Badass Checks

House rules are an important part of many different tabletop RPG groups. Whether its rolling a different skill for initiative, borrowing some aspects of a different version of the game, or deciding not to count ammunition, every group has them. Today I’ll be talking about one of my favorites: Badass Checks. But, before we get into that, let’s take a tick and talk about house rules in general.

What’s in a house rule

 In general there are 3 forms that house rules can take:

  1. To solve a problem presented by a different rule – Sometimes a group does not like a specific rule, or has an alternative to a rule that the group dislikes. An example of this would be Natural 20’s during Skill Checks.
  2. To create a specific style of play – These are the house rules that can still have an effect on Mechanics, but are entirely supplemental. If they were dropped from a session there would be little to no in-world ramifications. An example of this could be that rolling a Nat 20 on Initiative grants you advantage on your first action.
  3. For Fun – The final category, which is fluff only. These are the house rules that can add to the fun, but provide no mechanical or situational advantage. 

Badass Checks

Badass Checks stands firmly in the third category. It provides no in-game benefit, and does not modify the results, instead it’s purely fluff. It only determines how badass an action looks, on a scale of Ted Theodore Logan to John Wick. The basis is this:

Badass Check
When a player succeeds on an action (a skill check, or an attack), the Game Master may call on the player to make a Badass Check. This check has no modifiers, and is a single d20 roll. The results of the check determines how incredibly awesome (or not-awesome) the action appears to those around. Players may always “Take 10” on this check.

In essence, this rule only provides insight into how cool you look when you complete an action. You’ve already passed the skill check, so there is no real ramifications for rolling at this point. Succeeding or failing at this check will do nothing for in game benefits, other than determine whether your fellow party members are going to lose their heads, or laugh at how silly you looked. Anywhere in between might grant you some delightful golf claps.

Resolving a BA Check

As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and here to illustrate the example, we’ve got three! A common action in all RPG games are kicking the door in. It’s a fast and powerful show of force that can easily impress those all those around. Rolling a 10 in a Badass Check will garner you impressive, but not story-worthy success like this.

A Normal Door Kick

Alternatively, failed BA checks still are successful actions. No matter what, you will succeed on the action. However rolling anything extreme will be something that your group will talk about for at least the session, if not for the rest of linear time, which may not always be a great thing. For example, a Natural 1 may give you a result similar to this.

A successful, yet stupid way to kick in a door

I mean, he did open the door, but he’ll probably regret it. Finally, we have the other side of the spectrum. This is the stuff of legends, what bards sing of, and will be passed through the generations. Instead of kicking a door, you kick a wall, making your own door. This is where this happens.

An epic-level Door Kick

Of course, this is a house rule for fun, but so many of them are! What are your favorite house rules that aid in roleplay or are just for the fun? Let us know in the comments below!