ZEITGEIST Zeitgeist session 0 in 5e

kelots

Villager
Hi there, I'm just planning a session 0 this week as my first homebrew campaign closes in on it's completion. I've read the players guide, GM guide and first encounter plus purchased all on R20 module and looking forward to it. I plan to run an early session zero and start char creation several months out from the actual game start, so the players can flesh out their chars while I do a re-read of the source content and look for ways to tie them into the setting (and as we finish the end of our current adventure!).

I found this player guide buried in a thread which was fantastic (thanks!) and wanted to know if anyone had tips for the 5e version of this?

Looking for things like:
  1. What books were available at the time when was ZG converted to 5e? Should I keep it to PHB+Module+Xanathars? allow Tashas or Fizbans?
  2. Do combo's like subtle spell+ detect thoughts or similar risk early story reveals/spoiler moments?
  3. downtime
  4. Do inquisitive rogues with reliable talent on investigation/perception sorta fun-kill the investigation elements of the game? Or do these type of challenges naturally scale in the later adventures?
  5. Are there any combat builds that break the fun? e.g. drive one player to be significantly off balance with the others? e.g. Given the general power creep of 5e, combined with the custom mechanics in this game (guns, explosives, prestige classes etc) I'm a little unsure what to allow/what to watch for.
  6. How balanced/challenging is the combat aspect of the module? Do DMs find they have to tailor encounters for their party? Is it hard to keep things challenging if players min/max, or is it tough and min/maxing should be encouraged?
  7. I read in a thread on here that the module gives low #'s of encounters a day. Is this worth calling out to the players (e.g. might have to worry less about resource management on some builds)?
Appreciate anyone taking the time to read or reply - thanks a bunch!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

kelots

Villager
Also a lot of the core NPCs on R20 don't have stat blocks. In the first adventure i have the members of the Dockers brawl as clickable sheets but not the king/harkover/stover when you get to the boat. Is there a link for these or have I not linked something correctly?
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
1. I think the 5e conversion started releasing in 2018.
2. The rings protect the important people.
3. Lots of downtime between adventures, months even in some cases.
4. The investigations are as much about deciding where to look (as in which part of the city) as searching the area when you get there. Honestly, you probably don't want them to miss the clues anyway.
5. I haven't run into any broken elements in my game, but that's not to say they don't exist.
6. The biggest issue players may run up against is the custom monster and scenario mechanics. In essence, the adventures can play "dirty", providing situations that can instakill characters. You need to properly communicate the danger so the players understand the stakes. There are some difficult fights, but many of the earlier fights at least are not too difficult. I just had the PCs take over a ship of 30+ enemy sailors with a good plan.
7. Many of the encounters are difficult when there are only a few a day. I sometimes balance this out by not giving the benefits of a long rest when the PCs sleep overnight when there are only a few encounters over the course of a week.

Roll20 Stat Blocks: The NPCs you listed don't have stat blocks for adventure 1. They are not meant to see any combat, and the adventure outlines the extent of their interaction. Their stat blocks should be marked "noncombatant", and they are provided solely so you can drop a token on the map if needed.

My thoughts:
  1. Something to keep in mind is that Zeitgeist leans heavily to the roleplaying side of the combat/roleplaying balance. Sessions that have only 1 (or 0!) encounters can be the norm. Your players should know this going in and have PCs that tie into the world, have a group to which they are tied, can participate in an investigation (beyond just Intelligence [Investigation] checks).
  2. Above all, the players should really know what makes their characters tick, what religion/philosophy to which they espouse, what they find important. In Lanjyr, strong beliefs have power.
  3. Keep good notes. There are a lot of NPCs to interact with, and adventure 2 has 4 simultaneous threads between which the PCs can jump.
  4. Help the players understand the requisition system. I had them pay the quartermaster gold from their stipend to requisition the items, and they got the full value back when they returned the item (consumed items can't be returned). Common 50gp; Uncommon 500gp; Rare 5,000gp, etc. The PCs' prestige limits the total items they can have, but I changed the listing of "Common" magic items to Uncommon in the prestige lists since there are so few Common magic items.
  5. I think it's great (but not necessary) to have each PC come from a different nation and have a different character theme. In my game, one of the player's took variant human and used their feat to get a second character theme from the start (Gunsmith / Spirit Medium). In my opinion, the NPCs should naturally gravitate to talking to the PC whose theme/nation is closest to their own when its appropriate.
  6. The players should decide where they live in Flint and who their (at least two) contacts are/what they do. In my game, I have a Crysillyiri cleric with Skyseer character theme (on his mother's side). His skyseer aunt lives with her large family in the Cloudwood, and his dwarven cleric mentor with eschatological leanings is in Central district.
 
Last edited:

kelots

Villager
Awesome thanks so much for the comments mate! I forgot to flesh out #3 but was going to say: I saw the module has downtime, has anyone run the xanathars downtime activities and if so how'd it go?

Gotcha on the non-combatant approach. So if the guys try detect thoughts on Stover or something just set a DC and RP it rather than referring to a statblock (one of my players has the subtle spell detect thoughts combo in my current game so i'd be surpised if they dont try stuff like this haha). Will double check the info on the rings cheers for the pointer.

Yeah will be heavy on the "tie your char into the story" aspect of session 0. One of my players wants to play a mousefolk for instance so i've said we could work with this but he will need to be well established in the city for some time as the adventure will be very unlikely to go to the borderstates, so needs a great reason why he's here in Risur - or have discussed we might replace a race (e.g. if there are no halflings i might swap them out for mousefolk and see what happens.)
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Yeah will be heavy on the "tie your char into the story" aspect of session 0. One of my players wants to play a mousefolk for instance so i've said we could work with this but he will need to be well established in the city for some time as the adventure will be very unlikely to go to the borderstates, so needs a great reason why he's here in Risur - or have discussed we might replace a race (e.g. if there are no halflings i might swap them out for mousefolk and see what happens.)
It would make sense for the mousefolk PC to come from a small tribe in Ber.
 

Anselm

Adventurer
Awesome thanks so much for the comments mate! I forgot to flesh out #3 but was going to say: I saw the module has downtime, has anyone run the xanathars downtime activities and if so how'd it go?

Gotcha on the non-combatant approach. So if the guys try detect thoughts on Stover or something just set a DC and RP it rather than referring to a statblock (one of my players has the subtle spell detect thoughts combo in my current game so i'd be surpised if they dont try stuff like this haha). Will double check the info on the rings cheers for the pointer.

Yeah will be heavy on the "tie your char into the story" aspect of session 0. One of my players wants to play a mousefolk for instance so i've said we could work with this but he will need to be well established in the city for some time as the adventure will be very unlikely to go to the borderstates, so needs a great reason why he's here in Risur - or have discussed we might replace a race (e.g. if there are no halflings i might swap them out for mousefolk and see what happens.)
I have run xanathars downtime stuff in the past but I got say the level up downtime activities have been amazing for the zeitgeist game I'm currently running. My players have gotten a lot of good results and depth to their characters:

 

kelots

Villager
Thanks guys session 0 went great. The team built out some really cool/thematic fit characters!

We won't be starting for a few months so time for them to develop stories and stuff while we round our the last levels our current campaign

Here's the current thinking (needs refinement)

Human (Risur) War Cleric with Fighter dip / Docker theme not sure if will look at prestige. Looking at options with clergy etc. Wants to have grown up in flint where i believe the clergy is quite new? likes the idea of Trigrenes teaching the "Strive to be your best self better yourself and those around you reach for the stars" type stuff

Human (Risur) Knowledge Cleric 1 Wizard x / Spirit Medium. Sort of dad vibes, used to work for the RHC in their admin section and took time off to look after the kids. They're now grown and during his time off has found a book of magic so keen on joining the RHC proper with his abilities

Human (Risur): Inquisitive Rogue / Martial Scientist / Polyhist. Wants to be a surgeon but his dad was a fighter or in the RHC itself, following in his footsteps thinking that the best way to learn about fixing bodies is to learn how they break + protect the realm in the process. Gonna grab the healer feat and maybe some surgeon equipment for a bit of fun

Kobold (Ber) Artificer with a robot defender / Gunsmith / Mad Shootist. Story in progress but a build the player has been wanting to play for years so letting him run with it for now

Last fella is a work in progress party fit guy but looking at a Whispers Bard/Paladin Spy flavour. Maybe with previous exp in foreign espionage. I need to have a think about this but would love any tips about things he might have been up to.

Flavour/setting things I wanted to check out:
  • Any fun prompts for the above outlines that I could tie story hooks/plot people into? Waiting on char stories for the most part but just if anything jumps out to you experienced folk
  • The knowledge cleric wants his spouse to be a foreign dignitary, e.g. ambassador from overseas, preferably an elf who lives in Risur. Any ideas on a good plot person this could be from later adventures or better to use a red herring?
  • One of the players is a Kobold, do they interact with the story later on at all or things I should consider aside from there being no current dragons
  • What was in Danor before the malice, did Elfaivar spread across the whole area north of the avery sea?
  • Whats the deal with non-eladrin elves in the world?

Rule questions:
  • Artificer repeating shot and Muzzle-Loading property. How would you rule this? Player wasn't fussed and is building a shotgun artificer anyway but keen to know how these could interact.
  • Do scopes have a benefit? They talk about adding blindness but not what benefit it brings. I was thinking remove disadvantage on the longer part of the range, and/or add advantage on shorter part of range?
  • Can you stack weapon upgrades? Assume yes e.g. silencer and scope but idk stuff all about guns in general
  • What stats do guns use, we assume dex as ranged but couldn't find specific ruling
  • A player was looking at the Eberron human (mark of making?) but I said prob not as i thought magic weapon non concentration was pretty strong, esp as it seems this is a low-magic items setting having to turn them back over and we already have an artificer. Any thoughts on this or have i misunderstood the equipment section and players can get magic items?

Appreciate any insight, cheers!

Ev
 

I'm just seeing this at 1am, so I don't have time for a thorough response, but

a) good luck

b) there are kobolds in Ber, but the PCs don't meet any until adventure 7, when some kobolds who are working as spies for Ber help them out in a pinch; the joke is that most people don't even notice kobolds because they're so small, and so they make excellent spies, led by a spymaster called El Extraño

c) I know we've gone through a few iterations of firearms mechanics, but the version in the latest Adventures in ZEITGEIST book has target pistols, rifled carbines, and rifled muskets with the Rifled quality.

Rifling extends the range a firearm can accurately hit a target. You can spend an action to aim down the weapon’s sight, and choose a creature you can see. Until you stop aiming, quadruple the weapon’s short and long ranges for the purpose of attacking that target.

Each turn thereafter you can spend an action or bonus action to continue aiming at the same target or switch to another target you can see. If you move or take damage, your aim is ruined and you have to start over again.

With a scope you can aim a rifled weapon without needing to spend an action. However, you are considered blind except against creatures in a direct line from you to your target. The blindness lasts until your next turn.

d) the very basic pre-adventure-path timeline goes like this:

1200 BOV (Before Our Victory): King Kelland defeats the fey titans and founds Risur, the first mortal nation on the continent of Lanjyr. In the following centuries, other nations rise up throughout Lanjyr.

1117 BOV: The demonocracy arises, its monstrous rulers enslaving the primitive nations of the north. Risur keeps it from expanding south, and its eastward growth is blocked by Elfaivar, which controlled about the same territory it has on the modern map.

500 BOV: Triegenes the fisherman founds the Clergy in what is modern-day Danor, overthrows the demonocracy, then dies and ascends to godhood. As the Demonocracy falls, Elfaivar claims lands as far west as Sid Minos. The Clergy controls all the lands that today are Danor, Drakr, and the western half of Crisillyir. They set their capital in the city Methia, which is in what is today Danor.

For a few following centuries, while the hierarchs of the Clergy and the rulers of Elfaivar have the occasional small conflict, mostly they see each other as unified by the shared history of opposing the Demonocracy. Over time that good feeling fades.

50 BOV: The First Victory, a holy war between the Clergy and the elf nation Elfaivar, ends with Elfaivar losing all the territory it has in what today is Crisillyir.

1 AOV: (After Our Victory): The Second Victory begins as an Elfaivaran effort to reclaim lost lands but ends in their decisive defeat when the Elfaivaran goddess Srasama manifests physically and is slain in an event called the Great Malice. Danor collapses into chaos as the nation becomes a dead magic zone. Methia is abandoned. The seat of the Clergy moves to Crisillyir. Elfaivar splinters into scattered enclaves of survivors. Dwarves, with human support, seize control of their own nation in Drakr.

300 AOV: King Boyle of Risur claims to slay the last dragon tyrant of Ber, but offers a secret pact with a handful of them. The nation of Danor, resurgent with industry and technology, begins to contest Risur for control of the lush Yerasol Archipelago.

460 AOV: King Aodhan of Risur encourages his people to pursue industry so they can fight back against Danor. Meanwhile in Ber, Bruse Le Roye unites tribes of diverse people into a new nation.
 

kelots

Villager
Ah awesome thanks so much, that bit on the scope makes a lot of sense. Appreciate the extra bits of the timeline too that's very useful.

Is there any way to view the later adventures or NPCs without buying the books? Since I'm playing 5e on R20 I can only buy/read so far ahead (up to cauldron-born) and would love to take a look at that Kobold one for instance to see if I could connect this El Extraño or someone to my Kobold player
 

MarkM

Explorer
Ah awesome thanks so much, that bit on the scope makes a lot of sense. Appreciate the extra bits of the timeline too that's very useful.

Is there any way to view the later adventures or NPCs without buying the books? Since I'm playing 5e on R20 I can only buy/read so far ahead (up to cauldron-born) and would love to take a look at that Kobold one for instance to see if I could connect this El Extraño or someone to my Kobold player
Kelots, you could join the ENsider Patreon at DnD EN5ider is creating 5th Edition supplements and adventures | Patreon. I was a member for a number of years, and it had all kinds of material, including 5e versions of the adventure path. I read the campaign there (and in a pathfinder version I'd bought earlier) and then buy the Roll20 versions to DM. It is long, complicated, and interconnected, so reading through the whole thing early on is recommended. I've read it through multiple times and it's still hard to keep everything in your head. The Zeitvice blog also sometimes has notes or reminders of how parts of your current adventure connect to future modules.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top