ZEITGEIST Mdusty's Zeitgeist Campaign
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  1. #1
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    West Seattle

    Mdusty's Zeitgeist Campaign

    I see a lot of DM's posting their Zeitgeist campaign's up on here so I figured I'd do the same. We've been playing this campaign for about a year now and we are about two sessions into Book 5. This campaign journal is much, much more detailed on our private wiki site, but here I'll just give the condensed, interesting version. This is going to be shorter than most journals I see, because I tried to read a couple of them up here and it was just too much info. Good info. But just too much for me to sit and read through.

    Our group uses 5e (so I've personally converted to 5e myself, I'm really hoping the EN5ider catches up to where I am so I don't have to anymore). We also have a few house rules and house classes (we use Matt Mercer's gunslinger, for example) and I use the rules from Keep your Powder Dry EN5ider series. I also use the EN5ider Alchemist class.

    Mind you, this isn't everything that has happened, just the relevant info to the overall campaign as written in the books. There has been a lot of side quests and personal RPing with their contacts. I'd say every other session is a pure RP session with 0 combat or moving the plot forward.

    Initial Players:
    Kreiger von Algernop – Human Rogue with Technologist Background
    Maria Mercutio – Aasimar Fighter with Yerasol Veteran Background
    Lucky – Human Rogue with Skyseer Background
    Rupert Northampton– Human Cleric of the Clergy with Spirit Empath Background
    Badger – Dwarf Ranger with Docker Background

    The players started with the one-shot Bonds of Forced Faith adventure. I had 5 players and I decided to give them King Lorcan, Amielle Latimer, Tomas Lucani, Melissa Gahlot, and ‘a high ranking sorcerer in the Ministry of Magic’ a human sorcerer (to make them not question why Harkover Lee is still around).Roland Stanfield is there, but I made sure he was not a playable character.

    Generally this adventure goes pretty much as written. King Lorcan’s ability to move earth pretty much every action was fairly OP, but I used an early draft of the characters before this adventure was officially converted to 5e and released on EN5ider.I see the revised version of this ability is much less abusable.The King Lorcan player basically used a loophole in the old version of that ability to keep knocking the witches off the sides of really high cliffs on the mountainside.

    The main adventure started afterwards. The Coaltongue incident happens pretty much as outlined in the book.They find the dockers before they attack and arrest them. One of the players immediately recognized the handmaiden as an eladrin instead of an elf.They fight the engineers, prevent the boilers from overheating and are able to do the star trek mumbo jumbo by releasing the excess energy through the capacitor. The Duchess escapes. At this point, Badger’s player leaves the group, leaving just four players.

    The trip to Axis Island also happens pretty much as the book goes – they tell Lya there is no answer to the riddle (mostly because they didn't want to deal with it and they thought they were being funny). The infiltration team is killed except for Burton, who they rescue. They negotiate with the mine foreman to guide them through the mines, so no real combat there,but Lucky takes the Avilona coin.They get to the fortress and defend it successfully. They really liked that part.When Asrabey shows up, they ignore the Danoran prisoner and follow Asrabey instead.The hedge maze fey is upset, but again they successfully negotiate their way out of combat and are allowed to go through.They listen in on the conversation between Ethelyn and Asrabey. Lucky shoots Asrabey with a pistol as a surprise attack, hits him and drops him with one hit (needless to say, they aren’t that impressed with this guy, but really, really want his magic stuff).
    They arrest the Duchess and Nathan and turn over the island back to Lya. End of First Book.Total Sessions: 2

    The next book begins with them going to the Danoran consulate. The players were all over the place during this. They find most of the clues at the consulate, including the fey laced chocolates and find out who Heward Sechim is. When they find the deed for the Danoran barge in the alleyway, the players spend maybe half a session trying to find a specific barge and think that the whole mystery revolves around barges. I threw them a bone and they found out that Danoran barges covered in canvas have been going down Stanfield Canal for some time.
    They track down Wolfgang, find all the clues at the House of Blue Birds (they think the black grease on the rag is from a barge). They then head to Sechim’s Alkahest and Etchings. They accuse Heward of pirating Danoran barges (I’m not kidding, the players were obsessed with this being a barge thing), which of course he denies. They head to Cloudwood to talk to Nevard (one of the players was against doing this, saying that the clues are at Stanfield Canal because….barges).The Macbannin/Night on Cauldron Hill proceeds as stated in the book. They have an unusually long talk with the courier outside of Macbannin’s Mansion about how bad the world is. They don’t make it back in time to stop the arsonists themselves, but a bit of foresight on their part, they assigned a group of police officers to watch the place. The police were killed, but reinforcements showed up and arrested them.

    The players meet Gale, they are very nice towards her. Then the players head to Parity Lake to meet Lorcan Kell. Funny side note:all four players kept thinking that I wassaying ‘Lork and Kell’ They actually thought he was two different people for a very long time….it also proved that they didn’t read any of the Dramatis Personae info that was sitting in front of them the whole time.The players are ‘meh’ about Kell, they allow the poor guy on the stage to get beaten to death, take Lorcan’s info about the wand smuggling, and leave with no intention of taking any deal from Kell.

    Using Lorcan’s info about the wands, they head to the smuggler’s wharf themselves to see what’s going on (much to the chagrin of two of the players who insist that the wharf has nothing to do with Nilasa’s murder and that this was just a red herring). They acquire an RHC boat and follow the Family boat to the meeting location.They wait until the larger boat has left, then follow the Family boat back where the ram it from the side(the players didn’t want to learn any naval rules, so all naval combat will probably just be narrated from here on).Its here that they find the gnomes, Danisca and the House Elf who explains Nilasa’s role in the wand smuggling.The next morning they meet Morgan Cippiano.They actually accept his deal to release the Family and give back the wands in return for the Dr’s location. One of the player's really liked the concept of the Family.

    At the Nettle’s Church, they do fight Cillian Creed who they realize is Nilasa’s murderer, but find the escape route pretty quickly. Only one player ever peaks outside to see theSteelshaper and they all leave just as they see the carriage pull up with Heward Sechim as prisoner.They don’teven bother to stick around and they hear later that Heward was found dead near the exploded church.They head back, learn of the name Cillian Creed from one of the arsonists.They find the warehouse with the witchoil golem.That fight nearly takes out a couple of the players and they are now terrified of witchoil. Delft tells them that between the papers that Wolfgang supplied and the papers they found in the warehouse, he suspects Mayor Macbannin.Here the players get really confused.They cannot figure out why they are being pulled into this Macbannin, factory fire, witchoil golem plot, when their mission was to find Nilasa’s murder.The players actually tell Delft that they aren’t interested in messing around with a Mayor, not while there’s a shadowy murderer out there. Delft tried to get them to connect the dots, but these players just didn’t get it. So, they go to Dawn Square, where one of the jaguars attacks Nevard.The skeletons drop Maria during this combat as well.Nevard dies during this scene.
    At this point, I had one of the arsonists tell the players that Cillian Creed was Macbannin’s butler. That’s when it finally clicked for them.Delft wants them to go arrest Macbannin, but they do not want to arrest a Mayor, but they will go arrest Cillian.

    They show up at the manor house and the Mayor attacks them anyway. When they finally whittle down his servants and get the Mayor down to only a few hp, he surrenders. Maria’s player thought he was too evil to keep alive and killed him right there.The other three players were more than appalled at this point.The rest of the adventure proceeds as the book says it does, Krieger the Technologist is able to stop the explosion and they kill Cillian Creed.

    Of course, this means that Saxby and Delft both know that the PCs killed the Mayor. But at thispoint, two of the players had to drop out and one of the players wanted to change characters. I was able to get three new players instead of just two after that.So the new constables to start the third book were:

    Kreiger von Algernop – Human Rogue with Technologist Background
    Mirabelle Shaw – Human Fighter (gunslinger) with Gunsmith Background
    Fizzles – Gnome Bard with Docker Background
    Liam Stanworth – Aasimar Cleric (philosopher who follows the writings of William Miller, his holy symbol is a burning book….I know, right?!?) with Spirit Empath Background
    Switch Aglernop – Human Alchemist with Skyseer Background (playing Krieger's 18 year old daughter)

    So the third book pretty much goes as written, with a few side areas for personal character development with contacts. They don’t care much for Rock Rackus when they visit him in jail.They also think he’s quite mad, talking about going to the moon and such. Kreiger continues to accept deals with Morgan Cippiano, including helping him secure a shipment of fey pepper.Then they learn about the Audit.They suddenly become superstar constables. Krieger starts ignoring Family contacts.They arrest Kaja Stewart and find the Ancient artifacts.They learn about Caius Bergeron, Pardwright University, and Xambria Meredith.They head to the ziggurat,learn about the seal (but never remove the fake seal, but do learn that it is a fake seal), and leave before it floods completely. They solved the rainbow puzzle pretty quickly, much quicker than I would have thought. They also surmise that it is indeed the Voice of Rot that speaks to them outside of the ziggurat.

    When they get back to Flint, one of the players is accused of murder (set up by Lorcan Kell). The Audit happens and Krieger is discovered to be working with the Family. Fizzles meets with Rock Rackus at the behest of Thames Grimsley and they become good friends. Meanwhile, they also follow the Apet energy.They get duped by Sijhen putting the fake vial on a barge.The players that were barge obsessed were gone, so no more focusing on barges at this point.

    When they go to the Mavisha ziggurat, that also happens pretty much as written. They ally with Captain Diego and the goblin archeologist, sneak into the Il Dracon de Mer,capture the captain, and head down to the dig site. After a fight that kills the water druid, Finona surrenders and the fight with the water elemental never happens.The trip back to Flint also occurs the way itis written in the book.They leave Finona alone after some light interrogation, the Dagger catches on fire, they head over to free the crew, but they are all dead, including Finona, and Xambria is nowhere to be found. Xambria is captured at the Gala and the attack on RHC HQ happens.The other constables that protect Saxby are defeated by the group and Saxby has a hold person spell cast on her long enough to be binded.Also, by this time, they have found almost all of the Ob rings on everyone that has one, but have made no connections at all between them.The players seem to think that this is just normal jewelry.When they chase Sijhen to the sewers, one of the players shoots Xambria and kills her.To make the fight more interesting, I had Sijhen materialize next to Xambria’s body and the fight continued.They used the train to slam the seal into the portal and killed Sijhen completely.The Thing never even made an appearance, though its tentacles did for a moment.

    Then we started Book Four. My players didn’t have as much fun as I thought they would with this spymission unfortunately.They had fun making alternate personalities (as one player put it ‘we are making alternate personalities for our alternate personalities’).One of the players had a lot of fun roleplaying with all of the suspects and trying to figure out who was Obscurati. Among all the actual suspects in the train, I threw a couple of red herrings at them.One of them was named Leroy Flowers and he was fleeing Risur after he killed his wife.I made him very shifty and nervous.The PC’s immediately assumed he was their main target and followed him most nights until Nalaam. As such, they missed out on most of the other targets nightly scenes.Though, Kreiger did follow Elanor and Isobel while in Cherage to the senator’s manor house and learn that she was an eladrin female.The giant hydra creature attacked the train in the Malice Lands, but the players, not wanting to reveal who they were, hid the entire time the hydra attacked. As such, I applied the maximum amount of deaths on the train.

    Trekhom was a different story. Switch decided she wanted to follow this teifling prince (Luc Jierre) around and followed him to the lighthouse and learned what was going on and that he was the one going to the meeting inVendricce.They arrive in Nalaam and accept Elanor’s invitation to the games. They actually plan on stopping Elanor somehow, so they do a lot of scouting and planning beforehand. At the arena, they help Andrei, kill the pyrecat, and fight the three wizards in thebox, along with Elanor.The Necromancer surrenders once they kill the other two wizards and Elanor and they surprisingly let him live if they hand over all the gold he was going to use to bid on Isabel. He gives them 10,000 gp.The Krieger and Switch players recognized the von Recklinghausen name and Andrei confirms that Wolfgang is his father, but doesn’t say much more than that. Oh, and they completely ignored Damata’s issue, so he is now dead.

    Ottavia and Luc were at the arena and saw the combat prowess of the group, so they are now convinced they know who the RHC spies are. Luc’s lantern sucks them into Nem, but they quickly escaped that.They followed Ottavia to the Isle and I ran the full dungeon version of it. They absolutely loved the dungeon. They were shocked to learn that there was an angel and a demon being held prisoner here. They sided with Giovanni the painter and captured Belcamp. So yeah, they were awarded a painting from Giovanni’s collection he was so pleased with that. All the paintings inhabitants even did that award ceremony thing at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, where they stand at attention (pun intended if you know what went on in that dungeon room) and Giovanni put medals around their neck and everything. I know that the adventure had it that only a vekeshi mystic could touch the sword of Srasama, but I decided that was too cool to leave there, so the group’s aasimar, Liam, (basically a creature with a sliver of Srasama) was able to use the sword and its powers. Ashima-Shimtu freaked the players out, but now they realize that someone summoned Srasama’savatar and that this demon was the one who gave them that ritual.

    When they escape through well, they actually decide to go to their ship instead. They sail to Vendricce, only a couple of hours ahead of the train.Only Krieger follows the locomotive to the train depot and (rolling a nat 20 on his Stealth check), is able to hide and listen in on the whole conversation between Lya, Luc, Bree, and finally Nicodemus.This scene ends with no fightat all and without anyone knowing that they were being watched. They manage to sneak out of Vendricce with no problems.

    We are only two sessions into book 5, but so far, the players are enjoying the Kell mini-game. But the moles have struck twice and they haven’t figured out that they have moles leaking info out. They’ve learned to not like Kell.He has been shadowing them and watching their private residences for some time. My paranoid players hated this. Also, I decided to not use the Team B alternate characters.They heard that their fellow constables were escorting Brakken, and they rushed to the scene of the Flint Tribune only to see that Team B had dealt with the snipers.They did go after Ekossigan, but was able to capture Gale and get her to reveal Ellik’s location instead of having to chase down a gremlin.They were nearly TPKd in the fight against Ekossigan. Only Fizzles was left standing, and only because she polymorphed herself into a giant ape and walloped on Ekossigan in the end.

    That’s about where we are at now. Our next session is Friday.We’ll see how well they do with taking out Kell.
    Last edited by mdusty; Friday, 19th May, 2017 at 03:57 AM.
    XP RangerWickett gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    San Antonio, Texas, United States
    It's really interesting to see how different players make different choices. Barges! And poor Damata Griento. And all those people on the train!

  3. #3
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    I get a little nervous as writer of an RPG when someone says "things went pretty much as written," because I worry that means the adventure was too railroady, but it sounds like your group actually has put their own stamp on things.

    This is quite different from my playtest group, who during adventure 3 insisted on using Rock Rackus as a human target to draw out his assassin at a charity concert for the Nettles, where a PC declared his candidacy to run for Mayor to replace Macbannin, and won the crowd over after he took a bullet to save Rock.

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