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


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B'alam (Tabaxi Sorcerer)
(player of Vaic, god of Trickery)
(Did not play Zeitgeist)

No Gods No Kings No Captains No Masters Only Us

Appearance and Clothing:

7 feet tall roughly 280 lb, humanoid jaguar. Lean but not skinny. Black in some areas, almost burnt gold in others, covered in black spots. Big green/yellow eyes.

Age 23

Race Tabaxi

Wears sleeveless hooded vest that comes down to the hips. on the back of the vest is a painted symbol of what looks like an eye with a dagger behind and a crescent moon on the handle of the dagger. Relaxed fitting pants with pockets and pouches. a big ol' studded belt with other stuff hanging from it.
A variety of bracelets, leather bands and of the like are adorned on both wrist. Has earrings and studs on both ears.

Subtle Fire was born in a small clan in a distant jungle mountainous land.
He got the name from the strange glowing spots that his mother noticed when he was a small cub. Every now and then his spots would glow a golden color when certain emotions would come up. She ignored the anomaly though she knew what it could be, she moved on because he was her cub and loved him so. Flash to 16 years after his birth, he was on his first ever hunting party with the other youths of his clan. During the hunt a larger and much more stronger youth by the name of Half stone was bullying Subtle Fire and some of the party members. As time grew the bullying became worse till there was a confrontation between Subtle Fire and Half Stone. The two fought till Half Stone had the upper hand. At that point Subtle fire was filled with a mix of rage and desperation and in a blink of an eye Half Stone was on fire and died burning. This did not go well for Subtle Fire, for Half Stone was the son of the clan chieftain Full Stone. As punishment Subtle Fire was cast out of The Crawling Wild Clan and to survive on his own. After weeks on his own he found a small port and managed to get on a boat and to sail anywhere he can start a new life and control this “curse” of his.

He landed on a small port of ______ from there he wandered around trying to find anything about what he was or how to control the fire that’s in him. Cold, tired, and hungry he collapsed at the front door of what looked like an abandoned home. Little did he know that was the home of a half-orc wizard by the name of Gramagall. The wizard took him in and brought him back to strength. Gramagall took interest in Subtle Fire, and began to mentor him. The wizard had an idea of what power Subtle Fire possessed. From his studies Gramagall figured out that his new friend was a sorcerer. While both had vastly different talents Gramagall was able to help Subtle Fire control his power. While not fully sure what the Tabaxi’s family tree is made up of the wizard was perplexed. There was a overwhelming feeling of chaotic energy flowing through Subtle Fire, at that point Gramagall couldnt explain why he had these talents but at the very least he was able to help him understand and sort of control his chaotic talents.

As time went on Gramagall started Calling Subtle Fire B'alam. The name came from a long ago language from a culture that sadly is no more. Gramagall taught Balam the harshness of the world, how the kings and masters shaped the lands to benefit them and not their people, he shared his dream of one day seeing a life where everyone is able to live their life as they see fit and not have to be under the thumb of some ruler.

The teachings stuck with B'alam and he felt a great need to go forth and try and change the world to see if he can make his mentors dream a reality.

(obviously we still have some details to fill in)

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formerly roadtoad
Igbrin (Kenku Cleric of... enh)
(Player of Dana, goddess of Life and Earth)
(Player of Cazara in Zeitgeist)

For Igbrin, we only have this quote:
"The thing about religion is that most religions don’t care about gods at all. They say they do — every one I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a few, says that they give the very most glory to some god or another, but at the end of the day, the god isn’t really part of it. Every religion is the same, see? And if they were all about the different gods, wouldn’t they be more different? No. Religion is about the religion. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter whose name is exalted, so long as the exalting happens. If there’s a god at the center of religion, it must be all the same god, and that is the god of habit.

Religion isn’t about gods, it’s about people. It’s a thing people need to do like eating and shitting and naughty word - it’s not important what a person believes, just that they have something to believe. And belief is just someone saying something near you enough times. And just like eating and shitting and naughty word, there’s a rhythm to religion — a common beat that you can dance to if you know how. Get to the center of the dance, and you have the faithful by the short-and-curlies, just as sure as if you’re the greengrocer or the abortion doctor, and with a lot less work.

Me? I’m more interested in the Gods than the religion — I want to go where the real power is. But until I find me some real power, I’ll dance the dance and fleece the flocks as they let me."


formerly roadtoad
and lastly, we have
Tattolka (Bugbear Rogue)
(Player of Shiver, god of Water and Death)
(Player of James M. Chinast and Gear in Zeitgeist)

Well, there's not a story here except that she took the Pirate background and was cheated out of her share of the profits and abandoned by her former captain, so at least I have an adventure hook there. :)


formerly roadtoad
There is no tank here, except the Tortle's shell. We'll see how it goes.

We did a Roll20 orientation last weekend and three of them (B'alam couldn't make it) fought off some bandits and a lizardman in a tavern.

As the only three people who stood up to the robbery attempt, Igbrin recognized the potential in the other two and began to assemble their flock.


formerly roadtoad
After the orientation session, we had a full session this past weekend.

The random bar turned out to be The Snapping Line tavern in Saltmarsh. A strange Tabaxi sorcerer joined them and decided that these folks were clearly PCs and useful. And then, after getting to know each other, presented with an entire town to explore, the new party immediately split. Before they left, grateful barkeep Hanna Rist told them that her friend Anders Solmor was looking for some capable adventurer types to do some work, if they were interested. They mumbled various non-committal things and went out the door.

The sailors, Sam and Tattolka, headed for the Mariners' Guildhall, where they joined the Guild. The Guilmaster asked for a 25-gold piece membership fee which they could not afford, so each now has a 25 gold piece chit owed to the Guild. But they got on the roster of available sailors and were told they could stay the night. Work was promised if they came down at 5am.

While the sailors looked for legitimate work, Igbrin and B'alam went in search of mystical knowledge. As a sorcerer, B'alam still has no idea where his Wild Magic comes from, so he wanted to check in with local wizard Keledek. The door to his house/tower said "no admittance without appointment," but they knocked anyway. When the seven-foot-tall human in gaudy Elfaivaran garb answered the door, they asked to make an appointment for the future. The wizard asked why and B'alam went into a whole spiel about learning his magical powers. Keledek asked for a demonstration of these powers and B'alam tried to light a bush on fire but instead blinked out of existence.

(He rolled a natural 1, which we've agreed is a roll on the Wild Magic chart. It said he transported himself to the Astral Plane for a turn, but we don't really have an Astral Plane to work with, so I sent him to Av, which is now the moon of the past, so I sent our one player who didn't play Zeitgeist a hundred years into the past so he could meet some Clergy godhands who really wanted to know why a strange jaguar monster had just interrupted their sweep of Saltmarsh for heretical behavior. Before they could arrest him, he popped back to present time. I have decided that Av presents an image of the past that can be played around in, but since it's not actually the past, nothing can be changed. Kind of like playing Assassin's Creed.)

Keledek was fascinated by this example and invited them both in. While he interviewed B'alam about his past, and offered him a position as apprentice/gopher, Igbrin saw something shiny and pocketed it, later learning that it was a potion of healing. B'alam accepted the position even though both he and Igbrin were suspicious of the wizard.

The magic team and the sailor team met up and the Solmor house to find out about the job he had, and were informed (once he verified their usefulness with Hanna Rist) that he needed a haunted house a few miles out of town cleared out so he could acquire it for his fishing and shipping business. It was not clear from whom he would buy the property, but it was clear that he didn't want to buy a house full of ghost problems. They haggled their way up to 152 gold pieces total for doing the job and set off to the east of town with a few hours daylight left.

They stopped by the Church of Triegenes, where Tattolka took a moment to tug at her fishhook earrings, then visited "the Leap," a cliff looking over the sea, where Saltmarsh residents traditionally throw themselves off the cliff and into the sea after learning of the loss of a loved one to the ocean. They found a woman mourning at a marker for her son, who was lost at sea a few years prior, and she explained that the tradition represents a symbolic effort to offer yourself to the sea in exchange for the life of your loved one. No one has ever succeeded in this effort, to her knowledge. Sam used some Druidcraft to grow some new flowers around her son's marker and they parted ways.

They barely got into the house, so I'll save that for when I can write up the whole thing.


formerly roadtoad
We had a fairly straightforward exploration of the haunted house from Sinister Secret of Salthmarsh. They spotted smuggler tracks in the first room and followed them to the secret trapdoor that leads to the cellar, where they quickly dispatched three smugglers, but not before B'alam had the chance to channel wild magic and levitate himself to the ceiling, making himself a great target for the smuggler archer. He dropped in two arrows and floated gently to the ground.

The cellar had several exits (that they found): a door barred from their side, with "Danger" scrawled across it. Igbrin used a Detect Evil and Good to discover that there was something evil behind that door, so they left it alone. Another door led to a fine bedroom, where they found some candles and a lantern and a sheet with a lantern code on it for signalling ships at sea (easily identified by the two sailors in the group). They also found a spellbook and a volume entitled "The Life and Deaths of William Miller," which Igbrin scooped up like it was a shiny bit of string.

Lastly, there was a secret door leading down into a cave system beneath the house, where they dodges some green slime and encountered more smugglers. This time, the smugglers had the upper hand, and both B'alam and Sam went down fast. Tattolka had not even joined the fight when Igbrin surrendered in an effort to save the lives of the fallen. A wizard who was clearly in charge appeared and accepted their surrender, instructing the smugglers to stabilize the wounded as they would be far more valuable to him in the slave markets of the Sea Princes.

The three surviving smugglers then had to sort out how to take their captives to their ship. Their small rowboat wouldn't fit everyone, and they didn't want to leave any of the captives alone. Finally, they decided to have the two lackeys load up the boat with the unconscious PCs while the wizard kept an eye on the disarmed bird. Igbrin kept the wizard in conversation (discovering that the evil entities next to the cellar were skeletons) just long enough for Tattolka to skulk up quietly and put a single arrow through his neck, dropping him dead. (Shortbow plus sneak attack plus Bugbear surprise plus a crit for 28 damage to the 27 hit point wizard!)

She then freed Ibrin by breaking the shackles and the two of them set off to swim after the rowboat. Igbrin used an illusion of sunken treasure to distract the smugglers, who stopped to dive for the treasure. One dove into the water while Tattolka strangled the other. She and Igbrin then took the rowboat ashore and settled in for a long rest. With all the healing magic used up, they had to simply wait four hours for the other two to return to consciousness.

Feeling much better and higher level in the morning, they set out for the house again to hunt down some skeletons...


formerly roadtoad
Fresh campaign idea just to add more elements to this.

My Igbrin player was a little disappointed that Saltmarsh doesn't seem like it will have any world-stopping epic content. After a game where they became gods and a game where they got to build a new world, I tend to agree. She'd very interested in finding out about cults, and I had an idea.

I've never run Princes of the Apocalypse. I just recently aligned each of their old 4e characters (who became Clergy gods) with an element as one of their domains. What if the gods based on their old characters were angry about being sacrificed by the Clergy a hundred years ago? What if the Clergy only sacrificed the good, godly aspects of them, leaving behind some angry elemental cores that are out for revenge against the world? I'm still toying with it, but I'm going to start weaving in rumors of these cults and place these various elemental dungeons wherever is convenient. The Temple of Elemental Evil is probably down under Axis Island somewhere. The various cult bases will have ways to teleport there.

I'd like to make some story about redeeming these old gods instead of just beating on the elemental-themed boss monsters. The fire cult is clearly losing, since technology has stagnated. Hopefully this will give them something interesting to work on while also dealing with belligerent Sahuagin (who may be water cultists) and whatever is happening in Ptolus (if they even go there).

We ran through Curse of Strahd in the middle of Zeitgeist (after episode 9, when the world became 5th edition, and I both wanted to give the writers time to put the rest of the adventure path out and also learn 5th edition at lower level), and other than that, we've been doing some very linear adventure paths, so I'm also digging up all my old favorite adventures that these folks have never seen to make available to them. I'm just going to lay out a bunch of hooks and see what they bite on. Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

And now, back to mushing Red Larch into Saltmarsh and making a map that has both adventures' content included...


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Latest plot idea: the world is messed up and going to fail because they stuffed too many icons into the axis island ritual.

One of my favorite Computer rpgs was Ultima VI. Ultima IV is the one that gets all the love in that series. It’s the one where instead of just killing monsters and taking their stuff, you became the Avatar of Virtue by embodying the 8 virtues and eventually going so deep into the dungeons that you came out on the other side of the world and find the Book of Knowledge to bring back to enlighten your people.

Well, two games later, you’re at war with the gargoyles who live in the other side of the world because they’re convinced that some human raided their most holy site and stole their sacred book of wisdom. I love when sequels make it so that the obvious solution to one game is the precipitating event that causes the problems in the next game.

The planets are not happy sharing space. Things have gotten fuzzy around the edges. Technology has regressed, so there’s something wrong with Jiese. I just got Descent into Avernus, so Sid Minos might be going for an interplanetary jaunt to Jiese, where the Golden Legion have set up shop again, probably led by the PC who got turned evil and never came back: Gear. Meanwhile, the sacrificed gods from our first game are going to be mixing things up with elemental cults, all while our PCs just want to maybe broker peace talks with Sahuagin and run their own pirate ship.

I’ll set the hooks and see what they bite on and save the rest for my next game. :)

(They’re currently halfway through Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, then they got distracted by a side-quest from PotA, which will drop an Avernus hook. When they return to town, there will be another PotA side-quest hook, and also the opportunity to finish Sinister Secret and get their own ship. I shall not be accused of railroading!)
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