Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wacky Campaign Concepts: Bookhounds of Freeport!

Art by Everwho
So the other day I was reading the recent-ish Freeport: City of Adventure* from Green Ronin and noticed something interesting. For all that Freeport is a pirate-founded tropical port at the semi-pre-industrial tech level standard to Dungeons & Dragons settings, there's an awful lot of factions gathering secret libraries of information - from the Wizard's Guild, for whom scrolls and spellbooks are key professional accessories, to the orc settlement founded by a half-orc historian, to the secret archives of the local guides/explorers for hire, not to mention the map shops, alchemy labs, and more bookishly inclined temples.

Art by ilacha
This odd juxtaposition got me thinking about Bookhounds of London*, Ken Hite's Trail of Cthulhu* supplement about Depression-era booksellers getting caught up in the Tome of Eldritch Lore trade. While deeply tied to its London setting, the flavor of hardscrabble book scouts and inquiry agents is very strong, and I think there's enough to transfer to Freeport. There are a few points of similarity between the two cities, too - both are cosmopolitan port cities with sharp class divides and deep histories, although London obviously has a much vaster base to draw on. The Cthulhu Mythos, too, is a point of convergence between the two settings, although it's much more subtle in Freeport. Ironically, the non-Earth setting of Freeport means that the standard library of Mythos tomes are not as easily used - however, a crafty GM can turn this to his advantage, Who would, after all, suspect a book with a nice, safe, Elvish-sounding name like Parmofírinesse?

Which all begs the question of what system to use for this game. The Freeport booked linked above is for Pathfinder, although if I was going to run it in a D20 I might use ACKS for the economic emphasis, instead. There is not currently a GUMSHOE variant that would fit really well; however, rumors fly of an in-development game (with the delightful code-name "GUMTHEWS") that is basically a sword-and-sorcery take on the GUMSHOE engine. This sounds like the perfect way to run this game - and I'm apparently not the only one who thinks so:
Even without being able to play a book pirate this sounds like a terrific game - I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for it!

*Drive-thru-RPG Affiliate link. I make money, but not from you.

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