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Freeport: Crisis in Freeport [Paperback]

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Item description for Freeport: Crisis in Freeport by Chris Pramas...

Sea Lord Drac is dead but peace has not come to the City of Adventure. With no blood relative or named successor, Drac has created turmoil with his demise. Will the Captains' Council be able to maintain control or will Freeport erupt into a vicious civil war? As tensions rise, the PCs get entangled in the machinations of the succession crisis. Many covet the Sea Lord's power but only one can succeed the mad Milton Drac.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   64
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.55" Width: 8.19" Height: 0.31"
Weight:   0.49 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 15, 2006
Publisher   Green Ronin Publishing
ISBN  1932442561  
ISBN13  9781932442564  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Freeport: Crisis in Freeport?

a deadly serious action adventure  Aug 15, 2007
I run a Living Arcanis campaign, which also contains Freeport. With a wealth of material at my disposal, I decided to pick up Crisis in Freeport (CIF) to see how I could fit it into my campaign. I should point out that this is a long playtest review that contains spoilers galore. To help clarify what I did differently in my campaign, I will use a PLAYTEST tag.

CIF begins with the announcement that the Captain's Council, the ruling body that governs Freeport, has declared the Rule of Succession for the Sea Lord's throne null and void. Since the Sea Lord title is hereditary, that means the throne is up for grabs by anyone, including the other councilors. The news incites rioting in the streets, which leads to the city newspaper being burned to the ground, the murder of the Commissioner of the Sea Lord's Guard, women in need of saving, and a monster on the loose.

[PLAYTEST: I combined this adventure with the final chapter of Black Sails Over Freeport. By having Drak, an orc, declare his lineage to the Sea Lord's throne, it was further incentive for the Captain's Council to invalidate the Rule of Succession. I ran the riots straight out of the adventure, with a few tweaks to the NPCs' names. I replaced the bulette with a two-headed dragon of my own creation that ended up killing our dwarf fighter. The gang who attacks the Sea God's Shrine was changed to a gang that attacks the God of Pirates shrine. I also inserted the orc riots from BSOF into the mix.]

And this is where we start to get some bizarre content that skirts the "decency" rule in the Open Game License. It's repeatedly mentioned that the bad guys (all elves and half-elves) have been molested as children, that the pirates rape people before (and sometimes after!) they kill them, and that there's more than one opportunity to catch pirates "in the act." While most of this is easy to drop, it's certainly not in the fun spirit of the other Freeport adventures, none of which emphasized (over and over and OVER) that pirates "have a bit of fun" with their victims. I agree that Freeport needs to get a little more focused and a little more serious, but I felt that the way it was handled in this book was over-the-top. One of my players, my wife, found it to be simply offensive.

The other thing is that elves in my campaign wouldn't think of sullying themselves in such a fashion. And since this particular form of violence is motivated by racial hatred (elves vs. humans), the whole thing seems forced. It's all a bit squicky, in my opinion.

During the riots, Arias Soderheim, the only half-elf on the Council, has hired the elven Captain Allethra Sharpe to kidnap Lady Elise Grossette. Grosette is one of the good guys on the Council and a rival for the Sea Lord's throne. The PCs eventually follow the trail to an island during a thunderstorm, whereupon they face off against sahuagin led by an oddly named female villain (rhymes with witch, but I won't include it here as some filters will reject the review outright).

[PLAYTEST: I changed the identity of the kidnapped NPC to a candidate the PCs were backing, Emric Ossan-Drac from a previous Living Arcanis adventure. Likewise, the attack by the sahuagin still happened but were led by Camring, also from a previous adventure, and his traitorous mother, Black Jenny Ramsey, AKA Sycorax.]

Upon arriving on the island, the PCs sneak onto Sharpe's ship, The Knife, and find a pirate doing naughty things with a cabin boy. It turns out said cabin boy is a succubus. With clues from the ship's hold as to who hired Sharpe, the PCs land on the island, face off against serpent people ghouls, and finally to Felix's, a resort turned into the last stand for Sharpe and his pirates.

[PLAYTEST: I kept the squicky pirate/boy encounter because it fit a decidedly squicky NPC named Talathiel that I took from another adventure. I did make a point of having the boy reveal himself to be a succubus. My PCs were suitably disgusted and dispatched Talathiel promptly.]

Sharpe and his men are engaged in various acts of debauchery, but they are not without their firepower. Kyl, an elven evoker, and Dirty Malone, who is exactly like he sounds, join Sharpe in fighting to the bitter end. Then it's back to Freeport with Elise in tow for an emergency Council session: what to do about Soderheim?

[PLAYTEST: I replaced all the NPCs with villains the PCs had encountered in the past. Sharpe's last stand was suitably climactic. I dropped all the other stuff involving pirates violating corpses.]

The Captain's Council decides to have a meeting in the town square, only to suffer an assassination attempt. Assuming the PCs survive, they discover that Soderheim is holed up in a brothel. There, they face down Soderheim and his lieutenant in another climactic battle...when suddenly one of Freeport's massive cannons is pointed at the brothel and blows the building to smithereens!

[PLAYTEST: I have to admit, I loved this idea. I further complicated Soderheim as a villain by having him protect elven interests, and holding hostage an elven PC. But when he realizes that the cannon is pointed at the brothel, Soderheim had a change of heart and dimension doored out with his hostage in the nick of time. Even though he released her, he later fell to his death and was ripped apart by angry Freeport citizens. Of all the parts of the adventure, this is the most exciting. One PC survived by diving out a window with a potion of fly. The other cast a sphere of force around himself at the last minute. Good stuff!]

It seems someone paid the guardsmen who control the cannon to point it at the brothel in an effort to keep Soderheim from talking. That Continental spy shows up in the middle of the night to personally destroy the PCs, summoning a Zelekhut inevitable to join in the attack. This is perhaps the weakest part of the adventure: it makes little sense that a spy would engage PCs in an all out attack -- spies run away to fight again another day, not wage one-man wars against heavily armed PCs. In addition, the spy "convinces the zelekhut that the PCs have denied justice..." and "it's eager to destroy the PCs, almost as eager as the conspirator."

Seriously? Shall we pit the zelekhut's Sense Motive (+12) against the spy's Bluff (uh...he doesn't even have any points in the skill)? It defies belief and seems like the zelekhut was included for the sole purpose of utilizing its locate creature ability to find the PCs. And why is this lawful neutral spy lying to a creature of law? More importantly, why is the spy lawful neutral at all?

[PLAYTEST: I changed the spy's identity (turns out we already had a Continental spy in the campaign named Cunegunda), changed the attack to actually be an accident, and changed the zelekhut to another monster entirely. The effect was still the same: an ambush in the middle of the night on the PCs can be extremely deadly. But it at least made a little more sense, and my PCs did indeed fight for their very lives.]

At the conclusion, a not very convincing case is made for Marilise Morgan to be named Sea Lord. Apparently "the aggressiveness during the hunt for Soderheim endeared her not only to the other council members but also to the populace." -- which is hard to believe, since what amounts to aggressiveness on Morgan's part is that she "proposes not only arresting and trying Soderheim, but seizing his estates and banishing any of his blood relatives from Freeport." I'm sure such a bloodthirsty ruling suitably impressed all of Freeport's pirates!

[PLAYTEST: I would have preferred the adventure making a case for each of the Council members, allowing the DM to choose from one of them, as opposed to the lame argument that Marilise (who took over for her corrupt brother) is somehow a shoo in for the position. In fact, during the assassination attempt in the square the DM is told to specifically spare Marilise so she can win the succession later. A little too heavy-handed for my tastes. In the end, Emric, an NPC the heroes had been struggling to protect for years, took the throne,. Or to put it another way, while Arias was built up as a villain throughout the Freeport supplements, Marilise is a nobody that comes out of nowhere to take the throne. It doesn't feel like she deserves it.]

Overall, CIF is a deadly serious action adventure with a plot that moves briskly. From a riot to a hostage crisis, an assassination attempt to a crime boss raid, a midnight retaliation to plenty of politics, CIF provides enough fodder to wrap up a Freeport game. It's probably impossible to please every DM with the conclusion, but CIF does an adequate job of providing a definitive ending to a story arc. I just wish it were a little less squicky.
This adventure is a must have for all you DM's out there looking for a good way to wrap up your Freeport Trilogy campaign. The encounters are well balanced, the writing is entertaining and the plot works well. There were a few instances where my players deviated from what the author expected, but it was pretty easy to get them back on track. If you have never heard of Freeport before, you should not start with this book, it requires a lot of previous knowledge to fully "get it". But I do recommend finding Death in Freeport and Freeport: City of Adventure or just wait until the new re-release of the Freeport products comes along soon.
Who doesn't love pirates?  Jan 5, 2007
This is a nice wrap-up to the current Freeport Setting (Season Two begins later this year) with a political adventure (don't worry there are dungeons and fights too!) in which our brave bucaneers have to settle the succession crisis.

It's nicely put together with great art and my group had fun with it.

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