Death in Freeport
Reviewed by Clifford Hammerschmidt, Copyright© 2000
Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion
Warning: This review may contain information that could spoil the
adventure for players who have not yet been through the Death in
Freeport module. For the lawful evil players out there, be careful
not to let the DM know that you know the things revealed in this review before
you should know them in play.
Death in Freeport is a 32 page module for D&D
3rd Edition published by Green Ronin
Publishing under the Open Game License. [ISBN: 0-
I recently had a chance to DM the Death in Freeport
module and thought I might share my impressions of it for the benefit of other
DM's who are considering buying it. My overall impression of the module after my
first read-through ranked it around 7/10. After DMing the module for
three sessions my overall rating for the printed material dropped to 4/10, for
reasons that will become clear shortly.
The book is broken into sections (but lacks a table of contents and an
index) as follows: Introduction (~6 pages), Adventure Synopsis (~1 page), Part
One: Baiting the Hook (~2 pages), Part Two: A Promising Line of Inquiry (~5
pages), Part Three: The Truth Sinks In (~7.5 pages), and Aftermath (~1 page).
All of which is followed by an Appendix (~5 pages).
The Introduction provides a detailed history of the city and the
region it is in. In this history a strange society of snakelike people ruled the
region several thousands of years ago until they became corrupted by an evil god
The Adventure Synopsis provides a very brief overview of how the
players should proceed through the adventure, assuming the players pick up on the
right clues and do the right things and not get distracted by hooks for the
Part I: Baiting the Hook is fairly weak. The characters are
attacked on the docks. A guy looking for help with a problem sees the
characters beat off their attackers and thinks they might be willing to help him
in exchange for money. A hook of this nature basically relies on the characters
being greedy. This would work for some groups of players. The group that I
was DMing, however, didn't care so much about money. Thankfully the "job"
(finding a missing person) was motive enough, although it was quite clear they
were only doing it because it was the intended path of the module, not because
their characters go around looking for every missing person. My group of players
actually killed several of the attackers, leading them to wonder if there was
any form of law enforcement in the city at all. Verisimilitude was definitely
Part II: A Promising Line of Inquiry is slightly better. I found
that there were enough clues provided that a competent set of characters could
actually figure out what happened to the missing person and determine who was
responsible for his disappearance. The reason this section is only slightly
better has to do with what else was provided. The players in my group basically
felt that some of the described aspects of the setting (namely a known pirate ship being in
port) were very unrealistic. Again, verisimilitude takes a hit.
Part III: The Truth Sinks In gets back to more standard D&D
style of play. The characters make their way to the "bad guys"
underground complex, the entrance to which is hidden in a very overdone way. (I
won't say exactly how, but I can tell you my players actually laughed out loud
as soon as they heard the room description...) In the complex there are some
things to fight, and the realization the bad guy isn't all that he seems. The
missing person is also found here; the module has him alive (with a reasonable
explanation for why he wasn't just killed and left in an alleyway). This section
works better than the rest since it falls into the standard dungeon-crawl style
of play that most D&D players are used to.
The Aftermath closes out the story and leads the characters
on to the next module.
The two biggest problems I had with the adventure were the next adventure
hook and the gray text sections (those that the DM is supposed to read to the
players). The next adventure hook requires very good timing on the DM's part as
it could easily be mistaken by the players as a clue for the current adventure,
leading them away from the module's path. I elected to ignore the hook
completely. The gray text sections were written as if the author felt he was
talking to novice players that would need a lot of help finding their way.
I ended up condensing and rewriting most of the gray text to convey only what
the characters saw and not what they should discern.
As I stated at the beginning of this review, my first impression was fairly
good. After playing the module for several hours with my experienced players and
gauging their reaction to the material, my opinion of the module dropped some. I
would not suggest this module for experienced DM's with players that have a long
history of role-playing experience to draw on. The module could work well for
younger DM's and/or novice players that are not as concerned about maintaining
verisimilitude within their game as the setting for the module is quite
Death in Freeport, is written by
Chris Pramas, and is produced and distributed by
Green Ronin Publishing. Their contact details are as
Green Ronin Publishing