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Bedlam! - a game concept

Started by Matt Machell, August 24, 2001, 08:12:00 AM

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Matt Machell

Okay, I'm new on this board, so go gentle :smile:

This is a game idea a friend and I came up with last night, which I'd like peoples thoughts on.

The game is Bedlam, where you play inmates of Bedlam hospital for the rehabilitation of Evil Megalomaniacs. Every player creates an evil genius, who has been captured and taken into "care".

Play always begins with a focus group, where each player is forced to share with the group (to help people get an idea of their characters).

Scenarios are built around the hospitals attempts to force abnormal people into normal situations. Including day release schemes and "normality" training. Then, of course, there's the escape plans.

Like many ideas it seemed hilarious at the time, but in the cold light of day I'm not so sure, so what do people think?

[ This Message was edited by: Matt on 2001-08-24 08:14 ]


I'm thinking this would work well with a "Baron Munchausen" mechanic; that the game substantially consisted of the inmates sitting around telling war stories. I could do this genre more easily than the Munchausen genre, anyway ...

Maybe somehow intersperse this with some of what you were saying, with interconnectedness between them (probably through a metagame mechanic ....)

OK, that's a little vague ...

      - James


I like the idea alot. If you made it a tongue and cheek game wherein the interplay was sort of like the Austin Powers 2 scene where Dr. Evil was in the support group with his son... it would be alot of fun. When writing the game focus on conversation and context and leave the hard mechanics somewhat vague.. yeah.. I like this idea alot :smile:


Ron Edwards


I suggest that the real "scenarios" be the failed plots that landed the bad guys in the pokey in the first place. Sort of, they're all sittin' around trying to one-up each other or work through their inner child or whatever, and sooner or later, one of the escapades is being recounted.

The bad-guy in that story is like a PC at that point, and the other players contribute the roles of "those damned kids" or whoever foiled him. Of course, we all know the bad guy is gonna get hosed, but the role-playing determines how it happened, and the player faces the challenge of trading off "my villain is smart!" with "those damn kids [or whoever]" and their hearts of gold, pluck, and sensible know-how.


Zak Arntson

That has the seeds of a great roleplaying experience.

I can see a bunch of Evil Geniuses recounting their glory days.  I also like Ron's suggestion of each Evil Genius kind of running a scenario and the other players are the plan-thwarting good guys.

This is kind of a meta-game concept ... you could apply this to any sort of game, really.

The present-day stuff could be real fun, too.  Imagine a bunch of Evil Geniuses trying to one-up each other with only what they had at the asylum ...

Matt Gwinn

"Back when I was out to rule the world I once tied the President to a stack of missiles taller than a Seven-11."

"That's nothing, I once conviced and entire city of people they'd all die of anthrax if they didn't pay me a million dollars."

"Well, when I say Seven-11 what I REALLY mean is their corparate headquarters and when I say missiles I'm of course refering to nuclear warheads..."

I love it!, sounds like a lot of fun.  I've been thinking a lot about making a game where everyone plays master criminals, but couldn't quite grasp what they would do as a group.  This definetly solves that problem.

I'd play it.

By the way, what kind of attributes (if any) will there be?  So far it just sounds like a storytelling session with no real mechanic.  Keep us posted.

Kayfabe: The Inside Wrestling Game
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Matt Machell

Glad other people think it's a good idea.

I' against having flashback scenes, just because I dislike the way it can take away the players perceived influence over events. But the idea of people trying to outdo each others stories of world domination is just hilarious.

This is why I'd want the focus group at the start of play, so people have a good chance to get into character. If I can find a way to intergrate that with character generation it'd be great. Maybe something like Amber's attribute auction, but based on how well you do in "sharing".

I wanted the main part of the game to focus on events in and around the Asylum and the doctors various schemes for rehabilitation. I could do with reading up on the subject before attempting that, if anybody knows some good URLs.....

Home of Lost Gods and Agency 13

[ This Message was edited by: Matt on 2001-08-24 17:00 ]

John Wick

Pick ten nouns and verbs randomly from the dictionary:

templar (honest!)

Each of you describes his or her diabolical plot using as many of those words as possible.

1 die for every word you successfully use.

All players roll and whoever rolled highest wins.

Each player has a Veto, an Addendum and a Thwart. To use each one costs you one die from your own total.

A Veto says: "That's not right! You can't use that word that way!"

An Addendum says: "Yes, that's true, but I heard it was even more complicated than that!"

A Thwart says: "Yes, but then the hero came along and stopped you cold!" thus stopping the story unless the villain telling the story can find a way around it.

You can use your own Veto, Addendum and Thwart dice to cancel someone else's or you can use them on other players.

First thoughts. Run with 'em and have fun.

(Didn't I just get done telling Jared ideas have value and he shouldn't just give them away? Sheesh.)

Carpe deum,
Carpe Deum,

Matt Machell

I like that idea.

It reminds me a bit of a gameshow on the radio here in the UK called "Just a Minute", where comedians try to talk for a minute without repetition, deviation or hesitation (other panelists challenge on these).

How about each player trying to fit their ten words into the story (either a plot anecdote or recounting events of the previous weeks psych sessions). However all the other players must try and hijack the story so they can use up their words.

Keep Veto, Addendum and Thwart, but add a Divert, where a player breaks in and alters the course of the story. "I recall that incident, reminds me of a time when I tried to invert the magnetic poles"

Maybe make different types of break in cost more (because they're more useful), and give each player a starting set of points to use, plus one per word successfully integrated. Maybe use easily available counters (Poker chips, Jelly Beans etc) to represent these.

Winner is the first out of words.


Matt Machell

Okay, have played around with some ideas and decided that I like the idea of this as a storytelling game. I've taken John's rules mechanic, put it into the blender with some ideas I had, and put a game together.

Take a look at

I've not had a chance to playtest it yet (though I should do this weekend). Let me know what you think.



I've seen it, and laughed. i can imagine a load of evil has-beens babbling about their plans for world domination. very good. 10.0 all round.
"This machine cannot turn lead into gold, but it can do the next best thing; it can turn gold into cottage cheese."