Aeone Ex Machina
The 5 Questions of Integrity
- What is the worst thing your character has ever done? This doesn’t have to be anything dastardly. If the worst thing your character ever did was steal money from his mother’s purse and lie to cover it up, that’s fine. What’s important here is to consider something that your character did that made him hate himself. The superlative “worst” is something that the character would apply. Choose a breaking point based on the answer to this question.
- What is the worst thing your character can imagine himself doing? We imagine ourselves in various scenarios to test our own self-image against a hypothetical situation. When children do it, it’s called imaginative play, but it fills the same niche. What can you can character reasonably see himself doing, but still know that it would be wrong? Can your character imagine killing someone in self-defense? Torturing someone for information? How about robbing a store with a gun?
- What is the worst thing your character can imagine someone else doing? Of course, we all know that people are capable of some hideous atrocities. What tops your character’s list? Serial murder? Rape? Torture? Spree killing? If your character is extremely sheltered or misanthropic, he might have a skewed view, here; he might hang on to some lofty, cerebral notion of “dishonor” or “betrayal” as the nadir of human behavior.
- What has the character forgotten? In the World of Darkness, it’s next to impossible to grow up without any exposure to the supernatural. Decide what your character saw and forgot. Did she see a vampire take the form of mist and vanish? A man turn into a wolf? Maybe she caught a glimpse of the God-Machine through a door that should never have been propped open? Describe this scene in as much detail as you can. This is a breaking point that already occurred, but it helps set a benchmark for what your character would have to see in order to experience one now.
- What is the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to the character? No one goes through life with no trauma. Your character might have been mugged, beaten as a child, in a serious car accident, been kidnapped by a parent during a divorce, survived a life-threatening disease, attempted suicide, been attacked by a supernatural (or natural!) creature, or any number of other traumatic experiences. The goal here, again, isn’t to make a traumatized character. It’s to set a bar.