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Bedlam City

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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6 hours ago, The Sailor said:

Wait... Wolfram? Do they have ties with a certain... Wolfram and Hart legal firm?

 

They might have a Hart & Sons legal firm that they retain, yes. Or even simply the Harrison Legal Firm.

Edited by Raveled

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@Kaige If you vanish now, after that, then I will invent the phenomena necessary for ghosts to exist and haunt you from before the grave.

 

One aspect of Bedlam that's useful is how it's the kind of place the Labyrinth might breach the surface. No superheroes worth mentioning, precious few villains, everyone in any kind of authority is a puppet on financial strings, it's the perfect place for GRANT CONGLOMERATE, SAVIOUR OF HUMANITY to step in and make some waves. The depressed areas would be perfect for running borderline-open DNAscent research, who's going to notice...anybody going missing?

 

Besides which Taurus is, well, a Taurus, odds are good he would hate Bedlam's current state like somebody with OCD hates an imbalanced table and he's arrogant, long-lived and smart enough to try and "fix" a city. Might be genuinely neat to play on the differences between what the PCs want to do to help Bedlam versus the man-bull's more utilitarian ideals.

 

That plus the dark magic at work(I use the word loosely) makes this like DC's Vanity if Aztek never showed up. Which is my way of saying Shaen you should DEFINITELY make a bright, goofy Silver Age hero to play off the brooding badbutts that actually make sense in Bedlam.

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I like it, Ari; reminds me of Wilson Fisk's plan to revitalize Hell's Kitchen :)

 

A 'Lawful Evil' bad guy (for lack of a better term) who finds the city's lawlessness as offense as the heroes do, but for entirely different reasons, would help explain the sort of 'why does everyone love Lex Luthor' phenomenon that drives the good guys crazy.

 

Also, welcome Kaige! So nice of you to step into the light :D

Edited by Heritage

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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Thanks, all! It's already been fun, and I'm looking forward to keeping going. I've put together a description of the city's major villain groups, taking Shaen's ideas into account and adding other Freedom-verse elements where possible. I'm very open to suggestions if anyone can think of other places we could Freedom-ize Bedlam's core content.

 

Spoiler

The Labyrinth

 

Bedlam's conspiracy theorists are right: there really is a shadowy authority manipulating the city, infiltrating the daily lives of its civilians. Through Wolfram Airspace, a high-tech firm that designs battlesuits, cybernetics, and combat aircraft with a sideline in urban management, it owns city hall. Through the privatized Bedlam Parking Authority and Bedlam Animal Control Service it exerts mob-free influence over the streets. Through Universal Light and Power it controls the flow of electricity to every citizen's home and place of employment. Martuk Shipping dominates traffic at the waterfront, and Asclepian Associates supplies all of the city's hospitals.

 

Its influence is even more direct through their ownership of the Swedish conglomerate known as the Karsten-Borghelm Group. Almost no one in Bedlam has heard of this coalition of investors, but a large percentage of the working poor are all too familiar with their investment: Humanity, Inc., a temp firm that has undercut most of the city's unskilled labor unions. With the Longshoremen broken, it's Humanity's wage-slaves who unload the Martuk crates at Rook Island, and that's the least dangerous job they underpay their desperate workers for. They don't ask about immigration status or criminal records, and they don't pay for safety equipment, so their costs are low.

 

It also quietly owns Iron Talon International, a paramilitary firm providing brutally effective security for the wealthy, and even Sports Ventures International, which manages the Bedlam Maniacs baseball team.

 

Recently, the arrival of the famously humanitarian Grant Conglomerate created a stir of excitement and even hope in Bedlam, where new employers are rare. In truth, very little about the company's presence is new beyond the glowing press it has received. It represents Taurus's latest, most forceful effort to "fix" a blighted, disordered city. The extreme dysfunction represents a dual opportunity to the Labyrinth's elusive master. First, a city where so many slip through the cracks without a trace represents a perfect "recruiting" and testing ground for the DNAscent process and other such research. Second, it's a chance to rebuild a fallen city into Taurus's darkly gleaming ideal.

 

 

SHADOW and Der Oktopus

 

The long, ugly history of white supremacy in Bedlam is best exemplified by the racist organization known as the Phantom Empire, an anti-black, anti-immigrant terror group secretly backed by many of the city's wealthy founding elite. First coming to prominence during the Civil War, it reached the height of its power in the 1920's, only to be undone by growing Mafia influence in the city. Their sentiments still simmered beneath the surface, however, and when Hitler rose to power many members who had gone underground found a new ideology to rally around: Nazism. They reemerged as the pro-Reich terror group Der Blutbanner.

 

Although their efforts, including the infamous "Black Passover" plot to murder all of the city's most prominent Jews in a single night, were largely foiled by Sammy "Snap-Brim" Hammer and his Flying Squad, their contributions did not go unnoticed in Nazi Germany. When the Third Reich fell and its surviving supporters scattered, "Final Solution" supervisor Adolph Eichmann's number two man Alois Brunner spirited away some of the last Nazi secret projects for safekeeping among supporters in Bedlam. The fact that the US government brought several Nazi scientists to the city during Operation Paperclip only strengthened his network.

 

Reaching out to other German fugitives, Brunner created a cabal of wealthy and powerful surviving Nazis he called Der Oktopus. But when he ran into his former compatriot Wilhelm Kantor while in hiding in Panama, he learned of the other's vastly more powerful organization: SHADOW. Recognizing Kantor as his superior and his best hope of maintaining power, Brunner (under the codename "The Black Eagle") allowed his organization to become a subsidiary of SHADOW. Where OVERTHROW is Kantor's blunt force tool, Der Oktopus is his intelligence service. Their foothold in Bedlam is the Snacktastic Candy Company, beneath which lies a trove of Nazi super-technology.

 

Whatever plans Overshadow has in the Midwest, South America, or the Middle East are often delegated to the Black Eagle, now his lethally cunning lieutenant and spymaster.

 

 

The Mafia Families

 

Once upon a time there were three mob families in Bedlam: the Scarpias, the Gorganzuas, and the Igglionis. Due to the odd bureaucracy of the criminal underworld they fell under the New York commission of the Cosa Nostra, rather than the much closer Chicago outfit, and actually managed to offend the latter so badly that they are unwelcome in Chicago to this day. Nor was their balance of power to last. In a cunning coup, the Scarpias assassinated the Igglioni leadership and absorbed their soldiers, becoming the city's most powerful mob family overnight. Bedlam is now deadlocked in an uneasy peace between Scarpias and Gorganzuas.

 

The Scarpias, under rough-and-tumble former street thug "Dapper Donny" Scarpia, remain the larger group, with the biggest slice of the pie: they dominate Stark Hill and the Rook Island Shipping Terminal. Across the Manitowoc River, the Gorganzuas are technically led by the reclusive Leopardo "Young Junior" Gorganzua, but day to day operations are handled by his vicious 400-pound daughter "Tiny" Tina Gorganzua. Because this smaller family owns the much more profitable Greely Point Docks, they are much wealthier than the Scarpias. That's likely to lead to trouble, but the New York Commission has forbidden war for now.

 

The Freedom City mob families are also under the New York Commission, and as such they sometimes cooperate with the Bedlam mob. Mobsters who need to lay low from heat in either city sometimes switch places (usually in the Bedlam direction unless the Feds get involved or they're hiding from other mobsters, as the Bedlam mob owns the local cops), and evidence that needs to completely disappear from Freedom City makes its way up through the Great Lakes and into a deep grave in Bedlam. In turn, Freedom City acts as a smuggling gateway for illegal goods coming to Bedlam from Eurasian markets.

 

All of the gangs of Hardwick Park and Wolverton pay tribute to both mafia families, and most of the police department is owned by one or the other. They have their claws into the city council as well.

 

 

The Gangs

 

The biggest, most fearsome gang in Bedlam are the Mara, based in Hardwick Park. They have unified most of the local Hispanic gangs under their quasi-occult banner, and are rumored to practice dark magic and blood sacrifice in half-Aztec half-Santeria rituals. Their leader, the Jigsaw Man, is rumored to be a powerful sorcerer who rips out the hearts of his enemies or causes them to be eaten by rats and bugs from the inside out. He is one of the most feared people in Bedlam, and has designs on expansion. Only two Hardwick Park gangs haven't yet been absorbed into the Mara: the Latin Aces and the girl gang known as Los Furies.

 

Opposing the Mara are the African-American street gangs of Wolverton, many of whom have banded together against the outside threat in a coalition known as the "Last of the Last". They are led by Eensty Z, a charismatic but psychotic and brutal fifteen-year-old who has already personally killed more people than the average army sniper. All the gangs of Wolverton, including those who oppose of the Last of the Last (the A's, the O's, and the Ravens), are subordinate to local crime lords Rock Johnson and Lincoln Stone (The Rock and the Stone), who have divided the major vice rackets between them.

 

Up on Stark Hill, three gangs clash with the gangs of Hardwick Park and Wolverton and provide the Scarpias with recruits: the Viscounts, the Coronets, and the Dukes. They are classic, leather jacket wearing "youth clubs" with brutal initiations and mumbo-jumbo traditions. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the city, the trailer park known as Shady Meadows is the domain of bikers, skinheads, and meth cooks. The violent 1%-er biker gang known as The Brotherhood terrorize the area, while the criminal trucker network known as Thunder Road runs guns, drugs, and hot or stolen items into and out of Bedlam.

 

The once-mighty and still dangerous Jamaican posse known as the Invincible Ya-Ya Massive has territory in the Country Club and lower Wolverton, and guards it fiercely.

 

 

The Outsiders

 

Two Chinese Triads, the mystical Iron Wind Society and the flashier, more openly brutal Yip-Wing Tong, have permission from the Scarpias to do business in Bedlam. They have a small presence and deal in human trafficking, drug smuggling, prostitution, identity forgery, and extortion. There is some bad blood between the two; the Iron Wind Society owes fealty to the criminal mastermind Dr. Sin, while the Yip-Wing Tong flaunts both tradition and his authority. The Yakuza don't have a long-term presence in Bedlam, but they've operated in the city before, seeking and gaining permission to hunt down traitors who fled Emerald City.

 

A traditional "brotherhood of thieves" Russian Mafia group called the Vorovskoy Bratva, under the mysterious Red Queen, also does business in Bedlam. They have close connections to the Russians that run much of the smuggling along Freedom City's waterfront, and frequently transport illegal goods between the two cities. However, they have caused some friction in the local underworld because they often neglect to ask for permission from the mob families before launching their operations. Finally, representatives of several Mexican drug cartels have begun to scout the city in secret, a dangerous proposition without seeking the Mafia's approval.

 

 

The Secret Societies

 

Rumor has it that, in 1850, a mad monk named Brother Belphegor had dreams of resurrecting the Inquisition and founded the Opus Ombra, a fanatical anti-mage cult. In actuality, it might well have been the demon Belphegor in disguise. Whatever the truth, the cult devoted itself to exterminating all those who use "satanic" powers, meaning all supernatural creatures and anyone with supernatural powers, benevolent or otherwise. In order to accomplish this, they themselves began to use dark magic, believing that they were performing the ultimate sacrifice in the name of faith by accepting damnation to use evil's own weapons against it.

 

There is also a rumor that Bedlam's woes are not solely the result of human greed and corruption. Nearly a hundred years ago, a terrible tragedy occurred at a girls' boarding school in Bedlam for reasons best left unexplored. It is said that the survivors gathered together as a cabal of witches, the Sisterhood of the Screaming Stars, to seek revenge on the city whose founders had wreaked awful evil upon them. They reached out to the Unspeakable One, weakening the walls of reality around Bedlam and allowing Its corrosive madness and ruin to infect the city's soul and bring it a lingering death. Some say their final blow will soon come to fruition.

 

A final, pervasive Bedlam rumor is about the secret organization known as UNICORN. The story goes that the U.S. Department of Defense and CIA had long feared that Jack Simmons's AEGIS was too close to superheroes to recognize them as the national security threat they were, and that AEGIS could not be trusted to assure American superiority during the Cold War. After MK-Ultra ended in 1973, the project was quietly rolled over into a new, hyper-secret division of the DoD that worked on nullifying superhumans. After the rise and fall of the Moore Act era, the highly-compartmentalized department with the secret budget was forgotten... except by its own agents.

 

Whether any of these are true, and if so whether the associated organizations remain active, remains to be seen.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kaige

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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Edited by ShaenTheBrain

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Wow. You really know how to make an impression Kaige.

 

Its a minor thing but I'm wondering if there is gonna be any possible mixups with UNICORN the hidden shadowy US conspiracy and UNICORN the hidden but benevolent UNISON group?

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Well, one is in the US and doing shady stuff, the other is in the UK and dealing with time and interdimensional stuff. While a name change might be in order, I don't think in the context of threads in or about Bedlam City there will beany confusion.

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I actually enjoy the potential of the two possibly getting mixed up. As Ari mentioned, it probably won't come up unless somebody specifically is pushing for it, but I imagine it could make for some interesting mix-ups in-universe!

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On 7/4/2016 at 0:26 AM, Darksider42 said:

Wow. You really know how to make an impression Kaige.

 

Its a minor thing but I'm wondering if there is gonna be any possible mixups with UNICORN the hidden shadowy US conspiracy and UNICORN the hidden but benevolent UNISON group?

UNICRON IS.

 

...I mean, uh, hrm, maybe change whichever one we're using less?

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Personally I think it'd be hilarious if two different secret organizations from two different groups had the same acronym, but it's probably a joke that's only funny once.

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I can see the merit of a mix-up, but if we want to change the name of UNICORN, here are a few suggestions.

 

In the source material, UNICORN isn't actually an acronym; it just means that the organization is rarely seen, like a unicorn. If we want to go along those lines, we could do:

 

TOMORROW (which never comes)

BLUEMOON (once in a...)

SYLPH

WRAITH

 

If we'd rather go the traditional acronym route (since the version of UNICORN I cooked up is a dark parallel to AEGIS designed to combat superhumans), we could go with:

 

FIRE (Federal Initiative to Regulate the Enhanced)

CAIN (Commission to Analyze and Influence Neohumans)

IFRIT (Initiative to Find, Research, and Influence Transhumanity)

MARS (Metahuman Analysis and Regulation Service)

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I could go with TOMORROW to rename the UN organization; BLUEMOON sounds like something you might find in an actual intelligence agency, while something like "Agents of TOMORROW" is more comic book.

 

To rename the AEGIS group, you'd have to go with CAIN. It's just too perfect.

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A couple of quick hypothetical ideas: 

Wisconsin (or wherever) has more restrictive laws about costumed vigilantes than New Jersey does. Superheroes can't testify in court, own property or a business, be paid for superhero work, or otherwise legally function in their secret identities, etc. 

 

PL caps for Bedlam-placed PCs - maybe? Maybe set the cap at PL 10 to keep things street-level. 

 

What do you guys think?

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I like those, AA. Some of us were working on a group of PL 8's with one PL10 because of the whole street-level thing but I think a suggested cap might not be a bad idea!

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1 hour ago, Avenger Assembled said:

A couple of quick hypothetical ideas: 

Wisconsin (or wherever) has more restrictive laws about costumed vigilantes than New Jersey does. Superheroes can't testify in court, own property or a business, be paid for superhero work, or otherwise legally function in their secret identities, etc. 

 

PL caps for Bedlam-placed PCs - maybe? Maybe set the cap at PL 10 to keep things street-level. 

 

What do you guys think?

 

1.) Yeah, I think the "more restrictive hero laws" bit is a good "icing on the cake" sort of thing.

 

2.) Now, this is a cap for their combat caps, not total PP count, yes?

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Well having looked through the Bedlam stuff finally my main suggestion/request is that we don't put in the Avatar of the red pill subreddit in at PL 17 but "Under the radar" of supers outside bedlam.  Overall really the stated NPCs probably need to be toned down particularly if we're trying to keep things more street level in Bedlam.  

 

I think the more restrictive moore era - esq laws in wisconsin might make for a good reason other heroes don't dive in to help out certainly.  

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A more regressive stance on state laws regarding Superheroes might explain the High crime rate in Bedlan than other states. Might help justify that one good officer in the City Police looking out for the public good to rise. Kinda like Batman: Year One

 

Not entirely sure one the PL cap, but it would give a place for some people to put their PL 7 characters. They do kinda struggle against the typical villains of Freedom City after all who are statted to assume PL 10 is the standard.

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