Still working through this. initial impressions: could do without the zombies, with another editing/reorg pass (annoying to get handed a bunch of sampStill working through this. initial impressions: could do without the zombies, with another editing/reorg pass (annoying to get handed a bunch of sample characters with Faith listed before Faith is explained, esp when stats are already explained, double-esp when names of Faith in TOC don't match names in sample characters which makes searching a pain. Also still not sure if Brawn is meant to be Power or if that's something else that'll get explained later).
A bit crunchy, but not horribly; character creation/progression seems slightly heavier than White Wolf in terms of mechanics.
Setting's a bit US-centric (what do purely stubborn Canadian survivalists call themselves? I'm betting it's not Mericans), but I can forgive that. Not as easily as I embrace it in Fallout, where the US-centric thing is both thematically appropriate and fits with the fact that you're obviously going to be playing in the States, but I can forgive it.
Liking it so far.
Edit: finished book, and waffling really hard between three and four stars, so marking this now and coming back later.
Edit the second: have thought about it a lot, and going with three stars. The editing is a bit scratchy, in a "wait weren't those guys/that stat called something else last page" way. The art and overall design is good, but 200-plus pages of scratchy monospaced typewriter font is a bit tiring. And I'm, ultimately, not a huge fan of how throughly subspecies is assumed to meld with culture.
That said, the setting is interesting, really seems to have been the product of creators with a love of many, many post-apocalyptic settings, and I will happily be sharing mention of this around....more
The good: mostly the second adventure, "Chicago Workings". Faintly reminiscent of Our Lady Of Darkness, this one contains enough of an outline in sacrThe good: mostly the second adventure, "Chicago Workings". Faintly reminiscent of Our Lady Of Darkness, this one contains enough of an outline in sacred geometry to fake it for the story (you don't need much), interesting ideas, and suitably creepy bad guys. The antagonist feels a little blankly indifferent to the PCs, but that can work.
"The Harvesters" was alright, solid construction and antagonists, but I felt it was a bit facile at times. Would have loved a little more character development on some of the bad guys, and the ghost.
Finally, the editing was painful. It's less jarring in instructions than in a fictional narrative, which is what you can consider most of the book, but it's still really annoying; in the end, this was what had me drop the book from three stars to two....more
A game for when you feel like sitting around with friends and playing through a decent neo-noir or crime movie, instead of sitting down to waThe good:
A game for when you feel like sitting around with friends and playing through a decent neo-noir or crime movie, instead of sitting down to watch one. What's not to like?
The writing's very evocative; snappy and slick, it's really suited to the dirty setting. Do bad things for good reasons; it's a good summary and a great character motivation, and everything seems set up to let you do exactly that. On top of the Savage Worlds system (which I'm a longtime fan of), Streets of Bedlam builds some really lovely setting-specific rules on top of it--I'd consider cribbing the crime scene rules for nearly any investigative setting. There's a very well-detailed starting adventure, a handful of adventure seeds, and dozens of characters--highly detailed archetypes, decently outlined major players, and a ton of quicker NPCs.
It's also very user-friendly for someone looking to run the game, with advice on how to set up an adventure, what to aim for in a scene, how to trim unnecessary details, how to balance player involvement for different patterns of scene-running, card-based ways to whip up a crime story... seriously, I would loan this book to nearly anyone looking for advice on running a dynamic game.
I want to play, dammit.
Glitchy editing. I can forgive a few typos, and I'm not getting snippy about turns of phrase--I'm still grinning a bit over "Thomas takes off like a bat out of similes". But there are sudden name changes for characters, sentences that don't make sense although you can figure them out from context ("Florence knows anything about anyone or anything else"), some punctuation sneezes...
Streets of Bedlam is a cinematic game, and it's a good one. But these lines are like catching a scene where the actor playing a down-and-out guy living in a cardboard box checks his smartphone in between answering questions.
With everything else this book has going for it, it's not quite enough to knock it down to three stars--but it was close. Hope the next edition tidies up a bit.
Meanwhile, I'm gonna go put Five-Story Drop on my wishlist. I hear it's coming out soon....more
Pros: solidly plotted, throughly documented. Really liked the interweaving of the NPCs and the idea of the Trigger Tracker.
Cons: Found it frustratingPros: solidly plotted, throughly documented. Really liked the interweaving of the NPCs and the idea of the Trigger Tracker.
Cons: Found it frustrating that the NPCs didn't have individual summaries of what they wanted instead of questions/responses (because I guarantee you, players will ask questions not covered). Also side-eyeing some of the characters with mental health issues.
Asides: Not a cheerful adventure for a group with animal lovers....more
An interesting and well-thought-out supplement for life on Mars in the Cthulhu Mythos world, after humanity had to flee Earth. Author touches on the hAn interesting and well-thought-out supplement for life on Mars in the Cthulhu Mythos world, after humanity had to flee Earth. Author touches on the history (both known and truthful), the colony setting, new skills, religion, social structure, the Dreamlands... It's thoughtful, usually quite detailed (the mechanics suffer a bit from handwaving in the Dreamlands), and generally worth looking at.
The typos and bad editing really started to get to me, though. I'm not sure if they got worse throughout the book or if I just stopped being able to put up with them. The glitchy spacing actually made it unpleasant to read towards the end....more
Interesting. I think you'd need to work a bit to set up the motivation of the Practice's reaction to Drake, but that could be done. I'd want to keep aInteresting. I think you'd need to work a bit to set up the motivation of the Practice's reaction to Drake, but that could be done. I'd want to keep an eye on the pacing; it seems like something that could easily go too quickly or too slowly....more