What Makes a Game BAD ASS?

This post is in response to the July RPG blog carnival . If you don’t want to go over there and read it, well don’t. Here’s the gist of it.
What Makes A Game Bad Ass? “
Really THATS IT. I’m not going to talk about the game that is the most bad-a, because in all honesty I don’t feel I have played enough games to make a fair judgment. I’m just going to talk about what makes a game make you feel like a bad ass, and how we can get this feeling across.

So what is bad ass? I’ve thought a while on this, and I don’t think you can pin it down like you can with the feelings of exiting or wonderment.  Bad ass is something that makes you go “OH DAMN” so therefor it is a little different for everybody, and will be especially different for people of different cultural backgrounds.

Why is this guy so bad ass?

So what makes us go ” OH MAN DID YOU SEE THAT!”? Well to start off its something extraordinary, nothing ordinary makes you sit up in your seat. NO, its got to be extra-ordinary. Think back to all the times you have thought something was bad ass. It’s usually going to be in an action scene right? There’s nothing bad ass about Bruce Wayne going to a party and sweet talking ladies, but its hard not to think of the bat-mobile/bat-cycle scene from The Dark Knight as bad ass.


Usually bad ass acts are done by our heroes, because thats who were rooting for. Calling someone a bad ass is a compliment, and we don’t compliment our villains, except to tell them they wore a nice suit. We sympathise with the hero, and we put ourselves in their role, in Roleplaying games literally. So when the hero does something that

a) surprises us

b) is something we couldn’t do, but we can imagine could happen.

It is bad ass. At least that’s my interpretation.

Let’s take a closer look at this: If we see it coming we won’t think its bad ass. Have you seen the crane chase scene in T3? It’s bad ass because we would never think as rational human beings to chase after a crane on a motorcycle and then procede to hang to the front of the crane and be smashed through building after building. If you haven’t seen it go watch it. The end is perfectly bad ass, because its something that we didn’t see coming, and that we wouldn’t do, but in the logic of the terminator franchise could very well happen. Therefore BAD ASS!

Ok, so how does this translate into gameplay? Well we can’t surprise out selves…not really, although our rolling might surprise us, so therefore we can make our character do something bad ass for the rest of the group, and trust me you will think its bad ass too when you think of it; if its good.

For the second point: This will come naturally, I mean isn’t that why we play RPG’s? To do things we couldn’t do, and see things we couldn’t see. If your GM’s any good then he can tell you whether its something in the realm of possibility. Hint, the answers usually a YES DO IT DO IT!


Of course some games lend themselves to this more than others. Stuff like World Of Darkness is not going to lend itself to having a bad ass moment very often, while the game Bad Ass (Its free people) would hopefully( I have not played it) give you a moment of bad-assery every session or so.

So in conclusion(I know I know), look at what makes you personally say ” Ah THAT WAS BAD ASS”( in your head I hope), and play to that as much as you can in your games. If it helps get a WWSD(What Would Schwarzenegger do) sticker and put it on your character sheet or some such.

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About Devin

Devin, the mastermind behind most things on here on the website has almost no free time! He spends what little time he isn’t studying, recording podcasts, editing videos or writing articles for this site, on watching TV, playing video games, reading books and being a general nerd. Devin loves table-top roleplaying games, non-laugh track comedies, dark fantasy, science fiction, roleplaying, and puzzle video games, and really anything else you see on wegetgeek.com.

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  1. July RPG Carnival Round Up on Badass Gaming - August 7, 2011

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