We’ve all been there. Fed on generations’ worth of action heroes, we reach for the dice when what we really want is to put on the Batman mask. That fundamental power fantasy lies at the heart of the action, fantasy, and sci-fi genres. It’s right there, promised on the box top of each and every starter set: You can be the hero of your own adventure! 

For my part, I always think of Molly’s entrance at the end of Neuromancer. If you’ve never read your William Gibson, Molly Millions is the OG street samurai. Here she is walking in on a heist like she owns the goddamn place:

It was a performance. It was like the culmination of a lifetime’s observation of martial arts tapes, cheap ones, the kind Case had grown up on. For a few seconds, he knew, she was every bad-ass hero, Sony Mao in the old Shaw videos, Mickey Chiba, the whole lineage back to Lee and Eastwood. She was walking it the way she talked it.

That’s my version anyway. I’m sure you have your own. And so, armed with this vision of our own impending badassitude, we walk face-first into the glass door of our buddies’ incredulousness.

“Dude, are you going to do that voice the whole time?”

“Seriously? You’re an orphan who murdered the scumbags that killed your parents in your own backstory?”

“For real? You’re just going to brood in the back the whole time? Like the loneliest lone wolf to ever lone a wolf?”

When you try too hard to be the cool guy at the table, there’s a good chance it will descend into farce. That’s because trying too hard is the opposite of cool. You’ve got to earn that badass mystique through effort and RP. Because when you go for the shortcut, delivering a special snowflake rather than a normal character, it risks turning your caped crusader into a dude in towel.

So what do you say, Handbook-World? Have you ever made the same mistake as Vengeance in today’s comic, coming on too strong too soon? What’s the most egregious Edgelord you’ve ever encountered in a game, and have you ever been that guy yourself? Tell us all about your own too-cool-for-school characters down in the comments!


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