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Death Mark (Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun)by Robert J. Schwalb
Synopses & Reviews
Months after King Kalak's death, word reaches the now free city-state that King Hamanu, the ancient and terrible sorcerer-king of Urik, has sent forth his armies to conquer Tyr and seize its lucrative iron mines. As chaos still reigns in the city, King Tithian with aid from the heroes who defeated Kalak raises an army of gladiators, merchant soldiers, nobles, and templars to meet the threat and maybe, just maybe turn it back. It is against this backdrop that five heroes discover Urik isn't the only threat against Tyr and that other, darker plots might very well shatter the dream of freedom for good.
In Tyr, a disgraced templar named Korvak grows suspicious when he learns House Vordon freely donates his house's army to the city's cause. Such an act and with no expectation of recompense sends the templar's digging deep to discover just what Thaxos Vordon intends. To aid him, the templar recruits Melech, a young thief in a crime lord's employ. The two learn Vordon has been creating fake merchant houses to hide a second army, an army that now gathers in the city-state.
Meanwhile, Alaeda Stel, a dune trader and operative for House Stel forges an alliance with declining House Shom, wherein Stel pays the house's debts while Shom sponsors raids against Vordon caravans to draw out the enemy house's soldiers. In the confusion, Stel assassins will infiltrate Tyr and assassinate Vordon. His death will shatter the house and put the iron trade in Stel's hands. Alaeda, bound for Tyr, then signs on with a Vordon caravan, escorting Talara Vordon to the city-state after killers nearly killed her at her fort. Once they arrive in Tyr, after Alaeda saves Talara's life, Alaeda waits for instructions while Talara heads off to reunite with her uncle. She suspects something is wrong and even that her uncle might have been behind the assassination attempt, so she sends Pakka to see what she can learn.
Finally, House Shom in Nibenay, having agreed to the terms with House Stel, places the evil and unpredictable Temmnya Shom in charge of the mission to draw out Vordon's armies. Giovvo Shom, master of the house, coerces the gladiator champion Loren to protect her during the campaign.
As she and Loren cross the wastelands, striking at merchant caravans along the way, Temmnya raises the dead as undead soldiers to swell the ranks of her army. Near the city-state, Loren discovers Temmnya intends to conquer Tyr and make herself its new queen.
As the plots converge, the heroes must overcome their differences, the physical and emotional challenges, and work together to protect the city-state from those who would plunge it once more into tyranny. In the end, Thaxos Vordon lays siege to the Golden City, Temmnya Shom crashes through the city gates, while horrific monsters burst up through the streets. To save the city from almost certain destruction, the heroes must unite the city against the greater threat, convince Thaxos Vordon to abandon his misguided plan to take the king's throne, and help throw back the true enemy at Tyr's doors.
In the aftermath of revolution, King Kalak of Tyr is dead and all eyes fall on the lucrative iron mines of his once mighty city-state. Merchant houses scramble to seize what scraps they can while King Hamanu of Urik, the Lion of the Desert, rallies his armies to crush the Tyr rebellion underfoot. He cannot allow this insurrection to succeed and intends to seize the city’s precious resources for himself. The hope of the Tyr revolution seems destined to fail as the tyrannical specter of Hamanu’s war machine looms large on the horizon.
But fate chooses the most unlikely heroes. Loren, a gladiator pressed into service by a corrupt merchant prince; the ambitious Alaeda Stel who hopes to secure her family’s future by exploiting Tyr’s sudden weakness; a street thief named Melech; and Korvak the disgraced templar are Tyr’s best and only hope. The promise of freedom rests on their ability to overcome the greed and lust for power that threatens to undermine the principles of Tyr’s revolution.
About the Author
Robert J. Schwalb, a writer and award-winning game designer best known for his work on Dungeons & Dragons®, got his start in 2002 and has never looked back. He has designed or developed almost two hundred gaming books in both print and digital formats for Wizards of the Coast, Green Ronin Publishing, Black Industries, Fantasy Flight Games, and several other companies. Some of his best-known books include the Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Player's Handbook 3, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Grimm, and Tome of Corruption.
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