Badass Boast

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out."
Buffy Summers, "The I in Team"

Many characters like to boast about their achievements, but only a few can gasconade in style, rattling off a string of titles and battle honours that impresses allies and intimidates enemies in a way which makes them sound mythic, not conceited.

The character has got to be pretty Badass to be able to make this kind of boast convincingly, though sometimes a weaker character will bluff like this. It helps when he is obviously in a situation where he may be called on to demonstrate; if not, he may insist that he can show you at once, to prevent his appearing a Miles Gloriosus. The usual subversion is for something to promptly undercut the boaster's pretensions. The Combat Pragmatist in particular is given to unceremoniously cutting off boasters in the middle of their speech with a punch to the face. A Large Ham is particularly given to these.

Self-granted titles are considerably less impressive than those bestowed by awestruck allies, while titles of grudging respect from the character's enemies rank highest of all, all else being equal. Naturally, more powerful beings count for more, when ranking titles or battle honours.

The smarter heroes and villains may use riddling talk when describing their accomplishments.

A Badass Boast can be used in a few different ways.

  • Hero to Villain or vice versa -- Throwing Down the Gauntlet. If a hero does this routinely, it's In the Name of the Moon or a Badass Creed. A particularly arrogant Villain might make a Badass Boast part of his Hannibal Lecture or his "Reason the Hero Sucks" Speech.
  • Hero to mooks or Villain to redshirts—straightforward psychological warfare.
  • Hero to rival hero; Villain to rival villain—jostling for dominance. Heroes settle these disputes fairly amicably; villains don't.
  • Hero to redshirts, townsfolk, etc; Villain to new minions—establishing leadership. It's a way of saying "this is why you follow me". Alternatively, especially for heroes, reassurance: "I can protect you, and here's why."

This dates back to Gilgamesh, making it Older Than Dirt.

See also Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner, I Have Many Names, I Am the Noun (which frequently is a component of these), and World of Cardboard Speech. If your boast is really your oft repeated credo that explains who you are to yourself, then it is your Badass Creed. If the things you're boasting about are things that happened on-screen earlier in the story, the trope is Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?. A Badass Boast often happens either during or immediately before a Crowning Moment of Awesome. May conclude with the observation that some one person has to be the one to attack him first.

Compare Blasphemous Boast, Famed in Story, The Munchausen. Blase Boast is when this dresses up as But for Me It Was Tuesday. Contrast Despair Speech.

Not to be confused with Badass Boats.

Examples of Badass Boast are listed on these subpages: