After three years, three months, and eighteen days, my group finally finished Shackled City. It would have been a lot shorter but also a lot poorer without all the wonderful, imaginative additions from generous DMs here. You guys rock!
I disagreed with Paizo's "Adimarchus is wholly evil and unredeemable" dictate in the last adventure. That sort of thing does not sit well with my happy ending-loving party. Reinstatement into the ranks of heaven didn't seem right, either. And the whole "Adimarchus is dead and you're all done now!" was pretty abrupt. Here's what we did.
The party remembered even before the final fight that he'd reappear lying in state on Occipitus, so after killing him in Skullrot, they placed the body into bags of holding and rested up prior to a trip to Occipitus to dispose of the bodies in the pillar of fire.
When they arrived in Occipitus (with Nidrama in the party), I used Delvesdeep's dream sequences as a basis for the exposition of Adimarchus' fall, all created from the stuff of Occipitus by his restless, insane spirit. They appeared not in an osseous forest or celestial wreckage, but in a green, sunny field with an angelic Adimarchus beseiged by hordes of demons. They promptly decided to aid the lone figure and wiped the floor with the demon horde. Adimarchus thereby began indifferent to them and they won a VP by making him so. Once Addy saw his lost love Nidrama, the scene shifted, mirroring Adimarchus' memories, to effectively a stage setting of the Nidrama/Adimarchus meeting on Celestia. After a few minutes of talk and role play, he'd frown, shake is head, and say, "Wait, that's not right," and the scene would dissolve to the next one. So, in this case, two "angels" formed right behind him, sprouting from the ground but obviously formed by it, and attempted to arrest him.
They did all the right things to make him friendly, protecting him from arrest while urging him to submit to the will of heaven. Confused but swayed by their high Diplomacy roles, he agreed to let them help him. They teleported to the base of the skull, only to find it looking like the top of Skullrot, where the scene with Athux in the cage and Graz'zt trying to bargain Addy into the trap played out. Again, they interrupted, attacked Graz'zt on his behalf, removed Athux from the cage (and boy were they surprised when he transformed to a mini-Graz'zt) and kept Addy cool through the whole thing. Once both aspects were dead, he came to himself for a brief time and led the way into the skull, asking their advice on what to do next.
They voted that he should make things right with heaven and submit to their justice. They hadn't missed a single VP in the whole thing, so he agreed. They offered to plane shift him to Celestia (though I don't think any of them had the key to the plane so I'm not sure what they were planning?). He said he had a better way and would try to repair the damage he'd caused if they let him. They agreed, and he stepped into the pillar of fire. As he immolated, the flames licking his body changed from red to white, and white flame slowly grew in the red pillar until the entire thing roared white. The skull became filled with blinding white light. Eventually, the light faded, the roaring diminshed, and the pillar dwindled to nothing. They looked around to find themselves on a green hillside in Celestia, the Cathedral of feathers barely visible a long way downhill from them. There was no sign of Adimarchus. A host of angels (and eventually a few deities) gathered and told the party he'd given up his substance to rejoin the fallen parts of Celestia to the realm, his substance returning to the stuff of Celestia in the process. Their gods met with them and they were thanked and rewarded. I'm asking for a synopsis from each of what their character would want to do after their return to Cauldron (and all of them elected to return even when offered a free trip to paradise). We'll meet over dinner next week and wrap up their life stories.
It went amazingly well. I had three outcomes planned based on their VP's from the various scenes:
1. Rekill both his forms and dump them into the fire.
2. Get him to a neutral state where he'd agree to call off any wars on heaven or the material plane but would remain in Occipitus and war with his fellow demons (remain fallen).
3. Rejoin the celestial realms, giving himself in the process (best redemption I could see him having).
Addy even rolled a nat 20 on his petition to heaven to allow scenario 3! I guess it was destiny.
The stuff formed from Occipitus was not real, so did not have the same properties as the original. The baddies could do only what Addy could do himself either fallen or in a good form. I took his angelic form from the AP and transformed it to good powers/spells (with a longsword and shield rather than the claw and whip). Graz'zt and Athux came from Hordes of the Abyss, modified to only be able to do what Addy could do magically. Physically, I left 'em alone, since he could create what he damned well pleased from his own plane.
Many thanks to everyone here who contributes in any way. My players are walking on air, and I owe a whole lot of the campaign's success to your additions, questions, answers, and opinions. I hope the above might give others ideas for their own campaigns. I even thank the Paizo booth guys who hard-sold me into buying the hardcopy at Gencon all those years ago. Thanks again! :-D