30 May 2020

Fudge Haiku

If anyone is wondering where I fall on the spectrum of light to heavy rules where Fudge is concerned, the following haiku sums up what I consider the bare essentials of the game. This was originally posted in Fudgery.net in 2006.

Fudge Haiku

Play roles. Rate some traits
from Terrible to Superb.
When in doubt, fudge it.

Fudge Legal Notice
About Fudge

Fudge is a role-playing game written by Steffan O'Sullivan, with extensive input from the Usenet community of rec.games.design. The basic rules of Fudge are available on the internet at http://www.fudgerpg.com and in book form from Grey Ghost Games, P.O. Box 838, Randolph, MA 02368. They may be used with any gaming genre. While an individual work derived from Fudge may specify certain attributes and skills, many more are possible with Fudge. Every Game Master using Fudge is encouraged to add or ignore any character traits. Anyone who wishes to distribute such material for free may do so - merely include this ABOUT FUDGE notice and disclaimer (complete with Fudge copyright notice). If you wish to charge a fee for such material, other than as an article in a magazine or other periodical, contact Grey Ghost Press.


The following materials based on Fudge, entitled Fudge Haiku, are created by, made available by, and Copyright © 2006 by Gordon A. Cooper, and are not necessarily endorsed in any way by Grey Ghost Press or any publisher of other Fudge materials. Neither Grey Ghost Press nor any publisher of other Fudge materials is in any way responsible for the content of these materials unless specifically credited. Original Fudge materials Copyright © 1992-2004 by Grey Ghost Press, All Rights Reserved.

12 April 2020

Plus or Minus: Fudge Podcast

I don't know how many fudge-related podcasts there are, but as of this writing I know of only one Fudge-related RPG podcast: Plus or Minus. It is hosted by Troy Truchon, who offers observations of the world of Fudge gaming and interviews with creators in the community. We need more of this, and to encourage it, I've added a list gizmo to Creative Reckoning entitled "Just Podcast It!" after the "Web Log Roll Call." (Speaking of the latter, I would be happy to add new Fudge-centric Web logs to this list.) So, if you or anyone you know is podcasting regularly about Fudge or Fudge-based games, please let me know and I shall help spread the word.

Plus or Minus also has a Facebook page, Plus or Minus Podcast; and a Twitter account, @plusorminus_pod.

09 April 2020

Universal Called Shot Table

When your role-playing game of choice lacks rules for called shots, or its rules are cumbersome or unsatisfactory concerning the deliberate targeting of specific hit locations, consider using the Universal Called Shot Table. Utilizing only a single Fudge die, this simple option can be used with any role-playing game. Anytime a character makes a successful attack on an opponent and decides to hit a specific location, merely roll 1dF (one Fudge die) and consult the table below:

Universal Called Shot Table
+Attacker names hit location struck.
0Defender names hit location struck.

As you can see, there is an added element of risk when attempting to make difficult shots. For a 1 in 3 chance of hitting one’s opponent exactly where desired, the price is a 1 in 3 chance of missing the opponent entirely.

This is an option for reflecting the difficulty of hitting small targets in the midst of combat, which at the same time preserves the possibility of causing the full range of damage, from a graze to a lethal wound, by separating the called shot mechanics from the attack and damage roll mechanics.

I haven’t playtested this yet, since I just thought of it. If you try it, please let me know!

[Originally posted in Fudgery.net/fudgerylog on 7 May 2011.]

07 April 2020

Comfy Trait Ladders 2

It is all well and good to rename levels of the trait ladder in order to maximize emotional comfort (q.v.), but some may find the notion of describing "Poor" as "Fine" to be a trifle too cloying. To amend this (and simultaneously tilt the ladder even more toward the positive pole), a new and improved optimistic “trait ladder” has been devised, known as…

The New & Improved Optimistic Trait Ladder

Fudge Traits#Optimistic Traits
Good+1Very Fine!
Mediocre-1Somewhat Fine!
Poor-2Marginally Fine!
Terrible-3Almost Marginally Fine!

As you can see, the less wonderful levels have been renamed to reflect their decreased desirability, and the upper levels have been lifted to the loftier heights they deserve. Also suitable for game adaptations of Candide.

[Originally posted in Fudgery.net/fudgerylog on 31 August 2011.]

05 April 2020

Comfy Trait Ladders

For those players who are disturbed by the idea of selecting a skill or attribute at a beginner’s level of competency due to the perceived stigma attached to not being an expert in all things, and for those GMs who haven’t the heart to describe a player’s failures in negative terms, I offer the following optional trait ladder scientifically designed to remove the taint of merely fair performances, general mediocrity, poor self image, and consequences deemed “terrible.” Instead, all trait levels are specially chosen to encourage positive reinforcement and cushion the trauma of disappointment. In fact, I predict the next step in the evolution of role-playing will be to eliminate the possibility of failure entirely! Won’t that be exciting?

The Positive Reinforcement Trait Ladder

Fudge Traits#Happy Positive Traits :-)

Alternatively, for those who have difficulty memorizing words, I present…

The Good Trait Ladder

Fudge Traits#Good Traits

As you can see, there is only one word in this trait ladder, modified upwards by adding exclamation points and downwards by adding vowels. In play, exclamation points are vocalized by increasing volume accordingly, and additional vowels are expressed by lengthening the word as it is spoken. It is nothing if not Goooood.

[Originally posted in Fudgery.net/fudgerylog on 30 August 2011.]

04 April 2020

Bookmark This: Character Monologue

One of the lost articles from my old Fudgerylog site was entitled "Soliloquize Now!" I still like the title, and it may have been one of my better pieces on the subject of practical role-playing advice (or maybe not), but it is gone and mostly forgotten except for a link to an article I admired, "Character Monologue: Tell Us What It's Like to Be You" from ars ludi. So, read that article instead and let it inspire you as it did me.

31 March 2020

Fault: Unabating Overconfidence

[The following was intended to be part of an ongoing series of articles on the adaptation of the cliffhanger genre to role-playing. All of those articles, which originally appeared in Fudgerylog, are lost. This previously unpublished article is all that remains.]

Unabating Overconfidence

In bosses and archvillains, the fault of Unabating Overconfidence leads them to hatch overly ambitious plots, dismiss any question of the success of their plans, and have excessive faith in their ability to delegate tasks to appropriately qualified henchmen (who are usually incompetant in reality). This tends to be the Achilles Heel of most diabolical masterminds.

In henchmen, lackeys, and goons, Unabating Overconfidence takes the form of a steadfast refusal to believe that any meddlesome do-gooder could possibly be a persistent threat (despite evidence to the contrary), which leads them into careless confrontations. Any temporary victory is considered a total victory, and precludes the necessity of any further measures.

In heroes, Unabating Overconfidence leads them to tackle enemies without waiting for backup, with the usual result of needing to be rescued by a comrade at the last second before being run over by a locomotive, thrown over a cliff, handcuffed to a bomb, or left in a burning building.

29 February 2020

Always Judge a Role-Playing Game by Its Character Creation Rules

I try not to judge a book by its cover, but I can't help judging a role-playing game by its character creation rules. If I feel that if character creation is boring, too long, or otherwise a chore, I question how much enjoyment I could possibly derive from the rest of the game. Character creation ought to be a joy, an adventure in itself. Here is my character! I can't wait to role-play this being! I can't wait to pursue X, Y, and Z!

I won't delve at length into the kind of character creation that reminds me more of homework than heroics (GURPS). In fact, I'll leave it at that.

There are two kinds of character creation I like in a role-playing game. One is the procedural method of developing a character chronologically, charting their lifepath (and their acquisition of abilities and perhaps material things) based on the player's decisions and a certain amount of chance. Classic Traveller and FASA's Star Trek: The Role Playing Game are two good examples. It's a sort of preliminary mini-game for linking a character's abilities and back story, and it's fun.

The other kind of character creation I like is the one that allows for the most creativity for the least amount of time. I want to imagine a character, to whatever degree of detail, with as little fuss as possible. I don't want to juggle points between multiple categories, or add characteristics and divide them to generate secondary or tertiary characteristics, or min-max in any way. Essentially, I just want to use subjective character creation rules as one might find in, say, Fudge. Par example:

An easy way to create a character in Fudge is simply to write down everything about the character that you feel is important. Any attribute or skill should be rated using one of the levels Terrible through Superb.

How easy is that? If you, as a player, have an aversion even to that level of rules knowledge, there's this:

Instead of the player writing up the character in terms of traits and levels, he can simply write out a prose description of his character. This requires the GM to translate everything into traits and appropriate levels, but that's not hard to do if the description is well written. This method actually produces some of the best characters.

Now, if you're worried about players abusing the system, there's a section on that, too, but I think most players of good will and at least moderate intelligence are able to operate within the limits set by the GM. The main challenge for the GM is deciding what those limits are.

And that may be a subject for a future article...

(Combining lifepath character creation with Fudge might be worth exploring, too...)

25 January 2020

Random Weather Generator via Fudge Dice

Determine the day's weather based on the climate of the region by rolling 4dF (or 3dF to avoid extreme weather results).


+4 Abnormally hotter than usual
+3 Much hotter than usual
+2 Hotter than usual
+1 Marginally warmer than usual
0 Average temperature for this time of year
-1 Marginally cooler than usual
-2 Colder than usual
-3 Much colder than usual
-4 Abnormally colder than usual


+4 100% chance of precipitation and disaster conditions
+3 100% chance of precipitation
+2 Significantly higher chance of precipitation
+1 Slightly higher chance of precipitation
0 Average chance of precipitation for this time of year
-1 Slightly lower chance of precipitation
-2 Significantly lower chance of precipitation
-3 0% chance of precipitation
-4 0% chance of precipitation; 100% chance of other phenomena

Wind Speed

+4 Disasterously high wind speed
+3 Dangerously high wind speed
+2 Significantly higher wind speed
+1 Slightly higher wind speed
0 Average wind speed for this time of year
-1 Slightly lower wind speed
-2 Significantly lower wind speed
-3 Calm
-4 Extended calm

22 August 2018

Fudge Dice Alternative: Fudge Disks

One of the most popular aspects of Fudge is its resolution system, which famously employs an adjective-based trait ladder and Fudge dice. Fudge dice are not always easily obtainable, however, so what are the alternatives?* The rules offer several methods using more conventional dice, but they lack the charm and efficiency of Fudge dice. The challenge as I see it is to invent a method that preserves the simplicity and elegance of Fudge dice using something more commonly available.

The solution I hit upon is Poker chips. Simply designate a different color for each Fudge die face, such as blue for plus, white for blank, and red for minus; place one chip of each color in as many bags as the number of Fudge dice to be "rolled" (e.g. one chip of each color in four bags to simulate a 4dF roll); and draw one chip from each bag blindly. The chips drawn represent your roll. Return the chips to their respective bags and mix well before drawing again.

For example, if I were to draw two blue chips, a white chip, and a red chip, it would read as + + 0 -, which would be a result of +1.

If you prefer, use wooden nickels or Scrabble tiles instead. You can draw or paint the plus and minus symbols on them, thus eliminating the need to remember which color represents which symbol. (You could also draw the symbols on small adhesive labels and affix them to the tiles if you want to preserve them for your Scrabble game.)

For reference, we'll call them Fudge disks.

Even if you own Fudge dice, Fudge disks can be a fun and handy alternative. They could be used when rolling dice is awkward (as when hiking or riding in a vehicle) or too distracting to others (as in a waiting room or a restaurant). They could even contribute to the atmosphere of certain gaming genres. I shall leave it to your imagination to determine their best use.

* If you can't find Fudge dice at your favorite local game shop, they can be ordered direct from Grey Ghost Press, Inc. You can also advise your game shop that they can be ordered through Impressions Advertising.

[Edit: Corrected on 2018-08-22. Fudge disks are perhaps not as handy as I first envisioned in the single bag version, but they might still be fun to use occasionally.]