Friday, March 8, 2013

BADASS! The Role Playing Game

BADASS! started its brief, unfinished life on my old Mac SE in the early/mid nineties. I was in my early/mid twenties. At the time, my friends and I were all playing that bloody card game and I noticed how many different kinds of people that it pulled in. In that similar spirit, I wanted to make something simple and epic and conducive to playing with a buzz.

BADASS! was all about how high fantasy didn't necessarily make for good fantasy, but the aesthetic was the important thing: Boris Vallejo, Frazetta, Richard Corben, Heavy Metal - the film and magazine, Ralph Bakshi's fantasy films, Cheech & Chong, Moebius, Cerebus, Conan, Robert Aspirin, The Beastmaster, Hawk the Slayer, Elf Quest, Full Moon films, Derek Riggs, P Craig Russel's Elric adaptations, the Gauntlet arcade game, Custom Vans, beer, and high-quality Humboldt County pot.

In BADASS! There were two classes - Warrior and Wizard. Below these were "sub-classes" where you could specify what kind of warrior or wizard you were. As your character progressed, they would eventually become a "Master Class"

Barbarian -> Warlord
Knight -> Paladin
Hero -> Guardian

Sorcerer -> Master Sorcerer
Trickster -> Enchanter
Demonologist -> Summoner

Each class and sub-class had a series of skills available to them at each level. You would roll 1d6 to determine how many you could start out with. If your character's name was seriously badass, you could add one to the total.

Multi-Classing a barbarian and sorceress would have been possible with the "SORCERESS" boxed supplement
Some of the skills took the place of needing a party full of rogues or clerics. You could take related skills (such as "You Can Move Hella Quiet Like a Cat" or "Pick Pocket the Crowd"
Also you could take healing skills ("Sacred Herbs" or "Laying On the Hands") and you could also call upon a patron deity for assistance - usually for 1d6 HP just before being vanquished in battle, or do get a bonus to attack during battle.

You could try and gain favor with a deity throughout the game until he or she accepts or rejects you. This was an easy campaign hook. "Battle and heroic deeds please Scareth the Armored! Go forth and make war in his name!" After a while, Scareth or Grom or whoever would send a divine gift - a magic sword, bigger muscles, a helmet, whatever. Or the deity could send something dubious or downright harmful - a spiked helmet with the spike on the inside, a pack of feral wolves that consistently chase the hero, a pox upon their loins for sleeping with a follower of a rival temple.

A scene from a typical Level One adventure
Level advancement was simple and fairly quick. The only real foes in the game were other warriors, wizards, and a fairly generic assortment of goblins, trolls, dragons and giants. Each victory was worth a number of points. 10 points per goblin, 15 per troll, 50 per giant and 100 points for bagging a dragon.

That's about all I remember. The game was played with 2 six siders, so you could always raid the monopoly set or get dice at the Quickee Mart.

I imagined that the game would be a series of small books - a warrior book full of swords and armor, a wizard book full of spells, and a game master book full of everything else. The books would go into a box that could also fit some dice, a poster, and your stash.

Would have become a boxed campaign setting


  1. Ben, I hope you take the time to recreate this one day, I enjoyed reading about it.

  2. Indeed badass. What you describe sounds a lot like The Fantasy Trip.