"The City" is the name of the mysterious, magical, and crime-ridden metropolis in which your City of Mist game is set. Your characters, their loved ones, and their enemies all live in the City, and for some strange reason nothing beyond the City ever captures their attention.
The City is a flexible setting: when you start your game you can give it your own name, choose its location, and flesh out its details.
The City is a burgeoning metropolis, home to millions of people. Everything you have learned to expect of a modern city can be found here: economy and business, culture and recreation, society and art, education and technology, law and crime. But there’s something more.
Every part of the City hides a story: not just dry historical facts but something alive, something that’s struggling to exist – not unlike what’s growing in you. It’s in the people and everything they do and make: the buildings, the establishments, the trends. It’s the old opera house on the waterfront that echoes faintly with organ music late at night, or the landmark corporate skyscraper that you always see on the skyline but whose actual entrance you can’t ever seem to find. It’s a new fad of dolls for little girls that seem to devilishly smile at you, or a rock star who sends uncontrolled waves of ecstasy through listeners. Or maybe it’s that crummy diner at the corner of the street, giving off such tantalizing smells of fresh coffee and pastries that even sworn enemies can be seen sharing breakfast there.
The parts of the City that were abandoned by the mainstream, however, are those that most reek of something eldritch. Go under a highway bridge and you might find a hovel where something big and roughly human lived. Way up by the spires of a forsaken church, stone statues of angels weighing several tons occasionally go missing, only to reappear after a day or two. And if you ever make it to the abandoned subway tunnels, you’ll see the occasional hooded teenager slinking furtively into a candle-lit cistern, perhaps a member of some unknown cult.
IS THE CITY OF MIST BASED ON AN ACTUAL CITY?
You can place the City of Mist anywhere in the world or leave it as its own context. You can give it a name, real or fictional; fashion it based on an existing city or make it up entirely from scratch. You can have a map of the City or just reference different locations as you go.
It’s all good, because the City is only the backdrop for your story. What really matters is who’s in the story and what’s going to happen to them on the streets when the cameras of the mind’s eye start rolling.
Residents of the City simply call it ‘the City’, and refer to anything outside of it as ‘out of town’ (“Oh, Johnny? Johnny’s out of town. But he’ll be back...” , “This stuff is weird, definitely came from out of town.”). Their world view is so centered on the City that they don’t really bother thinking about what’s outside. Is that because of the Mist or is it just everyday absentmindedness?
You’ll be the judge of that.
IN WHAT TIME DOES THE CITY EXIST?
Different stories may be set in different versions of the City of Mist. While one might be set in modern times, with access to all the latest technological advancements (or even more sophisticated technology), another may be set in a classic early 20th century film noir setting, with phones connected by operators and art-deco buildings.
Whether your story takes place in a black and white True Noir, an 80's style Neon Noir, a dreary version of The Present, a vibrant Comic-book Metropolis, or any other concept you can imagine is up to you and your group to decide.