Being a Badass 101

- note from Stark – I’m not big on the use of badass for everything, can we change that?

The Badass Scale

Everything in Stonegate, both mechanically and narratively, can be expressed on a scale of one to ten. The scaling is roughly exponential, with an element of chance: each number on the scale corresponds to a dice roll. Visually, with a maximum dice roll, the Badass Scale looks like this:


Each rank of the Badass Scale can be narratively expressed, as well. In Stonegate, as opposed to saying that a character is, for example, level 4, a character is described in a word as the general sum of their capabilities.

1, 2: Chumps
3, 4: Average Joes
5, 6: Heroes
7, 8: Legends
9, 10: Gods

In describing character skill at various tasks, the scaling is as follows:

1: Able
2 (d4): Practiced
3 (d4): Skilled
4 (d4): Proficient
5 (d6): Masterful
6 (d6): Legendary
7 (d8): Transcendant
8 (d12): Demigodly
9 (d20): Godly
10 (2d20): Omnipotent

The Badass Formula

The universal check in Stonegate is always expressed in the same way, with small numbers to be done in the players’ heads. To perform an action, a player must express their action through the Badass Formula.

Skill + Stat + Dice +/- Conditions

For example, a player’s character swings a sword against an orc.

The skill and stat sections of the formula are the values on the character sheet. In this check, the character is using his Swords skill to make the attack, for which he has a skill value of 4. To swing a weapon, the character uses his Strength stat, also a 4. The die that corresponds to a Strength of 4 is d4. If the player rolls a 3, his check subtotal comes to:

4 (Skill) + 4 (Stat) + 3 (Dice) = 11.

Conditions are determined by both the player and the storyteller: positive conditions are things such as weapon enchantments, environmental factors, and any buffs or boons to the check being made; negative conditions are, well, just the opposite.

In this example, the player character has a +3 enchanted sword, and is standing on high ground for an additional +2. The orc, however, is much larger than the human character and gives a -1 to the check due to his advantageous size. The end result of comes to a +4 in conditions.

The player character’s whole check, expressing his attack, comes to:

4 (Skill) + 4 (Stat) + 3 (Dice) + 4 (Conditions) = 15

On the storyteller’s side, that result is checked against the difficulty of the action itself. In general terms, here’s what the numbers look like for general checks across the whole Badass Scale:


The storyteller can either use a general-purpose number from this chart (or somewhere along its lines), or do the exact process the player does, but for the opposing character. For checks against non-characters (breaking down a door, climbing a cliff, casting a spell with no specific target, et cetera), the numbers on this chart will come in handy to keep the gameplay flowing without stopping to number crunch.

The storyteller, in this instance, decides to use an average difficulty check against the player character’s attack. With a stat of 4 for the check, the average check is a 10.

15 (Player result) > 10 (Check difficulty)

Since the player succeeded the check, the attack hits. This formula is used for everything, not just attacks: the same mechanic is used to express bending prison bars, bribing an official, seducing a barmaid, blasting a fireball in someone’s face, et al.

Being a Badass 101

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