This review is part of the Game Crier Gift Guide.  There are a lot of excellent games out there, and the Gift Guide can help you find some new ones to play.  Head on over and visit the other blogs to see what appeals.  And, of course, let me know if you find something you like – I’m always in the market for new games.

As you probably know by now if you’ve looked at my tag cloud or read anything else I’ve written, I’m a big fan of Savage Worlds.  A BIG fan.  I am also a fan of pirates and ninjas (with only a slight preference for ninjas, but don’t tell them that or they might get a swelled head).  And my favorite category of RPG products would have to be settings.  So, Green Ronin‘s Savage Worlds Freeport Companion is, quite naturally, right up my alley.

First, a word on what the Savage Worlds Freeport Companion (SWFC from here on in) is and is not.  It is a supplement that adapts the city of Freeport for use with the Savage Worlds system from PEG.  It contains character concepts, races, equipment, example characters, a rundown on magic in Freeport, and plenty of creatures with which to populate the city.  It is not a complete setting-in-a-box.

To be honest, I didn’t quite realize at first that I wasn’t getting a complete setting.  Nor is it especially important, to be honest.  The full city is sketched out in the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport, and so SWFC doesn’t bother to go into that much detail.  Therefore, no maps and minimal organizations.  So, Freeport’s greatest strength (its development for every system) is also its greatest weakness (not everything is in one place).  For my purposes, the SWFC is sufficient at the moment.  In the future, though, I hope to add the Pirate’s Guide to flesh out my collection.

The SWFC starts out with a basic introduction to Freeport and gives some character concepts for player use.  They’re pretty comprehensive, but the tend to embrace the gritty, do-anything-for-a-Lord side of Freeport.  Assassins, pirates, and troubleshooters abound in the city where you can find just about anything money can buy.  Unlike most traditional (read: Tolkienesque) fantasy, Freeport has a limited quantity of firearms and gunpowder.  It’s quite unstable, however, and the technology is poorly refined.  It makes an interesting addition to what is otherwise (on the surface) quite similar to your standard D&D world.

The next bit of the SWFC goes on to give stat blocks for a couple of different race options.  They do quite a good job of keeping the flavor of humans, dwarves, hobgoblins, and the like while fitting them well into the Savage Worlds system and making them distinctly Freeport.  The extra Edges and Hindrances are also helpful, since they help set the tone for the setting.  In general, though, the SWFC steers clear of doing a whole lot of tweaking to the system.  It really doesn’t need to, so leaving well enough alone is a good approach in this case.

The equipment section of the SWFC takes up quite a bit of space.  It includes all the standard items coverted to the Lords system of currency, as well as a section each on weapons, poisons (love this one!), and firearms.  Pretty succinct, and generally helpful for players and GMs alike.  I think that Forbidden Lore, the chapter on magic, is really what drives home the Freeport aspect of the SWFC, though.  The new powers, trappings, and magical gear really distinguish Freeport from any other fantasy city.  A few specific magic items like the Beamsplitter go a long way to making a world stand on its own.

The last two chapters, on Denizens and Creatures, populate Freeport in game terms.  The NPCs give the GM some people to work with and can serve as great patrons to the players.  The players can also work them into their characters’ backgrounds as mentors and associates.  The creatures are another nice touch that really emphasize the tone of Freeport.  Some of them are funny, and others are downright terrifying, but they all say, “I’m here in a pirate city where anything goes and sometimes the things that go bump in the night have teeth!”

What I’ve given you here is more of a summary and my brief opinions than a substantial review, and I feel that I owe you, my readers, something more than that.  So, here it is:  I love the Savage Worlds Freeport Companion.  It’s a fantastic resource for any Savage Worlds game, and I cannot recommend it highly enough (especially for fantasy games).  If you plan to run a Freeport game, I suggest you get the Pirate’s Guide as well, but the SWFC is enough to get going things rolling.  I mean, what do you really need other than a bunch of pirates, poison, pistols, and…pens?

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