Choosing Power Tags in City of Mist TTRPG - Part 1
City of Mist is a tabletop roleplaying game where you can have almost any power at your fingertips. You could have super strength, super speed, storm powers, shapeshifting, high-tech gadgets, or even infinite money at your disposal!
But this nearly endless range of possibilities can often leave players at a loss during character creation. After all, if you can choose to do anything, what are you supposed to choose? We’ve covered the broad strokes of character creation in our Creating a Character Concept video. But in our next few videos, we’ll be delving deeper into the process of making your City of Mist investigator by focusing on the power tags that make your character who they are. Today, we'll start with the basics and continue with more advanced advice in future videos.
Your character’s power tags are what you call upon to influence the world around you. While each themebook has specific questions you can answer to gain these tags, there are still a daunting amount of possibilities you can come up with. Even a question as simple as “how do you protect yourself” can have answers like, “growing bone armor”, “being a ghost”, or “having dragon scales”.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a tag, try approaching it from a more mechanical angle. While tags can be narratively anything, there are certain types of tags that come up quite a bit during gameplay. These tags are usually: Attack tags, Defense tags, Investigation tags, Social tags, and Stunt tags.
Attack tags are exactly what they sound like. These are the tags you use during combat, and are the first thing you call upon when a case goes bad, guns start firing, and you need to Go Toe to Toe and Hit With All You've Got. This is also usually the first thing my players tend to think about during character creation.
There is an incredible amount of Dangers you can face in City of Mist, from regular criminals to mythical creatures. You want to be prepared to fight back against them when the time comes. Your attack tags can be the superpowers you gain from your Mythos themes, such as super strength or pyrokinesis. They can also be the weapons and skills you gain from your Logos themes, like trusty pistols or boxing.
While you’re thinking about how to deal damage, be sure to think about how to take damage as well. Defense tags make sure you can stay in the fight, and are often used in the move Face Danger to shrug off statuses. The Bastion themebook is built for this kind of tag, but you can easily create a defensive tag in other themebooks as well. Stoneskin, spectral shield, and pain tolerance are all great examples.
When creating defensive tags, you’ll want to keep in mind the variety of Dangers within the City. Having the ability to turn into stone and block a punch is incredibly useful against strong Dangers. But there are also Dangers that can take over your mind or bind you with magical spells. In these circumstances, it helps to have defensive tags like immune to possession or flask of holy water.
You can also build a character that’s very good at defending themselves or a character that spreads that defense to the rest of their crew. You can use Change the Game to set up a defensive area status or choose theme improvements during level-ups that allow your Face Danger to affect others.
Outside of its superpowered combat, City of Mist is a mystery game at its core. You’ll be spending a lot of time investigating crime scenes and interviewing witnesses, so it pays to have some investigation tags up your sleeve like magnifying glass, crime scene investigation, or forensics kit.
These tags are not only useful for gathering information, but also for gaining access to that information in the first place. If you need to get past the police tape onto an actual crime scene, a detective like Enkidu will have a much easier time than an average Joe like Bodhi. In the same way, you can gain access to information through unorthodox ways with power tags like speak with the dead, empath, or visions of the future.
If you want your character to open doors with a smile and a silver tongue, then you’ll want to have some social tags on your character sheet. These tags are your personality and how you present yourself to others. In City of Mist, tags like charming wink and finger guns can mean the difference between a friendly chat and a ballroom blitz.
There are a variety of different ways to Convince people to do what you want. You can be suave and friendly, or you can be scary and intimidating. You can also influence people through tags like mind control or small bribe.
When thinking of social tags, think about more than how your character speaks. Their status and their appearance can also heavily influence a conversation. If you’re speaking to a small- time crook, they’ll react differently to you when you have a power tag like police badge versus a tag like underworld reputation.
Finally, for those times when you’re racing to be first or tackling tough urban terrain under pressure, stunt tags can be used to make sure you hit that finish line and land on your feet. Gunfights, car chases, climbing drain pipes, or even just getting to the scene before evidence can be destroyed requires fast moves and quick thinking.
The Mobility and Training themebooks are full of questions that you can create stunt tags from super speed to quick reflexes to daring. If you’re performing a daring stunt, you can use these tags in Take the Risk. If you're trying not to be seen, they can be handy for Sneaking Around. If you’re trying to snatch an important relic from the hands of a fleeing criminal, then using these tags during Go Toe to Toe can help you take what you want. And if you’re dodging an attack, you can even use these tags for Face Danger, making them also useful defensive tags.
It may sound mundane, but if you’re not interested in stunt tags for your character, still consider getting a car as a power tag. There have been many times in my own cases where the crew is all set to investigate, only to find out they need to take the bus to get across town.
These are just basic tag types to get your creative juices going. Remember that a power tag can be used in any move or action it fits, so don't get locked into these categories. For example, police officer can be used as an investigation, social, and stunt tag in different situations, and a flaming sword can be used to attack, parry, and even illuminate the dark..
We’ll be covering more types of power tags in our next video on the subject. Until that time, let us know your favorite tags you created or if you have any other questions about power tags in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord.
Until then, have fun!