Wednesday, November 17, 2021

ACKS Session 35: Elves in Vegas

Session was played on 11/10/21 with PCs adventuring for 9 game days. Needing 1 day of rest as per ACKS rules, participating PCs may make downtime requests and play in sessions on and after 11/21/21.


Patrons rule.

The hook the Players tackled this session was directly generated through Patron and PC Downtime play. After defeating Ferigno (Deceased Patron Green Dragon Level ???) and Dairin (Deceased Patron Mage Level ???) during "Ferigno's Last Stand" mass combat, Legate Drakon (Patron Fighter and Domain Ruler Level ???) marched on to Ferigno's lair to claim the dragon's horde as spoils of war. 

my campaign can do this. can yours?


There he found a palisade around a tower with dark magicked thorny vines surrounding the and crawling the tower. BriarWhisper (PC Elven Ranger Level 3) informed the Legate that Ferigno's horde was inside the tower beneath the vines. The Legate ordered his men to chop down all the vines, leaving the sturdy stone tower standing alone; bloody pulsing vines dying on the ground.

There was a steel locked door on the southern wall and on the eastern wall were red velvet curtains hanging to the ground from about 15 feet up along the outside of the tower wall. On the ground in front of the curtains was a stone slab floor with a white and brown zig zag design. Jazz music with a heavy bass line was emanating from beyond the eerie curtains.

BriarWhisper was certain BOB from Twin Peaks must be nearby and Legate Valerian ordered the Clerics among his army to Detect Evil and divine for the weird creature. The following happened:

"While detect evil is being cast the jazz music gets louder and the world darkens until all folks of level 3 are above are standing in what feels like space among the stars. The curtain and floor remain floating in nothingness in front of you. All L2 or lower folks are gone completely and the L3+ feel unable to move except heads and eyes to look upon one another. 

A midget in a red suit comes out from behind the curtain dancing very hip. He talks backwards but you see subtitles in front of you in your common tongue. 

'Just missed him! Just missed the prize! All glory no gold.' He then wiggles his finger in a circle and there is a rewinding sound and you see BOB and some strange vine goblin creatures carrying treasure from Ferigno's hoard into the curtains. BOB is laughing silently as he counts all the money on his fingers. He then flies off east. The goblin...things... enter the curtains and don't come back out. 

Let's rock!

The scene changes and you see them running down a strange street with horseless carriages honking in fear and people screaming. Massive concrete spires are here and there flashing with neon lights. The goblins storm a weird place where loud games of chance and being played and claim a massive treasure vault to store Ferigno's treasure. Looking at the front of the building with the vault it has a weird sign that says 'The Bellagio'.

You're back in the present but still in the star field and the Man from Another Place Tells you: 'Come along then,' he opens the curtain, 'fire walk with me.' Then all of the higher level folks find themselves back in the Viaspen Forest. 

Various henchmen and mercs are waving their hands in front of their leaders' eyes saying things like 'you ok boss?' The small man is gone."

Drakon and BriarWhisper brainstormed whether they should enter the curtain (assumed to be a magic portal, thanks to the vision) or not. After all was done they decided to leave it be with the agreement BriarWhisper would return with an adventuring party. Drakon was promised 50% of whatever was found messing with the red velvet curtain.

After breaking down the regular door to the tower and finding the dragon treasure gone, all parties agreed Ferigno must have been a greedy jerk and sent his ill gotten gains into the portal to keep the Lawful army's grubby hands off of it. (I'd not have had a regular NPC do this. It was the Patron player's great and fun idea. Get Patrons into your d&d campaigns ASAP.)

Anyway, I don't know exactly what BriarWhisper told the other players to get them to return to this weird place. But a week or so later, when the next session after it happened was played, they were ready to brave the weird curtains.

What happened was one of the strangest, most gonzo, stupidest, greatest sessions I've ever ran. Mine PCs went to Las Vegas. And all it took was a couple of random encounter tables and the creativity of #Elite Players.

Session Report

BriarWhisper and the other PCs left the city of Cyfaraun and traveled south and east along the Auran roads. Passing through Turos Orn they turned south and entered the Viaspen Forest from the northern edge. They had been lent 20 Heavy Infantrymen from Legate Drakon so were moving pretty slow. A day or so into the forest they came across some giant vampire bats, surprising the creatures and easily killing all but one of them. Daria (PC BladeDancer Level 5) considered using Charm Animal on one but decided it would not be a Lawful act to have a pet turn people into vampires. All bats were killed.

Arriving at Ferigno's tower and the Twin Peaks curtain thing they tied a rope around BriarWhisper's pet owl Shadowfeather (Hench Owl Level Who Cares) and sent him into the curtain. They were hoping to have the owl scout and come back and report back to them what he saw. Because this plan has worked so well in the past. The rope dropped to the ground as if it was cut at the line when the owl passed into the curtain. 

So much for that.

The Players started voting whether any of them would enter the eerie curtain at all. I grabbed a drink. 

When I came back Daria, Gaius (PC Fighter Level 5) and Zoria (PC Mage level 1) were absolutely NOT going inside the curtain. No way no how. 

BriarWhisper, Laru (PC Thief Level 3), and Timur (PC Barbarian Level 2) were in. I rolled Morale checks to see if all their henchmen were in too, of which there were quite a few. None of the henchmorons balked. LETS GOOOOO

Once BriarWhisper touched the curtain to open it all individuals in question disappeared from the Viaspen Forest and found themselves in a mazelike hallway of red velvet curtains and zig zag carpet. Heavy bass jazz music was playing very loud indeed. The Black Lodge.

Players were aghast. They tried to turn around and come back the way they came. No luck. Were they stuck forever? Who knows! They began to wander around the place like the final episode of Twin Peaks Season 2. 

After a while (who knows how long, time had no meaning) they came upon a room with a couple of leather easy chairs, a small table with a statue of Saturn, and a man in a black suit and tie with slicked back black hair and a bemused expression. Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dale Cooper. (Random Encounter roll.)

cooper was alone so they netted him

Timur decided to throw a net on the man so we rolled initiative. He missed. Some of the other PCs decided not to attack Cooper at all. I was chomping at the bit to have Cooper fire off his pistol at one of the PCs but my Reaction Check deemed he would hold his hands up to declare himself no threat to the PCs. Too bad.

"I'm no threat to you. Why are we here?" he asked. Apparently this was Season 1 Dale Cooper experiencing a dream state. He informed the PCs the last thing he remembered was going to bed in the Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks Washington. The PCs were clueless. About half of the players themselves got the references, half didn't I'd guess. But it was no matter. The PCs asked Cooper to accompany them to deal with BOB. Cooper knew BOB and he was in, joining the party for a while.

They wandered the Black Lodge for a while (who knows how long) and eventually came out a red curtain that led into a scorching desert. Climbing over a hill they found an ugly road of smelly black stone Cooper informed them was called "asphalt". Horseless carriages were racing down the road as blistering speeds that made the PCs a bit dizzy.  

Cooper attempted to hitchhike and Timur joined in. No luck. One assumes the moderns racing down the highway in their Prius's aren't too into picking up a bunch of elves and others who look like ren faire rejects.

hoofin it down the strip

After a few hours of walking along the freeway they came to a big neon sign flashing "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada". PCs were finding that subtitles would appear in front of their line of vision to translate the weird language on the sign and from Cooper.

Soon they entered a massive city of towering neon spires that blinded them as night fell. Cars were slowing down to gawk at the PCs and honking and cheering them as they trudged down the Strip. BriarWhisper informed Cooper they were looking for a building called The Belaggio and the FBI agent remembered going there on vacation when he was younger. He knew the way.

Some hour or two later the motley crew was at the famous Belaggio fountain. Cooper stared off over the water seemingly hypnotized until he saw a Starbucks, walking suddenly towards it to get a steaming hot black cup of Joe. Timur joined him and enjoyed the brew.

The other party members stood around the Belaggio fountain uncertainly until some fanboy tourists asked BriarWhisper if they could take some pictures with him and his elf henchmen. "You guys look great", they gushed, "just like Legolas and the lord of the rings!" BriarWhisper was offended these tourists didn't realize he was more of a Poul Anderson/Dunsanny elf and our campaign has very little Tolkien influence and he denied them their selfies. Dilettantes. 

A couple Peter Jackson film fanboys snapped pictures anyway, running away drunkenly with nerdy  low t giggles.

shutterstock,com 553626145

Agent Cooper came back outside with Timur and the party quickly entered the Belaggio hotel and casino. They were in a big open lobby with blue haired old women dropping coins into clanging slot machines. The Players and I were starting to get into the comedy of it all and I described the "local peasants" to them as "dressing inappropriately for their age, with the men dressing in short pants and sneakers like children and the women all done up like harlots". At this point I was channeling the hilarious fish out of water elements of the film "Les Visiteurs" and "The High Crusade" and playing up the foibles and foolishness of modern man as compared to the fantasy Roman citizens and elves the PCs represented. I've not laughed so much during a session in a long time.

The laughs kept coming when Timur went shopping at the hotel gift shop and bought some Affliction gear and Adidas three stripes. He saw a billboard for UFC advertising the next big bout of Holloway VS Rodriguez and he was inspired to update his fit. Timur, of all the PCs now, was the only one really fitting in as far as fashion. Looking fly.

He paid the clerk with 3 gold coins and the clerk's eyes went wide. The PCs caught the clerk putting cash from his own wallet into the cash register and pocketing the gold coins. The PCs took to calling the dollars "tickets" and Laru approached the clerk to give him "some tickets for these gold coins" so he could have local currency on hand.

The clerk ripped Laru off giving him like 100 bucks for 10 gold coins (iirc) and somewhere Glenn Beck pumped his fist for the clerk's savvy investment in gold.

The other PCs talked with Cooper for a while and encouraged him to use his FBI badge to demand answers about BOB, the vine goblin things, and the vault seemingly full of dragon treasure. They used all the sophistry at their command "those coins don't belong here Dale, they're from our world!"

Cooper, thinking himself in a dream needed little convincing, approached the front desk, flashed his badge and soon the party got a meeting with the hotel manager. They all filed into the big office which had a huge window on the far wall overhanging and overlooking the pit of card games, roulette, and craps. Shortly into the awkward meeting Cooper advised the PCs back away. Cooper's "Detect Evil" ability (he's a Paladin, natch) revealed that the hotel manager WAS BOB! Roll initiative!

BOB laughed heartily and the illusion of him being a schlubby hotel manager dropped away. The illusion of the pit bosses and security guards in the pit and around the casino dropped away well; they were vine goblin things! 

BriarWhisper was ready to fight BOB, who he believed to be a Wraith [taking half damage from silver and full damage from magic... who knows!] and loosed a bunch of silver arrows at the tv villain. It appeared to hurt him. Timur and his henchman barbarian, and Dolores (Hench Fighter Level 1 to Laru) engaged BOB and melee and Laru hoped that Dolores hadnt been lying all this time about having a magic sword. She's bragged about it since he hired her some 6 months back. 

BOB in disguise in his fancy office

The other fighter types grabbed silver arrows from BriarWhisper's quiver and were using it as improvised weapons. I made a quick ruling they were -4 to hit and break on a natural 1 roll. This ruling became the turning point since the lesser prepared fighters could still do damage on the powerful BOB.

BOB grabbed Timur and Energy Drained the Barbarian; lowering him from level 2 to 0 XP and level 1. Brutal!

The silver arrow dagger attacks continued and BOB missed his next attack. On the third round I rolled a Morale Fail and BOB Was going to flee; which is very easy for him since he can fly and pass through walls. Yet before BOB could depart the hotel manager's office and annoy the PCs another day, Dolores made a good strike with her truly MAGIC SWORD and BOB screamed and faded into the abyss; dead.

The Players cheers filled the voice channel. BOB was a truly villainous villain who had been confounding the PCs for months.

Upon his death the big windows overlooking the pit shattered as about a dozen of the vine goblin pit bosses were firing pistols into the office from the floor. The party hit the ground for cover but Zaidu the Bard (Hench Bard Level 1 to Laru) was standing in the center of the room Inspiring Courage with a tale of heroism and was winged in the eyes, possibly dead from gun shot.

Tourist and croupier's were screaming on the casino floor and trampling out of the place. Before long the casino was empty except for the Party and the Monsters.

Dozens of the vine goblin things were storming up the stairs towards the office and the melee fighters held the door while Laru and other shady folks were tossing Military Oil onto the stairs and setting it alight. The crazy goblins stormed through the fire and like 30 of them died.

The goblins with pistols had climbed up on top of slot machines and card tables to get a better line of sight from the floor into the office and were squeezing off shot after shot at the party through the window. Dolores was shot in the knee seriously injured, BriarWhisper was shot across the eyes and left moaning on the ground, and MistWeaver (NPC Hench Spellsword Level 1 to BriarWhisper) hit the ground from a gunshot wound as well. Much of the party was hiding under desks and behind couches and such. 

Agent Cooper took a couple shots at the goblins on the casino floor to no avail.

Luckily for the PCs the major losses the goblins on the stairs were taking caused the whole group to fail Morale and they fled to parts unknown into the streets of Vegas. 

Agent Cooper tended to the wounded and saved all gunshot victims from death with Lay on Hands. After which he mysteriously said "my work here is done" and left forever.

Laru and FiveX (NPC Hench Thief Level 1 to Laru) set about turning the place over for treasure or clues.

Laru picked the hotel manager's safe with a Natural 20 and found a pistol (given to MistWeaver since Laru thought it was wand with a handle), a bunch of "tickets" (dollars which the PCs were now calling worthless) and a deed for the casino. Inside the desk Laru found a sticky note with a code to the big safe downstairs in the basement.


The Party hustled downstairs and got confused by the buttons on the elevator but eventually got underground to the safe. Laru opened it with the code and Ferigno's horde of gold coins was inside, along with massive wall covering stacks of "worthless" dollar bills. Timur tossed the coins and seemingly magic items into sacks, emptying the dollars out, and tossed the sacks onto a big push cart.

By the time the party was pushing the big cart across the lobby floor a big voice called out from the glass front doors on bullhorn "come out with your hands up, we have you surrounded". The players scrambled on the mics to come up with a plan. "Lets just pocket everything we can and run!" They pocketed what they could which was pretty much all the coins since they had so many people on hand. Now what?

Timur boldly exited the front sliding door swaggering up to the line of police cars and nervous Las Vegas cops (who wear khakis, as per Gaius's player on the mic) and declared he was a UFC fighter and the other members of the party are his entourage. They were frightened by the crazy monsters inside the casino and finally were able to escape. With his new Affliction pants and t-shirt and fly adidas he certainly looked the part.

Timur greeting the cops "bro it's cool bro
don't worry about the elves  and bags of gold bro"

Well... ok. I guess I need to roll a Reaction Check to see if the cops buy it... ok they buy it. Timur and his "entourage" swaggered past the police line and back down the highway for some hours before  returning to the red velvet curtain. Back in the Black Lodge they didn't hit any more random encounters and they were back out the other side in the Viaspen Forest back in our fantasy world. Daria was biting her nails waiting for them to get back, just beside herself with worry. Gaius was asleep. 

The whole crew marched back through the Viaspen and ended the session at Oakhilt, the Fastness of the Elves, feeling quite successful indeed.


I dropped the Black Lodge curtains into my campaign world because I love the tv show Twin Peaks. Las Vegas was one destination through the Black Lodge because it's a major location in Twin Peaks The Return (season 3). Ferigno and Dairin loved the Vegas stuff and were discussing at various times to go there and raid it or take it over or something. When Ferigno decided to hide his treasure in Vegas I knew it had to have gone to The Belaggio, the casino from the original Oceans 11 film with Sinatra and the Rat Pack. And the Clooney remake iirc; zoomer readers would know better on that one.

There was a time, when I ran fake D&D, in which I'd never consider entertaining the possibility of the PCs going to Las Vegas and/or the modern world. Too confusing right? Too many factors like guns or weird weaponry. How would regular folks react?

But this time I decided "who cares? If the PCs go there I'll deal with it at the time." Guess what? It worked beautifully. Seamlessly. 

The BROSR recently got into a tw1tter argument with Some Obtuse Dork (SOD) who claimed that every style of game needed a new rules system. Want to do modern TTRPG? You need a "Modern Game System" of course. Want Chthulu style gaming? You most certainly can NOT put Lovecraft monsters into your D&D game, you MUST play "Call of Chthulu"! Such was SOD's claims. 

It was and is my contention that the best way to bring various elements into a campaign is to simply put them in your long running game. Don't overthink it. Gygax put a pit trap which dropped into Alice's "Wonderland" in his game and we can assume it was a blast for all involved in his Greyhawk Campaign. Certainly there is at least one famous module, "Expidition to the Barrier Peaks" which backs up my claim.

Good players want to be invested in your game world. If you re-launch a campaign every time you want to try a new theme or milleua, you're shooting yourself in the foot like a goblin with a pistol.

This session in particular proves that you can have a noir style Las Vegas hotel casino heist right in the middle of your regular fantasy campaign. The only people who wouldn't want that are SODs and nerds.

Surviving PCs Present

Participating Vegas PCs: BriarWhisper, Laru, Timur, Agent Dale Cooper (full cut NPC like The Dude) Participating Vegas henchmen: Dolores (Laru), Five X (Laru), Juba (Timur), Maro (Laru), MistWeaver (Briar), Raven (Briar), Zaidu (Laru) PCs who didn't go through portal: Daria, Gaius, Zoria XP for 7 Vampire Bats Killed: 203 [full group gained] XP for Monsters Killed: 1,120 Treasure XP Value: 9,950 Total XP Pool: 11,070 Cuts: 15 with PCs claiming 2 Hench XP: 748 [includes bat xp] PC XP: 1,496 [includes bat xp] PCs 

BriarWhisper (5% XP bonus): Elven Ranger Level 3. 1571 gained + 11,685. Total: 13,256 

Daria (0% XP bonus) BladeDancer Level 5. 10 gained + 15,392. Total: 15,402 

Gaius (10% XP bonus): Fighter Level 5. 11 gained  + 21,828. Total: 21,839 

Laru (5% XP bonus): Thief Level 3. 1,571 gained + 3,093. Total: 4,664 

Timur (10% XP bonus): Barbarian Level 2 (Drained to Level 1) Energy Drained to Zero XP then 1,646 gained + 0. Total: 1,646

 Zoria (?% XP bonus): Mage Level 1.  10 gained  + 0. Total: 10 

Surviving Henchmen

Each gained 748 XP modified by XP bonus (if any)

Dolores (Level 1 Fighter for Laru)

Five X (Level 1 Thief for Laru)

Juba (Level 1 Barbarian for Timur)

Maro (Level 0 for Laru)

MistWeaver (Level 1 Elven Spellsword for BriarWhisper)

Raven (Level 1 Elven Ranger for BriarWhisper)

Zaidu (Level 1 Bard for Laru)


Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Alexa this is so sad play "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin


  1. "A midget in a red suit comes out from behind the curtain dancing very hip. He talks backwards but you see subtitles in front of you in your common tongue."

    I love that, deliciously gonzo! Would you mind if I borrowed it for my new megadungeon?

    1. Of course, Venger. I've stolen plenty from your "purple islands" module for my hex map(s) over the years. But be aware it's a direct reference to Twin Peaks 90s tv show and film. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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