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ZEITGEIST Campaign Finished!

kcannell

First Post
Well, after 3.5 years, my players had the final confrontation with Nicodemus and set the path for their world's future.

The players:

Gerard Pentecost, King of Risur. (Male Aasimar, 17 Hunter/3 Urban Empath, Spirit Medium) Note: In my game, Aasimar are the mortal offspring of Devas.

Marian Stillwater, Chief Inspectress of the RHC, Arch Secula of Chrysillir. (Female Human, 17 Investigator (Steel Hound), 2 Mad Shootist, 1 Inquisitor of Triegenes, Gunsmith). Bearer of the Humble Hook, mother of a Fey Titan Scion (mated with Father of Thunder).

Thal Kordud, Founder and High Priest of the Church of Amielle Latimer. (Male Dwarf, 20 Gunslinger (Musket Master), Eschatologist). Founded a religion based on self-sufficiency and survival, with an emphasis on firearms use.

Xelari Devontes, Champion of Srasama and The Eladrin People. Bearer of the Blades of Srasama. (Male Eladrin, 20 Paladin, Vekeshi Mystic). The party's moral compass and restorer of all female Eladrins who died during the Great Malice.

The final constellations:

Fire: Jiese
Air: Caeloon
Time: Ascetia
Life: Mojang
Earth Dunkelweiss
Water: Ostea
Death: Av
Space: Apet

The party, with Kasvarina's help, convinced Borne to quit the field, taking no further part in the ritual. After a mighty battle and contest of wills, the spirit of William Miller overcame Nicodemus just as Xel placed the Golden Seal upon the center of the Axis Ritual. I ruled that, once the ghost council swarm had been destroyed, separate spirits (Lya Jierre, Amielle Latimer) were cleaved from the council, and survived as independent undead. The party used their wishes in the following ways:

Gerard: Wished for William Miller to retain control over Nicodemus and restored him to mortal life, so that he may atone for all the destruction the Obscurati had caused over the centuries.

Marian: Still hasn't made her decision ;)

Thal: Wished for Amielle Latimer to ascend to Godhood over the faith he had established throughout Risur.

Xel: Wished for protection and restoration of the Eladrin society and nation of Elfaivar.


Thank you Ryan Nock, Thurstan Hillman, and all others involved with the creation of this amazing story. We truly enjoyed every moment of it, and it will go down as the pinnacle of our gaming experiences. I can't see another game topping this one. Seriously, game of a lifetime.
 

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Gerard Pentecost, King of Risur. (Male Aasimar, 17 Hunter/3 Urban Empath, Spirit Medium) Note: In my game, Aasimar are the mortal offspring of Devas.

Marian Stillwater, Chief Inspectress of the RHC, Arch Secula of Chrysillir. (Female Human, 17 Investigator (Steel Hound), 2 Mad Shootist, 1 Inquisitor of Triegenes, Gunsmith). Bearer of the Humble Hook, mother of a Fey Titan Scion (mated with Father of Thunder).

Thal Kordud, Founder and High Priest of the Church of Amielle Latimer. (Male Dwarf, 20 Gunslinger (Musket Master), Eschatologist). Founded a religion based on self-sufficiency and survival, with an emphasis on firearms use.

Xelari Devontes, Champion of Srasama and The Eladrin People. Bearer of the Blades of Srasama. (Male Eladrin, 20 Paladin, Vekeshi Mystic). The party's moral compass and restorer of all female Eladrins who died during the Great Malice.
That is a hell of a cast. I rather dig the Church of Amielle Latimer. :) Fellow Texans, I see. (I grew up in Southeast TX, and am in Atlanta now.)

I should make a list of the different planar alignments that each group that finished the campaign picked.

Any particular stand-out scenes that you and your group liked, or where the players did something unexpected, or where the modules as written, like, I dunno, sucked? (In hindsight, we kinda shoehorned in the naval stuff, for instance.)

Thanks for posting this, and I'm thrilled you enjoyed the campaign.
 



kcannell

First Post
Any particular stand-out scenes that you and your group liked, or where the players did something unexpected, or where the modules as written, like, I dunno, sucked? (In hindsight, we kinda shoehorned in the naval stuff, for instance.)

Thanks for posting this, and I'm thrilled you enjoyed the campaign.
Frankly I'm kind of intimidated by your request to choose the things we really liked, just because of the sheer amount of time it will take to describe our highlights. I'll try to keep it brief, but will probably just break it into several posts over the next few days, lol. I will say, yes, the naval stuff could've been better. I gave it my best shot, even going so far as to print to scale and laminate the RNS Coaltongue and similar vessels, but my players just weren't really interested in naval combat. I think the naval battles enhanced the story and setting, but the rules for Pathfinder (and the supplement from ENWorld) were kind of tedious. I ended up narrating montage style most of the later naval battles, and my players were thankful for that. That being said, let's get to some of the good stuff:

SO many good things to say about the story overall. In general, it was the best use I've seen of antagonists over a long period of time. Never seen a game where the same major NPCs from PC level 1 are around and relevant when the PCs are level 20 in the final game. And the DEPTH of the NPCs. My players agonized over the morality of the Obscurati, the hypocrisy of their own actions (which ultimately mirrored Nicodemus' own, just in a different way), whether or not to give evil characters a chance to be redeemed (and if they could even be believed if they chose redemption), and just the general moral ambiguity of SO many characters. Here's some highlights from each adventure.

Adventure 1 - The sheer magnitude of what the level 1 characters were tasked with doing. It starts out as expected for lowbie adventurers, then quickly turns into an "oh :):):):)" moment when the A team bites the dust and the backup party members have to take on the mission. Gerard sent his panther animal companion in a frontal attack against Asrabey, expecting a CR appropriate challenge for his level, per prior gaming experience. Asrabey ruthlessly cuts Rufus (the panther) down with a single blow, and the players kind of collectively realized that this wasn't going to be like other games they had played. Also setup an extreme dislike of Asrabey Varal, which will be funny later down the line.

Adventure 2 - The party really enjoyed playing the role of Constables conducting an investigation. The night spent on top of Cauldron Hill was super creepy in a Twin Peaks red velvet curtain kind of way. The ending with MacBannin dying in his cell, but his spirit not being present really bothered the Spirit Medium. Also, a couple of bad guys were introduced that the party really wanted to beat the crap out of but were unable to gain satisfaction from (yet): Lorcan Kell and Leone Quital. It gave them something to look forward to.

Adventure 3 - The players were SO OFFENDED by the IG inspection, aka The Audit. It was at this time that Xel, our Paladin of Srasama joined the group, and I introduced him as an assistant to Viscount Inspector Nigel Price-Hill. His job was to accompany the party, observe their actions, and submit a report on their conduct as a result of "questionable activities" they'd engaged in during Adventure 2. There aren't many "dungeon crawl" type encounters in Zeitgeist, where prolonged exploration and careful expenditure of resources is needed over time, but the Ziggurat of Apet was one of them for us. The players were into the puzzles, intrigued by the Ancients, and terrified of the Voice of Rot. As the party was escaping the death trap/ziggurat, one of the party members fell, and Xel went back to retrieve her (only to die himself). So when the VoR vomitted the two of them up, he implanted them with part of his essence. I kept that hook from the VoR around up until the end of Adventure 12, with the party Paladin worrying that he might become an agent of the VoR whether he liked it or not.

The players had their first major failure in this adventure, when they chose to allow Sihjen to complete the ritual to return to it's own plane, and as a result RHC HQ was completely obliterated when the blast took out the buildings above the tunnels. Also, Gerard (the future king) took Xambria's consciousness into his own, and thus began his relationship with his (eventual) imaginary girlfriend.

Adventure 4 - The party had to figure out how to go undercover with a Paladin who refused to lie about his identity. The end result was the Paladin taking a vow of silence and carrying Marian's (the investigator) stuff around (people assumed he was a well armored servant, I guess?) The adventure really starts to flesh out the surrounding world, which was cool. Several of my players really love Final Fantasy VI, and the ghost train where they got pulled into Nem was really cool. The highlight was the showdown with Lya Jierre at the train station, with her severing the arm of one of the players. They really, really, hated Lya Jierre after that.

Vault of Heresies - We played the full version of the VoH midway through Adventure 4. The rust monsters were particularly debilitating to the heavily armed and armored members of the party. My players were so terrified of this place that they expressed anxiety and dread when Ashima-Shimtu told them they would return twice more. (Looking through her boxed text, I don't see this anywhere. I think I just looked ahead, saw they'd have to come back in later adventures, and had Ashima-Shimtu foretell that they'd be back twice more. I think it made them feel that their actions were pre-determined or fated, and really creeped them out).

I'll have to add more later, this barely scratches the surface :D
 
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