Dragonmarked Houses

The dragonmarked houses have existed for thousands of years. For some reason not completely understood, the common races living on the continents of Khorvaire and Aerenal developed dragonmarks and the manifestations associated with them. Some sages believe that the abundance of Eberron dragonshards on these continents has something to do with the development of dragonmarks, but no one can prove this theory. What is known is that humans and elves never manifested dragonmarks while living in the Eberronshard deficient regions of Sarlona and Xen’drik.

Individual dragonmarks appeared within bloodlines, and soon family dynasties sprang up to take advantage of the dragonmark powers. Each family created an economic empire using the dragonmarks, and the dragonmarked houses developed into independent commerce states operating across multiple nations. The War of the Mark, which ended about fifteen hundred years ago, stabilized the houses and ended the threat of aberrant and mixed marks that might have destroyed the economy of Khorvaire. Today, twelve dragonmarks shared among thirteen houses form the basis for economic power across the continent.

Agreements reached at the end of the War of the Mark formalized tenets and traditions that all the houses adhere to. These include rules concerning neutrality (all houses make a show of remaining neutral so that they can operate in all nations), fair trade and practices, family naming conventions, and a ban on marriages between houses so that the dragonmarks remain pure.

Family members run each house, with either a matriarch or patriarch serving as the chief executive of both family and economic business. House family members form an economic aristocracy on par with the royal and noble families of the various nations, and family leaders are literally barons of industry and commerce. Each house also employs retainers and hirelings to aid in the family business. Those retainers and hirelings who show initiative and promise can rise through the ranks to hold important positions within the house. The most effective and promising of these might be invited into the family through marriage to the young scions of the blood, thus making sure the bloodline continues.

Even though the house blood flows through the veins of every family member, not every one of them has a dragonmark; only a small percentage of every generation manifests a mark. Among those who do, the least mark is the most common to appear, with fewer lesser marks, and fewer still greater marks appearing in each generation. Those who do develop a dragonmark are singled out for great things and have responsibilities to the family that scions without marks never have to worry about.

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