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

Although to clarify -- we use the LU heritage and culture system, LU backgrounds, etc. which might not make much sense out of context.
Does this mean the classes themselves have no information that updates them to A5E (LU)? The classes are a major point for me. Will there be an updated world book in the future? Hoping we get enough people for the magazine and then maybe see the class updates?
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Does this mean the classes themselves have no information that updates them to A5E (LU)? The classes are a major point for me. Will there be an updated world book in the future? Hoping we get enough people for the magazine and then maybe see the class updates?
I’m not sure I understand the question. There’s only one new class in AiZ and that’s the Savant. And it is a fully LU-ified class.
 

I’m not sure I understand the question. There’s only one new class in AiZ and that’s the Savant. And it is a fully LU-ified class.
Oh ok! Glad to here that one is. For some reason I thought I had seen Gunslingers and other mentions also. I'm way behind in this world so . . . Guess I'll just order the HC when the second wave of the kickstarter opens up.
 

Anselm

Adventurer
@RangerWickett - you mention this is set twenty years after the AP. I'm about to start running that early next year and am hoping to use this content as well for character options and setting information. Is there anything I should explicitly avoid as spoiler-y to the campaign in the character options that I put in front of my players? Any of the new themes or background a no go?
 

Naturally there'll be challenges avoiding spoilers when running any adventure that's from an older publication cycle. I'll try to help with that.

Plus, be ready to make some decisions regarding mechanics that might not be consistent. The Gears of Revolution was converted it to 5th edition (which I imagine is the version you have), while the new Adventures in ZEITGEIST is built for 5e but makes use of some of Level Up's refinements. We updated some character options like the theme feats, and we updated stats for a few monsters and magic items that show up during the adventure path, but not everything.

We also have some updated rules for surveillance and spycraft, but we didn't try to update was the system for requisitioning gear. It wasn't something that made sense for a book that was representing the setting at large. So you'd need to decide whether to use what's in the original adventure path documents, or adapt material from the new book.

But anyway, the main focus of your question is spoilers.

I think the first concern is that the setting guide will have details that aren't accurate. For instance, when we talk about the Risur in the year 522, we mention Queen Iain, rather than King Aodhan.

But is that a spoiler? Well, we don't mention why Aodhan stopped being monarch, or when. Did he get assassinated? Did he abdicate? When did it happen? That sort of stuff would spoil events that happen during adventures, so we tried to avoid giving specifics. Even though we tried to hide the spoilers, though, you risk confusing players if they read about Queen Iain but then start the AP doing security for Aodhan.

Also, well, some of the big events of the adventure path are kind of unavoidable to talk about. The details are usually glossed over, akin to what you'd see in a history textbook synopsizing big trends.

From adventures 10 through 13, the sun and stars go away, and the world nearly ends. The fact that happened gets mentioned in Adventures in ZEITGEIST, so if you're hoping to maintain the twist, you'll have to keep the AiZ book to yourself. However, you could change how you think about the twist, and play the campaign with the players knowing the twist in advance.

Like, imagine you were running a spy game set in Europe in 1939, and the party is British. They know there's a threat of war with Germany, but they think France's defenses are strong enough to hold out for months. They have some missions rooting out spies, stopping sabotage and treason, etc, and then they go on a few missions to infiltrate the Germans while the Nazis are invading Poland, wherein they get hold of some military plans. But oh no! It's too late. The blitzkrieg rolls into France and within days the Germans are closing on the coast. Suddenly we're at the Dunkirk evacuation. It's dramatic, and perilous, and the party has to try to save their friends and do other key stuff.

The players probably knew about the broad strokes of what happened in the German invasion of France, but they don't know what'll happen to their characters and their allies, so it's still an engaging story.

I suppose I'll need to write up a guidance on what sections of the new setting guide are fine for players of the Gears of Revolution adventure path to look at.

The way I'd do it is to have your players read the Gears of Revolution Player's Guide to understand the nature of the setting.

Then tell them there's updated versions of the character theme feats and prestige classes. There are also new class options and some mundane gear they can buy.

You could have them read the following sections from from Adventures in ZEITGEIST, or you could screen shot/copy-paste/print these sections.

Safe to Read
These shouldn't spoil anything from the adventure path.

Chapter One - A World on Its Axis
Heritages, Cultures, Backgrounds (other than Riven Mind, which is spoilers for adventure 10) - the mechanics are not spoilers, but there's some spoilers in the flavor text.

Theme feats - the text of the feats is safe; the actual character theme write-ups have spoilers or confusing bits. The theme feat for Yerasol Veteran (Display of Heroism) is now listed under Telemachian, which is a name that applies to more wars.

Also, we don't have the Eschatologist theme, because, well, the 'end of the world' happens during the adventure path.

Chapter Two - The Science of Adventure
The Savant class should be safe.

Of the subclasses, the following are all pretty safe - berserker (barbarian) queen bee, cleric aspirant, fighter gadgeteer, herald (paladin) executore, occult blade rogue, and enclavist wizard.

The other subclasses have some sort of spoiler, or don't fit in the original timeline.

Chapter Three - An Exposition of Adventure
The section on civilized gear adds a handful of new items. The rest of the gear in the chapter is a generation more technologically advanced.

Chapter Six - A Parade of Curiosities
The prestige classes have updated mechanics. However, the Applied Astronomist has big spoilers, so just use the original one there.

Confusing or Full of Spoilers
Don't let the players read these sections.

Preface
Avoid this whole section.

Chapter One
The Homelands section - an overview of each of the great nations. Just read the version in the adventure path's player's guide.

Character themes - the actual text of the themes will have some spoilers. (The text of the theme feats don't have spoilers.)

In particular, the courseur theme is new, and doesn't have any story links in the adventure path. The ottoplismist, sophist, and tropezaro themes are trends that haven't happened yet chronologically. I'd not use these.

Chapter Two
The following subclasses have spoilers - adept (monk) durala carao, bard vagabond, druid axis slayer, ranger titanist, sorcerer annihilator, warlock urbanist, wizard last raven.

Chapter Three
A lot of the gear here is more advanced than what's in the AP.

Chapter Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight
Pretty ubiquitous spoilers.

---

What About the Game Master?
A lot of the 'current events' stuff from the new Adventures in ZEITGEIST won't fit the status quo of the setting during the adventure path, but you can still use it.

Chapter Three has some new gear you could provide as unique loot. For instance, Kaja Stewart in adventure 3 might have an arcane fusil, even if they're not mass produced.

Chapter Four has information on the history of all the countries up to before the adventure path happens.

Chapter Five has information about the planets and the influence they have. Bear in mind that some of the planets listed here aren't the same ones as in the adventure path.

Chapter Six has magic items, including some updated versions of ones from the adventure path.

Chapter Seven has monsters.

Chapter Eight has game mechanic options for influence, inquiries, pursuits, and secret missions.

I hope that answers your questions. Let me know if there's anything else.
 
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Anselm

Adventurer
This is incredibly thorough and helpful. Thank you!

The way I'd do it is to have your players read the Gears of Revolution Player's Guide to understand the nature of the setting.

Then tell them there's updated versions of the character theme feats and prestige classes. There are also new class options and some mundane gear they can buy.
This is perfect and the way I was kind of thinking it would go for those. Good to know to avoid the new ones completely.
Heritages, Cultures, Backgrounds (other than Riven Mind, which is spoilers for adventure 10) - the mechanics are not spoilers, but there's some spoilers in the flavor text.
Also good to know. That's all pretty easy to separate out just the text if PDFs for this kind of thing.

Chapter Four has information on the history of all the countries up to before the adventure path happens.
My assumption for these is that they will fit pretty smoothly as long as I pay attention to where the timelines cross. It's probably clear enough upon reading this section that there won't be problems.
Chapter Five has information about the planets and the influence they have. Bear in mind that some of the planets listed here aren't the same ones as in the adventure path.
I'm very curious to see this section. I've not gotten into the mechanics of the planes in the adventure path beyond knowing they get altered in universe. Is the stuff that is the same as the AP pretty clearly the same? What I mean there is, can I use that information to give my players with good intelligence roles or as background information and is it clear enough when I've read that far in the AP what will be useful? Or is that getting into dangerous spoiler territory that I'll be safer just using the AP?
 

Original Planets
We didn't actually have a name for the planet the game mostly takes place on, but you could call it the Waking, the real world, or Amsywr (a Welsh-sounding name the skyseers use which literally never appears in the adventure path).

The other planets are

Jiese - fire (allows industrial technology)
Avilona - air (weak, restricts long-duration flight)
Av - life (this is the moon, which looks like a mirror and creates the mirror planes of the Dreaming and the Bleak Gate)
Mavisha - water (see below)
Urim - earth (teleportation is blocked by gold)
Apet - space (the distant plane, which restricts long-duration planar travel)
Reida - time (the ring around Apet, which sets a path of destiny that has a gap where the nature of the world can be changed; this one only really comes up in adventures 8 and 12)
Nem - death (the plane of ruin, which obliterates things that try to travel into or out of the solar system)

The only planet stuff that most players will need to know about early on is that flight and planar travel can't last more than 5 minutes, and teleportation is blocked by gold.

I would also add an effect for Mavisha, which I think thematically fits, but which I hadn't thought of when we first did the AP:

Mysteries of Mavisha
Divination magic used to learn about islands have a high likelihood of failing. If the caster is not on the same island, they must succeed an Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 20) or else the divination yields no information. Even on a success, the information gleaned will never be particularly clear. Scrying, for instance, will perceive creatures from a distance or with staccato switching to viewing other beings.

The same effect applies to divinations about things under the sea, unless the caster is also underwater and within about three miles of the target.

Act Three Planets
In act three, the list changes to Jiese, Perlocus, Mojang, Ostea, Ratios, Fourmyle, Illocus, and Av, plus Baden the Ghost Moon. The mechanics of these are covered in adventure 10.

Modern Planets
In Adventures in ZEITGEIST, the planets are Jiese, Caeloon*, Av, Ostea, Urim, Mavisha, Ascetia*, and Amrou*, with Teykfa* and Iratha Ket* making small appearances. The planets marked with asterisks show up in adventure 12.

TL;DR - you don't need anything that isn't present in the adventure path to handle the planes, except perhaps to add the 'Mysteries of Mavisha' ability, which honestly fits given how many secret bad guy plots happen on islands.
 

Mysteries of Mavisha
Divination magic used to learn about islands have a high likelihood of failing. If the caster is not on the same island, they must succeed an Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 20) or else the divination yields no information. Even on a success, the information gleaned will never be particularly clear. Scrying, for instance, will perceive creatures from a distance or with staccato switching to viewing other beings.
How would you set the DC in 4e?

What was Avilona's planar trait before it was damaged? I can see a squad wanting to try to repair it, maybe Gale channeling her energies back in? (I recall you saying in another thread that she was born under a favorable Avilona conjunction or something that was blocked by the dead magic zone, and when she was taken from Danor the bottled up energy sort of overcharged her.)
 


hirou

Explorer
How would you set the DC in 4e?
Probably Hard DC of the level you choose. If this is an Epic-tier world-wide effect, this would be DC 34 (lvl20), if it's a mild inconvenience to anyone relatively powerful - use DC 26 (lvl10). Note that Hard DCs are not that hard in effect, they're supposed to be passable 2/3rds of a time for a specialized character.
 

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