Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
 
Zeitgeist: Digging for Lies - Session 1

In the previous session the group finished the second adventure of the Zeitgeist adventure path, The Dying Skyseer. So this time we started adventure 3, Digging for Lies. After having arrested Mayor Reed Macbannin, who then committed suicide in custody, the constables were removed from the case by Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby, who doesn't like other members of the RHC getting too much press. Now they are on duty to supervise the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Exposition (imagine an early World Exposition). While the local police is in charge of pickpockets and drunkards, the RHC is supposed to keep an eye out for more sinister plots, like industrial espionage, or illegal arms trading.

Arriving at the fair they meet their police contact, Sergeant Sara Lockheart. The police is mainly concentrating around the three main pavilions, for military, railway, and industry. The group decides not to have a look around this main area, but heads for the more interesting gun alley stage to the north. Here they find different vendors of classic and futuristic firearms and armor, as well as ammunition, holsters, and other gun related stuff. Famed explorer and musician Rock Rackus also has his tent in this area, preparing a show about his daring travel to the moon. A shooting range is offering people the opportunity to test fire or try out their newly acquired guns.

Somewhat dispersed among these various activities, the constables watch what is going on. A young mage with long, blond hair, carrying a wooden staff, enters the shooting range and negotiates its use for testing out his magical staff. Suddenly, out of nowhere, several strange monsters appear. They are unlike any monsters the group has ever heard of, and they are phasing and insubstantial. Aria the spirit medium, as well as the two psionics James and Artus, are able to identify that as a property called "thoughtform". They believe the monsters have something to do with thought, or could be influenced by thought, but without knowing exactly how. The young mage fires a magic missile from his staff at one of the monsters, but that appears to summon yet another monster next to him. It is also curious that when he uses his staff as an implement, the wooden staff turns into solid gold for a round.

Combat ensues, but in spite of that the constables are able to persuade the mage to stop using his staff. However the already existing monster prove to be very tough, due to their insubstantial trait reducing all damage by half. Artus has a spell that gives all allies around him the ability to hit insubstantial monsters with full damage from melee attacks, but the group is so dispersed that no melee combatant is close to him. For several rounds the group just doesn't move much and each constable hits the monster closest to him. This lack of concentrated fire doesn't make the fight easier or shorter. So because of real life time constraints we had to stop in the middle of the battle and leave the rest of the fight for the next session.

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Comments:
Imagine magic in the real world, investigating crime carried out by magic must be a major headache :-)
 
I'm completely unfamiliar with how these games work. Can your players move to a position and attack on the same turn? I imagine if they can't it leads to a lot of situations where they just run to whatever is closest and just attack that.
 
Yes, in D&D4 the players explicitly have one movement action, one standard action, and one minor action per turn. So they can move and attack, or attack and then disengage. You can do a lot of nifty tactical tricks by moving, but sometimes players just stand still and hit the monster next to them.
 
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