Freeport. My favorite hive of scum and villainy. The very first adventure I got for D&D 3e, at Gen Con 2000 when it launched, was Green Ronin’s Death in Freeport. Since then I’ve used Freeport or content filched from Freeport for many a game, including my current Reavers on the Seas of Fate Pathfinder game (the PCs just captured Morgan Baumann!).
Green Ronin is running a Kickstarter for a 512-page color hardback for Freeport. Get in! But… You’ll need $100 to get the print copy. Sorry. [Edit – now reduced to $80!]
Let me complain a minute. What the hell is it with these RPG kickstarters where you need $100 to get the product? I did it for Razor Coast only because I was so invested (I was a volunteer proofreader on the darn thing during the dark years when Logue punked out, and I wanted to contribute financially even though I had bought the $30 preorder years ago). I have been staring at this Freeport Kickstarter for a week now and I guess I’m going to do it but only because I have 12 years of history with Freeport. These things are turning off all but the most die-hard fans of the thing they’re Kickstarting. And this is it for me; I can’t think of any other properties I love enough to Kickstart $100 for.
Am I going to click this $100 button? I guess? Green Ronin isn’t actually doing it, Fiery Dragon is, and I played NeMoren’s Vault, it was no Death in Freeport… And I am feeling burned by the Open Design Dark Days in Freeport ransom project (started 2010) that has gone through several designers and several years itself with ongoing “no really something’s happening!” updates every couple months but nothing to show.
Oh, wait – they listened to feedback and added a $80 option for just the book and not the other cruft. Ok, deal! It is a huge 512-page book after all… It better rock! I have the previous Freeport stuff (including the Pathfinder Companion) so I needs it to add some value. Come join in, now I need this thing to make another $23k to fund!
Chris Pramas from Green Ronin has posted about their 2012 plans.
He doesn’t really say how they’re doing, but I guess it’s fine as they are forging forward with their licensed properties, doing Set 3 for Dragon Age and a bunch of stuff for A Song Of Ice And Fire, including a revised core rulebook to take advantage of the hype from Book 5 and the HBO series. Then besides two more DC Adventures books, they’ll put out some non-licensed Mutants & Masterminds things. That’s the long and short.
Here’s the real problem with all this…
With all of our licensed material, the thing to remember is that we don’t control the approvals process and this can affect our release dates. We do our best and so do our partners but sometimes patience is required.
My perceptions may be colored because I’m not interested in any of those licenses, but it just seems like being tied down 90% to licensed properties is risky – and somewhat less original, content-wise, than my fond remembrances of Green Ronin from the Freeport/M&M 1e days.
Well, good luck to GR anyway, they seem to be thriving.
Interested in pirate gaming? Looking forward to Paizo’s new pirate AP, Skull and Shackles? Enjoy following our Reavers on the Seas of Fate campaign?
Well, happy news. Green Ronin has just released a Web enhancement to their Buccaneers of Freeport book with stats for many pirate captains! It’s available in 3.5e and True20 variants.
Buccaneers of Freeport and Cults of Freeport were odd book choices – they were statless. This was during the Mass D&D Confusion around the 4e launch. For Cults, that was kinda OK, but with Buccaneers it really hurt- character backdrops for a bunch of cool pirate captains, but no stats. Well, they have now published the stats, for free! Oh, and the stats for Cults, earlier on.
Download the stats, then consider getting Buccaneers and Cults as they are fine books (and often quite on sale…). Get cranked up for the pirate holocaust that will come soon with the S&S AP! All the Freeport stuff is great to mix with Golarion, in Reavers I used the entire Freeport Trilogy mashed up with Second Darkness to good effect.
Steve Jackson Games’ annual report says they’re doing well, and it’s all Munchkin all the time. No new RPGs and GURPS gets a small part of the overall update. Ah well, we still have one GURPS diehard in our gaming group that still gets the stuff.
Posthuman Studios’ annual report says they’re doing real well! Releasing Eclipse Phase as a Creative Commons product (free on BitTorrent!) has, as usual, proved the “Piracy Kills!” crowd wrong as their sales are brisk. The only fly in the ointment has been fallout from leaving Catalyst Games, whose embezzlement scandal is well documented (I’ve been ignoring it lately, I assume there’s no big news there). Several people in our group are interested in Eclipse Phase but we have a bit of a “where do we start?” problem.
Pelgrane Press was worried about 2010 and is fretting about print but it seems to have worked out well for them, a lot of GUMSHOE out and more on the way including the slick-looking Ashen Stars. Hint – keep publishing those adventures! Whenever I buy some weird high concept game, the thing I want right after it is adventures – that’s why Hard Helix sold 50% of the Mutant City Blues run. I got it, and I got Little Girl Lost for Esoterrorists. And I see you have adventures coming hard on the heels of Ashen Stars, which is absolutely the right thing to do.
Green Ronin’s Message from the President indicates that they’re doing well, but the subtext is disturbing – they’re not doing much with their own games (True20, Freeport) and are focusing on the licensed properties – DC Adventures, Dragon Age, and Song of Ice and Fire. But they note that those properties are tough because the licenseholders often dick them around (my translation). I’m worried about such a large part of their product strategy being tied up with stuff like that; it seems like it would only take one of those deals going real bad to send them into a death spiral. Hopefully they’re sufficiently spread out. M&M Third Edition hopefully will bloom a lot – right now most of what’s for it is DC but that line seems somewhat unsatisfying in that it’ll be “four books then done…” I liked the original Marvel Super Heroes because of the adventure support…
Awesome news courtesy of Game Knight Reviews – Open Design is doing a patron project for Pathfinder called “Dark Deeds in Freeport,” set of course in Green Ronin’s famous pirate city of Freeport. The Open Design site says:
“Using the Freeport Companion: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition as a resource, patrons of Dark Deeds in Freeport will work with Wolfgang Baur, Chris Pramas, and lead designer Michael Furlanetto to create six adventures that blend swashbuckling adventure with supernatural horror in the Freeport tradition.”
You can pay to be a patron here! As I’m running a long term pirate Pathfinder campaign using a lot of the Freeport material, this is like the perfect product for me. Usually I don’t believe in paying up front with the patronage model – I’ll buy it after it’s finished and I see reviews. But this actually makes me want to participate in the process, so I’m signing up!
I have to admit, when Green Ronin was all abuzz about their new RPG, Dragon Age, I was unimpressed. “Oh yay, some CRPG license, who cares,” I mused to myself, even though I generally trust them (I love Freeport and Mutants & Masterminds). CRPGs are a dime a dozen, and WoW has been the only one to get any real market share for a long time.
But they seem to have beaten the odds and Dragon Age: Origins is going to be actually good. The trailers out for it are bad ass and the reviews are top notch. Check it out:
As a bonus, they have a downloadable character creator you can use to make your characters even without owning the game.
Pinnacle Entertainment Group and Green Ronin Publishing have made an agreement to come out with the Savage Worlds Freeport Companion. To explain, Freeport, the City of Adventure, is the best known third party setting for D&D. “Death in Freeport” was available at Gen Con along with the D&D 3e launch, and Green Ronin continued to support the tales of this pirate haven with many scenarios and some sourcebooks. I introduced my Memphis gaming group to Freeport back in 2000 and we ran in it for many years. Good times!