Lanjyr—Synonymous with “world” and “Material Plane,” this continent encompasses the entirety of the known world in the ZEITGEIST™ campaign. Lanjyr is a world of extremes, thanks to an abundance of magic, its clash with technology, and both of their effects on the environment. Due to the influence of the Unseen Court and the nightmare denizens of the Bleak Gate, the world possesses great natural beauty and wonder—as well as terrible darkness.
Risur—Most of the action in the ZEITGEIST adventure path occurs in Risur, a subtropical nation within the greater continent of Lanjyr. Risur maintains ancient ties to the magic of its land, struggling to adapt to a recent revolution of technology and industry. While the nation’s historic capital lies in Slate with its antique castle manors and elite gated villas, the fulcrum of its power is slowly shifting to Flint, an industrial powerhouse benefiting greatly from the nation’s need these past few decades for more and more advanced weapons and warships.
Many of the other great nations of Lanjyr, however, fear what Risur can achieve with the marriage of magic and technology, and King Aodhan of Risur worries they might try to disrupt his nation’s safety and prosperity.
Ber—Just across a mountain border to Risur’s south, the monstrous clans of a nation once ruled by dragons have aligned, which many Risuri fear is a signal to a coming invasion. In truth, the ruler of Ber, the minotaur Bruse Shantus, seems more concerned with developing his nation’s economy and industry.
Crisillyir—In Crisillyir, the power of the church is supreme. The Clergy of the theocratic nation wield piety as a lash to inflame distrust of what they claim is a godless abomination—technology. Still, its culture and architecture is austere and elegant, and its people are known for fine craftwork.
Danor—A nation bereft of magic after a cataclysm five centuries past that began the industrial revolution. Their steam-powered ships and deadly cannon fusillades have won them many battles, but the tiefling nobility of Danor seems content with the land it has acquired.
Drakr—The dwarven homeland Drakr preaches of a nihilist doomsday and sells technomantic arms and war machines to warlords and mercenaries across the land.
Elfaivar—In distant Elfaivar, small colonies of the major nations struggle against each other to claim the broken elven empire’s bounty—while the natives lash out at these interlopers, unable to forgive a centuries-old grievance still fresh in their long-lived hearts.
The Malice Lands—Few natives of any race live in this desolate, magically irradiated wasteland, but some tribes of gearmen makes their home in the old surface ruins, while the xeph have carved out a paradise in the deepest crevasses.
Yerasol Archipelago—The islands of the Yerasol Archipelago were perhaps the most verdant, beautiful battleground in history. During two centuries of intermittent warfare, untold thousands of soldiers from Risur and Danor died among the windblown rainforests and flowered beaches of those isles, trying to protect their homelands’ resources.
The Bleak Gate—A place of hopelessness, eternal despair, and consuming apathy, the Bleak Gate is a nightmarish underworld where mortal souls go after death. It is thought to be inhabited by specters, spirits, and other creatures of shadow and corruption.
The Dreaming—A surreal wonderland of raw magic and unbound nature, unspoiled by civilization. Here, the elements themselves are imbued with life, beasts possess intelligence, and the native fey operate by bizarre rules.
The Outer Planes—The great and distant otherworlds, subject to much philosophic theorizing and lively debate, and generally considered beyond all reach.
The people of Lanjyr make up a rich tapestry of races, including all the races detailed in the core rules and several other races with a unique place in this world. Each race has its own flavor and style, filling the various roles found in the highly magical societies of the ZEITGEIST campaign.
These are the playable races that typically don’t raise too many eyebrows among the setting’s non-adventuring inhabitants. While any adventurer that isn’t human is certain to elicit some gossip and excitement in his travels around the ZEITGEIST campaign world, the following are generally judged on their own merits.
Humans—Prolific, ambitious, and diverse; humans have settlements and kingdoms across the world.
Dwarves—A short but stout, tenacious and acquisitive folk hailing from various clanholds carved into the mountains.
Elves—An elegant, hauntingly beautiful people attuned to magic and nature—elves are gradually abandoning the world and dying out.
Gearmen†—A race of stalwart, “living” constructs with humanoid characteristics.
Gnomes—Small fey folk whose need to anchor themselves to the world has made them compulsive seekers of knowledge and experience.
Half-elves—A progressive-minded people descended from human-elf couplings long come into its own.
Halflings—Preferring a bucolic life of farming, eating, and socializing, halflings are a short and plucky people ubiquitous throughout human lands.
Half-orcs—A brutish-looking race common in the slums of human cities.
Tieflings—Tieflings are descended from humans cursed with fiendish, extraplanar energies.
Beings of these races are considered memorable and strange in the civilized lands of Lanjyr. In most cases, members of these races—and those who travel with them—should expect to provoke fear and persecution. NPCs interacting with such strange characters will usually have initial attitude of unfriendly, at the very least. After gaining a few levels, a monster character may find that news of her good deeds proceeds her, which may mitigate prejudice.
Included are aquatic species that might be at home in the seafaring chapters of the ZEITGEIST campaign, and those races adept in the mysterious ways of psionics.
Aventi†—The aquatic aventi are human-like descendants of a long-sunken civilization.
Aasimar—Aasimar are beings inundated with divine, extraplanar energies.
Changelings†—Maligned shapeshifters capable of disguising their appearance—and impersonating nearly anyone.
Darfellan†—Nomadic, oceangoing humanoids that possess the markings and might of killer whales.
Dromites—Extraterrestrial insects stranded in Lanjyr’s upper atmosphere, dromites are a short, psionic race of earnest explorers.
Drow—The drow are a nocturnal, dark-skinned elven folk who dwell in the lightless jungles southeast of Elfaivar.
Duergar—Far underground, the psionic, nihilistic gray dwarves toil in endless misery to propitiate an (imagined?) abomination.
Elans—A psionic race of ex-humans merged body and soul with alien entities.
Eldbrud—A primitive race of psionic goliaths, these friendly, freedom-loving half-giants are found in the hottest badlands of Ber.
Goblinoids—Goblinoids (blues, bugbears, goblins, and hobgoblins) are sneaky, murderous humanoids. While their various subspecies differ in size and temperament, they share a fondness for cruelty and an aversion to physical labor.
Kobolds—Kobolds are short, scrawny dragonkin known equally for their cowardice and their craftiness.
Maenads—A strange, seafaring, psionic race who use logic and discipline to suppress their wild emotions.
Ophiduans—Elegant, cold-blooded, curious, and cerebral, the serpent folk are among the oldest and least-trusted races in Lanjyr.
Orcs—Orcs are a barbaric race of brawny, feral humanoids once enslaved by humanity.
Shifters†—The bestial and predatory “weretouched” are descended from lycanthropes.
Tengu—Avian humanoids, strange hunters and scavengers with a fierce sense of individualism.
Xephs—A sensuous, vaguely felid psionic race that hail from the Malice Lands.
Player characters have a wealth of class options, though those with levels in any of the heroic classes are rare in the ZEITGEIST campaign setting. The vast majority of the world’s people—even it’s political movers and shakers—are commoners, experts, aristocrats, warriors, and adepts. Only the truly gifted, those with the potential to be legendary heroes or villains, are members of the following classes:
Aegis—Wearer of an ectoplasmic suit who can psychically alter it depending on the situation.
Alchemist—A master of alchemy who utilizes liquid spell extracts, mutagens, and bombs.
Artificer—An eldritch inventor and super-scientist who mixes magic and technology.
Barbarian—A ferocious warrior who uses fury and instinct to bring down foes.
Bard—A performer whose artistry works magic; an explorer, a tale-teller, and factotum.
Cavalier—Mounted knights possessed of wit, charm, and strength at arms to rally their companions.
Cleric—Clerics are common wherever religion holds sway, especially in Crisillyir and Ber.
Few gods have large followings in Risur. While there are no established churches to train the pious, pockets of foreigners or native converts provide a likely source of clerics in Risur. Likewise, rare individuals unlock their self-divinity via the readings of certain philosophies. See also Faiths.
A cleric’s faith, belief, and status is usually more important than her relationship to her deity, who is—at best—a distant patron. Therefore, a cleric’s alignment need not remain within one step of her deity’s alignment. A cleric can cast spells with any alignment descriptor. Casting an evil spell is an evil act, and a good cleric’s alignment may begin to change if she repeatedly casts such spells, but the deities do not prevent their clerics from casting spells opposed to their alignments. This rule supersedes the rules concerning Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells in the Pathfinder rules.
A cleric who violates the tenets of her church or deity might risk punishment at the hands of the church (though not necessarily, particularly in regions where the church is very corrupt), but risks no loss of spells or class features and need not atone. This rule supersedes the information under Ex-Clerics in the Pathfinder rules.
Cryptic—A shadowy, enigmatic mystic who understands, alters, and unravels reality through patterns and tattoos.
Dread—A psionic master of fear and terror who manipulates the fears of others in unusual and devastating ways.
Druid—A shapeshifter who draws upon nature itself to cast divine spells.
Though they are highly factionalized today, druids are respected throughout Risur especially as ministers of the Old Faith.
Fighter—A warrior with exceptional combat capability and unequaled skill with weapons.
Gunslinger—A skirmisher who’s mastered the strange and mysterious art of black powder weaponry.
Acquisition and cost associated with firearms uses the “commonplace” rules presented in the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game in short, they are cheaper and considered martial weapons. The ZEITGEIST setting uses the rules presented but assumes firearms function with a substance known as firedust and paper cartridges. Though guns are relatively commonplace, gunslingers possess a an extraordinary degree of expertise with the weapons.
Inquisitor—Those who root out their church’s enemies with grim conviction and an array of divine blessings.
Inquisitors are rare outside Crisillyir, where they are known as geneu credetos (“spirits of belief,” or more commonly “godhands”).
A player may decide that her inquisitor has no deity but instead channels divine power from some personal ideal of righteousness or a vaguely defined spiritual force. Select a domain that reflects the inquisitor’s ethics and abilities. See also Faiths and Philosophies. Like a cleric, an inquisitor’s alignment need not remain within one step of her deity’s, and she may cast spells with any alignment descriptor (see the note for clerics, above).
Magus—The magus seamlessly blends magic and martial artistry into something entirely unique, a discipline in which both spell and steel are used to devastating effect.
Marksman—These deadly combatants focus their psionic powers to enhance their ranged combat abilities, using thrown or projectile weapons in ways others can only dream of.
Monk—A martial artist whose unarmed strikes hit fast and hard; a philosophical master of exotic powers.
Ninja—A warrior, saboteur, and spy who moves through shadows, attacking and vanishing again with ease.
As there is no analogous “far east” culture in ZEITGEIST, a ninja benefits from being skinned as a mountebank, vigilante, avenger, or cutthroat.
Oracle—A mortal who makes a terrible sacrifice to become a conduit of deific energies.
Paladin—A champion of justice and destroyer of evil, protected and strengthened by divine powers.
Psion—A disciplined wielder of the awesome and mysterious powers of the mind.
Psychic Warrior—One who turns the mind’s potential toward the warrior’s art.
Ranger—A cunning, mystically gifted sentinel of the woods and wilds.
Rogue—A sly, skillful professional who wins the battle by fighting dirty.
Samurai—A dutiful soldier, usually bound to the service of a realm, liege, or organization.
Stripped of its oriental flavor, a conceptual samurai could be skinned as a bodyguard, champion, special agent, crimefighter, or crusader. A samurai may choose any weapon with which he is proficient for his Weapon Expertise class feature.
Sorcerer—Scion of a supernatural legacy with inborn arcane ability.
Some of the extraplanar bloodlines are almost unheard of, since the nature of the planes makes it difficult (but not impossible) to come into contact with extraplanar beings. Players will need to account for this in their origin story.
Soulknife—A warrior who cuts down foes with an idealized blade of psychic energy.
Summoner—Partnered with a mysterious magical protector, the summoner focuses on conjuring magics.
As planar travel is rare and transient at best, the nature and origin of the summoner’s eidolon may require an alternate explanation.
Tactician—Joining allies into a single cohesive unit, the tactician uses telepathic bonds to unlock the potential of others, as well as himself.
Vitalist—Vitalists are masters of psionic healing, distributing regenerative energy with the precision of a surgeon.
Wilder—A passionate, reckless talent who wields dangerous, untamed psionic power.
Witch—One who makes a pact with an extraplanar power who grants spells through a special familiar.
Most witches in the region tend to follow fey patrons, since the nature of the planes makes it difficult (but not impossible) to come into contact with extraplanar beings. PC witches will need to account for this in their origin story.
Wizard—An erudite spellcaster schooled in the arcane arts who can learn nearly any spell.
Arcane Archer—Arcane spellcasters who draw upon ancient elven traditions to infuse their arrows with potent magical power.
Arcane Trickster—Troublemakers and scoundrels who use arcane magic to enhance their thievery and trickery.
Assassin—A remorseless murderer who kills for money and the sheer thrill of death-dealing.
Cerebremancer—A practitioner of both arcane magic and psionic power, wielding both efficiently.
Chronicler—Explorers at heart, chroniclers travels to distant, exotic lands to expand their knowledge of the world.
Dragon Disciple—Arcane spellcasters who have embraced their latent draconic heritage and, over the course of training and devotion, undergo a partial transformation into a dragon.
Duelist—A swashbuckling swordfighter who relies upon grace, poise, and acrobatics to win the day.
Eldritch Knight—An arcane spellcaster who augments magical skill with combat to create a deadly combination of weapons and magic.
Elocater—A psionic master of altering gravity and space, performing seemingly impossible maneuvers.
Juggernaut†—A class for any gearman dedicated to becoming a combat powerhouse.
Loremaster—Spellcasters who devote their lives to research and rumination upon the mysteries of the world.
Metamind—A psionic manifester who sacrifices his expertise with higher level abilities to expand his reservoir of power.
Mystic Theurge—Equally devoted to divine and arcane magic, the mystic theurge combines both magical traditions into one incredibly diverse class.
Phrenic Slayer—A hunter of a type of psionic creature who gains abilities to aid in the chase.
Psion Uncarnate—A psionic manifester who has left the need for a physical body behind.
Pyrokineticist—A psionic wielder of flame, sending bolts of fire at enemies and using their body heat to heal.
Shadowdancer—A mysterious adventurer who walks the boundaries between the real world and the realm of shadows, and who can command shadows.
Thrallherd—A manifester who puts out a psionic call for thralls and believers.
Warmind—A devastating psionic warrior who learns many secret combat techniques.
Weretouched Master†—Explores the powers of shifter heritage to adopt lycanthropic forms.
Other Prestige Classes—These require DM permission and may be setting-specific. Work with your DM to reskin these class concepts to fit the ZEITGEIST campaign.
As introduced in the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game Advanced Player’s Guide, the trait rules allows for players to take two traits at first level to better immerse their characters into the campaign. In ZEITGEIST, as a replacement to using traits, we have constructed a system of theme feats. Each character may select a free theme feat at first level in addition to their regularly available first level feat. These feats are not scaled to normal feats, and may only be selected at first level (characters cannot select additional theme feats later in the campaign). The nine theme feats below provide a quick hook to link your character to the ZEITGEIST campaign setting.
Docker—Bohemian dock or factory workers involved in fringe arts and politics.
Eschatologist—Philosopher devoted to the proper endings of things.
Gunsmith—Designer and wielder of custom firearms.
Martial Scientist—Educated and analytical warrior.
Skyseer—Folk prophet who see the future in the stars.
Spirit Medium—Contact and control spirits of the dead.
Technologist—Design small contraptions.
Vekeshi Mystic—Devoted to the philosophy of slow, proper vengeance against those who oppress the weak.
Yerasol Veteran—Highly regarded war hero.
Because of the large number of NPCs the party will meet, each ZEITGEIST adventure will include hand-outs to help you track of them. They will also be listed here, including their title or job, faction, and race (if other than human).
Aodhan—King of Risur
Brakken of Heffanita—Ber ambassador to Risur; minotaur
Ethelyn—Duchess of Shale, Risur
Geoff Massarde—Industrialist, Risur; tiefling
Harkover Lee—Principal Minister, Risur
Roland Stanfield—City Governor of Flint; aasimar
Rutger Smith—Captain of R.N.S. Impossible , Royal Homeland Constabulary
Shantus—Bruse of Ber; minotaur
Stover Delft—Assistant Chief Inspector, Royal Homeland Constabulary
Four religions and a handful of secular philosophies dominate in the ZEITGEIST campaign setting. Unlike in typical Pathfinder Role-Playing Game worlds, there is no planar travel, magic to summon extraplanar creatures is exceedingly rare, and only once in recorded history has a god actually physically appeared in the world—and then she was killed. While it is undeniable that powers and forces exist beyond this world, their shapes cannot be proven, and must be taken on faith.
The Clergy—Organized religion based in Crisillyir. Every mortal can empower himself, even reach godhood, if he confronts the challenges of the world. Beyond this world exist many planes, each a more perfect manifestation of some aspect of our reality, and they are presided over by a host powerful gods, angels, and spirits that can be entreated for power.
Guerro—Folk religion of Ber. Every tribe has its own gods, conquered from the tribes who were not strong enough to stand alone. As the tribes battle, so do the gods. For now, it seems, the gods are at peace, and so we make peace, but all good things die in battle. A syncretic combination of Clergy and Guerro is popular in Drakr.
The Old Faith—Folk religion of Risur. Honor the spirits of the land, and draw power from nature. The stars above trace patterns that predict events on our world, but the only other worlds are the ones we can visit: the Dreaming and the Bleak Gate.
Seedism—Folk religion of Elfaivar. Our actions are seeds, and will shape the face of the world, though it may take ages. Elves and gnomes have long memories. Before the rise of humanity, the gods spoke to us, and we still remember their names and teachings. Srasama, the three-faced mother-warrior-queen, was slain by human treachery, but it is our duty to endure and outgrow this injury. The archfey of the Dreaming were once vassals of the gods, and so we revere and respect them.
Certain groups promote secular ideologies independent from the metaphysics of religion.
Heid Eschatol—Dwarven philosophical movement concerned with the endings of things—from how best to order one’s affairs at the end of life, to how to break up with a lover, or in what manner to confront the imminent end of the world. Started in Drakr, and has migrated to universities throughout Lanjyr.
Panoply—A loose movement of anti-establishment thinkers and artists, based primarily in Ber, but rapidly making inroads among the working class of Risur. Commonly viewed as instigators and anarchists, Panapleists were originally concerned with examining how and why cultures differ. Followers often feel dissatisfied with the exploitative traditions of their nation, and defend the value of a social system based on cooperation rather than wealth.
Pragati—Official atheist position of the Jierre ruling party in Danor. Gods are the creation of men who were unable to comprehend the real structure of the world. Those who hold false beliefs, be they in gods, in disproven economic theories, or anything else, are a threat to progress.
Vekesh—Guiding principle that helped the elves survive after the fall of Elfaivar. After a tragedy, the best revenge is to heal and grow stronger than you were before.
Most fantasy adventurers are “free agents,” with no boss but themselves, usually out on the edge of civilization with few allies they can call on in a pinch. In ZEITGEIST, though, you and your fellow PCs may want to call in favors from the RHC, the local police, or other power groups. The Prestige mechanic provides a quick guideline of how much clout the party has, whether they’re calling in a spellcaster to perform a spell too high-level for them, or trying to get their hands on a rare wand before assaulting a criminal stronghold.
In ZEITGEIST, the GM will need to track the party’s Prestige with several power groups, such as:
The Clergy—Organized religion based in Crisillyir.
The Family—A criminal organization based out of Crisillyir, working to gain a foothold in Risur. Practices protection rackets, extortion, and smuggling.
Flint—The people, from the proletariat on up to the aristocracy, in the industrial capitol of Risur.
House Jierre—A tiefling family which has come to rule Danor since the Great Malice. Proponents of industry and technology. Many scions of the family have had a hand in shaping the development of the great nations in the past five centuries.
Risur—Elected and hereditary officialdom of the nation of Risur, from the lowliest federal employee on up to the king of Risur. Includes standing in the The Royal Homeland Constabulary.
The Unseen Court—The denizens of the Dreaming, capricious fey who demand tribute and veneration from the mortal world. They have grown aggressive in response to recent industry, which has turned people’s minds away from their faith in the old ways.
1200 B.O.V. (Before Our Victory)—King Kelland defeats the fey titans and founds Risur, the first mortal nation on the continent of Lanjyr. In the following centuries, other nations rise up throughout Lanjyr.
- 500 B.O.V.—Triegenes the fisherman founds the Clergy in what is modern-day Danor, overthrows the demonocracy in the east, then dies and ascends to godhood.
- 50 B.O.V.—The First Victory, a holy war between humans and elves, ends with the elves losing much territory.
- 1 A.O.V. (After Our Victory)—The Second Victory begins as an elven effort to reclaim lost lands, but ends in their decisive defeat when the elf goddess Srasama manifests physically, and is slain. Danor collapses into chaos as the nation becomes a dead magic zone. The seat of the Clergy moves to Crisillyir, which begins to colonize the devastated lands
of Elfaivar. Dwarves seize control of their own nation in Drakr.
- 300 A.O.V.—King Boyle of Risur slays the last Dragon King of Ber. The nation of Danor, resurgent with industry and technology, begins to contest Risur for control of the lush Yerasol Archipelago.
- 460 A.O.V.—King Aodhan is crowned in Risur. He encourages his people to pursue industry so they can fight back against Danor. Meanwhile in Ber, Bruse Le Roye unites tribes of monstrous races into a new nation.
- 493 A.O.V.—The Fourth Yerasol War ends; Risur loses many islands.
- 500 A.O.V.—Present day.
Dragon Kings—Toppled tyrants who once ruled throughout Ber.
The Great Malice—An event which saw the demise of the goddess Srasama and wide-ranging repercussions throughout Lanjyr, such as the decimation of elven females.
King Clockwork—Leader of the gearman revolt in Danor that won his race recognition as sentient beings.
Srasama—A goddess honored in the elven faith who manifested to aid her followers against humanity, and was slain.
Vairday Bruse—An exceptionally insightful orc conqueror who forged the nation of Ber.
William Miller—A pacifist philosopher.
Prestige—Acclaim and notoriety, the party’s Prestige rating affects how different factions interact with them. The higher their Prestige, the easier and faster they can get what they want.
Fortune Points—Points earned for contributing to the game, which may be spent for small bonuses, or permanently expended for significant advantages.
Equipment—Additional stuff to spend your hard-earned shillings on, and how the ZEITGEIST campaign handles the distribution of treasure.
† converted for the Pathfinder RPG System and the ZEITGEIST™ campaign setting.