I’ve Got A Case of Mutant City Blues… [insert jazz music here]

Posted: June 2, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, First Impressions, Mutant City Blues, Roleplaying Games

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’ve found myself in possession of a copy of Pelgrane Press’ Mutant City Blues by Robin D. Laws.  While admittedly the GumShoe system was hovering about in the edge of my RPG knowledge, I’d never thought to pick up this game on my own.  But now that I’ve finally had a chance to flip through it, I have to admit that I’m very impressed with the thought that was put into the setting and the game in general.

Mutant City Blues is one of those games that has a high amount of specificity, wherein the player characters and their activities fall within a narrow and well-defined path.  In this case, MCB assumes that the Player Characters are all part of a the Heightened Crime Investigation Unit, a super-powered group of cops that are called in to investigate crimes committed by, or against Heightened individuals.

The game is set up as a police procedural meets the X-Men.  Powers are fairly small in scope, but some can be pretty scary when used intelligently to commit a crime.  Of course, since it does rely heavily on investigation, Mutant City Blues also has something they call the Quade Diagram, which is a diagram that details the different relationships of various powers, so one can identify what other powers a given Heightened criminal could have, or if a given crime was committed by more than a single Heightened individual.

The mechanics for the GumShoe system are remarkably simple, so much so in fact that I find myself wondering if that’s all there is to it.  It might not be the best system for the min-maxing types, but it gets the job done, and the system is good enough to handle the kind of action (super-powered or otherwise) that the game demands.

I have to admit that getting this game is a good thing.  Aside from it being a good game, I’m being forced to expand my understanding of other games, broadening my familiarity with systems that I would otherwise would not have paid attention to.  That said, I’m glad that this game ended up in my hands, and I’m looking forward to being able to run a campaign.

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For those interested in checking it out, Mutant City Blues is available from DriveThruRPG for $20.95 or roughly Php 903.00

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Comments
  1. Alex Osias says:

    Hm. Interesting. Simple enough to run an online PBP game.

    • Hey Alex,

      Yep, the mechanics seem simple enough, but I’m not sure how the pbp medium will actually affect the pacing of a mystery. Still, it probably couldn’t hurt to try it out.

  2. edige23 says:

    I really love the concept of the Quade diagram. I ran a session of this- and while the players had some problems with the standard task resolution system (the d6 part), they really loved the diagram and how it worked as world background and as an investigation tool.

    • Hey there,

      The Quade Diagram was the one thing that really drew my attention to the setting. Having just read the book, I’m floored with how much thought has gone into fleshing out the nature of how science and powers come into play to investigate superpowered crime. While this isn’t going to be a replacement for the high-powered wall-busting shenanigans of M&M or HERO, Mutant City Blues looks like it certainly picks a niche and excels at it completely.

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