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ZEITGEIST One-shots for Zeitgeist

Hey all,

I've got a small group (3 players) that have been running through Zeitgeist -- we're getting close to the end of Adventure 6. I'm trying to pick some one-shots that would evoke the feeling of Zeitgeist for us to mix in when we want to take a break from the main story, and take a break from the main characters. So ideally I'm looking for narratives that I could use to fill in corners of lore about the world and let the players try something that feels a bit different. We've played Bonds of Forced Faith, so looking beyond that, but was thinking of short narratives that could let me drop them into pivotal moments in history. Imagine getting to meet Triegenes, visit Miller's utopia, run an op for the Obscurati, fight in the battle before the great malice, help the ancients figure out the final details they need for the great seal (without revealing what it is, of course), or a hundred other really cool moments.

Any ideas?

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So you want adventures with new characters, in other time periods, not adventures with the current PCs?

One of the challenges with historical adventures in Zeitgeist is that when you shift to pre-industrial, a lot of the setting's aesthetic shifts and it might start to feel like generic fantasy. Which isn't the worst thing, but you may as well play to the tropes of the setting.

The more elements you include from this list, the more it feels like setting-specific: the dreaming and bleak gate, stars having influence, recently developed and experimental technology or magic, ideological clashes where the antagonists think they're doing the right thing, conspiracies, investigations, revolutions.

So a big war against demons with Triegenes or a battle in the Second Victory might not feel right, but what might feel closer to the right one would be some event with a more intellectual conflict while the physical conflict is going on in the background. Maybe Triegenes's army has besieged a Demonocracy-controlled city (which would have, like, a late-Roman Empire flavor, I'm thinking), but the demon duke of the city is rumored to have some new magic that will wipe out the army, so the PCs undertake a mission into the wretched city to find out and possibly destroy the magic. I'm not sure what level you want the adventure to be, but maybe T could be a PC.

And the city is renowned for its Delphi-esque oracles - who are enslaved and tortured skyseers from Risur (which is probably going through a King Arthur-esque phase). But due to some new psychic magic the current demon leader has developed, the skyseers don't simply glimpse the future, they can create a pocket of the Dreaming that takes on the shape of that future.

And there's a comet overhead that comes back every five hundred years, which is letting the skyseers see much farther ahead, and so you get a glimpse of the Great Malice. And Triegenes and his followers get to see that his religion will keep on shedding blood for centuries.

That's the backdrop that comes to mind, but I don't know where it goes or what the PCs are actually trying to do. It's 4am, so I'll see if some ideas come to me as I sleep.

Andrew Moreton

I am thinking you probably want to avoid moments of revelation about the Ob until your players have played through book 8 to avoid spoilers for it but there are some other interesting events I can think of.

The start of the first Clergy Eladrin war, we have a sinister conspiracy to imprison the Angel Linia and provide an excuse for the war, the players could be on either side of that.
Fighting at the time of the death of Ssramma on either side, they don't need to know the mystery of how she manifested but can witness the death of a people
King Aodhan stealing the first Danoran steam ironclad warship and maybe blowing up an orphanage

Challanging the Titans as one of the Early kings of Risur
The overthrow of the Dragon tyrants in Ber, if you have suitable over the top players maybe one of them could be the first El Extrano or maybe the first El Extrano was a servant of the Dragons who rebelled. Or the King of Risur who stikes a deal to save some of the dragon tyrants maybe the players play the younger Pemberton , Harkover and others

Gale's escape from Danor

A big event in the carreer of a young Drelf maybe featuring the mimic which hurt his leg

Oh, I actually ran the Aodhan thing at GenCon one year. 'The Kraken Caper.'

(I might be getting details wrong. It was, like, 9 years ago.)

The PCs were Aodhan, Ethelyn, and a ragtag group of privateers who worked with them, plus a Danoran deserter who wanted revenge on the captain he used to serve under.

It was the night after the maiden voyage of the Kraken, a Danoran steam frigate, and most of the crew were invited to a gala celebration at a dockside venue, so the ship had some guards, but not a full complement. The PCs had a caravel that could conjure a fog cloud around it, which they sent into the Cherage harbor under a skeleton crew to distract people, while they abused their ability to use magic. They teleported to the ship and stealthily took out the crew, then steamed away as the alarm was raised.

When they spotted troops running to another ship, the person playing Aodhan -- @Morrus;, aka Thurston Hillman, my main co-author of the adventure path -- ordered the Kraken's cannons to fire on the shore to cause chaos and slow down reinforcements. I think the 'hitting an orphanage' thing started as a joke, but we ran with it.

After they got out of the harbor, they sailed for the Yerasol Archipelago, pursued by a small fleet that could keep up but not outpace them. The party's skyseer had predicted when a storm would roll in, and so they headed for a stretch of shallow sea where the bad weather would make it hard for any ships to get through. They trusted their superior druidic talents, and most of the larger ships in pursuit broke off, while they fought a few of the smaller ones in a storm. During the battle they ended up getting grabbed by a kraken, and in order to avoid being cracked and dragged under, they intentionally beached themselves in shallows, where the kraken couldn't follow.

When the storm passed, they realized they only had a few hours to get the ship freed before the Danoran fleet regrouped and descended on them. They headed to the nearby island, which they knew was a pirate hideout.

There they discovered that a powerful local fey, Beshela, had been captured by a Danoran garrison on the island, and the Danorans were forcing her to use her pet krakens to attack Risuri ships. The Danorans had taken tons of pirates captive too. The party freed Beshela, rallied the pirates, and then got back to their ship with a now full crew right as the Danoran fleet - led by the captain that deserter PC hated - tried to pincer them. Then they got to use the full might of the Kraken against the Danorans.


I've done two side stories with my players which have generally been well received. The first was back in adventure 7 and the some people wanted to go back into the ruined Cauldron hill facility suspecting there was still some problems there. I used some hags, undead and some which oil golems; an old cauldron and a hag were doing some magic to make the PC's relive moments of failures through hallucinations.

The second, which was far better in my mind, was set 2 weeks after the PC's got trapped in the Dreaming in Adventure 9. Outside the world, no one had heard from the PC's in quite a while and the RHC had to take precautions and begin a Plan B if their mission was a failure. A second squad - consisting of two unique characters and Kaja Stewart, were sent to Bhad Ryzhadbut to find an Obscurati officer who knew about the designs of the Light houses. Taking care of him was short work, but with teleportation magic being all but impossible - they teleported in, which nearly killed the PCs - and sendings being intercepted/not working when going to Risur, the players were stranded in Drakkar.

Coincidentally, a new archeological discovery was made - a tomb from the era of the Demonocracy. Archeologists needed help to ensure it was safe for further excavation. Turned into a pretty rough dungeon crawl scraped together with what lore I could find on the time there. They were successful in discovering a certain mithril lockbox, but the final chambers did not open to them.

Now, part 2 will be picking up soon as those side characters deal with the siege of the city, and against overwhelming odds, either flee the city or try to hold off and fight until the main PC's come flying in to save them.