->''"Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You wanna know how I got them?"''
-->-- '''Joker''', ''Film/TheDarkKnight''

Many times, when an author wishes to identify a certain character as a {{Badass}}, said character will be given some sort of [[RuggedScar horrific permanent disfigurement]]. Most of the time, the disfigurement will stay unnoticed, possibly out of respect for he that is marked, or because the story behind it is [[YouDoNotWantToKnow too horrible for the others to imagine.]] But there always exists the chance that some bystander will [[SchmuckBait ask about the scar]], in which case the Badass is contractually obliged to explain it. When he is, expect the story to be long-winded, fantastical, and involving at least one CrowningMomentOfAwesome. In other words, a RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun moment.

Similar to ScarSurvey, but can occur between any two characters (not just hero/heroine) at any time (not just after sex). Can overlap with RuggedScar. In the case of RuggedScar, the story is not the important part, just the general fact that having the scar makes the character seem tougher.

For further scar-y goodness, see CoveredWithScars; GoodScarsEvilScars; ScarSurvey; and ScarsAreForever.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'', the character of Gouda Kazunto gets a chance to explain the particular disfigurement of his head, which includes a somewhat iconic pointy shape.
** Then, in Second Gig, Saito tells a group of poker players how he lost his eye.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Ibiki Morino's scars are the result of being tortured and interrogated by enemy shinobi. The Land of Tea arc in the anime implies that some of his scars were pre-existing at the time of his encounter with Aoi.
** Gaara's "love" scar on his forehead happened when he attacked himself with his sand after an assassination attempt by his uncle.
** Kakashi has a scar over the eye he lost and replaced with a Sharingan. He received it saving Obito from an attack that would have likely killed him.
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' - The titular Manslayer's signature cross scar marks him as who he is and the incidents that caused it made him decide to become a TechnicalPacifist.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Sc]][[NoNameGiven ar]] who received his scar after [[spoiler:his town was blown up by [[MadBomber Kimblee]]]].
* ''KeroroGunsou'' has Giroro's noticeable scar across his face, allegedly caused by Keroro
* Kurei in ''FlameOfRecca'' has his scar as a self inflicted injury as a sort of mark of shame for his failure to protect someone. However, no one has ever actually asked him directly how he got it, [[TakeOurWordforIt for good reason]] and the tale is told by one of his underlings.
* In ''Anime/WolfsRain'', Tsume has an X-shaped scar on his chest. Toboe continually bothers him to know its origin, but Tsume doesn't actually explain until one of the last episodes in the series. [[spoiler:It was a punishment from his former pack for his cowardice.]]
* In ''OnePiece'', when talking to Whitebeard, Shanks points to the scars over his eye and uses it as an example of how dangerous Marshal D. 'Blackbeard' Teach really is, as he was the one who caused the wound.
* In ''Manga/NanatsuNoTaizai'', the story behind Ban's very prominent scar is that he tried to take Meliodas' sword, a thing that is the latter's BerserkButton.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'': [[BrokenBird Misato]] has a huge scar just below her ribcage, which along with the [[TragicKeepsake cross-shaped pendant left from her father]], is a painful reminder that she's the sole survivor of the Antarctic expedition that triggered the Second Impact.
* The upper body of BetrayalKnowsMyName's Usui Shuusei is covered with nasty burn marks from when he interrupted [[spoiler: Hotsuma's suicide attempt.]] They occasionally pop up during more emotional scenes between the two of them and tend to provoke ItsAllMyFault moments in Hotsuma.
* Tokiko Tsumura of ''Manga/BusouRenkin'', by [[Creator/NobuhiroWatsuki the same mangaka]] as ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', above, has a horizontal scar across her nose. In the series' DistantEpilogue she explains that it marks when she became an alchemist warrior. The subsequent flashback shows her getting gashed across the face by a humanoid homunculus, right before she instinctively activates her busou renkin in self-defense and juliennes him.
* Bleed Kaga from ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'' has his trademark crescent-shaped scar on his forehead, which is the product of a car explosion which killed his best friend as a result of the Zero Realm when Kaga failed to save him, and for many years he steered away from the skill.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/JonahHex is horribly scarred. Typically, people tend to avoid asking how it happened but sometimes, there is the occasional person who is just too curious for his or her own good.
--> '''Bystander:''' Don't mean to pry, fella but how'd you get that scar?
--> '''Jonah Hex:''' [[DeadpanSnarker Bit my cheek, eat'n.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanworks]]
* The first quasi-romantic moment between Hanala'Jarva and Joachim Hoch in ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8213106/8/Uplifted Uplifted]]''.
* ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection'' has two examples:
** Due to his HealingFactor, Naruto only has one scar on him. [[spoiler: That is where he nearly stabbed himself through the heart to save Hinata from the Kyuubi. Hinata, understandably, loves this scar, and kisses it whenever she can.]]
** Keiko Takamichi has some "cool battle scars" on her back, from where [[spoiler: Pein's Animal path hit her after she and her cousin finished off the Naraka path.]]
* ''Fanfic/BaitAndSwitchSTO'': The source of Captain Kanril Eleya's facial scars, along with one on her abdomen, is shown in a FlashbackNightmare in the first chapter. While repelling a boarding action she was slashed across the face then stabbed in the right kidney by a KnifeNut Orion matron.
* Kurenai in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9285638/3/Leftovers Leftovers]]'' has one on her from a bear trap. She mentions that it's the reason she started studying traps as a hobby.
* Subverted in ''[[{{FanFic/Article2}} Article 2]]''. Shane is a combat marine, and has a pretty hefty set of scars with stories to go with, but the stories are things like "lost a fistfight with a dumpster", "tried to do a handstand on a grocery cart and missed the dismount" and [[NoodleIncident "steak knife"]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The page quote, taken from ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', is one of several examples from the film. The Joker being the Joker, however, [[MultipleChoicePast the story changes every time he tells it]].
* In the live-action ''[[Film/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians 101 Dalmatians]]'', Jasper tells Horace that Skinner has a horrible scar on his neck from where a dog nearly tore his throat out, rendering him mute, and [[TemptingFate warns Horace not to ask him about it.]] [[IgnoreTheDisability Horace immediately forgets this warning upon seeing the scar,]] and Jasper decks him.
* ''Film/{{Jaws}}''. Quint and Hooper show off their scars and explain how they received them. This leads to Quint telling the story of the ''USS Indianapolis''.
** Meanwhile, Brody surreptitiously checks his appendix scar.
* ''Film/PayItForward'': Mr. Simonetti explains that his face was disfigured [[spoiler:by his father ''freaking lighting him on fire'']].
* At the beginning of ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', young Indy accidentally catches himself in the chin the first time he tries to use the iconic bullwhip, drawing blood and providing an in-universe explanation for actor HarrisonFord's RealLife scar.
* In the live-action ''Film/JonahHex'' film, when asked about his disfigurement, Jonah explains: [[DeadpanSnarker "Cut myself shavin'."]]
* A tie-in storybook based on Disney's ''Disney/TheLionKing'' actually explained how the villain got his scar in the first place. Go on. Guess the name of the bad guy!
* In ''TreasurePlanet'', Jim asks Long John Silver how he became a {{cyborg}}. Silver simply responds, "You give up a few things chasing a dream."
* In ''WesternAnimation/IceAge: Dawn of the Dinosaurs'', Buck tells the story of [[EyeScream how he lost his eye]] during his first encounter with Rudy.
* In ''Film/HowToTrainYourDragon'', Gobber regails the Viking kids with stories of how his leg and hand were eaten by dragons.
* In ''RockNRolla'', [[ThoseTwoBAdGuys Those Two]] [[TheMafiya Russian]] [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Bad Guys]] are introduced talking about their various scars, which come from things like bullet wounds, [[StuffBlowingUp grenades]], barb wire, and even [[SerialEscalation getting caught in tank tracks]]. One quickly gets the idea that they will be more than the misfit criminal protagonists have bargained for.
* ChuckNorris in a Hong Kong action movie whose name escapes me. He's been arrested by the police who are listing his distinguishing marks for their report. In a clipped tone Chuck lists the cause of each scar as it's written down: gunshot, knife, pitchfork...
* ''Film/ShotgunStories'', a 2007 film starring Michael Shannon, is essentially named after this trope: Shannon's character has prominent scarring on his back from a shotgun blast, and several stories are told throughout the film, explaining them. Each story gives an alternate interpretation for who he is as a person, and for his motivations throughout the film.
* In ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'', Jake's nose is slashed by a gangster. Similar to Jonah Hex above, his answer whenever someone asks is "Cut myself shaving."
* ''Black Cadillac'' has a RunningGag where Robby refuses to give a straight answer when asked where he got the scars on his face. At the end, [[spoiler: Scott reveals that they were the result of an accident they had while playing.]]
* ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead''. Used as a BadassBoast by Spotted Horse to show he is ImmuneToBullets (he's not, but doesn't go down easily).
* Invoked in ''Film/DragonTigerGate'' by Turbo Shek who has a scar on his face that he gave to himself in order to seem tougher and make others respect him. He gives several explanations for how he got it over the course of the movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* A pirate with a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and an eyepatch walks into a bar. The bartender asks him "What happened to your leg?" The pirate replies "That was the result of a fierce battle with a shark. I managed to fight him off, but he bit off my leg as a parting blow" The bartender then asks "Then what happened to your hand?" The pirate replies "I lost that in a swordfight. The dread pirate Blackbeard engaged me in combat, and he got in the last move." The bartender then asks "And your eye?" The pirate replies "That was due to a seagull. I was looking up and I saw him just before he pooped in my eye." The bartender asks "And that's what took out your eye?" The pirate replies "No, that's the first day I had my hook."
* Some OlderThanPrint historical anecdote tells about two kings (name forgotten) comparing their scars. The one boast about his fight with a lion in the arena. He looks at the even more impressive scars of his colleague and asks: "Lion, arena, too?" "No, Lamia, bed." (Not ''the'' [[GreekMythology Lamia]] - it was the name of his wife - but that was probably part of the joke too.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Captain Ahab in ''MobyDick'', who lost his leg while grappling with the Great White Whale.
* Every member of the Seablite gang from Literature/DarkLife has a scar, all with the same story: [[spoiler: they're surgical scars from Doc Hudson cutting them open to see how their Dark Gifts work.]]
* Franchise/HarryPotter has his famous lightning bolt, naturally, courtesy of You-Know-Who. There's also Mad-Eye Moody's scars from his career spent fighting Death Eaters, and Lupin's facial scars (in the movies) are self-inflicted due to his transformations. Averted with Dumbledore's scar on his kneecap shaped precisely like the London Underground; its mentioned offhand in the first chapter of the first book and then never explained or even referenced again.
* Many characters in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' bear scars, and probably the most notable "how-I-got-these" story would go to Sandor Clegane, who decides it would be fun to tell Sansa all about how his brother held his face down in a lit brazier when they were kids. Sansa is not enthused.
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]]. At one point Anastasia sees him topless and touches each scar. He gives a short summary of what gave it to him. Even though he has a (very slow) HealingFactor, he still has lots of them.
** A bit more dramatic than most, because most or all of them weren't just random backstory, but happened in the series where the reader got to see it happen.
* Callie, the protagonist of ''Literature/{{Cut}}'' by Patricia McCormick, has been sent to Sea Pines, a residential treatment facility, to deal with her SelfHarm problem. Callie mainly cuts herself on her arms, leaving scars that she tells the stories of to her therapist at one point in the book.
* [[{{Inkheart}} Dustfinger]] may be a subversion. The story behind his facial scars is humiliating rather than awesome: [[spoiler: he was held down by a couple of thugs and carved up by a man who fancied his wife]]. He mentions several times that it was [[TheDragon Basta]] who "decorated" his face, but it's someone else who actually explains what happened.
* ''Literature/DarknessAtNoon'' tells the story of the scar on Gletkin's scull, which is too well-known that it need not be spoken by the characters:
-->When, during the Civil War, Gletkin had fallen into the enemy's hands, they had tied a lighted candlewick onto his shaven skull, to extract from him certain information. A few hours later his own people recaptured the position and found him unconscious. The wick had burnt right to the end; Gletkin had kept silence.
* In the {{Tawny Man}} trilogy, Fitz is posing as the servant of a very effeminate nobleman. When a rookie soldier tries to make fun of him over the rumours that he's more than just a servant, all the experienced soldiers nearby take one look at his scars and try to talk the rookie down.
** At one point his injuries, and with it scars, are all magically healed. After taking one look at himself he magically puts the scars all back. Not because he is proud of them, but because he is instantly recogniseable as a member of the royal family without them.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Ironclaw}}'' novel ''Scars'' has some examples of course. Most notably the scars on main character Danica's fingertips from when her father ripped out her claws and cauterized the wounds, after she accidentally scratched her legitimate half-brother. And [[spoiler: Danica realizes that the supposed impostor of prince Fabrizio de Rinaldi is the real one when she recognizes the scars she gave him.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* A joke version occurs in ''Series/GetSmart'':
--> '''Hans Hunter:''' (''re: his scar'') Mr. Smart, have you ever heard of the Great White Rhino?
--> '''Maxwell Smart:''' That was done by the Great White Rhino?
--> '''Hunter:''' No, that was done by a small blue convertible.
** They used the same joke another time except it was a wooden leg and "The Great White Whale"
* In an episode of ''{{Blackadder}}'', Redbeard Rum explains how he lost his legs... ''before'' revealing that he doesn't have any legs in the first place.
--> '''Redbeard Rum:''' (''to Edmund'') I'll wager those legs have never been sliced clean off by a falling sail, and swept into the sea before your very eyes!
--> '''Edmund Blackadder:''' Well, neither have yours.
--> '''Rum:''' That's where you're wrong!
* In the ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia episode "The Gang Buys a Boat," Mac decides to ask a sailor about his hook, thinking it will be a cool or interesting story.
--> '''Mac:''' So, how'd you lose that hand?
--> '''Sailor:''' Diabetes.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'': Liz Lemon questions her ex-boyfriend how he got his hooks. He explains that he got one of them when he was in Africa working for Doctors Without Borders, by waving at his old high school football coach from a helicopter ("It looked just like a black version of him!"). The second story is unexplained, but involves explosives.
* ''TheJeffersons''. Jennie is writing an article about gangs, and she starts to hang out with one. Each member has at least one scar, which they call "medals," and they are proud to show them to her and tell how they got them (in a knife fight, shot, etc.). One young trainee gang member doesn't have any medals yet but is looking forward to getting one in the next rumble - if he doesn't have a medal he can't become a full member of the gang. He ends up killed in the rumble.
* In an episode of InSecurity, Burt and N'udu compare scars. The causes range from protecting the Ligerian ambassador from a Ganzi assassin's bullet to falling off a roof.
* On ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Spike has a scar on his eyebrow, mainly because his actor James Marsters received one in a mugging. Still, in "Fool For Love", while Spike is telling flashback stories, one of them shows the character getting it during his fight with the Chinese Slayer during the Boxer Rebellion. Apparently, it was a magic sword.
* {{Averted}} in ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' with Lancelot. When he shows up for the second time in the series he has a scar across his cheek, one that no one ever comments on. When he turns up a season later for the third time, the scar is completely gone.
* In ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', Ollie has horrible scars across his chest when he returns from the island, eventually explained as being the result of Deathstroke torturing him. A lot of the advertising of the series specifically invokes this trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]

* In {{Traveller}}, Aslan never fix cosmetic damage (which does not inhibit performance) on warships. They consider it an honorable career to raise its value. This applies even if the ship was purchased from humans and earned its scars in a human navy.
* In TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse, scars are a symbol of glory and honor. A good story can bring more renown if it's got a scar you can show off, and a wicked scar is always cooler if it's got a howl-worthy story behind it.
** And due to their HealingFactor only aggravated damage like fire, silver, or the claws of other werewolves leaves scars, practically guaranteeing a story behind each scar.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In one [[TheFarSide Far Side]] strip, one sailor is telling another of how he got his peg leg. The other sailor, however, has a peg [[FateWorseThanDeath head]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* HenryV
--> This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
--> He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
--> Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
--> And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
--> He that shall live this day, and see old age,
--> Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
--> And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
--> Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
--> And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In TheKingOfFighters, we learn eventually that Clark uses SunglassesAtNight to hide a scar across his left eye. It comes from an incident where his partner Ralf was training with knives [[EyeScream and one of those hit Clark in the eye.]]
* In FireEmblemTheSacredStones, Gerik explains to Tethys that the scar on his nose comes [[spoiler: from his early days as a mercenary, where he arrogantly challenged a mighty BadAss fighter and was at the receiving end of a CurbStompBattle. The warrior decided to let him live, and Gerik took this as a signal that he was still a rookie and he should train/fight harder.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'''s Weiss has a small scar across her left eye. When Weiss's VA was asked about it, she dodged the question, replying that '[the fans] will find out.' [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail This alone implies that it's significant]].
** Given the hints in episode 15 [[spoiler:that Weiss's father is abusive]], a [[{{Fanon}} common]] fan theory is that he caused it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''HeartCore'' Actually starts off with one of these. It shows how Ame, once a happy and cheerful princess, was forced into a permanently scarring ritual by her father, costing her much of her powers and leaving her with large scars on her face and arms that never healed. [[{{Understatement}} This made her rather bitter against her dad.]]
* Anna from ''{{Webcomic/Sire}}'' has a highly visible scar running across her face. We learn she earned it in an attempt to kill herself with a letter opener after her Hyde-Child "sister" murdered their uncle.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Zuko's scar in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' came from when he spoke out of turn in a war council, protesting a plan involving sending a green regiment to their deaths for some tactical advantage, and his father the Fire Lord challenged him to an Agni Kai (a firebending duel) over it.
** Subverted because it's his uncle who told the story and Zuko himself is never shown telling anyone about it.
--> '''Fire Lord Ozai:''' You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher!
* Lin from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' received two scars on her cheek when [[spoiler: she tried to arrest her half-sister, who cut a metal cable connecting them which flew back and cut Lin.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Bart asks the gun shop owner how he lost his arm. He replies, "You know how they tell you to keep your arms inside the bus?"
** According to the [[WordOfGod commentary]] on the DVD, this was going to be a running gag: Every time the character showed up he would be asked about his arm and [[MultipleChoicePast and he would have a different story everytime]]. However the second time, wherein he lost his arm in a bowling alley ball return, was cut and they never bothered to pursue it further.
** In "Moms I'd Like to Forget", Bart goes to great lengths to learn the story behind a mysterious scar on his hand.
* The ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' example was spoofed in an episode of ''EekTheCat'', where everyone is grossed out by Eek's scar (a paper cut).
* In '''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} [=ThunderCats (2011)=]]]'', Panthro comments that there's "a lot of history" in the scars on his arms, [[spoiler: which is the part he misses the most after sacrificing them to trap Grune inside the collapsing Astral Plane.]]
* In the first animated version of the ''[[WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars Clone Wars]]'', Anakin Skywalker received a scar across his right eye from a light saber battle with Asajj Ventris. This carries over into Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, where Hayden Christensen sports the scar over his right eye.
* Ratchet from ''TransformersAnimated'' has a broken crest on his head and a patch of exposed circuitry on his arm due to an old run-in with [[PsychoForHire Lockdown]].
* ''FamilyGuy'': In "Stew-Roids" Meg tells Connie the story behind how her bullying made her cut herself.
[[/folder]]

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