City of Mist

Posted 09 Dec 2022 to Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy with PbtA.


XP Card

Sessions GM'd: 0
Sessions as Player: 3

I Used

The core book only. And Roll20. The Roll20 character sheets were pretty slick.


A detailed Played by the Apocalypse system intended for longer campaigns. You play a street level investigator who has been touched by the supernatural.


The Good

  • Cool Setting. The city is an important character in the story, and its details are tweaked at your table before character creation begins. Basically, the game takes place largely in the City, and there is a weird effect that hides the supernatural from most mundane humans. Your character has been awoken and may be partially supernatural themselves. We call this cloaking effect The Mists.
  • Flexible system. This is a good system for street level superheroes. You create your character by selecting 4 cards. Some of those cards are Logos (mundane) and some of them are Mythos (supernatural). Each card broadly defines a theme or package of abilities you want to explore, and each card is defined in greater detail. My character was a wolfman struggling with rage issues and a past of criminality. I selected 2 Logos cards, for his criminal skills and contacts. I also selected 2 Mythos cards, for this new werewolf combat powers and super animal senses. I was able to build a cool character nicely.
  • Cool comic book consistent art style. It is noir and beautifully drawn. It reminds me of the video game The Wolf Among Us. In fact, thinking about it now, that's probably exactly what gave me the concept for my character!
  • Crew creation system. Part of character creation is also defining your crew. You can have a shared resource, like a hideout or a patron. You can also agree on a theme that will define the kinds of investigations your group typically does. This is an important step. I know that I have had urban fantasy games that failed because all players were not on the same page in terms of theme and goals. This is a very sensible addition.
  • Easy core mechanic. You describe what your character is doing, and that probably triggers a move. You tick the tags in your various cards that might help. For example, my wolfman is trying to get past a locked door. I tick the "Learned stuff in prison" tag and also the "Handyman toolbox" tag and roll the Sneak Around move. The text of the result describes broadly what happens, and the GM interprets this for our scene. The standard PbtA move mechanic works well when combined with the tags and cards my character has. The choice of wording for my tags was quite important, so it felt a bit like Fate sometimes.
  • Roll20 character sheet is good. It included all the text for the moves and we were able to play without referring to the book. I had some niggles with the character sheet (see below), but broadly it was good and allowed us to play fast.
  • You character changes through play. They change in a literary sense. You can become more supernatural, or less. You can drop a card that becomes less relevant, and gain a new one to represent how your character has gotten over their terrible past and has gained a new purpose in life. This is great! In a long term campaign, I can see how all characters would inevitably go through changes that are fun to explore and talk about, and are also represented mechanically. Your abilities and tags would be replaced with new ones.
  • The Not-So-Good

  • Long and wordy. This is a 400+ page book and it is intended for long campaigns with great characters and detail. We just wanted to dip our toes into the game, and so played a short 3 session investigation. It was very wordy and long for this purpose.
  • Character creation was hard to understand at first. I spent an hour reading the book before our first session, to familiarise myself with all the options. Then we spent 3 hours creating characters. That was very long. I bet it would be faster the next time I did it, as familiarity with the options and expectations would require less reading and changing. But if you want to run a short campaign, it might be better to use pregens. Of course, everyone wants to create their own characters, don't they?
  • Roll20 character sheet annoyances. The sheet is pretty. It looks like 4 cards, spread like a hand of cards in front of you. The cards are animated, and move forward or backward as you click on them. Unfortunately, the text of some cards are always covered by the cards on top, and so it is therefore not possible to see your full character at once. You have to click on different cards to bring them forward so you can read them. This was annoying.


    The system was solid and I enjoyed the way that character growth (in a literary sense) is mechanised. The setting is familiar and intriguing.



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