Most fantasy adventurers are “free agents,” with no boss but themselves, usually out on the edge of civilization with few allies they can call on in a pinch. In ZEITGEIST, though, you and your fellow PCs may want to call in favors from the RHC, the local police, or other power groups.

The Prestige mechanic provides a quick guideline of how much clout the party has, whether they’re calling in a mage to perform a ritual too highlevel for them, or trying to get their hands on a rare battle wand before assaulting a criminal stronghold.

In Zeitgeist, the GM will need to track the party’s Prestige with five groups—the city and people of Flint, the Royal Homeland Constabulary and greater Risuri government, the Unseen Court in the Dreaming, and two other groups you’ll discover in the course of the campaign. Please note that these are just guidelines, and the GM should use his best judgment.

Prestige Rating

The prestige rating represents how well-regarded the party is, either as an ally or enemy. If the party thwarts several criminal plots but anger Flint politicians in the process, the syndicate might view them as a significant threat (Prestige 3), even though they’re pariahs with the RHC (Prestige 0).
  • Rating 0: Viewed with disdain, as buffoons or pariahs. The group will not take the party seriously, which could potentially be useful when tricking enemies.
  • Rating 1: The party is relatively unknown to the group.
  • Rating 2: The party has done a few noteworthy things, but most in the group don’t know them or assume they won’t do anything else interesting.
  • Rating 3: The party has distinguished itself, and most members of the group know about their actions and talents.
  • Rating 4: The group pays close attention to the party, either viewing them as a powerful ally or a dangerous enemy.
  • Rating 5: The party is one of the top priorities of the group. A lot of resources are devoted to either helping them out or taking them down.
  • Rating 6: The party has the ear of the leader of the group (or actually is in charge), or they’re viewed as the face of the enemy.

Using Prestige

You can use your Prestige to call in favors, usually to acquire special gear or to get help from allies. The higher your Prestige, the easier and faster you can get what you want. Use the following guidelines to determine the Favor Rating of what you want. Then compare that rating to your Prestige to see how fast you can get what you want. You can make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check (DC 15 + 3 per level of the favor) to increase the speed of your favor one step, from a week to a day for instance.
  • If the Favor Rating is equal to your Prestige then your favor gets fulfilled in a few hours.
  • If the Favor Rating is your Prestige +1 then your favor gets fulfilled in a day.
  • If the Favor Rating is your Prestige +2 then your favor gets fulfilled in a week.
  • If the Favor Rating is your Prestige +3 then your favor gets fulfilled in a month.
  • If the Favor Rating is your Prestige +4 then your favor never gets fulfilled.

Once you call in a favor, you cannot call in another favor of the same rating from the same group until the first favor is fulfilled. For instance, if you have Prestige 2 with Risur and you requisition a rare magic longbow (Favor Rating 5), you’ll have to wait a month for the bow to be delivered. Until that time, you can’t make any more level 5 requests from Risur, though you can still make level 4 requests, or make a Diplomacy check to try to get a level 5 request treated as level 4.

The Favor Ratings below are just guidelines. The GM can impose modifiers as he sees fit, or state that certain favors are impossible. For instance, if you call in back-up to a crime scene, and all the officers are killed because you screw up, the Flint police force will be less inclined to send you back-up next time. If you just saved the police chief’s life and need a dozen men to track down the assassin, you’ll have an easier time of that.

Acquiring Equipment

Start with a base Favor Rating of 1 for magic items with a cost of 7500 gp or less, 3 for magic items with a cost of 27,500 gp or less, and 6 for any magic items of a value higher than 27,500 gp. Remember that the favor only represents making the item available; you still have to pay for it. As always, GMs have final say over what items are available for purchase.

Help in a Hurry

As a default, favors can get people to help you for up to half an hour. If you want someone to help you for a few hours, increase the level by 1. If the favor requires working for a day or more, increase the level by 2; and if a week or more, by 3.

Here are some sample help, provided by Flint’s citizens and police.
  • Level 0. Urchins to watch a street for you. A secretary to look through documents or handle your paperwork. A carriage-driver to provide you discreet passage around a district.
  • Level 1. A ferry-man to give you discreet passage around the city. A craftsman to make a custom non-magic item for you. A local bureaucrat to bend the rules for your sake. A journalist to run a story. An officer to provide back-up or investigate a lead for you (effectively a level 2 cohort).
  • Level 2. Four officers. A gang of dockers to create a distraction that will probably get them beaten up or arrested. A 5th level spellcaster who can perform several rituals (the PCs pay for any ritual components).
  • Level 3. A squad of twelve officers. A 8th level spellcaster.
  • Level 4. A district-wide alert for all officers to assist. A 10th level spellcaster.
  • Level 5. A city-wide alert for all officers to assist. A 12th level spellcaster.
  • Level 6. A call for all citizens to take arms against a threat. And other possible help, provided by Risur’s government or the RHC.

And other possible help, provided by Risur’s government or the RHC.
  • Level 1. One soldier to fight alongside you; effectively a level 2 cohort.
  • Level 2. Four soldiers.
  • Level 3. A squad of twelve soldiers.
  • Level 4. A company of one hundred soldiers.
  • Level 5. A battalion of soldiers.
  • Level 6. An entire army of soldiers. Principal Minister Harkover Lee, who is a 14th-level spellcaster.