Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
 
Zeitgeist: The Dying Skyseer - Session 16 (and last)

In the previous session the group finally killed Cillian Creed, whose killing of a young girl had kicked of this adventure. They had arrested Mayor Reed Macbannin and thus taken care of the main characters behind the production of witchoil. What remained to do now was to stop that production and prevent what could best be described as the first industrial disaster of that world. Besides the mayor, who was willing to help to stop the catastrophe, the constables also relied on the help of a technician whom they found hiding in one of the rooms of the witchoil laboratory. They kept the two apart so that they couldn't agree on a story and could be questioned separately on the technical details.

The problem as the mayor told them was that on the lower floor there was an enchanted eldritch machine which tapped a rift in the Shadowfell plane to produce an endless flow of witchoil. Normally that witchoil was then pumped deeper into the mountain for a purpose the mayor couldn't talk about. Couldn't as in really couldn't, as apparently he was under a geas type of spell that prevented him from talking about the purpose of the witchoil operation. The earthquake had stopped the pumps and the power supply, but the group had already managed to restore the power.

Now they went downstairs, where they found the room where the eldritch engine was supposed to be already flooded with witchoil. An alarm rang out from the pump room, but no pumps were running. With the help of the technician they disabled the alarm and started the pump. However that caused another alarm, and the technician quickly shut down the pump again. He showed the group a pressure gauge that indicated a dangerous rise in pressure when the pump was turned on. Apparently the relief outflow pipe of witchoil had been crushed. The group went to the room and crossed some catwalks to reach the outflow pipes. A big lever was set to "relief", and they moved it in the other position, "down". Now they could restart the pumps and the level of the witchoil dropped. Once the level was low enough to empty the room with the eldritch engine, the mayor warned them to stop pumping oil down because of serious consequences he still couldn't talk about. So they stopped the pumps, went to the eldritch engine and turned the spigot off. Eldion even managed to close the rift and permanently disabled the eldritch engine.

They discussed destroying the witchoil laboratory completely, but the lab was their main piece of evidence of the wrongdoings of Mayor Reed Macbannin. So instead they sent two group members to fetch their boss, Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft. Delft was somewhat reluctant, because his boss, Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby was absent, but they could persuade him that this was urgent and so he came with soldiers and other constables to secure the witchoil laboratory. The manor was on fire from the earthquake, so the group couldn't search it. So they followed their boss's instructions and transported Macbannin to the court house, where a special hearing was convened for the next day. Not allowed to stay and guard the mayor, the constables returned with their boss to the Royal Homeland Constabulary HQ. There Lady Saxby had returned and gave Delft a bollocking for having acted without her approval. The group was nevertheless commended, but removed from the case in order to "prevent negative effects from their rising notoriety" (while Lady Saxby then went to give an interview to the newspapers how she personally had overcome this danger to the city).

The next day the court hearing started, but the accused wasn't present. The constables went to the holding cells, where they found the guards in disarray and Macbannin dead. Apparently the mayor had first started talking to himself (one guard thought he heard mention of "the council"), then asked a guard for a cigarette; after smoking that Macbannin repeatedly crushed his skull into the cell wall and died before the guards could open the cell door and restrain him. Thus the hearing ended prematurely and the constables returned to the HQ. There they were told to not involve themselves any more with the witchoil case or Gale, but to prepare security for the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Exposition in two and a half months time. With that we ended the session, and the characters reached level 5. Soon we will start the next adventure of the campaign, Digging for Lies.

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These are always an entertaining read, please keep them coming Tobold. :)
 
Very enjoyable. I am intrigued to know if they failed anything or had alternative choices that might have retrieved evidence from the manor or kept the mayor alive to see trial. They saving the village, found evidence of a plot and got a commendation but it sounds as though they might have potentially done even better. Where did their ending rank on a scale of bad to golden outcomes and what might the extremes (and their triggering conditions) have been?
 
You're actually touching on a weak point of the Zeitgeist Adventure Path there. It is designed to be played over 13 adventures, and there is an overarching story that goes all the way from adventure 1 to adventure 13. Which means that at the end of adventure 2 the best you can achieve is "solving" the crimes and mysteries of adventure 2 and get a glimpse of more to come. The information of who is behind everything is revealed in later adventures, and giving it out early would just spoil those later adventures. In some cases they can't kill a key character or keep one alive, because that characters life or death is essential for future adventures.
 
Shame. I thought there might be more branches and possible tiers of foreshadowing based in mission results, but I guess those things would be too complex to carry forward in an episodic pen and paper game. It is complex enough with the defined limits of c-rpg. I am reminded of Dragon Age. The Warden (game 1 PC) is virtually impossible to fit into any of the subsequent games because of the diverse number of critical story branches.
 
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