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

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
For the ZG setting where you are getting cartridge firearms with revolvers and breech loaders you probably need guns to be better than bows except possibly for the very best archers, for the earlier smoothbore muzzleloaders PF makes them far to good historically until at least the 1870's a skilled archer was better than a musket armed soldier. It is just easier to train musketeers it takes a few weeks not the years to train a longbowman.
This of course is the opposite of almost every RPG systems which makes smoothbore guns require skilled experts and be much more accurate than bows. Just make early firearms useless so pc's don't use them and make revolvers and breechloading rifles slightly better than longbows , small bonus to hit and the same damage should work. The big advantage they had was they were still easier to use and you could take cover while loading and firing which is not well represented in most RPG rules anyway
 

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Arcaneshield

Explorer
I'm running the fourth edition version of this adventure and have decided not to use the Naval combat rules. They were a bit too complicated and my party did not seem interested in going into in depth naval combat. So I ask with the ending of act one how do you suggest I run the big epic confrontation with borne?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Wing it.
Let the players make decisons maybe make a few dice rolls then describe events, use the examples from the naval combat description as inspirations and just allow a few personal encounters with whitch oil slimes etc. I think most GM's just wing this encounter and don't use the naval rules
 

I would focus on constructing a set-piece battle against vengeful spirits released by Borne, with the PCs charged with protecting Aodhan. The raging waters and the cannon fire would be a backdrop to that. I might also consider running a naval battle anyway, with a more skill-challenge-like structure, rather than anything focusing on ship statistics.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I made sure to make the players feel very inolved in the decision making so beside protecting the king they came up with several schemes to confuse and distract bourne to prevent him sinking ships. Every time they succesfully implemented a plan I amde sure to describe how it had ennabled one or more warships to disengage from him and avoid being sunk
 

Gort

Explorer
My group's just starting the last two adventures now. Any tips on making the ending of the campaign land well?

They pretty much got the "good" ending for Ber, Drakr and Crissilyir, so the world's doing about as well as could be expected.

At the start of Adventure 12 it mentions that Rock Rackus is dating a ghost now. Who is it?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
If you look at my ongoing write up you will see what I am doing.
1) Tailor it to your group. This is the most important thing anything suggested which won't fit your group is bad even if in other contexts it is great.
2) Will your group enjoy playing building blocks with the Gyre and the Axis island ritual. If they do seriously consider adding a few extra worlds . In particular I think Water , Time , Fire and Space could use some more difficult choices. But add planes which go with your idea of the Gyre and what your group will find interesting.
3) The Voice of Rot probably needs reinforcments to face a reasonably well designed and coordinated team. May depend on the system but in Pathfinder and probably 5th ed Action economy is a killer, Bosses need minions to distract the team. I went for the 4 remaining riders from Drakr , the Cleric Professor from the assasination of the King and Creed. They were loose ends and this ties them up also my players though Creed may make another appearance and I hate to dissapoint them.
4) Think about the confrontation with Nicodemus. If your group has worked hard to win over Kasavarina and other allies a straight battle may not work so well. I am going for more of a philosophical confrontation punctuated by violence. I am also giving them all their allies to help, Nic will have allies many of which will defect and finally call in his recently aquired allies of the shining legion , my players thought he had made the shift over to definite evil so I am going to give them that. It wil lead to a big confrontation and the world they build will end up letting them drive off the legion. Your group may want to fight Nic and kill him and not worry about philosphy if so give them that but make sure he had enough minions to put up a good fight
5) When they race around the world to stop Nic's plot think what if any loose ends and interests they have in each of those places and add them in
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
Also, decide on how to run the adventures. You can either use 12 or 13 as the last one or split both up and run them side by side. The latter version seems to be the suggested path, but it leads to player-character dissonance, and possibly a bit of frustration. I'll go more into our "problems" with the amnesiac start of adventure 13 in my thread, but if your party plays less by adventure logic and more like hardcore "actual people", then you'd really risk them joining forces with Nic in the last part.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I let my players know they had a hunch something would turn up for the ritual. Even then Nic had managed to annoy them so much they would not have trusted him to buy a sandwhich let alone fix the world. Using just the 4 icons they picked up earlier and the Ob planes they could do something more workable than the current configuration , and if you let the players know what configuration he is planning to use then I can't see any group signing up to implement his clockwork disaster with no planar protection plan. It is clear evidence he has jumped the shark and not just any shark , a Nightwave.

But how the split between the two arcs works is down to what will fit your groups style, I established the split and then took book 12 all the way to the fight with the Voice before doing book 13 . I had a crazy moment when I considered doing the final battles of both books side by side but that would be a nightmare to run particularly in time limited sessions over the internet so I abandoned my thoughts of drama management
 

jjtraw

Explorer
I am so glad I've read this. I started Module 3 Digging for Lies a few weeks ago, and the info here has been incredibly helpful. It was really good to have an idea of what was in the Pemberton tent, because I knew my players wouldn't let that go! I don't think it's a problem, though, that Sijen is more or less sane after millenia in a portal. He's a thoughtform creature, after all, and that changes the rules of psychology for him quite a bit. If my players manage to kill him in the end, rather than threatening that his "brother" will come back, I'll have Sijen mutter that "It's not so easy to kill an idea." That thought should resonate with the philosophical tone of the campaign in general as well.
 

arkwright

Explorer
Glad it helped. 'The rules of being trapped for millenia underneath a portal are different for thoughtforms' is indeed a pretty good excuse, would have been good for the AP to have it. Plus Sijhen apparently didn't even experience the time passing, unlike the merfolk.

I can see how 'not so easy to kill an idea' would seem pretty appropriate. I'd be a touch wary since the hiveminds are much better examples of 'ideas', where the individual Gidim are aliens, so it may not suit perfectly. Some alien-themed last words could be good- I'd be tempted to say "beam me up, Cijhen... Cihen, do you read me..."
 

Crispy120286

Explorer
I was considering creating a new thread for this one question but this one seems like it'll be great for questions and answers as well.

We just completed Always on Time. The books tells what will happen if they manage to capture Lya, but not what happens if they Capture Luc and Ottavia, which my party did. What would the fallout be now that my party managed to kidnap Luc Jierre and Ottavia? Would the Soverign immediately call Risur for his release?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
One reason for the difference is Lya is important for future plot , Luc is not so how he is handled is very much up to the GM.
Points to consider
1)Luc is an Academic with useful insights into planar energies but the big project the lantern is complete. He is not vital to anything
2)Luc knows nothing about the Ob neither does Ottavia both are low tier members they would have been inducted into the conspiracy if they had not been captured so leaving them in Risuri hands will not reveal the Ob. Lya knows a LOT , not a much as she thinks but a lot.
3) Lya is Hans heir , Luc is a cousin.

The peace treaty with Risur is personally important to Han and Lya so as long as they don't think Luc is being mistreated they will probably not make waves before episode 5's peace conference after all if they reach a settlement with Risur then releasing Luc would be a simple matter. Making a big fuss endangers the peace settlement and would only be worthwhile if they did not expect the negotiations to succeed and would tell the Risuri they expected failure and probably incline the Risuri to keep Luc.

So I think they would make little fuss unless he is being tortured or something, requesting that a Danoran consular official be allowed to check on his well being seems reasonable.
Ottavia is not important.

So I had the Danorans include it in the negotiations but otherwise do nothing, if your players want to interact with Luc and Ottavia more or demanding his return would otherwise move the plot along go for it but as a default leave it as part of the (doomed) negotiations

Edit. For me Luc and Ottavia remained in Risur and later events plus persuasion turned them against the Ob, Luc became an advisor on planar mechanics assisting the pc's in their planar manipulation, he married Ottavia in the epilogue
 


Arcaneshield

Explorer
One reason for the difference is Lya is important for future plot , Luc is not so how he is handled is very much up to the GM.
Points to consider
1)Luc is an Academic with useful insights into planar energies but the big project the lantern is complete. He is not vital to anything
2)Luc knows nothing about the Ob neither does Ottavia both are low tier members they would have been inducted into the conspiracy if they had not been captured so leaving them in Risuri hands will not reveal the Ob. Lya knows a LOT , not a much as she thinks but a lot.
3) Lya is Hans heir , Luc is a cousin.

The peace treaty with Risur is personally important to Han and Lya so as long as they don't think Luc is being mistreated they will probably not make waves before episode 5's peace conference after all if they reach a settlement with Risur then releasing Luc would be a simple matter. Making a big fuss endangers the peace settlement and would only be worthwhile if they did not expect the negotiations to succeed and would tell the Risuri they expected failure and probably incline the Risuri to keep Luc.

So I think they would make little fuss unless he is being tortured or something, requesting that a Danoran consular official be allowed to check on his well being seems reasonable.
Ottavia is not important.

So I had the Danorans include it in the negotiations but otherwise do nothing, if your players want to interact with Luc and Ottavia more or demanding his return would otherwise move the plot along go for it but as a default leave it as part of the (doomed) negotiations

Edit. For me Luc and Ottavia remained in Risur and later events plus persuasion turned them against the Ob, Luc became an advisor on planar mechanics assisting the pc's in their planar manipulation, he married Ottavia in the epilogue

Luc and Lya are brother and sister. Nathan Jierre is the cousin. However Lya is a politician so is still the heir, whereas Luc went into science and is about as charismatic as a wet fart in church.
 

Crispy120286

Explorer
A good addition to Zeitvice would be a small section on requisitions. I don't believe my group is using them correctly and from everything I read, not many groups use it at all. This is the way I use it in my campaign, I allow my party to requisition all the gear they need for the upcoming mission. Especially since they receive their stipends right in the middle of an adventure, but if you look at the rules of requisitions, you should only be able to get a single magic item per favor. Id argue that it might take the RHC until the following morning to gather everything from their shopping lists but they should be able to get whatever gear they need for the missions, especially in Adventure 5 when they receive 20,000+GP each. Anything additional would require rolls at the additional +2 for more favors in a single day.

How did everyone else use requisitions? Any suggestions on how @arkwright should update Zeitvice with this information?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I think the use of requisitions for equipment depends on the system. I know that for reasons incomprehensible to me 5th edition eliminated any system or economic value of magical items so that will work totally differently and I have no idea how.
I gave every body wealth by level at each level and left equipment at that, the only stuff I had to approve was the Maniac Goblins selection of artillery so requisitions never got used for their personal gear.

Requisitions I used for calling in favours and we only really used it early on, later on in the campaign particularly the third act the players had almost the full resources of the kingdom on call including the full military. In book 8 they had a special forces team, and always borrowed ships when needed

In the early books I tended to let them call up resources with an appropriate skill check based on their backgrounds, so the scholar could get opinions from academics , the Vekeshi could get fey to help (a small treant in her garden for instance ate the assassin sent by the crimeboss) and when they called for military help they got soldiers from regiments they knew in their background. I would also have allowed access to rare, expensive and resusable magic items if they needed them drawn from the royal stocks and not exposed to danger.

So I suppose my answer is I bore in mind their rank, relationship with groups and diplomatic skills and then gave them what felt appropriate for the story and their efforts rather than strictly following the rules. Probably the time this was the most effort was in book 6 when they had to bribe Ber, Lya is giving away lots of stuff (ships, factories etc) so realistically the players had to be able to promise something similar so I had to give them access to stuff then so they could fund railroads etc. That is something that needs thinking about in advance and perhaps telling the players in advance what they can offer and what their bribe fund is
 

I personally think that the requisitions subsystem is broken in all versions of the adventure path, and that it should be replaced with a simple, cleaner method of simply resetting wealth-by-level (minus consumables) at each level.
 

arkwright

Explorer
In my game I more or less left the requisition subsystem to my players, like Edna, and I believe Edna made a few changes to balance out favors. And we went with WBL-resets.

I don't have too much to say on the topic; other than that Zeit somewhat loses interest in the prestige system as books go by, offering fewer and fewer opportunities to leverage prestige independent of the requisition system. Some prestige like Clergy has almost no opportunities.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
A good addition to Zeitvice would be a small section on requisitions. I don't believe my group is using them correctly and from everything I read, not many groups use it at all. This is the way I use it in my campaign, I allow my party to requisition all the gear they need for the upcoming mission. Especially since they receive their stipends right in the middle of an adventure, but if you look at the rules of requisitions, you should only be able to get a single magic item per favor. Id argue that it might take the RHC until the following morning to gather everything from their shopping lists but they should be able to get whatever gear they need for the missions, especially in Adventure 5 when they receive 20,000+GP each. Anything additional would require rolls at the additional +2 for more favors in a single day.

How did everyone else use requisitions? Any suggestions on how @arkwright should update Zeitvice with this information?
At first, I was planning on using the first part of the Requisitioning Equipment section as a bit of a baseline on where the party should be for their gear based on their prestige. In other words, that would be the level of items the party can keep from adventure to adventure (a little like resetting starting wealth like @EarthSeraphEdna suggested). Then the second section only comes up when they realize mid adventure, "Hey, we need one of those." Now, I am thinking about basing it off of the stipend instead, although that has its own parts to figure out.

So at the start of the first adventure, the PCs start with their PHB starting equipment, then in act 2 they get their 1,000 gp stipend (which is for "purchase mundane weapons and tools, pay off contacts, travel expenses, and the like"). So they can pool together and get all of their desired weapons, tools, plate armor for the fighter, etc.

The stipends part seems to be the bigger issue to me. For 5e, the amount of wealth seems excessive. This table has what I gleaned from the adventures, but likely is missing something.
AdventureStart DateGPDays to next adventureWealthy (4 gp/day)RemainingAccumulated WealthAssumed Wealth at End
11 Spring 5001,00091364636636
21 Summer 5004,000 (1,500 + 2,500)913643,6364,272
31 Autumn 5008,000 (2,500 + 2,500 + 3,000)1014047,59611,86816,000
411 Winter 5006,000893565,76017,62823,500
58 Spring 50122,500 (9,500 + 13,000)8433622,16439,79246,000
61 Summer 50136,000 (16,000 + 20,000)9136435,63675,428
71 Autumn 50120,000 (10,000 + 10,000)7931619,68495,11250,000
880 Autumn 50120,0004819219,808114,920

Adventure 4 mentions the PCs should each have 16,000 gp in gear at end of adventure 3, but only 13,000 gp has been handed out. Nevertheless, the statement indicates that stipend should be going into requisitioning the magic items indicated in the Prestige section. There are a few places where the PCs can spend there extravagant wealth (train bribe, Kaja's magic items), but the biggest issue seems to be the lack of translation from 5e items (which lack a cost) to gp.

In the past, I have used a generic value scale for magic items based on rarity:
RarityBuy Price (gp)
Common50
Uncommon500
Rare5,000
Very Rare50,000
Legendary500,000

This could be used to bridge the gap between requisitioned items by Prestige and gp.
AdventurePrestige at endEquipment/constableValueWealth at End
111 Common50636
222 Common, 2/4 Uncommon4504,272
333 Common, 1 Uncommon, 2/4 Rare3,15011,868
444 Common, 1 Uncommon, 1 Rare, 1/4 Very Rare18,20017,628
555 Common, 1 Uncommon, 1 Rare, 1 Very Rare55,75039,792
675,428
76 (doesn't explicitly award the prestige, but many favors in adventure 8 mention Risur 6)6 Common, 2 Uncommon, 1 Rare, 1 Very Rare, and 1/4 Legendary181,30095,112

The end result is that those prices, while potentially high, could bridge the gap between stipend and the acceptable magic items held by the constables based on their Risur prestige level. They also would have the constables at roughly the right amount of wealth based on their prestige for the audit.

On thing that is missing is this assumes the PCs keep winning. If they do badly in an adventure, and their Risur prestige does not increase, the stipends are unaffected. Having the stipend adjust based on prestige possibly makes sense, but it could institute a bit of a death spiral if the PCs become too underpower.

tl;dr: Use the prices for items suggested above, and stipend will line up somewhat well with prestige assumed equipment.

Feel free to pick it apart.
 
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