Every other major character in the setting has some sort of supernatural power, but somehow this essentially mundane character is able to stand toe-to-toe with them, or even stay one step ahead. They may be "just" a normal human, but they're a total Badass.
Tropes explaining how the Badass Normal does it:
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- Crazy Prepared
- Fighting Dirty
- I Know Kung Fu
- Lamarck Was Right
- The Smart Guy
Game and Story Use
- Think Batman. He's the ultimate Badass Normal. Everyone around him is an Alien, Amazonian Goddess, or other genuinely supernatural superhero or supervillain. Not Bats - he's just a vengeful Badass Normal with a nice collection of toys.
- Vampire Hunters, Demon Hunters, Inquisitors, and other variations on The Hunter often fall into this category as well. Just ingenuity and elbow grease against the Forces of Darkness.
- And frankly, they're all the more a Badass for not having superpowers to pull their fat out the fire. So, being a badass normal is really about being the badass's badass.
- Creativity, Technology, Martial Arts Training, and Stubborness are the means by which the Badass Normal stays competetive.
- In a lot of ways, the "fighter" character class is this trope. Most of the party cast spells, but the fighter he just swings a sword and tanks really well. So you don't necessarily have to be all clever and gadgety to be a badass normal, you'll do just fine brute-ing it up, as long as you have enough hit points and a decent attack roll.
Building This Character
- At least mid-level, shading into high. Sure, they had to start somewhere, but they weren't nearly as cool then. origin stories aside, you want to see them at their badassiest.
- That said, there needs to be bigger badasses than the badass normal. What makes you so cool is that you don't have the magic, powers, etc that others do. You may be a badass, but it's still an uphill battle.
- Physical Attributes are probably most important, especially Stamina or Constitution. You take a licking, and keep on ticking.
- Mental Attributes may actually be a close second, especially the problem-solving variety. You don't have a single gimmick that always saves the day, you have to work at it.
- Martial Arts and Athletics are pretty much a requirement. You'll need at least one of them at really high levels.
- Improvised Weapons and/or Acrobatics may help establish you as the "think outside the box" character.
- Repair, and either Healing, Medicine, or First Aid finish up the required areas, 'cause you have to be able to clean yourself up after a fight.
- Stealth and Survival are useful (but not mandatory) for hiding out till you can figure out a solution to the current problem.
- If you've got some more skill points lying around, various Investigative Skills and/or Sciences can round out the package.
- A major part of the concept is that you don't have any special powers.
- However, special abilities that make sense as just outgrowths of physical training are plenty fine.
- Anything that boosts your Initiative is a big help. The enemy has bigger guns and wacky powers. You need to hit them first.
- Money, Fame, Influence, Resources, Gadgetry are all possible advantages to get you a foot up on the supernatural foe.
- You're already at a disadvantage by being a "normal". Don't mess yourself up with extra weakspots. I'd say stick to psychological flaws like Best Served Cold, Bloodthirsty, Death Seeker, etc.
- The main variation to consider is whether you're just a Badass Bruiser, or if you've got the Rich Boy With Toys thing going on. That'll determine whether you're purely physical-focused, or can back it up with science & technology. Another thing to consider is how much Detective vs Warrior you embody. Do you look for clever solutions, or just start throwing people around? Which version you choose will color your attribute and skill choices. Just be aware that the more you spread your points around, the less impressive you'll be in any single arena.