Death Mark novel review

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"It’s easy to tell that Schwalb not only knows the [Dark Sun] setting (he is one of the 4th edition authors), but that he’s a fan."

I wrote a review of Robert J. Schwalb's new Dark Sun novel, Death Mark on athas.org


Have it ordered with the rest of my christmas lsit and look forward to reading it.. great review
I thought I missed it but I checked my Amazon account and it was ordered June 15th, lol.  Thanks for the reminder.  I will wait until after I read the novel to check out your review.
NOW you talk! Real Half-Giants, Dwarves with focus... A must have! My dreams comes through! Someone who actually know how it should have stayed. Keep the things that stick the setting together and keep them. Add things that don't bother the setting. Aaaaah well... old memories.
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org
NOW you talk! Real Half-Giants, Dwarves with focus... A must have! My dreams comes through! Someone who actually know how it should have stayed. Keep the things that stick the setting together and keep them. Add things that don't bother the setting. Aaaaah well... old memories.

Canon lawyerism is not always so good...
No? Of course not! But not when it's too drastic like conducting a wedding with the best man been a dead body in a coffin because you actually find it appealing.

There are things that define the setting and some that actually cannot. You try to force them inside?  You loose the essence of what's important to the main point. 
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org
Please tell me he didn't include tieflings.
Please tell me he didn't include tieflings.

Tiefling? Don't know. But it's one of the worst addition to the athasian world. The Elan though, didn't seemed to be much trouble; they found a little niche.
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org
I couldn't agree more.
Please tell me he didn't include tieflings.

Tiefling? Don't know. But it's one of the worst addition to the athasian world. The Elan though, didn't seemed to be much trouble; they found a little niche.

They are not a bad idea. Purism shouldn't stop new ideas to be brought in. Yes to Tiefling in DS, yes to Warforged in FR - why? They can be put in logicaly, if one think about it. There is similar  precedents and plot hooks. They fit thematicaly and flavorfuly.

(they don't HAVE to be common - base races can be NOT common or even quite rare. Like both cases I used.

In my PoL based-inspired world by example, Tieflings are a largely spread but thin and uncommon diaspora - the prejudices, going to pogrom levels at times (there was an imperial edict from the Roman empire relative on them by example - lower class 'unholy' peoples status or banishment or worse...) made them less common quite. The Dragonborns are reasonably more common and more numerous, but they live in the eastern regions more, holding a nation like Burma-Thailand in position and culture, roughly.)

They didn't bring back Gnomes, so it shows they thought al however on respecting the canon paradoxaly.

They are not a bad idea. Purism shouldn't stop new ideas to be brought in. Yes to Tiefling in DS, yes to Warforged in FR - why? They can be put in logicaly, if one think about it. There is similar  precedents and plot hooks. They fit thematicaly and flavorfuly.



They officially have some demonic ancestors, there are no demons in the darksun world.


(they don't HAVE to be common - base races can be NOT common or even quite rare. Like both cases I used.



True, they don't have to be common. Although, there are enough original and special races in Darksun that can fit that niche already (Gith, Jozhal and Nikaal to name a few).


The Dragonborns are reasonably more common and more numerous, but they live in the eastern regions more, holding a nation like Burma-Thailand in position and culture, roughly.)



I could live with Dragonborn if they are VERY well explained and related to the Dragon Kings/Queens. But yet again, would there be that much Dragonborns? The setting have the Dray that cover that part of the draconic history.


They didn't bring back Gnomes, so it shows they thought al however on respecting the canon paradoxaly.



They could not have brought back the Gnomes. Some purists (which I have some part inside me) would have completely ditch the 4th edition because of that (and I am sure it would have happened at some point). Gallard exterminated them. Would they have appeared all the sudden would have been such a deviance from the original setting that it would have cause prejudice.

Orc have been dispatched too, Gith are replacing them. That's the kind of things that really bug me. They need to bring things from other setting just for the sake of peoples that just can't adapt themselves.
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org

They officially have some demonic ancestors, there are no demons in the darksun world.



For me, this is where it fell apart.  The RAW book states there are no demons, no gods.  D&D however is not a strict game of RAW, never has been.

While there are no known current gods, demons or devils, you are left on your own to explain the occurrence of the world, why is it the way it is?

In our world, the Sorcerer Kings hold the secret.  An ancient arcane weave, magic before magic, something so old and forgotten the secrets of it are lost to almost everyone.

Yet in the bowels of the world creatures exists that remember a time before this time, passed down in blood.  Cut off from their true masters, they plot and scheme, looking for a way to release them once again.  A weak spot in the weave, perhaps due to the death of Kalak's, has allowed a faint, almost dream-like communication.  Release us, release us and you will be rewarded in glory.

------------------------------

This is the story (still mostly hidden) to our players, and the justification of why a tiefling walks among the party.  He hears the voice, late at night when he sleeps, the message is clear.  He came from the depths of the world, steps out into the light of the sun, and found his way to Tyr. 

He walks among the Alliance, a common goal to destroy the Sorcerer Kings.  Little to they know, he is driven by the old adage, the enemy of my enemy...

If this campaign plays out (and it may not) they will eventually take down the Sorcerer Kings, and in dong so weaken the weave, and out into the world the nightmare will awaken.

But, there is the ever so expected twist, undoing the weave doesn't simply open the doors to the abyss, it opens the doors once again to all the plains that have been forsaken, including those of the gods.

----------------------------

Now, all said, this is *my* story, it may not fit your world.  I expect this to come to fruition at Epic tier, before 30, so that they can face some of these god-like creatures and then perhaps see what happens when a choice must be made between good and evil.

However, using the freedom I have as a DM, I'm free to make up my own world.  I still do not allow divine magic, I do not have orcs, or gnomes or what not.  Tieflings do not worship demons, they are simply a race long ago born of blood. 

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Now, all said, this is *my* story, it may not fit your world.  I expect this to come to fruition at Epic tier, before 30, so that they can face some of these god-like creatures and then perhaps see what happens when a choice must be made between good and evil. 



I see you have ideas! It's fun to be GM. Although, I understand that it is your story and it's fine because it's how it should always be. Though, it's not my world, it's THE world of Darksun. I have things that make is different from other GM, but what I am talking about is THE world of DS, not mine, the canon things that make is that it is. I did not imply that it you should make it that way, but instead it should be made like this. This is a big difference. WotC have to make it like it should and we, as GM, make it as we want.
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org

They officially have some demonic ancestors, there are no demons in the darksun world.


Hmmm.  The original books stated that "Fiends from the Outer Planes can travel to and from Athas at will, but do so rarely, only when summoned by dragons or great wizards."  While tieflings were not part of the original setting, they can be easily explained if one wants to do so.

People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche

Devil\'s Brigade


They officially have some demonic ancestors, there are no demons in the darksun world.


Hmmm.  The original books stated that "Fiends from the Outer Planes can travel to and from Athas at will, but do so rarely, only when summoned by dragons or great wizards."  While tieflings were not part of the original setting, they can be easily explained if one wants to do so.



Where was this written in the original setting books? Please tell me in which books of D&D 2ed it's written?
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org
Page 79 of the Rules Book of the Original Dark Sun campaign setting boxed set.
OMG ! It's really written. I have to apology then. Although, it's probably the only place where it's been written and to fill the fact that there wasn't much monster in DS at this time. They have to bring some from other settings.

Oh Well. 

No creatures from the SPELLJAMMER™ Monstrous Compendiums live on Athas. Fiends from the Outer Planes Appendix (MC10) can trav- el to and from Athas at will, but do so rarely, only when summoned by dragons or great wizards.




The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org
Tieflings in 4e DS don't have diabolic or demonic heritage; they're former humans who made pacts with beings lurking in the wastes.
Tim Eagon My DDI Articles Follow me on Twitter @Tim_Eagon
I mentioned it in another thread here, but being able to explain away tiefling heritage as "beings from the wastes" or "occasionally demons DO travel here" doesn't excuse the fact that the tiefling aesthetic (which is based on gothic/religious/demonic images) thoroughly violates the Dark Sun aesthetic. You can find a reason to explain why time-travelling Roman centurions with AK-47s and driving tankers full of spring water would find their way to Athas, but it would be a real departure from the aesthetic as successfully established.
Where there ever Demons or Devils in 2e Dark Sun?>
Ant Farm
devils, no; demons, yes.
Bane of Gnomes. "An angel of snuggles is a bad match for evil gods." -Mike Mearls (Worlds&Monsters, p.72)
Hate to derail my thread on the actual topic...

I interviewed Robert Schwalb about his book Death Mark and Dark Sun, where in he give us a Dwarven Racial power for the Focus
I finally got around to reading the novel, and finished it today.

Mr. Schwalb is one of my favorite designers, so I was eager to experience his novel. He did a great job. It was very true to the setting, and an enjoyable read. There were a lot of characters involved in the story, and each was done well enough that I'd gladly read more of their adventures.

Good interview, Raddu. I'd never have guessed this was Schwalb's first novel, based upon reading it, alone. It was cool to read his thoughts on the whole experience.

What happened to my post count? It seems the more I post, the more it drops. Is that how it's supposed to work?

I'm up to chapter Seven and am really liking it so far. I actually want to mark it up a bit for my Campaign, has so much useful information on the Merchant houses that I didn't get from the Campaign Setting.
Ant Farm
Just posting that I finally got time to finish the book. I was pretty pleased with how it ended, though it seemed like a lot of the veiled alliance storyline was glazed over, seemed like a bit of plot hole/contrived point a couple of times. For example, when the Alliance communicates with a templar telepathically just to say, we got your back. Wasn't really necessary.


I actually re read my 2nd edition City State of Tyr book, and was suprised to find so many refrences. The elementals on the tower bridge, and even the Rat's Nest and Red Kank. A lot of the detail the author went through, he has to be in love with the setting.
Ant Farm
On Topic: I loved Death Mark.

Off Topic about Demons on Athas: City under the Sand involves freeing (or letting escape) a trapped demon. So demons do have a place in 4e at least.
thbbpppttt
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