One of the games I’ve run as a Game Master over the last few years is Vampire: The Perpetual Hassle*. The system is flawed** but there was one part of the character creation process that intrigued me. There were two aspects side by side at the top of the sheet: Nature and Demeanour. And they were all about the role-playing aspect of the character as opposed to the stats.
On one side, Nature: the way the character just is. The way they were born or the way they were raised, something made them that person at heart. It’s who they really are.
And on the other, Demeanour: who other people perceive them to be. The face they present to the world, intentionally or not.
Now, it’s possible with some characters that these could be identical. A character that appeared to be a brash, no-nonsense, heat-of-the-moment type could really be that way. Or they could be an abject coward who puts on that face to prove something to themselves and others. Or a deeply manipulative little shit who knows that the easiest way to put one over on people is to be underestimated.
You see where I’m going with this?
Your characters have a Nature and a Demeanour as well. They have who they are and who they appear to be. The way those things are presented—if they work together or constantly contradict each other, if their outward manner is a direct contradiction to their inner personality or closely aligned, if they believe their own demeanour over what they know is true, deep down—will influence their progress through the story. Might influence their exit, too, especially if someone who is essentially harmless comes off as a threat.
Monday Challenge: write about a character’s Nature and Demeanour. They might be similar, they might be diametrically opposed. They might be something in between. Figure it out.
*Okay, that’s not it’s real title, but a Jhonen Vasquez comic I read fucking years ago referred to a game by this name and I’ve always secretly thought of it that way.
**Like all gaming systems. You have to take what’s useful and run.