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ZEITGEIST Zeitgeist Reloaded


At long last, I have begun running my second Zeitgeist campaign, after the conclusion of my previous attempt sometime during adventure five. I love this campaign, and for the last year and a half, I was somewhat disappointed that I was unable to continue however. But fate has given me a second chance and another group to run it with.

However, this isn't quite how I ran it last time...

Instead of using either Pathfinder or Fourth Edition; I have chosen to convert the modules and run them with Fantasy Craft, my single favorite d20 rules variation. I feel that it adequately balances magic, combat and non-combat classes, providing an enormous number of options for players to build their charactesr; while simultaneously giving the DM a simple, yet extremely versatile toolset for creating NPCs and monsters. I figured a while back that Fantasy Craft was a perfect fit for Zeitgeist, and so far, I've been given no risen to doubt that assessment.

I'm running this game online, using MapTools, with a group of friends that I've been playing with for a few years now; all are veteran roleplayers and pick up systems and settings pretty quickly. And they all love tormenting their Dungeon Master through innovative thinking, clever combat tactics and a ruthless desire to exterminate my bosses before they get off their cool attacks. I'm using a simple campaign framework I picked up on the Crafty Forums that lets me track damage and stat cards for NPCs.

This thread is where I'll be recapping the events of the campaign. I expected my players to pop in on occasion so, please, no spoilers for future events. I'll be posting another thread later to discuss things behind the scenes and provide comments/criticisms as a dungeon master regarding the modules; and to provide notes on my conversion work.

First, the cast of players!

Za Ritchi is a tall drake, with pale white scales. His wings are slightly tattered on the end, but still easily strong enough to carry him in flight. His eyes are formless black, with glowing green dots peering out. A cloak surrounds his body, revealing only pieces of him. His teeth, and face, are seen. Might are the horns on his head, as well as his fearsome claws. A music box hangs from his neck. His attitude seems cool, and calm. Calculating, and intelligent. An aura of magick surrounds him, for that and his body is all he shall need for weapons.

Ritchi is a Drake Mage.

Kaleigh is an Aasimar, and a self styled angel of vengeance. She very rarely, if at all, takes off her dried-blood-brown hood, or the faceguard beneath, keeping any physical traits neatly hidden away. She's known to be fair, but somewhat indifferent. And carries a nice sized, black metal and crimson-wrapped warhammer on her back, crystal blue scales emblazoned into the sides of the head. The robe-like hood and coat are integrated into studded leather armour, stained black, wether through use or through style is unknown.

Kaleigh is an Aasimar (Human with the Angelic Legacy species feat) Soldier.

Mitzi is, well. Mitzi. She's an islander, in both mannerism and dress. She looks like she belongs in the sea far more than she does on her feet, what with the fins across her body and the patches of scales on exposed skin. She seems a bit skittish, but she has a long rifle on her, one well kept and well used, by the looks of it.

Mitzi is a Genasai (Human with the Elemental Legacy species feat) Scout

Persephonie is a striking human swindler. She has odd cyan colored eyes that almost seem without whites. Her hair is an odd auburn color that seems to change color in bright (dark red) or dim light (brownish blonde). Her voice is almost lyric, even when she uses a mocking tone. She favors wearing wearing open flowing official clothes, with sandals. She has many ear piercings and likes short hair styles that emphasize her neck and shoulders. When not wearing her official clothes, she wears close fitting gowns of various colors and styles, but always the most intricate of fashion available to her. Even in 'plain' clothes she still arranges and styles them to look alluring and beautiful. It is very rare that she doesn't have a pleasant and friendly look on her face. Her fingers and hands are meticulously painted with various runic or floral designs or she wears gloves. She does this for the simple matter that her hands are heavily scarred around the knuckles and fingers so she hides them.

Persephonie is a Human Emissary, and the team leader.

Tahlia is a tanned skinned wood elf she wears a brown cloak and hood under which is unkempt long green hair, her clothes undreneath are a mixture of greens and browns, she looks like she'd be much more at home in a forest. What jewlry she has loks more like polished bone than jewels or stones. She doesn't look skidish or unwelcoming but her eyes dart and keeps an eye on the people she doesn't know.

Tahlia is a Wood Elf (Elf with the Hard Nation species feat) Priest.

Mareth is an Elven woman, 6'3" in height. She has long, shiny black hair which she wears parted in the middle, straightened, with the ends mediculously trimmed to taper gradually to a point halfway between her ankles. Her build is slender and lithe, with just enough muscle tone to be considered fit, but she definitely relies more on her agility than on brute force. She wears a long purple dress of thick cotton, which reaches just above her knees in front, and an inch above the floor in back. An open, long-sleeved jacket of black leather, adorned with polished steel studs, is worn over the bodice of said dress, and her legs are clad in thick, knee-high boots of the same black leather, minus the studs. She usually stands near Persephone with her arms folded beneath her bosom, watching events unfold with the sort of casual, aloof detachment befitting of an observer. At her left hip hangs a long, thin scabbard which houses a razor-sharp fencing blade, and at her right hip is a pouch of strange, esoteric items for which a non-magician could see no purpose.

Mareth is a High Elf Mage.

The recap of our first session will be coming soon

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The city of Flint is the most advanced metropolis in the nation of Risur; having been selected as the central location for the push towards industrialization almost forty years previously. King Aodhan initially wanted the nation’s capitol to serve this role, but entrenched interests among powerful nobility opposed it, and the King didn’t have the political clout at the time to overrule them. Flint was an obvious second choice, given it’s location and willingness of its governor, Roland Stanfield.

In early spring of the year five hundred AOV (After Our Victory), the royal shipyards in Flint had completed Risur’s first warship powered solely by steam. The King himself was coming to the launching ceremony. The team from the Royal Homeland Constabulary had been assigned to run security for the event.

After a few weeks of exhaustive work, canvassing the docks, going over the area, and coordinating with local police; the day of the event arrived. Persephonie and Mareth left the RHC offices by carriage with their files, picking up the rest of the team on the way, and arrived at Royal Square by three PM.

Sergeant Baker of the Flint Police and his, quite frankly, magnificent moustache (as determined by general consensus of the players) were awaiting them. He’d gathered a squad of Flint police officers, and all were put at the command of the team.

Za Ritchi took the lead with the local police; Persephonie might have been the team leader but Ritchi had a knack for organization. While the police officers were naturally nervous around the Drake, cousins to the long extinct Dragons of Ber, his association with the RHC was known to them.

He quickly briefed the police and summarized the group’s findings of the past few weeks of investigations. There were four separate groups who might have reason to disrupt the launching. Dockers, local works and union members fed up with poor working conditions. Primalists and followers of the old Druidic faith who opposed the industrialization of Flint and Risur. Terrorists working with Gale, a Fey saboteur who had been targeting industrialist and factories around the city. And finally, Yerasol War Veterans from the third and fourth Yerasol Wars who had plenty of reason to despise the Tiefling designer of the ship.

With the information dispersed amongst the police officer, the RHC team and the local cops began their assignment. There were over a thousand people packed into the square; with even more crowding in from adjoining streets. There was less than half an hour before the checkpoints to Fleet square would be dropped; and any potential threats had to be dealt with by then.

Splitting up, the constables went to work.

Mitzi took the lead in the crowd. She signaled to a few of the police officers, and started leading them through the gathering citizens, trying to profile potential threats. Nothing immediately came to her eye, however. Kaleigh trailed behind, following a different tactic. She just simply let her armor and weapons speak for themselves, acting as a walking riot suppressant.

Mareth had a good vantage point in one of the side streets. She kept an eye out for any fey agents. Her close association to the fey court let her ascertain that none were present. It looked like if there was going to be any trouble here today, it wouldn’t be Gale who would start it.

Persephonie took the teams files, and kept an eye out for people dressed in fashions and styles similar to the groups that they had profiled. Her encyclopedic knowledge of clothing and disguises served her well; she picked up a dozen potential suspects from the crowd in under ten minutes.

Tahlia and Za Ritchi worked together, Tahlia sifting through the crowd looking for suspects while Ritchi flew over head. Smog got in Ritchi’s eyes, though. The aerial vantage point wasn’t working out as well as he had hoped. Tahlia had better luck on the ground, and was able to expand the suspect list to over twenty.

The police officers began handing out bundles of flowers to throw and lyrics to the national anthem to the crowd. The goal was to, as their boss had told them, arrange for a spontaneous display of joy and affection from the crowd. The team reconvened near the entrance to compare notes and figure out how to separate the threats from the actual civilians.

As they rejoined, Mareth focused on each each other constable, and intoned a quick spell. The whispers spell would let them communicate with her over a short distance. It would only go between her and the subject, but she cast it several times, and served as the hub of communications. This would serve the team well over the next half hour.

. “….I will maintain this line of communication. Normal speech will proceed as needed, but whispered words will be at once both carried to the rest of the group, and hidden from the ears of others. Sergeant Baker is also included, as he can no doubt pass on the important information to his men.”

Mitzi hit the crowd again, being tailed by the Flint police, and almost immediately picked out one man. He was standing near the edge of the crowd, dressed in rough, but colorful, dock worker’s clothing and looking like he had something on his mind

At the same time, Ritchi was perched on a nearby rooftop, scanning the crowd. Almost immediately, he picked up another two dockers who were behaving suspiciously. His intuitive grasp of body language suggested to him that they were working for a fourth man. He passed that information along to the rest of the team.

Kaleigh took immediate advantage of it, moving in with three officers and Sergeant Baker. Confronted with the intimidating Aasimar and her backup, the dockers gave up without a fight, and were handcuffed and brought back to the police staging area.

But there was still the fourth man out there… and in a situation like this, a single man could still cause a hugely embarrassing incident.

Ritchi took the skies again. It was a testament to the open nature of the city of Flint that a drake soaring above the crowd, while definitely an unusual sight, was not one for concern. Indeed, it was well known that several Drakes, despite the unsavory reputation of anything associated with draconic beings, served the King.

At the police barricade, another docker came forward and introduced himself. He was Thames Grimsley, known as an unofficial leader among the Docker movement, and he was here for the same reason as the constables. To avoid an incident that would embarrass his cause. But he wanted a favor from the constables.

"Then if you could do me a favor… me and the other Dockers would greatly appreciate it. We’re tired of police hassling us because the city nobles don’t like being made fun of in tavern songs. And we’re tired of being arrested for refusing to work sixteen hour shifts unloading cargo. My people are restless, and if these double shifts keep up; there’s going to be a riot."

Meanwhile, Mareth and Ritchi had located the final man. They approached and took the velvet glove method backed by the iron fist. A few police officers surrounded him while Mareth approached and made it clear that he had no chance.

The last man, Dafton, knew when he had lost and gave up peacefully. He had much the same complaints as Grimsley, and he and his confederates had wanted to make a point to Governor Stanfield.

The constables chose to release the prisoners, on the condition that they stay away from the event, and furthermore, agreed to pass along Grimsley’s message to the Governor. He parted as friends, giving them a location they could get in touch with him, if they needed something from the Dockers.

And then, the King’s carriage arrived…

Mechanics and Conversion Notes

This scene is the start of a skill challenge in the original module. Since this was definitely one of my favourite mechanics from Fourth Edition, I kept it more or less intact in Fantasy Craft; and just changed the skills and target numbers. The opening task of the challenge was to properly brief the police officers (necessitating a Tactics skill challenge), which provided some information, and would make the police more effective during later parts of the challenge. The rest remained the same, except by replacing knowledge (whatever) checks with the Fantasy Craft system of doing knowledge checks.

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