Khorvaire. Competency in Nobility means you know the ruling families of each of the Five Nations, the order of succession for each, and how to conduct yourself in court and other formal affairs.
Religion subtly shapes Khorvaire, with the Church of the Silver Flame, the Sovereign Host, and the Blood of Vol as the most prominent religions. Competency in Religion means you know the beliefs of each faith and important rituals for each.
Knowledge of Geography
Knowledge of Geography pertains to the topologic features, political structure, and native creatures of the area.
Aeranel is the island continent controlled by the elves, off the southeast coast of Khorvaire.
Argonessen is the mysterious continent of dragons, guarded by barbarians and mystical storms.
The Five Nations
The Five Nations include Aundair, Breland, the Mournland (Formerly known as Cyre), Karrnath, and Thrane.
The Frostfell is a frozen wasteland to the north that has remained mostly unexplored
Greater Khorvaire includes all the nations of Khorvaire that seceded during the Last War. These include Darguun, the Demon Wastes, Droamm, the Eldeen Reaches, the Lhazaar Principalities, the Mror Holds, Qbarra, the Shadow Marches, the Talenta Plains, Valenar, and Zilargo.
Khyber is the underworld, filled with demons and aberrations, but also great treasure in the form of Khyber Dragonshards.
The Oceans of Eberron are full of life, with both monsters and undersea civilizations.
Sarlona is a mysterious, distant continent to the east of Khorvaire, and also the birthplace of humanity. In the north are barbaric wildlands, in the middle is the empire of Riedra, and in the south lies the rebel state of Adar.
Xen'drik is a jungle continent full of ancient giant ruins and mysterious magic. Xen'drik is home to both the Drow and the Thri-kreen races.
Knowledge of History
Knowledge of History covers important people, places, and things from the time period that would still be known in the modern day.
The Last War and Contemporary History
The Last War raged on for nearly 100 years. Competency in The Last War and Contemporary History covers the causes of the Last War, the major battles, the creation of the Warforged, the various secessions, and the Treaty of Thronehold.
The Kingdom of Galifar
The Kingdom of Galifar was founded almost 1000 years ago in a bloody war of unification. Significant events include the War of the Mark, the founding of the Church of the Silver Flame, and the Lycanthropic purge.
The Age of Dragonmarks
The Age of Dragonmarks started over 3,000 years ago, suddenly appearing on particular lineages of gnomes, halflings, elves, dwarves and orcs. Significant events include the migration of humans from Sarlona, the founding of Sharn, and Karrn's war of conquest.
The Age of Monsters
The Age of Monsters covers the Dhakaani Empire's rise and fall. Significant events include the Dragon-Elf wars, the first Elven settlements in modern Valenar, and the mythic Dwarven Kingdom of Stone.
The Age of Giants
The Age of Giants covers the Giant empires on Xen'drik, the enslavement and escape of the Elves, and the annihilation of the Giant empire by the Dragons of Argonessen.
Mythology suggest there were cataclysmic wars that shook the very foundations of Eberron before the Age of Giants, but almost all knowledge of this era has been lost to time.
Knowledge of The Planes
The thirteen planes orbit Eberron in an eclectic fashion, affecting the material plane through coterminious phases and manifest zones.
Daanvi and Kythri
The planes of order and chaos, Daanvi and Kythri's impact on the material plane isn't obvious. Daanvi is home to all forms of mechanical creatures, while Kythri is home to miscellaneous elementals.
Dal Quor and Xoriat
Collectively known as the psychic planes, Dal Quor and Xoriat are each estranged from the material in their own way. Dal Quor is the plane of dreams, while Xoriat is the plane of madness.
Demiplanes and the Astral Sea
The Astral Sea joins the various planes and is home to all sorts of portals. Prominent demiplanes include Baator, home of the devils, and The Dark Realms.
Dolurrh, Irian, and Mabar
Each of Dolurrh, Irian, and Mabar relate to the grand cycle of creation and destruction. When they die, mortal souls travel to Dolurrh. Irian constantly produces energy and planar motes, while Mabar consumes and destroys.
Fernia and Risia
Fire and ice, Fernia and Risia represent the cruel and dangerous aspects of both heat and cold.
Lammania and Thelanis
The wild planes, Lammania represents the raw and real aspects of nature while Thelanis is the realm of the Fae.
Shavarath and Syrania
Representing War and Peace, Shavarath and Syrania are each important planar hubs, containing the highest densities of civilized
Proficiency in performance means a character has an an appreciable level of skill and could make a living on it.
Proficiency in acting covers live theater. Proficiency in acting is suggested for creating disguises.
Proficiency in music covers every instrument, singing, and whistling. It's suggested that a few forms are specified as the ones the character is proficient in.
Storytelling covers anything from dramatic recounts of heroism to spooky campfire stories. Proficiency in storytelling is suggested for bluffs and deception.
Tools can simplify tasks or make others possible.
Alchemist's tools allow characters to craft potions with herbs and other reagents they gather or purchase.
Artisan's tools cover a large variety of tools, pick two each time you choose this competency. You may choose this proficiency any number of times.
Brewing is the art of producing beer. Not only does beer serve as an alcoholic beverage, but the process of brewing purifies water. Crafting beer takes weeks of fermentation, but only a few hours of work.
Calligraphy treats writing as a delicate, beautiful art. Calligraphers produce text that is pleasing to the eye, using a style that is difficult to forge. Their supplies also give them some ability to examine scripts and determine their source.
Skill at carpentry enables a character to construct wooden structures. A carpenter can build a house, a shack, a wooden cabinet, or similar items.
Using cartographer’s tools, you can create accurate maps to make travel easier for yourself and those who come after you.
Although the cobbler’s trade might seem too humble for an adventurer, a good pair of boots will see a character across rugged wilderness and through deadly dungeons.
Adventuring is a hard life. With a cook along on the journey, your meals will be much better than the typical mix of hardtack and dried fruit.
Someone who is proficient with glassblower’s tools has not only the ability to shape glass, but also specialized knowledge of the methods used to produce glass objects.
Training with jeweler’s tools includes the basic techniques needed to beautify gems. It also gives you expertise in identifying precious stones.
Knowledge of leatherworking extends to lore concerning animal hides and their properties. It also confers knowledge of leather armor and similar goods.
Mason’s tools allow you to craft stone structures, including walls and buildings crafted from brick.
Proficiency with painter’s supplies represents your ability to paint and draw. You also acquire an understanding of art history, which can aid you in examining works of art.
Potter’s tools are used to create a variety of ceramic objects, most typically pots and similar vessels.
Smith’s tools allow you to work metal, heating it to alter its shape, repair damage, or work raw ingots into useful items.
Whether it's body paint or actual needlework, Tattoo Utensils allow characters to decore themselves and others.
A set of tinker’s tools is designed to enable you to repair many mundane objects. Though you can’t manufacture much with tinker’s tools, you can mend torn clothes, sharpen a worn sword, and patch a tattered suit of chain mail.
Weaver’s tools allow you to create cloth and tailor it into articles of clothing.
Woodcarver’s tools allow you to craft intricate objects from wood, such as wooden tokens or arrows.
Forgery tools are used to create fake documents
Poison tools are used to create poisons that can be ingested or applied to a weapon.
Thieves tools are used to pick locks and disable traps.
The following competencies don't fall into any other category.
Boating is used to control watercraft. Examples include small sailboats and large elemental galleons.
Driving is used to control land vehicles. Examples include chariots and elemental land carts.
Proficiency in Gambling gives a character a leg up in any games of chance.
Piloting is used to control air vehicles. Examples include a Sharn Sky Skiff or an Airship.
Languages are listed as Language (script) with a descriptor of who commonly speaks the language
Material Plane Languages
These languages are all available as the "One Extra" language option for various races, however it is expected that players come up with some form of justification for more obscure language choices.
Aquan (Rellanic) - Spoken by the vast majority of underwater inhabitants, Aquis is the shared tongue of both the Sahuagin and Merfolk.
Argon (Common) - Spoken by the Seren Barbarian tribes, this is the native language of the humanoid inhabitants of Argonessen
Common (Common) - Spoken by just about everyone, Common is the trade language of Khorvaire
Draconic (Iokharic) - Words of power spoken naturally by dragons, Draconic is one of the oldest known languages
Droammish (Davek) - A mishmash of various 'monster' languages, Droammish is the pidgin language of Droamm
Dwarven (Davek) - A regional language shared by the clans of the Mror Holds, House Kundarak bank records are kept in Dwarven.
Elven (Rellanic) - An regional language dating back to the Elves time on Xen'drik, Elven has been carefully preserved by the Elven Academy on Aeranel.
Giant (Rellanic) - Rare in Khorvaire, Giant is the dominant language on Xen'drik, both written in the ruins of the Giant's ancient empire and preserved by the Drow.
Gnomish (Davek) A regional language spoken within Zilargo, Gnomish is used in the official documentation and records of the kingdom
Goblin (Davek) - While currently associated with the Goblin underclass, the Dhakaani Empire used to rule the continent of Khorvaire.
Halfling (Common) A regional language of the Talenta plains, many of the old clan stories are only told in Halfling.
Khyber (Davek) - Also referred to as "Undercommon", Khyber is the shared language of the dark and dangerous denizens that live below the surface.
Quorar (Supernal) - Spoken by the Inspired, Quorar is the language reserved for the high class of Riedra.
Riedran (Old Common) - The common language of the ordinary citizens of Riedra, it shares a number of cognates with Common due to their shared heritage.
Stonespeech (Davek) - The secret language of House Sivis, Stonespeech is the cryptographic language used for modern communication in Khorvaire.
These languages, by default, are not available to players at level 1, however they may be learned learned later.
Amarinthe (Supernal) - Amarinthe is the language shared by the inhabitants of Dolurrh, Irian, and Mabar
Axial (Supernal) - Axial is spoken by the inhabitants of Daanvi and Kythri
Daelkyr (Supernal) - Not so much a language as a reference to the insane sounds made by creatures from the plane of Xoriat
Elemental (Supernal) - Elemental is the language of the residents of Fernia and Risia
Primal (Sylvan) - Primal is the primary language of the residents of Thelanis and Lammania, however many residents of Thelanis have picked up a number of mortal languages from their play things.
Primordial (Supernal) - As close to common as any planar language, spoken Primordial can be understood by all creatures as it is the fundamental words of creation, but reading, writing, and speaking require specific understanding
Celestial (Supernal) - Celestial is the language spoken by the inhabitants of Shavarath and Syrania
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