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ZEITGEIST Newbie Problems and Questions


Hello, I'll start by saying that I have probably made some slightly ill-advised choices. Namely, I plan to have the Zeitgeist AP be my first actual long-form Campaign as a DM. Second, is that one of my players is a total newbie, another only did dungeon crawls, and the third has about as much experience as I do, which in the grand scheme of things is lackluster.

I chose Zeitgeist for a few reasons;
1) My players spoke loud and clear that they wanted an intrigue or mystery, and loved Moon Over Greymoor when I ran it for them
2) I want to run a premade campaign because my homemade homebrew setting is.... bad. largely because I don't know what kind of stuff I need to put in there. I need the training wheels of an AP.
3) It seems to be the best quality AP that digs deep into RP and worldbuilding, and doesnt make me completely rewrite whole entire chase scenes using cobbled together mechanics so my party doesnt spend 4 hours doing the same exact thing (looking at Waterdeep: Dragon Heist)

I'll be running 5e, and have purchased the first 3 adventures, but want to wait to see if my players like the AP before purchasing the rest.

We have done a basic session 0, and for the most part I'm confident I can work with what I understand, but there are a couple of conundrums I'm stuck on.

A) Warlock Patrons. The main reason I made this post is to ask about Warlock Patrons. One of my players is a Tiefling Hexblade Warlock with the Skyseer theme, the child of immigrants from Danor who fled to Risur likely shortly before the most recent war. The player also wanted the archaeologist background, so the idea I had was that they had seer visions as a child and were inducted into the skyseers. While they are there, they have interest in history, and either come across results from an archeological expedition or were the equivalent of an undergraduate intern on one (TBD if this is one of the Ob expeditions or not), and found an item (likely some sort of trinket, jewelery, or similar such thing) which is the source of the pact and grants the warlock ability. Then, when the character attunes a weapon the weapon changes appearance, becoming the pact blade. My idea for the patron would be for the item to have belonged to one of the Ancients (Perhaps the architect of the Axis Seal even? or atleast someone who worked on it), and the Ancient it belonged to is more or less 'Haunting' the object. The pact then sort of partially hijacked the Skyseer visions (normal skyseer visions still happen, just now there are additional strange, cryptic pact visions), imparting upon the character a sense of 'something-is-coming' and 'learn-get-stronger-it-will-be-BAD'. The spirit will never speak to the character, save perhaps if I take creative license in Act 3 and it seems appropriate to have a moment of 'oh THAT is what is haunting me', but I think it would be fun if, as a breadcrumb, when the party finds the broken tree of Avilona, the pact item sends a little empathic signal of distress, before going quiet again. I'm wondering if there is something in my research I've missed regarding the seal architect, or if I can use him this way without destabilizing the plot, because it seems like a really cool way to tie in the ancient lore and make a warlock patron relevant without further complicating the Fey Court interactions, since another player is a Vekeshi Mystic

B) Speaking of the Mystics. Player 2 is a Female Eladrin Cleric with the Mystic theme. From what I can tell, there is little consensus about the exact structure of Eladrin Society and the Mystics. Is it a sort of 'there are multiple Eladrin enclaves and each one has its quirks' situation? Also, from reading Zeitvice, I know there are groups of mystics and fey involved in the Ob. Is this a majority of the mystics? Was this PC accidentally working with/for Ob Operatives this whole time? Is all that up to my discretion?

C) Prestige Classes: When do I introduce them? Are they encouraged, or merely optional?

If anyone has any other advice, I'm all ears.

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A) Toteth, the Ancient orc druid who led the Axis Seal, is a decent enough choice for a patron. in book 10 the party briefly meet his ghost, where he gives them the recipe for a margarita. If he's been haunting axis island for long enough to realise the Ob are preparing to do the ritual again, could be that he would be warning the character. Perhaps he's been forcibly recrutied into the Ob's stable of ghosts, where he can only communicate to a limited degree with the players. In book 7, maybe the PC meets their patron personally.

B) Some eladrin live in hidden-away Enclave demiplanes in Elfaivar, some eladrin live in simple Elfaivaran villages. The Vekeshi Societies are secret, and represent a very small number of elves, relative to all survivors. Kasvarina Varal runs a sect of Vekeshi Assassins out of Elfaivar, charged with carrying out assassinations and Ob missions across the continent. The Vekeshi Mystics of Flint are completely independent, and have strong ties to the local fey.

C) Prestige classes have some nice flavor, but in some cases you may not want all the mechanical baggage of using them, such as if your players really like their current classes.


Heyo Caracle, you took on yourself quite the undertaking! But everything I read in your post makes me think you'll be able to handle it. And keep asking questions!

I have little to add beyond arkwright's insights, just this:

C) In my group of three, the Docker and Technologist weren't interested in their prestige classes, but the Skyseer was all over it (she's a Risuri druid who is into the planes anyway). Which is great, because I think that out of all the prestige classes, its the one that most resonates with the campaign at large. Note that if you use D&D Beyond, it's quite tricky to add a prestige class (I created a modified version of her druid archetype).


Hello, I'll start by saying that I have probably made some slightly ill-advised choices. Namely, I plan to have the Zeitgeist AP be my first actual long-form Campaign as a DM.

If anyone has any other advice, I'm all ears.
:ROFLMAO: Well put. Zeitgeist will be a challenge to run but extremely rewarding. A few pointers.
  1. This is a long campaign, as in multiple years of real-life time. It's best to have a longstanding group, cycle in new players as needed, or keep the option open to move online if multiple people move.
  2. Have a session 0 that not only introduces player characters, the world, etc. but also works on communication and building trust between the players and you as well as communicates the difficult real-world topics which are mentioned in the AP (terrorism, torture, sexual violence, trafficking, slavery). You will want to make sure none of those subjects will trigger anyone and possibly adjust if necessary.
  3. The campaign is balanced for 4-6 (5 really) PCs. With only 3 PCs, you may want to adjust encounters (drop an enemy, keep some enemies back as reinforcements if too easy, use minimum hit points, etc.).
  4. Read ahead as much as possible, it will help you tie the characters into the story (and there is a lot to work with).
  5. Don't go into a session unprepared. There are encounters that will instantly kill PCs if it gets to a certain point. You need to know the encounter well enough to be ready to properly communicate the danger to the players so they don't blithely get stuck in a point of no escape.
As for your specific questions:
A. Arkwright's analysis is excellent as usual. An ancient is an excellent patron choice for the campaign and can also deliver the ziggurat-related visions in place of a skyseer. The other main options for patrons would be the fey titans, Ashima-Shimtu, a gidim, Triegenes, or a member of the Unseen Court. However, the PCs come into direct conflict with most of those.

B. Really prepare the Vekeshi mystic contacts. You will want the points that put the Vekeshi mystic PC in potentially crossed purposes with the party to feel natural, and they should be able to figure out the duplicity in adventure 3.

C. They should be available once the PC has hit level 6 (they need proficiency bonus +3, and they don't get that until they have taken level 5).

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