The Player’s Guide: A City of Mist TTRPG In-Depth Look
A good Player’s Guide for a tabletop RPG like City of Mist has to do more than just list out the rules. It has to provide the tools you need to get started, explore the world, and organize it in a way that’s easy to reference during play. Most of all, it has to make you want to play the game!
The Player’s Guide for City of Mist goes above and beyond by giving groups everything they need and more to explore the misty streets. Like any game book, you don’t have to read it cover to cover to start playing. But in today’s in-depth look, we’ll be reviewing each chapter of the Player’s Guide so you know exactly what you’ll need to start solving mysteries!
The book opens with The Basics, a 5-page primer that explains the core concepts and rules of the game. Everything here is explored further in the book, but the structure does a great job of giving a short answer to the question, “What is City of Mist”?
From here on, each of the chapters opens with a short comic strip that introduces the mood and themes of the game, as well as some of the main characters. From one page to the other, the incredible art of Marcin Sobon, Mariusz Szulc, and others keeps you deeply immersed in the City and its noir, detective streak.
CHAPTER 1: THE LOWDOWN
The Lowdown is where the Player’s Guide gets into the details. Specifically, Chapter 1 introduces the unique setting of City of Mist from the perspective of a Rift -- someone gifted with powers within the City. Big concepts like Rifts, the City, and the Mist are explained in more detail, while still keeping that mysterious vibe. The core Districts of the City are also laid out, each with descriptions dripping in noir imagery.
By the end of Chapter 1, you know exactly what this game is about. While it’s useful to read, this chapter relates more to the narrative and roleplay side of the game and doesn’t go into rules at all. If you’re cramming for a session in two hours, stick to the cliffnotes in “The Basics”.
CHAPTER 2: WHO ARE YOU?
This is the heart of the book - the chapter you need if you’re creating a character from scratch. It gives you full support for the process with ample examples. However, if you’re playing one of the game’s awesome pregens like Detective Enkidu, you can skip this for now.
On a sidenote, each rules Chapter has a custom index in the beginning called the Yellow Pages. These sheets boil down their entire chapter into one or two pages along with page references, making them incredibly helpful during the session.
Character creation is a group process in City of Mist, because you’re also building out your Crew and the bits of the City you live in. The chapter takes it step by step, starting with a list of Series Concepts for the main plot. From there, it delves into making your own character. Each of the core Mythos and Logos themebooks are laid out in this chapter, along with common character tropes to help you pick an idea. Investigative journalist Lance Sullivan is created in the margins of this chapter, giving readers a step-by-step tutorial while they read.
Your characters are also joined together by a Crew Theme, which is laid out like any other themebook but filled out together as a group. The Player’s Guide offers 8 ready-to-play crew themes along with instructions to create your own.
The Player’s Guide doesn’t just give you the rules and leave you to it. The book also goes into how to have an Exposition Session (or Session Zero) that helps the group talk over their characters and the tone of the game. I personally recommend having a Session Zero in any tabletop RPG you play, but City of Mist is great because it bakes having that session into the rules.
If you’d like more info on character themebooks and forging a character concept, check out the videos on our website. And if you’d like to be the first to see our upcoming video on crew themes, make sure to follow City of Mist on social media!
CHAPTER 3: WORKING THE CASE
Chapter 3 is the rules & mechanics section of the book. If you like to sink your teeth into a system and understand the nuts and bolts, this is your chapter.
After laying out the conversation of playing the game, the chapter lays out how to take actions and describes the Core Moves and the Cinematic Moves. It also defines the resources you can use in game like Tags, Statuses, and Juice. There are sidebars with suggestions to the MC and optional rules like Grit Mode, Tag Caps, Weaknesses as Flaws, and more. Essentially, if there’s ever a rule or term you’re confused about, this is the chapter to check!
CHAPTER 4: MOMENTS OF TRUTH
City of Mist is a roleplaying game, which means we need upgrades and level-ups to play for. Chapter 4 goes into how your character can develop -- for better or worse -- throughout the game. If you’re playing a story arc with multiple cases, this is the chapter for you.
This section outlines the standard way of progressing your character by marking Attention on your character themes. There are also the more powerful Moments of Evolution (which you can learn more about in our previous video).
Chapter 4 also introduces dramatic, game-changing mechanics such as Making a Hard Choice between your character goals, unleashing a never-before-seen super move with Stop. Holding. Back!, and going off the deep end as either an Avatar or Sleeper. There are also 3 extra themebooks you can get in a Moments of Evolution, such as a slick ride or a base of operations.
There’s quite a bit packed into these 300+ pages!
What’s your favorite part of the Player’s Guide? Did it help you get into City of Mist? Tell us about it in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!