Now Available: Dark Wings Over Freeport PDF

Dark Wings Over Freeport PDFDark Wings Over Freeport is now available in PDF format from our Green Ronin Online Store.
A new day may have dawned in the City of Adventure, but old evils still haunt Freeport’s streets. When beggars start disappearing, the crime lord Finn grows worried and coerces the heroes to look into this potential disaster to one of his more lucrative operations. As the adventurers soon find out, the perpetrator is no simple murderer or overzealous watchman. What begins as a simple stakeout and investigation reveals a horrible plot involving terrifying demons, fiend lords, and a burgeoning cult that threatens much more than the crime lord’s profits. This Bleeding Edge special celebrates the release of the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport. Dark Wings Over Freeport can be run as a stand-alone adventure or used to launch a brand new campaign set in the popular City of Adventure. Like other offerings from this series, Dark Wings over Freeport supplies thrilling environments, colorful NPCs, and deadly combats, promising to push your games to the Bleeding Edge of adventure.
Includes both d20 and True20 stats!
Dark Wings Over Freeport PDF

Now Available: True20 Freeport Companion PDF

True20 Freeport Companion (PDF)The True20 Freeport Companion is now available in PDF format in our Green Ronin Online Store.
The Pirate’s Guide to Freeport created a new baseline for Freeport adventures but focused purely on the setting. The True20 Freeport Companion gives players and narrators everything they need to enjoy exciting campaigns in the City of Adventure with the True20 rules. The book includes new heroic roles and feats, True20 stats for all the major NPCs, and a new Freeport adventure. Set sail for a new world of adventure with the True20 Freeport Companion!
True20 Freeport Companion

Green Ronin Publishing Podcast: Episode 1

Green Ronin Publishing and our president and show host Chris Pramas are proud to present Episode 1 of our new Green Ronin Publishing Podcast.
Follow along with Chris and special guests Steve Kenson and Robert "Dr. Evil" Schwalb as they discuss the many cool products that we’ll be debuting at this year’s Gen Con Indy and give special attention to the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport and Paragons, our new campaign for Mutants & Masterminds.
The show clocks in at just over 30 minutes, and is a 27.7 MB download.
Listen to Episode 1 here:

Powered by Podbean.com
Download this episode (right click and save)
Subscribe to our Green Ronin Publishing Podcast:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/GreenRoninPublishingPodcast

Pirate’s Guide to Freeport PDF Preview: The Serpent’s Teeth

We’ve posted another PDF Preview from Pirate’s Guide to Freeport. This excerpt from the book discusses The Serpent’s Teeth, the island chain where Freeport is located. It includes tons of great information and a really cool map.

"Freeport does not exist in a vacuum. Life (and death) in the Freebooter’s City is defined in large part by its location. Perched on the shattered remains of Valossa, the citizens of Freeport contend not only with each other for survival, but with the natural (and unnatural) hazards of life on the tips of the Serpent’s Teeth. While Freeport is the only city in the Serpent’s Teeth, it shares the islands with a variety of smaller towns and outposts, and the pirates and traders that sail the sea. And in the jungles and caves of the islands, beneath the waves, and in the ruins of the serpent empire, there are legends, treasures, and horrors beyond human understanding, waiting to be discovered—or unleashed."

The Pirate’s Guide to Freeport will be available tomorrow in PDF format.
Pirate’s Guide to Freeport Catalog Page
Pirate’s Guide to Freeport PDF Preview: The Serpent’s Teeth

Designer Journal: Beyond Freeport

Chris Pramas
I don’t even think it took a week after the release of Death in Freeport for people to start asking if I was going to blow Freeport out into a full campaign setting. I resisted the urge for many, many years. Part of Freeport’s appeal, after all, was that you could drop it into any campaign setting, and the feedback I got from gamers told me they were doing just that. Nonetheless, I started keeping notes on what I’d do if ever the time came to detail the world beyond Freeport. Whenever I had a random idea, I’d jot it down or write up a little something and save it. One of these days, I told myself, I’ll do something with all these ideas.
That day came last year when work began on the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport. Since one of our stated goals was to make the book as deluxe as possible, I decided to dedicate a chapter to the larger world. Before I go on, let me point out that this entire chapter is optional. If you want to use Freeport with the setting of your choice, that’s just what the Pirate’s Guide is designed for and you need have no worries. References to the Continent and the gods are still generic throughout the book. However, the Beyond Freeport chapter is there for you if you are in the market for a larger campaign setting.
The chapter starts with a bit of cosmic history and then zooms in to focus on the Continent. The basic idea is that Yig created the world in the time before time and the serpent people were his chosen champions. Yig sent his power and his followers out into the cosmic soup, conquered other realities, and made them part of his world. When the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign summoned the Unspeakable One, however, it was a complete disaster for Yig and his followers. The serpent person empire of Valossa was destroyed and Yig sent into a torpor from which he has not recovered. The spot where Freeport stands is the center of Yig’s former domains. The further one gets from the center, the more difficult it is to navigate the waters. Getting to the Continent is easy but getting to a distant realm like Hamunaptra is hard and requires the skills of a “mystic navigator”.
The remainder of the Beyond Freeport chapter provides full details (and a gorgeous map by Andy Law) of the Continent. The rest of the world is left mysterious. This was done for two reasons. First, it allows GMs to run games that really are voyages of discovery. Who knows what might be beyond the horizon? Second, it allows the easy integration of other setting material. If you want to create another continent of your own, it’s easy to fit into this framework. If you want a region that is largely unknown to the people of Freeport, you can place it on the borders of Yig’s domains. The idea is that the most distant realms where never conquered by the serpent people because of the Valossan apocalypse, so it’s easy to have distant lands that have never even heard of Yig. Settings that already have some ties to Freeport, like Mindshadows and Hamunaptra, can also be used at your option. In a sense this setup is similar to the way we treat Freeport and the Serpent’s Teeth in the rest of the book, but the detailed area is much larger.
The big reveal for longtime Freeport fans is the Continent itself. This is the core of the campaign setting. Putting this together was tricky because I felt like it had to have classic fantasy elements, but I also wanted to play up aspects that made the City of Adventure unique. Freeport, of course, began as a D&D campaign setting, so the Continent needed to be recognizable as such. However, there are also had to be plenty of room for Lovecraftian elements, piracy, and swashbuckling. As I was putting my notes together, I made a list of features I wanted for the Continent. These included:
1. A history and feel that would integrate well with existing Freeport lore. In Black Sails Over Freeport, for example, barbarians attack Freeport. Well, who are those barbarians and where did they come from?
2. Multiple places for good adventuring. This included border regions, monster-haunted wastelands, and regions unexplored by the civilized races. If this was going to be a fantasy campaign setting, there had to be room for adventures, right?
3. Ancient empires and epochs of history about which little is recorded. Again, this is great adventure fodder. With Freeport it was pretty easy to do because there was such chaos after the fall of Valossa. That’s not the only anarchic period though.
4. A lot of seafaring nations. This was pretty much a must; otherwise Freeport made little sense. In particular, I wanted some outward looking realms that were heavily dependent on the sea. The best example is the Ivory Ports, a collection of city states that not only rely on seaborne trade but also have colonies in other parts of the world.
5. Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
6. Plenty of conflict amongst the various nations. I also didn’t want too many nations that were clearly “evil”.
7. A strong framework for GMs that would still leave room for their creativity.
This last point in particular was important to me. There are some campaign settings that are overly detailed and I think this actually makes them harder to use. I wanted this chapter to feel more like the original Greyhawk folio (though those looking for the exact amount of heavy cavalry that each nation has will be disappointed). I wanted to give GMs plenty of material to work with and then let them fill in the blanks and really make the setting their own. One feature of the text and the map, for example, is Important Landmarks. They are listed but not detailed, so the GM can use them as seeds for adventures or just as bits of flavor to help evoke the world. This sort of customization is in the best spirit of Freeport and roleplaying in general.
Late in the process I had a final brainstorm. I thought it’d be fun to give Freeport a rival city. I wanted it to be a commercial and military rival, but more than that I wanted it to represent an opposing ethos. And what do Freeporters hate above all else? That’s right, slavery. There’s nothing worse to the free spirited sons and daughters of Freeport than the denial of liberty. Thus I created the city-state of Mazin. I placed it in the distant south and modeled it on the Barbary states of the Mediterranean. Mazin’s galleys prey on the shipping lanes, so the city’s giant slave markets can be fed. In the past Freeport and Mazin went to war and Freeport won the first round. Since it is some distance away, there has not been a second clash…yet.
So that’s a little taste of the world beyond Freeport. If you want to read more about what the World of Freeport has to offer, check out the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport, which is coming soon. The book is at print for a July release and we’ll be releasing the PDF next week. Not long now until all is revealed.

Pirate’s Guide to Freeport PDF Preview: Scurvytown

We have posted a PDF Preview of the Scurvytown chapter of Pirate’s Guide to Freeport.

“If the stories told in far-flung ports about Freeport were true, visitors would be gutted like fish the moment they strode down the gangplank of an arriving ship. While newcomers quickly learn Freeport is far more than a collection of bloodthirsty pirates, one place fits the city’s image like a glove: Scurvytown. This district is officially named the Freebooter’s Quarter in documents, but no one off the boat less than a week uses that name. The decrepit condition, lawless population, and grinding poverty of the place earned it the nickname Scurvytown decades ago, and the name stuck.”

Pirate’s Guide to Freeport Catalog Page
Pirate’s Guide to Freeport PDF Preview: Scurvytown

Designer Journal: Location, Location, Location

Chris Pramas
The Pirate’s Guide to Freeport includes a lot of information, from history and personalities to plots and GM advice. The heart of the book though is the nine chapters that describe the city’s districts and key locations. Astute readers may have noticed that I mentioned nine chapters, when the city previously only had eight districts. This is because Freeport has a new district, Bloodsalt, which sprang up after a nearly cataclysmic event called the Great Green Fire. The expansion of the city is just one of the ways that we tried to reflect the passage of five years in the world of Freeport.
Within each district chapter you’ll find a general overview of the place, with notes on its history, characteristics, and flavor. This is followed by a string of detailed locations, and it is these descriptions that the city really comes alive. Rob Schwalb created a basic template that every location follows. This organizes the information in a standard way, so GMs can quickly reference what they need to know. A sample location follows. This is a new business that I added to the Eastern District, Strebeck’s Beer Hall. Every location in the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport follows this same format.
Strebeck’s Beer Hall
“Why is it called Battleaxe Brew? Because my head felt like I’d been hit with one when I overindulged on the first batch, that’s why.”
—Nathan Strebeck
Strebeck’s Beer Hall is an Eastern District institution. Hundreds of Freeporters drink and eat there every day, just as they’ve done for the past century. While the place has always been popular, the introduction of a new beer, Battleaxe Brew, fifteen years ago ensured its tables would be crowded every night.
History
Audley Strebeck, an entrepreneur from the Continent, founded his beer hall over one hundred years ago. He bought up several buildings near the East Gate of the Old City, demolished them, and then began construction. Local tavern owners predicted Strebeck would go out of business in less than a year. Audley proved them wrong, and by the time he died, he had a thriving business to pass on to his family.
Two more generations of Strebecks took their turns running the beer hall. Some forty years ago, Hayley Strebeck, granddaughter of Audley, had an affair with an elven privateer. The product of this union was a half-elf bastard named Nathan. Like his siblings, he was brought up working in the family business. Unlike them, he wanted to see what was beyond Freeport.
When Nathan was twenty, he joined a company of adventurers and traveled to the Continent. He apprenticed with a sorcerer and learned how to harness magic. A few years later, he accompanied his master to the lost dwarf hold of Urmanrog. The expedition was successful, and his master brought back many priceless treasures. Nathan got a small cut of the profits but none of the magic items discovered. He was not bitter, however, because he had secreted out something more valuable than gold to the son of brewing family: a sample of Urmanrog’s beer yeast.
Nathan returned to Freeport and reunited with his family. Urmanrog had been famous for its beer, and he hoped the yeast he brought home was that of the dwarf brewers. It didn’t take long for Nathan to have his answer. The first test batch of beer made the family’s traditional recipe taste like dishwater. Nathan dubbed it Battleaxe Brew, and it was introduced at Strebeck’s Beer Hall fifteen years ago. It was an instant hit, and since its debut, the brew and the beer hall have become legendary.
Description
Strebeck’s Beer Hall is a large, brick building next to the East Gate of the Old City. It has two main sections: a three-story brewery and the beer hall proper. The beer-making process starts on the top floor of the brewery and proceeds in stages down through the building until the finished barrels are deposited in the deep, cool beer cellar. The beer hall is attached to the brewery. It’s two stories tall—though really only one story with a high, vaulted ceiling. The beer hall has three public rooms: a main taproom and two smaller rooms that are sometimes rented for private functions. All of them are crammed with pine tables and chairs; a kitchen and several storerooms are in the back of the building. All told, the beer hall can seat four hundred customers.
Key Figures
The following characters can be found at Strebeck’s Beer Hall.
Ethlyn Strebeck
Ethlyn (female human journeyman) is Nathan’s older sister and the current proprietor of the Strebeck Beer Hall. Her job keeps her on her feet for twelve hours a day, and this active life has kept her fit despite her age. She jokes that her graying hair gives her an air of authority. In truth, she’s had that air for decades. Ethlyn runs a tight crew that can service hundreds of customers, day in and day out. She pays a fair wage and expects hard work in return. Long-time patrons call her Ethie, her childhood nickname, but others do so at their peril.
Nathan Strebeck
Nathan (male half-elf master) is Strebeck’s brew master. He doesn’t practice magic as actively as he used to, but it comes in handy when fights get out of hand. Nathan has never revealed the source of the yeast he brought back from his travels, not even to Ethlyn. If dwarven brewers knew what he had, they would stop at nothing to get it. While he will sometimes tell stories of his adventuring days in the beer hall, he never talks about the expedition to Urmanrog.
Adventure Hooks
An unspoken truce reigns at the Strebeck Beer Hall. There’s an occasional brawl, but the various gangs keep their clashes to the streets, by and large. But when two of these groups start having regular confrontations in the beer hall, Ethlyn needs help to sort it out. She doesn’t want to get in the middle of a gang war, nor does she want to lose business because her taproom turns into an arena. She needs the help of people who know how to deal with unruly gangers without arousing the wrath of the crime lords.
Nathan’s elven father returns to Freeport looking for his son. At first, Nathan is glad to see him. Soon he comes to realize his father has an agenda. He wants to use Strebeck’s as part of a scheme, hiding men and equipment in the beer cellar. Nathan does not want to endanger the family business, but he doesn’t know how to get his father to leave town. An elf privateer of vast experience, the father will not go gently.

The Third Man

Patrick O’Duffy

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Back in mid-2005, I wrapped up work on the Thieves World RPG line (available from all fine game stores in your neighbourhood) – and, I thought, on RPG writing once and for all. I’d worked on multiple games for multiple companies in the previous few years, I’d finished on a high note with an excellent book (the Thieves World Gazetteer, buy a copy today), and it was time to take on new projects. Close chapter, move on.
A year later, Rob Schwalb messaged me: “Green Ronin are working on a new project, and we want you to work on it. Chris Pramas and I agree that you have to work on it. I’m begging you. Hell, I’m dancing naked in front of the computer right now to entice you into saying yes!”
After ordering Rob to stop dancing naked on the other side of the world, I told him that I was retired, out of the game; I’d hung up my spurs and wasn’t about to ride the range again. Out of sheer politeness, I asked what the project was, but I already knew I’d turn it down.
“We’re relaunching Freeport with a new city guide and a new beginning for the whole line.”
…five seconds later I said I was in.
Death, Madness, Terror and other Good Times
It was back in 2001 that I picked up the 3rd edition Player’s Handbook, largely on a whim. I hadn’t played D&D since I was 13 or 14, having gravitated towards other games and systems in the intervening years – but the new edition looked cool and everyone was playing it, so I thought I’d give it a try. But to run a game, I needed an adventure or two – and on the shelf next to the PHB was a slim, exciting-looking book called Death in Freeport.
That decision kicked off my first-ever D&D campaign (at the grand old age of 30!), an epic swashbuckling tale in the mean streets of Freeport. My players battled serpent cultists in the city sewers, explored lost temples in the depths of A’Val, got caught up in barroom brawls and enmeshed in political intrigues; they braved the horrors of the Freeport Lighthouse to stop Milton Drac’s mad schemes and foil the Cult of the Yellow Sign once and for all. It was wild and crazy action adventure, it was triumph and tragedy, it was looking up the grapple rules again and again and again; it was awesome.
Five years later, there had been other groups, other adventures, other campaigns, but Freeport still had a place in my imagination as the best place for grubby, irreverent swashbuckling fantasy. And now I was being offered the chance to help redefine that city, and in a way that would let even more gamers discover its power and character.
There was no way I could say no. I was hooked.
Pinning Down the Freeport Flavour
Chris and Rob gave me a lot of room to move on this project – a lot of latitude to come up with ideas and give my input into the grand vision of Freeport.
So what do I think Freeport is all about? To my eye, it’s a sword-and-sorcery setting, not a high-fantasy setting, more Conan than Lord of the Rings. Sword-and-sorcery occupies a strange middle ground between the horror and fantasy genres, stealing bits from each and mixing them together. It isn’t necessarily dark (although Freeport has shadows aplenty), but it’s… unpredictable.
I’d already spent a lot of time thinking about sword-and-sorcery fantasy for Thieves World (insert gratuitous plug), and I wanted to bring some (but not all) of those ideas over to Freeport. I re-read all of the original Freeport books and adventures, getting the feel of the city down as well as I could, and thinking about how to tweak things more towards the S&S tone. Capturing that feel was my number-one priority when working on the Pirate’s Guide; to look at every location, every NPC, every plot hook through that lens of genre and work out how to make it just right. Thanks to the decision to advance the timeline of the city, I could insert, remove or modify many elements to bring them closer to that sword-and-sorcery ideal – and God bless ‘em, Chris and Rob let me get away with it time and time again.
What is Freeport? It’s a place of grubby action and desperate adventure, where the supernatural is real but not easily controlled, where crime and greed have more sway than curses and spells, where pirates may be more dangerous than monsters, and where you live on rum and sea biscuits, not waybread and nectar. It’s horror. It’s fantasy. It’s high adventure. It’s low comedy. It’s piracy and black magic and sunken cities and mad alchemists and thievery and evil cults and political corruption and gang warfare and suspicious lumps in your fish pie.
It’s the City of Adventure. No lie.
I’m 100% certain that the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport is going to knock your socks off. If it doesn’t, Rob Schwalb will dance naked for you until you change your mind. I promise.

Freeport Books Added to Lucky 7 Sale

We’ve added four Freeport books to our ongoing Lucky 7 Sale in our Green Ronin Online Store. The top two are d20 System v.3.5-rules-compatible, and the bottom two are classic v.3.0 Freeport products.
The Freeport Trilogy Five Year Anniversary Edition (normally $27.95, now $17).
Crisis in Freeport (normally $16.95, now $7).
Freeport: The City of Adventure (normally $29.95, now $17).
Tales of Freeport (normally $18.95, now $7).