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ZEITGEIST The Flint Irregulars, whose portraits you may have seen


So in talking to my players, they were very, very close to intervening at the arena. If I'd had Andrei beg them for help while hanging from their balcony, instead of being busy batting at the flames, it probably would have pushed them over. But I didn't, and they didn't! So here we are.

Vesta and Reginald's consciousness fragment engaged Father Balthazar while Viveen tried to take control of the carriage from the guards driving it. Vesta managed to teleport Balthazar out of the carriage and then action point to fey stop back in, so Viveen got it moving. However, in addition to the carriage guards, Balthazar had two frost mage guards in one of the other carriages. They came out and started using their ray of frost to slow the horses drawing Isobel's carriage, keeping Viveen from making a getaway.

As the battle progressed, Lord Kulp emerged from the third carriage. He surveyed the scene and ordered his arena guards -- who were escorting the carriages under Kulp's jurisdiction -- to stand down. Kulp had been quite displeased by the display at the arena, but felt bound by duty to provide the escort. However, the attack on Balthazar was an opportunity, and he decided to let it play out. That left Balthazar's personal guards, which still substantially outnumbered the three constables.

Elanor came out of the fourth carriage, saw what was happening, and stormed up to Kulp, demanding that he order his guards to support Balthazar. Kulp declined.

Meanwhile, Viveen, Vesta, and Reginald's consciousness fragment managed to keep the carriage moving with Isobel inside, and finally dropped Balthazar after a pitched battle that saw both Viveen and Vesta nearly fall.

Seeing the battle decided, Kulp boomed a Vekeshi greeting to Vesta, asking him to stop the carriage. He told them that if they allowed his guards to escort them back to the arena, the evening's events would be deemed to have transpired under Kulp's jurisdiction, whereas if they left with Isobel now, they would be considered criminals. That made it an easy decision for them.

In Kulp's chambers at the arena, they talked with Isobel, who decided that she wanted to go to Risur to meet Gale. Viveen and Vesta told Isobel and Kulp that they would send Rock Rackus to deliver her safely to Flint.


Meanwhile, Murdok and Bela, quite put out by the decision of their colleagues to intervene and risk their cover, went to Rock Rackus' concert. Backstage, Rock asked them where the other constables were, but accepted the non-answer he received. He asked them if they needed any favours, and Murdok asked if he knew anywhere good to get a drink.

Rock Rackus? Know where to get a drink? Why, of course he did! He handed out guest passes to Bela and Murdok, then went with them to a nightclub with a line going around the block -- that they jumped with their passes. Inside, there were wizards making smoke, wizards making lights, alchemists making drinks, and a lot of people having a very good time. Murdok drank variously coloured concoctions that made her urine light up the toilet bowl in those colours. Bela had a highly volatile drink that nearly exploded when his hand shook for a moment. Rock Rackus got thoroughly drunk.

Much, much later, the rest of the group finally showed up. Murdok didn't really say a word to them, but Bela at least acknowledged them. Viveen asked Rock if he'd be willing to transport Isobel back to Risur, and he agreed readily, although he made a point of asking if she was fair game for his flirtations. Viveen noted that Isobel had been through kind of a lot recently, and Rock said he understood.

One of the many perks of hitting up a trendy nightclub in Nalaam was the apothecary around the corner selling sober-up vials at all hours of the night. Since the party is generally quite interested in consumables, they asked what else might be on offer... there was a universal solvent, but they all declined. (Alas.)

With only a couple of hours left until the train was departing, they concluded that it was time to head back.


Murdok and Bela took short naps, since they didn't need a full extended rest. Reginald, Viveen, and Vesta did spend most of the day resting.

Rumours of yet another grisly murder were completely unsurprising to the constables. Bela continued chatting up his sea captain cabinmate for seafaring tips.

Murdok decided that since no one had talked to Luc or Ottavia yet, that she would go knock on their door. When Luc asked who it was and what they wanted, Murdok identified herself by her alias and said she wished to consult the oracle. They let her in.

"I'm being hunted by a conspiracy called the Obscurati," Murok told Ottavia. "And I don't know much about them or what I can do about it."

Ottavia was somewhat taken aback, but decided to play the role of the Clergy Oracle, and performed a 'reading.' She told Murdok that there was a web around her, but that she was not at its centre, and that she saw the ocean, or the shoreline, or something similar in Murdok's future. Murdok thanked her and left. Murdok did make an Insight check here, but it was far inferior to Ottavia's bluff.


With everyone back in their cabins, Luc sprung his trap. Having had runes placed in each constable's cabin the previous night while they were out on the town, he activated his lantern a few miles out of Sid Minos and warped them all (along with Boone and a few bystanders) into Nem.

That was where we stopped. I'll be pretty curious to see how they handle this one.

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Most of the party had the presence of mind to look out the window and see the purple glow up ahead. Vesta quickly deduced that they had been translocated to the plane of ruin, Nem. He and Bela were in second class cabins shared with others, so they quickly talked to their cabinmates about what was going on, and after verifying that the other passengers were as weirded out by all of this as they were, decided to try to link up with the rest of the party.

Bela ran into Boone in the hall. The tiefling was being hounded by disemboweled ghosts pointing at his pistol and moaning about being murdered. Bela may not always be the sharpest tack in the box, but he put two and two together here and declined to assist Boone. Murdok and Reginald arrived shortly thereafter, and were also unconvinced. When Vesta arrived as well, things started to get a little out of hand -- they insisted that Boone surrender his pistol, which of course he couldn't (and wouldn't anyway). Instead, Boone tried to make a break for it, but Vesta used his pinning longsword to immobilize him, and then they quickly knocked him out and got mage cuffs on him.

The rest of the party headed for the front of the train. Left alone with Boone, Vesta took his pistol and then killed him and threw the body out the window. Our generally by-the-book eladrin is headed down a dark path... especially now that Boone's pistol has forcibly bonded with him and is whispering in his ear.

When the PCs got to the cars where the screaming malice had killed passengers, they found spectral remnants of those passengers awaiting them. And no one else appeared to be on the train. They avoided the spectres by going along the top of the train, where a ruin wraith guarded a purple lantern at the locomotive. It tried to stop them from reaching the lantern, and a pitched battle ensued. The wraith even managed to knock a heavily damaged Murdok off the train, and she was quite frustrated when she 'revived' in her quarters on the ghostly train, all the way back in car 18. But despite the intervention of a group of spectral reapers, attracted by the train and lantern, the PCs ultimately prevailed and destroyed the lantern, resulting in the instantly waking up in their quarters on the real train.

Boone, however, did not wake up. And Vesta noticed that he still had Boone's pistol, and was still unable to get rid of it. I secretly sent Vesta's player the curse details (cumulative -1 to int/wis/cha based checks for each day he does not kill a sentient being and bathe the pistol in its blood). I'll be curious to see how it pans out.

Disembarking, they saw Ottavia, Luc, Bree, and Verzubak booking it for a carriage station, which the quickly left in the most ostentatious, fastest carriage there. Reginald followed quickly, sending consciousness fragments far up into the air to track the carriage and guide his own carriage driver in the right direction. The other constables followed further behind.

They all ended up at the harbour, Reginald having seen Ottavia & co board a 20-foot boat and set sail for Odiem, a cursed island about half a mile offshore. The constables' own boat was conveniently docked nearby, and they had their crew lower them a rowboat to pursue.

That was where we stopped. Next time: confrontation on the island.


Okay, so a LOT has happened since I last posted. We did finish Always on Time before GenCon, and [MENTION=63]RangerWickett[/MENTION] ran an awesome adventure for us that I'll cover in my next post, along with pictures!

We left off as our erstwhile constables -- Viveen, Reginald, Murdok, Bela, and Vesta -- were rowing toward the cursed isle of Odiem. They made a point of pulling their boat up away from where Ottavia's boat was beached. Across the island they could see the ruins of a lighthouse, so they made for it. Partway along they came across tracks, but only a single set, which struck them as odd since Reginald had seen Bree, Luc, Ottavia, and Verzubak all get on the rowboat. Around this time, corpses began shambling ashore. As they approached the lighthouse, Ottavia spoke to them telepathically from its summit, asserting that Luc was acting for the betterment of civilization and that they had acted against you due to perceiving a threat. Several constables noted that perhaps attempting to murder them was a slight overreaction, but Ottavia countered by asking how they would have responded to having various members of their party be followed on several consecutive nights.

Meanwhile, a mysterious voice rang in the constables' minds, inviting them to come 'downstairs,' and warning that the priestess' sermon would see them all dead. For the time being, they were puzzled.

It soon became clear that neither party was likely to persuade the other, so Ottavia began a remarkably enthralling sermon that kept the constables quite preoccupied until the dead were nearly upon them. At that point, they realized what the voice had meant, and quickly began dispatching zombies and made for the ruined church at the foot of the lighthouse, with Ottavia sending blasts of radiance at them from above.

Vesta was able to teleport through a crack in the church door and let the rest of the party inside. Ottavia continued blasting them through the gaping hole in the roof and while they struggled to climb the partly-crumbled lighthouse tower. They also found a set of bronze doors going deeper into the earth, but the voice's continued encouragement to enter whatever vault lay below made them skeptical. However, Reginald hid down there while sending consciousness fragments along with Viveen, Murdok, and Vesta. Bela stayed below to guard Reginald. During the ascent, Murdok fell from the second storey, but managed to stay conscious. Eventually, Vesta and Viveen managed to get to the top of the lighthouse and subdue Ottavia. They quickly set up some rope to bring her down into the vault for interrogation.

The mysterious voice continued to entreat the constables to come deeper into the vault, but as they explored the first ruined room, they found text explaining what the vault was, the many evils it contained, and the fact that its central prisoner was Ashima-Shmitu, the Lady of the Forked Tongue, a key figure in the Demonocracy. They concluded that rather than enter they vault, they’d take their chances on being able to make it to Vendricce in the morning on either the train or their boat.

With that decided, they set up camp right behind the bronze doors and listened to the soothing drum beat of the dead trying to break in. They interrogated Ottavia, who revealed relatively little — telling them essentially that she’d planned to delay them, that no one else was here, and that her work was more or less done. She revealed relatively little about the mysterious conspiracy known as the Obscurati, only that their aim was to improve society.

In the morning, the party carved their way out of the vault through a crushed pile of corpses, made their way to their rowboat, and rowed back to Sid Minos. They left Ottavia on their boat with Bela as a guard and then headed for the train station. They made it in time, but were told that there was a problem with their papers and that they would not be boarding the train today. Accordingly, they turned and booked it for their boat.

Bela had spent much of the trip sharing tales with an old sea captain, and as a result had acquired a bonus to various checks one might want to make on a boat. Accordingly, he took command of the constables’ boat, formerly Il Draçon de Mer, and with the aid of his fellow constables was able to catch a fair wind, avoid shallow reefs, and make it to Vendricce in time. All the constables had from Ottavia on the location of the meeting was that it was at a private rail station within the rail enclave, so they quickly headed for the enclave and split up to try and pin down the precise meeting location.

Murdok headed for the train and the locomotive, finding Steeg getting chummy with Verzubak. Having befriended Steeg previously, he was quite happy to see her and they had a chat about local watering holes they might go to after Steeg parked the train. She suggested that she and Verzubak go investigate, and Verzubak wasn’t really in a position to refuse. Alone with Murdok in the enclave’s alleys, though, things quickly took a dark turn as she threatened him, and then when he refused to give up the location, grappled him, broke his finger, and swallowed one of his precious dice. Vesta went to one of the hotels and asked about locations of private rail stations within the enclave, and managed to get the locations (there were six). He went back to Reginald and had Reginald use an airborne consciousness fragment to see where Steeg’s locomotive ended up parked. The party regrouped and they headed for the meeting. ly d

Reginald hid his consciousness fragment inside the small station building where the train pulled up, and the party watched to see what would happen. They were unsurprised to see Luc and Bree emerge from one of the cars and head into the building. They were equally unsurprised when Luc unveiled his lantern, lit it, and shifted the area around it into the bleak gate. Reginald listened through his hidden fragment as Lya Jierre (!) and Nicodemus explained a couple of things about the Obscurati to Luc. At that point, Vesta teleported through Reginald’s consciousness fragment into the room, and it all went to hell.

Everyone on the Ob side immediately moved to protect Luc. Vesta dropped a couple of other Ob members attending the meeting, then pursued Luc outside and engaged Lya as she moved to defend him. Poor choice — with Vesta as their only visible foe, the Obscurati agents in the Bleak Gate opened up a barrage of gunfire and arcane attacks, which weakened the eladrin enough that Lya not only dropped him, but used her focused severance technique to cut off his sword arm.

Note that Vesta is a swordmage whose magic is contingent on him having a sword in his sword hand. And that Vesta’s player had spent almost a year growing her hair out and then dyed it blonde to match her character, and created an elaborate and very fitting costume based on the assumption that her character would (1) be alive and (2) have two arms.


While this was going on, Murdok, Bela, and Viveen crept up to the train. Murdok nabbed some bottles of wine from the dining car and then headed toward the locomotive to persuade Steeg to get it going. Viveen spotted Nicodemus sauntering around looking for enemies, and quickly engaged and dropped him. He smirked at her as he fell. She put mage cuffs on him and started to drag him away, but as he passed out of the lantern’s radius, he vanished.

Seeing reinforcements arriving, the remainder of the Obscurati forces departed into the Bleak Gate with Luc, Verzubak, and Bree. They left the lantern, which the constables collected. Alarm bells were going off in the rail enclave by this point, so Murdok talked Steeg into getting the locomotive going, and the constables piled into it and headed for the nearly-completed connection to Elfaivar. Steeg asked how he should report this, and Murdok replied that Steeg should blame it all on Luc. Steeg was agreeable this and let them off at the edge of the construction on the coastline, where the constables’ boat was waiting.

They returned to Sid Minos to talk to Wolfgang, who they had planned to meet there the night before but missed due to the affair on the isle of Odiem. He was willing to construct the same type of magical girdle for Vesta that Bree was wearing to keep her severed arm attached, provided they were willing to pay for materials and other equipment. Meanwhile, the constables searched for a way to remove the curse from Boone’s gun, which Vesta had alluded to although couldn’t describe in detail. They were able to figure out the very specific requirements of the ritual — bathing the gun in the blood of a sacrificed pregnant she-goat — and bribe Clergy priests to help them perform it, at which point they immediately destroyed the gun.

Once Vesta had recovered, they sailed back to Flint with Ottavia in tow, and gave a report to Delft. It turned out that Lya Jierre would be in Flint in another couple of months for a peace summit, which presented a potential opportunity to deal with her. Delft assured the constables that he would speak to the King, and suggested they lay low for now.

Phew! Next time, I’ll talk about what happened when we all met [MENTION=63]RangerWickett[/MENTION] for Rock Rackus and the Ruby Rod of R’Lyeh!

(And sorry for the tease of not posting it this time, but this post is long enough and I'm out of time tonight!)


So my players and I backed the Act One compilation Kickstarter at the @RangerWickett runs a game for you at GenCon" level. That was actually the reason we went to GenCon, although since we were there we did do some other stuff (True Dungeon, and I played in the Netrunner US national championship).

My players are really, really into Zeitgeist, which I think speaks to the spectacular quality of the campaign. I've said here and elsewhere before that Zeitgeist is the best published campaign I've ever come across in some 20 years of playing and running RPGs, and I made a point of mentioning that to @Morrus when I met him at GenCon to pick up our (signed!) copy of the compilation, pictured below with Rock Rackus' golden gun beside it for scale:


We met up with @RangerWickett in the lobby of a hotel in Indy, all in costume, so we asked him to take a few pictures of the squad. Here's the best one:


From left to right:

  • Reginald, human psion spirit medium
  • Viveen, goliath runepriest yerasol veteran
  • Rock Rackus, aka yours truly
  • Murdok, human ranger martial scientist
  • Vesta, eladrin swordmage vekeshi mystic
  • Bela, human warlock gunsmith
If you look closely, you'll see that that my players went all-out for this. Reginald carries numerous consumables with him, which so he got a bunch of candy and two of the other players made the brace you see on his arm. All of them have badges that they had custom made with RHC - Constable - Flint stamped on them. It's tough to see, but Murdok's costume is complete with her Diadem of Acuity.

Vesta's sword belt is actually a sheath for his (well, her, the player is a woman but the character is a man) phone, which slots neatly into the short blade:


Not shown -- but very much present -- were a set of mage cuffs for each constable.


(Yes, those are actual black iron cuffs with unique keys that they painted gold.)

Here's a closer view of Bela's pistols:


It's pronounced "Motofukke," by the way.

@RangerWickett had their character portraits in tow, which are amazing. The players already had the digital files, but now I've got the full deck of cards including their portraits as well. It's pretty awesome. Here are the portraits in the same order as the picture of all of us above, with Rock Rackus included, of course:


Here we are getting settled with @RangerWickett showing us the copy of the compilation he'd brought along:


And then here are a couple of pictures from the game. First, Viveen scrupulously taking notes (mage cuffs visible):


Second, everyone but Vesta (who is taking the photo) paying rapt attention to @RangerWickett's description of something colossal:


Next up, the details of what actually happened!


I knew I'd abandoned this thread, but I didn't realize I never even posted an account of Rock Rackus and the Ruby Rod of R'lyeh! Dang. I'm pretty sure I wrote one, so I'll dig it up and add it to this thread.

We're still going, although we had a few major slowdowns over the years with people moving, work travel, etc. But recenty we've really gotten moving again. We're FINALLY at the Obscurati Convocation in Schism. I've been waiting since the summer of 2013 to introduce Constance and the MAP to my players, so I'm super excited that the time has finally arrived.

We didn't get there in quite the normal way, though. After going through the whole Knutpara sequence, two of my players got an attack of conscience and refused to use the soul transfer ritual, which killed the original plan of borrowing the bodies of Ob officers. Instead, they got a set of amulets made, stashed themselves in the Absurdist Web, and had Grappa attend as Quital. Grappa smuggled them in using the Web. I had Grappa and Tinker work up a 'surveillance' ritual that would allow a PC to see/hear what Grappa experienced, and report that to the rest of the team. They're all in Quital's room, which will make it interesting when Macbannin comes in to try and kill him! I'm looking forward to that. Some of them may also be able to explore independently with stealth or disguise, since inside the building the shadowlisks are only in the Ghost Council wing.

We do have writeups of all of the intervening stuff that's happened over the years. If people are interested, I could post that too.


I'm back! No recap quite yet, but we're on our annual 1 week drinking / D&D / boardgaming vacation and doing the final sequence in Schism.

They recruited Macbannin and he gave them intel on Vicemi, so when everyone convened for the "preliminary" vote they dropped in and kicked the party off right after Nicodemus' introductory remarks. We've done the surprise round and 1 round of combat so far, and whoooooo boy is there a lot going on. Some photos...

Just as Amielle is coming up to give the first speech, Viveen (a 7' goliath) phases in through the ceiling and used her Yerasol paragon Shell Shock power, dropping a psychic artillery shell on Nic, Vicemi, and Amielle.

And then the status after round one!

Further updates to follow, including (eventually) the long-promised recap.
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