D&D Review! Archetypes of Eberron

Today I’m reviewing Archetypes of Eberron, a book chock-full of new class options for D&D 5e characters.

Cover (Archetypes of Eberron)


Archetypes of Eberron is 54 pages long, incluing its cover and credits and contents pages. It contains 31 new archetypes with 2 or 3 for each Player’s Handbook class and the Artificer. It’s $14.95 normally, which is already great value for the amount of fun you and your group might get out of playing these archetypes in campaigns and one-shots going forward. If you pick it up now the price will only be $11.96 in the Play it Forward Sale, and best of all the cost of your sale will all go direct to the creators during this event.

Contents (Archetypes of Eberron)


There’s not much to say here chiefly because there’s nothing to criticize! The book is beautifully presented, with some gorgeous art and attractive, clean design.

Divine Sniper Rogue (Archetypes of Eberron)



Archetypes of Eberron has a single purpose: new class options for your Eberron characters! As such, it has rather a lot of them. 31 new archetypes, to be precise. Some are conversions from prior editions, while others are new concepts. It would be highly impractical – and likely very boring to read – for me to provide detailed analysis of every archetype in detail. Instead I’ll summarise the new options and give my overall impressions of this sourcebook’s balance and benefit to your Eberron games.

The new archetypes in this book break down as follows:

  • Artificer specialist options:
    • Crystal Shaper. These artificers are specialists in the mystical properties of gemstones. The archetypes borrows inspiration from 3.5’s psion, particularly the shaper discipline and ability to create psicrystals. Crystal Shapers can temporarily removing some of their emotions and store them in crystals to gain specific advantages from their absence. The emotions can also be released from where they are stored to augment spellcasting, or used to shape a crystalline astral construct.
    • Disruptor. A type of artificer specialising in war, and excelling at battlefield preparation and control. Disruptors create explosives called “blast disks” which they can can either throw (exploding on impact) or prime to blow up when creatures move into proximity. The Disruptor can make ten different varieties of blast disk, each of which deals a different type of damage and has a unique secondary effect. 
    • War Weaver. These artificers are also experts in war, but their role is to support and facilitate cohesion among allied forces. They can weave a magical network called an eldritch tapestry which provides a number of ways which the artificer can aid creatures included in the weave. Higher level war weavers can even extend single target spell affects to other creatures in the eldritch tapestry, or target creatures in their tapestry with the contingency spell.
  • Artificer infusions: 7 new options are available as infusions! There are some fun new choices here.  Did you ever want a third, mechanical arm? 
  • Barbarian Primal Paths:
    • Path of the Feral Heart. This path is themed around the idea of a non-specific feral “beast” inside, as opposed to the specific animal choices of the beast totem. Its features involve taking on aspects of the beast, including physical shape changes. As such, it’s a good archetype for a Shifter character if the player wants to expand on their powers, or perhaps to model a player character lycanthrope in a balanced way.
    • Path of the Rage Mage. Barbarians of this path have somehow tapped into a source of chaos magic. This manifests in the ability to wield pact magic, like a warlock. Naturally, Rage Mages may cast their spells while raging and can use their spellcasting to maintain a rage. I’ve grappled with the concept of a spellcasting barbarian myself, and pact magic is as good a solution as any! 
  • Bard Colleges:
    • College of Revelation. These are bards whose minds have touched Xoriat, commonly known as the Plane of Madness, but to those who have touched it the Plane of Revelations. Their features are themed around knowledge, though that knowledge is not always welcome, and there may be a price to pay.
    • College of Spies. Bards of this college are consummate infiltrators. They can spend a Bardic Inspiration to cast a spell without somatic components and weave its verbal components imperceptibly into normal conversation. I absolutely love this. Other features are themed around disguise and persuasion.
  • Cleric Domains:
    • Change Domain. Clerics of change tend to serve gods of chaos. They gain access to limited bard-like magic, can use their Channel Divinity to make enemies redirect their attacks on new targets, and otherwise harness chaotic energies.
    • Exorcism Domain. This is the domain for you if you want to drive undead and fiends interloping on the material plane. Clerics of this domain are somewhat militant, cannot be possessed, and can help other creatures end charm effects and possession. They can also repel fiends with their Channel Divinity.
    • Hearth Domain. This domain encompasses the safety and security of a home and the love and support of community. A Hearth Domain cleric in the party means much more efficient Hit Dice healing, as well as various kinds of protection. 
  • Druid Circles:
    • Circle of Civilization. An unusual concept for a druid circle! These druids acknowledge humanoids’ place in nature and bridge the gap between the natural world and civilisation. These druids are experts at moving through a city and interacting with its people, and can even move through worked stone like other druids might move through trees. High level druids of this circle can even animate a statue or building to fight on their behalf!
    • Circle of Eberron. Druids of this circle commune with the world itself, rather than merely the nature that thrives upon it. They summon “beasts” of plant matter and earth, and at higher levels can transform into a similar dragon-like entity called a twilight guardian. Eberron herself provides energy that replaces their need for common material components.
    • Circle of Storms. The druids of this circle respect and channel the power of storms. They themselves are fierce, warrior-like, and they can expend wild shapes to channel the storm’s power through their own bodies.
  • Martial Archetypes:
    • Combat Medic. Fighters of this archetype are light-armoured, nimble warrior-healers, and in terms of game mechanics they’re the divine to the Eldritch Knight’s arcane. They are rewarded for healing their allies with boosts to their own damage, and can even evacuate creatures magically from the battlefield.
    • Marshal. This is a take on the popular “warlord” concept, and it fills that niche well. It has a number of ways to buff allies, but not in a way that prevents the fighter from being an active and effective damage dealer (features either just enhance a fighter class ability or require a bonus action or reaction, never an action).
  • Monastic Traditions:
    • Way of the Conduit. These monks channel the spirits of the deceased, embracing their wisdom and borrowing their power. The spirits they channel can enhance their blows, let them hurl eldritch energies, shield them from harm, or enhance their prowess in either diplomacy or deceit.
    • Way of the Tashalatora. This monastic tradition seeks enlightenment through honing mind as well as body: monks of this tradition are psionically powerful. They can touch the minds of others and subtly alter the flow of time.
  • Sacred Oaths:
    • Oath of the Bone Knight. The Bone Knights are paladins who are specialists in controlling the undead. There is some thematic overlap here with the Oathbreaker (the Oath Spells table is fairly similar, for instance, and the Seize Control Channel Divinity is similar to Control Undead, only it lets you affect multiple undead but limits their maximum CR). However, the archetype features are different and more focused on the undead theme than “Evil” in general—in fact, there’s nothing in the features that explicitly links a Bone Knight to an Evil alignment. 
    • Oath of the Hell Knight. These Paladins serve fiends. While their tenets put an emphasis on power and control, the Paladin themselves needn’t be monstrously evil, provided their patron doesn’t demand horrifying acts of loyalty. In the lore for Eberron, they’re agents of a trio of legendary hags. Their features have the sort of flavour you’d expect, such as supernatural social influence, magical resilience, as well as n Oath Spell list inspired by special features of hags.
Bone Knight Paladin (Archetypes of Eberron)

  • Ranger Archetypes:
    • Extreme Explorer. Rangers of this archetype relish danger, and specialise in adventuring within the most extreme locations. The archetype’s name might give the impression that its features will be about environmental adaptability, but it actually emphasises the ranger’s daring. It’s not about the ranger possessing additional survival skills, but rather their having the good fortune and grit to survive their extreme adventures.
    • Guerilla. A Ranger of this archetype is an expert in stealth, poisons, and hit-and-run tactics. Thematically, it’s a way to get a little bit of Rogue chocolate in your Ranger peanut butter, the same way the Scout lets you mix some Ranger peanut butter with your Rogue chocolate.  
  • Roguish Archetypes:
    • Divine Sniper. A slightly odd concept, this: the flavour text for this archetype says it “specializes in getting in, eliminating their target, and getting out”, but the implication that they do shady things for their Church, operating in the shadows seems somewhat at odds with their powers which create or otherwise rely on bright, radiant light. Not exactly helpful in a stealth situation! Honestly, I think a radiant-wielding archer would be a better fit for a Paladin archetype. But misalignment between story and mechanics aside, the features of this archetype are fun and solid.
    • Soulknife. A classic, well-loved class reimagined as a rogue archetype. Soulknives can shape blades of psionic energy which they wield in melee or throw at enemies. As they gain levels, they can use their psionic weapons to impart psionic effects on their targets. I’ve seen a few takes on 5e soulknives, and this one is my favourite from among those attempts. 
  • Sorcerous Origins:
    • Blood Magus. At some point in their past, a Blood Mage was briefly dead, and their return to the living has given them the drive to understand the innate powers within their blood so as to escape . The connection between return from death and blood magic makes sense specifically within Eberron’s: Blood Mages may be affiliated with the Blood of Vol, a faction who believe their own blood holds divine power which if studied and understood can help them create their own afterlife rather than spend eternity in the grey wastes of Dolurrh. Fortunately, nothing about this archetype’s features is mechanically tied to the death theme, so is story can be reworked for other settings. A Blood Magus can expend hit points to empower spells, recover hit points with stored blood, and even create a “blood elemental” or use pools of blood to magically travel.
    • Cataclysm Mage. These sorcerers derive their power from the cataclysms of the past, and may not necessarily be descended from a bloodline living at that time: some acquire their powers after learning too much about these ancient histories, or might manifest after a vision or even spontaneously. A Cataclysm mage is obsessed with learning more about these events and sees visions of future disasters; but are they the solution, or they perhaps the cause? After all, their own powers corrupt, and rip the fabric of reality. Some great story potential with this one, though its tied quite closely to Eberron’s lore. If you want to use it in another setting, you’ll have to make a few minor changes. 
    • Wilder. The Wilder is a psionic archetype which draws power from emotions. Emotions, being volatile, mean that a Wilder’s power is prone to surges of unpredictable power. The Wilder can increase the power of their spells but takes the risk of losing such a spell altogether. Their chaotic psionic energy shields their mind like static, and eventually lets them shift between spaces. If you like the idea of a slightly unpredictable spellcaster but aren’t keen on the often goofy implementation of the Wild Magic sorcerer, or its capacity to cause trouble to allies, not just itself, the Wilder might be an ideal archetype for you. 
  • Warlock Patrons:
    • The Elemental. Warlocks of this type bind an elemental to themselves, and draw from its power. Their mastery over the elements gives them the ability ignore resistance to the energy type associated with their element, resist it themselves, “teleport” by flowing through the elemental energy inherent to all planes, and create explosive elemental motes. 
    • The Hidden One. This archetype binds you to a patron who observes and manipulates the lives of lesser, mortal creatures. You become their agent in the world. This archetype uses Intelligence for its warlock abilities in place of Charisma, and has features themed around knowledge acquisition, self-preservation, as well as discovering or creating weaknesses.   
    • The Soulborn. Soulborn are bound to the spirit of a deceased warrior (or perhaps multiple warriors) of the past. As such, they’re a combat-focused archetype. They can add their Charisma bonus to AC while wearing no armour, have the ability to add effects to their attacks, and can ultimately channel the incarnate might of their ancestor.  As with the Hexblade, there’d be nothing stopping you re-skinning this archetype to make a melee warlock of another type of patron.
  • Wizard Schools:
    • Cult of the Alienist. Alienists study the daelkyr and other denizes of Xoriat, the Plane of Madness. In other settings, they might delve into the forbidden secrets of the Far Realm. The touch of that realm upon them embeds a symbiotic entity within their body, and their body becomes gradually more aberrant.Higher level alienists can also summon aberrations through use of the new conjure aberrations spell.
    • School of Living Spells. These wizards make a study of the phenomenon of living spells, magics which have gained permanence and will. They can create a living cantrip familiar, which they can empower further as they grow in their own personal power. Students of this school can feed their magic to their familiar to restore it, and even learn to absorb other magics. Ultimately, they can capture living spells and use their bound magic to cast the equivalent spell.
Alienist Wizard (Archetypes of Eberron)

Whew! 31 archetypes is a hefty collection. In any selection of this size, some are bound to excite you more or less than others, but your preferences will no doubt be different than mine. In terms of design and balance, these are all winners, and I didn’t see anything that screamed balance issues. I’d happily let a player pick any one of them. So whatever your tastes, you’re likely to find that the majority of these archetypes offer something worthwhile.


Final Thoughts and Rating

+ + =    
20 out of 20! A critical hit!

Well there you have it: my first natural 20. I’m not saying this product is perfectI don’t really believe in “perfect”but it’s close. At the very least, I can’t find anything worth criticising!

If you like Eberron, pick up this product. If you like new character options, pick up this product. And if you can budget for it, pick it up by the 17th of this month so you can take advantage of its discount and give back more to its creators thanks to the Play it Forward event!

Archetypes of Eberron is available on DMsGuild now!