Avatar Spotlight: DA Barbara King (City of Mist TTRPG)
Here’s a controversial statement; sometimes, the police are not your friends! While many times your crew will work hand-in-hand with the police, in the City of Mist TTRPG, magical vigilantes will inevitably butt heads with Johnny Law sooner or later. Whether your crew is sneaking onto a crime scene or driving in a high speed chase, it’s only a matter of time until the boys in blue are chasing after them.
Now, this isn’t too much of an issue when it comes to Sleeper cops. Since they can’t see through the Mist, it can be hard for them to even register what your character is doing. After all, assault by spectral lance is pretty hard to prove in court.
But just as there is a magical criminal underworld within the City of Mist, there is also a magical law enforcement, with one woman leading the charge. On this week’s Avatar Spotlight, we’ll be going over the District Attorney whose goal is to eliminate crime, both magical and mundane, at any cost. There are worldbuilding spoilers ahead, so only proceed if you wish to know how powerful the law can truly be.
Who is DA King?
District Attorney Barbara King is the most aggressive crime-fighter the City has ever known, both within the legal system and behind the veil of the Mist. She is well known in the public eye for reducing crime rates, cracking down on corruption, and advocating for new legislation. However, DA King is not a merciful authority figure. Every criminal that comes within her radar is punished to the maximum extent of the law.
It’s ironic then that her story starts in a town struggling under the oppressive thumb of police brutality. Barbara King grew up in a segregated community of West African immigrants in the neighborhood of Independence. Those who live in Independence are constantly watched and harassed by the officers of Ward Nine. Even as a young child, Barbara knew she would have to break free of her home if she could ever hope to change it.
If you want to learn more about the mystery behind Independence, you can check out the district for yourself on the City of Mist website. Suffice to say, the powers that be had reasons to keep King from achieving her dream. But after years of study, nothing could stop her from marching straight to the Old Quarter university and applying for her law degree.
It was that defiant choice that awoke Barbara King to the Mythos inside of her. King became the Rift of Shango, the Yoruba deity of lightning, power, and dominion. As long as she sought to dominate her enemies, King could call upon Shango’s unlimited power to strike down foes with lightning and make her voice as loud as thunder. Barbara King was now unstoppable, and it wasn’t long before she rose through the ranks to become the District Attorney. In her rebellion against the oppression of the law, DA King became the law, and in turn became the Avatar of Shango.
DA King’s Agenda & Methods
With her immense power and influence, DA King has worked to fix the City and secure public order. But more than that, King has tried to obtain as much power as she can, because she believes that anything short of utter domination will lead to chaos. Were she only facing off against mundane criminals, she may well have succeeded. But there are far more mysterious forces at work within the City, including powerful Avatars and the enigmatic Gatekeepers.
To fight against magical threats, DA King has learned to share Shango’s power within secret groups of enforcers. These Stormbringers are outfitted with special weapons that shoot fire and lightning, obliterating anything within their path. These forces are used sparingly, so if you end up on the other end of an Stormbringer shotgun, you must have really messed up.
DA King also has agents within the legal system known as Hakims working to enforce her law. These investigators, lawyers, judges, and bureaucrats all work to exhaust every legal possibility against Rift criminals so they can be punished for their crimes. Remember when I said it’s hard to prosecute someone for assault with a spectral lance? It’s the Hakims’ job to find the evidence anyway, even if it means forging the evidence themselves.
When her agents within the law can’t solve the problem, DA King is not above hiring those outside the law. King keeps a rolodex of Rift bounty hunters for those especially difficult to catch criminals. Her chief bounty hunter is Jonas Hopkins, Rift of the Witchfinder General. Ironically, Jonas is a Legendary Rift himself, yet he loves to expose the “witches” within the City. With a slew of powers and magical protections, Jonas can take on nearly any Rift in a fight. But his primary technique is to strip the Mist away from around a Rift, exposing their powers to onlookers and leading public witch hunts against them.
All of these forces and more work to enforce DA King’s will, even if they have to break the law to do it. This may seem strange, but ultimately, DA King doesn’t care about the law as it’s written. To King, her word is law, as Shango won’t be satisfied until his rule is unchallenged.
DA King as a Threat or Ally
If you want to use DA King as a threat, it’s not hard to get her involved. Even the most good-hearted vigilantes will find themselves on the wrong side of the law by virtue of being vigilantes. If your crew keeps breaking the law and getting away with it, it’s only a matter of time before a Stormbringer policeman, a Hakim lawyer, or a Rift bounty hunter come to put them away.
Speaking of the Stormbringers, DA King doesn’t limit her gifts to secret circles within the police. Stormbringers can also be found in violent street gangs, anti-government militias, and even suburban neighborhood watch associations! DA King will use any group she can give weapons to in order to enforce her will, and these groups can easily come up against your crew during an investigation.
And on the other hand, your crew can become Stormbringers and help take out outlaw Rifts! If your team of Rifts is inclined to stop wrongdoers and isn’t afraid to use force, DA King will gladly recruit them to her cause by arming them with Shango’s power or hooking them up with an impressive HQ. She even has a special prison for Rifts, Thorne Penitentiary, where you can lock up your villains and throw away the key.
Just dont get on her bad side, because facing Barbara King herself is nothing short of suicidal. Even if your crew can get past her army of Stormbringers and somehow make it to her office in the District Attorney Building downtown, they’ll be hard-pressed to find a force capable of taking her down. DA King is not only an Avatar, but perhaps the most powerful Avatar in terms of sheer energy output. Her power is unlimited, and if she wanted to, she could level half the City in an instant with the force of her lightning.
But Barbara King is not omnipotent. She has had to make deals in the past against forces she could not defeat. In her quest for power, she’s also forgotten her original goal of changing her home of Independence. Only through allying with other powerful forces or reminding her of her humanity can any crew hope to take down the District Attorney.
If you’d like to know more, District Attorney Barbara King and her operation are described in the City of Mist ENnie-nominated expansion Shadows & Showdowns available at cityofmist.co. Her operation can also get potentially involved in the Criminal Vein in the Nights of Payne Town campaign.
Did your crew have a run-in with Shango’s best? And what City of Mist character would you like to hear about next? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!