ZEITGEIST Deathwyrm's Zeitgeist Campaign - Clockwork Eclipse - Page 2
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  1. #11

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    Those are some lovingly-rendered maps, by the way. You have a far steadier hand than me.

    Are there any schemes, plots, or personal goals your PCs are getting into? When my playtest group finished adventure 2, during their downtime one PC (a warforged illusionist who inspired the Pemberton duplicant plot in adventure 6) wanted to become the new Mayor of the Nettles.

  2. #12
    Correct, Chimes of Midnight was part of that Victor Saint-Demain. It simply has too much of the urban investigative flavour to leave out of a campaign like this. I'll certainly give your storyhour postings a good read too. No bad sources of inspiration for it for sure.

    As far as the maps go, the players are happy to supply sheets of paper and markers for it. The hard part was really done by the cartographers and artists who worked on this. My wife sometimes likes to binge watch the most terrible shows inflicted on humanity (90 Day Fiance, Toddlers and Tiaras, etc), and working on drawing out the maps gives something... ANYTHING else to do. It's also a great use the skills built from many years in high school spent doing comic book drawings.

    As for the team though, there's certainly been some changes to them in retrospect between the Prologue and the conclusion of Season 2.

    Det. Goodwyne: Has been going through his own arc of firstly, managing to slowly overcome his compulsive stutter and introvertedness due to being thrust into leadership. At the same time, being called on by his team to make the harder decisions is starting to harden him a bit. During his downtimes, he's been focusing on researching history and the like, absolutely certain that the recent conspiracy problems probably have some kind of roots in some incident a while ago. His distrust of absolutely everyone not on the team has also been steadily growing, as he's more reluctant to trust anyone else with sensitive information. Totally convinced that the king is in on it somehow, he just needs to fit the pieces together.

    Dr. Brinolt: Originally a simple family physician, he's starting to go full Frankenstein. He already had the tragic story of a family that died during fleeing across the border. However Season 2s prevalence of Witchoil and it's serious implications by its nature of just existing, he immediately started thinking about it's possible applications in creating life. Or at least, starting with some golem creation and if Witchoil can be used to entrap a soul as it leaves the body... can it be extracted again into another crafted vessel? His role as part of the team is an odd one, as his insights are highly valued by its clear he's becoming distracted by the possibility of new discoveries as more strange things are revealed.

    Const. Oren: The existence of Witchoil and it's soul-trapping essence caused a ton of religious uncertainty in him. Originally he was focused on living "the way of the gun" as kind of a cocky sharpshooter, he's now becoming a more devout to Triegenes, finding the idea of a common man ascended because he needed to do "what must be done" very inspiring to the common man. And especially after getting to see some of the horrid working conditions many workers live in, he's been putting in a lot of legwork to try and create an early "union" to protect workers rights. To mixed results, due to a lot of pushback from wealthy groups who've been profiting off an industry threatening to advance faster than restrictive legislation can keep up with.

    Const. Threm: Threm is simple. He's been perfectly content to gamble his requisition away, brawling in taverns, and otherwise just up for the adventure of it all. There's been many scenes wherein he gets reprimanded for terribly incomplete (or absent) paperwork.

    Const. Awyr: The party ninja has been going through a small and subtle change. Due to his tragic past as a naval saboteur and slave, he's been very standoffish in the event people find out his real past. Kind of like the obligatory "Wolverine" of the group. However, early in his life he had a talent for Skyseeing even if that's not something that was put into a lot of practice due to life circumstances. Two major things shook him up in this past season. First, was meeting with Gale. Now, due to Cysgod being a plumekith Aasimar, he's also kind of had that "forever alone" aspect to him. I threw him a bone by changing Gale cosmetically to imply plumekith lineage as well. He wasn't vocal about it during the session, but this was enough to make Cysgod to feel like he has a legit heritage and possibly romantic interest once her name is cleared. The other change came from meeting with the famed Skyseer Nevard Sechim. As a kindly old man, Cysgod felt more comfortable opening up about his rudimentary training, and if that would help at all. So in the few days remaining of Nevard's life, he was kind of a father figure to the party ninja who since decided he kind of wants to take up the responsibility to honour him.

    Dr. Basch: Originally he was happy to be a consultant to the RHC in helping to develop a methodology to get inside the mind of a killer (like a seriously faulty early version of criminal profiling), but seeing the extent of corruption and unusual behaviors triggered something in the good mesmerist, namely a whole lot of paranoia. While he normally could be found at an autopsy, or giving a lecture, almost his entire downtime is devoted to crafting an alternate identity occupying the apartment flat beneath him. Even going so far as to find a couple impoverished people, and paying them a regular fee to live there and pretend to be his "in laws". Absolutely certain that with two government officials dead related to their investigations, it's only a matter of time before someone comes to kill him for knowing too much. The only hindrance to this double identity, is that he has a dog named Othello which he doesn't want to give up, and already feels bad having to abandon him here and there during the establishment of this alter ego.

    There hasn't particularly been any political motivations, and at this point the team are wary even of their fellow constabulary agents. There's widespread corruption happening in the halls of power, so they say, and joining the political scene or even advancing in ranks would only serve to put a bigger target on their heads. I'm sure it'll not be long before they're wearing tin-foil hats in an underground bunker at the rate they're going. It's a group of players that's always been very quick to extreme assumptions and this campaign has only been enabling that.
    Laugh RangerWickett laughed with this post

  3. #13
    Okay. We're back at it.

    After some really weird scheduling due to life being nonsense, we are into Season 3: Digging for Lies now. The season kicked off first with a B-Team one-off episode, with new characters played by the main party, adapting Chimes at Midnight so that the newly appointed task force would be put on the trail of disgruntled RHC officer Victor Saint-Demain.

    Introducing, Task Force: Phil.

    Detective Phil Olem (Human Bard {Detective}, Lawful Good) - Originally the local requisitions officer that the players would talk to, Phil would want to listen to the main team's stories of the bad guys they get to catch in kind of an odd hero worship manner. The players usually took the time to humour him, or give him bits of training in swordplay or how to cold read people. Eventually, he was given a promotion and command over a new misfit company. His attitude is very much like the front desk cat guy from Zootopia.

    Christine Blackrose (Human Rogue {Burglar}, Neutral) - In a previous case-of-the-week episode, the lost daughter of the highly influential Blackrose family was rescued from abduction and reunited with her family after 18 years separated. Going from the criminal slums of Flint to the pristine manse of her family was a bit too much of a shock, so after a sizable donation to the RHC she was taken on as a recruit. Can she put her criminal past behind her and learn to trust in others?

    Eugene Larl and Kenny Congreve {Human Brawler and Fighter {Thug}, Neutral Good) - Anytime the main team needed to call upon the local Bluecoats (police) for support in their investigations, these were often the two NPCs who were there. Larl has a history of gambling which is why his wife left him, so he has to work overtime to pay off the debts, while his best friend Kenny tries to keep him on the straight and narrow. After several times acting as backup for the main party, they were extended an invitation to try out for the RHC in order to make a real difference.

    Jeremy McCrae (Human Ranger {Woodland Tracker} Lawful Neutral) - War veteran turned mercenary captain, McCrae encountered the party during a patrol of Axis Island many months ago. Having not realized the gravity of whose side of the conflict he took a contract for, in exchange for letting the PCs into the fort, he bargained for leniency in punishment, eventually Const. Oren sponsored him as a potential recruit to the Constabulary.

    Nicole LeVane (Human Wizard, Neutral Good) - During the investigation to the MacBannin case, a couple of the party members thought it'd be best to socialize with the students to get their understanding of what exactly the mayor is up to. One NPC that especially stuck out was this bright eyed acolyte who had political ambitions. Other than a couple minor suspicious dealings, she had no idea what was happening on the hill. The PCs deliberately sought her out after the incident, feeling that her political career isn't over because she was associated with the secret witchoil refinery, offering her a role in the Constabulary for a time to do some good while building up a political base.

    Together, they looked into the case of a missing silver basilisk statue, escaped criminals, and a disgrunted agent of the RHC turned rogue. Const. McCrae swallowed his pride that a seasoned veteran like him has to take orders from a 'detective' half his age, Consts Blackrose and LeVane argued constantly about public service values and what it means to have nothing vs born with a silver spoon. In the end, they caught their bad guy and a foundation of team work was created.

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    Diagram A: Showdown at the abandoned church

    A major reason this was done as well, is that in reading ahead to the 5th chapter of the campaign, there's a lot that has to do with other team(s) of the agency. Having skimmed the forums, there was some differences of opinion as to whether that other team should be played out by the players or just kept as NPCs in the background. In the interest in building greater drama and gravitas, I took a handful of NPCs the players interacted with, made a dynamic team, and had them play it out. We'll be doing another case-of-the-week with this team at the start of Season 4 and 5 as well. Just enough to get the players attached and feeling proud of their accomplishments as role models... before having to play out the scene where the B-Team makes the heroic sacrifice for the main party to succeed. That'll make for an emotional trigger in the party, giving a very personal stake in their beef with the shadowy conspiracy they're only now getting a clearer picture of.

    Will update again this week regarding how the Arms and Technology Expo went for the main party. Which so far has been their favorite thing.
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  4. #14
    So, after one other case-of-the-week in which the agents went temporarily rogue to rescue their loved ones from a long-standing adversary with a penchant for trap mansions, it was time for the task force to get back to work.

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    Fun fact! When drawing out maps that involve crowded areas such as houses or narrow dungeons, scaling the grid to 5ft = 1.25" gives A LOT of breathing room to have thick walls, some clutter, and still have room to comfortably place player pawns/miniatures. Especially in corners.

    Their task was simple, and not glamorous. To provide security detail at the Kaybeau Armament and Technology Exposition. Sure, there are way more interesting cases out there.... someone is snatching brains, there's a stage-magician arsonist on the run out there, undercover work at the bachelorette party to a notable crime family member... it felt almost insulting to the party to be given basic guard work.

    The wonder of the expo did captivate the everliving heck out of them in the end. From strange mechanical suits to unusual badger guns... the things that were considered possible delighted the party. They took the time to speak with a few interesting NPCs as well. Const. Threm was able to have a moment with the mysterious Benedict Pemberton, who thanked him for deeds done earlier that year upon the Coaltongue. According to the player, there was something unnerving about the brilliant man and his careful almost threatening southern drawl. As well, a couple of the others went out of their way to speak with the famous Rock Rackus. At first, fellow docker Const. Oren was excited to meet another docker! But was kind of dismayed when he found that Rock was a brash self-absorbed braggart, even if a talented one. The overall conclusion that the party gained from him, was "Let's see. Completely egotistical, little regard for other people, just kind of does things because it'd be exciting and favorite possession is his magic weapon? Yeah, Rock is definitely a player character in some other campaign in this world. There's no way he's not the standard adventurer stereotype somewhere else."

    In addition, Cysgod the ninja detected that a woman was watching their actions. He attempted to engage in a stealth-off with her and capture this elusive lady, but she seemed to be one step ahead of him (part of the audit).

    Then the screams came, and madness descended on the fair. Naturally with it being a gun show, there were other opportunists who wanted in the fray against the strange horrors which appeared. It was a bit of a mess. Dr. Basch, the mesmerist of the group, was able to detect an attempted assassination of Rock and placed the mysterious dwarf under a Hold Person spell. A misroll by Rock caused him to fire into the crowd, and the rest of the party expertly dispatched the strange alien creatures and apprehended the terrified suspect and his unusual golden staff. As they took people into custody, there was a lengthy discussion about the merits and role that magic has in this day and age. That a gun can misfire into a crowd, and someone may get wounded or die. Yet when magic goes awry, alien beasts suddenly start devouring people. After a lot of conjecture and debate whether magic still has it's place in a world where more reliable industry can do just as well, the investigation continued.

    An interrogation with Rock Rackus turned only more frustrating for the party as he described things that could only have been made up, they were sure. The mysterious dwarf-assassin they encountered wasn't much help in the course of determining the source of the creatures origin. However, the mage-student who was freaked out about the staff he secretly bought.... that was a useful lead which the group latched onto. Knowing that some woman is selling off odd dangerous things, the group came up with the plan to send Const. Threm in dressed as a foppish troubadour looking for shiny things for his stage work while the rest of the party

    The sting went about as well as someone could think. The exchange between fancy-pants Threm and the secret dealer was tense, until the rest of the party felt like they heard enough and went for the arrest.

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    The Kell goons were killed pretty quickly, but Kaja gave them a heck of a fight. Const. Oren tried his best to restrain his gunslinging ways, because of in the past high crit values has caused fatal head-shotting of suspects needed to be taken in alive for questioning. In the end, Kaja was knocked out by Cysgod's gratutious sneak attacking. With her in custody, the party didn't wait for her to wake up before taking the rest of the night off. Lots of time to question her in the morning after all!

    Then the bad news came in. The prisoner is being transferred, on the orders of Chief Inspector Saxby. The session ended there (they'll still have 10 minutes to question her after calling in a favour next session), but the players continued to sit at the table for a good half an hour trying to figure out what had just happened.

    Dr. Basch and Cysgod had already been meeting in secret (conversing via text between sessions), figuring that there is some kind of major government cover up or conspiracy afoot. But they just don't know who to trust. Their leader, Det. Goodwyne, insists that the party follows the law pretty strictly. However the situation is escalating and the two are beginning to discuss that if things happen and certain "outside the law" methods are needed, who can they trust? To this end, based on the righteous anger of Const. Oren at the prisoner transfer... they decided to let him in. Those three characters met back at the doctors estate, and began to go over the theories of what could be happening. Which means basically it'll be threeway texts between games and I have no idea what their speculation is... other than their absolute certainty that whatever is happening, they may not be able to trust their own superiors.

    So that's where everything left off. Next game comes close to the end of July, so that gives lots of time to craft up a "bridges of light" puzzle.
    XP RangerWickett gave XP for this post

  5. #15
    Okay, so it's been a while since I updated this.

    Long story short.... scheduling is a logistical nightmare given that most of the players are scattered across the southern Ontario region. Great people, but there's some distance involved which makes getting together difficult at times. However, we are nearing the end of Season 3 of this drama.

    After the prior Cases of the Week, Season 3 finally got to the main adventures from the books. Y'all know the details of how the story goes down, here's some maps I drew out in a hurry because sometimes I get bored.

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    I don't trust that new player though. Seems.... cagey.

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    Overall though? The players are in agreement this is one of the best stories they've played through. It's not often they can stop being usual fantasy murderhobos and be trusted lawful agents, while at the same time not feeling like they're forced onto a railroad. I'll do an update on character arcs and how much has changed when Season 3 finally ends, but that'll likely be February. Regardless, they are absolutely gripped. Some other players from my other campaigns heard about it and there's talks about collaborating for a Youtube series playing of the series.

    Anyone know anything about printing the maps at reasonable resolution? I changed jobs and now work for for a large college, and their print offices are right next to my area. If I have the option to print these out for around the same cost as sitting down with rulers and Sharpies and markers, I'd do that. Heck, if anyone else is running this series in my city, I'll gladly give you the stuff I'm drawing out so you don't have to. All for the arts.
    Last edited by Deathwyrm; Wednesday, 19th December, 2018 at 03:26 AM.
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