The good: mostly the second adventure, "Chicago Workings". Faintly reminiscent of Our Lady Of Darkness, this one contains enough of an outline in sacr...moreThe 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.(less)
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 wa...moreThe 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.(less)
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 h...moreAn 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.(less)
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 a...moreInteresting. 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.(less)