Over at Nevermet Press, the boys are having their latest RPG Blog Carnival. The topic was supposed to be Technology and Your Game Table, but they thought that would be boring. So instead, they went with the terrible “What Makes a Roleplaying Game Bad Ass?

“What, in your view, is the most Bad Ass game out — or ever!? What tweaks, mods, fixes have you houseruled to make your favorite games even more bad ass?Why is Savage Worlds so much more Bad Ass than [insert the rest]? =P And last, but not least, remember the last time you were explaining some new mechanic or story plot point to another gamer and they just simply said “Oh, that’s just Bad Ass!” What was it that was so Bad Ass?!”

I think any game that does the job of helping the players have fun and the GM tell a story (or for those that like the more distributed storytelling — like Primetime Adventures — everyone tell a story) is “bad ass” (read: effective.) Some settings lend themselves to the sobriquet than others — espionage games, superheroes, pulp action… Whatever floats your boat.

For me, the most effective system I’ve used for espionage/modern action is the old James Bond:007 rules set, as evidenced by the support it gets on the website. I’m rather partial to Cortex for its simplicity, but the surprisingly amount of crunch it has; the mechanics just seem to work for me. It’s similar to Savage Worlds but I think it’s more streamlined.

FATE seems like, in the right hands, it could be very cool…those hand just aren’t mine, so that also leaves out Cortex Plus (aka Leverage and the execrable Smallville.) Otherwise, there’s no system that is “bad ass” to me.

Settings are where the “bad ass” moniker is more appropriate. Hollow Earth Expedition is bad ass: Naxis, dinosaurs, and a hollow freakin’ Earth! Space: 1889 is bad ass: Victorian steam powered sci fi on Mars!

What really makes an RPG bad ass is good players, characters, and the fun of doing things you wish you could in real life. It’s getting together with friends on a regular basis and throwing life aside for a few hours a week.

On the original topic: I’ve found the iPad to be an indispensable tool for running a game. I can use Dropbox to transfer files, game book pdfs are in iBooks. Diceshaker for rolling for NPCs, Google Maps for setting information in the latest espionage adventure (set in Ciudad del Este), Penultimate to draw maps, etc,.; hit the internet to call up a picture of a type of car or gun, or snag info from a wiki online. The battery lasts 10 hours, wifi+3G means you can usually get onto the net if needed, the screen is big enough for the players to see maps, pictures, etc.