Created By: robert on March 5, 2010


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Launching Monday

Fitting between False Crucible and Secret Test of Character, this is when the hero doesn't know they're being tested.

For comparison, False Crucible covers all deliberate tests of character, whether or not the hero knows it's a test. Secret Test of Character is the specific case where they're expected to resist temptation.

Currently, this is a soft split of False Crucible, but there are enough examples to launch. Any comments?

The examples we already have, duscounting a couple that are in the wrong place, are:
  • At the beginning of the Bleach anime's Bount arc, our heroes are confronted by a trio of mod souls that kidnap them and a number of innocent schoolchildren, apparently as part of some bizarre game with their lives at stake. Later they discover that the mod souls were created by and are under the control of Kisuke Urahara, who is using them to test the main characters' abilities and teach them teamwork.
  • The Outer Limits TOS episode "Nightmare". A group of soldiers invading the planet Ebon are captured and tortured for information by the Ebonites. They eventually learn that the situation is a set-up by their own superiors to test their ability to resist interrogation, with the cooperation of the Ebonites (who eventually protest the unethical nature of the test). A fictional depiction of the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training U.S. troops go through, but in Real Life the troops know it's simulated.
  • The Princess Bride. Westley returns and discovers that Buttercup, his True Love, is about to marry Prince Humperdinck. After he rescues her from her kidnappers, he doesn't reveal his true identity, in the hope of finding out whether she still loves him or not.
  • In Chrono Crusade, after Chrono loses his temper and causes severe collateral damage during a fight with the Big Bad, including several civilian causalities, Father Remington is ordered to execute him. He takes Chrono and Rosette out to a remote location, then gives Chrono a sword, telling him of the execution order before challenging him to a duel. During the fight, he taunts Chrono about how his contract with Rosette is killing her, which causes Chrono to begin to fly into a rage yet again. However, between help from Rosette and hints through Remington's dialogue, Chrono learns that he has to control his rage--and does so, winning the duel. Remington then reveals he was testing Chrono all along, writes a false report claiming that he succeeded in executing Chrono, and gives Chrono and Rosette supplies before setting them back on the right path to complete their quest.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin". A group of terrorists burst into a room on the planet Risa and threaten the occupants. Shortly thereafter it's revealed that the whole attack was a hoax carried out by members of the New Essentialists Movement, who are trying to test the Risans' reaction to violence and prove the Federation's lack of preparedness.
  • The Avengers film. Steed invites Mrs. Peel to meet him inside the Boodles club, but doesn't tell her that women aren't allowed inside. He's testing her on her initiative. Note that Mrs. Peel figures out that it's a test.

Community Feedback Replies: 3
  • February 26, 2010
    Robert A Heinlein's Space Jockey has a space pilot being bothered by a tourist who is secretly a psychiatrist to determine his state of mind before flight. As mentioned in the Hidden Purpose Test YKTTW, Heinlein likes this kind of thing and uses it a few times in several stories.
  • March 5, 2010
    Would this cover things like: on Star Trek The Next Generation when Wesley is taking the Starfleet entrance exam his final test is "facing his biggest fear." While he's waiting for the test to start, a fire breaks out in a nearby lab and he can only save one of the techs working there. It turns out that that was the test, his fear was having to make a decision like that. He knew there was going to be a test but he didn't know that the test was happening when it was happening.
  • March 5, 2010
    The key point is that Wesley didn't know the fire was a test, so yes, that'd count.