|Primary Faction:||Bleak Cabal|
Some towns in the Outlands have good parts and bad parts. Bedlam, on the other hand, has bad parts and worse parts. It's spread out like a giant fan against the side of Maurash, a hill of volcanic stone and residue. At the bottom of the hill (the base of the fan) is the Gate to Pandemonium, and from there eight worn roads spread outward and run like spines up the slope.
The worst of it is at the bottom of the hill, in what the locals call the Gatemouth district. The area pays the music for being so close to the Gate - it 's strangled by chaos from the plane beyond. Here, kips and shops of every architectural style jam together at can't-be angles, with little regard for their neighbors. Throw in strangely-curved walls and corners that seem to alter space itself, and you've got the kind of place that makes a berk look twice.
Head uphill, though, and the burg starts to take a saner turn - the roads get a bit more workable, the buildings a touch more steady. The really top-shelf quarters (top-shelf for Bedlam, anyway) are found near the top of the hill, in what's called the Citadel district.
Word on the street warns of an upcoming invasion of Bedlam. Some think the bashers will come through the gate, while others say they'll come from the Outlands on their way to the gate. Berks who listen to these rumors should remember who they're dealing with. The town's been attacked before, but never when the locals say it's going to happen. Planars joke that when the barmies stop talking about an invasion, then you'll see the armies arrive.
A sod would have to try pretty hard to miss the door to Pandemonium. It's at the bottom of the hill, inside a huge tower of black obsidian as tall as the hill itself. (On top of the tower is what looks like a humanoid hand, reaching skyward. Some say the Gate and the hand are the remains of a forgotten god who tried to escape the Howling Land - unsuccessfully, they add. Others believe the town once sat next to a great volcano, now gone, and the tower's what's left of the volcanic plug. A few folks even mark the tower as an artistic rendering by Hruggek, Cyric, or Zeboim. Most, though, don't really give a pike.)
The gate's inside the base of the tower, with a half-dozen entrances around the perimeter. These entrances, called blastgates, are set in archways of iron and stone. Day and night, they spew out a rank, howling wind that sweeps up and over the city.
Primes who've been to both Bedlam and Xaos might think the people in each town are pretty much the same - barmy. But, unlike the natives of Xaos, Bedlamites are malicious, petty, and hateful. No one knows why, though a sage once claimed the difference is that the populace of Xaos have come to terms with their madness, but the people of Bedlam have not. The sod was quickly torn to bits by a pack of Bedlamites, but no one's quite sure if that meant he was right or wrong.
Residents of Bedlam include gnolls, bugbears, and humans, with a good mixture of other mortal races, none of them sane. The Bleak Cabal is the strongest faction it town, and often tries to talk berks into going through the gate, which tends to end their mortal lives.
The natives of Bedlam are twitchy and self-absorbed, and many of them hear (and argue with) voices that seem to come out of the air. After a few days in Bedlam, a basher tends to hear voices himself, voices that tell him to let go of reason, emotion, and, eventually, sanity.