The grand finale of Dark Sun Encounters: Fury of the Wastewalker is finally here. For 15 weeks now, our dauntless party has been chased across Athas by the furious Wastewalker. They started oh so long ago as the only survivors of a freak storm, but as they fled across the desert seeking shelter, they realized the storm was more than it appeared. It was tracking them, herding them towards its allies, the sun-baked reptilians of the region. With reptilians, sussurans, silt runners, and the obsidian storm hot on their heels, they found a cave entrance in the Ringing Mountains. A new leg of their journey began as they explored the ancient tomb and searched for a way to escape. After defeating the undead horrors (and bunnies) they emerged on the far side of the mountain range, in a forested land of legend. They were instantly captured by the cannibal Halflings who protected and defended this preserved land. They escaped the Halflings, fought the weird denizens of this wet land while trying to escape back over to their side of the mountains. After 15 weeks on the run, just outside the gates of safety and refuge, the capital city of Tyr, they were confronted by the wrath of the Wastewalker in all his fury.
Due to vagaries of existence, only four players were able to attend the final episode, and their characters were Phye II, Yuka the Strongman, Navarra the Wizardess, and Kindrock the unkillable. For those I have had the pleasure of dming for this season, thanks for the great times, I look forward to future opportunities to kill your characters. (I will also be DMing season 3 of Encounters at a new location starting next week, hint hint.)
Over the course of this season I have had the pleasure for DMing for nine or so regular players. Another five or six played once or twice, most of whom were friends of other players or had found their way to my table somehow or another. Many of these people had never played the game before and I feel like my chance to teach the game and to show how much fun it can be has helped add new players to our hobby. For this I am grateful, and satisfied that I am helping expand the hobby I love. A few others, after playing at my table, have gone on to become DMs themselves, and for this I am doubly pleased: I was once one of those players who saw the chance to guide a group of unique individuals on a journey through the imagination, to create and populate worlds of my own, and to describe in great gory detail every piercing, stabbing, head-exploding, worlds-colliding moment of that journey. What could be better?
Only one thing stood before the heroes and their destination, the Wastewlker and his allies, arrayed before them for battle.
Yuka. Brawler, strong-man, wrestler. He could push a mountain with the right footwear. He has torn spiders off ceilings, and ridden them crashing to the floor like subterranean rodeo. He has grappled dust devils of living swirling stones and shards. He has grabbed lizard men and thrown them from their rocky perches. He is Yuka, indomitable. No one passes Yuka without a swing of his weapon. He may not always hit, but he ALWAYS has a presence. And he has not fallen. During the final encounter, he led the charge and drew the enemy to him like kestrekel to a fresh corpse. In the center of the battlefield, he grappled and shoved the reptilian in front of him while parrying the one to the side and back. With help from Phye, his battle sweat ran clear until he was the only one standing, dead or fled were those he fought. After his work on the front line, he charged back to a reptilian threatening the wizardess Navarra, and finally stood toe to toe with the Wastewalker, a sun warped reptilian sussuran who had gained control of vast primal forces. A deadly storm of obsidian shards swirled about him.
Kindrock. The Rock. Kindrock has faced every challenge with the edge of his great axe. He has hewed his way through innumerable enemies. Kindrock despises his foes, and laughs at every pin prick and paper cut he receives. Kindrock armors himsefl in blood, his own and his enemies, and he has been bathed in moire gore than any other among the party. Kindrock the statue. Though slashed, bruised, bloodied, and wounded, toppled even, he rebounds to full power like a regenerating tembo. When Kindrock falls, he rises stronger than before. His single minded objectivewas the Wastewalker from the moment the arch villain appeared, and he had a plan. Eschewing his usual tactics, he hurled his great axe fifty feet tough the air. Flashing in the sun as the cruel axe twirled, it struck the wastewalker and in a flash, axe, wastewalker, and obsidian storm were instantly transported within easy reach of Kindrock. From Kindrocks opening move, the fate of the Wastewalker was sealed, it was merely a question of how he would meet his particular doom. Kindrock knew the answer to that as well.
Navarra, wizardess. Mystical, brilliant, and level headed, Navarra has a solution to any and every problem. Most of them involve blowing someone up. She has a magic missile and she knows how to use it. Cool, calm, and collected, she lets her allies charge wildly into the fray, then picks off her enemies one by one. In this final battle, that plan went fine until a sussuran broke free of the line and came hurtling her way with a massive club. No matter, she had a plan for that as well, and blasted him away from her, but even she felt the pain of the Wastewalkers ever-present shard storm and sent her arcane magic to torment him until he was slain.
Phye, noble warrior. Phye was a tactical warrior who charged into battle with spirit and boosted allies with ardour. Phye helped Yuka when he was surrounded, and then attacked the Wastewalker. Phye was a front line soldier as well as a healer, and though the ardent could save others this battle, it was almost inevitable that Phye, so low on reserves, would fall before the last enemy was defeated. Luckily, the last vision was of the Wastewalker meeting his final doom before the shard storm let out a blast of damaging lightning, knocking Phye out for the end of the battle. Out, but having done diligent duty, and performed admirably, such is Phye, noble warrior.
And so the Fury of the Wastewalker was ended forever, and the heroes made it safely back to their home city, wiser, stronger, and richer in both treasure and experience. But all things must come to pass, and so our time in Dark Sun is at an end. As summer ends, and the colors of the leaves change, so must the seasons of Dungeons and Dragons Encounters come to an end, but only in order to make room for something, bigger, better, badder than before. The Red Box makes its return this month, and there is a keep on some strange borderland somewhere and methinks it needs heroes willing to drive away the evil that surely must threaten.