The Treachery of Thronehold
The Thirteen dragonmarked houses are by all account among the greatest power players in all of Khorvaire. Each family was built around the bloodline of those who manifested one specific dragonmark, the magic of which granted its bearers a distinct competitive advantage in certains aspects of trade and commerce. Unlike many other factions, the dragonmarked houses remained mostly neutral during the Last War, offering their services to all who could afford them. This meant that while others were expending all the ressources they had, the dragonmarked houses grew even more influent. Today, all of them are colossal enterprises with near monopoly in their field of specialization. Still, they enjoy a mostly positive reputation, for they are also patrons ofthe arts, sponsors of scholarship and expedition, and they’ve brought about magical and technological innovations that have enhanced the lifestyle of almost every Khorvairians.
Founded by humans bearing the Mark of Making, House Cannith includes some of the best alchemists, artificers, and mundane crafters in the world. It is responsible for the creation of the warforged, as well as the elemental airships (in collaboration with House Lyrandar) and the ligntning rail (in collaboration with House Orien). They control the Tinkers Guild, which oversees the maintenance and reparation of structures and vehicles, and the Fabricators Guild, which brings together all sorts of crafters and artificers. House Cannnith’s heraldric beat is the gorgon.
This house is controoled by humans with the Mark of Sentinel. It was heavily active during the Last War, its Blademarks Guild providing companies of mercenary troops to all sides. Today, the need for mercenaries has lessened, but buisness is blooming for the the Defenders Guild, Khorvaire’s first bodyguard supplier. House Deneith is also responsible for the Sentinel Marshals, whose duty it is to chase down criminals who flee across international borders. The house’s heraldric beast is the chimera.
This house is ruled by halflings with the Mark of Hospitality. The house maintains and licenses inns, restaurants, through its Hostelers Guild. Their establishments range from roadside canteens to the most luxurious palaces in the Five Nations, and provide safe haven to anyone who needs to be on the run, be they secret agents, merchants. deserers, fugitives, or travelers of all sorts. House Ghallanda’s heraldric beast is the blink dog.
House Jorasco was founded by halfling who bore the Mark of Healing. The Last War, with its battlefield wounds by the thousand and frequent epidemics meant business like never before for this dragonmarked house. Today, the Healers Guild maintains a number of hospitals and clinics all across Khorvaire, where they use alchemy, herbalism, and healing talents both mundane and magical to treat everything from contagious diseases to broken bones to mental illness. House Jorasco’s heraldric beast is the griffon.
House Kundarak is responsible for much of the commerce that now takes place on Khorvaire. Thanks to the Mark of Warding, the dwarves of House Kundarak can offer clients of the Warding Guild some of the safest vaults in the known world. Kundarak locks and traos are renowned throughout the land. As for the Banking Guild, it offers letters of credit and moneychanging services, in addition to being the world’s most important moneylender. House Kundarak’s heraldric beast is the chimera.
The half-elves of House Lyrandar carry the Mark of Storms, giving them influence over the air ans seas. Members of the Raincallers Guild help farmers across Khorvaire by affecting the weather within a localized area, while the Winwrights Guild control a large fleet of elemental sea galleons and airships taking valuable merchandise and wealthy passengers from place to place. House Lyrander’s heraldric beast is the kraken.
This house is run by half-elves with the Mark of Detection who take great pride in their ability to detect threats. The Warning Guild includes specialists in everything from bodyguards, scouts, and sentries to poison detection to old-fashioned detective work. While not spies themselves, agents of House Medani excel at spotting and catching rhem. The house’s heraldric beast is the basilisk.
Humans bearing the Mark of Passage hold control over this house which dominated overland transport. Common folk may hire the services of the Transportation Guild’s horse-drawn caravans, while valued goods and wealthy passengers in a hurry might instead boars the lighting rail network. Its sister organization the Courriers Guild takes care of packages, messages, and passengers that need that need to get somewhere swiftly and discreetly, using the house’s transportation networks as well as its control over teleportation magic. House Orien’s heraldric beats is the unicorn.
House Phiarlan is dominated by elves and eladrins who bear the Mark of Shadow. Members of the Entertainers and Artisans Guild are known across Khorvaire as superlative musicians, dancers, storytellers and entertainers, and can be found in concert halls and noble manors all across the continent. As they travel and encounter prople high and low, members of House Phiarlan amass their real valuable currency: information. The secret work of the house led a a faction of it to break away during the Last War and form House Thuranni. House Phiarlan’s heraldric beast is the hydra.
Using the Mark of Scribing, the gnomes of House Sivis have established themselves as masters of communication. The Speakers Guild runs an extentive network of post offices, most of which possess speaking stone allowing conversation between interlocutors thousands of miles apart, and also offers the services of translators, interpreters, mediators, and barristers. Though the Notaries Guild, House Sivis also has a near monopoly on the transcription, translation, bookkeeping, encryption, decryption, and copying of texts, as well as on the authentification of legal documents. Its heraldric beast is the cockatrice.
House Tharashk consists of humans and half-orcs with the Mark of Finding. They’ve been using the mark’s power to help them in the prospecting of rich deposists, mostly dragonshards which the house’s members then extract and process. House Tharashk also counts on a great number of inquisitives and bounty hunters specilaized in locating missing persons and stolen goods. All of the house’s sevices are grouped under the auspices of the Finders Guild. House Tharask’s heraldric beast is the dragonne.
Once members of House Phiarlan, the elves of House Thuranni left and formed their own during the Last War as internal conflict threatened to turn into a fratricidal bloodbath. Also manifesting the Mark of Shadow, House Thuranni remains much smaller than House Phiarlan. Though the two houses have much in common, House Thuranni’s entertainment tends to be darker and more audacious. The new house also seems to be more aggressive in regard to espionage, surveillance, and information brokering. The house’s heraldric beast is the displacer beast.
Human members of House Vadalis bear the Mark of Handling, which grants them great power over the breeding and training of animals. The Handlers Guild breeds and trains a great variety of animal and magical beasts, from magebred horses to pegasus mounts. It also hires drivers and teamsters for caravans and coaches, including those of House Orien which all use Vadalis drivers and animals. Recently, House Vadalis has extended its activities to the cultivation of rare herbs and other plants. House Vadalis’ heraldric beast is the hippogriff.