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The Real Man is the Tabletop RPG player who plays the game for the visceral, action-packed experience. Any character played by this guy will invariably be a Badass whirlwind of death—rarely do they play any sort of sneaky or supporting character. If by chance they have to play a wizard, he'll either be loaded to the gills with fireballs or decidedly non-squishy. The real man may do some Min-Maxing (though not to the insane heights of the Munchkin), but he's just as likely to select abilities based on "cool factor" alone.

These players are most interested in the parts of the game that involve fighting. Their strategies tend to be simple; run up to the enemies and hack them to bits (or blast them with the big guns in a modern setting). However, the more imaginative among them may employ some killer stunts, such as shield-surfing or swinging on chandeliers. Unlike The Loonie (whose stunts are played for laughs), this guy is doing it purely for the Rule of Cool.

The real man is handy to have around when a fight breaks out. He'll support his teammates when it counts (unlike the Munchkin who typically looks out for number one), and usually has a grasp on basic combat tactics. However, he's not as adept in situations where violence is not the answer. While some 'real men' are also skilled roleplayers (who just happen to enjoy a good brawl), others tend to stay silent when it's time for talking, relying mostly on well-worn archetypes (the trenchcoated stoic, for example), rather than the more original characters of the typical Roleplayer.

Then there are more problematic forms of The Real Man:

  • The Leeroy: The guy with no patience for long-term strategy, deliberations, or diplomacy. He usually has one tried-and-true solution to every problem: the headlong charge. This may even work, on occasion, depending on how strong the Leeroy is. However, more often it leads to him getting in over his head (and even getting the entire party killed trying to bail him out) or getting mauled by a trap. Even worse is if he gets bored and starts a Bar Brawl during delicate negotiations because it's been more than ten minutes since the last fight. Named after the most famous recent example, Leeroy Jenkins.
  • The Munchkin: Maligned as he is, the Munchkin may simply be a form of Real Man who stopped caring about the action alone and fixated on "winning" at any cost. This may be why most Real Men hate him so much; because of the fine line between them (some especially extreme Roleplayers may see little difference between the two, equating any love of combat with munchkinism).

This is probably the most common player archetype to appear in a MMORPG, next to the outright Munchkin types.

A Player Archetypes subtrope, along with The Roleplayer, The Loonie and the Munchkin.

Examples of The Real Man include:

Anime & Manga

Roleplaying Games

  • D&D's 4th edition seems to be built to easily accommodate this kind of player. Mechanics favor the "awesomeness" in moves present above, with very little squishy or loner character traits. Near to a middle ground between the other archetypes.
    • However, it also regulates it by more carefully standardizing the damage each class can do at each level. The class descriptions even give advice for min/maxing since they've taken steps to (in theory) ensure you can't take it too far.
      • For some people, the mechanics of DnD 4e make it hard to enjoy oneself while "Real Manning". Instant gibs have been pretty much restricted to minions, and there's nothing awesome in killing a One-Hit-Point Wonder in one hit. It would be much more fun if everyone was easier to kill.
      • There are some classes and builds than can dish out so much pain in such a short time that even Boss enemies can fall or at least become seriously crippled within one turn. A two-weapon Ranger using Blade Cascade (even the errata'ed version) with a few build-ups beforehand can easily instagib most lieutenant level mobs, and with a bit of luck rolling the dice sometimes even bosses. The major disadvantage is that this only works once a day, so it'd best be saved for that one big enemy.
    • The Monk class was basically made with The Real Man in mind. For instance, one of his powers is punching so hard that his fist flies across the room with the rest of him still attached to it.
  • In large part the appeal of Exalted, an RPG that specializes in being over-the-top awesome, that will actually let you jump 100 feet in the air, while whirling two blades around you to parry a hail of incoming arrows, then land head-first on the bad guy to smash him literally into the ground.
  • Paranoia and Toon also largely work on the Rule of Cool, in that awesome ideas, even if highly impractical, literally have a better chance of working than boring ideas. Of course, both are liable to get your character smashed into a pulp on a regular basis, but what isn't?
  • Any RPG that uses Wuxia-type mechanics, such as Feng Shui or Wushu.
  • Scion actively encourages this kind of play with the Stunting mechanic that gives bonus dice and refreshes Legend based on how cool it is from a scale of 1, nifty and adds depth to the action, to 3, leaves everyone around the table speechless at the sheer amount of awesome involved in the action.
  • Similarly, Changeling: The Lost has Stunting in Dream-Fighting (similar to Scion's Stunting; +1 for cool idea, +2 for cool idea with lush description, +3 for idea that inspires applause and exultation from the table).

Video Games

  • Scrappers in City of Heroes. Behold the magic of Scrapperlock!
    • And their Evil Counterpart, Brutes, whose innate power makes Scrapperlock more powerful!
  • Khelgar Ironfist of Neverwinter Nights 2.
  • In Fallout 3:
    • A character optimized for Big Guns has little choice but to be this. Not only do the stats required for Big Guns already provide the Required Secondary Powers for Big Guns (damage resistance and carry weight for instance, due to them being, well, heavy), as well as Big Guns penalizing Sneak. This makes a Big Guns character primarily a charging character that relies on tough defense (and a healthy dose of hotkeyed Stimpaks) and the guns doing the killing before the character gets killed.
    • One optimized for Small Arms can be, too, if a player prefers blowing the enemies' heads easily, and not to mention the Chinese Assault Rifle and the Combat Shotgun.


  • Legolas from DM of the Rings. When the players learn that the success of the entire campaign comes down to the die roll of a single NPC, Aragorn and Gimli are understandably upset, but Legolas thinks it's hardcore. He's also the player who comes up with all the crazy stunts and who never, ever grows tired of shooting orcs in the face.
  • Jim of Darths and Droids.
    • And Pete is the Munchkin variation, although he tends more towards the "pilot a starfighter with big guns" rather than the "personally wield a laser sword" approach to combat.
  • Bob and Dave of Knights of the Dinner Table.
    • And biker turned gamer Crutch whose priest is named Friar Swayze.
  • Fighter from 8-Bit Theater, though he's somewhat combined with The Loonie (Swordchucks, anyone?).
  • Ben from Fuzzy Knights.
  • Possibly, Belkar from The Order of the Stick.
  • Vriska from Homestuck is one of these, playing a character who has "gained all the levels. All of them." This leads her to butt heads with her RP partner, who is The Roleplayer and plays a class that's useless but fits his personality best.
  • Cory of One Piece: Grand Line 3 Point 5 is both this and a Munchkin, who pimped out Zoro to an insane degree in order to maximize his killing ability. He's extremely frustrated when the GM bars him from playing his character at first, instead sticking him with the pre-made Coby.
  • Friendship is Dragons has Rainbow Dash, whose player repeatedly complains about the lack of awesome action and the setting in general.