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ZEITGEIST A post-Zeitgeist campaign (spoilers for Zeitgeist, Saltmarsh, PotA, Avernus, and now War of the Burning Sky)


formerly roadtoad
My group (The Bosum Strand Irregulars) finished up Zeitgeist in September of 2017. Since then, we've played a couple of other games and three people (including myself and my wife) have moved away from the town we all played in. Well, with recent events upping the importance of online communication, some of us are starting up a new 5e game. This game will be set in the Zeitgeist world, one hundred years after the end of the previous game. We were just going to play in Ptolus, but then two of our four players made characters with nautical backgrounds, so we're incorporating Ghosts of Saltmarsh as well. As such, this thread will randomly contain spoilers for Zeitgeist (as we will reference the decisions they made on their run-through and how the world has changed), Ptolus, and Ghosts of Saltmarsh. If you're okay with that, stick around as we spin up a new world.

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formerly roadtoad
I'm going to start here with a bit of the history of our world. Many eons ago, on some other world, a group of heroes known as The Blue Moon Bastards retired from their adventuring career by saving their world and the life of the god Bahamut, and in the process became gods themselves. They built a new world, and that world is the one we know as the Zeitgeist world.

Those gods:

Dana, the goddess of Earth and Life
Wilik, the god of Fire and Time
Harann, goddess of Air and Space
Shiver, god of Water and Death
Vaic, god of Trickery
and Erich the betrayer, who sided with Tiamat in the final battle, but still had a role to play in the new world, adding the necessary chaos to agitate everything into being.

They were the true creators of the world. All other gods are either creations of their own or were spawned anew by the world and its inhabitants.

And then all the standard Zeitgeist history happened, up until the year 400 or so, when King Lorcan of Risur was tricked into sacrificing himself on Cauldron Hill. The Red Contessa ruled over Flint for 60 years, feeding many souls to the mountain until King Aodhan of Risur returned with a stolen Danoran steamship and shelled the witches of Cauldron Hill into submission. And then we're back to a fairly normal timeline. Zeitgeist happened more or less as expected. The details are in the other thread.

Now the world has the following planets/planes:

the moon of Ascetia, which itself has the moon Av
Mavisha, with its moon Shabboath
Urim and its clockwork moon, Teykfa
Bhoior the space turtle who wears the ring of Reida on his head
Nem and its salt moon Amrou, where Sargon of Uggat, whose father was the cupbearer of Ur-Zababa keeps an eye on the orderly passing of souls.

Rules (and notions) for the world as a result:
  • Precision technology is theoretically possible, but something has disrupted the link to Jiese of late. This is to explain the lack of technological advancement in the past 100 years. Guns and mech suits and airplanes exist in the world and can be found as treasure, but they can no longer be built.
  • Eladrin have lost Misty Step and instead have Memory of 1000 Lifetimes, as Av is reflecting Ascetia, which holds the history of the world. It's possible the dark side of Av reflects the "bad" history in which the Constables failed to stop Nicodemus. Or possibly it reflects the future held in Reida.
  • Falling damage is reduced by the result of an Acrobatics check as everyone falls like paper.
  • Islands still hold impenetrable secrets
  • An underdark now exists, together with Cthulhu-esque things in the ocean. When the Eladrin race was reborn after the events of the campaign, some came back as Drow. Probably the more evil ones.
  • Gold blocks teleportation.
  • Brass does something time-related but I haven't figured it out yet.
  • Apet still restricts movement in and out of the solar system. This lines up wonderfully with the lack of planar travel in Ptolus, and I can sub in Apet for the one moon whose name i've forgotten in that setting.
  • Reida still gives strong prophecy
  • Bhoior allows sounds to echo through time.
  • Nem gives extra power to noncorporeal undead, while Amrou gives extra power to mundane counters to the undead, so I'm going to do the following with Turn Undead:
Anyone can Turn Undead once per day, with a DC equal to 8+CHA mod. It only works on corporeal undead and never causes destruction.
A Divinely-Channeled Turn Undead works worse vs incorporeal undead (save with advantage), and better vs corporeal undead (normal save, but are destroyed as though the cleric is 3 levels higher).
I'll add a feat that gives people proficiency with Turn Undead (Clerics already have it) and allows a second use per day.

Alright, that's it for now. Still to come: new political environment and new characters!

edit: non-cleric players did not want to have to track Turn Undead rules and cleric player wanted to still be special.
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Nice, I like how everyone can have different Bonds of Forced Faith history and it still just flows into the game. In my game the heroes were successful in defeating the witches, but the cleric managed to take an opportunity to drop the "heathen" tiefling off of Cauldron Hill to her death.

EDIT after @roadtoad's reaction, yeah, my brother was new to role playing and took the suggested role playing tips on his character sheet to heart. :)
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formerly roadtoad
I'll copy and paste the game intro splash page for my last post of the night:

The Sacred Kingdom of Crisillyir fell into chaos and disorder during the Year of No Stars almost a century ago, but the former capital city of Alais Primos is still the center of Clergy power. Clergy primarchs abandoned the people and sacrificed all they had (including some of their worshippers) to the fiery rift of Enzyo Mons. When the sun returned, its light shone upon a 2000-foot-tall spire where the caldera had been. No one knew if this spire represented the favor or displeasure of the Clergy's god Triegenes, or if it was a portent of a new doom to come.

Now called by its pre-Clergy name of Ptolus, to call the city a dynamic place with a strange and varied identity is to understate the situation greatly. Only now are explorers truly discovering how ancient the city really is and unearthing details of its varied history. Ptolus is where that strange breed that calls itself “adventurers” congregates. It’s a place where people are as concerned with what lies below the ground as they are with what’s above. This is like no place else in the world.

This decaying society looks upon previous centuries and sees grander, more civilized, and certainly better days. Progress seems on the decline—skills and lore that people possessed just a hundred years ago are lost now. Too much was sacrificed in the Year of No Stars.

But this is not a time to lose hope altogether. A myriad of races and peoples have come and gone. Good struggles against evil, and law against chaos. But the shadows only threaten the light— they do not yet consume it.

Not so long ago, the first men and women who would one day be called “delvers” returned from exploring the catacombs below the city of Ptolus laden with gold and magical treasures. Today, hundreds of new would-be delvers pour into the city each month, hoping to strike it rich like others before them. Most never crawl up from the realms below, but adventurers keep arriving with dreams of gold and fame. Those who do emerge back into the light bring with them tales of surprisingly vast reaches of natural caverns and ancient hewn passages, perhaps dating back to the dark days when this area lay in the thrall of the terrible Demonocracy and the region was pocked with winding warrens and subterranean chambers created by his dark armies. They also tell of the horrors that dwell outside the life-giving reaches of the sun: unknown monsters and devious demon-minded things with a cunning unknown to human-, elf-, or dwarfkind. In the city, entire industries have evolved quickly to service the needs of these adventurers.

Creatures and individuals that normally remain in the shadows are drawn to this large gathering of adventurers and magic. The needs of the delvers prompt renewed devotion to magic, science, and religion. Ptolus is quickly becoming the center of something much larger than itself. Omens and prophecies of children born with strange birthmarks surface in the city with increasing frequency. No one yet knows exactly what, but something is happening in Ptolus. Something new stirs in this city . . . and that something is very, very old.


Situated about one day's sail south-east of Ptolus, the town of Saltmarsh used to see a good amount of shipping traffic on its way to and from Elfaivar and Ber. This nondescript fishing village is tucked away on the southern coast of New Kellandia, an island colony established by Risur around the former Crisillyiri city of Sid Minos.

For several generations, New Kellandia was a formidable military power. Its superior cavalry and bold knights pushed the colony’s borders outward to the north, west, and east until it had taken over the entire island.. Each successful campaign increased the colony’s wealth and power, and each one in turn drew the colony’s attention even farther north to the mainland. The southern coastal regions of New Kellandia declined and Saltmarsh is now a backwater.

The colony’s benign neglect allowed piracy and banditry to flourish. Saltmarsh and similar towns kept to fishing, content to maintain a low profile and avoid governmental entanglements. Decades ago, the pirates who prowled the waters off Saltmarsh grew strong enough to create their own realm, a loose confederacy known as the Hold of the Sea Princes. With the rise of that nation came increased raids on Saltmarsh and its neighbors. The Sea Princes’ raiding ships pillaged the coast for more slaves to support their growing realm, and Saltmarsh suffered heavily. The memories of those times loom heavily over the area, and the locals’ hatred of the Sea Princes runs deep.

In time, New Kellandia’s victories in the north gave way to a string of defeats in which its neighbors pushed the colony back off the mainland. With the world closing in, colonial governor Kimbertos Skotti looked to the south and saw unchecked banditry and a rising pirate nation. Risur struck peace treaties with its former foes to the north, raised a navy, and dealt a sharp check to the ambitions of the Sea Princes—but the conflict is by no means over.

Governor Skotti has decreed that the pirates must be put down, the sea lanes secured, and trade cultivated. If New Kellandia cannot prosper as a military force, it must grow mightier as a center of trade.

Saltmarsh, remote though it might be from the center of power in the city of Sid Minos, is entering a new phase of its life as it reacts to the governor’s plans. The crown’s agents want to expand the village’s port and make it a prime location for trade with the world beyond. In another recent development, a band of dwarves—bearing a decree from the governor himself—have arrived and begun to excavate the hills and seaside cliffs near town, looking for precious metals. If their work bears fruit as expected, the mine stands to become a major factor in the village’s—and, indeed, the entire region’s—prosperity.

Naturally, not all of Saltmarsh’s residents feel the same way about the recent developments in and around their community, which is the key issue that affects their lives and livelihood. Although the recent changes stand to bring new prosperity to the area, many locals don’t want to see their home changed. At the same time, as an undercurrent through all the goings-on, agents of the secretive and mysterious Scarlet Brotherhood work to thwart New Kellandia’s ambitions while advancing their own.

The land near Saltmarsh is safe for travelers, as are the roads that cut through the region. Small farms and manor houses dot the area, many maintained by army veterans who were granted land by gubernatorial decree. A number of small halfling villages are scattered around the area, located just off the main roads. Such locations consist of several farmhouses clustered around a pub that provides a warm welcome to visitors who come in peace. Once one journeys off the beaten path, however, a variety of threats emerge from the swampy wilderness...


formerly roadtoad
Currently-agreed-upon rules for a new world:

Urim Blocks Teleportation
As in the original Zeitgeist, a loop of gold prevents teleportation. This could be a ring or a necklace to prevent personal teleportation or a loop of gold inlaid around an aperture to prevent teleportation through that aperture.

Caeloon Lessens Falling Damage
Falling damage is still 1d6 per 10 feet, but now you subtract the result of an Acrobatics check from the damage. If you receive 0 damage as a result, you do not fall prone.

Amrou Empowers Salt Against the Undead
Salt has the properties of Holy Water against corporeal undead. Turn Undead, if used with a dash of salt, destroys corporeal undead as though the Cleric is 3 levels higher.

Nem Empowers Incorporeal Undead
Incorporeal undead are immune to salt and have advantage on Turn Undead saves.

Av and Ascetia Change Eladrin
Eladrin lose the Misty Step racial ability and gain Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice. Once per day, you can roll 1d4 and add it to any one ability check, skill check, or saving throw you make. If you do this for a skill you are not proficient with, you gain proficiency for the next minute.

Jiese Empowers Technology, but...
Advanced precision technology such as firearms, steam ships, railroads, mech suits, automobiles and small airplanes exist in the world. However, no new technological items have been created in over 50 years, leading to a bit of a regression to pre-industrial technology. The technology is still out there, but it is tightly controlled by governments. Basically, technology made it to about WWI levels (plus mech suits) and then stopped and became rare.
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formerly roadtoad
First character:

Sam-u-will Hardback (Tortle Druid)
(Player of Wilik, god of Fire and Time)
(Player of Mort Stark and Alienor Soliogn-Stark in Zeitgeist)

Hatched in the desert as an orphan, Sam-Me learned to survive on his own. He had little choice and learned to listen to the sands and eat the poison and spiky bushes. After several years of wandering the desert Wasteland, he was told by the Eye-in-the-Sky to follow it. He had always liked listening to the Eye-in-the-Sky and was curious where it went to sleep every night. He followed, slowly, as his legs were still short, for what felt like many miles. Days passed, but Sam-Me still followed, through rocky hills and spiky plants.

Eventually his journey led him out of the Wasteland to the the Big-Blue-Song. Sam-Me liked listing to its music, much like a heart beats. Its song told him to come and relax along the sand, which he did. Not knowing any better he curled up next to the cool water and fell asleep. Soon the tide came in, as it does, and Sam-Me soon found himself splashing and drowning.

"Please do not eat me!" cried Sam-Me. "I am still young and you have tricked me with your soothing song."

"O'child of the Hot-Sands, if I let you live, what will you do for me?" sang the Big-Blue-Song. "I am huge and need my belly full!"

"I will feed you, if you will let me live!" Squeaked Sam-Me between breaths.

"Feed me every Eye-in-the-Sky! Yes, you will!" drummed the Big-Blue-Song, "Or I will drown you and eat you like I have so many of your kind!"

And with a thrust of a giant wave, the Big-Blue-Song spit the Tortle back to the hot-sand. And thus, Sum-U-Will was re-hatched.


That is the story Sam likes to tell those who listen, on long voyages. If you ask any of the other deck hands, they think he is a little slow in the head. He is a good sea-man though, does what he is told, and never argues... much. You would think that something that big would be a hindrance on a ship, but no one has ever had a more friendly ballast on board. In a storm, you will find him holding the mast like an anchor to save the ship and crew. Also there is something to his story... watch him closely or you might just miss it... you might catch him tossing a little something into the sea. But don't turn your back on him, because if the rumors are true, he isn't against dropping a fellow sailor in either! But... that is just a rumor.

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