City of Mist In Action #6: Investigation
Welcome back to another City of Mist In Action, where we explain the rules of our favorite cinematic modern fantasy TTRPG through showing them off in-game. City of Mist is a mystery game at its heart, and you never know what clue will turn the entire case on its head. Your main tool for solving mysteries is the Investigate move, which can be used to answer many more questions other than just “whodunit?”. To show off the utility of Investigate, let’s get right to the crime scene.
We join our two investigators at the 7th Heaven Motel, where a murder has reportedly taken place. The high school ninja Kitsune is looking for their missing teacher and has enlisted the aid of the up-and-coming crime fighter Salamander. If you’d like to learn more about these characters, check out our City of Mist Character Folio Pack.
Kitsune and Salamander have snuck into the motel room crime scene and have come across a grisly sight. Kitsune’s teacher lays dead in the bed, with her corpse already bagged up by authorities. Who killed her, and how? Time to find out!
Salamander looks over the crime scene and rolls to Investigate. Using his power tags crime scene investigation and snooping around, Salamander rolls a 9 for a total of 11. A complete success!
Each point of Power turns into a Clue Salamander can use to ask a question about the crime scene. The questions have to be related to the power tags he used and how he’s doing the investigation, also called his method. Salamander starts off with the most obvious question: “How was the victim killed?” The MC reveals the victim suffered incredible head trauma, as evidenced by her body and the bloodstain on the wall behind her. With that confirmation, Salamander asks his second question: “What was the murder weapon?”
Strangely enough, there doesn’t appear to be any entry wounds on the front of the victim’s head, nor are there any bullet casings or really anything else that would suggest a weapon caused the victim’s condition. It’s almost like her head just…exploded.
With no other Clues, Salamander has run out of questions. He also can’t Investigate the scene again using the exact same tags or method unless something changes, just like you can’t repeat any move over and over again, unless it’s Face Danger. Looks like it's Kitsune’s turn to Investigate.
Kitsune decides to go a different route and walks over to the adjacent motel room, hoping to talk to any potential witnesses. As a woman answers the door, Kitsune rolls to Investigate using the woman as a source of information. Kitsune uses their power tags induce hypnotic trance and mind reading to make it easier for this woman to open up to a masked ninja. With two Power, Kitsune rolls a 7 for a total of 9. A mixed success.
The MC has a few options here. With a mixed success, Kitsune’s investigation could expose them to danger, the clues they receive could be incomplete, or Kit’s target could ask them a question as well. The MC decides the investigation will expose them to danger, but keeps the actual Danger in their back pocket until the most dramatic moment.
Kitsune uses their first Clue to ask: “Did you hear anything last night?”. The woman replies that she heard an argument from the adjacent room last night, although she made a point to ignore it and didn’t catch what it was exactly about. She heard yelling, then something popping, and then quiet. She adds that there was another sound afterward that continued through the night. Something like TV static?
While you can Investigate using a person as a source, you can also investigate the person themselves using this move. To verify her claims, Kitsune asks: “Is this person lying to me?”. The MC states that the woman isn’t lying to Kitsune, she just doesn’t want to get involved. So, after a bit more small talk, Kitsune heads back to the original motel room.
The Investigate move is great for finding information that is hidden or kept secret, but you don’t need to find out everything by spending Clues. The MC can reveal information from simple observation, such as if Salamander asked “what’s under the bed?” or “what’s in the bathroom?”. Kitsune could also talk and ask questions to someone in a normal conversation. The MC can still say certain questions require earning and spending a Clue, but it isn’t necessary for every single question the players or characters ever ask.
With that out of the way, the MC decides this is the perfect time to expose the crew to danger. Unbeknownst to Kitsune and Salamander, an Assassin is perched up on a nearby building, ready to take out anyone sticking their nose into the crime scene. Looking at the Assassin’s Danger Profile, the MC uses her soft move “betray her presence with a subtle clue” and says the duo notice a glint of light reflecting from a nearby rooftop.
Not taking any chances, Salamander takes cover by the window. He can’t see who’s about to shoot, and without a line of sight, there’s not much this plasma-slinging crime fighter can do. So even in the middle of combat, Salamander rolls to Investigate.
Salamander doesn’t have any power tags for mid-combat observation, which means he adds no bonuses to this roll. Fortunately, Salamander rolls a 7 and just barely gets a mixed success. Even without power tags, Salamander still gets one Clue with the Rule of “Minimum One”, and so he asks: “What’s the glint of light?”
The MC reveals that the light was reflecting off the scope of a rifle on the nearby rooftop. With the mixed success, the MC chooses to make the clue incomplete and says that while Salamander now knows there’s an assassin after them, he can’t get a pinpoint on their position or even see what they look like.
Still, that’s enough information for Salamander to tell Kitsune. Doing what they do best, Kitsune rolls to Take the Risk and rush the assassin. Kitsune uses their tags parkour artist, nimble as a fox, and daring to make their way over to the hitman. Unfortunately, Kitsune rolls a 2 for a total of 5. A failure.
Kitsune parkours over to the adjacent building, but as soon as they arrive, Kitsune finds no one there. The MC used the Hard Move Deny Them Something They Want and the Assassin got away.
On that mysterious note, Salamander prepares to leave the crime scene when suddenly the TV in the motel room turns on by itself. Behind the loud TV static is a strange symbol of an eye staring back at Salamander. The intention is clear; Salamander and Kitsune are now being watched.
The duo leave the motel before anything else can happen to them, but they are definitely not intimidated. Using the Downtime (Montage) move, they can choose the option to Work the Case and continue investigating with 3 free Clues based off a method and source they come up with. Outside of Downtime, both of them can also make Investigate moves that stretch out over the course of a day. Salamander can use his snooping around and knows every street power tags to locate the assassin or maybe another witness. Meanwhile, Kitsune could use their high school rumors power tag to see if there are any rumors of mysteries tv channels with eyes inside the static.
Whatever they find out next, they know one thing for certain…they aren’t going to let the killer get away with it.
We hope this video helps you understand how to investigate the many mysteries within the City of Mist. Be sure to check out our previous City of Mist In Action videos for more in-depth looks at the game, along with the other videos on our channel for all things City of Mist.
Do you have an idea for another City of Mist In Action? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!