This adventure is interesting in that it makes use of another publisher's setting - the city of Freeport from Green Ronin. You don't need to have any of Green Ronin's books on Freeport to run this though, just understand that it's basically a den of pirates dressed up with a thin veneer of legality. Against this backdrop, the present adventure runs. There's something odd going on, and it soon turns into more than the kidnappings the party are asked to investigate...
The introductory material for the DM includes an adventure summary, notes on Freeport, encounter tables, scaling information, and several ways to get the party involved. The default one is that parents ask them to find missing children, but several others reasons are given to get them to enter the dilapidated manor house that is the setting for the delve. There's also an interesting section on how to cope with pesky parties who insist on doing something other than enter by the front door - useful when, as always, carefully designed plots fall apart as soon as the party arrives! As well as a full and detailed background explaining what is really going on, there's a section on how to handle character insanity, should anyone become unhinged due to the horrors within! And horrors there are, this is funadmentally a haunted-house mystery with gross, bloody and terrifying scenes... be warned if any of your group are easily upset this might not be the best adventure for them.
The adventure itself begins with the party standing in the street outside the building in question. Once they venture in (by whatever route they choose) the horror soon begins, and continues without let-up during their visit. Most of the inhabitants, alive or undead, are off their heads. The building consists of two floors, a roof garden and a basement. Every room is described clearly, with notes on what (and who) is to be found there and all necessary game information to play out encounters. Quite often there are associated handouts as well, to let the players 'see' through their characters' eyes. Whilst there is plenty of horror to be found above ground, the basement is the true dungeon of this adventure, and it's here that the controlling evil genius will be found and the climactic battle fought... but there's plenty more to explore, monsters to fight and traps to evade before the party gets that far.
There are a few sketchy ideas for further adventures, a whole bunch of new monsters and some new magic including a Madness Domain. Four pre-generated characters are provided if you want to jump straight in to the adventure, although the way they are presented means that you need to sift through the notes and put them into a more sensible format (maybe transcribe them onto a character sheet) before they'll be of any use.
The stakes are high, the very fate of Freeport itself hangs in the balance. Indeed if the party dawdles, the final assault may be launched and they'll have one last chance to stop it. If you like a good twist of horror to your delve, this is well worth checking out, while if you already use the Freeport setting, this could provide an interesting twist in your ongoing storyline.
Return to Shadows in Freeport page.
Reviewed: 9 July 2018