Here at Geek & Sundry, we love RPGs! From our D&D RPG show Critical Role, our Star Trek Adventures RPG show Shield of Tomorrow and our dark suspense show Sagas of Sundry, we’re all about great RPGs and storytelling. City Of Mist was a Kickstarter we featured and most recently included in our list of recommended RPGs. We think it’s quite compelling.
Modern-day fantasy exploded over the past few years. Whether its the gritty heroes of the Marvel Netflix universe, the revisionist exploration of Once Upon A Time‘s legends or the surreal power of American Gods, it’s been an exciting time for heroes struggling with strange powers in worlds not unlike our own. There are a lot of RPGs that have looked at this genre, but an upcoming release from Son of Oak Games wants to put mythic power in the hands of players from the first moment of the game.
City of Mist casts players as Rifts, powerful manifestations of gods and legends walking around a modern city. Players can be connected to classical pantheons like the Greek or Norse gods, legends like King Arthur or myths like dragons. Characters often have twists on what a modern version of a god is like; perhaps the Rift of Thor might be a heavy metal guitarist that always blows out his amp at a show, or a dragon Rift might hoard information instead of gold pieces. Rifts are aware that this City of Mist is no ordinary city, since the city seems to protect normal citizens from the strange rivalries and combats of its legendary citizens. There are a million mysteries in the City of Mist and players are drawn to solve them.
The game uses a blend of several modern RPG mechanics. At its core, City of Mist featured the same basic mechanics of Powered By The Apocalypse games: roll 2 six-sided dice when a move is triggered, add modifiers to the roll and then move the story forward based on the outcome. A 10 or more means the player gets what they want out of the story, a 6 or less means the GM gets what they want out of the story, and a 7-9 means both sides give a little and get a little. City of Mist characters that have tags that can add modifiers to the roll. A character that’s angry all the time might find that useful in combat, but less so when trying to convince a cop to not put them in cuffs.
Characters are built by four themes split between Logos and Mythos themes. Logos traits define the character’s identity in the city. Mythos traits represent the character’s connection to their legendary powers. Both types of traits are important to the character, because Mythos themes are where the cool powers come from, while Logos themes are what connects the character to the regular people in the city. Maintaining a balance between them is important. If a character fails too many times using a theme, it disappears and is replaced with one of the opposite type.
A character that loses all their Mythos themes goes back to sleep and only remembers hints of their godlike power, while a character with no Logos becomes an avatar that forgets their friends, their life and attempts to control the strange powers of the city for their own purpose. Characters can come back from these extreme situations, but doing so requires help from the other players and a session or two devoted to bringing that character back from the edge.
Kickstarter backers received the PDF a few months back and are expecting their books by the end of January. The full PDF and pre-orders of the book are available on the website, with a starter set PDF featuring pre-generated characters available for free for anyone signing up on the website. City of Mist is the rare RPG where characters start powerful and stay challenged thanks to the tension of balancing real-life concerns with mythic battles. It’s fun to twist mythology that everyone knows into unique characters that bounce off of each other. The tension between the familiar and original makes for the best kind of mysteries, which City of Mist has in spades.