House Phiarlan is an elven dragonmarked house known throughout Khorvaire, although they are now based in Sharn, Breland due to their former base of operation in Cyre having been destroyed in the Day of Mourning. To the public Phiarlan is a house of entertainment comprised of bards, actors, artists and acrobats though, in secret it is a house of spies.
"We are the shadow- the border between light and darkness. We are not simply spies or assassins. We are agents of balance, and through our dance, we shape the future". -Kaleth Shol d'Phiarlan, ghost of the Serpentine Table.
House Phiarlan possesses the Mark of Shadow. The oldest living dragonmark the Mark of Shadow first appeared on Aerenal. This mark grants various magical benefits that relate to divination and illusions. The house turned this power to the arts of entertainment as well as the skills of actors, musicians, and acrobats.
3.5 Edition: In the 3.5 edition of the Eberron Campaign Setting (page 66) the Mark of Shadow can be taken as a feat. At its least form it grants the player character the ability to cast darkness, disguise self or minor image. It also provides a +2 to gather information. In its lesser form it grants the player the ability to cast clairaudience/clairvoyance, shadow conjuration or scrying. In its greater form it grants mislead, prying eyes or shadow walk.
4th Edition: In the 4th edition Eberron Player's Guide (page 91) the Mark of Shadow can be taken as a feat. Possessing the mark allows the character to remain hidden when they make an attack and miss. The character also masters rituals in the scrying and deception categories and the Knock, Masking Shroud, Secret Page and Shadow Walk rituals.
House Phiarlan was one of the first Dragonmarked Houses to be formed and can trace its' origins back to when the elves rebelled against their giant captors of Xen'drik during the Age of Giants. The first members of House Phiarlan were scouts and bards who raised morale and brought news and information to the scattered elven tribes. When the elves first discovered the island nation of Aerenal, the Phiarlans traveled between settlements as troubadours and mediators. Over time the Phiarlans mastered the art of trading information and made sure to use the information they had to their advantage. Around -25,000 the Undying Court made its first appearance in Aerenal and out of fear, the Phiarlans were given the task of serving the Sibling Kings as spies in an effort to help maintain order in the land.
At the dawn of the Current Age, around -3200 the first dragonmarks appeared, including the Mark of Shadow. During this time the dragons were already at war with the elves and the dragonmarked garnered the suspicion of the dragons. When it was revealed that House Vol was in an alliance with dragons, the War of the Mark began in an attempt to exterminate the House. The elves who carried the Mark of Shadow knew it to be unsafe for the dragonmarked in Aerenal so they fled to Khorvaire in an effort to avoid the same fate as House Vol and upon arriving in the continent they banded together to form House Phiarlan around -2600. The House's artistic skills earned them a place within the five nations and in time the Serpentine Table offered its expertise to those in power there.
The Last WarEdit
During the Last War which began in 894 YK, House Phiarlan offered its services of spying and intelligence to all nations, refusing to side with anyone. Due to House Phiarlan's secrecy and to the fact that they were taking contracts from all sides, eventually House Phiarlan agents found themselves contracted against each other which led to conflicting loyalties. The result was a cataclysmic event for Phiarlan named the Shadow Schism which tore the House apart and led to the creation of Phiarlan's rivals, House Thuranni who themselves, are former members of Phiarlan.
Phiarlan is an elvish word that translates roughly into spirit keepers.
House Phiarlan uses two symbols, the heraldic mark of the hydra and the mask of shadows. The mark of the hydra is the house's primrary symbol and features a five headed hydra along with a blade resting below it. Four of the heads are aggresive looking whilst one is more tame and calm. The symbol represents the artistic divisions within the house and resilience. The less popular symbol, the mask of shadows, is usually worn by members as either literal full sized masks or more subtle badges or jewellery. The mask of shadows is silver in colour and has a stylized design.
The members of Phiarlan have held on strong to traditions. They believe that their greatest treasures of the house are the works of ancient artists. The great works that the house has can normally only be performed by a single person. These heirlooms are handed down by the person who has possesses the heirloom, giving it to another worthy individual.
Joining House PhiarlanEdit
In the past, marrying into House Phiarlan was a rare event that'd never occur more than twice in a century however, the shadow schism greatly reduced its membership and bloodline's diversity. Though the House still only accepts elves, it now allows those outside of the dragonmarked families to join. For a candidate to even be considered they must have exceptional artistic talent or equal skill in stealth and subterfuge.
(The following information is for 3.5 edition campaigns) Favoured classes are rogue, scout, bard, wizard or sorcerer. Phiarlan spellcasters typically focus on divination, enchantment and illusion magic.
Prestige Classes & Paragon PathsEdit
- Shadow Acrobat: Eberron Player's Guide p.156
- Phiarlan Archivist: Eberron Player's Guide p.156
- Elvinor Elorrenthi D'Phiarlan: Dragonmarked p.70
- Typical House Phiarlan Entertainer/Spy: Eberron Campaign Setting p.236
- Phiarlan Spy: Eberron Campaign Guide p.227
The alignment of the house is never officially documented and the alignment given is an educated approximation by this wiki.
- Eberron Campaign Setting. Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, and James Wyatt (2004). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3274-0.
- Dragonmarked. Keith Baker, Ari Marmell, Michelle Lyons and C.A. Suleiman (2006). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3933-8.
- Eberron Player's Guide. David Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J. Schwalb (2009). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-5100-1.