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Badass Bookworm

"Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you the Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger."

This character is a quiet smart guy or girl who is physically unimposing, but with Hidden Depths of formidable physical and practical skills.

Their physical abilities might result from applying their genius to solve physical challenges like math problems. Their attention to detail might also result in a Diagnosis From Dr. Badass. While some badass bookworms are surprisingly strong, others might be Weak, but Skilled, relying on flawless technique or supernatural abilities. Sometimes a bookworm can lack any special physical traits, but has access to an Impossibly Cool Weapon or enough firepower to make toe-to-toe combat a bit, as they say, academic. A favorite weapon of the bookworm might even be what's always close at hand.

Elderly examples are often Old Masters who have spent decades contemplating philosophy and punching trees in half. Another common type is the Adventurer Archaeologist, who spends as much time studying in the University as he does evading the poison-tipped arrows of angry natives. If the bookworm is a bit of a ditz, expect him to be Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. If they prefer not to fight, doing so only when they must, then they have Minored in Asskicking. They are very likely to wear Specs of Awesome.

The trope is the converse of Genius Bruiser. A Badass Bookworm looks like your standard geek, but then displays a surprising amount of physical prowess, whereas a Genius Bruiser looks big, strong and tough, then unexpectedly shows off an intellectual side.

Note this is a different trope from the typical Secret Identity superhero like early Peter Spider-Man Parker, as no one suspects the nerd to be the superhero.


Asian and NerdyIndexed and NerdyBasement Dweller
BookwormIntroversion TropesCute Bookworm
Magical LibraryBookish TropesBookworm
Artificial BrillianceIntelligence TropesBrain Chain
Fan FicOverdosed TropesCrazy-Prepared
Brutally HonestTropers/T Vsir 13 Deadpan Snarker
Ax-CrazyOlder Than FeudalismBadass Crew
Badass BikerHeroesBadass Unintentional
H.P. LovecraftUsefulNotes/World War IAuthor Avatar
Badass AdorableMore Than Meets the EyeBad Samaritan
Badass BoastAdded Alliterative AppealBadass Bystander
Always a Bigger FishImageSource/Web ComicsTurn Signals on a Land Raider
MnemosyneAwesome/Anime and MangaChrome Shelled Regios
Pre-Mortem One-LinerBadassGenius Bruiser

alternative title(s): Crouching Nerd Hidden Badass
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