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ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co.

SanjMerchant

Explorer
Gupta made her mind up to strike before Ravjahani could even begin to speak, but even as her body put her plan into motion – to use the icon of apet to teleport behind her foe – it did so in a way Gupta could not have bidden, nor anticipated. Since the revelation of her divinity, she had noticed a frisson of power within her – as more and more eladrin began to hear that Srasma had returned. (Xambria had said how strange it was to be inside her head right now. Like witnessing a miracle first-hand.)

Instead of teleporting, her body began to grow, to expand, until, in an instant, she towered over twelve-feet tall. Her skin was blue, with green tiger stripes, her eyes blazed with fury; her rajput’s helm became a towering crown; the arsenal a flaming sword. Her other hand reached out for Cula Ravjhani, who quailed and sank to her knees.

When the goddess touched her, her whole personality was stripped away. She was suddenly no one, just like Catherine Romana.

End of Mini-session
While I suppose the answer will be somewhat opaque to me since I don't know the system, I'm curious how this played out. Tabletop RPGs generally aren't set up to handle characters developing powers unexpectedly like this, so it makes me wonder (stand in wonder, even). Did you just drop the mechanics in favor of straight storytelling? Did you hand the player a new character sheet? Is she just using the rules for the Sacrament (as translated into your system, of course)?
 

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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
While I suppose the answer will be somewhat opaque to me since I don't know the system, I'm curious how this played out. Tabletop RPGs generally aren't set up to handle characters developing powers unexpectedly like this, so it makes me wonder (stand in wonder, even). Did you just drop the mechanics in favor of straight storytelling? Did you hand the player a new character sheet? Is she just using the rules for the Sacrament (as translated into your system, of course)?
I asked Gupta what she wanted to do and she described her action (teleport behind Kula and mind wipe her). Then I just narrated the outcome to introduce her newly-developed abilities (which are adapted from the Sacrament and reflect the fact that she's an eladrin goddess who just gained a bunch of worshippers). I planned to have her spontaneously 'grow into' whatever action she chose; the fact it was a mind-wipe was just the icing on the cake. Yeah, her and Rumdoom can be pretty ruthless sometimes. It's funny how Gupta has become steadily more vengeful, even as Quratulain's vengefulness has abated.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 254 - Part Three

Each Final Flourish


In Trekhom, Rumdoom appeared triumphant before the astonished crowds, many of whom had been (or, to their mind, still were) his adherents. He had already given up on the idea of leading people but couldn’t help the temptation, here and now, to launch ‘Rumschatology Mark II’.

When he spoke, he wasn’t sure whether he was resisting the temptation or giving in to it. “You’re free. Now do whatever the fuck you want. But hurry up about it, because you don’t have much time.”

There was a huge, deep, dwarven roar from the crowd. Oddly, many of the people began embracing one another, embraces which became passionate, and eventually, naked.

While all this was going on, Rumdoom turned to look at Vlendham Heid. The old philosopher looked back at him with tears in his eyes. Yet another proponent of the Heid Eschatol had embraced nihilism, and it was more than he could bear. He didn’t need to say anything, it was written in his eyes – the journey that began in the lecture theatre with Damata Griento had come to a bad ending, at least for Vlendham Heid.

In response to this unspoken reproach, Rumdoom raised his hammer and held it threateningly over Vlendham, as if he intended to strike him. The old dwarf’s eyes flinched and he began to raise his hands, but then lowered them again. Kvarti, Heid’s some-time bodyguard looked aghast, but apart from that did not react. Then Rumdoom lowered his hammer.

“What did he do to deserve that?” asked Kvarti.

“It’s not about him! It’s about me!” bellowed Rumdoom.

*​

The duplicant in Alais Primos collapsed, became a heap of mesh, then took on Leon’s form and rose again. Aulus Auticus watched him as he stood and said, “You lot seem to be spread very thin.”

Leon knew that the hivemind in Alais Primos still needed to be dealt with, so he teleported with Atticus close to the Cathedral of Triegenes. Rahu Ketu, his spirit familiar, ranged ahead, and saw Morgan Cippiano among the dominated faithful, who had been forced to dismantle the greatest symbol of their faith.

Arch Secula Degaspare was surrounded by bookpin bodyguards, and regular defence squads kept watch throughout the whole area. They needed to take the Arch Secula out fast.

Leon teleported close to the woman, noticing that his arcane powers were rendered more clumsy and complicated to cast in her proximity – she seemed to radiate an aura of disbelief in all things supernatural. Nevertheless, he began to bombard her with curse after curse, conscious that he lacked the means to dislodge the ghost councillors. At once, her bodyguards formed a tight circle around her and raised their shields. Aulus Atticus crashed straight through them, and began pounding Degaspare with his radiant fists, but she and the council were too strong for him.

Now the city guards opened fire. Only Atticus’ golden armour and Leon’s Stance of the Paper Wind enabled them to fight on. (Leon wondered how he had come to know this stance, and figured it must have been somewhere in the Gyre…)

The Arch Secula responded with a mechanised shotgun, magical commands to submit to the Obscurati and – at length, in desperation, when Leon sealed her mouth – a mere dagger. But their fight had become desperate. Sooner or later, they would succumb to her massed defenders if they could not release her from the ghost council’s grip.

Then Leon got lucky. He cast a nightmare spell on Degaspare – a spell which took the form of whatever its target feared most. Whatever the ghost councillors saw must have terrified them utterly, as they cried aloud as one and fled. Degaspare – already dead, kept going only by their spectral puppetry – collapsed.

Her defeat caused the bubble of the hivemind to burst. At once, the city militia and dominated faithful set upon the bookpin bodyguards savagely.

But Leon called for calm and prevented further bloodshed. He told them that he and the other allies of King Baldrey of Risur, having saved Alais Primos twice, would now go to Axis Island and save the world. They could help, he said, with their prayers, which the Ob had sought to silence.

*​

When Cula Ravjahani fell limp at the hands of the goddess reborn, that spectacle alone was sufficient to free those in the Ob’s great army who were dominated by the hivemind.

The rest of Ravjahani’s immediate cohort were beset and swiftly massacred by Athrylla Valanar and her rajputs. Before they finished the job, Gupta sought a means to weed out other Ob loyalists, subjecting one of Ravjahani’s companions to a terrifying dual vision of the falls of Srasma. All those allied to her suffered a psychic attack and, across the Ob front line, perhaps one in a hundred or fewer fell to their knees in fear and agony.

“See how easily this new world comes asunder, and our enemies fall to their knees?” boomed Gupta. Her words carried to everyone; she knew at once everyone who was there – the tired, frightened citizens of Sentosa; the thousands of colonist massed by the Ob; and, still hidden in the jungle, waiting to strike in defence of Sentosa – in what would have been a suicidal gesture at best – the Children of Hewanharimau, led by Betronga and Sokana Rel. She sensed the thrill of young Talios Valanar, the weretiger scout who had first led them to Ingatan’s Refuge, and now saw that one of the heroes she had helped had become an eladrin goddess! (Gupta also instinctively knew that young Talios was a distant relative of Athrylla.)

Gupta was able to use the strange bond she felt for all those around her, to impart an ideal. She asked for their prayers in the fight to come, then said, “Once the battle has ended, we will sit down with those who were once our foes. This is what I have learned from Baldrey Korrigan.”

*​

Conquo extracted the Crown of Ber from pulpy mess of Bruse Shantus’ head, wiped it off a bit and handed it to Korrigan. Korrigan accepted it with all due ceremony, but held it at arms’ length, for fear of any misunderstandings.

Glaucia said, “To Corta Nariz, perhaps?”

“Is that that nice orc lady?” asked Conquo.

“It is!” replied Damata Griento, from a makeshift platform at the centre of the square. “She is being held in the prison, along with many of our brothers and sisters! Let us go and free ourselves fully from the yolk of the Ob!”

There were whoops and cries, as Damata lept down to lead them, but his panache was somewhat compromised when Glaucia grabbed him by the scruff of his cape. “If you try to turn this to your advantage,” she said, “I will beat you until you do not need a mask to conceal your face. That being our understanding, please… continue.”

Korrigan and Conquo followed along in the wake of the crowd and oversaw the peaceful emancipation of the prisoners, including Corta Nariz, Melissa Amerie and the half-giant Roderigo.

Corta Nariz was grateful to be free. She had been on business here in Seobriga when the hivemind formed, and was swiftly incarcerated by the Bruse, who had long begrudged her popularity. “I learned while imprisoned that my poor father took his own life, rather than hand over control of our citadel to the Bruse. It was a brave death; his health was failing.”

Korrigan turned to the crowd and asked, “Do the people of Ber wish for Corta Nariz to be their Bruse?”

The crowd was unanimous in its approval. Korrigan placed the crown upon her head, and Conquo handed her Shantus’ ceremonial greatsword. “Be better than that other one,” he said. “And don’t bite people. It’s rude.”

Korrigan raised himself aloft and said to the people of Seobriga, “Once again, Ber has fought and won its freedom. We now go to fight for the freedom of the whole world!”

*

As soon as he was freed from the ghost council, Pemberton reverted to his human form. He was angry; very angry. Pardo cowered. Pemberton ordered his gnolls to decimate themselves as punishment for their weakness. “You, Pardo, must lose an ear.”

Pardo bowed and sniggered and scuttled off to do his bidding. Pemberton turned to Uru and said. “I’ll wait for them to get started, then I’ll call a halt. I’m not a monster. Thank you, lad, for plucking me out of that predicament. I’m indebted to you, and gratified to have backed the right horse. Now kindly bring me up to speed.”

Uru told Pemberton everything that had happened since their last meeting. Pemberton was duly impressed.

“So you took out old Inacht, huh? Didn’t think I’d live to see the day. Makes me the last of the dragon tyrants. Must be sure not to go getting myself killed. Which brings me to what I was about to say when we last met, before I was so rudely interrupted. I have been busy preparing for your return, and I have the means for us to surprise the Obscurati.”

He gestured expansively, activating some distant control mechanism, which caused huge teleportation circles to light up along the floor and walls of the hangar.

“Give the codes to your captain, and bring the Coaltongue right here. We’ll fix her up in no time. Better yet, the Ob will be expecting you to come from the South, not from deep in the archipelago.”

*​

“Whenever we meet, one of us is in chains,” said Quratulain. Ashima-Shimtu released her, lifting her off the tracks and high above the concerned, curious faces of the crowd and especially the Ob.

Ashima-Shimtu could not understand the bond she felt with this mortal, and said as much. Quratulain, for her part, felt the parallels were evident, and said as much too. Ashima-Shimtu wanted to know how Quratulain had thrived, having gained her freedom, for she had found it hard:

“Centuries in a prison, and Ashima-Shimtu only attempted escape once. Surely she was a perfect prisoner. Her will was restrained, so what could she do but obey the Clergy and meditate on her sins. She meditated on the Clergy’s sins as well. She had known Triegenes. He was a man of true light. But Ashima-Shimtu never saw the world he promised.

“No, she saw everything break and fall. She…pulled, she thrashed at her chains. She wept until the bleeding left her too weak to resist. She refused her identity, so she could believe all that pain was happening to someone else. But she doesn’t deserve pity. Even a prisoner, Ashima-Shimtu was selfish. She was filled with malice, but when she tried to take revenge, all she achieved was just to make sure she did not bleed alone.

“But that was someone else, she told herself. Except there was no self left to tell. “She could not be free. She was forbidden the choice even to die.

“Finally, finally her chains broke. She crawled out into a world without a sun. She believed she could do whatever she desired. Wretched, dragging her chains with her, she yearned for the old villainy.

“But she cannot! She… I cannot!

“Triegenes promised all could be redeemed. I thought I’d changed. But now I feel it, in the air. I cannot choose. I must do what… what they say is right! There’s no temptation to overcome, so how can I be redeemed? If this is freedom, it’s worse than the chains ever were.

“It is worse a lie than any ever told by Ashima-Shimtu, and I will tell it no more! I don’t want this false freedom. If it’s the only choice I am granted, give me death.”

Quratulain shrugged. “Like you I decided to try to do ‘good’. Even more so now that I am carrying a child. But I am only doing good for myself, not for anyone else. Though I try to do things for others, I’m still the same bitch. We kill people and impose our will on others. But if you kill a million bastards, there’s still a million bastards running around.”

Strangely, this – more than any argument about the world being controlled by the Ob, and not a world for freewill to flourish in – had the desired effect on the demoness.

“Very well. I will help you do what you must here; but I won’t break my promise to the Mastermind, and will stay here, to see who wins. If you are right, it will be you.”

“Hopefully, we will see each other when all this is over,” said Quratulain.

Then to the two devils descended upon Gardienne du Cherage and made short work of her and her allies.

End of Session
 

SanjMerchant

Explorer
Session 254 - Part Three

Each Final Flourish


...

When he spoke, he wasn’t sure whether he was resisting the temptation or giving in to it. “You’re free. Now do whatever the fuck you want. But hurry up about it, because you don’t have much time.”

There was a huge, deep, dwarven roar from the crowd. Oddly, many of the people began embracing one another, embraces which became passionate, and eventually, naked.
Dwarves are a very literal people, aren't they?

...

In response to this unspoken reproach, Rumdoom raised his hammer and held it threateningly over Vlendham, as if he intended to strike him. The old dwarf’s eyes flinched and he began to raise his hands, but then lowered them again. Kvarti, Heid’s some-time bodyguard looked aghast, but apart from that did not react. Then Rumdoom lowered his hammer.

“What did he do to deserve that?” asked Kvarti.

“It’s not about him! It’s about me!” bellowed Rumdoom.
Wat.

...

But Leon called for calm and prevented further bloodshed. He told them that he and the other allies of King Baldrey of Risur, having saved Alais Primos twice, would now go to Axis Island and save the world. They could help, he said, with their prayers, which the Ob had sought to silence.
has flashbacks to Final Fantasy IV final boss cutscene

...

Gupta was able to use the strange bond she felt for all those around her, to impart an ideal. She asked for their prayers in the fight to come, ...
flashback intensifies

...

“And don’t bite people. It’s rude.”

...
Really, this is just sound advice for life in general.

... “You, Pardo, must lose an ear.”

...
Hey, he and Redcloak can be buddies!

...

“But she cannot! She… I cannot!
Eager to learn how this actually played at the table. It's one of those things that I can see being a really awesome, powerful character moment or coming off as super cheesey.

...

Quratulain shrugged. “Like you I decided to try to do ‘good’. Even more so now that I am carrying a child. But I am only doing good for myself, not for anyone else. ...
Well, you'll never get into the Good Place with that attitude!
 
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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
We did it!

Okay, so I'm a bit behind with the write-ups on here, but I couldn't help posting to say that I'm in the delirious process of recovering from our marathon finale weekend. Last Sunday we played out the 'semi-final' encounter with the Voice of Rot, in a session that lasted five hours.

This weekend, we rented a house - yes, a whole house - and began the final encounter on Friday night. Played for three-and-a-half hours. Paused it overnight; drank a lot; went to bed. Resumed after a late breakfast at around 11am and took until 8:30pm to finish.

That's how long it took to play out 21 rounds of combat. Exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. Seriously, I feel like we just wrapped on a movie set.

Never in a million years would I have considered devoting that amount of time and energy to a roleplaying game, but Zeitgeist demands that you raise your game.

Thanks to the whole team at EN Publishing for giving us seven years of gaming pleasure. And thanks (should you ever read this far) to Tom, Sean, Stephen, Jon, Jose, Michael and Jeff. (With a special shout out to Shelley who would have been there if he could.) I'm also very grateful for my patient (and heavily pregnant) wife who was left looking after our two little boys while I indulged my fanciful hobby. I promised her 'never again' and I mean it.

We're leaving it a month for the dust to settle before we run the denouement.

Should give me just enough time to write the fucker up.
 

SanjMerchant

Explorer
We did it!

Okay, so I'm a bit behind with the write-ups on here, but I couldn't help posting to say that I'm in the delirious process of recovering from our marathon finale weekend. Last Sunday we played out the 'semi-final' encounter with the Voice of Rot, in a session that lasted five hours.

This weekend, we rented a house - yes, a whole house - and began the final encounter on Friday night. Played for three-and-a-half hours. Paused it overnight; drank a lot; went to bed. Resumed after a late breakfast at around 11am and took until 8:30pm to finish.

That's how long it took to play out 21 rounds of combat. Exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. Seriously, I feel like we just wrapped on a movie set.

Never in a million years would I have considered devoting that amount of time and energy to a roleplaying game, but Zeitgeist demands that you raise your game.

Thanks to the whole team at EN Publishing for giving us seven years of gaming pleasure. And thanks (should you ever read this far) to Tom, Sean, Stephen, Jon, Jose, Michael and Jeff. (With a special shout out to Shelley who would have been there if he could.) I'm also very grateful for my patient (and heavily pregnant) wife who was left looking after our two little boys while I indulged my fanciful hobby. I promised her 'never again' and I mean it.

We're leaving it a month for the dust to settle before we run the denouement.

Should give me just enough time to write the fucker up.
Looking forward to what kind of havoc they've wreaked on the setting.

Also sad that this is coming to an end.
 





gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
200000 views!

Nicely timed. And still the mystery of who the hell reads this persists. (Other than a handful of very welcome regulars, of course.)
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 255, Part One

The Great Planar Debate

DM's Notes and Intro


Knowing that we would soon reach the point when Linia told the unit which planes their Gyre selves had chosen, we ran the start of this session a bit differently. Everyone arrived ready to take part in the big debate (or Convocation?) they had held with their allies on Teykfa (which we elided over at the time). All the relevant information had been sent out by email, and we spent about half the session talking things over.

I made the decision not to track things too closely, or make copious notes, so that I could follow the conversation at the table and join in as NPCs at relevant moments.

Of course, I regret that decision now, as the debate itself was great fun, and it would have been nice to be able to report on the ebb and flow in a bit more detail. There was an initial surge of agreement, leading to a line-up of planes that remained solid for a while, before the whole thing shifted again, and ended up looking very different.

Once the final decision was made and everyone was happy with it, we left the debate behind and returned to the story in Lanjyr (though we would switch back to the Gyre at the very end of the session for a cliffhanger ahead of our 'semi-final Sunday').

Here, confusingly out of context, are some random notes I jotted down:
  • Uru arrives with detailed notes. Challenges others if they haven’t prepared their own ideas on paper: "Oh, yeah? But have you got it written down?!?" (Waves notes in face of baffled opponent.)
  • Bhalu and Kieran Sentacore, for an intellectual exercise, have designed and present a number of extremes: Utopian, Pastoral, Technological and God-like.
  • Rumdoom says very little. Uru's initial plan includes Dunkelweiss, knowing Rumdoom is set on it. (Uru is always keen to foster allies.) Dunkelweiss is later removed from the line-up. Rumdoom remains silent. Uru points out the omission repeatedly, but Rumdoom says nothing. Eventually, Dunkelweiss goes back in as a minor plane, but no one is sure if this is enough for Rumdoom.
  • Uriel is keen to include Apet to block off the multiverse. Korrigan isn't as happy with this idea; he never liked it - it seems cowardly to him. (And Gupta says they should be more able to deal with threats than the Ancients were). Uriel resigns himself to his, as if confirming a private resolution.
  • William Miller puts in a kind word for the benefits of Ascetia. (Gupta seconds this.)
  • Quratulain points out that they will still have to look after whatever version they create, or it will "all go tits up just like last time".
  • Gupta asks if it is a good idea to be able to mess with time. Leon says no. (He’s the expert.) Teykfa is taken off the table. Kai asks how they can hope to get help 'through time' like they have been if they can't manipulate it. Uriel says none of the help they've had has come from the future. Kai says, "How do you know?" Teykfa goes back in as a minor plane.
  • Gupta wants to see Reida removed. “The time for prophecy is over.”
  • Just when a solution has almost been reached, Korrigan throws Etheax into the mix. (Uru throws his hands into the air. "Why didn't you say that an hour ago?!?") Korrigan likes the traits, but also wants to help out the goblins. This persuasive argument sees Jiese moved over to Life, with mutliple knock-on effects. They end up with a very satisfying cluster of complementary benefits around Life, Earth and Fire.
  • After another half-hour of tinkering, everyone is happy with the outcome. Except Rumdoom, who says nothing.
  • Once everything is done, Amielle Latimer says, “I like the fact that we’ve rescued all the people we met. I made the right decision. You really are the good guys. ”
 
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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
I should add, I took a note from RangerWickett and ran with it, allowing the unit to include certain planes as minor planes, tagged on to another. But the difficulty of doing so during the final encounter would increase with every one they tried to insert in this way, encouraging them to prioritise the ones they really wanted (and save others for later in the process, just in case it didn't work). They couldn't resist the temptation, and included three.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Here, for reference, are Uru's initial choices;

FIRE - Jiese - Industry
LIFE - Av - reflects the world
AIR - Caleoon - people endure hardship
TIME - Teykfa - long-term consequences and time magic
DEATH - Nem - spirits are stronger (a bit of self-interest here)
EARTH - Urim - 'because the are earth ones are shit'
WATER - Mavisha - Islands hold secrets

Not being an expert in matters arcane, Uru forgot Space. Dunkelweiss is Uru's only minor plane. So, from the very beginning, Rumdoom's only request was sidelined...
 





gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Sorry if I'm very late to this party, but congratulations!
Question: did you use the 4E or the pathfinder version?
Thanks! Better late than never!

We used 4e up to adventure 5. Switched to Cypher System for the rest, to speed things up!
 

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