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ZEITGEIST 5e vs. 4e Zeitgeist?

Hi folks,

Long time admirer of Zeitgiest but never got a chance to play or DM until now. I only have the 4e version right now. Can someone give me a run down of the pros and cons of playing in 4e or 5e? I am the rare bird that likes both 4e and 5e-- different but both good.

The adventure path seems to play to all of 4e's strengths -- much less combat per session than your typical module due to lots of investigation and exploration between combat, big set pieces tied to plot when combat does occur, scaling narrative enviroments and situations so level 1 doesn't feel like level 25 even if the 'math' is similar, themes and paragon paths that tie into setting, etc.

It also seems like it would be good in 5e if the conversion is good, but haven't seen the conversion yet. How are the combat encounters in 5e? Are the 'monsters' custom made and interesting (more interesting than the stock 5e ones)?

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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skotothalamos

formerly roadtoad
I have run it through adventure 9 in 4e, then homebrewed 5e for the final 4 adventures to finish that campaign, then ran it again with official 5e material through adventure three (jumping around some) for another campaign that fell apart.

I find that the stuff that was originally written for 4e plays best in 4e. I really like the unique monster designs that they put in. So much flavor comes through in the different attack powers. I found the 5e conversion to be less characterful. It's a shame, for instance, to lose Thames Grimsley's three different Kirk-Fu attacks (Two-Fisted Thwack, Flying Clothesline, and Dramatic Throw), and have them replaced with "uses berserker stats but has a multiattack."

The difference between Asrabey at the end of adventure one in 4e and 5e is striking. in 4e he's a nigh-untouchable puzzle with AC beyond the party's ability to hit. In 5e, he's, uh, hard to hit. My 4e group overcame him by breaking out the "Miss:" effect dailies.

Alternately, I did find the industrial revolution trappings to be more terrifying in 5e than 4e. Often a 4e character would have a bomb go off in their face and then just sort of go on with their turn. We lost a 5e investigator to an exploding arsonists' cart pretty fast!
 

Excellent answer skotothalamos. I take some responsibility for not having the stamina to be involved with the PF and 5e conversions early on. Going forward with Z, I hope to keep things nifty.

By the way, if either of you like Z and have a Twitter account or another internet place where your friends might listen to your input, we're running a Kickstarter for a ZEITGEIST adventure that will (hopefully) kick off a new era of Z content, set about 20 years after the adventure path. I'd appreciate it terribly if you'd look for ways to get the word out.

 

I find that the stuff that was originally written for 4e plays best in 4e. I really like the unique monster designs that they put in.

So does that mean combat encounters in general are much better designed in 4e and I'd have to do a good deal of homebrew to add back in the unique "powers" into 5e?

I'm not familar with what was or wasn't originally written for 4e. I was under the impression that the whole thing was in 4e first and then converted to PF1e then 5e?

Did you switch to 5e for the generic differences between 5e and 4e then (e.g., simpler character creation, theater of the mind, etc.)?
 

The actual process was that I wrote adventures 1 and 2, and other authors for 3 and 4, and we got Thurston Hillman to convert them to PF, then he wrote adv 5, I did 6 and 7, he did 8, I did 9, he did 10, Liz Courts and I did 11, and I did the rest. The ones where Thurston or Liz were lead, they wrote them first in PF, and I converted to 4e. Everything else was written in 4e first, then converted to PF.

The 4e iterations had more flavorful attacks and special abilities, at least for the first 5 adventures. Starting with Thurston's conversion of adventure 6, and his writing on 8, he got comfortable stepping away from PF norms and throwing in more unique powers.

Because PF's overall style is closer to 5e's style (none of the 4e healing surges, encounter powers, etc), the people who did the 5e conversion used the PF version as a baseline. So the first five 5e adventures have fairly normal combat encounters, but starting around adventure 6 (when Thurston got more adventurous in his PF mechanics), the 5e adventures also get more adventurous.
 

skotothalamos

formerly roadtoad
Did you switch to 5e for the generic differences between 5e and 4e then (e.g., simpler character creation, theater of the mind, etc.)?

We had already done an Epic Tier 4e campaign (Scales of War) and no one had the energy to manage that many powers and "Once per day when you die..." abilities. We hadn't tried 5e yet and everyone wanted to, so we did a 6-month jaunt into Ravenloft to get acclimated and then came back to start adventure 10 in a world with different rules...
 

I began running the campaign over two years ago, and decided to go with 4e precisely because the monsters were so well written (seriously, they're so good, much better than official monsters even).
Additionally, the unorthodox nature of the adventures makes 4e rituals really shine. We played for 6 years in another campaign (a modified version of the Orcus adventure path, which was also better than the original) and rituals were mostly for transportation or for resurrection. In Zeitgeist, my players make it a point to learn as many rituals as they can and devote plenty of resources to it.
On a similar note, one of them got ahold of Kell's machete and since money is scarce, decided to forsake enhancement bonus improvements for his armor and neck items in favor of multiple low-level weapons with good dailies, which essentially means his play style now revolves around "consumable" weapons.
In short, everything about the adventure path encourages unusual play styles, which together with the set piece encounters that take advantage of 4e's robust combat system, makes it an absolute joy to play. I would heavily encourage you to play in 4e.
 

DarbyMcD

First Post
I have a question for folks with some experience with 4E particularly. I am thinking about running this campaign using GURPS. I hadn't really thought about it and was going to use the 5e version as the basis for the conversion, but now it sounds a bit like 4e had more colorful encounters, maybe? I don't have any experience with 4e but one of the reasons I am interested in using GURPS for the campaign is the way it can handle a wide variety of situations. Does anyone have a recommendation about which version of Z is the most flavorful to use as a start point?
 

skotothalamos

formerly roadtoad
I have a question for folks with some experience with 4E particularly. I am thinking about running this campaign using GURPS. I hadn't really thought about it and was going to use the 5e version as the basis for the conversion, but now it sounds a bit like 4e had more colorful encounters, maybe? I don't have any experience with 4e but one of the reasons I am interested in using GURPS for the campaign is the way it can handle a wide variety of situations. Does anyone have a recommendation about which version of Z is the most flavorful to use as a start point?

I found 4e to be more colorful, for the reasons mentioned above. In fact, when I ran a 5e campaign years later, I kept referencing my 4e campaign book to bring in the more characterful features of the 4e enemies to their 5e builds. So much of the charm for me as DM was reading out the flavor text on a 4e opponent's attack to the players as the attack happened.
 

DarbyMcD

First Post
Ok, thanks for the feedback. Do you by any chance know which the Pathfinder version is most like? I just realized that I accidently bought the bundle of Zeitgeist for Pathfinder.... damn.
 

skotothalamos

formerly roadtoad
I got a 4e/pathfinder bundle a long time ago. When I did my 5e conversion (before the official one), I used the pathfinder one a lot because it was easier to compare. I believe RangerWickett said they used the Pathfinder one to build the official 5e conversion
 


DarbyMcD

First Post
That is a really kind offer. I actually am not sure it would make a big difference between starting with PF or starting with 4e. I am very open to hearing what you or anyone else might think or any insight in converting to GURPS (which I have never done with a PF, 4e, or 5e product!).
 

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