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ZEITGEIST Zeitvice: one GM's guide to the best AP

arkwright

Explorer
Good morning, folks. I hope no one will mind if I make a full thread for Zeitvice, my collection of tips and wisdom drawn from my experience running the Adventure Path to 99% completion. A single thread should help aggregate feedback, suggestions, and my updates on my progress writing the document.

As of 11/8/20, Zeitvice is in Version 0.3, my way of saying I have written advice covering up to the end of Act 1 of 3. Sincere thanks to Earth Seraph Edna for editing, to Ranger/Ryan for authoring Zeit and past forum replies, and to all Zeit fans I've spoken with.

Please feel free to post below, to get in touch, and to point out places in Zeitvice where misunderstanding, misremembering or bias has led me to stray from the AP text.

Introduction/Disclaimer!
Zeitgeist is, in my opinion, the greatest adventure path ever written. Every single one of its thirteen books are crammed with interesting characters, with fun and exciting encounters, with intriguing plot and thoughtful worldbuilding. It is ambitious in a way no other adventure is.

Yet- it has massive, glaring flaws. Some are clearly born from time constraints. Some are clearly born from the authors of the different books miscommunicating. Some are born from the curious ways it was written- the plot from a PF perspective, yet the encounters far better in 4e. Hence Zeitvice.

What you will find (within) can be roughly sorted into two sets of advice. First, ways to run Zeitgeist well; problems and how to avoid them, information from later that is useful if known earlier, tips on encounter math. Secondly, ways to run the perfect Zeitgeist; where you seize onto the half-complete ideas in Zeitgeist and attempt to construct what was intended, to apply your own ideas, or both.

Edit 1/9/2020: Updated to include Book 6 and some overall Act 2 thoughts.
Edit 30/3/2021: Updated to include Book 7 and a PDF version to better future-proof Zeitvice.
Edit 15/10/2021: Updated to include Book 8.

Zeitvice is written independently of Ryan Nock’s sequel setting.
 

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Tormyr

Hero
I know you felt this was too "editorial" to be added as a resource, but I read the latest version and still feel that it deserves a spot on the Resources even though it is less "crunchy". Resources come in all shapes, and this one allows prospective GMs to see what is coming up, even if they might feel differently about a particular element. It also creates its own discussion thread linked to the resource.
 

arkwright

Explorer
Mmm. On the one hand, the resources post are extremely crunchy; NPC face-cards, a translated player's guide. On the other hand there are basically no resources aside from the official player's guides, so perhaps there isn't any forum norm that resources not be editorial. I'll have a think.
 

Crispy120286

Explorer
This is fantastic! My group is mid way through the 4th module and you have pointed out some things I haven't noticed yet or good ideas on expanding or improving storylines. Great work!
 


Lylandra

Adventurer
This is a very wonderful and richly detailed insight into ZEITGEIST and its modules, so thank you :)

Should I ever try to DM it myself or make a more novel-like writeup of our campaign, I'll definitely use it as a second opinion. I have and will continue to discuss some of the issues or thoughts in my own thread and I do believe that our thoughts very much overlap on many occasions and don't on others (for example, I have very different thoughts on Nicodemus' character :D)
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
My thoughts on Act 3 preperation/issues.
0.5) Work out if your group will be ok with one of them being monarch and not have problems with the power issue of one being in charge , if they will have problems with that make an NPC monarch , the plot works better with a PC monarch but it will split some groups and cause interplayer issues.
1)Be prepared for the vastly overpowered abilities of high level characters and the weird and wacky solutions they allow, unfortunatly that means improvising but be ready to do that. May be less of an issue in 4th/5th my impression is that the high end abilities of casters are less impressive than in pathfinder.
2) Think about the characterisation of Nicodemus and how you will react if your players try to reach out to the Ob. I feel it necessary to prevent a negotiation with the Ob, but have good reasons why they can't cooperate. I have blamed it all on Nic being unreasonable and refusing to allow 'lesser minds' and untrustworthy types to mess up his grand plan but this is a mediocre method so far, I Think perhaps having the Voice of Rot having done a better job of framing the pc's and Risur for the sabotage may help. Perhaps he managed to create or have created Simulcrums to take part in the sabotage so everyone has really good reason to blame them.
3) I had some issues with how the incarnation of the gods and their sacrifice worked, with my players asking questions I found hard to answer. Decide how your cosmology works , what the gods are and if this is really killing the god or just an Avatar. In general do a better job than I have on seperating the standard D+D cosmology from this setting so it does not mess with players expectations , this has been an issue for me from the begginning but I only worked out what was causing me hassle towards the end.
4) Look closely at the Gyre and decide if you want to mess with it changing some worlds or adding others which will complicate your players decision making. This has been a lot of fun for me and let me personalise the Gyre
5) Find out if your players want to to an advanced course in Universe building or keep it simple.
6) The final battles against the Voice of Rot and Nic. For all high level fights you are going to have to do some rebuilding to make them the appropriate challange for your groups. But think what sort of battle will work for your players, the battle agaisnt the VOR is really going to be a head to head violent confontation I can't think of another way it can go. The showdown on Axis island I think as written falls between two stools if you want a dramatic all aout battle with the Ob and the players throwing in everything they can then add Clergy angelic legions, Drakran Battle Tripods and Necromances, Danoran aerial gunships etc and let the players call on their allied Fey Titans, Risuri commando's , Beran berserkers , Vekeshi assassins whatever and make it an earth shatterring battle. Or make it more a philosphical confrontation as the players strip away Nic's allies and leave him alone to prove his righteousness against the world , this may be particularly satisfying if your players have worked hard to bring everyone on to their side and you want to reward them. I am leaning towards the Philsophical battle and secret reveal of the finals allies Nic has made which have driven his madness and unwillingness to reason with the pc's
7) The battle of Axis Island , after they meet with Pemberton on Axis island your group may like mine want to fight to defend the island, work out how you can stop them or how to run the battle. It makes no difference in the end of they win or lose as when the Ob takes over the world while the players are indisposed they will regain control to setup the finale but you players may decide they have to hold the island so be ready to let them try. My version of Risur and Danor's navies adjsuted to match real warships from history is on the boards somewhere prepared for just this battle
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I discussed a couple of things with my players and they agreed that if Nic had seen them (or their simulcra) at the sabotage of the ritual it would make his obsessive blaming of them much more understandable and it made sense that having met them on several occasions that the Voice of Rot could create such duplicates. I strongly recomend going with something like that to make things more explainable to the players in book 10,11 and 13
 

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