Integrity and Breaking Points


The Morality system described in the World of Darkness Rulebook provides a workable system for measuring the effects of characters’ behavior upon their psyches, but it has a few problems. Most of those problems stem from terminology. The system doesn’t measure morality so much as behavior, and the consequences (increased willingness to transgress the “hierarchy of sins” and, potentially, derangements) are more akin to post-traumatic stress disorder than the actual effects of the crimes on the list.
The Morality system is designed to evoke the Gothic/Victorian ethos in which a person’s sanity was thought to be a function of their morality. Unfortunately, in emulating the Victorian ethos, we wind up implying that one can commit murder and become schizophrenic. This isn’t the case. The system suffers from inconsistent and inappropriate terminology and from trying to signify too much within the game.
To revise it, though, we need to consider what a Morality system should mean to a World of Darkness game. The underlying thematic push here is that what a person does has an effect on their mental state, which is probably fair. However, better representations for that effect than derangements are possible, especially with the rules revisions in this book. And besides, Morality has never really measured Morality — it measures functionality within society. It measures how well a character copes with what she has seen or done.
With all of that in mind, the following rules replace the Morality and degeneration rules found in the World of Darkness Rulebook.

Breaking Points

The notion of breaking points replaces the notion of “sins” and therefore removes the need for a “hierarchy of sins.” If the action would cause a character psychological stress, it’s worth considering whether the action constitutes a breaking point. Note, too, that the character may experience breaking points that do not stem from his own actions. Witnessing the gruesome realities of the World of Darkness, supernatural or otherwise, can do it.
When a character performs certain actions or endures certain experiences, he might reach a breaking point. A breaking point (replacing a “sin” in the original rules) simply means that what a character has done or seen has outstripped his ability to rationalize or handle it.
A breaking point can fall into one of the following categories:

1. 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.

2. 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?

3. 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.

4. 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 fairy-realm 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.

4A. What is the most Supernatural event your character has witnessed?

Eventually in the World of Darkness (if you live long enough) your preconceived notions of what to expect out of the world change. Your character will eventually cease to be shaken by certain aspects of the Supernatural. If you bed down with a vampire, eventually the fact that it drinks blood will not phase you. This new Breaking Point is challenged whenever the Supernatural becomes too commonplace for a character. Afterwards the player must further project their expectations of the World of Darkness.

4B. What aspect of Humanity do you identify with most?

It may come to pass that a character falls between the ever-widening cracks in the World of Darkness and comes back… changed. Their soul is stolen, changed or damaged and they will never be the same. Forever after the character holds closely to what ties them to humanity or they risk becoming even more of what they weren’t before. For Prometheans remembering is impossible and anathema to their goal, instead they identify with a concept or belief they hold tantamount to the human experience. This new Breaking Point is challenged whenever the concept or aspect of humanity is killed, destroyed, or found wanting in great supply.

5. 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.

Additional Breaking Points


Action If Integrity is higher than
Creating a Ghoul 8
Involuntarily entering Torpor 6
The First Awakening 5
Reaching Blood Potency 3 5
Spending a year or more in Torpor 4
Experiencing your 100th birthday 4
Learning a dot of Crúac 4
Reaching Blood Potency 6 3
Experiencing your 500th birthday 2
Creating a revenant 2


Action If Integrity is higher than
Suppressing Anyone’s Free Will 9
Inflicting Harm through Use of Magic (Accidental or Incidental) 8
Forcing Someone to Endure a Breaking Point (Accidental or Incidental) 8
Cursing Someone 7
Bind person or spirit to a place or task 6
Polymorphing against someone’s original wishes 5
Inflicting Harm with Magic on purpose 4
Binding Your Soul to something 4
Allowing or promoting possession by a spirit or ghost 3
Exiling someone to another realm against their original will 3
Preventing an Awakening 2
Intentional Murder with Magic 2
Staling a being’s soul 1


Action If Integrity is higher than
Using Plasm from a Death Mask 9
Violating an Old Law 9
Closing an Avernian Gate 8
Destroying a charm or fetter 7
Destroying a Ghost, Ectophagia 6
Destroying a vanitas 5
Reviving a dead person 5
Destroying Memorabilia 4
Destroying a Keystone 3
Destroying a Geist 3
Attempting Suicide for any reason 1
Attempting to destory one’s own Geist 1

Integrity and Breaking Points

Sins of the Father MorganWilliams