Present for this session were Aeoth, Valian, Vanilla Gold, and Fradd.
As has become the norm (I think this is a feature of the real-time/downtime D&D campaign), this session began with the players trying to decide what to do.
In a recent session, the players made a wager with Dawn Age Pervert (a "patron"--my term for NPCs who's downtime is being managed by someone other than me). The terms of this wager were fairly simple. If the PCs kill a mindflayer before DAP, the PCs get ownership of Skullport. If DAP kills the mindflayer before the PCs, DAP gets possession of Barrelriders (the player owned tavern/ home-base). The problem is that this mindflayer has eluded both the PCs and DAP, and is hiding somewhere on the Astral Plane. I think the players briefly considered following up on this lead, but they had another hook closer to Waterdeep they also wanted to pursue first--finding and killing the Baron of Blood. Last week they delved a bit into the Baron of Blood's lair and discovered that the Baron was the one behind the drug trade in Waterdeep. Running a skooma manufacturing operation on the third level of his lair. During that session, the players killed the vampire who was manufacturing skooma for the Baron--which in turn provoked the Baron into sending nightmares against Aeoth the Paladin, and kidnapping Fradd and replacing him with a disguised lieutenant (the Medusa).
The party was about to set off when Father Earendil came into Barrelriders asking for their help. Specifically he told them that his church had been robbed during the past week--the entire weekly collection of 12,800 gold had been taken without a trace from the traditional sylvan rite on Sunday. The party told Father Earendil they would get around to looking into it eventually--but they asked him to first accompany them to take out the Baron of Blood. Father Earendil agreed, somewhat reluctantly, hoping that the party would quickly be able to help him recover the stolen collection.
So the party decided they would head off to the Baron of Blood's lair. So they asked Fradd to teleport them in--and asked if they could borrow his sunsword. But Fradd was acting extremely suspiciously. He didn't seem to know where the sunsword was, and he also told them he couldn't teleport them into the Baron of Blood's lair because he didn't want to. The party interrogated Fradd for a while, and decided to just go to the Baron of Blood's lair through the sewers. As they were on their way there, they noticed that Fradd was following them. The party decided that enough was enough, and they would cast zone of truth on him to try to force him to tell them what was going on. As the Paladin was preparing to cast the spell, he caught a strange glint in "Fradd's" eye, and started turning to stone. The rest of the group was confused for a few moments until Father Earendil cast "dispel magic" revealing that "Fradd" was really the medusa in disguise.
The party fought and killed the medusa relatively quickly. So after a breather, they decided to head onwards to put an end to the Baron of Blood once and for all. As they drew near to where they suspected his lair was, they noticed 5 creatures barring their way. These creatures seemed hostile, and immediately initated combat.
During the first round of combat, Aeoth used his ability to detect evil--which revealed that there was another undead coming at the group from behind. Aeoth and Valian held off the 5 vampire spawn on the front line. But that round it became apparent that whatever was coming up behind was much more powerful--as it struck down several sturdy henchmen in a single round. And then just vanished.
A very tense combat ensued, with Aeoth and Valian managing to fend off the attacks from the vampire spawn while their backline got decimated by an obviously very powerful melee opponent who kept blinking away after striking down the back line. And perhaps more terrifyingly, it was apparent that as he struck down their henchmen, his blade was annihilating them and this dark warlord was gaining power somehow with every life he ended. In the second or third round, the vampire coming up from the rear (the Baron of Blood himself), slew Father Earendil and put a significant dent in Valian the Rogue.
Another problem became apparent when the party finally landed a blow on the Baron of Blood and he RESISTED the holy damage from the Paladin!! (He had a ring of resistance to radiant damage--what a low-blow from the DM--but this Vampire's been alive for 700 years, and he didn't get that old by playing fair and square with paladins).
The combat continued on for several more rounds--and eventually it came down to a fight between just the Baron of Blood (on one hand), and Valian and Aeoth on the other. The problem for the party was the Baron kept blinking away after hitting them, so they started holding their actions trying to hit him when he blinked back. The Paladin then tried pushing the Baron into the sewers (to damage him with the running sewage, I think?). And the player rolled a 20 on the dice, a very high strength bonus. But apparently the Baron was even stronger--and he didn't budge. And then the Baron killed Valian.
Fortunately, Valian was wearing a ring of mind-shielding--which kept his soul from being annihilated by the Baron's deadly sword. It was just the Paladin against the Vampire. The Paladin hit the Vampire with everything he had. And the Vampire still had two hitpoints. And the Paladin had 10 or less. And it was the Vampire's turn. But the paladin had cast a moonbeam several round earlier. It hadn't been hurting the vampire very much--given his resistance to radient damage. But the moonbeam hit for 4 radient damage at the start of the Vampire's turn--thus putting an end to the Baron's reign in the undercity once and for all.
The players looted the vampire's possessions finding 2 legendary items, a very rare item and an artifact (the sword Blackrazor). This treasure was worth 150,000 XP, which pushed both Aeoth and Valian up from level 8 to 13.
Aeoth also decided to present himself before Lady Laeral Silverhand--ruler of the City and tell her that he and his group had killed the Baron of Blood. She awarded them with a Barony-- the Barony of Zundbridge. The session ended with the party taking possession of their new keep.