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ZEITGEIST Worldres' Zeitgeist Campaign

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Ooh. How did you make this?

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Did you draw, ink, and color her yourself, or was this some savvy Photoshop filters or something? Because it looks so much like Claudio Pozas's style for the Z portraits that I wondered if I'd forgotten we'd commissioned this.
Hahaha, thanks! One of my players, Becky, drew it. She tried to imitate the Zeitgeist portraits and then added a bit of her own style. She based her off of Marion Cotillard, since the Zeitgeist portraits use famous actors as inspiration.

When I saw it, I took out my copy of Zeitgeist: Death of the Author and showed her the new portrait style, and she just about fell over! It’s funny how close it ended up being!


Hello! Over one year of Zeitgeist and still going strong!!! We just finished Adventure 7, so that means I should probably get around to the Adventure 6 write-up. Fortunately, one of my players was a former court-reporter, so I can just re-visit the transcripts, hah. I was putting it off doing my write-up, but then one of my players said she would play one of my favourite “edgy philosophical indie games” if I posted it, soooo…

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Adventure 4, Revelations from the Mouth of a Madman: "Catfolk Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day"


Remember how I said that Adventure 5 was far and away the favourite of the game so far? That was until Adventure 6 happened. The players unanimously agreed it was the best one. It helped considerably that they had been hunting the Steel Lord for three adventures, that Gatria was an ex-cult soldier, and that Hoya was once Tinker's foster daughter.

Between adventures, Cleone was starting to get her memories back from her past lives, and confessed to Delft that she was an ex-member of the Obscurati. She requested that she be given a poison pill in the case that the Obscurati retrieved her. Later, she told Gatria and Marcel to put her down if she ever became an Ob turncoat.

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The party still suspected that Catherine had been the one to tip off Leone, so they interrogated her. Someone had the bright idea to interrogate her cat, Kelland, who I have decided looks like famous internet noodle Pangur. Catherine bluffed and said the king humiliated himself on an international scale by neglecting his relationship with the Unseen Court, which caused Asrabey to disrupt the peace conference, and suggested that the country would be better off with a different ruler in his place - and tried to court their favor. The party didn’t buy it. Kelland was also a condescending little jerk. The party was unable to pry what they were looking for out of them.

Gatria led her own hilariously well-timed investigation into what Pemberton was up to, only to find that his factories had been cleaned out. With a good diplomacy roll, she discovered that she wasn’t the first to check into his whereabouts, as they had been stalked on their way out by a hooded old man (Harkover, making sure Gradiax was successfully intimidated out of town). Then, without actually suspecting that that was Harkover, she separately used her Prestige with the Family to spend the adventure looking into Harkover’s origins. Morgan confirmed that any details about his life and background had been sealed by the state, which instantly made the whole party suspicious. Delightful!!!

Oh, and Hoya and Xambria started a romance inside of Hoya’s head. It makes sense in context! My players don’t like romance much at all, but by Adventure 8, all of their characters are paired up with assorted NPCs and some of them are married. It’s very funny, I’ll explain when we get there.


Hoya and Xambria.

By the way, the crew asked me if they got a change of uniform now that they were Knights, such as a cool sash or a wayfinder. I told them that could be the case if they just believed hard enough, so yeah, I gave everyone except for Mona a wayfinder with their choice of ioun stone, as well as a brand new sash. Gatria made a point of showing it off at every opportunity.

On to Ber! After the briefing in Slate, the party went to meet with Brakken and was extremely upset to find that he had been charged with abuse of power. The party met Glaucia at the courthouse – Glaucia had been the judge at Gatria’s sentencing when she was a child soldier for the Steel Lord; back then, Glaucia had sentenced her to get an education at the Martial Academy, but Gatria flaked on her thesis and jumped the border. Glaucia made a comment that Gatria would be entitled to a severe beating if not for her new Knighthood in Risur.

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The party did their best to put up a strong defense for Brakken, but stopped just short of figuring out his accusers were Obscurati plants. He was let off the hook with a light beating. The party, while very irritated that Glaucia spent much of the trial fishing for information, still invited her to accompany them to see the Bruse. Glaucia took the opportunity to ask Mona to prophecy about her future – Mona saw a pampered young girl in a room of steel whose neck was suddenly slit by Glaucia. Glaucia and Mona had an interesting philosophical debate about fate; Mona, who is fated to die, said that if she had the choice, she would remove the entire world’s ability to see the future…

…Tee hee.

The party absolutely annihilated Rush and his squad at Melissa’s, who activated his continency charm on Turn 2. I’m starting to be afraid of my party, who consistently do damage in the hundreds every turn, even though we only have a single full-BAB character. The party argued with Melissa about the tone of her article, but fortunately for them, she’s the kind of person that doesn’t really care if they like her or not, and vice versa. In the end, they spoke at the worker’s rally, and won her respect.

Thing progressed as normal up until the Cantabrilla Railroad challenge. The party was insulted by the Bruse’s game, and when Lya appeared after dinner to ask them to concede, they considered it, for a moment. Lya tried to convert the party to the Ob, and made it clear she thought they would be more useful on their side. She gave the “What do you believe is right? What would the world be like if everyone agreed with you?” speech, and told them that she would give them unfettered access to Nicodemus in exchange for letting her win. The party eventually told her to leave, decided not to concede, and the challenge began.

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Working at a breakneck pace, the party managed to solve Citadel Cavallo’s various crises before Lya could intervene, including rescuing Wolfgang and brokering peace. Fun Fact! I used to be a field epidemiologist until the pandemic made me work from home (yeah, figure that one out). One of my players said that parasites were a no-go for her, so I converted the dragon worm into the literal, actual cholera pandemic that defined modern epidemiology. None of my friends are in the same field as me, so everyone was amused that they got to pretend to be me for a day.

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Three out of four of my players loved the Kell minigame last adventure, but one of them strongly disliked the record keeping. For her sake, I decided to split the railroad minigame into a series of story vignettes, which the players really enjoyed. The party gave Risur’s secret teleportation beacon tech to Liss as leverage over the Ob, and encouraged him to reject Pemberton's help. Hoya tried to convince Pemberton to give up on selling to the Grientos and just leave the country – in response he ground his cigar into the grass in front of her very slowly, stared at her, then cracked into a laugh and told her he sure would think about it! At one point, the party decided to sic the undead lizardfolk on the Griento team before the Ob could do it – they were going for Rush, who they found poking the hornet’s nest, but they didn’t sufficiently make sure that civilians wouldn’t be caught in the crossfire, so, um. Damata is long dead, but I’m going to make his daughter grow up to be the Beran viligante from Act III, who might come for them for this. Maybe they’ll even forget what they’ve done by then…


New discord sticker inspired by this section!

The party narrowly won the vote by impressing Glaucia (who didn’t know the undead lizardfolk thing was their fault), who vouched for them to Zarkava. They met with Tinker, who was very upset when he saw Hoya with the party. Pemberton took over (though they failed a check to identify him), and began his attack. The party decided to work together with Lya to save the Bruse. After this, the Risuri and Danoran groups teamed up into a single party to attack Isla Dola Focas. I let them have some time to connect with Lya, who they made promise would not stand against them until the Steel Lord was defeated. I made a point of intimidating them by having Lya swordfight Marcel, who has now taken several levels in swashbuckler– of course, he’s still mostly a bard, so she freaking wrecked him. The party was inspired to make her like them so she wouldn’t become their enemy. They didn’t realize that friendship isn’t enough.


We call this discord emote "Smug Lya"

On Isla Dola Focas, Gatria dueled with some of her old warren mates, who were other animalfolk captured at birth and raised in Gradiax’s army. One of them parroted some thinly-veiled threats Gradiax had made about her in private, which was a fun way to characterize his darker aspects. They were all scared into silence when Pemberton gave his spiel in the minecart, but refused to ally themselves with him – so they fought Tinker and Terakalir in the volcano lair. I let Lya and her team fight alongside them, because they had put in a lot of hard work to connect with Lya.


Realizing Tera was outnumbered, Pemberton appeared with Tinker at knifepoint and demanded that the party leave and let her go free. Now, my party is full of a bunch of goodie-two-shoes, and I was, like, 100% confident that they would drop their weapons and leave. There was absolutely no way that they would 1) risk Tinker’s life and 2) kill an innocent baby dragon. Not a gosh darn way.

Well, Gatria’s player asked for a five minute break. During that time, she secretly consulted with Hoya’s player to ask if she would be upset if Tinker died. We then reconvened.

Gatria asked Pemberton what gave him the right to decide if Tinker lived or died. Pemberton laughed at the idea, and told her that this wasn’t a matter of right - what he had was power, and a knife to someone’s throat. Gatria answered “so do I,” and used a ranged attack to throw her dagger into Terakalir’s neck. She hit, brought her to negative CON in a single strike, and killed her instantly. ...I'm starting to think my party are the bad guys.

Someone pointed out that Mona had foreseen Glaucia- who was the one who sentenced Gatria to be trained at the Martial Academy- use a knife to slit Terakalir’s throat, and their little minds were blown by my foresight. Um, I didn’t plan for that, but I’ll let them believe it…

Pemberton made good on his promise to knife Tinker, gave his mournful villain speech, and disconnected from his duplicant. I gave the party one turn to save Tinker from death, as is written, and since they were hasted, they were successful.

Well, Lya didn’t like that. She told them it had been an honour working with them to destroy the last of the Dragon Tyrants, but now it was time to settle this – she would be leaving with Tinker cold in his grave. Mona, shocked that Lya would heel turn after becoming their ““”friend”””, begged her not to do this. Lya told them that they were long past the time for dialogue, and drew her sword. I played some sufficiently dramatic background music for the group, and they began their duel.

Lya was doing very well for awhile, but Hoya managed to knock her prone. It turns out you can still full attack from prone (I described her as being up on one knee just to keep the dramatic tension), but this worked to the party’s advantage, and in a fun callback, Marcel was able to use his swashbuckler abilities to parry Lya.

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I hate my players for making this meme!

That was pretty much it for her. The party killed Rush without a second thought, and Merton died from the elements. Gatria used Lya’s own martial ability against her to sever her sword arm on the last possible strike. Her mirror image contingency activated, but Gatria has scent, so it was to no avail. Lya asked them to let her die with honour. The party refused, and would drag her back to Risur to rot in prison, where she was eventually found dead. She had come to be their favourite NPC, so everyone was very upset.

Now that Tinker was secure, the party consulted him. Hoya noticed that Tinker was quite a bit more addled than he had been in the past – he had always been a weird guy, but some of this was unusual even for him. He showed her the godmind urn, and told her he was using it to advance tech faster than anyone in history. The party had a philosophical debate on the nature of genius-level work at the expense of mental health, and decided to cast the urn into the fires of mount doom. I warned them that they would no longer benefit from Tinker’s expertise (or at least, it would go very slowly), and they were fine with this. They also threw the Lost Eye in the fire while they were at it.

Very stressed out by everything that had involved Tinker thus far, the player who plays Hoya joked that she would like to start a support group with the guy from the other campaign who plays Tinker’s brother.

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Joke T-Shirt design

Oh, the party did ask Tinker to use his experience make Xambria a robot body. I told them he could do this, but they’d still have to find a way to move her soul. Hmmm, I wonder what adventure is just on the horizon…


I couldn't fit this in anywhere, so enjoy a doodle someone drew of Liss during the session.


Can’t believe it has been a whole year with this group! We’re all still committed to seeing this darn thing through to the end! I will literally, actually, spontaneously set on fire in real life if I don’t find out what planar arrangements the players pick in Adventure 12.

In all seriousness, Zeitgeist has been excellent to me. I’m having a blast DMing it and seeing where things go. I’m going to stop short of saying that it changed my life so I don’t embarrass myself, but it did help me reconnect with a childhood friend – we met when we were 11 at a junior art school, went to a fine arts high together, and then sort of went our separate ways when she went to theatre school and I pivoted hard to medicine. We kept in touch, but didn’t see each other as much as we had when we were kids. In late 2019, she invited me to play Zeitgeist with some of her coworkers, and even though that game only lasted several months, hanging out and having fun felt like we had picked up right where we left off – except that we were in our late twenties, now, I guess. Because of how well we gelled, she asked if she could move in with me. To make a long story short, I proposed to her this Christmas. (Becky, when you eventually read this a year and a half from now, I love you!)

She gets no special game privileges from me, though. I’m still killing Mona off at the end.


Thanks so much for reading! If you got this far, I need to know if your party saved or killed Terakalir. I also need to know what random NPC your player characters married. I know someone out there married Gale because I have the hardcover books and saw the fan art, and I heard whispers of someone marrying Kasavarina, so please inform me if I am missing anyone.
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One of my players said that parasites were a no-go for her, so I converted the dragon worm into the literal, actual cholera pandemic that defined modern epidemiology
The Ghost Map? I work at a medical library at Emory University, and a few of my friends worked on the Carter Center's efforts to eradicate guinea worm, so I went with a parasite. But cholera is pretty great too. (That's hopefully a rarely spoken sentence.)

Congrats on the proposal!

I wish I had the ability to summon all the GMs who've run ZEITGEIST and players who've gone through it. I feel sort of like Dr Strange seeing a million different alternate realities, because it's hard for me to keep track of which universe had which pairing. The best one, though, was the game where a PC married Ashima-Shimtu.

I love your group's memes, and I hope they'll enjoy seeing Chainsaw Jedi Lya's force ghost.


The Ghost Map? I work at a medical library at Emory University, and a few of my friends worked on the Carter Center's efforts to eradicate guinea worm, so I went with a parasite. But cholera is pretty great too. (That's hopefully a rarely spoken sentence.)
Yes, that's the one! And dang, that's really cool!!! I was very pleased by the parallel (and the whole section in general! How unique for a tabletop game) - I would have kept the guinea worm analogue normally :)

Congrats on the proposal!

I wish I had the ability to summon all the GMs who've run ZEITGEIST and players who've gone through it. I feel sort of like Dr Strange seeing a million different alternate realities, because it's hard for me to keep track of which universe had which pairing. The best one, though, was the game where a PC married Ashima-Shimtu.

I love your group's memes, and I hope they'll enjoy seeing Chainsaw Jedi Lya's force ghost.
Thank you!
Wow... I can't say I was expecting Ashima Shimtu! I told my fiancee and she gasped.


Thanks so much for reading! If you got this far, I need to know if your party saved or killed Terakalir. I also need to know what random NPC your player characters married. I know someone out there married Gale because I have the hardcover books and saw the fan art, and I heard whispers of someone marrying Kasavarina, so please inform me if I am missing anyone.

We saved her after beating the naughty word out of her and disabling her defense matrix, but the whole Tera-Gradiax-PCs relationship was very different in our campaign since Pemberton was Teraklir's duplicant, she was estranged from her father and Gradiax had a different alias.

We didn't marry any NPC in our Zeitgeist campaign, but my character did some flirting with von Recklinghausen and Harkover Lee, and Betronga flat out proposed to her.

Congrats on the proposal!

I wish I had the ability to summon all the GMs who've run ZEITGEIST and players who've gone through it. I feel sort of like Dr Strange seeing a million different alternate realities, because it's hard for me to keep track of which universe had which pairing. The best one, though, was the game where a PC married Ashima-Shimtu.

I love your group's memes, and I hope they'll enjoy seeing Chainsaw Jedi Lya's force ghost.

Uh, congrats as well!
Regarding the alternate realities, I just read Adventures in Zeitgeist and just had the same thought when I came to the Elfaivar chapter containing the RW!Setting version of Auryn. Spot on! And don't get me started on how Goddess!Shalosha is totally happening in my WotBS setting headcannon.


Thank you so much! I really appreciate your well-wishes, and appreciate that you read my silly little write-ups.

I’m back early! My players started bribing me with rewards if I post the adventure write-ups on time instead of five months after they happen. Usually my reward is DM-mandated group 'fun' - this time, I’m making them play a video game about being a florist for the mafia. Anyway, let’s get started.



Enjoy the discord sticker someone posts every Monday night.

So much happened in Schism that I’m only going to be able to report 1% of everything cool that happened. If I missed anything critical to explain a chain reaction later down the line, I’m just going to have to backtrack, I suppose!

Between adventures, the players experimented with the syringes Lya had on her person. Cleone remembered using it in her past life to report back to the Obscurati, and everyone started to call it “possession juice.” Gatria, who is the kind of neutral that dances on the line between good and evil, thought to try and trap Nic’s soul in Witch Oil. They had The Family find them a “disposable” hostage and used that person to summon Nicodemus, who got to see this version of the party un-disguised for the first time - sans Cleone, who was too afraid to face him. They asked him to “pitch the Obscurati” to them. He asked for a cigarette, and shared some philosophy. A few sentences in, Gatria got sick of him and slit his throat, then held the Witch Oil up to his corpse. Hoya, the Spirit Medium, only heard the hostage’s soul inside. Once again, my party dips their toes into villainy…

Also, the player characters all spontaneously paired themselves off into romantic relationships. Like I said before, I’ve never seen a group who is so allergically uninterested in romance in media pair their guys off so eagerly. Cleone courted Nathan Jierre, now living incognito in the Cloudwood, and bonded over being an enemy to their nation. Y’all already know about Xambria and Hoya, and Antonia Cippiano and Gatria have been an item since the first adventure. Back before I was the DM, the current party NPC, Marcel, got over his backstory crush and found love... in the party NPC back then. At some point during this game I made an offhand comment that Marcel had a partner who was never going to appear because he didn’t matter, and my players made me introduce him. They ended up getting absurdly attached to him and he became a recurring character (even killing Lorcan Kell with them).

...Which introduces a little plotline that shouldn’t exist. See, the previous DM was kind of obsessed with the Deck of Many Things, and introduced it early. Like, Adventure 1 early. The Duchess had it for some unknown reason, and the PCs requisitioned it. Characters would pull from the deck in emergencies – or if they were the chaotic neutral warlock, whenever they felt like it. One of their “pulls” was a Knight In Shining Armor party NPC, mentioned above, who spontaneously sprung into existence. After many shenanigans, there were two cards left over, which I decided to carry into this game as one-use-each party wipe protection. So anyway, now I have this deck in my game, and I have to reconcile it with Zeitgeist lore.

I decided the deck was created from one of the original Axis Seal Ritual Casters’ Wish that he got when the seal was shut 2000 years ago (perhaps he wished to hold on to the fantastical reality-bending magic after the ritual was complete), and the cards are gilded with the gold from the seal. This means that when the axis seal opens, the cards will lose their magic and become useless pieces of paper (the players won’t need wipe protection in Act III, anyway). The Knight In Shining Armor character will become comatose and will eventually die unless the players close the axis seal before the world enters the gyre, at which point they will probably have bigger problems, anyway. But hey, another way to bully my players for the crime of emotional investment!


What I’m saying is we had a wedding between 6 and 7. I’ve made up a bunch of docker-related lore that isn’t in the book and sold it to my players as canon, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me. One of these little lore facts is that docker weddings often take place on piers or boats with a captain officiating (I know that isn't a thing in real life, but it is here!), that attending arcane casters cast dancing lights as a gift, and that the wedding party must throw themselves into the ocean to ward off bad luck against the happy couple. When Gatria refused to do this, Antonia threw her off the dock herself. The party used their wealth to buy out every bar in Bosum Strand and threw a party that Flint will remember for awhile.

Back on track:

Adventure 5, Schism: Ghost Council Rules Ghost Council Rules

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In which my players’ hatred for Alexander Grappa skyrockets to comical levels! Also, they fail in hilarious ways! A player character will die! Sort of!

We did the flash-forward “prologue” at ObCon, which melted everyone’s brains. We had to end the session early because they took so much mental whiplash that no one could continue to play. The players ended up choosing Ken, Oscan, Livia, Gran, and Xavier. And I did something that was extremely risky but paid off dividends – I let Amielle’s player from Bonds of Forced Faith take control of her indefinitely. I knew she would put a lot of passion into the character, since she knocked it out of the park in BoFF. I handed over everything she needed to know about Amielle- her proposal, her demo, and what she knows about Nicodemus (but not Roland), her plans for getting the guards on her good side- and then relinquished her from my control. I said that one could interpret Amielle’s character many ways (Zeitvice plays her as a “I failed at my job so well, so that no one else would do it and succeed” mole, for example), but how she wanted to play her was up to her. And without telling her why, I told her that Amielle and Catherine need an excuse to work together in a later adventure, so play nice, but what she does with Amielle other than that is no longer my concern. I did NOT hand over Roland to his player, because she hadn’t figured out he is part of the Ob yet, and Harkover was played by a guest.

She decided that Amielle either genuinely wanted her proposal- to carve out a perfect future exactly the way she envisioned, with no major compromises- or nothing at all, and was willing to betray the Obscurati to get what she wanted. She spurned the ploy of the Watchmaker’s Watchmen, and eventually approached Reed MacBannin and formed the Watchmaker’s Arboretum, creating a pastoral clockwork future instead of a technologically-driven one. In our BoFF, if you recall, the Contessa and Roland were lovers-to-enemies, and had a bloodline that eventually led to Reed. In our game, Amielle looked out for Roland’s secret witch-child before she died, and in death, watched over the MacBannin family over generations through general hauntings or living-person possession. The irony of her best friend being the descendant of the Red Contessa is not lost on her.

She didn't even bother replying to my information packet, she just sent me this image.

Back in the present, the party received Alexander Grappa’s letter, and immediately proposed they kill Alexander and just keep Leone hostage, so deep was their grudge. Sometimes players tell me that they share stories about our game with friends and family – someone said called their Mom and told her about our adventures during Cauldron Born, about Alexander and his metal boys, and their mother just shook her head and said “some people shouldn’t be parents.” I could never imagine talking to my mother about tabletop RPG, so it was quite the mental image. I think about it all the time. And so do the players! They hate him!


The party met with Roland and completely bought his bluff that he was just concerned about Flint’s wellbeing while they frittered away the King’s gold. They spent some time trying to politically bully Catherine Romana into proposing some anti-pollution legislation for Flint, since she claimed to be so concerned about industry and the fey – I told them that this bill would be pending parliamentary approval and wouldn’t happen before the end of this adventure. They also got the Web from Copperhat by seeing through Beshela’s lies (at least one party member has a +30 in any given social skill…). Nobody thought to sense motive on Copperhat, though!

They found Alexander at record speeds and curbstomped Leone, but not before I tricked everyone into drinking the poison at Joe Hobner’s place. I would have had first-move PC kill too, since Gatria failed her Fort save against Robert the Black’s subsequent assassination attempt, but I was feeling nice, and just paralyzed her for thirteen rounds. Getting a bad roll on the first move in Initiative that led to instant death felt cruel, so I warned them that if it happened again, someone would actually die this time. (Psst… This is foreshadowing for later.) Yeah, I’m a pushover, but I need Gatria to be around when Morgan Cippiano goes on trial in Adventure 11, because it will be delicious.

Not much to say about the rest of the hunt, but the players absolutely loved The Strange One and his Kobolds. They made great use of them, and Mona said she was going to arrange all the kobolds in a row and give them each a little kiss on the head.

Once the party had Leone in tow, they interrogated Alexander and took their frustrations out on him. Gave him the full prisoner treatment and kept him Webbed at all times.

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Courtesy of the transcript!

The ice caverns were pretty straightforward. The players decided to put Xambria into her new robot body rather than sacrifice the human researcher, though it took them a moment. A PC gifted Xambria a sugar glider to keep her company while Hoya was away, since she was lonely. I was pro-giving Xambria a sugar glider. You should give Xambria a sugar glider. (But if you get one in real life, you should get two.)

The party made Alexander swear that HE would free the Lich, and then immediately webbed him once Leone was cast out of the body ("No, stop, are you going put me in the w-"). The Lich raged and said they had made a deal, but they answered that the person he made a deal with was gone, now, so tough luck. I made a show of the Lich casting something, but nothing happened. The party wondered if the Lich could still get to Alexander, not knowing that the Lich was actually powerless. It was a tense trip back to Crysillyir.



And flash forward, again, to ObCon! Things immediately got interesting. I decided that I would let the players see who the duplicant was from the get-go, because I knew the latent threat of Pemberton watching them would ratchet up the tension. I also let the party form a little philosophical club to go to the speeches with, instead of forcing them to go with just Erskine. Without hesitation, Hoya invited Pemberton, anyway. Everyone watched on as she did this, utterly speechless. When she returned, the party conversation basically went like this:

“Who you got there, Hoya?”
“The duplicant. I’m curious about him.”
“Did it cross your mind that he is probably Pemberton? Why are you letting Pemberton into the party?”
“…OH NO.”

It turns out the player didn’t make the connection, while everyone else thought it was obvious and didn’t need to be said. We wrote this off in character as Hoya being naïve. Either way, it was extremely funny.


Pemberton-As-Erskine has joined the party! A little parody of the rpg Deltarune.

This obliviousness happened again when Zoltan died. After some sleuthing, the players figured out MacBannin was responsible, and Mona immediately ratted on him to Nicodemus. I gave her a ‘are you sure you want to do that’ DM warning by having Nicodemus ask her (who was playing Ken) to testify about the Bonds of Forced Faith ritual, so they could publicly banish MacBannin in front of the entire convocation. She refused… but then narced on him again! when MacBannin came by to kill Leone and admitted he was a mole. Mona ran out of the room and cried for Daddy Nic, instead of hearing Reed out. Afterwards, the rest of the players asked what the heck she was thinking. Turns out, she just didn’t put together he was on the party’s side… in spite of me saying it twice. Seriously, we even had a cutscene of Amielle asking Reed what the heck he was up to when she wanted to form a coalition. Whoops? Something about this adventure just melted my players’ brains.

So MacBannin fled and did not help them in the final fight. I decided since he didn’t get his big hero moment, he’ll be back for Adventure 9.


(For what it is worth, Cleone, as Livia, invited Gardienne de Cherage, and Xavier invited the Danoran spy who was chummy with him in the introduction. His name escapes me.)

To be honest, the people they chose to invite into their group surprised me, because I had expected them to mingle with Luc Jierre, Ottavia, Bree, and Zo (the B-team member from Cauldron Born who broke Ottavia out of jail and fled with her). The players were extremely attached to them in Adventure 4, and were overjoyed to see them again. Still, I had them exchange ideas before the vote. Luc admitted he was most interested in Colossus, which frustrated Ottavia. Luc asked the party for their opinion, and Hoya, pretending to be Oscan, eagerly agreed that Luc was right, and Colossus was the best choice, which embolded Luc.

…(DM giggling).

Finona Duvall was with Luc’s group, as well! Unlike Luc, Ottavia and Bree, she was utterly uninterested in engaging in the philosophies of the Ob, and was looking for a way to get out of dodge after the party abandoned her at the train station in Adventure 4. The party caught her alone, admitted who they were, and she punched Gatria in the arm and wept angry tears. Still, she agreed she would leave with them at the end of the convocation. She voted for Colossus in round 1 on a whim - I knew the party would be unable to resist saving her if she got caught up in the massacre.

I’m backtracking a bit, but during the proposals, the players kind of… bullied Catherine. They picked on her a lot this adventure, for some reason. They all thought her ideas were bad, and let their villainous personas, particularly Oscan and Ken, lay into her. But Oscan voted for her anyway, even after everything he said… even after pouring wine all over Catherine to make her leave when she aggressively tried to court Livia’s approval. Mixed messages.

Cathy For the sake of the argument.png

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The party liked Cula’s proposal, but weren’t fond of Han’s. The general consensus of the party at this point is that modifying the planes isn’t evil, but the Obscurati will require a change of leadership for it to be truly good. If they pursue this idea, I will have Nic accuse them of taking credit for his plan, and letting him take the fall for the evil he had to do to get them there, but we’ll put a pin in this for now.

Cleone and Nic got their quiet walk on the beach during the interrogations. And of course, Hoya got the Humble Hook, and according to the players this was one of the best and most memorable moments of the game. No one was expecting it, and everyone was shocked- shocked! – to realize that when I had Ashima Shimtu liken Hoya to Triegenes, it meant I had planned to give Hoya the hook “as far back as our second adventure”. C’mon, guys, as if I haven’t been planting seeds for Adventure 12 and 13 this entire game… Anyway, maybe they will tone the villainy down for a bit.

Without rambling on about every choice, that more or less brings us to the end of the convocation. EVERYONE must read the absolutely raw speech Amielle’s player gave before the final vote. I knew that she wouldn’t sway any NPCs (other than Gardienne), but the PCs had a freaking crisis. Were they doing the right thing by opposing the Ob? Letting an enthusiastic player be Amielle is possibly my DM masterstroke.

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Original image by catcrumb.

Catherine, having been needled and bullied by the party the entire adventure, ineffectual at gaining the mass support she needed, and realizing her power was slipping away, had a mental breakdown during her final appeal. I delivered the same speeches she gave in the book, but with a wild, fraying edge. Everyone fell completely silent (in real life, and in game) until Vicemi began the vote. The party tried to stop it, claiming the mental stress had been too much and they needed to delay, but Nicodemus forced it to go on. I made a show of someone dragging the near-unconscious Alexander from the medical wing to cast his vote. When it came time for Finona to vote, she lost her nerve and freaked out – while it wasn’t verbalized, everyone could sense that something very bad was going to happen if they didn’t vote for the ‘right choice’. Gatria, in a rare moment of kindness, held her hand, calmed her down, and told her to vote for the same thing she did (Watchmakers).

Thank you for enjoying our silly little memes.

Due to the party’s meddling, Colossus did not get a supermajority. Miller’s Panarchists came in second, and Watchmaker’s Arboretum third. But if Colossus’ votes weren’t counted, Miller’s Panarchists would win – so Nic said he had an idea for how to solve the problem, and then began the Blue Banquet. Hoya passed her Will Save not to be pacified for voting Colossus as Oscan, and the party passed a bluff check to smuggle her out. Luc and Catherine were trapped in the main hall while everyone else was pulled out to the Foyer.

I decided to be extra and let Nic give a little concession speech to a pacified Catherine, where he explained exactly why her type had no place in the Obscurati. Then I cut the session. The players took a whole week to decide if they were going to act to save Luc and Catherine – or as the players call her, “the DM’s trash wife.” I told them that they should make their decision independently of the fact that she’s my favourite character! Seriously, though, the party agreed that she might be beyond saving from her own ideology, but she did not deserve death. As well, nobody wanted to tell her brother (who, remember, is living incognito as a docker in my game) that she had died, especially when they had promised him they would look out for her…

But they also agreed they’d have a clean win if they escaped without causing a scene. So, they left Catherine and Luc to die.

After this, the massacre began, and Pemberton meddled. Because the party had been extremely committed to secrecy, and played their parts in perfect character without any incidents, I let Pemberton not figure out who they were. Still, he mentioned he expected they were here, and when Nic said they were dead, he replied “I’ll believe that when I have their corpses in hand.” I’m hoping to provide “no one is allowed to kill you except for me” vibes from him all through Act III.

Pemberton’s bomb messed Bree up badly and literally vaporized Zo. I felt a little bad for killing her from max HP in one roll, but her player said it was fine; she got what she deserved for betraying the RHC in Cauldron Born.

The party grabbed Ottavia (who was fighting them, trying to save Luc), Finona, Bree, and… Kelland the cat, who had run out of the room after Catherine died (my players would have mutinied if a cat got killed, okay?). They all fled on their ship. MacBannin used the Shadowlisk to stand in the way, but the party outmaneuvered him. On the boat, Ottavia blamed them for Luc’s death, but mostly, she blamed herself for failing to protect him.

The adventure ended with the party visiting Catherine’s brother and giving him Kelland, who was just an ordinary cat now, and offering their condolences. He said nothing and coldly told them to leave. To this day, they wonder if they should have acted differently...

As a fun callback, the King liquidated all of House Romana's assets to pay for the anti-pollution measures, and publicly disgraced her legacy for treason against the crown.

(…I also might have told them that Catherine had a descendant in Zeitgeist 2 who now won’t exist, to which they responded “it’s fine, Clare can be Catherine’s brother’s descendant." A happy ending! :p)


Thanks so much for reading! See you in a few months for Diaspora, which is already going off the rails.
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I lol'ed repeatedly, and discovered that my grasp of how to quote multiple snippets of text was grounded in a misunderstanding of which button to click. So assume I equally loved everything.

(I guffawed the most at the John Mulaney meme. My wife loves that special of his.)

Relevant aside: Catherine and Romana are the names of a pair of twins I gamed with back a decade ago or so. They are now both pathologists.

So the question is, are you going to bring Romana back as a ghost councilor who somehow ingratiated her way to a second chance?

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