%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1294849586022157100
%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:250:[[ComicBook/FantasticFour http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/invisible_woman.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Susan Richards, before and after 40 years of CharacterDevelopment and the Women's Rights Movement.]]

->''"If you told me five years ago that [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty Raiden]] was going to be [[VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance cooler]] [[VideoGame/DmCDevilMayCry than]] [[VideoGame/DevilMayCry Dante]], I'd have told you to just shut up and let me punch you."''
-->-- '''Matt''', ''WebVideo/TwoBestFriendsPlay'': ''VideoGame/PlayStationAllStarsBattleRoyale''

So you're flipping channels looking for something to watch and you come across a battle scene in a familiar show. One character in particular is making a very good showing, doing at least as much as the main character to save the day. But who is this mysterious person in the BadassLongcoat? Did you miss the episode where he was introduced? Why the nagging feeling of familiarity? And then it hits -- you ''know'' this kid. It's just that last time you saw this person, he was a nebbishy wisecracker with the constitution of a glass-jawed squirrel. What happened to transform him so completely? Simple: last time he [[LevelUp leveled up]], he [[TitleDrop took a level in badass]].

Since this is about CharacterDevelopment, that means it doesn't genuinely apply when comparing a character in different adaptations. See AdaptationalBadass.

If the change is a result of a FaceHeelTurn, see SuperpoweredEvilSide and RedemptionDemotion. If it's a result of a HeelFaceTurn, then it's a case of RedemptionPromotion. If the change is due to time travel, see FutureBadass. If it is the result of finding a powerful object, see AmuletOfConcentratedAwesome. This can also happen because PrisonsAreGymnasiums.

There is also the SuperHeroOrigin, where [[DareToBeBadass the first story gives some explanation for why they became the badass hero]].

The reference comes from roleplaying, where it's sometimes possible to "take a level" in a completely different class. For instance: a level ten Fighter ''could'' take a level in Wizard, therefore being both a level ten Fighter and a level one Wizard. The joke is presumably that if badass was a class and you could take a level in it, you would thereby become badass where you weren't before. Actual RPG classes are, of course, supposed to be balanced so that literally taking one level in something doesn't normally make you greatly more powerful. Blending this with modern gaming, however, one can achieve what is known as "badass grinding", where one takes ''[[SerialEscalation multiple]]'' levels in badass.

If they were already badass to begin with and notched it UpToEleven by imbuing the previously unpowered character with superpowers, it's EmpoweredBadassNormal.

Compare ObfuscatingStupidity, LetsGetDangerous, CowardlyLion, and NotSoHarmlessVillain, where actually competent characters who have been hiding their powers finally reveal their abilities. {{Xenafication}} is when this happens to TheChick. MagikarpPower is when this is achieved through lots of LevelGrinding. FromNobodyToNightmare is the EvilCounterpart of this trope.

AdrenalineMakeover is when the love interest does this, along with becoming much more attractive. Also see MisfitMobilizationMoment, when a group of losers ''collectively'' takes a level in badass. Related to DumbassNoMore, when the character gains a level in intelligence.

BadassDecay is for the ''subjective'' situation where a character seems less badass than they were due to CharacterizationMarchesOn. That is not to be confused with a situation where a character becomes weaker ''as a plot point'', as then it's simply an {{Inversion}} of this trope.

Not to be confused with the British variant Took an A level in Badarse, although you can bet that if that ''was'' a legitimate education option that ''everyone'' would do it. Also not to be confused with TookALevelInJerkass, where a normally nice person becomes a bad seed.

!!Examples go in subpages:

'''Warning: Examples may contain unmarked spoilers.'''

* TookALevelInBadass/AnimeAndManga
* TookALevelInBadass/CardGames
* TookALevelInBadass/ComicBooks
* TookALevelInBadass/FanWorks
* [[TookALevelInBadass/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[TookALevelInBadass/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* TookALevelInBadass/{{Literature}}
* TookALevelInBadass/LiveActionTV
* TookALevelInBadass/{{Other}}
* TookALevelInBadass/ProfessionalWrestling
* TookALevelInBadass/TabletopGames
* TookALevelInBadass/{{Theater}}
* TookALevelInBadass/VideoGames
* TookALevelInBadass/{{Webcomics}}
* TookALevelInBadass/WebOriginal
* TookALevelInBadass/WesternAnimation
* TookALevelInBadass/RealLife