The Rookie's Guide to Brit-Cit, weighing in at 128 pages, is the largest supplement we have yet done for the Judge Dredd roleplaying game - but such a subject could demand no less. This is THE definitive sourcebook for Brit-Cit, that megalopolis across the ocean from Mega-City One, and draws on material that has appeared in the comic strips over the past couple of decades.
Black humour is a well known trait of Judge Dredd, and it is reflected well throughout this book. Written by John Caliber (The Kazan Gambit trilogy, Rookie's Guide to the Justice Department), this had me in stitches when I first read through the manuscript. The book kicks off with a Tour of Brit-Cit itself, a sprawling urban area covering the entire south of the current United Kingdom. This details such things as government and the royal family, and it is not long before you realise this is a _very_ different place to Mega-City One, despite the presence of judges. Key locations are described as well, some of which may raise a wry smile, such as Bigga Ben, the Battersea Mutants Home, New Old Bailey and Isle of Old Dogs. Common crazes and fashions of Brit-Cit are covered, as well as sports, food & drink, and common diseases (Bellamy's Beard). Whether your characters are due to become citizens of Brit-Cit or are more tourists coming over from Mega-City One, this will prove to be essential survival material.
The Characters in Brit-Cit chapter will prove to be either an essential resource for Games Masters moving their campaign over to Brit-Cit, or for players keen to start a new character in the city. The Citizen class from the main rulebook is just as valid here as it is in Mega-City One, but there are a whole new range of Prior Lives to get to grips with - the Biz-Cit, Blueblood, Dandy, Rotor Blader and TA Trooper, to name just a few. Prestige classes are also supplied for citizen characters to expand beyond their basic abilities (very important for the Citizen class in this game), all of which reflect life in Brit-Cit - so it should come as no surprise that the Butler, Crusading Journalist and Meg-Wayman make an appearence.
Next up is The Justice Department chapter, and this marks one of the great differences between Brit-Cit and Mega-City One. While the judges of Brit-Cit may seem to be very similar to their MC1 counterparts on the surface, there are huge deviations. Corruption is by no means unknown in the judiciary, and promotion often relies on bribes (bribe table supplied). Many beat judges are unarmed and, unlike those of MC1, they are not trained as judges from childhood, but apply for the job later in life (and so are eligible for Prior Lives). They also get paid for their work, and have a life outside of the Law. All the back-up and resource units of Brit-Cit are detailed, as are the vehicles and equipment used (including the Iron Lion bike, the Brit version of the Lawmaster - also, don't forget the Panda Truk :)). From a common beat judge, there are many specialist areas to qualify for, such as Back Street Judge, Detective, Sergeant, Pilot and Tactical Armed Response Judge.
From here, the supplement goes on to describe the rest of Great Britain, in almost as much finely researched detail as Brit-Cit itself. First up is The Allotment, the rad-blasted wasteland seperating Brit-Cit from the North (John has included, I note with some chagrin, the nuked Swindon Hell-Hole in this. . .). More locations are described, such as the Yorkshire Moors and the Welsh Wastes (insert own joke here), as well as the mutated creatures and vermins that make their home here (the Cumberland Sausage is _frightening_). If a campaign is to start in the Allotment, players will find the prior lives such as the Deadpool Pirate useful.
The next chapter deals with a place almost as famous as Brit-Cit itself in the comic strips - Cal-Hab, or what remains of Scotland. Still fighting oppression from the government of Brit-Cit, the residents of Cal-Hab also have to defend themselves against such creatures as the Greater Lothian Rad Beetle and the Auroch. However, once you start seeing the classes and prior lives available to Cal-Hab characters, you soon get the idea that they are more than up to the challenge. The Cal-Hab Judge is somewhat more prepared for action than his Brit-Cit counterpart, and Clansman (along with their Chieftains) are positively savage.
The last area of the British Isles to come under inspection is the Emerald Isle - Ireland. In the 22nd Century, Ireland's fortunes have fallen beneath the greater powers such as Mega-City One, and much of the country is now a theme park designed to cater to tourists' expectations of an 'authentic Ireland experience'. Needless to say, not every resident of the Emerald Isle is completely happy with their drop in status, and many have turned violent in an effort to rid their land of the corporate influences guiding their future. Characters starting here can join the judge militia, or take up one of the specialised Prior Lives, such as Theme Park Warden or Tour Guide.
The last chapter of this book (I told you it was a big one!) is Brit-Cit Technology, detailing all the weapons, equipment, vehicles and robots used by citizens throughout the British Isles. And yes, the Spud Gun is in there, with selectable settings of Roastie, Chips and Smash!
Overall, this is very much the kind of sourcebook I would like to see more of for the Judge Dredd roleplaying game, as you are getting an entirely new city (nation!) to explore - no longer need characters be confined to Mega-City One. We'll see what you chaps think of it and, if the response is good, I'll get our writers to cover more cities in the world of Judge Dredd.