City of Mist - Kickstarter

edited October 2016 in Stuff to Watch
Has anyone of you noticed the City of Mist Kickstarter?
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1105356930/city-of-mist-a-noir-rpg-of-modern-day-legends

This game looks terrifyingly awesome, combines PbtA moves with generic Tags and seems like a light story-focused design. It's one of the best designed games I've seen recently.
You can download the Starter Set here.

Comments

  • One thing I hate with backing is that I know will go to that page constantly to see if there has been any changes. Just seeing the money go up in real time is enough for me. :)

    Dunno why I'm so excited about this game, but I will try to play it soon.
  • Pretty hyped for this game, too, after seeing the starter set. I don't back often, but I backed this one.

    On a related note: any tips on media to consume to get your head right for noir/super-noir tropes/mood?
  • edited October 2016
    Pretty hyped for this game, too, after seeing the starter set. I don't back often, but I backed this one.

    On a related note: any tips on media to consume to get your head right for noir/super-noir tropes/mood?
    Some of my favourite comics/graphic novels that combine noir with superheroes:

    Daredevil by Frank Miller / Brian Michael Bendis / Ed Brubaker runs
    Batman: Year One
    Batman: The Long Halloween
    Batman: Dark Victory
    Batman: Nine Lives
    Batman: Gotham Noir
    Gotham Central
    Catwoman stuff by Ed Brubaker / Darwyn Cooke
    Astro City: The Tarnished Angel
    Powers

    EDIT: How could I forget - Alias, the Jessica Jones comic (and all the Marvel Netflix TV series are good too).
  • I came away from reading the starter set really cold! It feels like it takes the bait of thinking Lady Blackbird/Fate/PBTA combine easily.

    Almost all the moves use a system where it's 2d6+number of tags (called power) you can pull in. A lot of the pregens have ways to get +3 pretty easily on some of the base moves, some even +4. I'd expect that a super majority of rolls end on 10+.

    But the kicker with the system is that almost every move uses Power as showing you how effective the move is. So a +1 roll on hurting people inflicts a minor scratch, while a +4 is almost a KO. An investigate at +1 gets only 1 clue, while the other person gets 4 clues.

    It makes rolling a low power levels almost a desperation play, because you get so little. It also means there's a super strong reason to be pushing hard for making each tag reasonable.

    It might just be that the game is meant to be super-competence porn, and so rolling 2d6+4 is just what's expected. (It's also worth noting that once injured, your power goes down with those injuries, so it might end up being that surprise is the way to stop people from steamrolling with 10+s, but it seems harder to stick statuses on people.)

    Having not played, I have no idea if these things are true. But it seems messy, and puts the GM into a lot of "can you really use that tag? okay, i guess." type games.

    (I have some more thoughts about the moves and how they play together, but that seems minor compared to the +Power creep)

    I'd love to hear about people's play experiences if they have them.
  • All Good Things
    On This Green Earth
    Come From
    Or Flow To
    The Brubaker Run On "Catwoman"
    ---- Plato ----
  • edited October 2016
    Thanks for the break-down, @James_Stuart. Yes, that's pretty much my main concern how solid the mechanics are. I'd also like to see some game-play. As a GM, you'll probably end up with a lot of hand-waving. Still, with the simplicity of the mechanics, I think it can easily be adapted or optimized. If I hate the system, I think I'll play it with FU!
  • edited October 2016


    Almost all the moves use a system where it's 2d6+number of tags (called power) you can pull in. A lot of the pregens have ways to get +3 pretty easily on some of the base moves, some even +4. I'd expect that a super majority of rolls end on 10+.

    But the kicker with the system is that almost every move uses Power as showing you how effective the move is. So a +1 roll on hurting people inflicts a minor scratch, while a +4 is almost a KO. An investigate at +1 gets only 1 clue, while the other person gets 4 clues.
    .
    I haven't wrapped my head fully around it yet, but I was under the impression that the right-shifted distribution of rolls was to compensate for the fact that both player and GM are free to throw around Weakness tags, and incentivized to do so because Weaknesses generate XP.

    Admittedly, that doesn't address the "low Power rolls are a desperation move" criticism.

    And thank you to JD and Felan.
  • edited October 2016
    Just took a run through a bunch of the comics mentioned here, and to be honest, I don't think I understand what noir / supers noir is one whit better than I did before I started. Maybe it's something to do with the general pervasiveness of grimdark as of late, but... I got nothing.

    I couldn't name you a dozen identifying tropes aside from "double-crosses in a dark, dirty world" and "everything is corrupt," which I don't think sets it apart from, say, cyberpunk except for the absence of chrome.

    What do you/other folks think of when you try to paint a noir/supers noir world? What's the palette you use to define that genre?

    As an aside, following up on rolls:

    Players should only rarely be rolling +4s, I think. The playbook ratio of power tag to weakness tag is 3:1, suggesting the general trend should be towards +2s, and that's before statuses are attached in the course of play (e.g., Dazed, Limping, etc.) which further bring the rolls up/down as applicable. Additionally, "power tags" can be burned to guarantee a 10+ roll, but then are ineligible from being applied to future rolls until downtime happens, so the character's should course downward from the baseline +2s. How well it works out in repeat play remains to be seen, of course, I think depending a lot on well the weaknesses are chosen. If people don't play honestly and try to go for very narrow/fictionally irrelevant weaknesses, I could see the PC's looking overpowered - but then, I think that's an incentive to throw harder negative statuses at them, since they're built to take it.

    As to rolling at low power levels: it's important to note that the final "Power" calculation includes all relevant tags including statuses (which are not intrinsically, necessarily negative). I think this is made almost-explicit in the rules for the Convince move ("If you have some kind of extra leverage on the person you are trying to convince, the MC may grant you a temporary status to reflect that. This could apply, for example, when you have an artifact they really want or you discovered a dirty secret they want to keep quiet.") So, on the one hand, low power rolls produce a lot less goodness than high power rolls - but power can be shifted upwards or downwards with fictional positioning, which I think is precisely what PbtA-type games try to incentivize.
  • edited October 2016
    What do you/other folks think of when you try to paint a noir/supers noir world? What's the palette you use to define that genre?
    American Gods? (trailer)
    Fable? (Telltale game trailer: A Wolf Among Us)
  • Just took a run through a bunch of the comics mentioned here, and to be honest, I don't think I understand what noir / supers noir is one whit better than I did before I started. Maybe it's something to do with the general pervasiveness of grimdark as of late, but... I got nothing.

    I couldn't name you a dozen identifying tropes aside from "double-crosses in a dark, dirty world" and "everything is corrupt," which I don't think sets it apart from, say, cyberpunk except for the absence of chrome.

    What do you/other folks think of when you try to paint a noir/supers noir world? What's the palette you use to define that genre?
    So you're kind of opening up a whole can of worms, given that noir is notoriously difficult/impossible to pin down. I'm a film and media scholar and I've read a lot of academic and critical work in this area, and the only real consensus is that there is no consensus when it comes to noir. Seriously, people can't even agree when it started, if and when it ended, or whether it's even a genre.

    That said, one of the canonical essays on film noir is screenwriter Paul Schrader's "Notes on Film Noir" (1972), and it does a good job outlining the tropes and audiovisual palette of noir as most people understand it.

    Personally, I think the best analysis of film noir is the book More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts by James Naremore, which deliberately side-steps the endless taxonomical debates and instead takes a historical/sociological approach, tracing the "idea" of noir and the many different ways it has been mobilized. But for your purposes, it's probably overkill.

    (Also, cyberpunk is a direct offshoot of noir, so I'm not sure you really need to differentiate it so much as adapt those same tropes to your super-noir setting.)

  • For what it's worth, in reading some interviews with Amit Moshe, apparently he uses the word "noir" to mean "detective (fiction)." So, at least for the purposes of City of Mist, the problem I'm having reconciling "noir" to the fiction as presented in the Starter Set is simply that when Amit says "noir" he simply means "this game is focused on investigation."

    That (a) addresses all my confusion, and (b) ... honestly makes me massively less excited for the game.

    But thank you for the links to the analyses. I'm going to enjoy reading them! Considering how much time I spend on cyberpunk, I'm sure it'll pay dividends.

  • edited November 2016
    @miedvied Ha, "detective stories" is definitely the way most people use the term colloquially, but I agree if that's what the system's assuming, it's a lot less interesting than it could be.
  • @Felan I honestly thought he meant more... well, noir. I mean, even if it's a detective story, super-powered Raymond Chandler detective stories would be an amazing change of pace. Super-powered detective agency w/o style... less so. Especially since all the sample cases that have come out so far don't even seem to be "detective agency;" your crew can just be vigilante crime-fighters. It actually feels like reasonably generic supers with some White Wolf "blinded mortals" shtick.
  • edited November 2016
    @Rickard
    I am a big fan of the video game Fables by Telltale Games. From what you know about this game how close is it to A Wolf Amoung Us; for example, do you know much about the character archetypes? Do you know if they just your typical superheroes or are they closer to the Fable archetypes? Thanks :)

    Edit: Nevermind Richard, I did some investigating, and although what I found was a bit vague, I think I have an idea of how they are doing character archetypes. Thanks :)
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