Combat Tips for Players in City of Mist TTRPG
Imagine this scenario: You’re walking up to a suspect to ask them questions. But after they punch you in the face, you find out that the suspect is the Rift of a Japanese oni demon. Now you’ve got a fight on your hands, and the big guy looks a lot stronger than you. What do you do?
If you’re like some of my players, your answer might be “hit him until he’s down”. But not every fight can be won with brute force, especially in a world as magically diverse as City of Mist. To get ahead, you need to think ahead, and that means knowing how to use the City of Mist rules to your advantage.
The City of Mist ruleset is narrative-focused, even in its combat. This can be confusing for Dungeons & Dragons veterans who are used to more technical combat rules. And while City of Mist doesn’t spell out the exact range, damage, and casting time of a fireball, it does provide the Moves you need to make the most of your moment in the spotlight.
So put up your dukes and get ready to Change the Game, because today we’re going over how to fight the City of Mist way!
Tip #1: Prepare for Trouble
Knowledge is power in City of Mist. If you know you might get in a fight, one of the best things you can do is investigate your enemy. By taking the time to do your research, your character could come up with all sorts of useful info. What’s the best approach? How can you do more damage? Do they have a secret weakness?
You could do this investigation preferably before the fight, but there’s nothing stopping you from rolling for this Move right as punches are being thrown. Taking a moment to examine your enemy and your surroundings could be the difference between victory and defeat.
If the option is open, try to learn about their Mythos as well. Oftentimes, mythoi have dramatic weaknesses written into their stories. So if you’re planning on fighting a werewolf, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare some silver bullets.
Once you know what you’re facing, you can also use Change the Game or your Downtime to gain Juice and power yourself up with appropriate tags and statuses. You can spend your Juice point-for-point to make sure you have what you need. So for example, if you’re playing Detective Enkidu from the Starter Set, you can use her access to police armory power tag to pick up a bulletproof-vest and combat-shotgun, which become tags she can use during the upcoming fight.
Tip #2: Understand Spectrums and Defenses
One of the reasons preparation becomes so important is because different Dangers are defeated differently. Instead of “hit points”, Dangers have Spectrums that reveal the different ways they can be taken down. Once you give them a status of a specific TYPE at a specific TIER, the Danger is overcome.
This means that different approaches will target different spectrums. If you’re fighting a ghost, you likely can’t even touch it, let alone punch it. But you can try to BANISH the ghost or APPEASE it to make it go away. Likewise, you could just beat up a petty crook, but you could also just as easily scare or threaten them away.
Of course, Dangers will often have their own defenses. Some have statuses that weaken your Moves, others have ways of reducing damage like being tough, and some even have an active shield that damages you before you damage them. No matter the defense, if you’re fighting a Danger, be prepared for them to fight back.
Tip #3: Set Up to Hit With All You’ve Got
Hit With All You’ve Got is the Move you’ll be aiming to use most in a fight. It’s functionally like Go Toe to Toe, except it automatically deals a status on a success and provides more devastating options. You can make your attacks spread to multiple people, control the collateral damage, and even make them hit harder! But there’s one catch; you need to set up to Hit With All You’ve Got, because if you don’t have a clear shot, you’re just Going Toe to Toe.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can set up this Move. If you’re using Go Toe To Toe, you can choose the “achieve your goal” option to put yourself in a better position and prepare your next strike. If you’re more the stealthy type, you can use Sneak Around to flank the enemy and set up a sneak attack. And if you’re feeling creative, you can use Change the Game to change the environment or restrain your enemy long enough for you to prepare your finishing move.
Tip #4: Undermine Their Abilities and Defenses
Sometimes, your best punch won’t get past their hide, or maybe magic is keeping you from getting close. But keep in mind that you’re not just in a race to lower their health. You can use your moment in the spotlight to lower a Danger’s defenses with Change the Game.
Let’s go back to our Oni example. If your foe is immune to fire, perhaps some magic could change that by removing their defensive status? Or maybe instead of using fire to hurt them, you could change your fireballs into frost beams or lightning bolts? If your usual way of doing things is getting blocked, switch it up!
You can also impose a status on the Danger or provide a buff to a teammate to cancel out the numerical advantage. A tough Danger ability that reduces statuses by 2 doesn’t mean anything when your friend playing Mitosis is about to hit with a mega-buffed 7 Power punch.
Finally, consider using diplomacy to break their guard. Thanks to social Spectrums, you can treat a dramatic negotiation or argument like a combat encounter, with your character imposing statuses like convinced-3 or threatened-2 during the talk. We’ll be covering social encounters in a later video, so stay tuned!
These are all tremendous tips to keep in mind during City of Mist. But the best tip I can give above all for City of Mist combat is “Be Creative”. By using the Core Moves and your power tags to their fullest, your crew will be able to take on anything!
However, keep in mind that if things become dire, you can always use the Move Stop. Holding Back! This will allow you to break your limits and pull off something special that could save the day. Just be prepared to face the consequences, especially if you fail your roll.
If you want to dive right into the action, consider grabbing a City of Mist bundle off our website at cityofmist.co. We’re holding a #GameNightsofPayneTown sale for the month of October, so be sure to grab them while you can! And if you’d like a a map of the City itself, you can now purchase it as an add-on to certain bundles.
Tell us about your favorite fight in City of Mist! Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!