The design team behind modern fantasy tabletop RPG City of Mist has announced their next game project and an accompanying setting book. :Otherworld will adapt the City of Mist rules to a cyberpunk setting rife with its predecessor’s fascination with mythic stories starting with the city of Tokyo.
Designer and publisher Son of Oak has described its new title as taking place in an alternate and far-future version of the metropolitan sprawl where City of Mist takes place. In the latter, a mysterious Mist envelops the alleys and parks of the City, merging the real world with that of legends, historic figures and folklore. Player characters are a combination of one of these myths and an average person and rely on skills from both paths to solve the problems facing the city’s populace.
In :Otherworld, the Mist is redefined as the Noise, a background radiation of stimuli, information and digital artefacts suffusing every facet of life in the tech-riddled heights of this City. The corporations and filthy rich powers of the world have learned how to control a bit of Mythos’ power - if only barely - and use it to exert control in an exceedingly cutthroat social and political environment.
Player characters in :Otherworld will most likely pull from the bottom rungs of this stratified society - mercenaries, dispossessed revolutionaries and soldiers without a cause. The RPG will use a mechanical system Son of Oak is calling COM:Reloaded (they really don’t like putting spaces after colons), which updates the foundational rules of City of Mist and also adds on the necessary bits for playing in a world of advanced science, technology and information.
Characters still rely on tags to define their abilities, gear, look and social connections. Many of the old themebooks - collections of tags and traits akin to a class - will return, alongside 14 more that fit people living in a cyberpunk world. The expanded rules will add more support for different styles of play, such as groups who’d rather investigate a mystery or sneak in the back door through a combination of hacking and espionage. There will also be new rules to make exploration more enjoyable and fit the cinemation dynamism of the main game.
The MC - City of Mist’s role for the group’s facilitator - will also enjoy new tools, levers and buttons in their arsenal of options when supporting and guiding the fiction. City of Mist played like an adventure game based in a specific district of a City each group defines throughout their campaign. Choices made for each case can shift power among the City’s factions and possibly upset carefully maintained balances - perhaps on purpose.
:Otherworld will function similarly but use setting books to granularly define the different cities within its cyberpunk universe. The first will be Tokyo:Otherworld, a far-future imagining of Japan's capital city. It’s here where some of the details about Son of Oak’s upcoming RPG sound a little iffy. The press release said the book “will explore local Japanese crime syndicates, megacorps, and government organizations — as well as the shadow world of ronin mercenaries — who are powered by Yokai, Kami, and other Japanese mythological beings.”
This mixture of tech and culture-specific magic isn’t so bad on its face, but the release further mentions “Japan-inspired theme kits” and a “shadow world of ronin mercenaries” who fight for honour. In response to individuals asking if the team would include Japanese designers or cultural consultants, Son of Oak said that the book’s artist Isa Happyfield - creator of Queerz! - would also be consulting on the project.
“The first setting book will focus on Japan but the game will expand to other cultures as CoM did. We chose Japan as the first focal point because of its fascinating mythology,” the studio said in a tweet. “Actually, our inspiration is more Japanese cyberpunk like Ghost In The Shell than American. Either way, we will study this deeper to ensure the game holds a genuine Japanese perspective.”
A Kickstarter campaign for :Otherworld and its Japanese setting book plans to launch in September of this year. Dicebreaker has reached out to Son of Oak for more information.