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ZEITGEIST Running the campaign for more than 6 players.

Summorox

Villager
Hey guys, first time poster here. Been lurking here looking at Zeitgeist posts for the past half a year and now i come humbly seeking your advice.

About a year ago, i started running Zeitgeist for two newbies and four veterans of DnD and despite some hiccups at the start, the first adventure went relatively smooth and the players (and myself) greatly enjoyed it. Now about 2-3 months ago after a long break, we returned to Zeitgeist by running a Dying Skyseer online, this time joined by another two newbies: A girlfriend from one of the players and a friend from college. Unfortunately, two of the veterans declined to continue as they dislike the online format. We are now at about the halfway point in the adventure and things went pretty smoothly despite the higher amount of players. Combat was not difficult, but i purposefully went easy on them until they got used to the combat.

Now i face a dilemma: A player from my other campaign, which has been running for 3 years, is pretty interested in trying out this campaign, and tbh, me too. The guy is one of my oldest players and i can tell he would be a good addition to the group, especially to help the other veterans guide the newbies. Combat being too easy wouldn't be a problem as rebalancing it is not an issue (Adding some minions, buffing some abilities, etc...). Thing is, i read ahead on the campaign and i can tell that some parts assume that the player count is at most 6 (Six infiltrators in adventure 7, six premade characters in bonds of sacred faith, etc..) and the player's only choice of background would be the Eschatologist, since the others have all been picked.

Do you guys have any suggestions to remedy this?
 

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Lylandra

Adventurer
Wow, this is really a lot of players. Respect for keeping them all busy with your campaign :)

Now, if the number isn't generally the problem (as most of the campaign can and will be resolved by talking and investigating and making sure everyone has a spotlight can be tough), you can easily adjust the setup, even if this might need some work.

In adventure 4, during the train section, you'll have cabins for four people. So you might need to use two cabins and maybe encourage to split the party's cover identities into separate groups as too large a group gains too much attention. (We found this "four person bedrooms" a bit silly as most people traveling by train are couples and just screamed "standard adventuring party")
But your players will benefit greatly from having so many spies on the train.

In adventure 6, you got 6 premade Ob PCs, but there is a whole host of other Ob officers you can choose from. All you have to do is to give them a bit more backstory. (Our DM did this as well because of the severe lack of female characters in the original roster)

Bonds is purely optional, and I agree that making up a character with the same uniqueness to their abilities will be a bit tough. Maybe add a skyseer character who is a student of the witch and expand upon divination themes. Or, if you happen to have a deva PC, use one of their previous incarnations. Or an ancestor of a flint-based PC.

Regarding the theme, I assume that your max player count is now 7? Which means 6/9 themes are occupied, leaving three for the new one. And having double themes isn't really that bad. Especially Dockers, Martial Scientists or Veterans are diverse enough and benefit from a communal experience.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I agree with Lylandra there should not be insurmoutable problems and I would have given the same advice.
You will need to upgrade some of the combat encounters but if you had less characters which were highly optimised you would already have to anyway, I am having to. For most encounters you can get away with adding a lot more minions to bulk up the bad guys and maybe giving a few statboosts.

Doubling up any background should not be a problem, assuming you have managed to get a party which does not already overlap their abilities with each other then they should still manage to be diverse while having the same theme.
I can't think of any situation where 7 characters will definetly break things , the biggest hassle could be in book 13 where there are 4 crises to deal with at the same time, but you can porbably just have the pc's double up on most of them
 

Summorox

Villager
Thanks a lot to both of you! You both definitely gave me some good ideas to make a 7th player work.

Regarding @Lylandra 's suggestions,pretending to be two different groups actually sounds like a great idea and seems like it could make the fourth adventure really interesting to run! For the 6th adventure, i'll probably do as you said and grab a less important officer from the list, improvise a backstory and add some stats. I kinda hope the new player chooses a Deva, but i think i can make most backgrounds work since the setting is really rich in content. For the theme, maybe i'll give him a choice between Eschatologist and both Skyseer and Martial Scientist since they seem to be quite versatile.

@Andrew Moreton I might grab a couple more technological monsters from my homebrew monster collection that i really wanted to try out but didn't fit my other campaign's setting hehe. For the main bad guys, maybe i'll just give them a straight 25-50% increase in health and a buff to some stats if necessary. Oh, i can already tell that adventure 13 will be a clusterfuck (in a good way!) with the simultaneous combats happening. I'm still waiting for the 5e version, but hopefully it won't be too overwhelming. Still a long way to go so i still have some time to think about that.

For Bonds of forced faith, i was thinking of using a heavily nerfed Asrabey Varal as the 7th premade character. I think it would make sense for the Unseen Court to assist Risur in ridding a city of a mutual threat. Thoughts on that? Should i perhaps choose a different premade character?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I did not run Bonds of forced faith but Asraby could work, besides the Unseen court he works for Kasavarina and he could have been sent along to try and further the Ob's goals. Depending what you are using the scenario for a Drakran Eschatologist could be a nice introduction or a Beran Eschatore. Pick something one of your players will enjoy!

I use pathfinder but I have tended to boost important npc's by a couple of levels, better stats and at least max hp as well as trying to boost their minions. My players though tend to play fairly powerful and optimised characters , and the campaign has lots of Nova fights where the pc's get to have a very small number of fights in one day and so can burn their high level spells and powers .

For the 4th adventure Two groups can work but let your players come up with their own cover stories they will no doubt come up with somethign weird and complicated . My group were very complciated as they had a Dwarf, a Goblin , a Kobold , an Eladrin and a half elf to explain several of which had no social skills, at least the avoided the Goblin and the Kobold weaing a long coat and standing on each other. Could work as three groups with that many players or some complicated rich people and servants group
 

Summorox

Villager
Since some half of my players are relatively new to the game, they didn't make very optimized characters, but i can already tell that they will optimize their characters quite thoroughly on their next level ups, as they are quickly learning the ins and outs of the game. The other half is more experienced and they love to optimize their characters , so i'll have to buff the combat encounters a good amount haha. Thankfully most combat encounters have other side objetives other than simply kill the bad guy in front of you, which makes my job a bit easier.

I love the idea of a goblin and a kobold being agents of the RHC hehe. I really like their misadventures in your campaign journal.

The active party roster for our campaign is this (Using spoilers in case my group sees this:
  • Warforged Artificer Technologist- the newest player
    (Since the character has no memories before 10 years ago, I'm thinking of making him the first borne prototype, who was secretly freed by Grappa)
  • Half elf Bard Docker- One of the veteran players (And apprentice of Rock Tarkus hehe)
  • Shadar-kai Ranger Spirit Medium- One of the newbies (Reflavoured the Shadar-kai as the character being born as mutated elf due to being near an area with great bleak gate influence. She specializes in dealing with fey threats and seeks to avenge her RHC mentor who was killed by an archfey)
  • Dwarf Paladin Yerasol Veteran- One of the veteran players (Former prison guard in Drakr who grew disillusioned due to his country's immoral practices (Necromancy,etc...) and decided to immigrate to Risur. Participated in the third and fourth Yerasol War and is the pseudo "Leader" of the group.
  • Half elf Warlock Vekeshi Mystic- One of the newbies.
    (Parents were a human and an Eladrin, which were killed by Clergy radicals. Escaped close enough to the Island of Odiem, so Ashima-Shimtu offered him power to escape and seek revenge. Eventually joined the mystics due to similar ideologies).
  • Tiefling Rogue Gunsmith- One of the newbies. (Was a fey pepper addict in Danor and resorted to crime to get his fix. Eventually decided to get his life straight and immigrated to Risur).
The seventh player has not yet created a character as he's only joining in two weeks.
 

I did not run Bonds of forced faith but ... depending what you are using the scenario for a Drakran Eschatologist could be a nice introduction or a Beran Eschatore.

As always, do what works best for your group, but canonically the Heid Eschatol movement was inspired by a book on history written decades after the events of Bonds of Forced Faith. Likewise, the executores dola liberta were created by Bruse Le Roye after 460 AOV.
 


Lylandra

Adventurer
For Bonds of forced faith, i was thinking of using a heavily nerfed Asrabey Varal as the 7th premade character. I think it would make sense for the Unseen Court to assist Risur in ridding a city of a mutual threat. Thoughts on that? Should i perhaps choose a different premade character?

This sounds like a sweet idea, especially if your players had fun with him in adventure 1. Asrabey had been an agent of the Unseen Court for 2 centuries if I remember that correctly, and they might be inclined to help combat the "dark forces on the witch hill". Which would later give them a bit more leverage regarding the blackening of the Dreaming due to risuri technology.

Give him a bit of a rivalry with the Green Knight, let him be unnerved by Amielle's tech, disgusted by the Clergy and add in Harkover Lee's general annoyance with the Dreadnaught and you'll have a really spicy party.
 

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