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ZEITGEIST Get the Adventures in ZEITGEIST setting book as an add on for the Level Up Kickstarter

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.

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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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FAQ
(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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Rukaiko

Explorer
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.
 

efreund

Explorer
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.
 

efreund

Explorer
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.
 

Morrus

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. :)
 



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?
 

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

Explorer
@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

Explorer
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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