What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

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What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby Big Mac » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:44 am

Has anyone been following Freeport since the very first product? (I am guessing Tim Emrick might have, but I would like to hear from anyone.)

What are your thoughts on how the campaign setting has evolved from the first book?

Are there any products that seemed especially evolutionary or revolutionary to you?

Did you notice any retcons? Was there any significant fan debate about anything new?

Has any old product been "disowned" or rebooted?

Is there any aspect of Freeport that you think has not evolved enough yet?
Last edited by Big Mac on Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby Havard » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:31 am

My goal was to follow the setting from the beginning and collect everything, but I think I lost track at some point. Also, I have not been able to study every product to the same detail as I did with most of the 3E era products.

I know that with the first hardback there was the decision to advance the timeline 5 years and treat the Freeport Trilogy as a backstory.

Of course the Continent was only referred to as such originally, leaving it up to the individual DMs to place Freeport in their favorite Game setting, while later products did develop the world surrounding Freeport in more detail.

That's all I can think of, but I am sure there is more :)

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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:43 am

Big Mac wrote:Has anyone been following Freeport since the very first product? (I am guessing Tim Emrick might have, but I would like to hear from anyone.)

Yes. Yes, I have. :ugeek: My Freeport Library thread lists all the Freeport products of which I'm aware, and my errata archive has pages for almost all of them.

Here's a brief overview of the product line's history (which omits many adventures and minor supplements):

  • 2000-2001: The setting debuted in the Freeport Trilogy (Death, Terror, and Madness in Freeport, for v.3.0). Hell in Freeport provided its first high-level adventure.
  • 2002: A hardcover setting book, Freeport: The City of Adventure, detailed the city as it stood immediately after the Trilogy, at the very beginning of the Succession Crisis. As in the Trilogy, details about the outside world were left deliberately vague, to allow the city to be used in any setting the DM wishes.
  • 2003: Tales of Freeport provided a collection of v.3.0 adventures, including one that was a direct sequel to the Trilogy. Black Sails Over Freeport, the setting's first v.3.5 adventure (and its largest ever) provided a wealth of new detail about the city's secret history and a couple of its native cults.
  • 2003-2004: The Mythic Vistas settings Mindshadows and Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra were characterized as distant lands in the "World of Freeport."
  • 2004-2005: I revised the Freeport Trilogy for v.3.5.
  • 2006: Crisis in Freeport brought an end to the Succession Crisis, with the rise of a new Sea Lord.
  • 2007: After some years of debating how to best update the city book (complicated in large part by Wizards' announcement of 4E), Green Ronin released The Pirate's Guide to Freeport, a systemless sourcebook for the setting. The timeline was advanced 5 years from the previous city book, well past the end of the Succession Crisis. This book included an optional chapter sketching out the Continent and its history for the first time. (GR's Bleeding Edge Adventures series, released around this time, was nominally set on the Continent.)
  • 2007-2010: A series of Freeport Companions--for True20, d20, C&C, Savage Worlds, M&M, 4E, and Pathfinder--provided rules support for The Pirate's Guide. The d20 Freeport Companion (2008) was Green Ronin's last v.3.5 product, so it was jam-packed full of new material as a final hurrah with the system.
  • 2007-2008: The systemless supplements Cults of Freeport and Buccaneers of Freeport were released, followed by web enhancements giving True20 and d20 stat blocks ([co]written by me, 2010-2011).
  • 2013: The Fate Core Rulebook Kickstarter produced the Fate Freeport Companion as a stretch goal.
  • 2013-2015: Green Ronin Kickstarted a new Pathfinder edition of Freeport: The City of Adventure. This book expanded on the material in The Pirate's Guide, but advanced the timeline another 2 years and provided full Pathfinder support for the setting (taking advantage of the many additions to the system since the first PF Freeport book was released). Stretch goals included the Return to Freeport adventure path (4 of 6 parts have been released so far) and an AGE Freeport Companion (not yet released).
  • 2017: The Freeport Bestiary updated many creatures introduced in earlier books (such as Creatures of Freeport, for v.3.5) to Pathfinder. It also added dozens of brand-new creatures, from a wide variety of terrains and climates (many obviously from well beyond Freeport itself).
  • 2017: The Kickstarter for a Freeport Companion for Shadow of the Demon Lord funded a conversion of the Trilogy as a stretch goal.

[Edited 10/15/2017 to add Mythic Vistas and the Freeport Bestiary; 10/16: SotDL.]


Big Mac wrote:What are your thoughts on how the campaign setting has evolved from the first book?

Are there any products that seemed especially evolutionary or revolutionary to you?

Did you notice any recons? Was there any significant fan debate about anything new?

Has any old product been "disowned" or rebooted?

Is there any aspect of Freeport that you think has not evolved enough yet?

By recons, I assume you mean retcons? I haven't noticed anything significant in that respect--Freeport's contributors have been very careful to honor what's already been established as "canon."

Apart from that, I'm going to hold off on addressing these questions for the moment, to see what others' thoughts are.
Last edited by timemrick on Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby Nate Christen » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:55 pm

It's not a retcon, but the timing for Crisis in Freeport was weird. It seems to be a pretty direct follow-up to the original Freeport Trilogy, but it was released a couple of years after Black Sails Over Freeport. Black Sails is for higher-level characters, and includes and element involving a half-orc, Drak Sockit, who makes a claim to be the next Sea Lord. That issue was settled, however, by Crisis. To me this creates a bit of a continuity snag.

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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:58 am

Nate Christen wrote:It's not a retcon, but the timing for Crisis in Freeport was weird. It seems to be a pretty direct follow-up to the original Freeport Trilogy, but it was released a couple of years after Black Sails Over Freeport. Black Sails is for higher-level characters, and includes and element involving a half-orc, Drak Sockit, who makes a claim to be the next Sea Lord. That issue was settled, however, by Crisis. To me this creates a bit of a continuity snag.

Drak's claim is almost certainly doomed to failure, so should have little impact either way on Crisis. It's only really a continuity snag if you're trying to play through all of the Freeport adventures that were available at that time with a single party--which was already problematic by the time Crisis was published. (Most notably, Black Sails Over Freeport starts out much at a much lower level than Hell in Freeport is designed for, but Black Sails PCs will pass Hell's level by the time they get any opportunities for side adventures elsewhere.)
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:54 pm

I've edited my timeline to correct the info about the Fate Freeport Companion. I'd forgotten which Kickstarter it was connected to.
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby Big Mac » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:52 am

Havard wrote:My goal was to follow the setting from the beginning and collect everything, but I think I lost track at some point. Also, I have not been able to study every product to the same detail as I did with most of the 3E era products.


I'm not sure I ever followed Freeport, until fairly recently. I saw one or two of the early products, but there was a lot going on from 3rd party publishers supporting the d20 System. I did notice the logo evolving over time.

Then I also notice something that is both great...but also a reason to not buy all the books: support for a second, third and fourth ruleset.

So, I've been wondering how much Freeport has been "growing upwards" from the original "seed" and how much it has been "branching outwards from the lower part of the tree".

Havard wrote:I know that with the first hardback there was the decision to advance the timeline 5 years and treat the Freeport Trilogy as a backstory.


Which hardback is that? (I've not done my Book-House research for Freeport yet, so I'm no sure what's a hardback and what's a sortback...or what order the books were published in. And the branches into other rules systems means that some old things have "come back" again.)

Would you compare this to how the Ravenloft campaign setting springs from I6 Ravenloft and I10 Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill? Would you say that Freeport was more of a "generic place" than a "campaign setting" in the Freeport Trilogy? Or was it clear that Green Ronin wanted to create a campaign world from the first book?

What sort of changes did the 5 year timejump create? Did it just convert the Freeport Trilogy from potential adventures into recent history? Or did it do anything else?

Havard wrote:Of course the Continent was only referred to as such originally, leaving it up to the individual DMs to place Freeport in their favorite Game setting, while later products did develop the world surrounding Freeport in more detail.

That's all I can think of, but I am sure there is more :)


I remember, during the early part of 3rd Edition that campaign settings were very much played down. I was constantly seeing stuff along the lines of "you can add this to your own gameworld". I guess that - if Freeport was designed to be inserted into other worlds - there might later be a resistance against expanding outwards and "overwriting" the lands that early Freeport GMs might have build around Freeport. :?

But I do know that Freeport has a couple of/few subsettings, so I know there has been expansion to other parts of the world. I am interested in how that has happened and how it might have changed Freeport.
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:08 am

Big Mac wrote:Which hardback is that? (I've not done my Book-House research for Freeport yet, so I'm no sure what's a hardback and what's a sortback...or what order the books were published in. And the branches into other rules systems means that some old things have "come back" again.)

My Freeport Library thread gives the years each item was released.

The only Freeport hardcovers were Freeport: The City of Adventure (both 3E and PF editions), the Pirate's Guide, and the new Freeport Bestiary (for Pathfinder). (I should go add that last item to the timeline...)
Big Mac wrote:What sort of changes did the 5 year timejump create? Did it just convert the Freeport Trilogy from potential adventures into recent history? Or did it do anything else?

Two of the biggest changes were:
  • Resolving the Succession Crisis, and giving info on the first few years of the new Sea Lord's reign. The book mentions some of the events from Black Sails and Crisis which happened during the Crisis (like a barbarian invasion and a massive hurricane), but doesn't reveal enough to spoil those adventures.
  • A supernatural disaster called the Great Green Fire ravaged much of the island that Freeport is located on. This had a big impact on the city's goblinoid and orc populations, many of whom are now employed in the efforts to restore the ravaged territory, and have been forced to move to a ghetto in this "reclaimed" land.
Big Mac wrote:But I do know that Freeport has a couple of/few subsettings, so I know there has been expansion to other parts of the world. I am interested in how that has happened and how it might have changed Freeport.

The Mythic Vistas line included two titles, Mindshadows and Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra, that were marketed as being distant parts of the "World of Freeport." Later Freeport books made occasional references to Naranjan and Hamunaptra, even after those settings went out of print.

Sadly, the v.3.5 mystic navigator prestige class, which would really shine in any campaign involving traveled between Freeport and those lands, did not get updated in the Pathfinder book. (I've pointed out this omission to Owen Stephens, but he hasn't addressed it yet--probably because Starfinder swallowed him whole for the past year or two. I may have to write up and submit that myself...)
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:19 am

I've added notes on Mystic Vistas (2003-2004) and the Freeport Bestiary (2017) to my timeline. I've also archived it at my errata site here.
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby Tim Baker » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:18 am

Did the recent Kickstarter for the Shadow of the Demon Lord versions of these products add anything new?
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Re: What has the evolution of Freeport been like?

Postby timemrick » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:27 pm

Tim Baker wrote:Did the recent Kickstarter for the Shadow of the Demon Lord versions of these products add anything new?

I'm not sure. I didn't back the KS for the SotDL Freeport Companion because I've never played that system, but I did receive comp copies of the Freeport Trilogy converted to that system because of my work on the v.3.5 versions. I haven't looked through them enough to know if there is anything new other than the conversion itself, and new art (in the style of other SotDL books).
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