Friday, February 14, 2014

Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption quick review

I just finished reading Streets of Bedlam from FunSizedGames. Once again, Jason L Blair delivers product worthy of the genre for which it is designed. If you are looking for a noir or neo-noir game without all the magic and superheroes we often see in rpg products today, this game delivers. 

This game was produced as a Kickstarter project. I did not back it. I picked it up later based on word of mouth and having enjoyed prior works by Jason L Blair.

Streets of Bedlam uses the rules from Savage Worlds. This is a good fit and Jason provides new and interesting Edges and Hindrances for the setting. By using Savage Worlds, he's also set it up for GMs to drop in magic and superheroes, if they want to do so. 

The materials provides examples and samples culled from the neo-noir world of comics, books, and movies, making it easier to step into the game. The company website provides further digital enhancements for the game, including archetypes, Five Story Drop a scenario/story book, soundtrack, and a dice and dice bag combo. 

I think games in this setting can suffer from "more than one hero" syndrome. After all, most noir fiction features a hero, femme fatale, and sidekick at best. To account for that, Jason has provided rules for just such a game! However, I think a group that does character creation together can easily overcome "more than one hero" and a GM who plays to the Edges and Hindrances can easily create a campaign for the group.

Streets of Bedlam believes in the "investigators must gain all pertinent clues in every scene" methodology which fans of GUMSHOE are familiar with using. However, SoB goes a slightly different direction in that Jason L Blair provides a method of feeding the players clues that are spot-on and clues that are misleading. This prepares GMs to think about providing misleading information or information that gets the players to the end result in a different manner. After all, this is neo-noir, not everthing should come easy to the characters. There is a clue sheet at the end of the book to help GMs make proper notes about which clues are good or bad.

I really enjoyed was the sample scenario:  The Things We Do for Money. In the text, interviews with NPCs includes text written as the answers to potential questions from the PCs. This really makes the scenario much more fluid, more usable for any group encounter, and gives the GM flavor text to allow them to change up how the different NPCs come across to the players. 

All in all, this is the best Savage Worlds game I've seen in a long time and another feather in the cap for Jason L Blair and FunSizedGames' hats.

Page Count:
Credits and Intro:  16 pages
Setting:  27 pages
Character Creation:  68 pages
New Rules:  34 pages
Sample NPCs:  62 pages
Sample Scenario:  44 pages
Wrap up:  5 pages

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