John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard)

John McClane

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


Die Hard was an action movie released in 1988, starring Bruce Willis – who by that point was chiefly known as a comedy actor. It is a genre classic, better-executed and with more tension than the vast majority of action movies that existed back then. It likely improved the genre as a whole.

As a result, protagonist John McClane is one of the earliest movie characters we wrote up. Thus, this entry is done in the older style and is chiefly technical notes, rather than a full profile.


Powers and Abilities

John MacClane is an extremely courageous and skilled police officer. He has 15 years of experience with law enforcement in New York City. Given his array of skills — including the handling of explosives — one suspect that he may have been part of the special crisis team of the NYPD, the Emergency Service Unit .

McClane’s ability to survive explosions, firefights, crashes and other hazards resides past the borders of the improbable. In DC Heroes RPG terms, he has Luck, Dumb luck and Evasion Skill. On top of this he has way more Hero Points  than usual in his Genre, and pretty good stats too. He uses these assets to survive no matter what the odds.

With his high Initiative and common sense, MacClane will often Lay Back in a firefight. He’ll only fire short bursts as he crawls around and dive from cover to cover rather than frontally engage his opponents.


The vintage trailer in HD, complete with big 1980s hair.


We know that he’s still close to his ex-wife, but that’s about it. MacClane is a NYPD cop who keeps being involved in spectacular, cinematic incidents, preferably during Christmas.

He’s generally the only one in the right position to act. Yet his incredible skill, luck and toughness always allow him to make it.


Bruce Willis with a dirty, ex-white sleeveless T-shirt. He generally has a leather shoulder holster and a NYPD badge.


John MacClane defined the archetypal Bruce Willis action character. He’s tough as nails, very courageous and somewhat flippant. While extremely competent (even for an action-oriented cinematic supercop), he can’t get no respect from his hierarchy. This, combined with his rotten life makes him drink too much.

Despite being something of a failure, he’ll never hesitate to rise up to even extremely tough situations. Whilst swearing like a sailor, cursing about his terrible luck and delivering one-liners.

DC Universe History

John MacClane would probably have ties with Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. Perhaps he would be a former partner of “Terrible” Turpin or Maggie Sawyer. An interesting possibility would be to make some changes and have Maggie Sawyer’s ex-husband be MacClane.

Given his rotten luck, he could have been caught into one or two Suicide Squad missions. The interplay with, among others, Captain Boomerang would have been interesting. His ties with Sawyer may have resulted in getting into trouble with a Gotham villain or two while visiting. During Christmas, of course. Bruce Willis vs. the Joker could certainly work.


(Written note on a dead opponent’s shirt) “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”

“Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker !”

“ Just once, I’d like a regular, normal Christmas. A little eggnog… a fuckin’ Christmas tree… a little turkey. But, no ! I gotta crawl around in this motherfuckin’ tin can !”

“Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass.”

Grant: “You are the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time !”
John MacClane: “Story of my life.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

John MacClane

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Cop
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 018 HP: 060

Dumb luck: 04, Invulnerability*: 05

Acrobatics (Dodging): 07, Detective (All but Law): 05, Evasion (Ranged only): 07, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Military science (Danger recognition, demolition): 04, Thief (Stealth)*: 05, Vehicles (Land)*: 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Luck, Police Credentials.

NYPD (Low).

Dependent (ex-wife), Unluck.


  • 9mm pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 15 (and generally two spare mags), R#03] .
  • Will often end up toting an MP5 submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage: Autofire].
  • NYPD badge.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Bryan Berggren, John Colagioia.

Source of Character: The Die Hard trilogy.