Pathfinder RPG EN Publishing Blog: ZEITGEIST, Pathfinder, and Alien Madness





+ Log in or register to post
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    On Call GM
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Rugult's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    189
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    2

    Ignore Rugult

    EN Publishing Blog: ZEITGEIST, Pathfinder, and Alien Madness

    This is the start of a (roughly) weekly blog covering EN Publishing's various projects.

    Shortly after Christmas I was handed yet another gift, this one in the form of a complete manuscript for ZEITGEIST Adventure 3 – Digging for Lies. Really, getting a ZEITGEIST manuscript is a treat for someone like me, as not only do I get to wrap my head around the intricacies of the adventure, but also I get to start pushing my mind to converting the adventure into Pathfinder rules.

    Where Adventure 1 was primarily setting a scene and getting the PCs' feet wet and Adventure 2 was a web of political intrigue and constant plots, Adventure 3 begins to unfurl the greater picture of the conspiracy based campaign with a more episodic adventure. Avoiding spoiling key secrets and plot advancements here, I can say Digging for Lies opens the boundaries of the ZEITGEIST setting into the unknown and alien.

    What do I mean by "alien"? I mean alien in an almost Cthulhuesque way. Things best left unspoken of and unthought (not a real word) of make their way to thwart the members of the RHC in the third ZEITGEIST installment. Now why would alien creatures from beyond the material world make their way to the city of Flint and be pitted against investigators of the RHC? Well, clearly you’ll have to pick up the adventure to find out!

    Unlike standard fantasy monsters (goblins, giant vermin, undead, etc) the alien entities that show up in Digging for Lies required some new rules to integrate their mind-breaking effects into the rules. As a special preview, here are some of the effects one could expect to see from the unique monsters of Adventure 3…

    Alien Presence (Ex) This special quality makes a creature's very presence unsettling to foes. This ability is always active, and cannot be voluntary lowered. Opponents within range will find their sanity tested. The range is usually 30 feet, though is specifically marked for each creature. This ability affects only opponents with fewer Hit Dice or levels than the creature has. An affected opponent can resist the effects with a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 alien presence creature's racial HD + alien presence creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature's descriptive text). An opponent that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to that same creature's alien presence for 24 hours. On a failed save, the opponent immediately suffers one random insanity (See Gamemastery Guide for Sanity and Madness rules). Alien presence is a mind-affecting fear effect.
    Format: alien presence(60 ft., DC 21); Location: Aura.


    Distant Madness
    Type disease, varies; Save Will DC 16
    Onset 1 day; Frequency 1/day
    Effect -4 penalty on all future Will saves after the first failed save. Random insanity following the second failed save (See Gamemastery Guide for Sanity and Madness rules). All subsequent failed saves increase the Will save penalty in increments of -2.
    Cure 2 consecutive saves, all Will penalties are immediately removed following the curing of the disease as well as any acquired insanities.
    Obviously it wouldn’t really be nice to force players to fight such creatures without a little bit of backup, so here’s one PC boon that GMs will be able to give out to their players in order to counteract the alien influences present.
    Insane Insight
    Your allies thought you were acting crazy, but in that moment of self-peril, you saw reality from afar and understood your situation with an inhuman clarity.
    Training Requirement: You must have followed a detrimental course of action related to your insanity during this encounter.
    Description: Once per day you gain one of the following benefits:

    • Take an additional standard action on your next turn.
    • Treat any single d20 die roll as a natural 19.
    • Cast one spell that you have already cast this combat without losing it.
    This is just a small taste of what can be expected from ZEITGEIST Adventure 3 – Digging for Lies. Expect to see the full adventure released later this month.

    -Thurston ‘Thursty’ Hillman
    ENworld Pathfinder Peon


    Last edited by Morrus; Tuesday, 3rd January, 2012 at 07:19 AM.
    Thurston 'Thursty' Hillman
    Freelance Writer / On-Call GM

    Zeitgeist Pathfinder Conversion Peon

    Visit my gaming homepage/blog:
    The On-Call GM


 

  • #2
    Very interesting.

    Let me ask a few questions:

    1. Are there any in-game remedies for insanities gained from failed saves? Is there a way to avoid making PCs become insane cripples?

    2. Is there a way for level the playing field for characters who do not have strong Will save? In other words, how do you balance Alien Presence for Fighters, Rogues and Barbarians?

    3. How do the cultist cope with strain of working for alien masterminds? If you are a cultist working toward apocalypse day-in and day-out, you are likely to become a vegetable by the end of your first week.

    Suggestions/experiences:

    1. The WFRP games I ran long time ago featured several safety mechanisms to avoid pitfall of a campaign finishng after a single cthulhuesque scenario. For example, characters were treated to fear/terror (instead of insanities) and Insanity Points. The Insanity Points did accrue and caused lasting problems for characters, but it was possible to slowly heal them (the treatment of insanities was, shall we say, risky).

    2. Let the player select save to use. Add a flavorful handicap. For example, Bruno the Barbarian selects his mighty Fortitude save, Roger the Rogue prefers evasive Reflex and Will the Wizard goes for the Will. Then the GM rolls for a handicap, a psychic defense mechanism, to come into play if one does make the save. The handicaps would represent minor penalties to actions while in presence of the creature (like needing to stuff something in one's ears to avoid insane chattering, avoiding looking at creature or insisting on using only ranged attacks).

    3. Set a limit to how much one can suffer from a single source. Otherwise, the hidden alien masterminds are not going to be able to build sinister cults.

    Regards,
    Ruemere
    Www: ruemere.com/scarredlands/, ruemere.com/cmpgn03/

  • #3
    On Call GM
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Rugult's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    189
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    2

    Ignore Rugult
    Some good points ruemere!

    Here's a few answers...

    1) There are remedies to Insanities presented in the Gamemastery Guide (typically via saves/spells). It's also important to note that the Alien Presence differs from the Distant Madness disease. Alien Presence bestows an insanity as per the normal rules, where insanities bestowed by Distant Madness are removed along with the disease (say via a Remove Disease spell).

    2) Fighters/Rogues/Barbs are likely going to suffer some pretty weird effects should they fail their saves. Of course we recognize this as a potential pitfall, and thus the inclusion of the 'Insane Insight' rule. Rather than negate a pretty common system (Will/Reflex/Fort saves), we opted to go with a benefit for those who role-play the acquired condition.

    3) Sometimes alien forces have their own agenda, and don't necessarily work well with others... sometimes...
    Thurston 'Thursty' Hillman
    Freelance Writer / On-Call GM

    Zeitgeist Pathfinder Conversion Peon

    Visit my gaming homepage/blog:
    The On-Call GM


  • #4
    Ragged idiot in a trilby. COPPER SUBSCRIBER
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

    Eccles's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Southampton, England
    Posts
    979
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ignore Eccles
    Colour me disturbed... So it starts off Steampunk and within 3 modules you're actually playing Cthulu? I've read the PC handbook (but am being good about the rest as we may play it soon enough). There's no mention of "You're going to end up fighting eldritch otherworldly monstrosities which will tear open your head and spit on your sanity", is there? Should the players not get a bit of a heads up?
    This message was posted by Eccles, the percussive maintenance technician.

  • #5
    On Call GM
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Rugult's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    189
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    2

    Ignore Rugult
    Quote Originally Posted by Eccles View Post
    Colour me disturbed... So it starts off Steampunk and within 3 modules you're actually playing Cthulu? I've read the PC handbook (but am being good about the rest as we may play it soon enough). There's no mention of "You're going to end up fighting eldritch otherworldly monstrosities which will tear open your head and spit on your sanity", is there? Should the players not get a bit of a heads up?
    I wouldn't call this a 'Cthulhu' adventure, as we expect the players to (mostly) survive.

    One thing to keep in mind with an adventure path like Zeitgeist, is that each adventure is going to be unique in some manner. War of the Burning Sky had a theme where adventures could be broken down into simple one-liners (The Fire Forest, The Living Airship, The Obelisk, The Dream World, etc, etc). We aren't quite that extreme in Zeitgeist, but there's certainly unique elements to each adventure.

    The alien influence presented in Adventure 3 may be off-putting to some, but that's part of the point. The PCs need to have their comfort zone shaken up from time to time.

    Finally, if you're worried about this adventure, just wait until you see where the next adventures take us!
    Thurston 'Thursty' Hillman
    Freelance Writer / On-Call GM

    Zeitgeist Pathfinder Conversion Peon

    Visit my gaming homepage/blog:
    The On-Call GM


  • #6
    Registered User
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

    Connorsrpg's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    1 1/2 Hours North of Merric B ;)
    Posts
    1,130
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ignore Connorsrpg
    By Eccles:
    Colour me disturbed... So it starts off Steampunk and within 3 modules you're actually playing Cthulu? I've read the PC handbook (but am being good about the rest as we may play it soon enough). There's no mention of "You're going to end up fighting eldritch otherworldly monstrosities which will tear open your head and spit on your sanity", is there? Should the players not get a bit of a heads up?
    Wouldn't telling players and preparing them for such a thing totally take away from the whole 'surprise' and alien nature of it? No way would I be telling them about this....and yet here is a thread they can read, telling them
    Homepage for all my roleplaying:http://connorscampaigns.wikidot.com/. Includes many GM Tools, Character Sheets, etc for DnD & Savage Worlds.

  • #7
    Registered User
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    13,700
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    8
    WotBSZEITGEIST

    Ignore RangerWickett
    It really is a terrible idea. I don't want Cthulhu in my steampunk! Tentacles are overpowered.

    We're not spoiling anything that will ruin the adventure's impact. So there are some weird monsters; D&D's full of 'em. Just like everyone learned there are ghosts in The Sixth Sense by watching the trailer, but they didn't know how it would end.
    Last edited by RangerWickett; Wednesday, 4th January, 2012 at 01:14 AM.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

  • #8
    As the author of the 4e version of the adventure I just want to make a point clear, since there seems to be some confusion.

    1. In the adventure the PCs will learn more about the conspiracy.

    2. In the adventure the PCs will fight creepy monsters.

    This does not mean that necessarily mean that the creepy monsters are part of the conspiracy. (Though they could be ). Until the adventure comes out, you can check the GM's guide to get an idea of what is going on.

    On a side note I have to admit that I'm eager to see the Pathfinder conversion. I have to admit that there were a few moments during the process when I thought to myself, "I have no idea how to make this work in Pathfinder."

    The bombs fell. Billions died. Generations past. Now it's your chance. Can you rebuild this Broken Earth? Now available for Savage Worlds and Pathfinder RPG.

  • #9
    Registered User
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    13,700
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Blog Entries
    8
    WotBSZEITGEIST

    Ignore RangerWickett
    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewJHanson View Post
    On a side note I have to admit that I'm eager to see the Pathfinder conversion. I have to admit that there were a few moments during the process when I thought to myself, "I have no idea how to make this work in Pathfinder."
    I actually tweaked a few encounters to try to have more traditional monsters as an option. It's weird that PF can just say "Use this monster's stat block from the Bestiary," but we can't do the same for the Monster Manual.

    On the other hand, I took some of your other ideas and made them more difficult for Thurston. To add a bit more flair to the aquatic encounter, I made it so the magic item keeping the water at bay could be moved around, and there were several of them with overlapping auras. So during the fight PCs can change what's water and what's air.

    In 4e, we do that by just saying, "And it works!" I have no idea how Thurston's going to do that in PF.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

  • #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rugult View Post
    Some good points ruemere!

    Here's a few answers...

    1) There are remedies to Insanities presented in the Gamemastery Guide (typically via saves/spells). It's also important to note that the Alien Presence differs from the Distant Madness disease. Alien Presence bestows an insanity as per the normal rules, where insanities bestowed by Distant Madness are removed along with the disease (say via a Remove Disease spell).

    2) Fighters/Rogues/Barbs are likely going to suffer some pretty weird effects should they fail their saves. Of course we recognize this as a potential pitfall, and thus the inclusion of the 'Insane Insight' rule. Rather than negate a pretty common system (Will/Reflex/Fort saves), we opted to go with a benefit for those who role-play the acquired condition.

    3) Sometimes alien forces have their own agenda, and don't necessarily work well with others... sometimes...
    Thank you for the answer, I'm a little more in the clear now. That said, using Will save to leverage a whole new class of monsters against players still seems tad unfriendly with regard to spell-less classes.
    Secondly, you say that there are spells to deal with encounter aftermath. Again, this is another reason why some folks may be frustrated.

    Summing it up - your front liners are going to fall prey to tentacles and Will targeting attacks, while the backline caster will be able to present strong defense and healthy distance. To add insult to injury, recovery is based on spells. That's quite unfair.

    Since you seem against 'subverting save system', how about changing the mechanic to Fortitude based one - chances are, the man-at-arms is going to see more blood spattered intestines in close vicinity than ranged arcane specialist.

    Gut-wrenching Terror (Su) This creature's aura induces panic and terror in nearby creatures. All beings in 60 feet radius lose control of their bowels for 1d4+1 rounds and become nauseated upon failed Fortitude save, DC equal to 10 + 1/2 creature hitdice + creature Charisma bonus. This ability cannot affect anyone more than once per 24 hours. This is a fear effect.

    This somewhat satiric take is meant to illustrate alternative. I would like to stress the fact that I have seen games DESTROYED because authors of a scenario penalized selection of classes.
    (In)Famous mentions: Time of Trouble (clerics lose spellcasting abilities), several antimagic dungeons of old days. 3.0 version of sunder feat.

    Regards,
    Ruemere
    Www: ruemere.com/scarredlands/, ruemere.com/cmpgn03/

  • + Log in or register to post

    Similar Threads

    1. labyrinth of madness conversion 3.5 / pathfinder
      By rich the fish in forum House Rules, Homebrews, & Conversion Library
      Replies: 6
      Last Post: Monday, 7th November, 2011, 07:43 PM
    2. Zeitgeist pathfinder
      By marciob2 in forum EN Publishing
      Replies: 2
      Last Post: Monday, 16th May, 2011, 07:42 AM
    3. Madness in Pathfinder
      By Aspect of Veles in forum D&D and Pathfinder Rules & Discussion
      Replies: 7
      Last Post: Sunday, 20th March, 2011, 05:02 PM
    4. Code Monkey Publishing and Zeitgeist Games forms partnership
      By Mynex in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 0
      Last Post: Tuesday, 19th February, 2008, 07:47 PM
    5. Silven Publishing Releases the Temple of Madness
      By Eytan Bernstein in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 0
      Last Post: Tuesday, 13th June, 2006, 07:19 AM

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •