The Rule of Cool

Image Source: The TV Tropes Wiki.

I just found out about possibly the coolest site for failed writers (raises hand), Meta-plot analyst (raises hand… again) and just plain Story-driven entertainment junkies (Me me me!!!).

It’s called the TV tropes Wiki and it may very well Ruin your life. (God! I must be the billionth blogger to use that Schtick). It’s about plot devices and common tricks used in successful TV/commercials /movies. I love this as I’ve always been a great fan of discussing plots and narative techniques in novels and TV shows.

I haven’t yet spent a lot of time on it, but I probably found one of the best rules of adventure design and DMing I’ve come across: the Rule of Cool.

The limit of the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its degree of coolness. Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality so long as the result is wicked sweet and/or awesome. This applies to the audience in general, as there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual in the group.

To transpose to RPG terms: Your player will put up with almost any illogical or “wobbly” plot devices or encounter as long as things get cool enough for them.

Which basically makes me think that my efforts as a DM should not so much be on far-reaching World Building and tight nitpicking-proof plot lines and such. I should go all out for encounters and role playing that will swamp my players in coolness. Think combat on ice Bridges, negotiating the release of prisoners in a flooding underground prison, hopping from floating island to pieces of flying ruins in order to catch the thieves of the Star jewel of Radnia. Yeah, that`s the ticket!

Enjoy the site, I know I will.

Red Shirts anyone?

See also this as it is where I found what type of DMing I aspire to achieve.


  1. I am, as the kids say on the MTV, “down with this”.

    Cool first. Logic later. Fun NOW.

  2. Hey there Rotwang.

    Thanks for the comment and major major thanks for the blog referal.

    I’m real new to the game and I’m discovering more DM-themed blogs every day.

    I love the name of yours. I’ll need to dig up the reference.

  3. Anyone who links to TV Tropes invariably gets backtracked. It means they “get us”

  4. Nice site… The movie example in is rule of cool is a perfect example of it though …

  5. Aaarg! Not enough free time to surf the web’s uber-awesomeness.

    Love TVtropes. Great find.

  6. I love the way the rule of cool is written. It is definitely one of the things that I like to see put into words about gaming. The fact that people sit down to play, so that their characters can do cool things. I think a lot of games miss out on that fact and try to limit people. Balance has to be maintained, but players have to have fun too.

  7. From what I’ve learned since from Tommi
    and from a certain unpublished game I’m reading, coolness should trump rules as long as fun is maintained for all.


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