A.K.A the session where the PCs rolled far too many natural 20s…
(apologies for the very limited notes – DM)
Seeing the guards at the entrance to the great hall of Caer Cadwen, Da’ni took a detour through the kitchens, successfully avoiding the notice of both guards and the kitchen staff and arriving in the gallery overlooking the great hall. Observing Shah Orcuz sitting calmly on the throne, Da’ni suddenly realized (natural 20 on Sense Motive!) that this was not the real Shah, but an imposter. Now even more suspicious than before (if such a thing were possible), Da’ni leapt gracefully down from the gallery (natural 20 Jump check!) to confront the imposter.
Meanwhile, the mob led by Itrid and Elial had reached the front gates, only to find the portcullis still up and its hoist mechanism thoroughly disabled (courtesy of Da’ni). Two soldiers were attempting fruitlessly to repair it, but seeing the arrival of the mob, were rapidly persuaded to stand aside and let the mob pass. Just then, an image appeared in the sky above the fortress, showing the interior of the great hall, with an apparent Da’ni (wielding a red-bladed dagger?) confronting the Shah – was the uprising merely a distraction for an Imperial assassination?
Inside, Da’ni (NOT wielding a red blade!) thoroughly confused the imposter Shah and the guards by not attempting an assassination (which was clearly the expected action) but instead pretending to be a mere opportunistic thief who’d hoped to burglarize an unguarded keep.
Outside, thinking quickly, Karith reasoned that the image in the sky was an illusion being cast by someone nearby, and as an illusion, might not necessarily be 100% factual. He used his own illusionary magic to attempt to seize control of the story being portrayed therein. As Karith’s will wrestled with that of the other spellcaster, the story became somewhat disjointed – first Da’ni struck out with his dagger, then the Shah struck Da’ni down with obviously evil dark magics, then the Ghost of Lies appeared to defend Da’ni…
Meanwhile, Elial ordered the mob to remain at the gates (natural 20 Intimidate) while he and Itrid approached the keep to find out what was really happening and who was casting the illusion. Itrid rushed inside; hearing too late (natural 20 Listen) a spell being cast behind her, she suddenly realized that the Shah was in danger and needed her protection against Da’ni.
Elial used his newly crafted hat of disguise to become the spitting image of Milara as he approached the doors. The Shah himself (not the imposter?) stepped out to greet “Milara” and ask her to assist in putting down the rebellion – a fatal error, as Elial-in-disguise struck out with his sword (natural 20! 19! 15!) and ran him through, killing him in a single blow.
As the mob stared in surprise, Elial returned to his own form and announced that he’d slain an imposter…
(I forget exactly what transpired here – sorry!)
…Elial and Karith carried the Shah’s corpse up to his personal chambers (which were as luxurious as rumored) and began preparations for a dark ritual with the Black Cauldron to steal the Shah’s sorcerous powers before they faded from the corpse. Their plans were abruptly changed when a dark mist poured forth from the body and coalesced into a winged, devilish semblance of the Shah. The true Satyrbis Orcuz informed them of his displeasure at having his mortal host slain and warned that their deaths would be painful!
Elial cast a newly acquired defensive spell of great power (lesser globe of invulnerability – nasty in an E6 game!), but his smile faded as the devil’s unholy emanations passed straight through his barrier (unholy blight is a 4th level spell – sorry Elial!), weakening him and Karith alike. A few blows were exchanged, then Orcuz leapt out the window, his wings carrying him up to the roof of the keep. Karith turned himself invisible, then shape-shifted into a near double of Orcuz (exactly why, I’m not sure) and flew after him.
Elial hurried up the stairs to the roof. Da’ni and Milara, elsewhere in the keep, heard the sounds of breaking glass and rushed to the roof as well. Itrid and Amalas, still out in the courtyard, saw a devil-winged form crash out and alight on the rooftop under the full moon, and in the interest of saving time, simply rode Ledlow up the side of the keep, the dire badger’s great claws tearing stones from the wall as it climbed. A battle ensued atop the tallest tower of Caer Cadwen beneath the full moon.
Although the true Orcuz possessed powers of flight as well as (as the group soon learned) teleportation, he seemed curiously loath to travel any great distance from the tower. Though he teleported and flew from turret to turret and turret to the ground below, he never went far, and our protagonists were able to generally remain in melee range (the ascent and descent of the tower hastened greatly by Ledlow and by a pair of hippogriffs summoned by Amalas). Itrid struck hard with a holy smiting blow and was rewarded by being thrown off the tower by the devil, but landed without too much harm. The battle could have turned far worse as Orcuz attempted to summon allies from the Nine Hells, but none responded to his call and he was forced to fight alone, one against six. The odds were not in his favor, and despite mind-controlling (still invisible and shape-changed) Karith to his aid, and again sending out unholy blight against all around (dropping Karith into unconsciousness) he was in the end slain (the final blow struck by Da’ni, IIRC), dissolving into foul ectoplasm.
At this point, the unconscious Karith’s invisibility wore off, leaving a duplicate of the just-slain devil lying unconscious on the rooftop. Fortunately, Itrid had the sense to detect evil and determine that this was no supernatural evil…