ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution [Zeitgeist] Chronicles of Unit 42 - Page 2


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  1. #11
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    D&DEN PublishingZEITGEIST

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    I'm thinking about throwing in another between-modules mission for my PCs to go through, because I want to set up the earthquakes in Skyseer well before they become important, and because I really want to familiarize and connect them to RHC headquarters. I'm thinking about sending them out to the farmlands, where an earthquake has stirred up something bad - but what?

    I'm considering there being a connection between Flint's farmlands and the Bleak Gate, as a way to introduce that concept. What's the rule on undead in Zeitgeist? Could they sprout up and cause trouble because of exposure to the Bleak Gate?

    Oh. What if there is a missing person? Like, the daughter of the mayor from that district. She wandered off one day, and never returned, except that they found something of hers (a stuffed bear with a missing eye, perhaps?) to suggest she was taken. Maybe she was taken by some goons of the Family, who went to hide out in a nearby crypt (or chased there by some other, unrelated, wandering monster that might show up in another interlude adventure?), an earthquake shook the countryside cracking open a connection to the Bleak Gate, let out some loose energy and animated a few of the bodies in the coffins? The goons were killed (and then brought back to life by the energy from the Bleak Gate), but the girl survived, and is now hiding in the crypts, waiting for someone to come rescue her?

    So, the guys follow the clues to a well-known spot where the goons are regulars, learn that they haven't been around, but find something indicating the tombs. They go to the tombs and fight a few undead outside. When they go in, they hear the sobbing of the girl, and have to follow it to where she is being tormented by the ghosts of the goons that took her, while also fighting the regular denizens (rats, bats, spiders, etc.) of the partially caved-in tomb.

    What do you guys think? This won't be overlapping with anything later in the campaign, will it?
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

 

  • #12
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    Sounds good. The one thing I want to clarify is that the party shouldn't actually enter the Bleak Gate physically; it's supposed to be exceedingly hard to get there if you're not, y'know, dead. This lets the villains keep their headquarters safe until adventure 5.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    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.

  • #13
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    Right. I'm just picturing the tomb being saturated with its energies. Like, a leak letting in some stray fumes or something. They'd never actually go into the Bleak Gate. It would just be hinted at.

    Thanks.
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

  • #14
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    We had our fifth session yesterday, and I did an interlude to give myself some more time to really prepare for Skyseer.

    A few of the things I did yesterday had some consequences I didn't really intend, but I think they'll just make the next module a little more interesting. The point of this case was to get them used to the idea of the earthquakes, and to show them some of the criminal element, before they get so entangled in it during this next module.

    ===

    With the duchess Ethelyn of Shale defeated and stripped of her title, it was up to Unit 42 to fill out all the paperwork resulting in their adventures on Axis Island. The next six months were less than exciting, despite worker relations problems in the city escalating, political strife, and the occasional minor earthquake (which Flint had never been known for before). The leaders of the city were busy trying to solve these problems, which left constables like Unit 42 to sit behind their desks until a proper case came across it.

    In the winter, at the end of the year 500 A.O.V., they finally got one.

    A wealthy farmer named Thoman Van Meter had contacted the RHC via animal messenger to let them know his daughter Jessa had been kidnapped. She had gone out for a walk that morning, despite Thoman's insistence she not go out alone, and an hour later he received an animal messenger of his own telling him that his daughter was safe, but that more information, and demands, would be coming soon.

    When the constables showed up at his farm, they were a bit in awe of his wealth and the size of his property. He explained to them that he had many enemies. He had been pushing for other local farmers to switch to steam powered equipment to make their jobs more efficient, and those opposed to the technology had been very vocal in their dislike of him promoting those new techniques. He also said the farms were a haven for brigands and thieves and Lorcan Kell's men had been seen around his farm more than he would prefer lately.

    Finally, he said she liked to play near an old grain silo, about a quarter mile from the house, and that would probably be a good place for them to start their search.

    They trekked the quarter mile on foot, and as they approached the silo they noticed two large, furry creatures sitting at the base of the old structure. Casimiro del Garra immediately identified them: dire wolverines. They seemed to be playing with each other, rolling around on the ground. And in between them was some kind of small, fuzzy object.

    Casimiro decided to try to approach the beasts carefully, sneaking up behind a rock, and then slowly walking towards them, with his arms out to show he meant no harm. The wolverines were in no mood to play with him, however, and bristled and growled as he got closer. He saw the object between them was a small, stuffed bear, which was missing a button eye.

    The rest of the unit approached behind him, and ultimately Casimiro's attempts to calm the animals failed. They charged at him, and the rest of the constables jumped in to help their friend. The fight was quick and vicious, and the wolverines ended up dead at the base of the silo. A quick search of the area also turned up a note addressed to two people named Neville and Marie, giving directions to the farm from a small put in Parity Lake, and a warning not to tell the boss about this side job. It was signed by a man named Renard. They also found several small casks that once held beer, which were all stamped with the crest of Patrick's in the Pine Island district. They decided to follow these clues before returning to the farm house.

    They started in Parity Lake, where they tracked down Renard to the small pub in the note, and they found him sitting at the bar, reading a large book on Eschatology an drinking a glass of wine. A small earthquake shook the bar as they approached him, and before they had a chance to talk Renard asked their opinion on the dockers' theories about the earthquakes - did the constables think they were a physical manifestation of the fissures dividing the social classes and cultures of the city, literally tearing it apart?

    Reginald Battersea answered that it seemed a bit far-fetched, rather superstitious, and Renard agreed, and when asked about the book he was reading he said that eschatology was interesting to read about, but probably a bit impractical to spend too much time worrying about. Satisfied that the constables played along, he asked what he could do for them.

    They explained their assignment, and that they had found a note he had written to the kidnappers, and he admitted to writing it. He seemed worried, because he had received an animal messenger from them saying they were trapped, but hadn't heard anything else. He also mentioned Neville's sister in Pine Island might have more information. So, they took Renard into custody, and he allowed it on the stipulation that they give him protection from Lorcan Kell, his boss. Then they made the trip across the bay to Pine Island, where they found Neville's sister Shera at Patrick's bar.

    She acted depressed and was glad to hear someone was looking for him, even if they were looking for him to arrest him. She said she had also received an animal messenger from him, that he and Marie were holed up in some kind of tomb on the farm, hiding from something, but that she had not received one in about an hour - right before the last earthquake. The constables promised to find him, and asked if she wouldn't mind going to the RHC headquarters with them, in case another animal messenger were sent her way. She agreed.

    They left her and made their way to the Van Meter family tomb, on their property. When Gareth Carter kicked the door in, they noticed several things all at once.

    One, the tomb had recently been shaken by the earthquakes, and looked ready to topple in on itself at any time. Two, they heard a whimpering, crying sound from behind a door on the far side of the room. Three, there were two bodies lying on the ground, mangled. And four, there were about eight undead creatures up and walking in the small tomb. The constables fought off these monsters quickly and decided to push on into the other room without resting - though Victor Bays decided he needed to take a moment outside the tomb to be sick, after seeing all the zombies exploding and the mangled corpses on the ground.

    When they entered, they found the spirits of Neville and Marie standing over a large coffin, shouting at it. The whimpering they had heard was coming from inside the coffin, and they quickly guessed what had happened here. The kidnappers had brought the kid here to hide from something (perhaps the dire wolverines), and sent out animal messengers to Renard and Shera to let them know where they were.

    When the most recent earthquake hit, it shook loose a connection to the Bleak Gate, animating the corpses in the coffins in the first room, who attacked the kidnappers, and killed them. Jessa must have run, and hidden in the coffin. Then, the connection to the Bleak Gate caused the spirits of the kidnappers to rise, though still partially in the Bleak Gate, so they were unable to interact with anything that didn't belong to them (they could use their own weapons, but could not open the coffin that Jessa was hiding in).

    They fought through the spirits, which was difficult because they could phase through the walls with their insubstantiality, and after regaining his connection to the real world, Neville tried one more time to get to the child before Constable Carter knocked him down and killed his spirit.

    They comforted the child by giving her back her stuffed bear and took her home, where her dad was thrilled to have her back. He promised to put a good word in for them with their boss.

    ===

    First, they are really curious where the wolverines came from. I reckon, these are some of the monsters let loose in the bayou mentioned in Skyseer, that have just wandered really far away from where they were released. They had no real connection to the adventure, other than to chase the kidnappers into the tomb, but I kind of wanted to do something with those monsters for the next interlude, so I went ahead and got it in their minds now.

    Second, I was able to introduce Renard Woodsman to them, which was kind of fun. I'm playing him as a disillusioned criminal who worked for Lorcan Kell, but really wants to get out from under his control, so the PCs have given him a way out. Of course in the fog of war encounter they will learn he hasn't completely taken advantage of that opportunity, and he has just fallen in with another group. Lorcan Kell's men will be really excited to get back at him for leaving their ranks though, and may be even more deadly towards Morena because of it.

    Third, they have now been exposed to the Bleak Gate, ahead of schedule, which could make their dealings with Gale or Nevard a little more difficult. I'm willing to kind of look past it, but I'll give it some thought first as to how it could really influence the NPCs' reactions to them now.
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    Last edited by d2OKC; Monday, 17th September, 2012 at 04:33 PM.
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

  • #15
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    What's the official answer for why Gale can fly, if there is one?

    I ask, because I have a player who made kind of a big deal about not being able to fly, and I want to be able to at least tell him that there is a reason that she can when others cannot, even if that reason is supposed to be a secret for now, instead of "just because".
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

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    Honestly, it's pretty close to 'just because.'

    Why can Storm fly in X-Men? Because she's a mutant. Most people still can't fly.

    Why can Gale fly? Because she has a random innate connection to the Plane of Air. Being an eladrin woman helps, because they're naturally prone to getting random magic powers. She's special, and her connection can theoretically help the party later on to find the Ancient Seal of Avilona.

    Similarly, Leone Quital can shape and telekinetically move metal without actually having to know tons of other spells (D&D has never really handled one-trick-pony super-hero style powers very well). He basically asked his DM, hey, can I have a special power? And the DM figured out some rules to make it work.

    If a PC wants to be able to fly at paragon tier, I'd say let them. The flight prohibition is not for balance, but to pose a few questions for the setting. And to make the eventual airship the party gets even better.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    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.

  • #17
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    That's kind of the answer I was expecting, but fair enough.

    I should say, it doesn't bother me at all. He's just the type of player that likes to know things are logical, or happening for a reason. When I mentioned that flight wasn't possible it was something he kind of took issue with (even though he had not plans on playing a character that could fly) and wanted to know the reason. I didn't want to tell him the full reason, obviously, so I basically said that no one is really sure, and they've been trying for years with no success.

    Thanks for the help! It's pretty awesome being able to go right to the source when I have a question like this.
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

  • #18
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    We didn't play yesterday, and it looks like we probably won't play next week (real life getting in the way again!), which is really ok, because it gives me plenty of time to get prepared for Skyseer. Anyone have any good advice for my prep? I've read over it twice now, and I'm sure I can run it now when it's time, but I thought I'd ask to see what other people have done in that regard.

    Also, getting a new player once we start that module! As a reminder, we already have:

    Gareth Carter - Human Swordmage
    Victor Bays - Human Wizard
    Reginald Battersea - Human Artificer
    Casimiro del Garra - Longtooth Shifter Monk/Shaman

    And, when the new player shows up we will also have

    ?? - Fox Hengeyokai Rogue

    The new player is the sister of the swordmage's player. She's relatively new to the game (actually, she might be completely new), which should be interesting to see how she goes about a complex adventure like this one.

    I'm glad to have a full compliment of five players, especially because the schedule of both the wizard and the monk/shaman are a bit weird and we rarely have all four around the table at the same time. This should give the group a bit more consistency.

    Any ideas on fun subplots for this character that wouldn't be too much for a newbie?
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

  • #19
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    I Defended The Walls!ZEITGEIST

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    I'd say-

    • Make sure the PCs keep a record of their clues, leads and brainstorming ideas. This can really help them keep on top of the investigation.
    • Ensure the PCs have chances to use their resources. Contacts, Police, and RHC resources can be invaluable, as well as things from NPCs they meet during the adventure. Skyseer seems to be great training for the later adventures.
    • Be familiar with travelling times in and around Flint, especially if the party splits up. My PCs spent 50% of the investigation in different places.
    • Related to the above, keep a close eye on the timeline. PCs may drag their feet or chase red herrings. Most of the early parts of the investigation can happen in any order, something I found quite fun.
    • As always, be prepared for your players to throw you for a loop.They may trust the "wrong" people, and suspect the innocent, or leverage their abilities and resources in surprising ways.


    For the new PC, sounds like the character would be ideal for having Unseen Court connections. In my game, there's a lot of tension between some party members' undercover links to the Unseen Court, and their official duties.
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  • #20
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    I am planning on giving them a pinboard with Nilasa's picture pinned to the middle. I think that should give them the hint that they need to keep track of things.

    We have had a few sessions in Flint where I've tried to get them used to the time aspect of traveling through the city. Hopefully that encourages some creative thinking as well.

    I like the Unseen Court idea. I'll think about that and see what I can come up with. Thanks!
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

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