Posted 8 January 2011
Fudge RPG is a rules-light role-playing game engine. As an engine it provides a common set of game mechanics that can be used to create any role-playing game the Game Master (GM) desires. Fudge uses a simple word-based system for handling action and combat resolution, which makes the game fast-paced and easy to play.
The Fudge mechanisms are very simple and the GM and players are encouraged to "Just Fudge It". This approach is to promote roleplaying over rules lawyering and roll playing (focusing on die rolls and stats).
Fudge encourages players to first write a prose description of their characters then translate it into Fudge Traits. Traits include:
- Attributes - any trait that everyone in the game world has. Defaults to Fair.
- Skills - any trait that isn’t an attribute and can be improved through practice. Defaults to Poor.
- Gifts - any trait that isn’t an attribute or skill but is something positive for the character. Supernormal powers are treated as potent gifts. By default character doesn't have the gift.
- Faults - any trait that limits a character’s actions or earns him a bad reaction from other people. By default a character doesn't have the fault.
Fudge Trait Levels
Fudge uses ordinary words, in a sequence, to describe some traits, especially attributes and skills. The same sequence is also used to assess the result of Actions, including both Rolled Degree and Relative Degree. The specific sequence is up to the GM but typically the sequence is:
(or Superb +3)
|+6||50||for NPC traits, PC traits in high powered games, or action resolution|
(or Superb +2)
|+5||30||for NPC traits, PC traits in high powered games, or action resolution|
(or Superb +1)
|+4||16||for NPC traits, PC traits in high powered games, or action resolution|
|Fair||0||1||the default for attributes|
|Poor||-2||1||the default for skills|
|Terrible - 1||-4||N/A||for action resolution|
|Terrible - 2||-5||N/A||for action resolution|
|Terrible - 3||-6||N/A||for action resolution|
|Non-existent||N/A||N/A||the default for gifts and faults|
I've included a numeric level in the table for each adjective but Fudge typically down plays or ignores this.
The adjectives Superb + 1, Terrible - 1, etc, are used for action resolution. Legendary + 1 etc are used for high powers NPCs or campaigns.
Fudge Dice (dF)
A distinctive feature of Fudge is the use of Fudge Dice. These are six-sided dice with two faces having a "-", two blank, and "two faces with a "+". A number of these dice are rolled together, usually 4 or "4dF" in Fudge notation, to produce a result from -4 through +4. This result is applied to the appropriate Trait with the goal of matching or surpassing the Difficulty Level of the test.
Four Fudge Dice (4dF)
If you're interested the probabilities of 4dF are:
Probability of 4dF
Not everybody likes the non-standard dice and Fudge players use different dice rolling techniques. The most common one seems to use two normal six sided dice with one being plus and that other minus. Add the plus die and subtract the minus to get a score between -5 and +5. The spread is wider and the distribution is not normal but it works for some.
Fudge Action Resolution
Fudge Actions are either unopposed or opposed and this affects how they are resolved.
Unopposed actions don't have an opponent. Examples include jumping a wide chasm, climbing a cliff, etc.
Difficulty Level: The GM sets the Difficulty Level (usually Fair).
Rolled Degree: How well the character did. This is the character's trait level modified by the die roll (4dF).
Actions are Opposed when other people (or animals, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the action. In this case, the player of each contestant rolls some dice, and the results are compared to determine the outcome.
Relative Degree: This refers to how well a character did compared to another participant in an Opposed Action. The relative degree is expressed as a number of levels. If a PC gets a rolled degree result of Good in a fight, and his NPC foe gets a rolled degree result of Mediocre, the PC beat his foe by two levels — the relative degree is +2 from his perspective, –2 from hers.
Fudge Points (FP) and Experience Points (EP)
The GM can give players Fudge Points (FP). These allow the player modify the game in their favour (e.g. add 1 to dice roll, automatic success, minimizing damage, etc.) Exact use must be defined by the GM.
The GM can award player Experience Points (EP) as rewards. These allow players to improve their characters their traits. At character creation 1 gift = 1 fault = 2 attribute levels = 6 skills levels. The cost, in EP, to improve a skill depends on the level of the skill being gained (from 1 to 8 EP).
Some games relate Fudge Points (FP) and Experience (EP) allowing players to trade between them. Vanilla Fudge has 3 EP = 1 FP but the author now recommends 1 EP = 3 FP.
Where to get the Fudge RPG
The Fudge 1995 Edition is available free as a PDF download. Grey Ghost Games have also published the Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition in print. This bundles the free version with a lot of supplemental material, some of which is available on the web (e.g. Steffan O'Sullivan: Fudge RPG).
There are other sources out there but the main ones are:
The official Fudge RPG site maintained by Grey Ghost Games.
The author's material on Fudge RPG.
Fudge Factor is a free online magazine dedicated to the advocacy and support of role-playing and the Fudge system. It stopped publishing in 2006 but the archive of 100 articles is still available.
Some notes about converting from Traveller to Fudge RPG
Fudge StarWars and more.
Includes full fantasy campaign setting.