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  • Writer's pictureJohn Dodd

UKGE Best Expansion Category: Berlin: The Wicked City

The third entry into the Expansion category is Berlin: The Wicked City, from Chaosium.

Originally entered as an adventure, and with sufficient material for it to be entered into that category, the judges thought that the mass of information in the book would make it better suited to the expansion category. While there are over a hundred pages of adventure within the book, there are also the best part of a hundred pages of source material, ideas, hooks, and background information for any GM to use.

The first part of the book includes ways to incorporate characters from Berlin into an existing campaign, new occupations and backgrounds, maps of the whole city and locations within. A separate section on playing within the city, new cults, new factions, and a good number of new NPC’s to put into the game within minimal effort.

The second part of the book details three full adventures, each one the size of some of the smaller adventures submitted into the adventures category.

The first adventure is “The Devil Eats Flies”, a tale set shortly after the end of the Great War, when cultists seek to summon something that will alter the balance of power in Berlin in their favour.

The second adventure is “Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstacy”, a story that takes place almost directly following the first adventure, where the investigators find that some performances end in more than a round of applause for those who participated.

The final adventure is “Schreckfilm”, an adventure that involves the players facing the demons in their own minds, experiencing total isolation in the middle of a city of four million souls. While the book was written long before the events that the world is experiencing now, the parallels cannot be ignored.

The whole book has superb production values, artwork is plentiful and appropriate to the setting. All the NPC’s are presented in black and white, all the maps in sepia tones, and the handouts are what we’ve come to expect from Chaosium, plentiful and evocative, just enough to get the players into the scenarios without making it too obvious.

The subject matter is, without question, very dark, and there are several subjects within the book that are touched on briefly, but with the seriousness that they deserve. Multiple content warnings are present throughout the book and make it very clear that maturity is required when playing this game, it’s something that rewards those willing to delve into the background.

In all, the Judges felt that Berlin: The Wicked City, had far more to offer than the three excellent adventures that were given at the end of the book, with sufficient additional material to allow GM’s to make adventures of their own in the Wicked City.

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