Reviews from the Staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House


Title: Dreadmire: The Only Swamp Sourcebook You Will Ever Need
Author: Randy Richards
Publisher: Spellbinder Games
Publication Date: 2006
Review Date: November 8, 2014
Reviewer: David Keffer


Dreadmire is an RPG supplement tailored around the swamp environment. (As far as I know this is the only such sourcebook exclusively for swamps.) What is particularly endearing about this book is the obvious fact that it is a labor of love of the author. Mr. Richards harnessed an obvious knowledge and fondness for fantasy RPG's and for his native Louisiana in creating what is essentially an ultimate sourcebook for swamps. In a clear attempt to keep the book to a single volume despite its ambitious breadth, this book contains essentially a swamp-based Monster Manual (264 new monsters, including monster catfish and the weregator), Player's Handbook (18 indigenous classes, including Muckranger, and new Juju spells, including Egret Legs and Pelican Pouch), Deities and Demigods (19 swamp deities, including the Fungi Deadwood of Leucopraxus), Dungeon Master's Guide (a description of the country-sized swamp, encounter tables and various NPCs, including Bosephus Bilgewater, a gruff river boatman with a magical eyepatch), and three adventures, including "Bog of the Fungus Demon". A local bayou sensibility come through in every aspect of this book, from the choice of monsters to the names of places and characters.

The author has done yeoman's work in referencing ecological, biological, botanical, hydrological, geological and sociological resources to create a level of detail for this swamp-based campaign setting. It is not easy to think of another ecosystem-specific campaign setting with a similar level of depth and quality. Each part of the book is presented with a narrative flavor as well as the essential statistics required for game play mechanics.

Make no mistake that this book is the product of a modest budget and an independent publisher. The binding and quality of the hardback is flawless but the book does lack the slick production of the industry behemoth. However, the content is first-rate (some may argue superior to modern products), the black and white presentation perfectly acceptable, the artwork in many places is very high quality. For many readers (including this reviewer) the tell-tale signs of an independent publisher (mostly unconventional layout decisions, such as chapter titles placed in the margins) are quirks that attest to the author's dedication to the project, irrespective of the modest prospect of commercial gain.

Finally, right on the front cover of the book, it states, "Your newest weapon in the war against reality". For all those who are looking for a new weapon to keep in their arsenal for their personal war against reality, "Dreadmire" offers itself as a compelling option.