The player characters get into the midst of political and magical intrigue, as the hidden Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign manipulates events to bring its dread god to the world. Freeport is still a bustling center of trade, but evil currents run beneath the surface. There are secrets here, and questions unanswered. The characters will undoubtedly learn there is more here than they expect in a simple seaport. The question is, will that knowledge kill them?
As the adventure begins, the player characters (PCs) have just come to Freeport on a merchant ship. While on the docks, the PCs are attacked by a press gang, who mistakes them for easy marks. The press gang is handily beaten off; since they are unused to real resistance.
A bookish young man named Brother Egil then approaches the PCs. He says that he’s been looking for a group that can take of itself, and that he has a job for them if they are interested: finding a missing librarian.The missing man, Lucius, disappeared two days previously, and Egil is eager to find him. Egil gives the PCs some background on Lucius and his strange behavior. The PCs are then free to investigate: They are likely to visit Lucius’s home, the temple to the God of Knowledge, and an orc pirate ship. This should form a picture of Lucius as a man searching for his own past—who found something he wasn’t counting on. Following a trail of clues, the PCs learn about the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign.
With a little luck, the PCs can trail the cultists back to their hideout, penetrate the lair, and discover secret tunnels underneath it. Deep underground they find degenerate serpent people, and eventually Lucius himself. The librarian has been tortured badly and will die without aid. The PCs also have to deal with the leader of the cult, a man they may recognize from the temple. When the cult priest is slain, they are in for an even bigger surprise. He was not human at all, but a serpent man in disguise. What this means for Freeport only the gods can say.
Lucius sighs with relief and thanks his rescuers profusely. They saved him from certain, painful death, and for that he is eternally grateful. When the PCs mention Brother Egil, Lucius expresses concern for his friend, wishing to leave the temple immediately and find him. He is willing to tell the party what little he knows, however, if they ask.
Lucius blurts out the whole tale of his possession, return, and subsequent trouble. He explains that Milos sent him on an errand to the bricked-up house, where he was overpowered and taken below. Milos spoke of the extraplanar entities, but he did not name them nor say why they studied other worlds. The sinister serpent man then tortured Lucius, asking question after question about his memories of the other plane. Clearly Milos believed that valuable knowledge was locked in Lucius’s head, but the librarian could not tell him very much. The cultist became increasingly frustrated, and told Lucius repeatedly that he was going to kill him—he probably would have, without the party’s timely intervention.
Brother Egil is also very pleased and gladly pays the agreed-upon fee (although the PCs have likely gotten out of the temple with a good deal more). Both he and Lucius offer their services if needed. Their ability to do research in the temple to the God of Knowledge could be very handy indeed.
As for Lucius, his future is dubious. Milos provided some of the answers he was looking for, but he’d like to find out more. He is uncertain whether he’ll stay at the temple or leave Freeport to search for his past. Sadly, Lucius may never again know peace after the theft of five years of his life.
What else lurks below the skin of Freeport? Well, that’s a story for another time . . .