47 – The Rule of Cool in Your Worldbuilding

Is breaking your rules because a particular scene needs a little extra oomph a good thing to do? The rule of cool is where your story starts to strain the expectations and rules that are created and there’s always a cost to it in the form of your visitant’s trust. Will you simply bend/break your rules again when it’s convenient? Marcos and James discuss where the limits of this rule are, jumping the shark, and Nathan Drake’s hit points.

Key Takeaways

  • Villains and heroes frequently bend this to make characters appear powerful, unique and interesting.
  • The Rule of Cool is really useful for creating memorable and powerful moments in your story.
  • Figure out what you want to do with this rule bending. Is it worth the cost?
  • There can be partial explanations for the rule that can satisfy the boundaries of your world, have you considered them? 

Links and Sundry

  • Rule of Cool Tropedia – This resource is incredible, you should definitely dive into stuff here for ideas.
  • Fast and FuriousThe franchise that went from ‘cool, cars racing’ to ‘wtf’ in about a decade.
  • Matt Mercer on Rule of Cool – As you might expect he has some really good insights on its usage in TTRPG.
  • Nathan Drake is Lucky – This is one of the best interpretations of rulesets I’ve ever heard and it’s definitely my head canon for most games that involve HP these days.
  • Voldemort Flying – Like, he’s not supposed to. It was supposed to be impossible but he can do it. Why? Cause he’s super cool and scary, that’s why.
  • Super Carlin Brothers – Why broomsticks never run out of gas.
  • Scott’s First Fight in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – I still remember the awe I experienced watching this mad cap fight for the first time in theaters.
  • Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle – the scene that ruined it for Marcos.
  • Jumping the Shark – This is it. It’s disputed as to whether or not this really was where Happy Days went downhill but it’s worth noting the phenomenon and seeking to avoid it where possible.

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