ZEITGEIST Campaign Journal of a Parallel World

Galandris

Explorer
I have recently undertaken a derivative of the superb (to read, so far) Zeitgeist campaign. Given the strong following of this AP, I am pretty sure it will be a blast to play as well.

I am blessed with players who will undoubtedly derail the campaign at some point, but it is expected: the stakes of the Zeitgeist campaign ending are fitting for an epic-level group, and high-powered D&D players have capabilities that make planning a lot more difficult. We are speaking of a group who spend a substantial part of an evening experimenting with the demiplane spell to try and understand whether the demiplane was losing thermal energy over time... [and having a blast doing so]. Having however just set up a game with a "police station in Sharn" pitch, I felt I needded to port over the plot over to Eberron. I intend to do many name switches and give nod to the setting, but I'll try to stay as true to Zeitgeist as possible. The Malice and the Mourning are fundamentally different events, but with the cause of the Mourning left untold, merging them should be possible. I feel I made enough preparations to reuse most of the plotlines ; if anyone already attempted it and ran the campaign to its end, I'd be delighted to read about their experience.

We're 6 sessions into the game and still on the Axis Island, as I took a hint from other threads and started with a "session 0" retracing player recruitment into the RHC and bonding together. With part of the group rooting for the Duchess already, I guess I'll have to plan for anything...

Over the time, I'll use this thread to post about the progress of the group and the difficulties/peculiarities of this porting, should it gather interest among the readers.
 
In 2010 I also ran a Sharn cops game, and I've played a few short campaigns in Eberron, so I'm curious whether you've got some analogues in mind between Z and E.

Where are the PCs based? Is there a 'Cauldron Hill' in Sharn? Are there fey filling a role comparable to the Unseen Court? Is Elfaivar the same as Xen'drik, or Aerenal? Are the Gidim going to be Quori?

Any specific things you need help with?
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
Given how setting-tied the adventure path is, a full setting conversion is a daunting task. I wish you the best of luck with it.
 

Galandris

Explorer
In 2010 I also ran a Sharn cops game, and I've played a few short campaigns in Eberron, so I'm curious whether you've got some analogues in mind between Z and E.
As Adslahnit pointed out, it will be a daunting task to integrate thing as best as possible and I might have to alter many details.

I think that Risur is a slightly darker setting than Eberron, so I spent a part of session 0 emphasizing some "dystopian" aspects of Eberron. My goal in session 0 was to endear the players with the characters in their Sharn Watch station and characters, so they will feel heightened stakes when it will risk being blown up in adventure #3. So I gave them opportunities to interact with several NPC and get into their Watchmen characters (arrest, don't kill...) and introduced some themes: sending them on a chase after Gale, having to deal with factory worker protesting against Warforged competition for jobs, using and establishing contact with the less savory times through informants... I'll be able to leverage this later. Basically, my goal in the "atmosphere-setting sessions" was to present the themes of Zeitgeist and mesh them into lower-stake adventures before engaging the main storyline. It will also fuel the audit by adding opportunity for successes and failure.

With regards to analogs, I set them in Breland, with Flint being Sharn and Wroat as Slate, as that's the default assumption. Finding countries with which Breland was at war was easy... but we need Danorans identified, and it's an odder choice that came to mind: Zilargo. Zil are Breland's neighbour, they are industrious, are pioneering elemental-binding technology (so the idea of a technological advance from Danor can be maintained, especially since gnomes are highly-sought inventors). Plus, they have a tradition for trying to preserve neutrality, and that would be a good hotbed from the Obscurati plan to hatch: neutrality will be preserved if everyone think alike for the greater common good. Plus, the plan involve experimenting with quite-unknown tech... Something that would attract the Zil... The Axis seal is obviously a creation of the Gatekeeper druids. The planes obviously need mapping and adapting -- I have idea but I am still ironing the details out, even if I have ample time before that -- and hoping to keep the player interested until it the crux of the campaign.

Where are the PCs based? Is there a 'Cauldron Hill' in Sharn? Are there fey filling a role comparable to the Unseen Court? Is Elfaivar the same as Xen'drik, or Aerenal? Are the Gidim going to be Quori?
Cauldron Hill will be in the City of the Dead, a burial place for the very wealthy outside the city. It would fit the bill. Obviously, it's less high in altitude than the mile-high Skyway, but let's say that stargazing need to have your feet firmly in the ground to make meaningful predictions as you're connecting the Sky and Eberron... It's not too far-fetched. The fey have connection to the secular powers of Khorvaire, with Thelanis being a plane very close to the material plane. Eberron cosmology allow for varying plane influence, so the "old ways" dying in the city would be the result of Thelanis being remote from some time, and their renewed influence by a recent change in closeness, becoming coterminous with the whole Breland. It can work. Gidim will be Daelkyr. I need to compress the timeline somewhat to have the Great Malice being the Mourning... The whole "country-destroying cataclysmic event" must be reused :)
 

Galandris

Explorer
Episode 1.1 went well. My players seemed to be digging the start of the adventure. They took upon them to improve the royal welcome since they were tasked to ensure everything went well. So they scoured the city bribing people to sing the national anthem and shout praise to the king, hoping to drown any protest in case they missed protesters... Knowing of many orphans after the Last War, PCs tried to use the Prestige system to request funding and "buy" the attendance of a whole orphanage. I had them visit the Gallo school for boys (OK, there is already a lot of foreshadowing in the campaign but since the PC wanted to spend more time on orphans than protesters...) They apparently struggled to find ideas to fuel the skill challenge, though, after all this creative impetus. The one player to arrest a would-be protester was also the PC who had taken a staunch pro-establishment stance in former interactions with dockers, so... a brawl was in order. Both combattants fell in the water (I know fumbles are no longer a thing in 5e but sometimes it's too good to pass up when you see strings of 1s) and another PC jumped to rescue the docker first, the RHC fellow second. So basically Thames Grimsley saw him as a "good guy". Not exactly as planned, but fun. On the Coaltongue, the PC focussed on their police duty and avoided engaging the higher ups. It was a bit disappointed as a matter of roleplaying but expected given their lower station. The chase went well, the fighting was fun and the countdown tense. Except in the aftermath, half of the party started rooting for Ethelyn, thinking she's a misguided ruler with good intentions (there are several players who came up with several pro-fey background... so they don't view the development of new techs as a good thing... I had to make the Coaltongue an elemental vessel, fitting with the Eberonnian premise, and a part of the PCs started discussing the morality of elemental binding and slavery... What did I do?

All in all, a good adventure.
 

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