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ZEITGEIST The Rites of Rulership, Monarch of the Masses


For my particular campaign this is a far way off, however as any good storyteller I constantly read ahead. I am curious on the Rites of Rulership and how they effect the party as a whole. I can understand the Monarch him/her self will get considerable bonuses to their character. Are there any balancing effects that the rest of the party get? I noticed in Stover Delft's stat block he gets an ability called "Royal Power" which grants him fast healing 5. But it appears he is the only character in the campaign who gets this. What i am trying to do is avoid jealousy among the party by giving a single player such grand toys to play with and the rest of the party not have any extra at all. Other GM's who got that far, what did you do?

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Andrew Moreton

You could give other people special abilities but after some experience in prior campaigns I am careful about powercreep (Vampire Sorcerors).

None of my players had a problem with the monarch getting extra abilities. They are mainly used for party benefit, the fast healing is nice but only really for out of combat healing, 10hp is almost nothing , I expect a PC who is taking serious damage to be taking more like a 100hp a round by this level. The powers gained when fighting Titans or similar very powerful opponents are more impressive , but my players planned strategies around the character with the abilities and it only gets used in a few fights. The impressive one was when I accidentally boosted the Mimic in the governors manison to 42 hd without thinking about what that did for the Queen abilities so really it only helps vs Stansfield, the Fey Titans and maybe Harkover in the final book, otherwise the pc's are not in Risur

I actually boosted the monarchs abilities a bit as my monarch is a caster and the base abilities really did not help her mych I let the attack.ac/save bonus also add to caster level, spell dc's and penetration that way the monarch was notably powerful when facing the titans and it gave the right impression


There are all sorts of other non-traditional buffs that are handed out throughout Zeitgeist. Consider a PC who gets Xambria stuck in your head, or becomes a priest of Rot, etc. Really, Monarch of the Masses is just another flavorful magic item/buff in that vein.

Be generous!

If I were to dig into it heavily, I'd probably have some manner of bureaucracy where if you're assigned to specific stations you gain specific boons while performing your duties to the monarch. So if the new king appoints a PC to be head of the RHC in Flint, that PC would get fast healing while working on RHC matters . . . in Flint.

Meanwhile, the Green Knight cannot die unless the sun is out while she's protecting the monarch. Stuff like that.


Yep, unbalancing the party with giving boons to some and none to others can cause trouble even within good friends' partys. And also yep, the Rites, and, depending on the focus of your party, the title and narrative power that comes along with being Monarch can shake things up if you are not careful.

So what can you do?

First, make sure to not funnel all the cool stuff to only a few players or, worse, only one. Unless there are characters that really don't care for the narrative (just give them numerical boni then). Be thoughtful with items like the Urn, the Huble Hook, the Blades of Srasama or the Arsenal of Dhabisu. And, if it feels appropriate, expand upon them.

Second, make sure that every character has a niche/specific role to play once you reach "epic tier".

Third, what @RangerWickett said... this world is full of mystery, old and new rituals and technology. Do not limit yourself by strictly adhering to the game's rules because the adventure surely doesn't. Let the monarch share their powers or create new positions. Use fey stuff. Added bloodlines.

For myself, I was quite happy that my other player (the one whose PC became monarch) thought about a fitting new position for my PC and a corresponding set of powers. Because the in-character power imbalance between someone at the top of the nation and someone still working for Delft was... unsettling.

Also... could you theoretically exploit the Green Knights' powers in a post-gyre world as technically the sun won't be out anymore? Or would the vanishing of Av shatter her power source? (always wanted to ask that question :D )

Andrew Moreton

Except when fighting single powerful creatures for the defense of Risur the Monarchs powers are not overwhelming.
The monarch of the land ability has been useful outside of combat to change geography but a few 4th level spell (Wall of Stone/Stoneshape) or a small army of minions could do the samething
+5 untyped bonus vs charm, fear and poison, nice enough but poison with the DC tp bother 18th level characters are rare, most of my pc's could drink pints of deadly poison and only have a 1 in 20 chance of noticing, Charm and fear are more common but if expected protection from evil, mindblank and Protection from spells should be up so really a niche benefit , don't think the monarch has used it yet

I forget how bad the fast healing 10 is , it only kicks in if you are dropped below 0 hp , fast healing does not work if you are dead, so an attacker has to reduce you below 0 but above about -18-24 hp. With the massive damage common in pathfinder combat at this level death is more common.
Ability to give anyone else a reroll against charm/fear or poison nice buff for everyone else but has yet to come up.

The mechanics of the monarchs powers are not that great (except against titans), so mechanically there is not a lot of reason to give people buffs to match it.
Socially it is a big thing but all of the pc's should be Dukes following the attempt on Aodhan and are likely to form the royal council so decisions for the nation are likely to be collective and in any case pc's are likely to concentrate on smaller scale events like saving cities from heroic threats.
One pc may well be a member of the unseen court with better mechanical boosts (at will invisibility and immunity to mindcontrol), for others there is the possibility of trying to usurp a Fey Titan , with no defined abilities but the prospect of many. Then there is the Godmind urn if anyone is crazy enough to play with it. And for technologists/gunslingers there is the madness of Steam suits and tinker/ob toys for crazy good guns.

I did consider letting the monarch delegate her titan fighting powers but I was glad she had them as her powers applied to some of the the pc;s would have seen Granny Allswell dead in a round, the monarchs powers are at their deadliest given to a mellee combatant.

The various artefacts are not that great, the Swords of Ssramma waste a lot of their bonus on cool but not very useful powers , The Arsenal of Dhbisu is nice but changing shape does not fit with many combatants feat trees and it lacks the truly great enchantments but its such a cool weapon I buffed it for the pc who got it.

and sadly '
The title of Green Knight is bestowed to the king’s chief bodyguard.
Among the position’s perks is an inability to die when the sun isn’t up.
This ability requires a close connection to the Dreaming, however, and
at the end of this adventure the green knight loses all of her powers'

Otherwise that would be great and very abusable although without some other trick you would still stop fighting at negative hp and so it is mot much better than on tap resurection via high level cleric.

And no item beats the Absurdist web as a perk

Overall my group suspected from an early point that one of them would end up as Monarch and they all knew which character it would be as three of the 4 original characters had a charisma of 8, the replacement could have been monarch but joined the unseen court instead. I had no jealosuy about it depsite the same player ending up as Queen of Talingarde in the last PF campaign

Also... could you theoretically exploit the Green Knights' powers in a post-gyre world as technically the sun won't be out anymore? Or would the vanishing of Av shatter her power source? (always wanted to ask that question :D )

Ha, sure, makes sense that she'd not be able to die from wounds suffered defending the monarch . . . at least until adventure 12.


I was talking more about the narrative gravitas of those items or titles. And some of their effects. Because thinking about the psychological impact of being immune to fear or being considererd a Titan or technically having a divine domain sense or just knowing everyone's name and origin... on both wielder and potential targets is just... wow. I don't want to spoil too much before I get to the fun stuff in my recap thread, so... I'll leave with that ;)

And no item beats the Absurdist web as a perk

Also, you played Way of the Wicked as well? We ended up with Fireaxe as King... well, it was his soul that we stuffed into the young good-for-nothing-princeling-to-be-king's body whereas we ended up being twin cardinals of Asmodeus as they were basically two aspects of the same soul. That campaign was crazy weird in a good and wicked way.

Andrew Moreton

I think it depends on your group, there has not been an issue so far with my group. Maybe give out some sort of upgrade to the campaign feat for appropriate characters. Royal Skyseer gets Divination or perhaps Contact other Planes to replace augery, Commander of the Armies(Veteran) gets Endurance and Die hard, not sure what Mad shootist or Technocat would get they are not really appropriate for the fey theme of the monarchy.

IIRC the Fireaxe ended up polymorphed into a Human and the second in command of the armies of Talingarde.
Queen Syrah was the highest charisma nearly invincible vampire sorceror diplomancer Queen, with her associate the Swashbuckling vampire bard Appollonius, these two could conquer nations just by talking to them they make Ashima-Shimtu look bad at bluff
Oswyn the magnificent was the Oracle high priest of Asmodeus again with a Charisma in the stratosphere, with Marcus the Antipaladin graveknight master o fear as commander of the armies.
After the campaign all descended to become powerful devils. Notably Lord Oswyn the Magnificent and his invincible golden legions commander by Grumblejack the Pit Fiend and Marcus. At least one of which is commanding a lost legion found in the Gyre......
Also the Cannibals guide to the races of Talingarde was produced after they had a choice of Lutefish or Triton.