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The Fate RPG Sails into Freeport

The Fate RPG Sails into Freeport

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Freeport, the City of Adventure, is one of the world’s greatest trade hubs — and one of the seediest. But for savvy sellswords looking to make quick coin, there’s always a job, if you don’t mind running afoul of the local Watch. With guts and ambition you’ll make your fortune in Freeport — if the whole island doesn’t go up in a blaze.

The bonus collection in our November 2014 Bundle of Fate +2 included two Freeport tabletop roleplaying game sourcebooks from Green Ronin Publishing. The first is the system-neutral Pirate’s Guide to Freeport by Patrick O’Duffy, Chris Pramas, and Robert J. Schwalb, the latest official setting book for Freeport. (The first Freeport book was released almost 15 years ago in the early D20 boom.) Create a whole campaign in and around the city, or just drop Freeport and its archipelago into your existing fantasy setting.

Like any (in)decent port city, Freeport draws denizens with many backgrounds and aims. Elves, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings mix and mingle; nobles and beggars share the streets; politicians collude with pirates. There are lots of pirates. The Pirate’s Guide to Freeport tells you everything you need to know about Freeport, its pirates, and all the people and monsters who want to kill its pirates.

The second Freeport title in this offer, The Fate Freeport Companion (Brian Engard, Clark Valentine), adapts the setting to the Fate Core rules. Fate and Freeport are a natural fit; the city itself is like a Fate character, surviving one catastrophe after another through twists that bewilder the mind.

Fate Freeport is an intriguing amalgam of traditional FRPG conventions and the modern Fate system. In place of the basic Fate skills list, The Fate Freeport Companion lists only six “skills,” the traditional fantasy statistics: Strength, Intelligence, Charisma, etc.  Stunts and aspects embody gear, magical items, special abilities, and proficiencies. This part of character creation is pretty freewheeling — you can make characters exactly as you envision them.

The magic system is thorough, the spell list comprehensive — though you can also create your own spells, if you’re so inclined. Engard and Valentine offer a balanced system that makes wizards useful without letting them outshine the rest of the party. The spell list gives The Fate Freeport Companion a specific swords-and-sorcery tone, but if your own Freeport is a little different, you could easily swap in a different magic system from another bonus title in this offer, Evil Hat’s Fate System Toolkit.

Of course, Fate Freeport presents full stats for the people you met in the Pirate’s Guide and the monsters you wish you hadn’t. And the starter adventure, “Fury in Freeport,” is a sampler of the elements that characterize Freeport games: back-alley deals, a stealth operation, murders and mystery, and a chaotic final confrontation.

The Fate adaptation of Freeport is ideal for players who want the freedom to play characters just as they’ve imagined, in a whimsical city where anything can happen (and usually does). Freeport may be loud, and it may be smelly, but once you’re used to it, you won’t want it any other way — or anyway, you certainly won’t get it any other way.