As introduced in the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game Advanced Player’s Guide, the trait rules allows for players to take two traits at first level to better immerse their characters into the campaign. In ZEITGEIST, as a replacement to using traits, we have constructed a system of theme feats. Each character may select a free theme feat at first level in addition to their regularly available first level feat. These feats are not scaled to normal feats, and may only be selected at first level (characters cannot select additional theme feats later in the campaign). The nine theme feats below provide a quick hook to link your character to the ZEITGEIST campaign setting.
List of ZEITGEIST Theme Feats

  • Docker. Bohemian working man artists and performers.
  • Eschatologist. Philosopher devoted to the proper endings of things.
  • Gunsmith. Designer and wielder of custom firearms.
  • Martial Scientist. Educated and analytical warrior.
  • Skyseer. Folk prophet who see the future in the stars.
  • Spirit Medium. Contact and control spirits of the dead.
  • Technologist. Design small contraptions.
  • Vekeshi Mystic. Devoted to the philosophy of slow, proper vengeance against those who oppress the weak.
  • Yerasol Veteran. Highly regarded war hero.


[image=]zeitgeist_docker.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150px|A Docker[/image]Flint’s industrial docks—with their unusual conflux of peasant workers, educated engineers, and constantly-arriving refugees from the wars in the border states between Danor and Drakr—have in the past decade given birth to an unorthodox social movement. Graffiti artists brighten soot-cloaked warehouses with colorful murals and boastful self-portraits.

Dancers and musicians bolster moods in breezy bars, while amateur philosophers giddy on fey pepper entertain drunken teamsters with humorous moral puzzles that often mock public figures. Occasionally these popular artists, called dockers, get it in their heads to start a riot or get a tad too precise with their criticism. The dockers and the city police have each taken their hits in these confrontations, and tensions grow higher with every accidental death, but for now Roland Stanfield, the city governor of Flint, seems to have a soft spot for these tepid anarchists.

Playing a Docker

The docker spirit is not limited just to those who perform in public, but extends to anyone who suffers through hard work and low wages, yet can still appreciate intelligent art for its sublime beauty. The worse conditions get for the workers in Flint, though, the more they turn to dockers for relief from their fatigue. When things get heated, every good docker needs to be able to handle himself in a scrap.

Sometimes a docker gets in over his head, and with a little help from sympathetic bar owners or police officers he’ll drop out of the scene and find a new safer career. In this way, the docker movement has spread to pockets of the city slums and even out to the surrounding farmlands. One popular song on the docks even tells of a graffiti artist who fled to Crisillyir and is now painting cathedrals with subversive interpretations of the Clergy’s doctrines.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Docker’s Jank
| type=Theme Feat
| description=In a band, every musician has to know his bandmate’s parts in case they need someone to pick up the slack.
| benefit=You may select up to four allies to be affected by this feat. Once per combat, each ally may, as swift action, attempt the aid another action, granting another ally (or yourself) either a +1 bonus on his next attack roll or a +1 bonus to his AC. You can switch your four chosen allies if you spend a few hours training with them. If you choose Docker’s Jank as your character’s theme feat, the party’s Prestige with Flint starts at 2 instead of 1.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.


[image=]zeitgeist_eschatologist.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150p x|An Eschatologist[/image]The Heid Eschatol movement began among the dwarves of Drakr, after the scholar Vlendam Heid published a treatise on the myths of his nation and how they continued to influence modern perceptions. The book captured the culture’s consciousness, particularly a section that used the legend of the Lost Riders to explain the Drakran tradition of defining civilizations and eras by how they end. In the three decades since its publication, Heid’s “On the Proper Endings of Things” has given birth to a whole field of academic study devoted to finding the perfect way to end friendships and romances, business relationships, wars, serialized literature, and even one’s own life.

Heid’s disciples refer to themselves as eschatologists, from the term for the study of the end of the world. Their popularity has only strengthened Drakr’s existing obsession with apocalyptic prophecies and doomsaying, and has raised awareness of their beliefs in other nations. The Clergy, however, denies that the dwarven endtimes are near, and its agents take a dim view of Heid’s followers.

Playing an Eschatologist

Dwarves from any nation likely feel some sympathy toward Heid Eschatol, and soldiers who fought in the wars in the border kingdoms between Drakr and Danor often saw enough horrors that when they came home they were comforted by the thought of an orderly judgment day.

A handful of apocalyptic cults have sprung up, and increasingly their members are seen less as fringe nuts and more as just another religious sect. Only a few outside of Drakr actually believe in a literal imminent end of the world, with most adherents simply appreciating the comfort they can find by confronting death with reason instead of fear.

Regardless of how a character was drawn to Heid’s movement, he is likely to give regular thought to the future, especially to life’s thresholds and endings. Every eschatologist regularly updates his will, and pays heed to his companions’ desires in the event of their untimely yet unavoidable deaths. A few race toward death, but most are pragmatic and take exceptional precautions to forestall any accidental demise that might ruin their plans.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Icy End of the Earth
| type=Theme Feat
| description=With the dire knowledge that the world shall end in ice, you do what you can to prevent such fate from befalling your allies. These acts come with a high price, as you find yourself closer to death than most.
| benefit=Once per day you may stabilize a fallen comrade by touching them. You can use this power on any creature who has negative hit points, or who has been dead for less than one full round. In order to use this ability, the creature you touch must have a complete body (thus it cannot be used on a decapitated creature, or the target of a disintegrate spell). Additionally, once per combat, you may summon a temporary zone of cold. This zone manifests in a 10-ft. radius around you, but is stationary. It lasts until you leave its area, fall unconscious, or die. Creatures in the zone cannot heal or gain temporary hit points. Any creature within the zone at the start of its turn (including you) takes cold damage equal to your level. You cannot reduce the damage this does to you by any means, but other creatures’ resistances and immunities can protect them as normal.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.


[image=]zeitgeist_gunsmith.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150px|A Gunsmith[/image]Knowledge of fusils—the cylindrical weapons that use explosive alchemical reactions to propel bullets at deadly speeds—has existed for centuries, but these weapons were considered inferior to existing magical attacks, which were more accurate and had less risk of accidental death. Only after the Great Malice did the Danoran military begin to refine and improve fusils. The latest innovations in these weapons, now commonly called “guns,” have led to their spread into Risur and Drakr, where industrial production helps equip armies with firepower on par with a well-trained sorcerer.

Firearms fascinate gunsmiths, who are not content simply to purchase and practice with guns. They tweak and tinker with their own refinements, and whenever two such craftsmen cross paths they bargain and deal for each other’s secrets. Especially now that firearms have moved beyond the null magic lands of Danor, seemingly limitless possibilities have opened up for the development of weapons that mix spellcraft and chemistry. Flint’s city governor Roland Stanfield is already planning a technological exposition where gunsmiths and other inventors can showcase their creations.

Playing a Gunsmith

Not all gunsmiths devote their combat training to wielding firearms; some just like to have the weapons for their aesthetic appeal, or to take advantage of the common man’s fear of their power. More often, though, gunsmiths practice endlessly to improve their aim, and try to learn as many trick shots as possible to prove the superiority of their chosen killing device. Those with magical training often master rituals to enchant their pistols. One gunsmith, Lerema Kurtz, is said to be able to conjure a cannon from her petticoat pocket.

Many romanticize the deadly purity of guns, or decorate their weapons with baroque inlays and carvings. A few gunsmiths, however, take a bleaker view, rejecting any form of poetry. They just know guns are damned good at killing people, and that life’s as good as worthless when a bullet costs less than a mug of beer.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=The Man with Two Guns is God
| type=Theme Feat
| description=You have discovered the coolest-looking fighting style in the world.
| benefit=You can draw and attack with firearms as if you had the Quick Draw and Two-Weapon Fighting feats. If you attack with a firearm in the same turn you draw it, the attack doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.

Martial Scientist

[image=]zeitgeist_martialscientist.jpg|right|thumb|frame|1 50px|A Martial Scientist[/image]In the war academies of Danor, students speak of combat like a science. Their curriculum involves not merely practicing forms and maneuvers, but writing theses about renowned warriors, or crafting and defending theorems regarding the mechanics of swordplay. The normally reserved Danorans honor the graduates of these battle colleges like other nations honor great poets and sculptors. As those warriors have proven the efficacy of their innovative techniques, the sentiment has spread throughout Lanjyr, and other nations have founded similar schools.

Any brute can hurl a spear or hack through a ribcage, but students of the war academies bring reason to the savagery of war. Often rising to high military ranks, these scholars of battle study anatomy and perform autopsies to learn vulnerabilities of the body, learn physical theorems that underlie the most effective angles of attack and defense, and take time to ponder the psychological and sociological considerations of mortal conflict—from the vast scope and human cost of an invasion, down to the emotional resonance and cultural significance of specific sword techniques through history.

Playing a Martial Scientist

Danor has the greatest concentration of war colleges, but the Banhaman Academy in Risur’s capital Slate has a reputation for elite siege engineers and artillerists, and the Battalion outside of Flint has a reputation for training the best wilderness forces in Lanjyr. Smaller local schools mostly serve to provide pensions for retired soldiers turned tutors, but even they have led to noteworthy theses, such as The Wounding Effectiveness of Stealthy Singular Rapier contrasted with a Twin Strike of Dual Long Swords, which provoked a very spirited debate and even a few expulsions when things got heated.

In Drakr, emphasis is given to testing the physiological limits of endurance and surviving in battle with limited resources, as would be likely in a world-ending conflict. The Clergy in Crisillyir add a strong theological and monstrous anatomy component to the students in their military academies. The lone war college in Ber has a vast library of battle songs, which according to a disputed theory will inspire the courage and attack accuracy of soldiers, though most likely it is just meant to keep in check the often wild emotions of its bestial students. You should work with your GM to determine what your graduate thesis was, unless you left before finishing your education.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Experimental Strike
| type=Theme Feat
| description=Scientific breakthroughs are born of both careful study and wild experimentation. Your old reliable attack technique has failed, so it’s time to try option B.| benefit=Whenever you miss with all attacks during a full attack action, you may immediately make one additional attack at your highest base attack bonus. You must use this attack for some purpose other than directly attacking an enemy, such as slicing a rope to pin an enemy with a chandelier, or smashing a pipe to spray blinding steam on an enemy. You may select one additional martial weapon with which you are proficient.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.


[image=]zeitgeist_skyseer.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150px|A Skyseer[/image]Truly ancient lore suggests that once the mortal races were able to travel to the stars with the aid of lost magic, much like demons and angels can be briefly summoned into this world. But for the full length of remembered history, the heavens have been nearly inscrutable. The druids, used to thinking in long terms of seasons, years, and the lifespan of trees, were the first to notice subtle connections between the movements of stars and the affairs of this world. They too were first to learn how to step through the veils that lead to the Dreaming or the Bleak Gate, and without their aid King Kelland could never have defeated the fey titans.

For over a thousand years, the druids would gaze into the sky night after night, awaiting dreams that would grant revelations of the future. These seers, by guiding journeyers and heroes with their visions, averted many catastrophes. When the Second Victory led to Srasama’s fall, the skyseers read the signs and helped hundreds of high elves women flee their homeland so they could avoid genocide.

In the past few centuries, however, the many orders and factions of skyseers in Risur have struggled to divine much of import from the stars. Their visions, never precise or clear to begin with, failed to foresee the rise of Danor’s industry, failed to avert scores of natural disasters and man-made tragedies. The people of Risur still go through the motions of skyseer rituals, but the old druids’ influence has faded. Few young people today aspire to join their once-prestigious ranks.

Playing a Skyseer

Those few who study to be skyseers today usually have a close mentor among the druids. Some may have spent countless nights as children staring up at the stars, before one night waking from a vivid, prophetic dream. Apprenticed to an elder skyseer, they learned the names of the stars and planets, their patterns and influence. Though precise visions are rare, it is still indisputable that magic of travel works better under the full moon, and that any ship that sets sail the night when Jiese enters retrograde within the constellation of the Mad Pirate will face great misfortune before it reaches its destination.

Skyseers favor the night, and with a glance at the starry sky can tell time as precisely as any clock. Even in this new age of technology, most Risuri ship’s captains won’t sail beyond sight of shore without a skyseer aboard. Though their influence has faded somewhat, they still have strong connections with many families, villages, and organizations, and they can easily find a welcome home—as long as they do not begin speaking of prophecies.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Skyseer
| type=Theme Feat
| description=Having been raised with teachings of the Skyseers, you have access to various abilities relating to heavenly guidance.
| benefit=Immediately prior to a period of extended rest (8 hours minimum) during which the night sky is visible, you may focus your mind on the future and receive a prophetic dream regarding one question. Upon completion of your rest you awaken with insights into the future as though you had cast an Augury spell and received a meaningful reply. In addition, once every combat you may touch an ally and give them insight into future actions. The touched ally chooses one of the following; Attack Roll, Saving Throw, Skill Check or Concentration Check, and then rolls a d20. The next time the ally would roll for the selected action, they may use the previously rolled result or opt to make a new roll. Other abilities that allow re-rolls may not be used in conjunction with this ability. If the action would have multiple rolls (such as iterative attacks), only the first roll is replaced.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.

Spirit Medium

[image=]zeitgeist_spiritmedium.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150px |A Spirit Medium[/image]The Danoran industrial revolution has changed the ways of war, giving even the poorest man weapons that can kill the wealthy and well equipped. Why then should not matters of the soul also move from the purview of the enlightened into the grasp of the common people? So ask spirit mediums, who wish to explain the mysteries of spirits and the afterlife so that men no longer need priests to tell them what awaits beyond death.

Certainly, many mediums are charlatans who prey on the weakness of bereaved aristocrats. But a few have discovered how to contact the dead through a form of psionic meditation called a séance. Some will only use their talents to help those who have a sincere need to know the secrets of the dead, and will only train students who share the same worldview, but most mediums reject such insularity as smacking of organized religion, and will gladly wake the dead for a quick chat at the drop of a few coins.

Playing a Spirit Medium

The ability to speak with the recently departed is of great value to the Royal Homeland Constabulary, which recruits enthusiastically people with useful talents. Compared with the normal life of a medium, criminal investigators seldom have to convey messages between the dead and their living friends and relatives, though such conversations can help elicit otherwise unyielding secrets.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Unfinished Business
| type=Theme Feat
| description=You possess a deep understanding of spirits and the ties that bind them to the mortal world. With the simplest of actions and words, you can stir the recently deceased into action.
| benefit=Once per day you may use Speak with Dead as a spell-like ability. When using the spell in this manner, you must use it in the area where your target died and it must be used within a day of the creature’s death. You do not require a complete body as the ability speaks with the spirit and needs no corporeal connection. Once per combat, as a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity, you conjure forth a spirit from a creature that died within the last five minutes and with three miles of your current location. The spirit appears in a space you choose within 25 ft. of you, and performs a standard action of your choice. Any attack it makes count as having the ghost touch weapon property.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.


[image=]zeitgeist_technologist.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150px |A Technologist[/image]Some people cannot get enough of new technology. Those with talent tinker or create. Those without collect, study, or simply nag every engineer and inventor they meet. Whether dabblers or professionals, often these technology enthusiasts come up with ideas for devices that straddle the line between clever and impractical.

In Danor, academies train technologists in specialized fields, while in Drakr master dwarven craftsmen guide huge stables of apprentices in the massive engineering projects. Crisillyir punishes such tinkering with holy flagellation, as do colonists in Elfaivar, whereas the native high elves are as unsettled by technology as are the denizens of the Dreaming. A few enterprising technologists in Ber curry favor of the royal court, which responds eagerly to such intellectual pursuits.

Playing a Technologist

After centuries of reliance upon swords, bows, plate armor, and the occasional arcane evocation, keeping up with the modern pace of developing technology is daunting to many power groups, especially law enforcement and the military. Such groups might enlist technologists as specialists to explain unfamiliar devices, or to craft specialty weapons or tools. While the Danoran industrial revolution has mass-produced many common tools and weapons, only a few have the knowledge and talent to create custom items.

Technologists tend to gather lots of disposable tools and weapons, so that they always have something handy in an unusual situation. Many make a point to learn a bit of magic or alchemy as well, though every technologist is inspired by a different vision of what technology can provide.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Disposable Simulacrum
| type=Theme Feat
| description=You pull out a pre-assembled gadget, tie it to your life force, and animate it so it can recreate one of your fighting techniques.
| benefit=You gain a contraption. When deactivated it weighs 5 lbs. and can fit in a pouch or pocket, but as a standard action, you may activate the contraption and place it in an unoccupied adjacent space, at which point it becomes a Small creature. The contraption has the same AC and saves as you, hit points equal to one-quarter your total, and the construct subtype. You can deactivate the contraption as a swift action. If reduced to 0 hit points, the contraption is automatically deactivated and you must spend an hour making repairs before you can activate it again. Choose a single task that you can normally perform as a standard action, such attacking with a specific weapon, casting a specific spell, moving, or directing a mount. As long as the contraption is within 30 ft., you can spend a standard action to have the contraption perform the chosen task. Spells cast through the contraption count towards your daily spell limit as though you cast the spell. The contraption cannot move on its own, unless you choose a task that involves moving (such as carrying gear or charging), in which case the contraption moves as if it has a speed of 20 ft. Since it is a simulacrum, the contraption does the task as if you were performing the action in its space. It uses your stats, and if making a weapon attack it even functions as if it had your weapon. At the GM’s discretion, it can also take closely related minor tasks, like reloading a ranged weapon, but otherwise the contraption can take no other actions on its own.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.

Vekeshi Mystic

[image=]zeitgeist_vekeshimystic.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150p x|A Vekeshi Mystic[/image]If fatalism defines the traditional dwarven philosophy, then the cornerstone of high elf ideology is that living well is the best revenge. After the goddess Srasama died and nearly all high elf women perished with her, there was a great drive in Elfaivar to fight until the last man in a short-sighted bid for vengeance. As the rest of the nation whipped itself into a frenzy, however, a composer named Vekesh wrote a song of mourning that contained a simple sentiment: defeat is only tragedy if we choose to let the story end.

While many high elves could not be stopped from their self-destruction, Vekesh convinced some of his people that a tale that goes from defeat to revenge to death is a shameful tragedy. Revenge serves only to distract from one’s grief, but is ultimately valueless. Instead, he said, a tale of defeat, resilience, and renewal is the best way to thwart their enemies’ goals. The proper form of retribution, then, is to endure, rebuild from weakness, and prosper into strength. His guidance ensured that in at least a few isolated enclaves, the high elves race pulled back from the brink of annihilation. In the following decades a loosely codified collection of vekeshi teachings spread throughout Lanjyr. The mantras of Vekesh have helped many cope with loss and find a new path for themselves.

To the general public, though, “vekeshi” is synonymous with murderer and terrorist. While the majority of vekeshi avoid violence when possible, Vekesh believed that taking up arms is sometimes necessary to protect those at their most vulnerable. The deepest secrets of vekeshi mysticism are taught only to a rare few adherents who demonstrate a skill for battle, and the wisdom to know when to use their power.

Playing a Vekeshi Mystic

Anyone might casually study Vekesh’s teachings for a bit of personal guidance, but to be initiated into the mystical side of the philosophy requires painful rituals. Aspirants are taken in the night across the threshold of the Dreaming, where they experience the fall of Srasama through psychic illusions, making them keepers of the shared memory of the Great Malice. Thereafter they are held in a cage for days, along with poisoned food that they must resist, so that the starvation teaches them the importance of patience. Finally, they are burnt until their skin blackens, and then are magically healed to seal in the power of the flames. If a vekeshi passes these trials, he rests and recovers in luxury as his teachers instruct him in the secrets of the philosophy, and drill into him the necessity of discretion. Upon leaving the Dreaming, vekeshi mystics return to their normal lives, but seek positions of power in military, law enforcement, or the underworld, where they use their authority to punish those who continually threaten people who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves.

Vekeshi mystics seldom gather in large groups, but on certain irregular lunar holidays they slip into the Dreaming for secretive festivals. Only on the rarest occasions will a mystic be called to act openly. Donning an iconic mantle of high elf armor and a mask that conceals his face, the mystic acts as the surrogate hand of the fallen goddess Srasama, with the sole purpose of meting out punishment against one directly responsible for large-scale suffering.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Hands of Retribution
| type=Theme Feat
| description=The faint burning outline of a six-armed goddess hovers behind you. As enemies strike your allies, the goddess lashes out in retaliation with blades of fire.
| benefit=Once per combat, any time an ally within 20 ft. is damaged by an enemy attack you may use this ability as an immediate action to deal damage equal to your level to the enemy who made the attack. This damage is half fire and half holy. For every 5 levels you possess, you may use this ability once more per combat. If you choose Vekeshi Mystic as your character’s theme, the party’s Prestige with the Unseen Court starts at 2 instead of 1.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.

Yerasol Veteran

[image=]zeitgeist_yerasolveteran.jpg|right|thumb|frame|150 px|A Yerasol Veteran[/image]The islands of the Yerasol Archipelago were perhaps the most verdant, beautiful battleground in history. During two centuries of intermittent warfare, untold thousands of soldiers from Risur and Danor died among the windblown rainforests and flowered beaches of those isles, trying to protect their homelands’ exceedingly prosperous plantations. Those who survived—the ones who didn’t succumb to aberrant infections, crippling physical injuries, or unyielding mental trauma—often turned their war-time glory into profit or political clout.

Poets of the two nations memorialized the greatest acts of heroism from the Four Yerasol Wars, the last of which ended seven years past. It’s an open secret that history is written by the survivors, and many socalled war heroes were merely lucky enough to witness something brave and amazing, and not die in the process so they could take the credit for themselves. A rare few, however, demonstrated genuine heroism and lived to have their tales told by others.

Playing a Yerasol Veteran

Everyone knows the names of a few veterans who distinguished themselves in battle—not quite famous, but certainly memorable. Every veteran of the isles has a story that made him a celebrity, though many do not enjoy recounting their tales. The fact that everyone likes a war hero doesn’t lessen the trauma of having seen friends die.

After two centuries of trial and error, though, Risur and Danor have learned to exploit these heroes of the moment, giving them cushy jobs and helping them reacclimate to civilian life. It doesn’t do to have a “hero” become a drunkard and embarrass his nation, after all. The aid and adulation from their nation helps a great many Yerasol veterans become pillars of their communities. Such aid quickly dries up, though, should a hero ever decide to publicly criticize his homeland.

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Display of Heroism
| type=Theme Feat
| description=Seeing an ally in peril, you rush into harm’s way and cover his escape.
| benefit=Once per combat you may assist an ally who is imperiled. As a move action, you may move your speed to an ally. This movement doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. The ally may stand as a free action if prone. You and that ally gain a +2 circumstance bonus to AC and saves until the end of your next turn. If you choose Yerasol Veteran as your character’s theme, the party’s Prestige with Risur starts at 2 instead of 1.
| special=You can acquire only one theme feat.

Other Feats

[template=]Pathfinder Feat
| name=Fantastic Contraption
| type=General Feat
| description=Your simulacrum is just... better.
| prereq=Disposable Simulacrum feat
| benefit=The contraption you summon with your Disposable Simulacrum feat gains a speed of 30 ft. and a Strength score of 1. In addition to whatever action your initially choose for it, you can also spend a move action to have it walk its speed, or spend a swift action to have it pick up or manipulate items.