The worlds of Vajra Enterprises are designed to be dark, dangerous, scary, full of secrets, often unpleasant and often unfair. And all the worlds of Vajra Enterprises have been designed to try to make it so that everyone gets to be a badass. We’ve tried to make it explicit that poor people, people of color, women, kids, disabled people, immigrants, homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people all get to be badasses in our settings.* We’ve tried to do this by being mindful of the character creation options we offer, the examples we use and how we describe the sources of power and skill in our settings.
Badass can mean being able to beat people up or kill people. Badass can also mean being an amazing thief, hacker, diplomat, con artist, inventor, athlete, seductor/seductress or strategist. It could mean that the character has occult knowledge, cool gear, social connections or interesting powers.
A Vajra character is still vulnerable to all manner of injuries and mishaps. The character may be at the bottom of the social ladder. The character might be repressed, discriminated against, underestimated. The character might not be confident in his or her own badassery. The character might have suffered, might still be suffering, from whatever it took to become a badass (being a badass never comes easy). None of these things, however, make the character any less of a badass.
Being a badass means that the character has some ability that, if used at the right time and the right place, will completely fuck up the bad guys’ day, no matter how powerful the bad guys think they are. And maybe, if he or she is lucky, the character might fuck up a bad guy in a way that makes the world a better place.
Why are we so insistent that everyone gets to be a badass? Many reasons, but one is to match reality. If you look at the true badasses of history, the ones who disrupted the status quo, struck fear into the heats of the bad guys and made the world a better place, they didn’t come from an elite (like the kind most action movies seem to draw their heroes from), they came from all of us.
And if we ever make a setting where some group doesn’t get to be a badass, we want you to call us on it so we can fix that.
*Do I need to mention that straight white dudes get to be badasses? My first thought is that I don’t, since that’s the default-assumption of every major fictional setting. On the other hand I know some straight white dudes can be ridiculously touchy about this sort of thing so I’ll go ahead and say it: straight white dudes get to be badass.