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ZEITGEIST Adventures in ZEITGEIST setting book now available (formerly an announcement of the Level Up Kickstarter)

Update 16 February 2022 - Adventures in ZEITGEIST is now available!
We're trying to direct discussion at first to this thread: ZEITGEIST - Adventures in ZEITGEIST is here!


What’s next for ZEITGEIST?

The ZEITGEIST setting is a step away from traditional fantasy. In many parts of the world, day to day existence is much unchanged from how folks lived centuries ago. Fey trickery, prowling monsters, and roaming brigands pose as great a threat as ever. Priests and druids offer guidance, and it’s possible to live all one’s entire years without seeing a steam engine.

Yet though this is still a land of old magic, no place on the continent of Lanjyr is static. Every nation and ideology is vying for influence, and your adventures will determine the shape of things to come, the spirit of the age: the zeitgeist.


The original Gears of Revolution adventure path ran from 2011 to 2014, and aside from the conversion to 5e (and Roll20 modules), we have had a long hiatus since then. This August we ran the Kickstarter for the mansion murder mystery adventure Death of the Author, but something much bigger is coming soon.

Right now EN Publishing is holding its Kickstarter for Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition, and our setting book Adventures in ZEITGEIST is one of the major available add-ons. The 300-page hardcover presents the world as it is twenty years after the climax of The Gears of Revolution campaign, going into greater detail than ever before about the six great nations and the conflicts of ideology that bring the world alive.

In the worldbook you’ll find material for both players and the Narrator.

Chapter One: A World on its Axis offers new heritages and backgrounds, plus themes like Courseur, Skyseer, or Tropezaro that hook your character into the cultural movements of these volatile times.

Chapter Two: The Science of Adventure lists variant class archetypes unique to ZEITGEIST, like the Gadgeteer fighter, Titanist ranger, or Last Raven wizard, as well as the new Savant class.

Chapter Three: An Exposition of Inventions is a shopping list of new equipment for PCs, and explains the campaign’s industrial age technology and more elaborate arcanoscientific innovations.

Chapter Four: Collectanea of the Avery Sea showcases the setting writ large, focused on the major nations on the continent Lanjyr, with three cities in each country receiving full write-ups.

Chapter Five: Of All Possible Worlds details the planets of the night sky, the parallel planes of the Dreaming and the Bleak Gate, and how they influence the world.

Chapter Six: Parade of Curiosities presents prestige classes like the Steamsuit Pilot or Wayfarer Cirqueliste, rare boons like Godhand Investiture, and diverse inventions and magical treasures, from the humble Nock Gun to the mass-produced Asomatous Canvas Projector to the fantastic Personal Revision Hourglass.

Chapter Seven: A Modern Menagerie details monsters that roam this world or come from beyond it, as well as deadly minions and cunning antagonists from groups that hold power or plot in the shadows.

Chapter Eight: The Grand Design offers guidance on what sorts of games can best fit the ZEITGEIST setting, from industrial espionage, to politicking with the fey, to struggling to unite a nation falling to civil war.

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(Okay, technically these questions haven’t been asked yet, but I’m guessing they would be if I don’t answer them preemptively)

1. What game is this book for?
Adventures in ZEITGEIST is written for Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition, which is compatible with original 5th edition. You can generally use any O5E class or monster with the A5E rules, and vice versa, and we include a small sidebar to explain some of the differences, like how monsters in A5E have a static Maneuver DC for resisting things like grabs and shoves, and how we’ve added two new skills: Culture and Engineering.

A5E has rules modules to add more detail to your game if you want it, but the underlying math and action resolution is all the same. You can find more info at the Kickstarter link, or at this review by Screen Rant.

2. When will the book come out?
Adventures in ZEITGEIST’s text has been finalized and sent to our deft layout artist. After the Kickstarter finishes and the pledges are all processed, EN Publishing will order a print run. We can’t right now give a precise timeline for the release.

3. How do I buy it?
Pledge to the Level Up Kickstarter, and select Adventures in ZEITGEIST as one of your add-ons. You can add the PDF version to any pledge option, but if you want a hardcover copy, you’ll need to select one of the print options as your base pledge.

If you don’t buy now, PDF copies will be available for purchase at EN Publishing’s online store, www.enpublishingrpg.com. A limited number of hardcover copies will also be available online. Physical game stores can also order copies. We encourage you to talk to your friendly local gaming store and ask them to contact their distributor about ordering print copies of Adventures in ZEITGEIST (and other EN Publishing products).

4. Will there be a separate Kickstarter just for Adventures in ZEITGEIST?
No. We’ll be determining the size of the print run based on pledges to the Level Up Kickstarter. We’ll order some number of spares to distribute to game stores and sell online, but that number will be limited.

5. What comes after this for ZEITGEIST? Another adventure path?
This is just me (Ryan) speaking now, but at this point it depends on how much interest the setting book generates. I’m terribly proud of the work my collaborators and I put into it, and I have ideas for further adventures. If you want to see them, please spread the word to your gamer friends and game store owners. We’d also love to see reviews, streams, and accounts of your games.

What we’re not looking to do, though, is release another linear adventure path. You can only have so many Realms-Shattering-Events in a given setting, and I want the Gears of Revolution to remain special. (Plus, from a purely business perspective, way fewer people buy ‘adventure 6’ in a series than buy ‘adventure 1.’)

My tentative hope is release a suite of seven stand-alone adventures, one tied to each of the great nations, and then one capstone that, if you played any of the others, will vary based on your choices. Death of the Author was the first, which can determine the fate of the nation Drakr, and I’m currently playtesting an adventure called Steel Wind, about the doctrinal rift in the religious nation Crisillyir.

So I suppose what comes next for ZEITGEIST depends on what you decide to do. That’s how it always was. It’s your choices that will shape the world going forward.

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This is AMAZING, I wake up with this news and you couldn't make my Sunday better than this!
I'll grab the hardcover right now, I understood that the pdf will be available as soon as the kickstart end, right?

The PDFs of Level Up's core books will be available when the drive ends, but Adventures in ZEITGEIST is still likely a few months from finishing layout.


Which A5E rulesets does Adventures in Zeitgeist leverage?

I'm assuming Adventurer's Guide (as that seems like the "core book")
I'm assuming not Monstrous Menagerie (as AiZ seems to cover that itself in chapter 7)
What I can't get a read on is Trials and Treasures.

If your question is which LU book to pick up if you want to pledge to the KS and add on Adventures in ZEITGEIST, well, the new book was designed to be compatible with O5E, so it doesn't make heavy use of new Level Up mechanics.

Here's a sidebar early in the book:

Level Up!​

Zeitgeist is the first setting to use EN Publishing’s new Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition system. It’s fully compatible with 5th Edition, just with more character options and more mechanical depth.

A few changes are primarily aesthetic. We use the term Narrator in place of Game Master, and have changed the names of three classes to make them more universal. (Barbarian becomes Berserker, Monk is Adept, and Paladin is Herald. Also, Ki becomes Focus.)

Additionally, in character creation, ‘race’ has been split into heritage (traits inherited by birth) and culture (traits gained by upbringing). Each nation’s overview in this chapter includes a list of Suggested Heritages and Suggested Cultures, and a few new options appear starting on page xx.

Characters don’t get ability score bonuses from their heritage, but from background. If you are using the core 5th edition rules, you can generally swap a heritage for a ‘race’ and a culture for a ‘subrace,’ and just assign two +1 bonuses to your ability scores however you want. It shouldn’t break anything.

Combat stat blocks include an entry for Maneuver DC. When a creature uses a basic combat maneuver like shoving, the defender makes a Strength saving throw to resist, instead of having the two creatures roll opposed skill checks.

Finally, Level Up contains two new skills: Culture and Engineering. If you are using original 5E rules, we suggest the Narrator grant each PC one additional skill proficiency, and that you ensure your party has access to both those skills.

So the Level Up mechanical presence is fairly light.

Oh, one more thing. The Savant class has 'schemes' - special abilities that are useful for the Exploration pillar of the game. Each Level Up class in the Adventurer's Guide has their own version of that, so the Savant has it in AiZ. But if you just use the O5E Player's Handbook, you can ignore them so the Savant doesn't have something other classes lack.

I think that if you're not already looking for new character options for D&D, then the Monstrous Menagerie is most likely to be useful, because I really like the design of the monster entries.


If your question is which LU book to pick up if you want to pledge to the KS and add on Adventures in ZEITGEIST, well, the new book was designed to be compatible with O5E, so it doesn't make heavy use of new Level Up mechanics.
Honestly, it's more than a bit frustrating that you have to pledge for a LU hardcover in order to unlock AiZ hardcover. Especially since AiZ ships separately anyways.

I assumed that was because AiZ required LU in some way. If it doesn't, then this decision is ... extra puzzling. I currently pledged at the softcover module level, simply because it with the cheapest barrier of entry. Paying £50 for AiZ is something I'm willing and excited to do. (YAY MORE ZEITGEIST!!!) Paying £28 (about $38) just to unlock my ability to purchase AiZ feels less than ideal. I'm sure it's something y'all planned through carefully and have business reasons for doing so. But if AiZ doesn't even require LU? I would not be surprised if uptake is slack compared to expectations, and I hope that doesn't harm future ZG development.

Anyway, I wish you the best with the campaign! Four days to go! Looking forward to more ZG!
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Russ tells me that if you don't pledge to this Kickstarter, there will be print copies available to purchase later. It will be a limited print run, and it won't be print on demand, but you should be able to get a copy.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Honestly, it's more than a bit frustrating that you have to pledge for a LU hardcover in order to unlock AiZ hardcover. Especially since AiZ ships separately anyways.
You don’t have to — you can simply buy it later next year. But this is a Level Up Kickstarter, not a ZEITGEIST Kickstarter. We added Z as an option because we thought some LU backers might like a setting with their rulebooks, but it’s not the focus of the campaign. :)

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