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I’ve converted our steam locomotive into a Lightning Rail for your Eberron game. I’ve made some basic building blocks to create a custom train car. I’ve finally made some tracks for the months-old steam locomotive!

Below you will find my short blog post, preview images, and some immersive writing by Troy. Alternatively, you may skip straight to the downloads.

Lightning Rail & Train Map Assets, lightning rail banner
Also included: a brass lightning rail for fans of steampunk

You can find an example of a custom car in the preview below. This one was made with the wooden base, the walls, windows and doors in this pack, and the Mansion Furniture Tokens for decoration. With these, you can create just about any car interior that you need!

This concludes our train project for now, but I may return at a later date to expand it with some more fantastical cars. Till then, I can’t wait to see what you all put together!

The ring of lightning scattered shadows across the tunnel’s interior. They flashed and streaked across the train’s metal, varying with the train’s speed and electrical arcs. As it exited into the soft moonlight, pockets of shadow remained in the form of shrouded figures. The three of them rose to their feet, magically adhered to the train’s surface, and began edging forward.
Still air became a rushing torrent against the train’s motion, buffeting and deafening those atop it. The full moon’s illumination was enough to unveil the cars before them, aided by shimmering blue from the front car. Thankfully, their masks were enough to hold back the stench of the city below.
The three figures pressed forward, invasive steps struggling to remain silent. Any loose limb or clothing was thrown back by the wind. Yet, slowly and carefully, they progressed.
The separation between carts allowed them to descend, briefly sharing nervous glances before continuing back up. They had planned and prepared for every step, but no amount of planning could prevent the stress of the action. But there was no pulling back now.
Another several minutes of methodical steps brought them to the center of the final passenger car. The elemental engine cracked and shone not 100 feet ahead. As they moved, growing more hopeful with each step, a brief sound of metallic shifting rung out from in front of them. A raised square of the car’s roof levered open, a pair of eyes visible from under the access hatch. They fixed on the three forms, widening.
Caution was immediately abandoned to the wind. Two of the intruders began rushing forward, lowering themselves to trade silence for speed. The third dropped to their knees, hand tracing a faint sigil in the air. Their fingers tensed, the glowing text held in place, anticipating movement.
The seconds that followed cemented the destruction of any plan. Opening again, the hatch revealed the end of a loaded crossbow. Darts of magic cascaded from the prepared runes as a bolt was released, all silent against the roaring winds.
Whoever held the crossbow found themselves barraged by a cluster of seeking missiles. The weapon’s wood cracked and broke before its wielder disappeared and the metal slammed shut. Feet away, the closest of the three glanced back. Their companion was not far behind, clutching the exposed fletching that protruded from their gut. In those brief moments of shocking pain, they could only look, their focus broken. Unable to hold their thoughts, the enchantment faded from their feet. The wind took them in an instant, ripping them from the train to vanish in the night.
The closest of what was now two reached the hatch, pushed forward by adrenaline. Pushing a palm of gold dust against the rim with an accompanying incantation, the gold wormed its way into the hinges and lever, sealing it shut.
But it would not be enough. Both the hatch on the front car and the door behind had opened, releasing another half-dozen armored crew. Each new attacker drew a weapon, glaring at their enemies from behind goggled masks.
Desperation pulsed in their veins. The first bolts were loosed, missing their marks in the moment’s tension. The two intruders were now trapped and panicked. This was not what was meant to happen. This was not the plan. But the goal was still in sight.
They looked to each other in silent understanding, then turned to execute their final, improvised attempt. One cast magic into the air around them, drawing it into a coalesced wall that shattered the incoming bolts. From within the ring of protective air, the other focused on the engine. A set of traced runes and matching words were thrown towards the lightning, hoping that the target was somewhere within the arcs of blue and white. The sound of shattering glass erupted from the train’s front.
Suddenly, the vessel lurched. The lightning began to twist and contort, a central shape clawing itself into shape from dissonant strands of electricity. The elemental wrenched itself free, it’s bindings to the train broken. Two glowing eyes found the various crew members as it turned to face its prior captors, enraged.

– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy

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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, thanks to our generous supporters. If you would like to use this map commercially, please contact me 🙂

About the author

Ross McConnell

DM, aspiring artist, and founder of 2-Minute Tabletop! I love drawing, writing, and worldbuilding, and this is the website where all of it comes together.

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Published: December 1, 2019

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