Summons in City of Mist TTRPG
In the City of Mist, it pays to have somebody watching your back, especially if those somebody’s are hired goons or mythical creatures. And while your backup may not always be friendly, they’ll certainly give you the numbers advantage against any lonely foe you come across.
In today’s video, we’ll be going over how you can summon reinforcements for whatever case you’re investigating. Your character doesn’t have to be a necromancer or Rift of Ash Ketchum to benefit from this advice. Whether you’re a full blown summoner or just need a hand every once in a while, here’s a few tips for summoning help in City of Mist.
Allies Are Tags, Too
In City of Mist, your allies are represented by tags just like everything else.
If your ally is a power tag on your character sheet, then your ally is intrinsic to your character and is always at hand, such as a regular informant or a gang you’re a member of. They could even be an entire theme: a Defining Relationship sidekick like Sanchez is for Lance Sullivan, a handy Conjuration like Iron Hans is to Lily Chow, or a Familiar that is always nearby like Bassie’s big cat.
If you gain a powerful ally during your cases, you can use the Ally extra theme to represent them. You’ll be able to use their power tags, but keep in mind they’ll be weaker than a main theme because their tags will be crispy, AKA temporary.
Alternatively, an ally can be made of story tags that you make with Juice gained with Change the Game, during Downtime, or with special improvements. In this situation, your ally is your ally for one scene or session. This could be a crowd you just rallied, a drone you just built, a homunculus you created with alchemy, or anything else your character can create. The types of summons you can summon are determined by your other tags - if you’re an alchemist, you probably have tags to boost your alchemy during Change the Game, which will allow you to create a better homunculus. If you are a great public speaker, you can rally a bigger crowd, and so on.
Sometimes, themes like Adaptation or Conjuration don’t describe your ally directly, but instead describe your ability to summon different things with Change the Game.
The number of tags that represent your ally determines how powerful they are. An ally with one tag like a dragon can be quite versatile because you can ask them to do different things, but in the end all their actions will have only a Power of 1 (unless otherwise boosted). If you want your ally to be stronger, give them more tags. When calling upon your dragon friend, give them tags like scales, fire breath, talons, and wings to make them truly fearsome!
No matter who your allies are, bringing them into the fray is largely the same process.
If you have tags describing an ally, summoning them is a narrative action that doesn’t normally take a Player Move. If you’re doing it under fire, you may have to roll Take the Risk. But otherwise, you can just call your sidekick on their phone and tell them to come meet you, or you can speak the magic words “Iron Hans! Iron Hans! Iron Hans!” and POOF! your magic giant will appear nearby.
If you don’t already have the tags to describe your ally, you’ll need to call them for help by spending Juice and that usually means using the move Change the Game. Through this move, you can make your companions’ story tags.
We’ll use Baby New from the City of Mist Extra Character Pack to help demonstrate. In addition to being a getaway driver, Baby New can summon “trending” things with his tags manifest this year’s trends and weaponize a trend, giving him a Power of 2. That means he has some options if he’s being chased by the police. Deciding that this year's trend is, unfortunately, drunk drivers, he attempts to summon an out-of-control truck that will smash into his police pursuers and block their path at every turn.
On a 10+ success, 2 Power turns into 2 Juice he can spend. One Juice goes toward creating the story tag out-of-control truck. The second point can be used to add another tag, like unpredictable or heavy load. Since he rolled a complete Success, he can also use the Change the Game upgrades to scale up the effect and make the truck bigger, or to prolong the effect and keep it around for more than a single move.
The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your power tags and your imagination. This same process works for whether you’re conjuring an ifrit, building a motorcycle, or assembling a gang. One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that summons brought in this way are crispy, meaning they can only be used for one Move before they’re gone and you can’t burn them for a hit. If you want them around for longer, be sure to pick “prolong the effect” when you Change the Game.
Using Your Summons
When your summons and allies are out on the field, they act as a secondary character which is an extension of your primary character. Your summon acts during your spotlight, because they’re essentially another tool in your character’s hands, but you don’t automatically get to do extra moves because you have them. How many moves you can make in the spotlight is still up to the MC.
A secondary character is under your control. You describe their actions, and whenever you describe an ally taking an action that triggers a move, you make the move as if it was your primary character but using your ally’s tags. This is true whether your ally is a permanent power tag on your sheet or a temporary story tag you created with Juice.
You can also act alongside your summon and have them assist you or vice versa. In this case the MC may ask you to Change the Game as if you were helping another PC, or in some situations, they might allow you to pool your tags together with your summon.
Going back to Baby New, let’s say he summoned an out-of-control truck with the additional story tag unpredictable. Baby New could then make the truck hurtle forward and ram a police car by Going Toe to Toe using the story tags out-of-control truck and unpredictable for the roll. Baby New could also drive in a way that would railroad the cops into the truck and add in his own power tags like getaway driving and perfect timing.
On the flipside, your summons can also take statuses themselves. These statuses reduce their effectiveness by reducing their Power and, just like a PC, if they take a tier-5 status, they’re out of the fight. Summons of the temporary kind can also run out of steam when their tags expire. If they’re temporary, they expire after one move. If they’re ongoing, they expire whenever it makes sense.
Investigating in the City of Mist can be a lonely job, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips, we hope you can grab the help you need to solve the case.
If you’d like to see more of the game in action, check out our Alleyway Fight combat demo as part of our City of Mist in Action series. And if you’d like to kit your character out with summons and conjurations, be sure to check out the City of Mist expansion Shadows & Showdowns.
Do you have any other questions about summoning in City of Mist? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!