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ZEITGEIST Few questions after running a few sessions


Hi there! Have had a few things pop up while running the game so far. We've just finished adventure 1 and had some teething issues getting used to the module style but are on track and having fun.

I have some scattered questions hoping the hive mind can help with :)

Did you guys veto any magic items, or is there any guidelines for this?

The players have some risur prestige now and can get some magic items.

I saw notes in one of the pdfs that "magical communication is rare and expensive" so have said that things like sending stones might be tricky to get, and pointed out that things like the broom of flying won't work due to the setting rules. I also usually block items like the deck of many things and will be taking the suggestion from another poster that awesome items may have to be contended against another squad to avoid having all of the party with +3 shields etc.

I asked a similar question in another thread and got a part answer, which was very helpful. This rephrasing is because I'm keen for a sense check that I'm not being controlling if i don't need to be :)

Are the laws of Flint/Risur written anywhere?
My players were shocked when one of the party cut the throat of a guard who had surrendered while they were on axis island - calling it a war crime. I've some ideas on how to play that out as this bit is quite clear in the module, but it got me thinking - in campaigns like Waterdeep we had a full list of laws and punishments.

This module talks about encouraging players not to be murder hobos, and lists a lot about how police and the constables are supposed to uphold the law. It mentions there is a warrant system for entering premises and talks about how the players are expected to capture suspects alive whenever possible. It mentions that if they pick the lock in the Danoran consulate they'll be committing an international incident and suspended for months. Are all these laws collated somewhere so I can share with the party before they do something with potential ramifications?

Are any schools of magic or spells (and items) considered taboo/restricted?
Building on from the first two questions, thinking of things like the spells suggestion/geas, or the philter of love. Can someone start up a necromancy store animating corpses? If someone is using a disguise spell to impersonate a noble, is there any penalty? Can you scry on the King?

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  • Not sure about vetoing items.
  • Risur does not have many clear laws. I believe the book specifically says that the RHC do not use a warrant system; rather, the PCs are free to demand entry anywhere they wish (barring diplomatic problems), so long as they can justify themselves to their superiors after. The RHC have rules about turning in recovered treasure, which leads into an audit plot in Book 3. In Book 2, a minor plot point involves illegal Fey Pepper (ecstasy) and a shipment of illegal wands (invisibility spells being illegal). Book 4 has a researcher selling magic artifacts under the table.
  • I don't believe Zeit has any restricted schools of magic. The closest would be the reverse, with Crisillyir being quite big on necromancy.
My best advice would be to read up on the adventure ahead, and then decide for yourself on the fly what to allow or disallow. If your PCs come up with a novel item or method, that might be good to carry through.

As for cutting the throat of the surrendered guard. Well, a few things to think about. This guard was (presumably) a rebel, but a Risuri rebel. On the one hand, he had surrendered and was no threat, and was a fellow countryman. On the other hand, chances are he has committed treason and mutiny, not to mention being part of an illegal attack on a foreign power (Danor) which Risur is also planning to ally. On the other other hand, in Book 3 the RHC leader encourages the PCs to be bloodless.

In the end, have a think about what tone you want for your game. Also, think about how much 'weight' such actions should have. Do you want your PCs to treat NPCs lightly, casually tossing them aside? Should murder be a weighty choice for a PC, one that figures in to NPC handler feedback after the mission is over?


Lots of spoilers for everything up to adventure 8!

magic items guidelines

I didn't have any clear guidelines. I allowed my players to come up to me with whatever they wanted, and I approved or disapproved. It's pretty easy to say that "this magical item is very Drakry, Risur don't really have those" or "that item is restricted in Risur; it would be "uncommon" in other D&D worlds, but in the Waking there's (in general) much more order, ever since the rise of the nation states."

Keep magical communication rare and expensive, yep. Also any type of flying should be very hard to get. I see no issue with the entire group having +3 shields; if it makes them feel safe, good for them. You can always give creatures +2 to their attack, or whatever.
In any case, this will only become possible with a much higher Prestige, and by that point, if they still think that "fighting good" should be the main use of their magic item slots, they're on the wrong road. The 15 level heroes in my group have requisitioned 1 magical weapon (rifle for the rogue), and 2 magical armours (rogue and druid). The paladin is equipped with stuff much more interesting an campaign-spesific, that was found along the way. The most useful magic items they requestioned is a gem of seeing, sentinel shield, and handy haversack. They also requestioned a wand of fireballs, and belt of frost giant strength, both are great at finishing fights, but very specific fights, because there's so much variety in the kind of set pieces in these adventures.

Risur rules

I don't use a specific list and I recommend against it. We go by "it's like our world but a bit more primitive human-rights-wise because it's like the 1890s, and also you are like FBI/CIA so you have special privileges but also come under scrutiny". This last part literally happens in adventure 3, and you should use that to bring everyone in your group in line with the expectations. They can have some privileges revoked or be brought before a court.

But before all of that happens, I think it's important to warn them. I agree with @arkwright that the specifics of who was killed, when and how, matter greatly - and I think that players who are used to just killing everyone might not realise this, so you should warn them. When a player says he is going to execute a prisoner, for example, tell them that their character would know that this is a war crime and that they will be put to trial if someone learns about it. This of course now means that the PCs who witness this might want to make some sort of a pact not to tell anyone about this. I think that's fine - that's part of what makes your group of RHC agents to your group of RHC agents.

That being said, I think that sort of "heheh, us against the establishment" is the wrong way to play this campaign and I advise against it. I think it should be clear to everyone at the table that the PCs are expected to behave as agents representing the king and country; that they are answerable to people above them and that they have a duty to the people below them. Why did they even become RHC agents in the first place, if not out of this duty?

Eventually, after some incredible facts about the world become evident and the heroes get to be the Obscuraty for a while (in adv 7) there will probably be some heated discussions on morals - my group has even considered arranging a coup in Risur out of duty to the country. That's brilliant and that's the point, but it should happen around then, not before.

I suggest using Viscount Price-Hill as a reasonable and good authority figure, who uses the inspection in adv 3 not to "weed out bad apples" (although he does this with the really bad one, Saxby), but to bring his agents up to standards and give them a morale compass. Being an RHC agent isn't simple, in every adventure there will be questions of "should we do this" and "should we report this". That's good, that's part of the fun, as long as the players know there are limits, and where they generally are.

restricted magic or spells and items
Adventure 2 says that invisibility in any form is restricted magic, and I get that. We want the Flint to feel generally 1890s London-ish, and that means we can't just have every burglar just flying around being invisible. From adventure 4 we also know that charming effects are very tricky, law-wise, in the Continent. In Risur it'll probably be the same. In my world, all of this doesn't affect fey, since they follow their own weird regulations, and very few of them are considered citizens of Risur and subject to its laws.

Consider this:
Rare magic is rare: In my world, spells above level 2 are quite rare (and above 6 are almost unheard of).
Magic is a tool: Using Illusion to disguise yourself is fine; doing so maliciously is the issue (a disguise kit is legal; using it to impersonate a person and con someone is not). Same for all other kinds of magic, except for a rare few; There is no "okay" way to use invisibility, so it's always restricted.
People with more power have more powerful magic: You can't scry on the king, because he has incredibly powerful protections against this. You can't enter a government building using illusion magic to look like a noble and voting in their name, because there's a druid that's overwatching every proceeding with detect magic. (You can use a higher level spell to literally transform into that noble, and the druid won't know, because she doesn't have true seeing)


Hey guys thanks this is perfect, cheers for the responses. Thank you.

Great point to let them just build power builds if they want - combat isn't the focus of the AP (and they've been learning this already)!

Regarding the throat-slitting incident, the party had decided to try bust out the prisoners and ended up in a big combat with them. The last 2 surrendered saying things like "we're just soldiers working for the dutchess! we surrender!" and my player said "NO PRISONERS" and stabbed one before anyone else could react. The others cried out "we're supposed to be police officers, why did you do that?". At this point they'd TOTALLY IGNORED this was supposed to be a stealth mission and sent their elementals off to "create a distraction by attacking the teleportation circle" which had got the entire sleepy fort onto max level alert so there was lots of fast decisions and panic going on.

I've asked the players individually if they include this in their report or not, but none have considered that this was witnessed by the prison full of Danoran nobles so I have some ideas about how to play it out in adventure 3 :) This player is a vekeshi mystic so it was part RP flavor on his part, and part him forgetting that he's not a murder hobo in this game.


Fog of war! Mistakes in the heart of battle!
In terms of explaining the event in-universe, it might be easiest to chalk it down to 'the PCs were in a hurry to open the gates and couldn't take prisoners', whether or not that's strictly true.
I'm sure every GM has a story of the time a PC accidentally or on purpose did something wild, which needed to be smoothed over after in the name of versimilitude.


got it thanks :)

another two side questions, is it cool if I start a thread with my session recaps too? See a few of them on here <3

adventure 2 talks a lot about creating a timeline of events, and I've seen a few posts on here about people creating flowcharts and timelines... don't suppose anyone has one to share? xD



Here's my stab at it, all the things noted as "on the x day of summer" and obviously ignoring all the things that say "a day after the party does x"

Day 1: Called into investigate the death. Creed in the guise of Officer Porter visits Professor Kindleton asking for Wolfgang.
Day 2:
Day 3: Dr Camp gets a letter from the doctor who is in hiding asking him to arrange passage.
Day 4: Smuggler meeting happens at night
Day 5: Doctor realises that Kells men are trying to extort him for more money
Day 6: A letter to Prof Kindleton asking her to help Dr Wolfgang flee
Day 7: the villains find Wolfgang on the 7th if the party hasn’t yet. Kell sells out Wolfgang, Creed takes him and Professor Kindleton into ‘custody’.
Day 8:
Day 9:
Day 10: If the party dallies, the earthquake atop Cauldron Hill strikes on the 10th.

Anything I've missed?

It’s your campaign so it’s your rules
Magic- I watch critical role and Mercer has learned not to give the party Uber magic. If you want factor in costs of components etc. make money less plentiful

Crime- depends on the character. So let’s say you have a party rogue that steals. If they don’t get caught then it’s not a crime. Get caught killing a noble then make an adventure out of it. Bounty hunters after the party etc


I enjoy reading recaps but its difficult for me to keep up with writing session by session recaps. My group uses a google sheet to keep track of the whole campaign. I share it between each module, Here is my doc up to module 6. I'd be happy and i'm sure everyone would be happy to read your recaps even if they're just once per module!

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