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


formerly roadtoad
Alright, the group is back underway again. They've encountered some traveling Mind Flayers Gidim who have left the hivemind and taken up living in physical bodies. These travelers are reasonably friendly for brain eaters, but they claim to have been on the way through the system but found themselves unable to leave. The group speculates that the solar system is not providing the protective measures it once did, perhaps even trapping people from leaving, like a mini-Gyre.

I lured them into the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and, after Zeitgeist, they could not resist a ziggurat. However, I was under-prepped for their many lore questions and the answers were less than satisfying as they expected BIG PLOT POINTS to come from exploring the ziggurat.

This week is being spent trying to mold Mesoamerican myth into a mythology for the pre-Axis Seal world. Which is fun, but has an even more interesting wrinkle.

The open-world semi-random explorations of various D&D adventures seems to have run its course with this group (they have Hidden Shrine to finish up and the anti-Sahuagin raid at the end of the main Saltmarsh plot). I talked to some of them about their engagement with the plot and I realize they are super spoiled from having played through Zeitgeist already. My ad-hoc content cannot hold a candle to @RangerWickett's intricate plotting. I figured what they needed was some War of the Burning Sky content grafted onto their post-Zeitgeist world. I discussed this with the player who dives into the lore the most, and they suggested that simply having another conflict over control of the world wouldn't feel big enough after having been to the Gyre at the end of Zeitgeist and having spent a couple of levels adventuring on Jiese this time around. We're already interplanar at 7th level, with some nautically-themed PCs and some allied Mind Flayers. I've already thought about doing some Spelljammer-style stuff to get them to travel to the various worlds of the solar system.

Now I'm considering a War of the Burning Sky plotline spread throughout the solar system.


I'm already mashing up their two previous campaigns for this (4e Scales of War and 4e/5e Zeitgeist). I'm looking at having the various adventure locales of WotBS be different planets. Shahalesti as Av, Jiese as Ragesia (Ra-Jiese?), Caeloon as the site of the monastery of the two winds, Ascetia (in a shared orbit with Av) as Taranesti, but with the drow changed to be the returned Eladrin women who were dead for 500 years. Apet as the place where the Obelisk of infinite-range magic is being built. Trillith as the effect of wild Gidim interacting with the dreams of Bhoior the space turtle or something. It's pretty exciting but also a lot of homework to make sure I have all the right elements in place.

I still haven't completely figured out who my main belligerents are, but I have some notions. It's possible that "Coaltongue" will be Ashima-Shimtu. She's already made an impression by being behind the intro to Descent to Avernus/Jiese. That could just have been the first contact the PCs had with her system-wide war of conquest, (basically standing in for Gate Pass and the fire forest). Then I need some Vekeshi assassins to "kill" Ashima-Shimtu and have a "Leska" take contol. I'm halfway to having that be a conveniently-immortal Lya Jierre, since they never got any resolution with her in the Zeitgeist campaign and it seems pretty easy to tie in Danoran power with "Hell" and "anti-magic" themes..

It's nice that most of the pre-campaign timeline in WotBS is 100 years long, as it lets me fit all those events into the time jump from the previous game. I now need to reconcile the cosmology of both worlds, which (thanks to Toteth Topec) shouldn't be too hard but is interesting. It's pretty easy to tie the elemental dragons to the elemental planets of the same names, though my party kicked Avilona out of the system... We'll see if that's a problem later, I guess. :)

Anyway, potentially exciting developments ahead!
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formerly roadtoad
A warforged PC took over the Golden Legion at the end of Zeitgeist and was one of the factions vying for control of Jiese when they were there. She might make a good Coaltongue or Leska stand-in as well.


formerly roadtoad
Since the ancient Orcs are very Mesoamerican, I am adopting the Aztec Five Suns creation myth to represent the world before the Axis Seal Ritual. Or at least the way it was perceived by the "Aztorcs."

For those who don't know, in this myth, a series of gods take their turns being the Sun after the world is created, and each influences the world in a different way before failing (or stepping down), causing the death of the world. Then another god sacrifices themselves to become the new sun, rinse and repeat until we reach the Fifth Sun, our current world. Except in my Zeitgeist world, we are actually in the Sixth Sun. The Fifth Sun legend tells that the world will end when all the people are eaten by sky monsters. I love how well that fits in with the Orcs building Ziggurats and making the Axis Seal to prevent outside invaders. Now the world had its first sun that is not a god, and it was in the midst of its longest age before Nicodemus and the Voice of Rot broke everything and some pesky RHC constables jammed 13 planes into 8 slots, seriously throwing off the delicate balance of elemental energies in the system. I suppose that makes the current age the Seventh Sun.

Since our five players each had a PC in a previous game who then created this new world and became Clergy gods (to be sacrificed), it also lined up perfectly to have each one be one of the gods who became the sun. I've also been aligning them with the various elements of the planets, so our old half-orc fighter with flaming battle-axe was a god of fire who now has an aspect that lives on Jiese, etc. The Clergy only managed to sacrifice the good, family-friendly aspect of him, the "human" sheriff they worshipped as a god of cities and laws. The new one leads an army of demons on infernal motorcycles in a civil war for control of Jiese, and he's not happy how mortals have been treating him. He was also the first Sun, Texcatlipoca, and probably the dragon Khor-el-Jiese. Gods with many different aspects who are worshipped in different ways by different cultures are very convenient to me here. Our dragonborn invoker became the second sun Quetzalcoatl, who was jealously killed by the first sun, but she's also Jhial-el-Avilona, whose heart was ripped out by Khor-el-jiese, and I'm sure that Aviline Heart is around here somewhere...

The current PCs have found a Ziggurat that predates the ones used to seal planets and are getting this pre-Seal knowledge, mostly by way of hallucinating that they are the aspects of their previous characters. I'm very much liking the idea that they are new aspects of those old gods, recovering divine memories, but it could also just be a good way to send messages.

After they're done with the Ziggurat, we're going to do an in-game montage of about a year, letting us do some worldbuilding and play with the setting to figure out where our world is compared to the official Zeitgeist settings of 80 and 100 years prior. If I manage to wedge into that a story about an immortal half-orc warlord with a fiery weapon on a war of conquest, well, that will work just fine...
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This is some fascinating worldbuilding.

I only just now peeked at the 5e conversion of WotBS's player's guide, by the way. It brought back some pleasant memories, and I rather appreciated the way various elements of the setting were converted into 5e class archetypes.


formerly roadtoad
Welp, just after this plan, the group decided they wanted to try Pathfinder 2e.

No, seriously.

So, I'm running some Pathfinder adventures to get acclimated. Wedged into this post-post-Zeitgeist homunculus of a world I have going now.

This is probably not very relevant to Zeitgeist content at the moment, but three of the new pathfinder PCs are directly related to Zeitgeist content, which is fun.

One is a half-elf Clergy apostate who was witness to the god trials in his youth and became disillusioned with the church. One is Tinker Oddcog's niece, sent to find cool gadgets for uncle Tinker. And one is literally just Lieutenant Dale, returned from a long absence in the Black Lodge Bleak Gate. First name Cooper, of course.

I recently read a theory and analysis of season three of Twin Peaks that makes me want to be way more artsy in some future adventure. I mean, if I did it it'd be pretty artificial since I'm not an auteur at heart, but I wonder if it's possible to get players to buy into a high concept adventure.


I recently read a theory and analysis of season three of Twin Peaks that makes me want to be way more artsy in some future adventure. I mean, if I did it it'd be pretty artificial since I'm not an auteur at heart, but I wonder if it's possible to get players to buy into a high concept adventure.
Wait a minute. Zeitgeist isn't a high-concept adventure?

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