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Family Matters - Forgotten Realms Waterdeep Campaign

Isida Kep'Tukari

Adventurer
Supporter
Session 31

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had just arrived in Skullport, the city under Waterdeep, home to monsters and criminals, where vices were performed openly and the black market thrived. In front of the stretched a vast market, booths, stalls, and storefronts showing an array of goods, some of them no different than what’d they see in Waterdeep, others much more local. There were places to buy deadly poisons (in a booth festooned by fangs), blasphemous spell ingredients, unsavory knowledge, sentient beings, or illegal contracts. The place was populated by shady characters – clever and stealthy thieves (Garden recognized a few), dangerous-looking warriors sporting gruesome trophies, hard-eyed merchants with formidable bodyguards, and fierce pirates and sly smugglers looking to ply their trade at the nearby wharf.

Monstrous races walked heer openly, ogres, trolls, creatures with demonic features, less-identifiable beings you most likely did not want to identify. Looking around, the group even spotted a dark creeper amongst the crowd. Garden was fairly sure he saw one or two pieces of jewelry for sale which had been on the Guards’ fencing list (sent to all reputable dealers, of which Garden took pains to present openly). William was sure he saw humanoid hearts in one stall.

Creeped out, the group proceeded along the market, loosely surrounded by the Faith sisters. While they walked, Garden noticed a halfling about to cut Steven’s purse. A word of warning and the man had weapons pointed at him by most of the group. The halfling let go of the purse, smiled tightly, and backed away with his hands out and open. Delia Faith smiled slightly as they walked on; Garden got the impression she had let the halfling inside their circle to be sure she wasn’t guarding total idiots.

The group had barely gotten going again when the call of, “Longshanks!” came roaring out of the crowd, directed at Charissa. Walking up to them was a gnome with a pack taller than he was, hung with all sorts of interesting things, a bushy beard, and a fairly mad grin. Both Charissa and Garden grimaced, because they knew this gnome: Crazy Uncle Larry.

Every family has a crazy relative or two, and in the Origami clan, there was Crazy Uncle Larry. He chatted to the two of them as if he’d just planned to see them there (unlikely), that they’d likely be seeing more of him (unfortunately), and that he’d been checking out new bargains here in Skullport (probably had too, the crazy fool). They managed to extricate themselves before he could delay them too much, and felt relieved for having gotten off so lightly.

Eventually the group came to the Temple of Beshaba, a tall building covered in broken mirrors, a few black cats lounging on the steps. One of them crossed in front of the party’s path and looked at them smugly, as if daring them to cross. The doors to the temple were open, and the sanctuary beyond was dark, lit just by a very distant flame upon the altar. All aside from Shandri could see in such low light, and what they could see was that the narrow entryway was lined with blackened antlers. With great care, the group walked inside. (The Faith sisters stayed outside, as daring the temple of Lady Doom was not part of their contract.)

The church proper had a very high ceiling, and the walls here were also lined with antlers. An acolyte met them and listened to their request, and later a full priest came out to speak to them, all smiles and slick manners. There was a great deal of things not said, inference, end-runs, double-talk, and reading between the lines, but what was learned and said during the “polite” conversation was thus – the group wanted to know if Geb was here, and if the church backed his potentially city-shaking plots openly. It seemed the church supported Geb and felt he was channeling Beshaba’s power strongly. He was (very likely) staying at the Skullport temple, and may or may not have been there right at that moment. No, they weren’t going to bring him out if he might have been there. As Geb was very ambitious, wouldn’t likely support him openly to avoid backlash if the goddess abandoned him for overweening pride. So, if the group ended up fighting Geb (while he wasn’t in Skullport), there wouldn’t be open warfare with Beshaba’s faithful, but Geb would have potential allies and boltholes.

The priest would even pledge against open warfare, and offered his blessing in the form of cutting their palms with an antler tine and smearing their wounds with ash and burned wine. This was a Beshaban blessing. He said he’d be watching them. All but Shandri and Steven decided to take the man’s blessing. At no time did the priest give his name. At no time did anyone ask for it.

While this conversation was going on, a couple of the group noticed a very large bat was hanging from the high ceiling, quite carefully concealed.

The group finally left and walked a short ways away, wanting to watch the back entrances to see if the priests warned Geb, and he might come out. As they were watching, they saw the bat fly out very quickly, and alight on one of the stalactites in the great cavern ceiling over the city. Wondering who the bat was working for, Shandri sent up Drip, one of her mephit underlings, to investigate.

Drip returned later, not dead or wounded, and said the bat would like to speak to them, and said it would meet them atop the spire of a tower down the road. The tower in question was an abandoned-looking rickety wooden affair that looked to be an accident waiting to happen. Very curious, the group decided to investigate. They checked the door of the tower carefully, and discovered that the door was not just trapped, it was alive! And hungry. They fed it, and then also got it drunk. It finally sagged a bit to the side, lolled out its tongue, and let them pass. The journey up was somewhat hair-raising, with few railings and the whole tower feeling like it might collapse at any moment. The Faith sisters also stayed outside the tower, as that had not been part of their bargain either.

At the platform at the top, they realized that the bat had a rider, a gnome woman wearing bright red boots. She introduced herself as Mirna (Sergeant Red Boots would also do in a pinch) and her bat as Yash. She handed both Garden and Charissa an origami bat, and they realized she was one of the clan. Garden turned the bat into a swan, and Charissa into a crane (but not a good one; there was much good-natured ribbing about her over-large fingers). Mirna said since Garden had sent out messages about Geb before, she had included watching for him in her general gathering of information about Origami clan rivals down here. Fighting Geb in Skullport would be very bad, all agreed, and Mirna said she could watch the temple more unobtrusively than they, and send word when Geb finally left the temple and went to the surface.

Grateful that Garden’s postings to the clan about Geb had born fruit, and feeling the danger of Skullport pressing in around them as the hour grew late, the group finally left.

It was full dark by the time the group returned to the surface, and carefully the group went to the Busty Wench to allow time for a group of urchins to go to the House of Violette to summon a carriage for Evelyn and Steven. Walking home, even in pairs, would be dangerous in Dock Ward at this time of night.

Shandri took great care to keep William occupied and away from the temptations of the ladies of the Busty Wench because…well… some things even William wasn’t ready for. “Old Granther” was a known figure, as the man who had (with Charissa’s help) supplied many bodice daggers and blade-shoes to the ladies. They fussed over him quite a bit, while Charissa and Steven decided to try a bit of their luck and show a picture of Geb’s face around. (Evelyn was exchanging fashion tips and inadvertently helping sell more blade-shoes by showing off some of her own.)

And for a wonder, one woman did remember seeing Geb! She said he’d been talking to Carla, the devotee of Loviatar the group had spoken to a while back about another matter. Charissa went to speak to her. She was currently using one client as a footstool, but if Charissa would pay for her time, she didn’t mind making double wages.

She said she knew Geb, but under the name “Dravin,” an alias the group had heard before. She asked closely as to Geb’s supposed crimes and what exactly they were going to do to him when they caught him. She wanted every gory detail, not just of exactly where Charissa was going to shoot him and how Steven would smite him, but also the destruction of his dreams and idea of revenge. It was clear she was trying to see if the pain of letting the group at him was more than the pain he was intending to inflict.

Apparently she thought it was enough, and after “Old Granther” had been pried from the bosom of the ladies to give her a rather large payment in the form of an expensive gem, said he could be found at the estate of Marfor Lequay, across from the Blue Mushroom tavern (attached to the Green Fairy festhall), at seven bells on Sixthday a week hence.

The group had fifteen days to prepare for Geb. Just fifteen days…
 
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Isida Kep'Tukari

Adventurer
Supporter
Sessions 32 & 33

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they were preparing for their fight with Father Geb in just under two tendays’ time.

First off, William wanted several scrolls, particularly dispel magic, dimensional anchor, and magic circle against evil. Feeling particularly paranoid, he made certain that the magic circle scroll was Enlarged, and searched high and low to find a dispel magic scroll created by a particularly talented spellcaster.

Garden was also feeling particularly paranoid, and hunting low… and lower (he’s a gnome) for some poisons to put a crimp in Geb’s style without striking the man stone dead. (Garden has some standards.) After several days of searching, he found two that would serve, though they were shockingly expensive. One was a poison called Night’s End, which fatigued and exhausted its victim before sending them to sleep. The other was a poison imported from Kara-Tur, komodo dragon poison, which would slow, then paralyze its victim. Those two little vials were to be safely tucked away until the appointed time.

Garden had also obtained a wand of the delightfully long-ranged spell Melf’s acid arrow, a keen spell that would benefit from his training in targeting the vulnerable portions of humanoid anatomy. Knowing that activating wands was difficult for one without much arcane training, he also hunted amongst the job-hungry young arcanists of the city to find one who, without asking questions, would show up at a certain place at a certain time to cast a spell of eagle’s splendor upon him, then leave. For a the right amount of gold, it wasn’t too hard to find someone.

He also called upon the Origami clan, hiring several guards so at least two people could be watching over his shop day and night, both to protect his and Charissa’s investment as well as the lives of themselves and their employees (Nira Darkfire and the three other gnome apprentices).

Charissa got to making a far-reaching sight for her gun (working alongside her magician business partner Marlowe Miccar), so it would be easier to shoot Geb quite directly in the head when she found him. She also learned that purchasing divine bane weapons was best done through the church of Ilmater, who sometimes used such a weapon quality when fighting against priests or divine champions of Bane. Such bullets would be very expensive, but with enough lead time, they could be obtained (she would be responsible for making the masterwork bullets herself, though, as her art was rare).

While she was between bouts of crafting, she did hear a peculiar rumor that someone had commissioned magebane arrows from an artisan in the Temple of Gond. While not illegal, and certainly such things were useful for adventurers exploring the horrible halls of Undermountain, it was unusual and stuck in Charissa’s mind.

A few days after these preparations began, Garden, Steven, and Evelyn received an invitation to the Lady Wands’ home, with a phrasing that made it clear that “no” was not an acceptable answer. Garden got himself a new set of duds, and then all went, Steven taking his wife Ravinica (the Golden Queen) along with him.

The Lady Wands received them in a parlor, which she sealed with magic as soon as the tea and cakes had been served. She looked troubled, and with good reason. Lady Wands was not having a good year, with the disastrous amber ooze incursion at Higharvestide, then the realization that one of her husband’s bastards was out to ruin her family. And things had taken yet another turn for the worse.

As Garden had been doing some independent investigations on her behalf (albeit for some quiet pay) and the Violettes were the leader of their little group (in the Lady Wands’ eyes), she needed them to hear the news first. Her husband was dead, in Calimshan, apparently of an accident involving yet another of his extra-marital affairs. (A tragic case of mammary suffocation, or something equally sordid.) With Geb’s father dead, Lady Wands was certain that Geb would try to enact his vengeance upon her. She had been the one to throw both him and his mother (the illusionist daughter of a Calimshan harem slave) out of the house. Geb was the eldest Wands bastard, and Jayrin had been barely a year younger, of a different mother. They had both been exiled when Lady Wands had still been very angry about the affairs. The subsequent bastards she had been more philosophical about, and they lived and worked on a distant Wands estate.

Lady Wands thought her estates were well-protected, but something else might occur, because Geb had little else to do but seek his vengeance. If the group could put any trouble in Geb’s way before it came to her doorstep, she would be grateful. The group said they were already planning such a thing because of what Geb had already done. Ravinica added she would try to see if anything was happening from the planar side, and do something to help if it was.

Meanwhile, William had been given an assignment by his Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors’ (from henceforth known as WOMPs) superiors. There had been an unusual shortage in certain spell components, candles and small decorated bags, the items used in summoning spells. As it was not summoning week at any of the magical academies, nor was it hazing week for new students, nor had there been any other good reason for there to be so little on the shelves, the items were being bought up. But buy who and for why?

(William had briefly mentioned this assignment to the group during one of their meetings at the Empty Grave, so Garden, unbeknownst to William, asked an Origami clan guard to subtly shadow William in case something happened. William never suspected a thing.)

William checked the various stores, compared inventories (the WOMPs had tapped William for a reason; his warehouse experience) and found that at three stores there had not only been someone in buying up candles and bags, but also fly eyes and chaos ichor. The various proprietors each described a different buyer – a brown-haired brown-eyed human man, a slim red-headed human woman, or a blond green-eyed halfling. All, however, had scarred hands. As Charissa had shot Geb’s hands during their last encounter, William was pretty sure Geb was the buyer in all three cases, just disguised.

Fly eyes were used to maximize the number of creatures summoned in a summoning spell, while chaos ichor was used to target specific planes, usually highly chaotic ones like Limbo or the Far Realm. One of the proprietors had told the tale of how the box he had used to store the chaos ichor had, at various times, morphed into a melon, a hat, his own head, a cat, a fish, and a trombone made of cheese. He’d finally gotten a priest of Tyr to put an axiomatic charm on the box to make it stay a box.

All together, that spelled that Geb was securing components for a mass summoning, probably from the Far Realm. And because he was getting arcane components, and Geb was a priest, that meant he had arcane support somewhere.

After telling the group, Steven, Ravinica, and William went to the Temple of Mystra to speak to the High Priest. After the acolytes (not wanting to bring their superior the bad news that Sir Violette the Unlucky was here) had played a quick game of stone, scroll, knife, wizard, sage to determine who would announce them, they were conducted into the presence of the High Priest.

He listened to William’s account (with an enforced word-count from Steven so as to not tax the High Priest’s time) with grave concern. If Geb succeeded, he would cause untold chaos and destruction in the city. But he was not ready yet, not if he were going to pause for a… paid encounter next week. If the group could arrest him privately, that would spare the political and religious ramifications that could linger for decades.

Nevertheless, precautions would have to be taken. The High Priest said he would have several of his people in the blocks around the house where Geb was supposed to be, ready to employ a scroll of dimension lock to both prevent the incursion of summoned creatures and to prevent Geb from escaping by magical means. The High Priest also gave William tiles of break enchantment and invisibility purge that would activate if the tile were snapped – that would help with Geb’s tendency to curse his enemies as well as his sneaky nature.

A bit later, and separately but coincidentally at the same time, Charissa and William went to the Temple of Tymora to speak to the priests there about Geb’s impending incursion. The priest they eventually spoke to was very concerned about a holy war if the followers of Lady Luck went after Geb directly, and a war with the followers of Lady Doom could turn Waterdeep upside down. But they could, and would, be ready to descend upon the man if the group couldn’t arrest him themselves, just staying out of sight until the deed was done. And also, after the two had gambled a bit, they were given a coin of Tymora, the sign of the goddess’ favor. (As a point, though Lady Wands had asked Garden, Steven, and Evelyn to keep quiet about Geb’s identity as a Wands bastard, William blurted it out to the priest of Tymora first thing.)

A few days later, at the Empty Grave, Shandri had some disturbing news. First off, three of her urchins were missing, all of them in the same ward where Geb’s house was located. Granted, it was a populous ward, but it was also three urchins, and she was worried. Secondly, Brother Sallis, the priest of Tymora down on Sucker Street who used to run the shrine opposite Father Geb, was missing, his temple neatly closed up. No reason had been given, he was just gone.

And thirdly, Little Antler was dead, crushed by a wall in his cell collapsing. Just sheer bad luck.

Oh dear.

Also, a messenger arrived at the Empty Grave as they were discussing such dire happenings, a courier from the Wands estate. He bore a small wooden box, “with his Lady’s compliments.” Inside were six small purple-and-blue chains, very fine, that when wrapped around a weapon or wand or staff would make them the bane of the horrid abominations from the Far Realm. The group thanked the Lady on his behalf.

Shandri and William went urchin-hunting later that day, while Garden, Charissa, and Shell (the lass from the Busty Wench who had been unfortunately partially transformed by an over-ambitious priest of Umberlee, and had learned to use her differences to increase her level of clientele) went to cut off one more of Geb’s possible escape routes. They’d learned that Geb would have six bodyguards, and he’d leave them across from the house during his appointment, in a tavern called the Blue Mushroom (which coincidentally connected on the back to the Green Fairy Festhall). Three of the bodyguards were to keep watch on the house while the other three had appointments of their own, then they would switch. Garden wanted all the bodyguards enjoying themselves at the same time, and that meant making a deal with the Madame.

Garden was dressed to impress in pink pants, long pointed tasseled shoes, and a sparkly, sequined shirt in the manner of the legendary gnome bard Liberace. Attention was gathered, and the Madame met the three of them in a side room to discuss “their needs.” Garden, being fairly good at double-talk, spoke to her about some of their “concerns” (starting with a surreptitious bribe to get her to talk about her clients at all). When Garden outlined what he wanted, the Madame gave the indication that the “extra expense” was going to be substantial.

Garden then began to comment about the mural on the wall, one that showed many dancers dressed in strings of beads (and little else). He inquired as to how many beads were in the painting. The Madame “estimated” about three hundred and fifty. Garden thought there might have been as many as four hundred, and how quiet the dancers could be, even with so many beads. The Madame agreed that the dancers could be remarkably silent with four hundred beads. Then she called for wine and music, giving Garden enough time to bring out several jewels worth the price and subtly pass them to her.

Meanwhile, Shandri and William were searching for her missing urchins. The found the fate of two of them – one had left with a reputable caravan, having secured a job, and the other had taken service in a household in the neighborhood. Shandri lamented that she needed to teach her UPS urchins about letters of notice. But the third one, Marc, had been (according to two more of his friends who ran errands in the area) asked to come to a house a couple of days ago by a bushy-haired and bushy-bearded man with scarred hands. He’d paid the others for their silence, but between William’s gold and Shandri’s motherly stare, they quickly spilled their guts.

Getting the name of the man (Daavid Malk), they tracked down the house, only to discover, to their not-surprised horror, that it was the same house Geb was supposed to be renting. Quickly, Shandri and William called an emergency conference at Garden’s home. They were miserable with guilt. Marc had already been missing for two days, and given Geb’s track record with children (the splinterwaif, for example), he could already be dead. Both Shandri and Steven had duties and needs to rescue him. But if the group attacked the house or were seen there early, they threw away all their advantages against Geb, and also any clean possibility of stopping him before he unleashed Far Realm horrors on the city. It was a case of the needs of saving thousands of people versus the life of one orphan.

Faced with an impossible dilemma, Garden employed guile and stealth. He called upon Clan Origami ties for a major favor that would probably put his profits in the red for months, and asked the “black hats” of the clan to stage several burglaries in the same neighborhood as Geb’s house, and try to find and free Marc under that cover. Garden was good enough to know this sort of work wasn’t his forte, at least not when a child’s life was on the line.

The following morning, one extremely disgruntled and damaged Origami master thief, bearing a bundle of unconscious urchin, showed up at Garden’s doorstep. The thief in question was a gnome, Fulsomeway Richadare, who was operating under the considerable handicap of a withered hand, a pounding headache, and a screaming case of the heebie-jeebies. He told Garden (once inside the protected shop) that Geb had not been in the house, for reasons that had become apparent. When Fulsomeway had snuck in the house, it was full of diluted insanity mist, meant to slowly drive someone mad. Marc the urchin had been in the living room in some kind of diagram, shackled in place, and slowly succumbing to the poison’s effects. Fulsomeway also reported that there was a large cage in the basement, and several bedroom upstairs.

When Fulsomeway had unshackled Marc, he found there had been a curse-trap he’d missed (he berated himself for that), and it withered his hand into uselessness. One-handed, antitoxined to the gills, and using up probably a lifetime’s worth of luck, Fulsomeway had been able to escape with Marc, making it look like the boy had fled when the house had been broken into. (Fulsomeway had taken some expensive silverware as cover, not trusting the holy items on the diagram not to bite him.)

Garden thanked him, and knew he’d be paying for this favor for a long time. Luckily, Shandri would probably cheerfully help him pay it. She kissed Garden when she’d found he’d gotten Marc out, and took the lad back to her temple to see if his mind could be healed.

William, putting his head together with Ravinica, thought that the ritual Fulsomeway had described would make a beacon for the Far Realms, bolstering summoning and gating.

With Marc returned, and Geb’s bodyguards secured at the Green Fairy, the group still was trying think of ways to negate Geb’s advantages, particularly his magic items. Even with a powerful dispel magic, sometimes very strong-willed people could push through the resistance. That’s when the group had a brainstorm.

Lurch. The redeemed beholder who was a resident and poster boy for the Church of Ilmater’s Order of Saint Alphone! If they could get him to help, a beholder’s anti-magic cone from the central eye was the most powerful deterrent to magic use possible, unless the other Churches of the city were willing to risk an all-out holy war by openly going after a priest favored by Beshaba.

They went to the Order, and spoke to Brother Derron, who tended to several of the redeemed, and called Lurch out to speak with them. (He had been eating breakfast – the offal from slaughterhouses.) The group told Lurch their request, and he asked them to wait while he spoke extensively with Brother Derron. Eventually Lurch explained he hadn’t left the walls of the Order in thirty years, but that all redeemed were given a test. Beholders lurked in the Far Realm, and Lurch could not, with all the good conscience he had, let his evil kin loose in the city. Though he was very afraid of what fighting might do to him, he agreed to aid the group in grounding Geb.

To aid him, keep the populace from panicking at the sight of him, and to not let Geb know Lurch was around, the group retired back to William’s uncle’s warehouse. For the price of some empty crates and the hire of some competent carpenters, the made one big crate that looked on the outside like many, something that could contain both Lurch and Brother Derron while sitting on the back of a wagon. They made it so a whole side could swing down, letting Lurch bring his eye into play quickly.

Lacking but a day now until Geb was supposed to be in place, the group gambled and prayed at the temple of Tymora for luck, plotted their plans, and hoped against hope this time they could finally get this bastard.
 
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Isida Kep'Tukari

Adventurer
Supporter
Session 34 - The Fall of Father Geb

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had all their preparations in place to defeat Father Geb. They had members from the WOMPs patrolling the area, and priest from the temples of Tymora and Mystra as well. Lurch the beholder was in a concealed wagon near Geb’s rented house. His bodyguards were currently being distracted by the Madame of the Green Fairy Festhall. Their last decision was a simple one: front door, or back?

Back, they decided.

They went around to the alley, but noticed a man was following them. Specifically, following Charissa’s forge boots, his eyes fixed on them. They paused as they entered the alley, and Garden hid, ready to shoot the man should he prove hostile. The man walked up to Charissa, and finally raised his eyes. He was a young, lithe man with dark hair, and no one recognized his face at all. Without a word, he took off his coat, turned around, and removed his shirt, baring his back.

The group didn’t have to wonder long why the fellow was doing a strip-tease in winter: on his back were some bruises and scars the exact size and shape of a woman’s fine footwear. Specifically the heels Carla had been wearing the last time Charissa had spoken to her at the Busty Wench, when she’d been using a young man as a footstool. Neither knew the other’s face, but they did have their distinctive characteristics.

Identity established, he turned and said, in a low voice, “He knows. The Mistress is in danger,” and walked away.

Realizing their cover had been blown (the group unfortunately hadn’t made much effort to hide their activities) they hustled to the door to Geb’s house. Garden checked it, and they went in. As they did, Steven felt something alarming. His mystical bond with Ravinica let him know where she was and what she was feeling; when she was plane shifting, the feeling became much more vague, as it had been while she was attempting to disrupt Geb’s beacon to the Far Realms from that side.

Now the bond was clear again – she was upstairs, and afraid.

Steven charged in. As the group followed, the shadows of the house became thicker and colors drained away to become black and white. Somehow they had entered the Plane of Shadow!

Ravinica was upstairs, and Steven followed the direction, the group hard on his heels.

What they found upstairs was a large shadowy room, dotted by peculiar statues. At one end stood Ravinica, tall and straight, with someone crouched behind her. The only visible parts were his hands, one around her neck, the other holding a knife to her throat. And the hands were wearing adamantine gauntlets. Geb. He spoke rapidly as the group entered, his voice raspy and enraged.

“Who are you to get involved in my revenge? My mother died shielding me from my father’s curse when the damned Lady threw us out, and my life was pure misery until I came to Beshaba’s understanding. Those children Jayrin and I used, at least I spared them a lifetime of misery. And then you had to go and kill the only kin of mine who ever gave a damn, twice! Damn you!”

Monologue delivered, the battle commenced. Garden shot Ravinica quite deliberately, hopin his sleep poison would work on her, depriving Geb of his shield. He hit her unerringly in the upper shoulder, but she didn’t fall. Just as well, William noticed she seemed to be concentrating on some sort of spell. And considering the group was in the Plane of Shadow instead of the Far Realm and Ravinica had some command over planar magic… she might be trying to keep Geb here instead of letting him get to the Far Realm.

Geb made a command, and four stony, squamous, rugose gargoyles (tainted by the Far Realms) moved to attack the party. The group began to cut through them to get to Geb, by bullet, spell, sword, and arrow, eventually cutting down two. Steven was able to run through first, heading for Geb, and was ambushed by the invisible gloom hound Geb had kept in reserve. It nearly ripped Steven apart, and Steven grimly returned the favor with interest.

Shandri was moving up, as her mephits swarmed one of the remaining gargoyles held by Evelyn’s magic. The last gargoyle was torn apart by Garden’s sneak attack sniping, Charissa’s bullets, and William’s spells.

Then Geb made his move, trying to curse Steven as he dodged around Ravinica. It failed to affect him, and Steve charged in with holy magic as Geb tried to retreat, nearly disemboweling him. Geb screamed, and tentacles emerged from his robes to seal his gut shut. Shandri also struck him with Grapes of Wrath (borrowed from Charissa), as Charissa dispatched the gloom hound (being held helpless by Evelyn’s magic). Garden went in to tend to Ravinica.

Steven shoved Excordius, his sword, right through Geb, who looked up at him and snarled, “I don’t give a damn for your gods.” And then he ripped his own gore-covered skeleton out of his sundered flesh.

That… was unexpected. And frightening. And gross. And blasphemous.

Then Shandri stepped forward, grinning fiercely, and summoned the holy power of Istishia to turn the undead abomination Geb had become. As she channeled and Geb cowered under the last of power, she shouted, “The power of Istishia compels you, you ----.” And what followed was a string of invective in Aquan that made William’s ears burn and remember that Shandri had spent a lot of time around sailors.

With Geb cowered, Steven and Charissa struck hard, destroying him. His death curse exploded across the room, but the coins of Tymora they all had helped some of them avert the worst of it. Charissa, Garden, and William were cursed with incompetence, and grew a pair of antlers. That itched. Color abruptly returned to the room as the house snapped back in the Prime Material Plane. Searching the house, they found not only Geb’s personal magical items, which were formidable, but also a goodly deal of gold, and several globes of insanity mist, not to mention a whole small room plastered with the various doings and dealings of his criminal enterprise.

Ravinica explained that she had been trying to disable the beacon to the Far Realm from the Shadow Plane and could see Geb about to try to activate it, so she forced the plane shift, but had to concentrate to hold it. If the party hadn’t arrived, things might have gone very badly for her.

Outside, the group found several small groups of various arcanists, conspirators of Geb, had been rounded up by the WOMPs and the Churches of Mystra and Tymora, and were being watched by Lurch’s antimagic eye. Without Geb’s bodyguards being able to give them a signal, they hadn’t been sure when to cast their spells, and hence all those whom the party had called were able to round them up before damage was done.

Carla was still missing, and Ravinica wouldn’t have the strength to plane shift again for two days, though the group searched the house thoroughly for any sign of her. (She turned up two days later in the Plane of Shadow, having hid herself in a small cupboard during the initial plane shift. She suffered greatly for Loviatar.)

The group also tried to figure out a way to get word back to the Temple of Beshaba about Geb’s final words, so as to avoid having others come after them for killing him. Garden, in his guise of “Old Granther,” said he would leave a message at the Monster’s Head, though all of them should be on guard.

The group was invited to the Lady Wands’ estate the next day. She thanked them sincerely for all they had done; she admitted she had made a terrible mistake when she’d thrown Geb and Jayrin out of the house, and it had nearly ruined her family. The group had stepped in of their own accord to save them, and she was grateful. She wanted to reward them. As she knew William wanted to create a magical communication device, she agreed to fund his research towards that end. Charissa wanted to do research into Grapes of Wrath and how it was made. Evelyn wanted to make a line of “magewear” for the Wands, so that such a powerful family would be seen wearing clothes from the Violette fashion house. The others were thinking on their rewards, considering on how best to put such a favor.

Then, six months later, things begin again…

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Garden's player was out of town for six weeks, so we're doing a short campaign to fill in the gaps - Eberron - Dragonflies in the War Garden of Sulatar
 
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