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ZEITGEIST Worldres' Zeitgeist Campaign


Thank you so much for your answers, everyone!

About Book 4: Funnily enough, when I asked Mona's player (uh, my fiancee, whom I live with) which adventure she liked best, she immediately answered "not Always on Time!" I asked her why, and she told me she felt like she was under intense stress the whole adventure. Then, the next day, when I asked everyone during the session what their favourite was, Mona's player said it was "Always on Time!!!" I asked her why she changed her mind. She told me it had the highest highs and the best characters, even if she didn't enjoy what she perceived as the on-thin-ice feeling. She said one of her favourite moments of the campaign was seeing Lya hug Luc on the train platform, and welcome him into the Ob. Even though it was such a small moment, it tied together everything she needed to know about Lya in an instant. And every time Ashima Shimtu shows up, the players go nuts. I think Adventure 4 really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Personally, I loved the Escape Nem portion. Half of my players ended up in Nem and the other half were still on the train, so it felt a lot like that scene in Inception where Joseph Gordon Levitt's character has to try and put everyone into freefall without gravity. He is completely alone and scrambling to solve a puzzle involving dragging a bunch of unconscious people around and doing clever things with the environment. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is fighting for their lives.

About Book 7: I didn't want to go into detail on my post because it was already long enough, so here is my non-flippant answer. I loved hearing the Obscurati justify itself. You had people like Ottavia (and Cula, on the face of it) who were genuinely trying to do good, and then on the other end of the spectrum, people like Catherine, who were obviously just trying to consolidate power for themselves but trying to maintain plausible deniability. (Even then, Catherine is the "worst person you know just made a great point" character, after Nic). Seeing both the very best and the very worst of the Obscurati in a sort of day-in-the-life way was great. And my favourite game moment ever was Amielle's speech, followed by Catherine's anti-Nic breakdown, and then the tense final vote where everything clicks into place. Good stuff.

About Book 8: It's probably my second favourite. I actually got misty-eyed when I read Dala's death for the first time. Kasavarina is an extremely compelling character, and I also enjoy her chemistry with each character. I think its quality kind of speaks for itself, honestly.

By the way: I saw the little "Zeitgeist Fiction" thread a little while ago, and thought to add that my players write little short stories from time to time, but I chickened out. They have over 60,000 words of stuff so far, though! Gatria's player decided to post all of hers in one volume. If you have time, I recommend checking out the most recent chapter, where Gatria and her familiar, Lucita, provide Kasavarina an outlet into which to pour her rage after they discover why Launga died. It is a perfect little microcosm of how the party fed into Kasavarina's pre-Obscurati traits, for better or for worse: I'll Be Okay - Chapter 12 - NotARedHerring - Zeitgeist: The Gears of Revolution [Archive of Our Own]. (Chapter 10, a very short story where Gatria remembers Pardo's abuse as she trains at the Martial Academy, is also great.)

And yeah, there are so, so many good adventures. I think I'm looking forward to 10 and 12 most, next.

Yes, they've got that achievement, but are they going to go for the New Game+ Ultra Hard 100% completion?

You joke, but my players ask me regularly if they'll ever get a chance to play Adventure 1 and 2, or "do it all again". I told them we could try 1 and 2 after everything was finished just for fun, and if they reasonably enjoyed experiencing a story they already knew the outcome of, I would be willing to do NG+ Hard Mode. But first things first.

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Hello again, everyone! It's almost been a year since my last post, oops. We're still going strong; partway through The Grinding Gears of Heaven, and I STILL haven't finished The Last Starry Sky write-up. Oof. In my defense, I got married, finished my PhD courses, and have been studying for my candidacy exam... but I still haven't missed a Zeitgeist Tuesday! Zeitgeist is consistently the bright spot in my week, and I'm having a crisis about it being over soon. I seriously won't know what to do with myself when it ends.

However, my players said they will go rogue and start coming into this thread if I don't post something to get myself back into the swing of updates, so, uh. What can I talk about that won't take me a super long time to write? Uh. Um. Hmmm...


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Bonds of Forced Faith 2 - Electric Boogaloo: Even the King Can't Figure Out How Risur Still in Business

So Gatria's player, GS, decided she wanted to DM The Bonds of Forced Faith as a Halloweenmas Special for her buddies. Now, the difference between my current game group "A", and GS's tabletop group "B", is that GS and I have been playing an ongoing game with "B" for ten years, whereas, while I have been friends with everyone in "A" for just as long, not all of them have actually played in a tabletop game before this.

So, GS and I finally got to see what happens when you put close friends who have practice roleplaying together for over a decade in one room and just let them loose on eachother, with no potential for hurt feelings. Gatria asked if I would play Tomas for every bit of the religious extremist he is. As you can probably tell, I love to stir the pot, so agreed.

It was an incredible time, far and away the best One Shot I have ever been in.

We had enough players for every character in BoFF. Gatria assigned King Lorcan to our friend Alex, who is saintly sweet, and Dame Melissa to his wife, who is delightfully mischievous. Opposites attract? Roland was assigned to someone who has THE most incredible poker face, and Harkover was given to our genre-savvy friend who took one look at his sheet and said "ah, he is a Dragon who made a secret Pact with the King." Amielle's player was given to one of the best RPers I have ever met, and as soon as she hit the stage, she came out swinging with this:

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Cowboy Amielle Latimer. Amielle Latimer with a full Southern accent, not one slip. GS and I were stunned into speechlessness. My players were privately spectating and asked me if I could retcon everyone in Danor into having a southern accent. I refused.

Anyway, Amielle's player, Megan, was super into her. Like, go big or go home invested, just as much as GS was when she played her in my campaign. Megan was so invested that she wrote a 90,000 word novel about Amielle after the game (though it crossed over with our homebrew campaign, so it wasn't canon compliant. Still!). Amielle Latimer has the freaking secret sauce! Everyone who plays her seems to love her. If I ever do Zeitgeist NG+, I'm inviting Megan to play Ameille and turning her loose, like I did in my first game.

So, things went fairly normal until the Gang killed the Red Contessa - and then everything went straight to hell.

The Contessa messed the King up with a vicious curse, and Amielle made a desperate attempt to save him by IVing her own freaking blood into him to try and neutralize it. Once the Contessa was dead and the hurricane started up, I decided to have Tomas make a break for her scroll, and basically do the whole "Gollum with the One Ring" thing once he got it - he broke into a wide grin and laughed joyously, knowing he was about to be elevated to Cardinal. In my mind, this was just a little celebration before he went and healed the King, but...

Melissa and Roland thought that this was so incredibly suspicious that they cornered him and demanded he hand it over to them. Tomas refused, and said that the only person he answered to was Triegenes.

Roland got real close, grabbed Tomas by the collar, looked him in the eye, and shouted: "I don't believe in your ****ing God."

Then Melissa stole the scroll. Tomas grabbed it and tried to throw Melissa off the mountain. Roland straight-up started wounding to kill Tomas, and told Melissa to help kill him.

I will now post some screenshots from "Spectators of Forced Faith," a private chat with my Zeitgeist Group.


The King, this entire time, is on death's door. Amielle, literally feeding her own blood into the King through the most desperate emergency medicine you've ever seen, yelled at everyone to keep it together, which got ignored. Hurricane raging this entire time. Harkover, blown across the map, too far away to intervene in either conflict. This left Lorcan no one to give the Crown to except Amielle... who vehemently refused it. The King replied that if she didn't want to be Queen, she better make sure he survives long enough to find someone else.

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Don't worry, Megan never found out that Amielle is a Ghost in the full game.

Amielle immediately screamed to everyone that Tomas was under her protection, that Roland and Melissa were going to Stop attacking him, and that Tomas was going to come over here and save the King with his Divine magic RIGHT NOW. Tomas answered that he would, indeed, save the King - but only if Amielle could guarantee that he would make it down the mountain with his scroll. Amielle promised him that if he saved the King's life, she'd accompany him down the mountain herself, and would shoot anyone who tried to stop him.

Melissa almost turned and took out Amielle right then and there, but kept her rage together.

Tomas turned curse upon himself, but unfortunately, on the last possible turn, I reached 0 HP and died.

Amielle responded by silently walking over to Tomas, lifting his body into her arms, and princess-carrying his corpse down the Hill. When Melissa asked what she was doing, Amielle responded: "I made him a promise. He and his scroll get to the bottom the mountain. And I'll shoot anyone who gets in my way." And then she walked off into the sunrise...

The King survived for a short while, but because Amielle's attempt at emergency medicine went poorly, he died of complications within one week - long enough to desperately try to coach Melissa into a better Queen. It Did Not Go Well, but that's a story for another day...


Meanwhile, Gatria, the DM, is literally just sitting there. Laughing at us. She hasn't said a single thing in over an hour. She just sat back and let it all go.

It was awesome.


Even though I had just gotten married months prior, my wife didn't seem to be offended by this statement.


So my wife has just straight up decided to do an entire painting series for this game, featuring each of the player characters and an NPC. Here's the first three she's completed:

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Hoya and Duplicant!Xambria

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Cleone and Nathan. When a Deva and a Tiefling have children, we decided that the cursed bloodline and the Devan divinity neutralize eachother, and they come out as a normal human... Surprise!

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Gatria and her not-so-secret affair with Morgan Cipiano's daughter, Antonia.


Finally, one of my players, Steph, who plays Cleone, made a wiki for the game that you can find by clicking here! Hopefully other players haven't been creeping on it and getting spoiled. I would say not to read this if you are a player and haven't finished a campaign, but if you are, what are you even doing in here?

She's put a lot of love and care into it, and is extremely consistent about posting articles, summaries, and notes as they happen, which is way more than I can say about my write-ups, hah. That said, there's so many microchanges I have made to the narrative that our notes might be impenetrable to outsiders (like, Kvarti is, just, straight up someone else in my game.)... Still, I wanted to highlight her effort!
Especially this excerpt from my favourite article:


I'll try to post The Last Starry Sky by the end of May! See you all again, real soon!

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Hoya and the Adamantium Giant :p

Yeah, daaaamn, this had me laughing and smiling. Making me snicker at my big bad; how dare you!

I think when I ran BoFF at a con, King Lorcan's player had the Contessa's curse on him, so he tossed the crown to Melissa, said good luck, then yeeted himself off the mountaintop so the rest of the team could kill the witch without qualms.

Please tell your players I love the art. I had, I hope you'll understand, sorta forgotten the details of the PCs, so when I saw Gatria had a tail I had to refresh my memory. But hey, since you first started posting in 2021, we actually published the setting guide, and while we don't technically have catfolk for Gatria, we do have canon tiger elves. That's kinda close.


I think when I ran BoFF at a con, King Lorcan's player had the Contessa's curse on him, so he tossed the crown to Melissa, said good luck, then yeeted himself off the mountaintop so the rest of the team could kill the witch without qualms.

Please tell your players I love the art. I had, I hope you'll understand, sorta forgotten the details of the PCs, so when I saw Gatria had a tail I had to refresh my memory. But hey, since you first started posting in 2021, we actually published the setting guide, and while we don't technically have catfolk for Gatria, we do have canon tiger elves. That's kinda close.
Sorry this is so late - That BoFF anecdote absolutely rules. BoFF is such an amazing oneshot and produces so many great stories. I'm curious to know how you manage to finish everything in one convention slot, though - both times I've run it, they've taken between 9 to 12 hours! Maybe it's different when you know it by heart, aha.

By the way, I'm just grateful you guys read my writeups at all!!! I appreciate the effort to follow along with our silly little game. Now I'm imaging Gatria as an eladrin Rakshasa and that's one heck of a thought experiment...

Speaking of writeups, I meant to post this one, like, a month ago. Can it still technically be May if it doesn’t feel like June yet? What’s that? June is almost over? Oh…

Adventure 7, The Last Starry Sky: Spring Canceled After 3 Billion Seasons


The adventure in which I just kind of make stuff up for no reason!

I’ve been slow to write this because the first half of the adventure wasn't that different from canon. So, I decided to write a "short" summary for the first half. That doesn't mean that the players didn't like it, or anything. In fact, this was probably in top three. Just ask our Fey Skyseer's player:

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If you know the original, this is a really impressive edit.

After the end of Adventure 8, the book recommends spiriting away Kasavarina, but the party is so tightly bonded to her that I decided the game would be less interesting if she were no longer around. Yes, the hostage situation is compelling, but I can find other motivating factors for the party to take out the Ob! I do decide to separate her by having her run to the Eladrin enclaves to try and warn them about the imminent Dreaming collapse, and also, behind the party’s back, take the head of Cula Ravjahani. Sorry, Cula. (Yeah, she’s supposed to be in Act 3, but I’ll figure it out).

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Alright, so. Throughout the game, I decided I would drop little hints that the Voice of Rot has been manipulating the party into enacting some sort of master plan - which was using them as pawns to undermine the Ob and destroy the world. I enjoy twists where it turns out that the heroes have been making things worse for everyone the entire time, and I wanted to try and pull that off in my own game. Unfortunately, I think I overplayed my hand, because as soon as the party heard Rock was dead, Gatria instantly said “yeah, yeah, yeah, this was all a set-up by The Voice of Rot to stall us until he completes some secret master plan.” Ah, dang it… My attempt to shock the players didn't pay off.


They did decide to solve the "murder", though, because they were curious about where Rock was, so… that was nice of them.

“I wonder how Mista Knives is doing.”
-My party every two weeks. He wasn’t even their guide, they chose Rambylon!!!

After the party collected all of the evidence, they went to yell at some faeries and incriminate Copperhat. My party likes to do something we refer to as “the Renegon Option”: our players are big Mass Effect Renegade Route fans, but not to an extreme - we do all of the renegade (basically, mean) dialogue, but make the paragon (altruistic) story choices. We say that in our Mass Effect campaign, Commander Shepard yells at everyone until they play nice. That’s exactly what they do to most of the NPCs in this game, honestly, including the Unseen and Hedgehog courts - yelled at them until they listened, convinced them they were being manipulated, and that they were wasting their time fighting in the face of the apocalypse. They just need to get along until the apocalypse is cancelled, and then they could go back to fighting over rulership.

Thisraldion found this awfully convenient for the Hedgehog Court, and agreed to postpone the war, on one condition - a member of the party has to serve at his side when the war resumes. Mona agreed to sit on the Unseen Court, though she managed to convince Thisraldion that she had other obligations in the Waking and could not live in the Dreaming permanently. This set the precedent for an in-universe Persephone story where Mona spends six months of the year in the Waking, and then serves six months (Waking-time, anyway) in the Dreaming, which was agreeable to Thisraldion.

The hedgehog court subsequently demanded that they send one of their own to watch over the party, and Beshela volunteered to go. With Beshela’s help, Cleone, our Danoran Technologist, decided she was actually willing to defect on Danoran industry and start developing green tech, instead. The party is currently in the Gyre trying to figure out a planar arrangement that incorporates only nature-based arcanotech, but that’s a story for another day…

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They're actually in the midst of using Caeloon and Etheax to figure out how to make tech out of wood, but this was the first proposal.

Alright, so, what happened next is what I like to call “permissive DMing.” I could have laid down the law and let the cool set pieces happen as scripted, but sometimes, I just want to see what kind of crazy stuff the party will come up with on their own. So, the party knows they could have gone and bothered The Voice of Rot to get out of the Dreaming, but now that they are BFFs with Beshela, they also have a connection to She Who Writhes. As-written, the book says that if they contact She Who Writhes to leave the Dreaming, they end up in Flint and arrive too late to prevent the execution of Aodhan. I didn’t feel like skipping my favourite set piece ever (the Palace), so I just let them end up in the Capital. Whatever. The movie monster can stay hidden a bit longer to generate hype.

I did put up a paper-thin effort to scare them out of bothering SWW by saying that her version of planar teleportation was drowning all of them until they washed up in a random body of water somewhere near Slate. They weren’t intimidated, they just thought this was funny. Maybe I should have gone for the “chase” like the book says. Oh, well.

Back in the Waking, the party rolls up to the Palace in Slate completely waterlogged. They interrupt the Palace wedding by busting open the doors, dripping on everyone and everything, and start screaming at Aodhan mid-vow that he NEEDS to stay on this plane at all costs. Needless to say, they have ruined the mood of this already ruined wedding, and the ceremony is canceled. (Nigel Price-Hill is also in attendance because I need him for something - I just gave him the Green Knight’s sheet).

That’s when Catherine Romana rolls in with a member of the bridal party as a hostage, babysat by Amielle Latimer, haven been given One Last Chance to not screw this up. The Palace starts to be incorporated into the Bleak Gate, and the party is sweating bullets.



Remember that Ameille is controlled by a player in my campaign. I told Amielle’s player that she could do literally whatever she wanted from now on. I gave her a bit of a behind the scenes play-by-play of the Obscurati activities.

In our campaign, the party messed with the convocation enough that the Obscurati never got to propose the arrangement that ends up happening in Act 3. How I resolved this was that I had Nicodemus, who I have painted as a “the ends justify the means” tyrant to an extreme, decide to force his own arrangement via Borne behind the backs of the rest of the Obscurati. Yes, this conflicts with his as-written characterization in 7, where he is still open to other proposals, but I’ve tried to make it fairly consistent that Nic is a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of person.

In my game, Obcon was just one last ditch effort to see if any other ideas could impress him, as well as a honeypot to weed out the loose ends. Now that Kasavarina is out of the picture and Obcon was sabotaged, he completely gave up on overseeing the Ob towards a mutual goal and officially became the tyrant he swore he wouldn’t become. This also relies on the interpretation that Miller’s Pyre was something Kasavarina proposed in his name (as a sort of “it’s what he would have wanted, when he was still William” proposal), and not something Nicodemus would want to execute himself, but whatever. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine.

So, getting back on topic, Amielle is extremely upset that Nicodemus is going behind the back of the Ob and doing Whatever. She’s smart enough to know that the status quo, while monstrous, is a better outcome than Nicodemus’ plan for the world - but no one will listen to her. So, she’s decided to defect to the party.



So, Amielle is overseeing Catherine on her mission to the Palace, and sees a prime opportunity to assassinate the wicked witch of the west and bail. Amielle stealths to possess an Obscurati rifleman and shoots the hostage, causing chaos and eliminating Catherine’s bargaining chip. Then, once all of the Ob agents have been killed by the party except for Catherine, Amielle maneuvers up behind Catherine - and stabs her with Reed MacBannon’s ghost-exorcizing knife. It was one heck of a way to end the fight.

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Goodnight, Sweet Princess…

In my game, the party figured out where the Axis Seal Ritual is, so I had Slate completely fall to Catherine Romana’s loyalists to give them a reason to hurry back to Flint. Amielle then tells the party that they are out of time, the change of planes is imminent- so they need to return to Flint as fast as possible and make it the stronghold against the end of the world. It was too late for Slate, but they could still save Flint from Roland. Without a united front with all of their allies in one place, the world is doomed.

The party then splits off to deal with the various threats around the palace. They successfully take down every encounter much faster than I anticipated. At this point, they are still inside the Bleak Gate with a generous amount of time left, and Aodhan suggests holding back from returning to the Waking for a moment more. He’s about to pull a little scheme of his own.

First was that, since the only Noble alive in this plane was Price-Hill, he was the only noble Aodhan needed permission from to enact or change laws. Since Slate had fallen, his second-last decree as King of Risur was that Flint was to be the new, temporary, Capital of Risur.

And knowing that he had no sway in Flint, a town historically ignored by the King and forsaken by the Nobles, it was time for a humble docker from Flint - our party NPC, Marcel - to lead the Capital and become King of Risur.

Price-Hill was furious. Our characters are Family apologists at best and Morgan’s goons at worst, and Price-Hill knew that this would doom Risur to corruption. As the only Noble on the plane, he decides to withhold his assent to crown a new King until the party justifies themselves to him.

The whole party then banded together to have a Impromptu Big Damn Speech on how Morgan Cipiano was the only person in all of Risur who took the threat of the Obscurati seriously from the very start, was one of the few leaders in Flint who actively worked to make the lives of the people better without an Ob-related agenda, and that the Institution of Risur and the RHC had, wittingly or otherwise, undermined their investigation at every turn. They convinced Price-Hill that it was only with Morgan’s co-operation that they had gotten this far, and that everyone in the Palace right now was only alive because of his help.

After that, Price-Hill reluctantly agreed to give his blessing, but swore that once the threat of the Obscurati is over, if they the party is still working with the Family against the security of Risur, he will have each of them, including the new King, stripped of their rank and made to answer for their crimes - one way or another. The party had no choice but to agree to these terms.

…By the way, I had been trying to throw my players off of the scent that someone in the party would be crowned Monarch for, like, the entire campaign. I was SO close, and then, TWO HOURS before the game, some a**hole in the player chat messages:

“Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if someone in the party became King or Queen of Risur?”

You scoundrel! You fiend!! You devil!!! We were THIS close! We were TWO HOURS away from pulling the fastest fast one ever!

Now, you might remember from the introduction that I was planning another gamble from the start: part of the purpose of playing Zeitgeist is to enjoy the fact that someone in the party becomes Monarch, but I was planning all along on making the party NPC King. I was open to changing my mind if I thought one of the players would enjoy it, but I never ended up getting that sense.

Fortunately, even though someone predicted what was going to happen immediately before the session, that did mean I got one last chance to change my mind depending on how the players speculated (without my prompting, of course) they would fare as Monarch. But everyone just said:

“Who’s the best choice for Monarch in our party?”
“It’s Marcel”
“It’s Marcel”
“It’s Marcel”

Ah. Well. Glad I have good DM instincts.

So, with Marcel crowned King, Marcel assigned each person in his party a ministerial position, and the party now became the King’s retainers.

How did it shake out? I admit I was a little worried how players would react, but everyone loved it. They all agreed that this was the best choice for our party in particular, where everyone is a raging garbage fire and no one stood out as a good candidate for Monarch. Even the barely-holding-it-together party NPC King is baby-faced and immature, but this allowed the party to Voltron themselves into one Monarch consisting of a baby docker and four ministers in a trenchcoat stacked on top of eachother.


A portrait a player drew of King Marcel twenty years from now, finally looking like a respectable King and not like a child wearing his daddy's clothes. By the way, we decided he doesn't wear Royal Green as a way to stay in touch with his docker roots.

(I also liked this option better than making Price-Hill Monarch, as is suggested when your party sucks, because each character had a closely established relationship with Marcel but not with Price-Hill.)

As for ministerial positions:

Mona was named the new Royal Skyseer, natch. As the Royal Skyseer and official representative of the Old Faith, her first role in office was to lead the private ceremony to swear in the new King of Risur.

Gatria was named Risur’s Spymaster General (yes, that’s a nonsensical rank, but it’s pretend), a rank above Lauryn, which Lauryn was thrilled about /s. This gave Gatria the freedom to execute the will of the King without direct oversight, a dangerous role to give a Family lieutenant, but something deliberately done to foster the party’s relationship with the Family.

Practically, she acts as King Marcel’s anger translator.

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Cleone was named Risur’s Minister of Industry, planning for a future that accommodated both the Fey and sustainable technology.

Hoya, I gave a choice. She could either be the Minister of International Relations, or the Royal Spirit Medium. The International Relations position would give her a quest to create world peace using nothing but The Power of Friendship™, or she could lean into her Spirit Medium powers and have a grittier, less optimistic story arc, instead. She was intimidated by the former, so she decided on the latter.

The party then heads to Flint to deal with the impending Apocalypse. Along the way, they duel Force Ghost Lya and her Leviathan, who they convince, with Amielle’s help (who is her great-whatever-grandmother in our game), to stand down. Lya agrees she will watch and see whether they truly are better for the world than the Ob is, but promises that she will come for them if she changes her mind.

“What a hot b****.”
-My wife, involuntarily, during one of Lya’s turns.

I was really excited to trick my players into thinking Delft was leading the charge against them with the shapeshifter, but I forgot they had the humble hook, so they sauntered up to him and instantly figured it out. Whoops. :/

That said, fun fact: did you know that the PDF version and the Print version of what happens to Delft in this adventure is DRAMATICALLY different? It’s true! I own them both, so I got to compare. There might be other big differences across the versions, but I tend to rely on the Print version unless I am out of town.

I forget which is which, but in one version, Delft is just tied up and bound, surrounded by mimics who will pounce on him if he so much as moves. Psychological torture, to be sure, but surviveable.

In the other version, Delft’s body is being used as a conduit for the magic circle that holds up the barrier around the Governor’s Mansion, and he is being tortured. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist being an edgelord.

IIRC, you have to make four checks perfectly to extricate him without killing him. I decided this was a little steep for the party, who would riot if I killed someone with a single check, so I put Carlao, Serena and Dima (canon B-Team; renamed as “C-Team” for us) in the magic circle, too. I put Delft in the easiest check for them, with the other characters in the ritual component corresponding to the harder checks. The party managed to save Delft and Serena, but Dima and Carlao were incinerated and killed instantly. Needless to say, the party was BIG MAD at Roland.

They proceeded up the lighthouse, stealthing past most of the encounters - including the stair mimic, because they just climbed up the wall with a spiderclimb potion. It was really funny when they beat the final boss of the adventure and tried to descend down the stairs, though, aha.

Anyway, Roland. Props to the converter, I have to say that that was probably my favourite boss fight in the series (I didn’t do the optional tiger fight, though). I don’t remember what the spell was, but there was an ability he had to channel his Deva energy to turn himself into the warrior aspect of Srasama, and it was so darn cool. Casting Overwhelming Presence to try and force the King and his "men" to bow to him absolutely owned. Definitely one of my favourite sessions ever.

Partway through the fight, I accidentally broke one of my strongest DMing rules - never, ever request a check you don’t want someone to fail - and almost permanently turned the new King to stone. I just wanted to pull out all the stops and at least try to kill someone before permadeath became difficult, but the randomizer chose to attack Marcel, and then the dice chose the “turn to stone” spell :/ Fortunately, Marcel narrowly made the check, but I literally don’t know what I would have done if he had failed.

(By the way, one of my other rules is that I never, ever fudge a roll unless it is for a very good reason, and in the entire campaign I have only fudged two of them - one for me and a player to cooperate in pulling a fast one over the rest of the party, and another that will come later).

The party didn’t get all the way through Roland’s monologue, but they almost always kill everything in one or two rounds, so, you know. Almost all the way through is good.

So, because my players knew that the Lighthouse had nothing to do with the Axis Seal ritual, I decided to go with the interpretation that Roland was trying to Pacify Flint with the Lighthouse to stop them from being united against the Ob, but the Lighthouse also protected Flint from the force of the Planar shift. I wanted to give the players a choice - have an alive, but enslaved, Flint, or a mostly-dead, but free, Flint.

The party decided to destroy the lighthouse. I thought things would go according to my plans, but Gatria then had the idea of contacting the Family to see if Morgan knew the faith shield spell that the Clergy used on Alais Primos during the Holy War - because if so, the dockers can channel their faith in the City of Flint to protect them from the meteor shower.

I decided, sure, Morgan can know that, because that is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

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The players decided that King Marcel would lead the dockers in “prayer” in the form of a traditional docker anthem. One problem with that: the laws of magic were being rewritten, and they had no way of knowing magic was about to wink out and destroy their little ritual.

So here’s what happened:

Morgan had a Family Oracle cast the spell, and the players and dockers began parading through the streets of Flint. Navras showed up to play the Hurricane Violin. The whole city then joined together in the power of song to hold up the barrier and keep the meteors at bay.


As magic started to fail, the barrier slowly got smaller and smaller, requiring a hasty evacuation to the centre of the city. Finally, every form of magic failed, and the barrier winked out completely. The meteors started falling on top of them, and for a moment, it looked like this was the end.

Suddenly, King Marcel raised his hand to the sky, and him and all of the Dockers of Flint became One with their newly manifested Hivemind. A giant flesh-barrier made of tentacles suddenly rose up to physically shield the town - as though the dockers themselves had thrown their own bodies over the people of Flint.

The Flint Docker Hivemind was pelted with meteors, and as the final shower rained over the flesh-shield, thick blood began to rain down over the City of Flint.

When the meteors cleared and the Hivemind vanished, every docker in the City was seriously injured (except for Marcel, who took negligible mental damage, relatively), and Flint was covered in a fine layer of hivemind flesh. But, everyone was alive.

…Leaving the players with their jaws on the floor, wondering that the FRICK just happened!


Oh, dear. What’s happening to the adventure map? Why is the UI lighting up with a bunch of new quests?



I see.

…Good luck!!!

Next time on Zeitgeist: Adventures 10 and 11 get combined into one mega-adventure. But probably not one mega-writeup.


God, this was long, sorry. Thanks for reading!

I’m going to do it!!! I’m going to finish DMing Zeitgeist!!!

Audience Poll Time: Who became Monarch in your campaign? Who do you THINK will become Monarch in your campaign? How did your players react, or is there any particular reactions you are anticipating? I'm very curious to know how this panned out with other groups, since I never got to do the player-as-monarch thing.

Okay, the Zoom call killed me. The ‘raise hand’ icon is ghostly blue! Dear lord, lol.

And you reminded me about the first piece of fanfiction I ever wrote, 25 years ago for Final Fantasy 7, because my friend I didn’t understand Japanese endings well enough back then, so we just wrote our own. But it was very long, so in the middle I just slipped in the line ‘Insert Disc Four’ because clearly this was all a cut scene.

In the playtest, um, the party never got past adventure 5 due to real-world player drama, but based on how things were looking then, I would have put money on the duplicant to become king.

During character creation, one player asked to be a warforged illusionist, and I said sure, which ended up being the inspiration of, like, the entire Benedict Pemberton arc. After Mayor Macbannin died, he adopted his identity and served as mayor for a while, but realized his job duties were too great, so during adventure 3 he had Rock Rackus do a benefit concert to help the orphans of the Nettles, wherein he had another PC 'assassinate Mayor Macbannin' with a sniper shot. But as a warforged, he automatically stabilized and they just repaired him later.

Naturally in adventure 4 the illusionist got up to hijinks on the Avery Coast Railroad, and after they stole the prototype lantern the game kinda went off the rails. I wrapped things up in adventure 5 and let them have Gale fly the eschatologists' bomb up to Borne to blow him up.

I don't think Aodhan would have chosen this Terminator prototype to rule his nation, but I'm pretty sure figuring out how to replace the king just in case was on his agenda. If we'd kept going, I bet I could have gotten him to join the Ob.

Yo, thanks for all the laughs in your write-up, and thanks to the group of great players you've got.


We just finished act 1 of Godmind, and Aodan survived despite my best efforts. 4e has just too many interrupts and reactions of "no, you can't die this time". The party seems fine with leaving country management to someone else though, seems too much busywork.


I'm sorry I don't respond to each comment individually - grad school is being grad school - but I appreciate everyone sharing their responses so, so much. I am blasting you with gratitude beams from somewhere in Canada.

Adventure 8, Godmind, Part 1: **** Everything, Nation Reports

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The one where no one is more exasperated than the DM!

Our heroes begin by determining who will be the new governor of Flint. Since we had to start this version of the campaign on Digging for Lies, I’m afraid we never developed a very close relationship with the “”canon choice,”” Gale. They more or less had Asrabey spirit her away in Cauldron Born as soon as they found her, and I never saw a good chance to re-introduce her. Oops!

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My players about "The Last Starry Sky"

Er, I say this, and then I’m going to tell you that their choice for governor, without hesitation, was Heward Sechim. He appeared in an industry tent in Digging for Lies for my group, so they got pretty close with him.

This was a surprise to me, actually. I thought for sure they would go for Delft, or maybe Morgan. But they saw Heward as a good middle ground between maintaining Flint’s industry and ensuring that labour in Flint was ethical (relatively, at least). They also decided that the Governor’s Mansion would become the new Head of State for Risur, so that’s the Palace now. They had some exterminators deal with the mimics, first, of course.

Gatria also decided that, as Spymaster, she deserved a coat of arms to hang somewhere in the Palace.


It's Gatria standing on top of Terakalyr's head! Super tasteful!!!

Even though the game details realistic faults of all of the Flint governors, I honestly felt like Heward was a pretty solid choice. The child labour thing might be reckoned with at some later date, but anyway, I decided that the Flint Hivemind wasn’t really necessary for my group and moved the scheduled Hivemind encounter in this adventure to Cherage, where things were more chaotic. …At least, I thought I moved the hivemind to Cherage this adventure. Um, we’ll get to that.

Anyway, time to deal with the Fey Titan reckoning across Risur!

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Zeitgeist_Pizza_Fire_Community_Reference dot gif.

So much happened this adventure that if I spent time detailing it all of it, we'd both be here all day, so here's the Fey Titan Highlight Reel:


I decided to just let the Flaming Ziggurat of Av be the Ziggurat of Jiese from the start. Would this mess me up in Adventure 12? Yes. Don’t worry about it right now.

The party ventured into the burning forests and aggroed the Ash Wolf. They tried their normal routine of trying to talk their way out of the encounter, but only managed to infuriate him. For the first time in the campaign, I got the opportunity to one-shot a PC “dead” from full health.

Fortunately, the planar arrangement prevented Cleone from permadying. The irony is utterly lost on them and I need to remember to have Nic monologue about this in the upcoming Battle of the Axis Seal. The party got the message and retreated, but it was really satisfying to put the fear of God in them, because now they’re terrified of every Fey Titan, ESPECIALLY the voice of Rot. This is good for me right now because now that they’re level 20, I’m really struggling to make them take threats seriously until I hang The VoR overhead. Uhhhhhh, I accidentally let my players have access to vigilante talents and now I can't take it back. GATRIA NOW HAS AN AC OF 54. PLEASE HELP ME!!! Ahem.

The players went to the Ziggurat of Jiese and played the Lizardfolk Sultan for a fool, making him think that Lanjyr was a small and unpopulated planet where they were the only survivors, and then had Harkover enchant an endless infinity loop illusion (like the one that exists on Pardwight campus) to trap the Ziggurat of Jiese in one single, eternally wrapping field.

It was really entertaining to watch, so I let it happen. I did my darnest to encourage them to let Liesl the Efreeti go home. There’s no way I was going to let them have access to Wish. They already get up to too many shenanigans.

Message me if you let your party have access to Wish. Let me know how that shook out for you.

Then they showed the Ash Wolf evidence that the Sultan and his men killed his pup, and had the party Spirit Medium reunite him, his pup, and his mate. Problem: Solved! Yay!


I don't know why my players chose to use a VHS-quality screenshot for this meme but, sure.


This section is a bit awkward to report on because it involves indulging in the party NPC. Um, I'll be quick. basically, when I used to be a player and thus blind to the plot, I wrote that King Marcel’s mother happened to have a backstory similar to Katlin (corrupt brothel owner with shady magic powers). So, I made it canon once I became DM that Marcel’s mom was Katlin. The party had an interesting time learning that the King of Risur was born in a brothel, that he was almost surrendered to Granny Allswell as a baby (who openly gloated that her gremlins only narrowly missed collecting The King of Risur!), and that the King’s mother was plotting against the Fey Titans - and therefore had committed treason. It put Marcel in a position where he, as King, had to commit Matricide to carry out her sentence, and the party had to decide whether to let it happen. A fun little soap opera.

Anyway, the party executed almost all of the treasonous druids, but worked out a plea bargain with Katlin where, if she cooperated, the party would “protect her from the wrath of all Fey Titans,” including the King. In practice, this meant dumping her in a prison cell for the rest of her life, where she would technically be safe from Granny, the Voice of Rot, and the King.

Thanks to this bargain, the party showed Granny evidence that the Voice of Rot was plotting against her, and she was mollified by the promise that they would eventually deliver her his tongue.


I need you to know that I NEVER make up a meme for the sake of this thread. All of the memes I have posted were created live during a session by a player and have passed peer review. In case you didn't know that.

Granny Allswell owns, by the way. Top tier character. I threw my voice out so hard acting her out that I had to see a speech pathologist and she told me to never do character voices again under any circumstances. 10/10, amazing Fey Titan.

By the way, the party decided they wanted the Humble Hook to tell them Granny Alswell’s humble backstory. Not every Fey Titan, just Granny. Uhhhhhhh. I told them that before she took dominion over the mountains, she was a powerful planar traveller named Fortuna Major who got trapped in this arrangement when the Ancients locked in the planes, but she’s been kind of chill about it for the last couple thousand years. At least until she got trapped inside earth elementals.

Then someone said "that sounds an awful lot like you just made that up off the top of your head." I asked my players if they'd ever heard of tabletop RP.


The Father of Thunder is also best summed up by the following table exchange:
Steph, Cleone (our technologist)'s player: So he likes challenges, huh? Let’s invite him to a lifting contest.​
Me: Out of curiosity, what’s Cleone's Strength score?​
Steph: 60​
Me: Excuse me?​
Steph: 60​
Me: No it’s not. Let me see your character sheet.​

It TURNS OUT. That the Pathfinder Edition rules as written. FOR THE STEAMSUIT PRESTIGE CLASS. Mean that Cleone is CANONICALLY STRONGER than EVERY FEY TITAN when she is wearing her Steam Suit. I GUESS.

Cleone rolled to out-lift Father Thunder (who has a strength score of 54, by the way!), succeeded, and won his respect. Mona actually agreed to [LURID DETAIL CENSORED FOR THE SAKE OF FORUM DECENCY RULES] and got the Boon of Father Thunder, sans-hirsutism. Her player is playing with the idea of her eventually having a minotaur demi-god kid, though not during the campaign. That would be awkward.




Oh, they didn't do this part this adventure? Uh. Next slide!



Did I post this already? Did we make this meme? I don't remember seeing this in my server, it just manifested full-formed on my desktop.

The party got really, really attached to Beshela - so, naturally, I was excited to pull a fast one over them and have Asrabey kill her.

But when Asrabey arrived to swear Fealty to the new King of Risur, nobody bought it. The party summoned Kasavarina (who is still around in my campaign) and started interrogating him. Eventually, his mask slipped, and he told the party that only the Ob was powerful enough to save the world now.

Then when Asrabey told Kasavarina to her face that his real wife wouldn't be so weak, a player vandalized our own Wiki so that every time Asrabey is mentioned, his name is spelled wrong.

Anyway, time to fight him!

Me: Okay, everyone roll for initiative-​
GS: No.​
Steph: Nah.​
Bizzy: Uh-uh.​
Becky: I’m good.​
Me: Uh- but- Asarabey [sic] is going to fight you.​
Steph: Kasavarina could kill him on her turn alone.​
Me: You don’t know that.​
GS: Even if she didn’t, we’re going to kill him on turn one.​
Me: Yeah, well, I mean, I’d like to see it.​
Steph: He’s not worth it.​
Bizzy: Let’s just save everyone the time.​
The disrespect!

(This is the only time in the entire campaign that the players refused to run a fight out of character.)

The party decided they were going to send him into Flint Bay as Tribute to She Who Writhes, and use the opening as an opportunity to have Beshela commune with her master.

They DID fight She Who Writhes for a few turns. So, at least I got that.


Then Ashima Shimtu appeared from the blood spilled during the encounter. I'm relying on a lot of verbatim player conversations this write-up, but I reached an all-time peak of my DM exasperation when this happened:

Ashima Shimtu: First, a glimpse. Philosophers and policitians of several nations travel west, but toward what end, Ashima Shimtu cannot see. Second, a warning. When Ashima Shimtu gazed upon the western shore, something gazed back; she had not seen its like in this world. Third, and final, an opportunity. This island at the axis of the world-
Gatria: What?!
Ashima Shimtu: ...The island at the axis of the world-
Gatria: No, shut up about that! Go back to the other thing!
Ashima Shimtu: ...
Ashima Shimtu: The lady of the Forked Tongue has said to you that she has not seen the likes of the beings on the western shore in all of her time.
Gatria: Holy S***! The Gidim have invaded URSALINA! Cancel everything! This is the only thing that matters!
Me, who prepped the Axis Seal this session:

Adventure 9, Gorged on Ruins, Part I: …Wait, what?

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This one went pretty close to the book, so I'll focus on the parts that were different. But even though I don't have much to say, this might be my favourite single chapter in the entire campaign. It was so satisfying to run, and everyone had a great time.

First of all, to ratchet up the stakes, I decided that the Gidim Infestation was like fungus, and that whenever it was touched, everyone in the network instantly knew where you were. I felt so clever! Then The Last of Us HBO came out several months later, and they do the exact same thing (and it wasn't even like that in the game). Where are my royalty cheques, Craig Mazin?

Because the players wrapped up Wolfgang von Recklinghausen and Andre's stories back in Act 2 (um, it would take too long to explain), I decided to have them pay for the consequences of their actions in Always on Time by introducing Damata’s vengeful daughter, Dabo, as the crusading menace of Ursalina, instead.

You see, 14-year-old Dabo, who just became an adult according to orc culture, came to learn the circumstances of her Father's suicide, and swore to exterminate The Family from all corners of the earth - starting with Ber. She recklessly struck out on her own, and ran into the Ostea-healed Sor Daeron, who saw the opportunity to mentor a young woman as a chance for him to redeem himself for murdering Launga.

And it just so happened that the party was a group of unrepentant Family shills, who had just sent Family Lieutenants into Ber to do some scouting for them! How convenient!!!

Dabo killed Dester Rathine (the Kell turncoat from Cauldron Born), whose corpse was left in the market as a message. The party caught up to her, and recognized Dabo and Sor immediately, in spite of their disguises. Cleone (Deva who killed Srasama, and friend of Kasavarina) and Sor Daeron screamed at eachother so loudly it alerted the Gidim Leviathan.

My player map of this event was only the highest quality, you see. If I have radio silence for more than ten seconds in this campaign my head WILL explode, so of course, my ability to draw an entire scene in ten seconds is unparalleled:


The group scattered to find the lair of the Gidim Leviathan, which, of course, had infested the Beran Bardic college (amazing set piece, by the way. The walkthrough set to creepy background music was chilling). Sor and Dabo protected the perimeter from reinforcements spilling into the College while the Party went down into the Depths to kill the infestation at its source. They kind of curbstomped that whole dungeon, and took possession of the Vortex Array. Which they then proceeded to never use. Sigh.

Afterwards, the party had to decide what to do with Dabo and Sor. They didn’t trust Sor not to get another child killed, so they gave him a Big Darn Speech about how mentoring one girl would never make up for what he did to Launga - nothing would. Several successful diplomacy checks later, Gatria got Dabo alone. She stared down the child who had killed one of her best friends and thought about ending her life then and there. But because Morgan had taught her to do more than act on her hate, she, instead, decided to alert Glaucia about Dabo and have her fairly punished for Vigilante Justice. She then wished Dabo well, and told her that, with time, she could be so much better than just an indiscriminate killer.


Next time: We finish Gorged on Ruin! I mean, Godmind! I mean, we kill Gradiax! I’m confused, what chapter are we on?

I suppose this writeup feels incomplete this time around, but that's because both adventure climaxes happen in the next part of this mega-adventure. The writeup for which I am contractually obligated to deliver to you within the next two months, or else I have agreed to let my players cook and eat me alive. This would, at the very least, deliver me from the agonies of dissertation writing.


Enjoy our zeitgeist discord server emotes. You probably aren't too invested in our player character ones, but they still might be cute to you if you recognize the references:

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This one is a series, where you are meant to pick one of the characters to hold in hand. We have titled the face (which we can't take credit for drawing) "the DM":

We do have a few canon character ones, though, for you to use as you please! Lya, Kasavarina, Nathan, and Xambria respectively:

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See you next time for the climactic second half!

Who became the new Governor of Flint for you? What sequence breaking happened in your campaign?
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