Mythos Themebooks in City of Mist TTRPG
Last week, we talked about the broad strokes of creating a concept for your City of Mist PC. As we delve deeper into character creation, this week we’ll be going into the process that turns that character concept into a character sheet.
First, your group needs to determine the point array you’ll be using for your base stats, and then use your proficiency and class bonuses to calculate--
--absolutely nothing! That’s right, as a DnD alternative, City of Mist doesn’t bother with doing a bunch of math before playing the game, so disregard that whole last sentence! Instead, all you need to do is choose four themebooks and answer a few questions. Each themebook represents an aspect of your character that is now in focus, and provides them with 3 power tags, 1 weakness tag, and one character motivation.
You may have trouble picking out which themebooks to use for your awesome concept, and that’s okay. For our next three articles, we’ll be going over each themebook from the Player’s Guide and the expansion Shadows & Showdowns.
While Logos themes represent your character’s mundane life, Mythos themes represent their fantastical powers. There are seven Mythos themebooks in the Player’s Guide used to determine how your Rift draws upon their legend, and today we’ll go over each one.
Adaptation is the themebook for abilities that can adapt to different situations. This themebook emphasizes versatility and is used for abilities like reacting to your environment, casting a range of magic spells, shapeshifting, or even copying other Rifts!
Adaptation Power Tag questions help you establish your primary ability first and then focus on specializations and applications for it. If your first power tag is something broad like casting magic spells, you flesh it out with tags of specific spells like conjuring a cloud of feathers to break your fall.
Adaptation Theme Improvements mostly enhance Change the Game and give you more powerful support and tinkering options. I Have Just The Thing allows you to spend Juice to create a tag of exactly what you need in the current moment, which pretty much sums up the whole themebook.
Adaptation themes make me think of spellcasters in other TTRPG ’s, with their broad range of abilities for every occasion. Just know that if you have a tag for every occasion, you’re still only going to have one tag for that occasion, so there’s always the trade-off of versatility vs. power. Adaptation themes can also supplement other roles in the crew, like how Mitosis adapts by growing extra arms to beat the snot out of people.
On the more focused side of themes is the defensive themebook Bastion. Use this themebook for any type of defense, whether it's physical, like Mitosis’s bone armor, or spiritual, like Job’s untouchable soul.
Bastion Power Tag questions help you build a strong defense, with different ways to take your abilities from there. Do you strengthen and extend your protection to others? Or do you actively use your defense against your enemies, bouncing attacks back at them? After all, some say the best defense is a good offense.
Bastion Theme Improvements enhance Face Danger so you can keep diving into the line of fire, with more improvements for either protecting others or nullifying attackers.
This is the perfect theme for tanks that can wade into the thick of the fight and keep the firepower off the rest of the crew. Just remember that not all conflicts in City of Mist are solved by fighting. Even if your character is immune to dying, they won’t be immune to getting arrested.
City of Mist is a game of mysteries, and Divination is the themebook for finding the answers! Powers that involve gathering information like using ESP, talking to the dead, or instantly absorbing all the text in a book are built using this themebook.
Divination Power Tag questions help you determine what subjects your powers especially work on, almost like choosing fields of study. There are also options to create tags that are useful in combat, like a Spider Sense that tells you about that incoming car.
Divination Theme Improvements enhance the Investigate move and give free Clues. My personal favorite is Prophetic, which forces the MC to tell you what will happen in the next moment and gives your character a +1 bonus status if they act on it.
Divination is great for the investigators and lore buffs of the team. You could also create alertness abilities like predator or hunter senses. Either way, knowledge is power.
Expression is focused on powers that directly affect and shape the world as your PC projects them onto their surroundings. Super strength, freeze rays, and laser beams all fall into this theme, but so do less offensive abilities like super healing or invasive mind-control.
Expression Power Tag questions help define what your ability can do, with options for beneficial side effects, targets that are vulnerable to it, and special techniques and stunts. To round up this theme, there’s also more room for complementary abilities that aren’t necessarily offensive.
Expression Theme Improvements enhance Hit With All You’ve Got and favor going all out with your abilities, especially with the improvement Contain the Surge which completely negates failing the cinematic move Stop. Holding. Back.
This is the most straightforward theme for damage dealers and healers in City of Mist. Even though there are a lot more varied options for themebooks, sometimes the simplest solution is the best to get the job done.
But having all the power in the world means nothing if you can’t get to the scene in time. If your character can teleport through water like Tlaloc or use super speed like Flicker, then Mobility is your themebook.
Mobility Power Tag questions explore how you move, where you can move, and what else you can do with your movement powers. You can also create abilities to restrain or move others, like turning your friends into water so you can bring them along on your stealth mission.
Mobility Theme Improvements enhance Take the Risk but also offer movement options beyond standard moves, ensuring your character never has to slow down. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is my personal favorite for its sheer narrative potential, as it allows you to place your character in any scene once per session. Maybe your character overhears an important conversation or arrives just in time to save someone?
Any crew role can be benefited with some extra speed, but speedsters and stealthy characters thrive in this themebook. After all, they can’t arrest you if they can’t catch you.
Innate powers are cool, but who hasn’t thought of wielding a magic sword? The Relic themebook represents a magical item, which can be an object of legend like Excalibur or an item that channels a legend like the skull of necromancer Baron Samedi.
Since Relics can be created for many purposes, the themebook is written to be flexible with the abilities you can create. Answering the Relic Power Tag questions can result in powers that resemble those from other themebooks, whether they’re divinatory, offensive, defensive, etc. but the questions also help you explore what your magical item is all about.
Relic Theme Improvements reflect this by giving two separate options for gaining power tags from other themebooks. Eternal Bond and Ultimate Unlock also give extremely powerful abilities at the cost of marking Fade, making Relic a themebook that can be more easily sacrificed and then replaced with a new theme.
The Relic themebook is almost as versatile as Adaptation, so it can be used for any role. But it does make you dependent on your stuff: whatever magic item you create, be sure not to forget it on the bus.
Subversion is the sneakiest themebook, which is perfect for a City of secrets. Sometimes your superpowers don’t need to be flashy! This themebook is all about powers of deception like invisibility, shapeshifting, or hypnotism.
With the Subversion Power Tag questions, you can determine the best circumstances for pulling off your lie, with additional options for shady connections and sneak attack power-ups.
Of course Sneak Around is going to be the big move for this theme, with multiple Subversion Theme Improvements adding special stealth and manipulation options. If you’re looking to play more of an ambusher, the theme improvement Go For The Jugular assures you always have a clear opening for Hit With All You’ve Got without making another move to set it up.
Subversion is the best theme not only for stealthy characters but also deceptive social characters.
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, City of Mist offers an incredible amount of options when it comes to your character, but each themebook works to make the character creation process simple. Next week, we’ll be going into the Logos themebooks that define what parts of your character’s normal life keeps them grounded.
What’s your favorite Mythos themebook? What are some of the powers you’ve come up with? Let us know on social media or on the City of Mist Discord!