Thursday, June 4, 2015

More thoughts on D&D 5E Freeport

In previous columns, I converted the Freeport "iconic" characters to D&D 5th Edition. This time, I'll be offering some thoughts on creating your own 5E characters suitable for Freeport.

Races: The various Freeport Companions and the new Freeport: The City of Adventure (FCOA) book for Pathfinder point out that Freeport is the crossroads of the world, so theoretically any race can be encountered there, no matter how rare. In fact, all races and subraces in the Player's Handbook (PH) have appeared in past Freeport products, except for dragonborn. In Freeport, dragonborn are likely to be confused with the hated and feared serpent people, which could pose an enduring threat to such a character and their associates.

Freeport also has a few new races unique to the setting. For crag gnomes, the forest gnome subrace seems the best match, except for those inventors, like Kolter, who are clearly rock gnome tinkers. For azhar, use the fire genasi, described in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (available as a free PDF). Island trolls have no equivalent in the handful of 5E products that I've seen so far, so you may wish to simply ignore them or replace them with another race (possibly goliaths?) if you don't want to convert the race from scratch.

Classes: Likewise, all PH classes and archetypes are available in Freeport. Some of the new classes presented in Freeport sourcebooks can be approximated using various combinations of classes, archetypes, and backgrounds. For example, assassin is a rogue archetype in 5E; noble is a background usable with any class; and a corsair or freebooter can be easily built by giving a fighter or rogue the sailor background.

The warlock class is very well-suited for unhinged cultists (including cult "priests" with the acolyte background). Use the Fiend patron for demon and devil cults, and the Great Old One for Lovecraftian gods like Yig, the Unspeakable One, and the Crawling Chaos. For investigator-heroes in the vein of Call of Cthulhu, a warlock could also represent an academic who has unlocked secrets of magic from studying Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, and uses that knowledge to combat such menaces while she desperately tries to hold onto her remaining shreds of sanity. (This was the concept behind my first 5E character, a tiefling sage, who I will surely babble about at some other time.)

Backgrounds: All PH backgrounds are available in Freeport. The charlatan, criminal, sailor, and urchin are especially common throughout the city.

Gods: FCOA gives the most comprehensive list of gods worshiped in Freeport. Assigning domains from the greatly reduced list in 5E is fairly easy:

  • Death (DMG): Gods of Death and Murder
  • Knowledge: Gods of Commerce, Knowledge, and Magic
  • Life: Gods of Healing and Life
  • Light: Gods of Justice and Sun
  • Nature: God of Nature (and possibly Life?)
  • Tempest: Gods of Sea and Storms, plus Dagon
  • Trickery: Gods of Luck, Lust, and Thieves, plus Oona and the Unspeakable One
  • War: Gods of Strength, Valor, and War, plus Abaddon
A few gods are a little more complicated:
  • The Crawling Chaos: Death, possibly Magic and/or Trickery
  • God of Penitence: (no obvious choice, possibly defaulting to Healing?)
  • God of Pirates: Trickery, War
  • God of Retribution: Death, War
  • God of Roads: (no obvious choice, but Knowledge seems a good default)
  • Yig: Knowledge, Trickery (Hitthkai sect); War (Sskethvai sect)
Skills and Languages: All skills are available. For checks regarding "forbidden knowledge," use the Arcana skill (for obscure magic and other planes) or Religion skill (for deities and secret cults). History may be more appropriate for more general details about lost civilizations such as Valossa.

Add Valossan to the PH's language list to preserve the uniqueness of that culture within the setting. DMs may wish to add some of the foreign human languages from FCOA, depending on how much those cultures are featured in his or her game.

Now, go out there and grab all the swag you can!

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