Death in Freeport

I really liked this adventure. It is one of the first ones I purchased after my core rulebooks and I thought the setting was neat. I am a sucker for pirate adventures though!

It is quite easy to drop the adventure into your ongoing campaign as I have done - and the NPC's were full of flavor too.

I recommend this to all buyers.

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Simon Collins

Beware! This review contains major spoilers.

Death In Freeport is an adventure module for 4 characters of 1st level, though it can be run for characters up to 3rd level. It costs $7.99.

Production & Presentation: This is a softcover 32-page module. The front cover is a good piece of colour artwork depicting a pony-tailed skeletal creature lunging forward with its clawed hands. The back cover introduces the module and outlines its features. The front inside cover and back inside cover are blank. The first page contain credits and some OGL stuff, continued on the penultimate page; the final page has advertising. There is a basic map of The Serpent’s Teeth islands inset into a larger map of the City of Freeport, where the adventure is based. There are other maps of the ship The Bloody Vengeance and The Temple Of The Unspeakable One. Scaled by 5’ squares and with a Key. The text is well-defined and clear, making it easy to read. The text takes up all of each page (except where there is art) in a familiar two-column layout – the edge of each page is not bordered. There are several pieces of pencil-sketch internal black & white artwork, including pre-generated PC character sketches – the art ranges from poor to good.

The Story: The module begins with an introduction to the module and a 4-page history of Freeport, which gives a background to the Serpent People who appear in the adventure and an overview of the current situation where an expensive lighthouse has caused town services, including policing of the town, to degenerate. Crime has risen and pirates are once again seen openly in the dockside taverns. An adventure background and synopsis follow, including information on how to adapt the setting to your own campaign. Lucius, a librarian in the Temple of Knowledge is possessed for five years by an alien entity. The entity forces Lucius to travel in order to gain knowledge of the world. When the entity leaves Lucius, the librarian returns to the temple but he is plagued by nightmares of the entity’s homeworld. Lucius then disappears. Lucius’ friend Brother Egil spots the PCs handily defeating a press gang when they first arrive in Freeport. He offers them money to help find Lucius. The PCs can investigate Lucius’ home, an orc pirate ship and the temple of knowledge to gain further clues to Lucius’ disappearance. Their investigations lead to an attack by the alien-worshipping cult who has kidnapped Lucius (who are torturing him for information about his dream visions). The module outlines some possibilities for tracking down the cult’s headquarters, a bricked-up house. Investigating the house, the PCs come across various traps and creatures (and may accidentally call up one of the alien entities worshipped by the cult – an unpleasant experience!). The finale comes when they discover that the cult leader is not only a priest high up in the ranks of the Temple of Knowledge’s priesthood, but also a polymorphed Serpent Person. There are clues that the cult is a small cell of a much larger cult (and a lead-on to future ‘Freeport’ adventures). Future adventure seeds are outlined at the end. The appendices include creature and NPC statistics, a new creature (the Serpent Person), a couple of player handouts and 4 pre-generated PCs (a gnome fighter, a half-elf sorcerer, a human rogue and a dwarf cleric – all 1st Level).

The High Points: The background history was very readable and contained some useful information for expanding the setting if desired. The beginning of the adventure is mainly investigation, which is done on an interactive basis – reactions of NPCs are well-detailed, and includes the information that they might disclose to PCs given the right circumstances. The second part of the adventure is more combat-orientated, with useful information on villains’ tactics, and a well-developed sense of chilling atmosphere. The finale contains information on scaling down the encounter if the PCs are already badly wounded and out of spells. The pre-generated PCs at the end enable a quick start if desired.

The Low Points: Some of the information in the history section, though interesting, could have been better spent on fleshing out the NPCs – though their reactions and information were well-detailed, more information on their personality and idiosyncrasies would have been preferable in my opinion.

Conclusion: A good adventure that is close to being excellent. The plot is easily adaptable to a home-grown campaign and the PCs have plenty of opportunity for following different paths to the end of the adventure. The setting itself is a little less easy to adapt, and I personally have a problem with pirates and ‘alien entities’ called The Unspeakable One. But that’s just nit-picking what is essentially a good buy.

Note: Despite being seen to be a 'pirate adventure' there are precious few pirates in it.

The first d20 System adventure, Death in Freeport has been rightly chosen the best in the recently held Origins Awards. From an opening scene fit for a Hong Kong action movie, through an increasingly involved plotline with well-placed clues, this mystery for 1st-level characters delivers fast-paced excitement while promising more Freeport fun to come.

The author, Chris Pramas, is no stranger to the action genre, having penned the excellent free RPG Dragon Fist, and it shows in Death in Freeport. Although primarily a mystery story, the plot is carefully sprinkled with enough fight scenes to keep the hack-'n'-slashers happy. There are also a couple opportunities for the characters to discover that they aren't quite as tough as they thought they were--a little DM maneuvering may be required to keep the characters alive and willing to continue their investigations.

The characters will find themselves immersed in a storyline much bigger than the mystery they have set out to solve. Strange things are afoot in Freeport, involving ancient powers from a time before humans and their bipedal cousins roamed the planet. The plot thickens through the next book, Terror in Freeport, and culiminates in Madness in Freeport, so the clues in DiF pointing to larger secrets are actual, fleshed-out adventure hooks.

I was pleased to discover nine different Adobe PDF-format Web enhancements for the Freeport setting on Green Ronin's Web site, Included in the list is a handy map of the Temple of Knowledge, a central location in Death in Freeport.

Death in Freeport is beautifully executed, from the excellent Brom cover featuring a meaty skeleton warrior to the easy to read and navigate layout to the gorgeous maps. Some of the interior art looks hastily drawn, but then it probably was--Green Ronin must have cranked this book out to release it at last year's Gen Con, the same time as the Player's Handbook.

If you're a d20 System game master and you haven't bought this module, get thee to thy local game store and pick it up, or buy it (almost) straight from the source at Wizard's Attic. If your players have higher level characters, this module would provide a great break--there are even sample first-level characters provided in the back (with beautiful character sketches, to boot!).

All in all, Death in Freeport is a rare thing--a first-level adventure that is fun and engaging, and leaves you begging for more.

(note: this is a re-posting of my review from

A Call of Cthulhu Adventure?

Death in Freeport was released simultaneously with Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition at GenCon 2000 by Green Ronin Publishing. When I saw the module in the exhibition hall it took me a few moments to realize it was in fact a d20 module. Initially, I thought it was a Call of Cthulhu scenario. It turns out I was right. It is a Call of Cthulhu scenario, but in the fantasy setting of Dungeons and Dragons.

The style of the adventure is strongly in Cthulhu vein. PCs are hired to investigate a mysterious disappearance that reeks with occult under tones. The PCs retainer is a priest of the largest church in Freeport: the Temple of Knowledge. His friend, a church librarian, has been missing and he suspects foul play. Of course the missing librarian has a suspicious history that lends itself to a wide range of occult possibilities.

The plot hinges on the missing librarian's past. He was a devout temple librarian who seemingly changed personalities one day. Soon after his transformation, he was kicked out of the church for violating the church's sanctum. No doubt he was reading some Mythos related tomes. Then he disappeared for five years, only to return and beg the church for readmittance, claiming to have no memory of the last 5 years. Things are well and good until a high ranking member of church, who is secretly a member of the Cult of the Yellow Sign, takes an interest in the librarian's missing 5 years. This cult member believes that the librarian was possessed by an extraplaner being, and wants privy to any knowledge of the experience. In pursuit of that goal, the cult member kidnaps the librarian and brings him to a secret temple beneath the city to extract any useful information.

A Freeport Campaign.

Death in Freeport makes a great campaign starter, although admittedly, I play tested this scenario in my ongoing campaign with higher level characters. The first six pages are devoted to Freeport's history . While it's relevant information, it's not necessary to run the scenario. GMs should find the information useful, however, if they plan to base a campaign in the pirate infested city. It should be noted that Death in Freeport is intended to be the first installment of a series of adventures that take place in Freeport. At the end of the module, some suggestions for further adventures are given that should spark some additional campaign material. On a side note, Green Ronin also provides some free supplemental material on their website, .

Some Notes On Gameplay.

If you prefer traditional Dungeons and Dragons adventures, then Death in Freeport might seem a little slow at the outset. There is quite a bit of investigative work the PCs must do before they find the Temple of The Unspeakable One, at which time the adventure takes a more traditional approach.

The PCs shouldn't find the investigation to hard to complete. There is a relatively easy trail to follow and limited number of suspects. Even if your PCs fail miserably as investigators, the adventure outlines several ways to help PCs arrive at the secret temple.

The temple consists of only seven rooms, and shouldn't take players long to explore. The adventure will climax in the temple's main chamber where the PCs will find the Cult leader and kidnapped librarian. Of course a battle will immediately ensue. GMs should note that this is a very tough encounter. Each of the Cult members have the special ability "death touch," and the possibility for PC casualties is considerable. However, I don't suggest weakening the encounter as it will only weaken the PCs' perception of the Cult of the Yellow Sign. With more Freeport adventures to come, you don't want PCs to view the Cult as a weak or feeble organization. Killing one PC might inject some fear of the Cult into your party that will help create some good tension in future encounters with the Yellow Sign.

The Verdict.

I definitely recommend Death In Freeport, especially if you're a fan of Call of Cthulhu style adventures. While I'm not a fan of superfluous background information, the six pages of history does help to create a nice campaign setting if your inclined to keep your party in Freeport for an extended length of time. I'm looking foreword to Terror in Freeport (due to ship sometime in November) and continued encounters with the Cult of the Yellow Sign.


I've been DM'ing for almost 20 years now, and in that time I've purchased a lot of adventures (from 1st, 2nd and now 3rd edition). From time to time, I've found one that I consider a true gem. For comparison sake, one of my previous favorites was the 1st edition "Destiny of Kings" which blended a beautiful mix of role-playing, mystery, investigation, and combat opportunities all woven into a wonderful story. I've always loved this type of mix and balance in an adventure, and very few have lived up to it. Quite a few of the players I've had the pleasure of DM'ing over the years seem to like this style as well. The problem is, it's hard to find adventures like this.

Having said that, let me now state that Death in Freeport (and the whole Freeport trilogy) is one of the few that does have these elements and weaves them together into a gripping set of adventures. It features wonderful opportunities to role-play, investigate and hopefully solve a mystery while uncovering still more mysteries, along with some combat. If you're new to 3rd edition, or if you have a group of players new to 3rd edition, this is a perfect adventure to use. Skill checks for commonly considered actions like Gather Information, Search and so forth are listed in the relevent sections of the adventure. Even better, much of the key dialogue from likely contacted NPC's is there for your reference. This makes the adventure very easy to run whether you're an old-timer or a fledgling DM. The combat situations aren't terribly difficult, but they are still enough to challenge a 1st level party, especially ones that are just learning 3rd edition.

If your group is like mine which often finds itself reduced to only 2 to 3 hours per playing session, you'll like the tempo of this adventure as well as the well-placed breaks/scene changes. My group required two sessions to complete this adventure, with their first session leading to several dead-ends in their investigation. They rolled poorly on some key search and gather info checks, and they also started get way off track back at the library trying to determine which books Lucius had recently been reading or working on. This chance to get side-tracked may sound like a potential negative, but it's not. The adventure contains some events that will get the party right back on track. That's exactly how it's supposed to work, and it worked for my group. Clearly, Green Ronin play-tested this enough to craft this into the adventure.

There are a few minor omissions that I've spotted in this adventure. First of all, the stats for Lucius and Brother Egil aren't listed. Brother Egil's stats do show up in the follow-up adventure, Terror in Freeport, but it simply would have been easier had it been listed here. As for Lucius, it turns out that his stats really never get a chance to be used, but just in case the party tries something bizarre, it would be nice to have them. Also, it would have been interesting to have more info about Lucius possesion, however, in retrospect the lack of information is perhaps even better since it lets a DM come up with his or her own explanation and tailor it for their campaign. For those that are familiar with the Cthulu mythos, you'll probably know immediately what possessed Lucius.

Looking ahead, Death in Freeport sets up the Freeport series wonderfully. It introduces the party to the Freeport setting quite nicely, without ever overdoing it. There is a lot of free material for Freeport available on the Green Ronin website. If you run this adventure, do yourself a favor and grab those freebies. "Holiday in the Sun" is a nice fit for after this adventure. And then you've got Terror in Freeport and Madness in Freeport to follow sometime after that. It's not really fair to consider this extra information when reviewing one adventure. But it's certainly something to consider if you intend to pick up this adventure. Were that not available, Death in Freeport would still be a solid adventure.

Perhaps on of the strongest voices for this series are those of my playing group. They simply love Freeport. They loved Death in Freeport and they've loved the other adventures there too. It's great to find an adventure that keeps the players and the DM happy, and this is one that does!

The Lost Muse

First Post
Disclaimer: I purchased this module to run in 2001, and have used it several times since then. I really, really like the stuff that Green Ronin publishes, but will try to be unbiased. I recently finished running this in my current campaign.

Death in Freeport is a d20 Module published by Green Ronin for characters level 1 - 3. It was, in fact, the first module to be released for the d20 System. Ever. Weighing in at 32 pages, three are lost to an advertisement, introductory materials, and the Open Game Licence. The entire book is Open Content, which is a good thing. The text is good, and there are no noticeable typographical errors.

The art and cartography in this book is of high quality, albeit in black and white, and helps to evoke the proper mood. The cover image does not really have anything to do with the adventure itself, but is rather evocative.

The book opens with a brief history of the city of Freeport, which sits on the ruins of an ancient empire of serpent people. Centuries later, pirates settle on the island and manage to survive through several challenges until they are recognized as a legitimate city-state. The history of the city is concisely detailed, and includes a timeline and a few evocative pictures. After detailing the history of the city, a sidebar suggests how to integrate Freeport into an existing campaign.

The premise of the adventure is that a librarian at the Temple of the God of Knowledge has been kidnapped, and one of the clerics has recruited the party (new to the city), to help track him down. This works well, and hooks the players up with resources they might not otherwise have, such as access to healing, and some people to do research for them. After the party has been recruited, the module describes several areas for investigation. Most of these areas have a few clues, although there are some red herrings sprinkled into the mixture.

If, after visiting all the places to investigate, the party does not have any idea of what to do next, the module keeps moving along anyways. A group of mercenaries attack the party, and depending on how many dots still need to be connected, reveal enough information for the characters to track down the missing librarian. The final area detailed in the book is a short straightforward dungeon crawl. As a game master who does not like long running combat, this is a boon to be sure. Each of the rooms houses something interesting, and the final encounter takes place in a temple chamber.

Finally, there is one appendix containing: stats for all the creatures the party is likely to do battle with, stats for all the named opponents (who are usually levelled), a monster manual style entry describing Serpent People, two handouts, and four pregenerated characters allowing for immediate play. A quick skim over the stat blocks showed no glaring errors, and as a nice touch, the possessions of each opponent are detailed for looting. (Why kill things if you cannot take their stuff?) The stats for the serpent people are good to have, and the flavor text describes a little of their society, and how to use them as characters. Although ability score adjustments are not included, this book was published a long time before Savage Species, and the adjustments are fairly easy to extrapolate. (Assuming they follow the same pattern as the monster manual creatures: Degenerate +2 strength, +2 constitution, -4 intelligence, -4 wisdom, -2 charisma, Civilized -2 constitution, +2 intelligence, +2 charisma.)
Now, a few complaints. Most of the encounters should be nothing that first level players cannot handle; however, for those who do not believe that discretion is the better part of valour, there may come a time when they run short of hit points. Of course, the cleric that recruits the party could always adventure with them if necessary. My other complaint is that I felt silly reading the text meant to be read aloud verbatim, so I have changed it as necessary in subsequent running of the module.

Running this module using D&D 3.5 has proven to be of no difficulty whatsoever. While many changes were made to the rules, none of them affect the stat blocks to the point of making them unusable. I probably could have made adjustments and updates, but it simply was not necessary. Your mileage may vary, and a revised edition has been released with 3.5 stats.

I wholeheartedly recommend this adventure for anyone who likes investigation or pirates in their games. The characters are good, the plot is well thought out, and you are presented with a setting to run further adventures in as well. My own experiences with this module are that it lends itself well to first time players, because they have some structure to work within; however, running it with experienced players is also a blast. 5 stars.

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