ZEITGEIST Question about starting Zeitgeist


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jacktannery

Explorer
Need some advice about Adventure 3 Digging for Lies.

PCs have knocked Xambria out at the Gala. They suspect she planned it all, and wants to be captured to be brought to the RHC HQ, so they decide not to bring her there and instead to Exorcise her. The Spirit Medium takes over Weber's office and gets everyone in a trance, and they enter the spirit realm and seek out Xambria's mind.

Any advice for how to resolve the adventure and square this with the final encounter in the module?
 

hirou

Explorer
Need some advice about Adventure 3 Digging for Lies.

PCs have knocked Xambria out at the Gala. They suspect she planned it all, and wants to be captured to be brought to the RHC HQ, so they decide not to bring her there and instead to Exorcise her. The Spirit Medium takes over Weber's office and gets everyone in a trance, and they enter the spirit realm and seek out Xambria's mind.

Any advice for how to resolve the adventure and square this with the final encounter in the module?

First of all, both the ritual at the subway and the kill squad for Lady Saxby will trigger at 6pm (? don't remember the exact time) whether Xambria is in HQ or not. Sidjen knows that, but your party is extremely unlikely to deduce that without your intent. Second, Sidjen doesn't particularly need Xambria's body, while Xambria (as I read it) is too heavily affected by him to actually survive the exorcism. Third, Gidim explorer IMHO is the most intelligent and dangerous enemy of the party besides Nicodemus himself (and I refuse to believe that it's a mere coincidence that both of them are "ideas incarnate").

As far as the specific actions go... In my version Sidjen basically threatened the party with mass terror attack on Flint. Gala encounter proves that he can easily summon Gidim warbeasts (apparently routinely ignoring the 5 minute summoning rules of Zeitgeist world, which should at least baffle the party a bit). The rituals are already primed, which will unleash hell on Earth in most vulnerable locations of the city - hospitals, schools, crowded factories... That is, of course, unless the party is reasonable and will cooperate with poor lost traveler, who is not particularly evil by design... BTW, can I interest you with some juicy stuff about your boss?..

Basically, Sidjen is actually in pretty comfortable position here. He has information to bargain for (Ob's operation, Saxby's involvement), he has a very real hostage (Xambria) and some potential for threats (it's up to you how real they are) and in the end he's extremely hard to restrain. In the worst case, he can almost surely slip away in the midst of exorcism, dropping a hint about Saxby's dark deeds. Party hurries to HQ, all hell breaks loose, in the confusion Sidjen is likely to obtain the Star Map he's after.
 




jacktannery

Explorer
Well I did exactly as you proposed hirou and it went really well!

After the Gala, PCs restrained Xambria on Weber's desk and conducted a ritual to enter the Spirit World led by the Spirit Medium. They donned the costumes of the Ancients and dressed up as Ancient Judges. They compelled Sijhen to explain her actions. Then they summoned the spirit of the Voice of Rot and asked for his help in defeating Sijhen. The Spirit Medium made a pact with the Fey Titan (see below, based on another thread here). It's going great!

Divine Boon: pact with the Voice of Rot
* the ability to channel necrotic energy (details to be worked out; Not interested in providing another attack power, something more interesting. It should feel ancient, fey-like and dangerous)
* control corporeal undead (details to be worked out, in combat any amount equal to your level by concentrating fully?)
* you can only eat food that is already rotting
* whenever you are at 0hp your body becomes limp but your head jerks about and your eyes strain to see what’s going on. All you see while in this state, the Voice of Rot knows. And if you ever go below 0hp or die or regain consciousness, a half-rotted snake will slither out of your mouth and observe the surroundings.
* (optional) Tiran's spirit wolf takes on the appearance of a mangy, rabid wolf with watery yellow eyes.
* gain power: defeat Sijhen (twinned psychic and physical attack). Takes a standard action, auto hits and auto destroys, and Xambria's soul becomes loose and Tiran can merge it with another living creature of his choice who is present if he wants, or else it dies.

One question! The influence of the Voice of Rot over the undead in the Zeitgeist world: is undead not a Bleak Gate thing? Or are some undead aligned with the Voice of Rot? Any ideas?
 

I don't recall which groups read these posts and which ones are safe to post spoilers in, so I'm hedging on caution.

[sblock]Undead are powered by negative energy, which actually comes from Nem, the plane of ruin. However, the Bleak Gate is home to many undead spirits. Corporeal undead are rare there.

In adventure 11 there's a chance to recover the lost eye of the Voice of Rot, which allows you to control spirits. The one eye he has now lets him control corporeal undead. Basically, he's in charge of Rot, so any decaying body is under his purview.

[/sblock]
 

jacktannery

Explorer
Update: PCs have made a deal with the Voice of Rot and trapped Sijhen in the Spirit World in the Museum. Then they left to the RHC HQ to warn Saxby and the rest of the HQ that Sijhen was probably planning an invasion there to get the Star Map. Saxby thanks them and get's the help of Carlao's team to grab the map, artefacts, and other documents into cases and get them to safety, while the PCs evacuate the rest of the HQ.

But, the PCs suspect Saxby is up to no good, because Sijhen hinted as such. So they follow her and Carlao's team through over the rooftops then by carriage into a dead-end by the Old City Walls. They find a secret passage and follow Saxby through the old city catacombs, surviving a Obsucrati Kill Squad ambush and deadly traps. Now they are about to find out where Saxby is headed - and they want her to be heading to see Leone Quital (who they have a grudge against since the last adventure). Their aim will be to break into the secret Obscurati hideout, steal the Star Map and possibly screw up Leone's plans somehow, then escape back to Sijehn, kill the alien once it lets its defences down upon seeing the Star Map, and place Xambria's soul into Finona's body to create a super-archaeological-head-of-flint-museum and possible later love interest.

So, does anyone have any ideas for Leone's secret obscurati hideout in the tunnels of the city? I have looked through Adventure 5 so I know about all that. Ideally I want the PCs to find Leone, discover some crucial information which will foil a plan Leone is hatching AND make them really want to get on the that train in adventure 4, then leave without fighting Leone.
 

hirou

Explorer
IMHO Leone has very little reasoning to leave Bleak Gate side of Flint. What's the position of Carlao's team in your canon? Are they as corrupt as Saxby or just misinformed? If you want to reinforce "corrupt cop" stereotype, then Saxby and team A are to meet Lorcan Kell, likely in some catacombs beneath Theater of Scoundrels or another big Kell's guild fortress, look in adventure 5 for ideas. Ideally, you should drop a line like "remember, there're dozens of killers and madmen right above us" from Saxby, so the party think twice before trying to arrest everyone on the spot.

From plot point of view, meeting between Saxby and Kell can provide a lot of missing info on the situation in the city, how Kell's guild is struggling to contact Leone (or not?), missing their main buyer.
 

Ideally I want the PCs to find Leone, discover some crucial information which will foil a plan Leone is hatching AND make them really want to get on the that train in adventure 4, then leave without fighting Leone.

As Hirou pointed out, that's probably impossible. I mean, if you're looking to wrap up the campaign faster, go for it, but it's really hard to have Leone see the PCs and not just wipe the floor with them. I mean, I suppose he could be using a ring gate akin to what the Ob researchers were using in the warehouse in adventure two, so he's only 25% in the real world.

But it doesn't really fit to have the elite, snobbish head of a major cell of the conspiracy slumming it in the sewers. The design of the Ob would keep Saxby from even knowing that Leone exists. Governor Stanfield is tier 3, and Leone and Macbannin are/were tier 4, but she's tier 5 down Macbannin's chain, not Leone's. She'd have no way to contact him.

Maybe she poked around and it managed to reach Leone that she was looking for help. To avoid compromising their secrecy, he might have someone deliver a message to her so she goes to a meeting spot. But after talking to her for a bit, he'd realize that unlike Macbannin, she's not interested in the Ob ideology. She's only helping out because she thought she was going to earn the favor of a prominent politician and improve her career, but she doesn't want to get involved with what Leone's doing in the Bleak Gate. And Governor Stanfield isn't going to risk exposing his involvement to her.

So if you do have Saxby go meet Leone (who's not really on this plane, just semi-visible as he presses through the veil between worlds), the PCs might be able to eavesdrop as she asks for an explanation, he evades and brings up the Ob goal to gain influence to make the world a better place, she's smart enough to realize that this foreigner isn't working with Risur and so she tries to play along to extract info from him, he's smart enough to figure out that's what she's doing, and he decides the best solution is to kill her.

Before he does it, though, he makes an offer - protection if she can destroy the body of Caius Bergeron, and all his possessions. She balks at first, but will agree, and she'll order her constable allies to . . . it depends. Possibly break into the RHC to firebomb a room and destroy documents, then pour acid onto Caius's skull to melt his brain and jaw (fire doesn't burn tieflings). Or maybe go to his apartment and arson the f*** out of the place to cover their tracks. If she manages to pull that off, she'll return to meet with Leone again.

That's when he kills her. Ideally with explosives or poison gas or something else unsatisfying.



Or yeah, use Hirou's idea and get them to a Kell guild sanctuary. But, well, I'm trying to save the 'setpiece action scenes' of adventure five, and again, going into the lion's den is probably fatal. Is your party feeling like they need a 'climactic battle'? If not, it might be best to let Saxby get hoisted by her own petard and die (unless the PCs rescue her). Or maybe she goes to Kell, and he gives her some info, but because he's evil he charges a price and butchers one of Carlao's team. Saxby might stay in charge of the RHC in Flint but be rightfully traumatized and ineffectual, forcing Delft to coordinate with the PCs behind her back.

Lots of ways you could go with this.
 


hirou

Explorer
In lieu of my own thread (which I should probably make after all), I'd like to use this one to share my joy of restarting my Zeitgeist campaign, year-and-a-half in hiatus. We have our old party back, new player and new co-DM, eager to bring some new spark into sixth adventure where we left our heroes (personally and with no offence meant I consider "Revelations" the weakest link of the whole campaign, and perhaps that opinion was the main reason behind the whole hiatus).
So far we've had an introductory session with the new player, with hilarious results of 4e ranger trying to overcome social skill challenges (with +6 modifier in all relevant skills at 12th level) at Liss Railways. One unfortunate orc still accidentally got dismembered by Pemberton golem, but overall it was a really positive experience for everyone involved and I'm eager to continue Cavallo plotline perhaps as soon as this weekend...
 
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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
In lieu of my own thread (which I should probably make after all), I'd like to use this one to share my joy of restarting my Zeitgeist campaign, year-and-a-half in hiatus.

Welcome back! Gotta love a reboot.

We have our old party back, new player and new co-DM, eager to bring some new spark into sixth adventure where we left our heroes (personally and with no offence meant I consider "Revelations" the weakest link of the whole campaign, and perhaps that opinion was the main reason behind the whole hiatus).

That was my initial reaction to Revelations, but in the end I really enjoyed running it. I think it makes a great, comedic counterpoint to the oppressive high stakes of Cauldron Born. Also, it's fun for the players to really let rip in a foreign land, without having to sneak around or investigate a complex mystery.

Trump had just taken office when our campaign restarted, and I made him a model for the Bruse. ("We have the best railroads...") My initial plan was to blow him to smithereens and install Corta Nariz on the throne of Ber (although I didn't base her on Hillary Clinton; wish I'd thought of that), but he became so popular with my players that I just disfigured him instead. I'm all heart!
 

hirou

Explorer
I think it makes a great, comedic counterpoint to the oppressive high stakes of Cauldron Born. Also, it's fun for the players to really let rip in a foreign land, without having to sneak around or investigate a complex mystery.
Talking about complex mysteries... I know you didn't mean it, but this sounds unexpectedly sarcastic after my session. The party finally started to wonder whether they are actually the good guys after murdering poor captain Thrag Vidalia and then realizing he was mind-controlled "by purple-skinned Risuri enchantress". And they have close to no means of proving this to a fort full of orcs on a brink of war. Oops.

While the new player lightheartedly signed a contract with potential 600k gold loss for Risur at Liss Railways.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I am involved in my initial preparations to start this campaign early in the new year. As part of that I have been discussing characters with my players and one of them has accidentally stumbled into an interesting concept. She will be playing a Female Eladrin and a Vekeshi Mystic (not sure what class yet).
Her origins are that she was rescued from some Danoran nobility as a young teenager during the Yerasol wars. Recently she has started to have dreams about the ancient Elfaiver empire and the player knows the character is the reincarnation of an Eladrin who died during the great malice.
What she does not know is that she is the reincarnation of Dala the youngest daughter of Kassaiver (I can never remember the name). I have some interesting ideas for interactions with the lost arc of Reida, and I am timing the dreams of the past to have started when she reached the age Dala died and at the same time that her mother visited Flint and became the 'mother' of bourne (which I think is about 8 years before the campaign start).
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for any other interactions or events? We will be using pathfinder if that helps
 

Andrew, good luck.

Another group had an eladrin PC who literally was Kasvarina. She joined the party after adventure 2, and the GM rejiggered a few things, so that instead of getting her memories locked away during adventure 2 and being rescued in adventure 5 by Asrabey, she lost her memories and then stumbled out into the world thinking she'd been sent forward in time five centuries. She learned what had happened to her nation in broad strokes, realized Risur was the only nation where she'd be particularly safe, and so joined the RHC in hopes of finding her place.

It worked out really well. So well that, honestly if in 30 years Netflix says, "Let's make a TV series," I'm working in that plotline.

Having a PC being Dala reincarnated offers some similar possibilities for angst and character growth, with fewer complications of the bad guys trying to kidnap her.
 

kcannell

Explorer
One of my players is an eladrin Paladin of Srasama who was engaged to Dala, and was present at the siege of Alais Primos. Due to many questionable decisions he had to make as an RHC agent over the course of the campaign, he lost his paladinhood. Adventure 8 was an angsty, climatic journey for him where he was able to simultaneously redeem himself while discovering the truth of his betrothed/deity, overcoming about 500 years of guilt and crushing burdens.

My player was literally shaking with the awesomeness of the roleplaying experience! It was amazing for everyone involved, and was great to see a scene come to fruition at the top of the Lance of Triegenes that I had been planning for over a year.
 


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