ZEITGEIST Player's Guide: Player Characters


ZEITGEIST Player's Guide: Player Characters

We assume as a baseline that your characters in the ZEITGEIST adventure path will work for the Royal Homeland Constabulary, a Risuri organization created by King Aodhan to monitor threats to his nation, both home-grown and from foreign lands.



Every constable must have passed a background check and magical inquisition to prove his or her loyalty to Risur. These precautions allow even foreign-born citizens to serve, giving the constabulary a valuable tool in pursuing investigations overseas. Groups of RHC members are often assigned to pool their talents to accomplish dangerous and complex tasks, such as rescue missions, surveillance to catch smugglers and traitors, and even espionage or assassination.

In the default version of the adventure path every PC should have a strong devotion to Risur, though PCs can certainly have other affiliations and allegiances that may eventually draw them away. Additionally, over the course of the campaign the PCs will encounter other power groups with their own motivations. One of the themes of the campaign is deciding what one believes in and why, so feel free to nudge your fellow PCs toward one faction or another as the campaign progresses. Remember, though, that games can quickly turn unfun without party unity.

Of course, if your GM chooses, you may begin the campaign affiliated with a different organization, or perhaps as free agents hired by the RHC, much the same way Scotland Yard sought help from Sherlock Holmes. We offer suggestions for such options in the ZEITGEIST Campaign Guide.

Setting Considerations

Almost every magic item and spell is available for the ZEITGEIST campaign setting, unless your GM decides otherwise. Some character options might be exceedingly rare, even unique—like sentient golems, half-elementals, or other monstrous creatures. The nature of the planes of the world makes extraplanar creatures effectively unknown.

Feats, powers, and items that reference materials from other settings or that involve different planes should generally be reskinned. There’s no Underdark or drow in ZEITGEIST, for example, but perhaps a darkskinned race of elves lurks in the mountains of the Bleak Gate. Gods do not make themselves regularly known in this world, and it is impossible to visit the planes where they reside, so it’s even possible to doubt whether they exist at all. You can use existing gods or those of the GM’s own creation.

Classes

Risuri natives tend to favor common arcane, martial, and nature oriented classes. Most witches in the region tend to follow fey patrons, since the nature of the planes makes it difficult to contact infernal or far realm patrons. Sorcerers suffer an equal distribution of bloodline, with aberrant and fiendish bloodlines being far rarer than fey or elemental.

Few gods have large followings in Risur, but pockets of foreigners or native converts provide a likely source for divine classes. Druids and rangers are well-known and received, but oracles tend to be more common than clerics, since there aren’t established churches to train the pious. More rarely a person with strong philosophical ideals can wield divine power through the gestalt will of those who share his beliefs.

Psionic classes are relatively new and rare, though many cultures have their own variations of people who seem to be able to see through the veil of reality and forsake the limits of their flesh. In particular, high elf monks are infamous for their unusual fighting techniques, while dwarven philosophers sometimes exhibit all but unknown psionic abilities.

Magic

Only two types of magic are wholly off-limits: long-duration flight, and long-duration planar travel.

The nature of the elemental planes that feed energy into the world makes it impossible for magic to create permanent flight. Powers that grant flight for never last more than five minutes, though flight with wings is fine, as long as the creature is Medium sized or smaller. There are no flying carpets or airships. Since the reported extinction of dragons, flying creatures do not to grow any larger than an eagle or condor. Likewise, despite theories that suggest it should be possible to travel to distant planets via powerful spells, all attempts to visit any foreign world never last longer than a few rounds before the traveler is shunted back to this plane. It is possible to wander into the Dreaming or the Bleak Gate and return, but such trips never last long, and are usually only possible when the moon and stars align properly.

Mechanically, this means that no creature can ever leave its home plane for more than five minutes, barring unique circumstances that are beyond the control of player characters. Such options may become available to PCs later in the campaign, but traveling to another world in ZEITGEIST is never as simple as performing a single spell or using a random magical item.

Gold and Teleportation

In ZEITGEIST, in addition to its value as a precious metal for jewelry and currency, gold acts as a barrier for teleportation. Characters can teleport freely while carrying gold, but they cannot teleport through an opening framed in gold, so critical buildings often have thin strips of gold inlaid around doors and windows, concealed by additional masonry. Prison cells for creatures thought to be capable of teleportation are often surrounded by rings of gold.
Similarly, a creature wearing a gold ring—or bracelet, or even a thin thread of gold wire—cannot teleport or be teleported, so those wary of abduction might wear hidden gold toe rings to stymie would-be kidnappers. Simply carrying or wearing gold is not a problem unless it forms a full loop. Even with full circles of gold, the protection can be bypassed by simply removing part of the ring. This, combined with the temptation for thieves, keeps gold warding circles from being in common use.
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