By Thilo Graf
This adventure from Adamant Entertainment is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving 24 pages of adventure, so what’s up with this Freeport adventure?
I only recently saw this particular Freeport adventure, as it somewhat has slipped beneath my radar in the 3.5-days of old. Wanting to complete my Freeport collection, I immediately bought it.
This being an adventure review, this contains SPOILERS. Potential players beware.
Set in a dastardly hot summer that has tempers across the city of adventures flare, Blood of Freeport is an unconventional adventure in both its premise and presentation: This adventure has the PCs stumble into a merchant feud between the (almost) equally depraved and hate-consumed Lotharian and Ischern merchant families, being recruited for either side (or serving as double agents) to give the family an edge in the current escalation of the conflict, which, among others, sees a double-cross involving mega-raptors as well as family-specific final encounters. While I did love this rather non-linear, open-ended approach as well as themes like a descent into alcoholism/lost honour etc., this adventure has several problems as well:
First of all, the formatting could have been better – not due to glitches, but due to the fact that the linear narrative structure has to juggle a lot of alternative situations for the PCs: Are they aligned with the Lotharians? The Ischerns? Double-agents? – All these opportunities are accosted for in a steady stream of text, making running this semi-spontaneous rather impossible, something that could have easily been accosted for by better formatting.
On a rules-side, this adventure unfortunately is also not exciting – the henchmen that provide the cannon-fodder throughout the adventure as well as the families per se are rather dull with regards to their crunch. The adventure also features no cartography, which is especially annoying as the finale(s) take place around the families’ mansions and no maps are provided. Seeing that the adventure seeks to evoke a secret-agent/family-feud-theme, this lack makes running the espionage action rather hard. The adventure suggests hand waving the infiltration by forcing each PC to succeed on bluff-checks every day, which should pop out as a bad idea immediately to anyone.
Furthermore, while the families are not necessarily despicable, I found a lack of champions/special bodyguards a bit disconcerting.
Editing and formatting are ok, while I did notice some glitches and the formatting could be better, it’s not enough to qualify this as abysmal. Layout adheres to a no-frills b/w-2-column-standard and apart from the cover-artwork, the interior-artwork seems to have been reused from other/stock sources. The pdf has no bookmarks.
This adventure has me gnashing my teeth for several reasons – first of all, I love the premise and the fact that such feuds/socially-driven adventures are rather rare. However, at the same time, the plethora of options leads to a dilution in quality and crunch-wise, the adventure also falls rather short of its own premise by abandoning an inner-family-strife plot-point altogether, handwaving the central exciting action (the espionage/double agent-story) in favour of dull combats with unnamed henchmen. The climax features a masque and the lack of cartography makes unfortunately for a confusing, hard to run finale. As written, this adventure needs A LOT of work. Additionally, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was supposed to be Freeport’s Romeo & Juliet (The subtitle being “love & betrayal”), but was cut down to size, as the “love”-aspect is completely absent from any NPC’s motivations. Had this adventure been expanded to the 60+ pages that would have been necessary to make it work and unique with all different options, this would have been an awesome adventure indeed. As written, though, it feels like a hastily cobbled together sketch of an adventure rather than a full-blown instalment worthy of Freeport. Oh yeah, campaign-specific fluff is also mostly absent from this pdf apart from some generic nods towards local flavour. While this is in no way a bad sketch, it’s also far away from realizing its potential. If you’re willing to invest a lot of time, you might consider this a 3-star file. For all others, this is1.5 stars, rounded up to 2.
Blood of Freeport is available from: