The Serpent River
An Earthdawn Sourcebook

  • Writer: Sean R. Rhoades
  • Number of Pages: 136
  • Year of Publication: 1996

Rating: *****

Let me admit first up that I have a soft spot for the t'skrang. Maybe it is their flamboyance. Maybe it is their zest for life. Whatever the reason, I have a strong bias towards anything to do with the t'skrang. So it comes as no surprise that when I found out an sourcebook about the Serpent River was available, I rushed out and bought a copy. And I am very happy I did.

The Serpent River, as the book of the same name declares, is an integrable part of Barsaive, and it is almsot certain that Games Masters and players have already come in contact with the "lifeblood of Barsaive". There is an excellent introduction to the t'skrang and their connection with the river, which is unsurprising as they are the main inhabitants along the river.

The Serpent River is intelligently divided into four main sections, covering the south reach, the Coil river, the mid reach and the north reach respectively. Each section covers the major t'skrang houses operating in that area of the river, as well as other interesting people and places. There are statistics for the shivalahala (t'skrang leader) for each house. Ther is a lot of detail, and the book paints a broad poltical picture of how the houses interact with each other as well as external forces.

The rest of the book rounds out the coverage, with expanding detail on ship-to-ship combat as well as statistics for all major ships and boats that ply the water. There is a section dedicated to the fauna and flora unique to the area, with ample deatil to allow Games Masters to add a bit of depth to their campaign. The book finishes with some magical treasures, as well as the usual index and a glossary for those unfamilar terms.

The artwork is excellent as usual, well used throughout the book and added in generous portions.

Summary: Another great sourcebook for Earthdawn, and a must for Games Masters running extended campaigns around the Serpent River. Also recommended for those who need better rules for ship combat, and a better understanding of the political situation in Barsaive.

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