Thursday, September 8, 2016

Winds of Freeport: The Last Adventure

Last month, my gaming group concluded the final adventure of my most recent campaign using Green Ronin's Freeport setting. This was the third such campaign that I've run in that city. The first covered the original Freeport Trilogy, in D&D v.3.0. The second continued in v.3.5 with mostly new characters, and adventures solely of my own devising. This latest one, "Winds of Freeport," was the longest one so far, spanning almost five years of real time, which included a one-year hiatus in the middle during which four of us relocated across country and we converted the game from v.3.5 to Pathfinder.

You may now be wondering, how did the game survive four of us relocating across country? The four people who played in the campaign from start to end were my wife Erika and myself, and another couple, Chris and Seanna Lea LoBue, who we've been friends with, and gaming regularly with, for most of the past two decades. Erika and Seanna Lea were co-workers when their firm relocated their department from Boston, MA, to Lexington, KY. Both households decided to make the move. At the time, it was a good decision for all of us, for many reasons--not the least of which was the fact that we'd be certain of having at least two other close friends nearby, to help us stay sane through the transition. It also meant that 4/5 of my gaming group would remain intact, allowing us to keep the long-time core players together and continue my Freeport game.

For the last year of the campaign, I ran a long site-based adventure that I titled "Gorilla Island." I knew that we would be wrapping up the campaign in order to start a new one ("The Time of the Tarrasque," which I've mentioned in this column), and I wanted us to go out with a bang. One of the player characters was a hadozee--essentially a gorilla with wing-flaps that allow him to glide--so I threw as many monkey and ape monsters into the adventure as I could. The party met a village of vanara, fought keches, and took down a baregara-possessed girallon priestess. I also threw in a mermaid subplot to snare the undine cleric's attention, and a ship-to-ship battle to cater to everyone's bloodthirstiness.

Now that the campaign has ended, I have been adding pages to my "Winds of Freeport" wiki in order to share some of my GM notes from that last adventure. Most of my Gorilla Island notes are now up there, as well as some for the Mystery of the Merfolk story line that led into it.

At the time that we started "Winds of Freeport," I had been an active member of The Piazza (a UK-based forum devoted to RPGs) for a few years and was known there as something of an expert on Freeport: The City of Adventure. Naturally, I wrote about this new campaign in the Freeport sub-forum there. I provided summaries of the sessions I ran, as well as sharing some of my plans for future adventures and answering questions from other Freeport fans. Because of the spoiler-laden nature of that thread, I never shared the link with my players. But now that the campaign is at an end (for the foreseeable future, anyway), I have decided to copy those session summaries from The Piazza and add them to the "Winds" wiki in slightly edited form. For a full list of those adventure summaries, see the Winds of Freeport Session List page and follow the links in the "Adventure/Notes" column.

In hindsight, I wish that I had started sharing these summaries with my players before now, so that the group as a whole could have had them for reference while we were still playing. The best I can do is correct that oversight now, and do better for future campaigns. That goal will be much aided by the fact that I started writing "Studded Plate" since "Winds" started. I have been using this blog to write up sessions of the D&D 5E game that I'm running for my kids, and I intend to do something similar for my next Pathfinder campaign, "Time of the Tarrasque."

I will definitely return to Freeport someday. At some point, there will be a one-session sequel for a ship battle with the hadozee's arch-nemesis (probably when I can't get the full group together for "Tarrasque"). After that I can't say anything definite, but I will continue to collect releases for the setting--and if I get the chance, write for Green Ronin again. There's a good chance that any future adventures that I run in Freeport will use a different system. Green Ronin has promised a Freeport Companion for Fantasy AGE, so I may decide to try out those rules next time out (especially if I'm still running "Tarrasque," in order to get a break from highly crunchy Pathfinder). On the other hand, if I ever run any Freeport adventures for my children (a tricky question, given some of the setting's more adult themes), I might use D&D Fifth Edition, as that's the system that I'm teaching them now. But at the moment, that's all speculation.

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