Khorvaire was a land of monsters long before it was home to humanity. The Dhakaani Empire of the goblins thrived for thousands of years, and it took the horrors of Xoriat to tear it down. When humans first came to Khorvaire, they enslaved the weakest creatures and drove those they couldn’t control to dark places and wild frontiers. Most of the greatest cities of the Five Nations have always had a goblin underclass, but as of a century ago the typical Brelish citizen had never seen a minotaur or a gargoyle.
The rise of the nations of Droaam and Darguun has drawn the monsters out from the shadows. Yet it is House Tharashk that has brought these creatures to the Five Nations. During the Last War, House Tharashk used its connections with Droaam to broker the services of monstrous mercenaries—a lucrative business that gave the young house an edge against rival Deneith. Not all of these hirelings were sent to war. Gargoyles are wonderful couriers in a city of towers, and ogres’ strength is an excellent tool for hard labor. The Daughters of Sora Kell receive a share of Tharashk’s revenue from this trade, and most of these laborers are assigned a term of service by the hags; whether driven by national pride or fear of their distant leaders, they are often more reliable than local human workers. As these honest monsters have become more common in the cities of the Five Nations, this trend has opened the door for their dishonest cousins. The cartel known as Daask first appeared in Sharn in 988 YK. Over the last five years it has spread to Wroat, Passage, Starilaskur, Ghalt, and Lathleer, and a cell is laying down roots in Fairhaven.
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Keith Baker is an award-winning game designer and novelist best known for his work on the Eberron® Campaign Setting and the card game Gloom. His most recent novel is The Fading Dream, the third in the Thorn of Breland series. Follow Keith on Twitter as @HellcowKeith.