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

Crispy120286

Explorer
My group uses Pathfinder which is a much more Magic Item dependent system. If we went with the core requisition rules of 1 Favor/1 Magic Item, it would take weeks to outfit my party members because they tend to buy a lot of potions, scrolls, and inexpensive utility wonderous items.
 

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Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
For Pathfinder just give them Wealth by level at each level. Do not use requisitions for this its a waste of time and effort and won't work well. The book lists an amount of gold at each level, but that basically comes out as WBL, so give them it at each level. Don't count used up expendables some are expected to be used at each level so give them full value.
There are some points where the expected levelling will be a bad place to give them new gear so in those cases delay it or if you think they need the boost give them the stuff early.
If they need an extra scroll of Raise Dead , or Clairvoyance or something use requistion for this to resolve a specific problem.

If they want to keep items from foes defeated let them , then as the campaign recomends deduct that items value from the amount they get at the next level. I let them keep flavourful but fairly useless items like the icons for free I also did not count artefacts like the Weapon of Dhbisu , the swords of Ssramma or the humble hook against wealth
 

Crispy120286

Explorer
That's how I have been doing it so far. But my party has started the habit of never looting or confiscating loot from the enemies they defeat because its not mechanically advantageous. they know that anything they loot will just get turned into the RHC so they just don't even bother. As a result they have skipped over a few unique and named magic items. Except they did pick up the Sword of Srasama in the Crypta Hereticarum.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Thats there problem! Tell them that they can keep anything they like as part of their share, you could even give them half price on it as it does not have to be crafted by the Risuri(same as if they had the feat to make it) or just tell them when an enemy has something more interesting than a +1 sword and let them decide. Really though most cool stuff is largely useless and mechanically less useful than a +2 to stat.
The reasons for this are not a flaw in the Zg AP but the mechanics, the save DC for all the neat special abilities on items is incredibly low , combined with the fact that even pc spells have trouble keeping up with saves and most special abilities trigger only on a save of 1 , so are worthless.
My pc's did not loot they did not feel it was appropriate for officials, they did note they picked up anything magical for the stores and when in the field would consider using something they just picked up but it was almost never useful. They are not big on disposable except a few scrolls of useful but niche cleric spells for the day they really need a neutralise poison

Pretty much none of the npc items were considered worthwhile by my pc's but it depends on the character (the artefacts were all interesting though and they kept all of them)
It has been a long time since my players seriously used loot from random foes in a PF campaign they usually have craft wondrous item and craft (arms armour) and that covers 90% of all the magic items they use combined with most npc's having inferior equipment and looting is just for cash anyway. I assume this is why 5th ed removed economy and looting so the wonder of loot was back, along with unfair distrubution of items, uneven power level , gettign the wrong sort of magic weapon and all the annoyances you get in 1st and 2nd edition I was happy to leave behing last century
 

skotothalamos

formerly roadtoad
my party has started the habit of never looting or confiscating loot from the enemies they defeat because its not mechanically advantageous. they know that anything they loot will just get turned into the RHC so they just don't even bother. As a result they have skipped over a few unique and named magic items. Except they did pick up the Sword of Srasama in the Crypta Hereticarum.

Several months late, but I'm just finding this thread. I made a point of keeping an RHC Quartermaster's inventory full of the items they had confiscated so that they could requisition them as needed.
 



MarkM

Explorer
The requisition system was a little tricky for us. I told them their future requisitions would be based in part on the value of the gear they turned in, so that incentivised the "finding treasure" piece of it that they enjoy and kept them from leaving everything behind. I started by giving them a maximum requisition amount and then letting them turn in gear (that was still in good shape) for different gear. The problem was that it felt almost punitive to use consumables like potions. Since they couldn't be turned back in, every time you used a consumable it permanently reduced your hypothetical max requisition amount. On the other hand, if they get to reset to the same max requisition amount after each adventure, there is effectively no cost for the consumables, so the incentive would be to buy every potion and scroll and charged item and then used them all.

Now we've landed on a "count up" system for how much they have to "spend" requisitioning items instead of a "count down" from the max requisition. The RHC has a stock of items (that slowly rotate in and out). When PCs turn things in, they are added to the sore of RHC-accessible items (unless they need to be studied or returned to someone), so they generally are available to requisition as long as their value doesn't exceed what the player has available to check out. Everything they turn in or turn back gives them credit toward something else. It's ended up being more functionally like a usual campaign (where parties gather obscene amounts of wealth and gear over time), but still thematically fits with constables checking out gear (perhaps rare or expensive gear) as opposed to these cops becoming independently wealthy "adventurers." Essentially each player has a bank account with the RHC that can only be used on gear and supplies, and it goes up and down as they check things in and out. The total amount they can "spend" is the value of what they've turned in plus whatever bonus amount they got for the adventure.

They can use favors to try to locate items (or formulae and components to create items) that aren't "in stock;" this represents RHC staff checking for available items in the city or from other RHC locations and avoids the dreaded "shopping sessions" where players use entire sessions trying to figure out what they can buy with all the gp they've accumulated from the latest massive monster hoard. The power of the item to be located and chance of success are based on their prestige (how hard is the staff going to look?), and the value of the item still has to fit in their requisitional amount.

For "treasure division" players take turns choosing items from the RHC supplies. Once they have something they can keep it forever if they like (unless it is a story item that needs to be returned to a NPC, studied, or put in a museum), but once they turn it back it becomes fair game. Many items stay available, but some appear (as the party or other constables turn things in) or disappear without notice if left in the supply and not checked out.

Because of the "frictionless" economy of being able to turn things in and check things out of the storeroom without losing value in the trade, I will have to lower the top requisition amounts from what is in the adventures and to restrict what items can be found/requisitioned to keep them from becoming overpowered as they optimize their gear. The only tricky part is setting a "correct" and reasonable value for each item. I use the "sane magical item prices" list as a jumping off point.

To manage it, I use a shared spreadsheet. Each player has a column representing the gear they have checked out and its value. It calculates so as they turn things in or check things out it shows how much they can still get. There is a second sheet that shows what the RHC has in stock at that given moment and their value. All player's handbook and normal gear is always available, so the list is just the rare or magical things. When someone checks something out, their name goes next to it and when they paste it into their column it reduces the amount they can requisition by the value of that item; when they return it to the RHC storeroom it reverses.

So far it seems to be working well. It still feels enough like our old system that the fun of finding and dividing magical treasures isn't gone, but with a thematic twist. It sounds complicated (and was to think through initially) but now it is pretty seamless and can mostly be managed by players without using time in sessions.
 


arkwright

Explorer
I've thought about it; I believe I've done half of Book 7 in my working draft. It is tricky since the further you get into the AP, the more you slowly get into 'homebrew it' and 'varies based on your group's canon' territory.

I might work on it some more, though I'd rather not promise specific update dates to avoid disappointing anyone.
 

arkwright

Explorer
Zeitvice has been updated to include Book 7.

I was wrong, my working draft hadn't touched Book 7- which isn't surprising since Book 7 proved to be an absolutely exhausting trial. Read through to see why.

I expect that more than most books, this one could benefit from community feedback, so please let me know if anyone thinks of any additional topics or problems that I should cover. Also please let me know if I have gotten book-canon crossed with my own game-canon, though I have double checked.

Thanks to Earth Seraph Edna for editing and adding a small editor/player's note to this Book.

Attached: me after finishing writing this book of Zeitvice.
 

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Falkus

Explorer
Huh, I really liked that. I've reviewed chapter seven a couple of times, but I never considered before that the players would be upset about not being able to influence the ultimate outcome, though I can see it now. To me, the main allure for players in Book Seven was discovery. Finally finding out what the ultimate goals of the Obscurati were, and discovering that they actually had the capability to carry them out.

I'll have to keep this in mind if I get here with my current camaign (here's hoping!)
 

Arkwright, you make a lot of good points about the seventh adventure, but I do want to clarify that I never intended for the Obscurati to be getting planes from the Gyre. They were using telescopes to examine planar traits and create icons, and so had thousands of stars in the night sky to choose from. The PCs are the ones with limited options.

I suppose that raises the question of whether the PCs could ever have gotten their hands on the details and golden icons of the many Ob planes, and I'm sure if it weren't 3am I'd be able to think of a way to let them find some if they put some effort in.
 

arkwright

Explorer
I think we've had this discussion about the Gyre planes before, Ranger. I believe the trouble is that, from my perspective, the Gyre planes map too neatly onto those discussed in Book 7 to be a coincidence, or at least for me to treat as a coincidence. I'll definitely add a line into Zeitvice clarifying that this is my interpretation, and explaining how the Ob use telescopes to create icons.

Sorry Ryan, not sure what you mean about the PCs getting their hands on the details and icons. I'd imagine either the PCs get briefed on the planes in Book 7 as part of infiltrating the convocation, or the pinch the Ob's stash of icons at some point in Book 10 or 12. I'd imagine that the Ob would make icons for every plane being considered, just in case. I might add that too.

I do worry that I'm falling into a trap of 'getting mad at a book because it's not doing something I think it should be doing.' As you have said before, you didn't intend Book 7 to be a super-detailed planar debate with the PCs playing a starring role. However I do believe there's enough detail in the debate and enough lines encouraging the party to take part that my position isn't unreasonable.

Book 7, page 2:
During the convocation the party learns the nature of the conspiracy’s plans, and can actually take part in the debate over how they want to change the world. The meeting lasts two days, during which the PCs can try to sway the conspiracy’s plans from within, recruit double agents, or do a bit of eavesdropping to learn the conspiracy’s weaknesses.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
And here I thought that the Obscurati messed up so much with their failed ritual that they fired several planes straight to the Gyre... like, this is what happened to Urim, Nem and Reida (and Avilona before), right? And yes, the Gyre planes and the Obscurati proposals match quite well, but we might be biased as our DM used the planes of .

As a player, we also really wanted to understand the planar mechanism and influence the vote of the Obscurati. So our DM let us influence this part and let Nic go rogue after he learned that we had our hands in the vote. Also, it would be natural to have Ob scientists explain their planar proposals in detail to those who are interested and knowledgeable enough to understand them. But I can see why many groups would care less about Obs politics, especially those who like classical adventuring.

After playing ZG myself, having some exchange with Ranger in my own thread and reading a bit here and there, I would really love to see a clarified, fluffed up and errata-ed "complete lore nerd version" of Zeitgeist to make the story more stringent and offer even more perspective on the characters, the world and their development. Which would probably make these books twice as large, but it'd be totally worth it.
 

arkwright

Explorer
I believe firing Urim/Nem/Reida into the Gyre wasn't intended, but it wasn't technically a mistake. This was always going to happen, as a result of a world being kicked out of the system due to the Axis Ritual. This is because the Gyre automatically scoops up any plane that is """doomed""" and the Axis-kicked planes qualify.

'Zeitgeist: Bigger, Longer and Uncut' would have been neat, but the time to do it would probably have been the 5e conversion.

Side note- anyone who read through Zeitvice Book 7 early, I have been updating it with a few new sections and some new lines in Planes and Planes/Lighthouses so it might be worth re-reading.
 

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