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Bedlam City $24.95 $16.95
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Bedlam City
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Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by Philip L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2014 16:46:29
Bedlam City is a fantastic setting book, packed with information and flavor. It is in many ways the antithesis of Freedom City. Its tone is relentlessly grim and thoroughly Iron Age, unafraid to tackle uncomfortable issues but with just enough spots of hope that players will want to fight that tide of depression. Its characters are not expys of traditional superheroes and villains, though they are often deconstructions. This is not a setting where the players will ask "why is my hero even needed?", though they may sometimes ask "what can my hero possibly do?".

As someone who loved the Rogue Isles of City of Villains and always wanted to play a hero there, to be one bright spot in the heart of the corruption, this setting really spoke to me. Corruption, apathy, and outright evil have permeated every part of the city, and it's all described in detail for your players to go up against. They will be fighting to save a city that, on some level, does not want to be saved. It is definitely a setting that stands on its own in spite of limiting itself to describing one city; it draws you in and makes you care, whether raising your hopes or kindling your anger.

The description of the city's infrastructure and the characters who make it work is the best I have ever seen. Everyone is a fully-realized character, with virtues and vices, and their presentation (laden with black humor) is perfect. You will love to hate most of them, but there are a few you will root for with all your heart, the aforementioned bright spots. The supernatural side of the city is also fantastically developed; Bedlam is a wonderful setting for magical heroes, a nexus of vile spirits, reality warpers, and astral travelers. It's also great for street-level vigilantes, with great detail on the vicious mob families, gangs, and drug dealers.

On the other hand, the super-powered characters are not generally ones I would be interested in. While the Westin Phipps everyman evil of many NPCs is powerful, the deconstruction and weird humor surrounding the supervillains lets them down in my opinion. Captain Condor (who looks more like a chicken) and Stabbo the Clown feel out of place next to the believable evils of crooked cops, vicious gangsters, and pedophile priests. Some work well, like Capricorn and the Nowhere Men, but Smashface the indestructible rapist baby-killer has no place in any campaign I can imagine playing.

In short, the strength of this book is an overwhelming aura of everyday, casual evil, with a sauce of supernatural wickedness that would haunt that sort of damned place and a light seasoning of people your players will want to save and see succeed. It looks racism, sadism, sexual crimes, and drugs straight in the eye and presents them unflinchingly. I may at some point run the entire city; until then, I will be forever taking bits, characters and institutions and the wonderfully evocative mood, to flavor my campaigns. This is well worth the purchase.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by Gavin C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/19/2009 09:38:57
Excellent stuff. I bought this a while ago along with 'Straight Out Of Bedlam' and have to say i'm impressed.This a great Iron Age setting full of character, black humour and unique characters. All credit to the author who managed to make a slot-in-anywhere setting which is very hard to do. (Compare this to other city books, especially Authumn Arbour, to see what i mean). I'm actually using this book in my Champions setting, it's the city just down the road from Millenium City- big contrast!
Good Points: As i said, great characters but add to that a great 'secret history' for the players to uncover, fleshed -out neighbourhoods and a comprihensive look at all the organised crime in the city. More importatly it captures a certain flavour which means most GM's will know how to describe to sights, sounds and tone of the city very quickly.
On top of all that you've got boat loads of scerario ideas to flesh out.

Bad Points: Has a few, apart from the occasional typo's and such. If you've gotten any other products from PBWG then you know how the characters are written- they tend to be twists on traditional roles. So no Jim Gordon to rely on here-unless you put him in yourself. Also some of the characters are repeats from other products (Hammer Of Justice, Doctor Scorch, The Nowhere Men) which is kind of annoying- although they do fit the setting like a glove.

Overall- Get it and i'd also recomend Straight Out Of Bedlam as well for more badguys (not repeated), adventures, NPC'S secret history stuff and Horrible Secret's.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2008 10:12:43
I'm running a campaign in Bedlam City right now, and having a blast with all the excesses of the Iron Age but the technology/supers of the modern era. Excellent work.

Lots of information here--this is a huge book. There are story ideas on nearly every page-sometimes explicitly identified as such, sometimes implicit. This is well worth the money, and (because there's no universe) it's easy to drop this setting into another campaign setting.

One of the things I look for in an Iron Age setting is a warped sense of humor, because I think that if the Iron Age is going to comment on our excesses, it needs a sense of humor. Bedlam City has it in spades.

Bedlam City also has all of the other things we might find reprehensible, which make it an excellent place for characters to try to make a difference.

Flaws: I've found a small number of typos, including one cut-and-paste error, but that's very good for a product of this type. I do wish there had been a bit more on GMing a Bedlam City-only campaign, because I think there might be too much information here just for an occasional setting. However, GMs looking for less information can get the adventure Bedlam in Bedlam, which started the whole Bedlam City thing, and has the basic information.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase, and am considering getting a print copy through Lulu.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by Michael N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2008 20:16:11
I recently purchased Bedlam City. I should mention that I normally despise Iron Age settings, but I had an idea that I wanted to try out for a story-arc in my campaign, so I decided to try Bedlam out. I have to say, this is one of the best superhero roleplaying supplements I've ever had the good fortune to read. I'm particularly impressed with the emphasis the product places on systemic racism, privatization of government services, union-busting, and police brutality. It's infinitely better than similar settings like Hudson City. Well done.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam City
Publisher: Plain Brown Wrapper Games
by David P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2008 16:46:44
Bedlam City is a grim and gritty setting with a black sense of humor. The book itself is rather large, coming in at 400 pages thoroughly detailing the important parts of the City’s history, neighborhoods, government, culture, crime, villains, and lots more. There is no “Bedlam universe” to work around making it very easy to drop into an existing campaign or easily made to be the focus of one. The few resident heroes are minor and easily dropped.

Liked: The author's warped sense of humor and Bedlam’s heavy flavor makes it feel more like a reoccurring NPC than a campaign setting. Plus its got Hitler's Brain!

Disliked: If you own the adventure “Bedlam in Bedlam” you’ll recognize several sections since they were copied and pasted from it. I was disappointed about this and would have liked a more in-depth review of the various neighborhoods. Some of the villains could have been cut to add this.

Overall I’m very happy with my purchase and look forward to inflicting this city on my players.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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