District Knowledges, used in the Station Duty campaign frame in The Esoterrorists and in Cthulhu City, are a special set of investigative abilities designed for use in games where a particular city is of paramount importance – and the city’s right there in the title in Mutant City Blues!
The districts in your Mutant City will vary, but you’re going to end up with something similar to the list below. Allocate the suggested elements from Building Mutant City (p. 138) to different districts.
- The University: Including the Quade Institute
- Financial District: Including Birch Towers
- City Centre: City Hall, the Precinct
- Historic Downtown, including the Bulwark of God Church
- The Strip, lots of clubs and bars.
- Helixtown, the mutant district, including Capecon Enterprises, the Heightened Information Alliance, New Heliopolis and the other mutant-related groups.
- Industrial Zone
- The Docks/Airport
- Wealthy Enclave
- Poverty-Stricken District
Don’t stick with the dull technical names – use the actual names of districts and areas in your city. If you’re basing your Mutant City off an existing city, then use areas from that city (“I’m taking Soho, you take Clapham”). If you’re making your Mutant City up, then take the opportunity to create a real sense of place; proper names really help ground a campaign.
Using District Knowledges
With a District Knowledge, you can obtain clues through:
- Your knowledge of the streets, buildings and other features of the area
- Your expertise in local history and current events
- Your relationships with local leaders, influencers, experts and figures in the community.
- Picking up rumours and efficiently gathering information about that district
- Tell when crowds or passersby are acting strangely
- Tell whether a passerby or bystander is native to a particular neighbourhood
- Navigate unfamiliar street layouts and locate buildings without marking yourself out as a stranger
A District Knowledge push can:
- Create a useful contact or ally living in that district
- Call in a favour related to that district
- Allow you to declare some fact about that district
District Knowledges and other investigative abilities often overlap with one another. A character with a District Knowledge could certainly substitute it for Architecture or Community Relations. However, such substitutions are only permissible when the investigator is in the district they are familiar with.
Gaining District Knowledges
Each character starts with one free District Knowledge. A player taking any template that includes Streetwise can swap that ability for a more focused District Knowledge. More District Knowledges can be purchased with build points or experience as desired.
Mutant City Blues 2nd Edition is an investigative science fiction roleplaying game originally written by Robin D. Laws, and developed and extended by Gareth-Ryder Hanrahan, where members of the elite Heightened Crime Investigation Unit solve crimes involving the city’s mutant community. Purchase Mutant City Blues in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.