The Freeport Trilogy: Five Year Anniversary Edition
By Chris Pramas, Robert J. Toth and William Simoni
Published by Green Ronin Publishing, $27.95
Reviewed by Matthew Pook
When is a Call of Cthulhu scenario not a Call of Cthulhu scenario? When it is a Freeport scenario from Green Ronin Publishing.
This trilogy of adventures (comprising “Death in Freeport,” “Terror in Freeport” and “Madness in Freeport”) originally appeared for Dungeons & Dragons between 2000 and 2001. It has since been collected and revised along with extra material to create a complete campaign for first- to sixth-level characters. In addition, several Companion volumes are available for the fantasy RPG of your choice, which make the setting compatible if not this actual campaign. They include both Savage Worlds and True20 Roleplaying, which makes the Freeport setting compatible with the Realms of Cthulhu and Shadows of Cthulhu rulebooks respectively.
The setting is Freeport, a pirate city on the Serpent’s Teeth islands. Ruled by a pirate captain known as the Sea Lord, the city has become a powerful force rivalling many nations. Millennia ago the islands were part of the continent ruled by the Serpent People Empire of Valossa. Faithful worshippers of Yig, Father of Serpents, and scientifically and magically advanced, the Serpent People were arrogant enough to ignore the rise of a new faith, the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign, until it was too late and the Brotherhood summoned their own dark god, a Great Old One known as the Unspeakable One. This shattered both the Empire and the continent into islands, scattering the Serpent People and allowing the rise of humanity and other races.
Enter the heroes, come to Freeport looking for work. They are asked by a cleric of the Brotherhood of Knowledge, Brother Egil, to look for Lucius, a missing colleague. This is not the first time that he has gone missing. Six years ago he underwent a personality change, asking strange questions before disappearing. When he returned, four years later, he was his old self. Shades then, of the Great Race of Yith’s mind-transferring time travel?
The investigation leads into a conspiracy inside the Brotherhood, pointing towards a return of the Serpent People and the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign, which now includes humans as well as Serpent People. As each scenario progresses, more is revealed, in onionskin fashion, of the Brotherhood’s deadly and far-reaching plots. The trilogy’s climax, unfortunately, is underwhelming given how good the rest is.
The Freeport Trilogy is far from straight Call of Cthulhu. As a Dungeons & Dragons adventure it is more heroic and combative in feel and tone than the stark desperation of classic Call of Cthulhu. It is dark for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, though.
Although The Freeport Trilogy is not of direct use to most Call of Cthulhu Keepers, it has possibilities as the basis for a heroic fantasy campaign set within the Dreamlands. It is a worthy, Lovecraftian-flavoured set of scenarios for Dungeons & Dragons, and deserving of seven phobias.