Forging Your City of Mist TTRPG Character Concept
City of Mist is a tabletop RPG with an incredible amount of freedom when it comes to character creation. You can make karate monster hunters, time-traveling computer hackers, or even just some guy who can change reality but also lives in his mother’s basement. This freedom is thrilling, but it can also lead to analysis paralysis. With infinite possibilities, where do you even start?
Thankfully, once you have your character concept, the rest of the process is simple. We won’t be going into the mechanics of character creation today. Instead, we’ll be talking about ways you can get that spark, that single concept to build the rest of your character off of!
MAKE THE MOST OF THE EXPOSITION SESSION
The best time to create your concept in my opinion is the Exposition Session. I’ve been a GM for many different systems and having a Session 0 to just talk about the game, table rules, and, most importantly, who your characters are is extremely helpful no matter the ruleset. But another reason City of Mist is a great TTRPG is because having a Session 0 is built right into the rules!
The Exposition Session is there for everyone to develop their characters and determine what the series is going to be about. The first thing you’ll normally figure out is the shared crew theme, or the main identity of your party. Your character concept will need to mesh with your crew’s mission, so pay attention to whether your crew is a team of private investigators, a squad of mercenaries, or just a gang of kids in high school. Having the central conflict laid out also helps you create a character whose personal goals are connected to that conflict. The more everyone talks about their characters and what they want to play, the more that’ll help you figure out the same thing.
CONSIDER TRADITIONAL RPG ROLES
Figuring out your character with everyone else is also helpful to determine what roles should be filled. Even though City of Mist focuses more on narrative than mechanics, it’s still a tabletop RPG, so you’re still going to need your tanks, healers, faces, and mages to round out the party . If you’ve played other RPGs, whether on the table or on your console, think about what’s your normal style of play. Do you prefer strong brawler characters? Social characters? Investigators who find the clues and learn the lore? A stealthy character? Figuring out the role that is fun for you is another great starting point for a character concept.
But maybe you haven’t played many RPG’s. That’s fine! Another thing you can do is just wait for everyone else to make their characters and see what’s missing. Is your crew full of anti-social fighters? Well, it’s a good thing your character is great at talking!
BRAINSTORM YOUR MYTHOS AND LOGOS
No matter what your concept is, every character is a modern-day version of a myth, legend, or literary piece. And that means you’ll need to think about how you’re splitting your character into their Mythos and Logos.
There are a few ways you can approach this. You can start with a Mythos and figure out what this legend is like as a normal person in the City. If your Mythos is Thor, perhaps their Logos is working at a job that requires great strength, such as a construction worker. Or you can choose a gritty noir trope for your Logos first and then try to figure out which Mythos to match it to. If you’re playing a lounge singer, maybe their Mythos is a goddess of singing or secrets?
You should also want to think about how your character balances the ordinary and legendary. This will determine your character’s Awareness Level. Are they just Touched, a normal person who is just now discovering their own Mythos? Or are they Legendaries, so far gone, their Mythos powers have almost taken them over? Perhaps they are stuck in the middle as Borderliners? This will determine how many Mythos vs. Logos themes your character has.
The expansion Shadows & Showdowns includes a tool to help you create a great character concept. The Three Mythic Features process found on page 37 has you study a Mythos, select three features you like about it, and then use one feature as the basis for your powers (your Mythos themes) and one feature as the basis for your modern day persona (your Logos themes). The Rapid Character Creation process on page 40 also gives a list of Mythos and Logos options to choose from to make forging your character concept quicker and easier.
Maybe you have an idea for what kind of character you want to play, but are having a hard time picking out a specific Mythos. Thankfully, all legends are fair game in City of Mist, which means there’s no shortage of source material to draw from!
There are countless podcasts and YouTube channels that delve into different mythologies you can study. You can also go to your local library or check out Wikipedia and see where your search takes you. If the endless depth of human storytelling throughout history is too much, take a more personal approach. What are mythologies that are specific to your culture? What classic fairy tale or novel stuck with you as a kid? Researching these tales for City of Mist can give you a greater understanding of your own community.
You can find more ideas for Mythos character tropes on pages 70 and 71 of the Player’s Guide along with a list of legendary archetypes and examples on page 41 of Shadows and Showdowns.
It can be easy to think of a Logos as ”boring” compared to legends and superpowers. But noir movies and comics make ordinary people compelling characters all the time!
You’re not just limited to normal lives for your character. Could your character be an assassin like Post-Mortem? A getaway driver like Baby New? Think big! Your crew theme does most of the legwork in this respect. If your crew is a bunch of bank robbers,for example, then it may be more helpful to think of your Logos in terms of heist archetypes.
But even if your character lives a normal life, that normalcy can make its own compelling emotional arc. The Defining Event and Defining Relationship themebooks are perfect references for these stories. Did a single supernatural tragedy change your whole life? Are you trying to keep your children from the dangers of the magical world? All of these and more are Logos conflicts that resonate and are very fun to play.
You can find more ideas for Logos character tropes on pages 72 and 73 of the Player’s Guide and a quick list of noir archetypes on page 40 of Shadows & Showdowns.
PLAY TO CHANGE
There can be some anxiety with choosing a character concept, especially if you’re afraid you won’t like them once you start playing. But I’d like to quote James D’Amato, author of The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide: “I advise people to ‘play to change.’ Look for the areas of your character’s story where you can allow them to develop and evolve, while still staying true to their core character traits.”
City of Mist is a game about narrative development, with a leveling system that encourages changing theme cards as your character develops along their journey. This should take some pressure off creating “the perfect character”. Your character is going to change, and that can include the parts you find out you don’t like!
Keep this in mind when making a character. Your character starts out with Mysteries they want to solve and Identities that are going to be challenged. Maybe take it a step further and think ahead. What’s a conflict you’d like to see the conclusion of? Maybe you make a character with a magic weapon because you want to eventually play out what happens when they lose it. As Mr. D’Amato said, play to change!
There are countless ways to approach forging a character concept. But all of these tips follow a single throughline: find one thing you want to explore and expand from there. At the end of the day, you’re playing a fun game with friends, so go wild!
Tell us about your favorite character concepts! What Mythos have you explored? What Logos did you live out? Let us know on social media or the City of Mist Discord.
Recommendations for Mythology Youtube Channels and Podcasts
Overly Sarcastic Productions: https://www.youtube.com/c/OverlySarca...
Extra Mythology: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
Myths and Legends Podcast: https://www.mythpodcast.com/
Mythos Podcast: https://www.mythospodcast.com/
The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide: https://www.simonandschuster.com/book...