Why do all your characters feel the same? (Hint: it’s in the system)

June 29, 2018


Ever find yourself creating variants over variants of the same old tropes using repetitive game options? Traditional RPGs like D&D, and even some modern ones, tend to restrict our characters' details to a limited set of attributes. We players accept it because we are used to adjusting our character ideas to fit the system. If a system has a Dexterity attribute, then I assume my character’s dexterity must be important to the story. But is it? What if you could create more authentic and interesting characters? What if every player on your group could choose what to highlight in his or her character instead of having to follow a cookie-cutter format?


City of Mist utilizes descriptive tags to define your character with words rather than with numbers. Tags can act as any noteworthy detail in your character: a quality, a skill, a power, but also an emotion, a personality trait, a resource, an item, an ally, etc. Every player character is made of twelve tags, but you choose what they will describe, allowing you to create a character that revolves around her abilities, her personality, her gear, her history, or any combination of the above that you can imagine.




Are you looking to create a suave lawyer? Maybe scribble down tags like ‘courtroom superstar’ or ‘wine connoisseur’. Want your thug to pack some serious heat? Just write down 'trigger-happy’ or simply ‘submachine gun’, and that’s it, you have it. Maybe you have a unique supernatural ability in mind that no predefined power system can reflect well; you just write that down as a tag. The result is a fully-customized character who’s best at exactly those things you wish to highlight, not some rough approximation of your idea using what is available in the system. Farewell to forcing your creative character concept into a D&D class...


If you’re not sure which tags to choose, a series of Themebooks will guide you through the process. These questionnaires cover traditional areas like gear (Possessions), skills (Training), and supernatural powers (all the Mythos themebooks) but expand further to your character’s Personality, dramatic past (Defining Event), everyday life (Routine) or Defining Relationships. You choose what Themebooks to answer, so the choice of highlighting useful abilities, role-playing angles, or a mix of both is in your hands.






The way City of Mist makes all of these choices matter in the game is simple and elegant. When you take actions, the more relevant tags you have, the better your result will be. The number of relevant tags adds to a 2d6 roll determining your outcome. So, if you want to bring down that building with a blast or make that police informant trust you, you better have some suitable tags. However, there is no distinction between the tags: tags related to your character’s persona or past are just as useful as tags related to her mundane or supernatural abilities, gear, etc. As long as it's appropriate, it works; this allows more RP- or narrative-oriented players play side-by-side with traditional gamers, using the same rules.


If you want to choose what to highlight in your character then City of Mist is right up your alley. As an enthused fan of the game reported on City of Mist RPG Facebook group: "Everyone got super into character, into the story, and we had a blast. They loved it, and we are changing this to our monthly game session, replacing D&D 5e."  


Check out City of Mist RPG here:










Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts