24 July 2021

PSA: Compromised Dead Link

In brief, my former Fudge site, Fudgery.net, was discontinued in 2014, but it is currently being used by scammers. Do not go to this site. If you go to the site accidentally, do not click on anything. When I saw it linked on someone's old fan site, I clicked on it out of curiosity and was taken to a page with a phony security warning that urged me to click on a button to scan for viruses. I did no such thing, of course, but I am concerned others might.

If you have a site or blog that links to Fudgery.net, please remove these links immediately. Nearly all of the content formerly located in Fudgery.net and Fudgerylog is now here in Creative Reckoning.

Take care and share the game with others.

19 June 2021

I Am Not a Number! I Am a Free-Form Adjective!

I think the key to better Fudge is to divorce the trait ladder from numerical values.* Think in terms of the adjectives and what they mean to your character and the adventure. If you were to consider it from the character's point of view, would you really assess your attempt at a task to be +1 or -2 or any other number? If Fudge is intended to be a game that maximizes role-playing and minimizes out-of-character terminology, why should it be cluttered with the distraction of unnecessary numbers?

Personally, if I have a choice to have or not have a headache, I prefer to choose the latter. Fudge without numbers equals pain-free role-playing for me.

* By "better," I mean more intuitive, freer flowing. Your interpretation may differ.

09 May 2021

Elementary Fudge: Character Creation

My journey with Fudge has ultimately been about simplification, and I think this "build" may represent its final destination. Perhaps. Time and playtesting will tell. This is the character creation process I would like to implement in future Fudge sessions. It it proves playable, I intend to expand it with rules pertaining to character development.

The reader will note that this version (tentatively entitled Elementary Fudge) does away with point distribution, trait lists, and divisions between attributes and skills. Instead of attributes and skills, characters have descriptors, which are similar to professions or classes in other role-playing games. They are broad traits limited only by the player's imagination and the GM's approval. Since there are no attributes to serve as the basis for resistance or avoidance rolls, an appropriate descriptor may be substituted. If no descriptor is appropriate, the standard default trait level is Mediocre.

It will be apparent to some that Elementary Fudge is inspired by Risus: The Anything RPG, which, in turn, was partially inspired by Fudge. Behold the Ouroboros.

This is a first draft, of course.

The Character Creation Procedure

Step One: Descriptors

List four descriptors at the following trait levels: one at Great, one at Good, one at Fair, and one at Poor. Any descriptor not listed is assumed to be Mediocre. (A descriptor is a trait in the form of an occupation, whether it is a vocation, an avocation, or simply a notable aspect of one's persona. It is always a noun, but it may include one or more adjectives.)

Alternatively, list six descriptors as follows: one at Superb, one at Great, one at Good, one at Fair, one at Poor, and one at Terrible.

The third option is simply to list three descriptors at Fair.

It should be noted that any descriptor assigned a trait level of Poor or Terrible ought to have as significant an impact on a character as a Great or Superb descriptor. If such a descriptor is comparatively trivial, then the GM may assume it is intended as a hook or complication and treat it accordingly.

Step Two: Advantages and Disadvantages

List one or more advantages (with GM approval) and an equal number of disadvantages. Advantages and disadvantages ought to be of equivalent power, but a strong advantage may be balanced by several weaker disadvantages or vice versa. (Advantages and disadvantages are the same as gifts and faults.)

Step Three: Motivations

List one or more motivations. This gives the GM some guidance about the sort of goals and challenges that would interest the player and/or character.

As an example, a character might look like this:

Charlotte Chevalier, Reporter

Ambitious and Resourceful Reporter: Great
Crack Shot: Good
Daredevil Driver/Aviatrix: Fair
Enthusiastic Dancer: Poor
Advantages: Patron: Editor of a Big Metropolitan Newspaper
Disadvantages: Recklessly Brave
Motivations: To Show Up Her Disapproving Prominent Family; To Get the Scoop of the Century

25 April 2021

Exceptional Traits Remixed

This article is a slight correction to the way I was thinking about traits in Exceptional Traits for Fudge. Two of the sample characters, initially described in Descriptive Traits for Sherpa and Quasi-Descriptive Traits for Sherpa, have wording that makes less sense in Fudge. Charlotte Chevalier, for example, has Sharp as a Tack (Mind): Good for one trait. "Sharp as a Tack" is a loose description of a trait and its level — not a trait in and of itself. For better clarity, I would list the traits of these two characters in the following manner:

Charlotte Chevalier, Reporter (15 levels allocated)

Reporter: Great ("Ambitious")
Aviatrix: Great ("Daredevil")
Marksmanship: Great
Driver: Fair
Mind: Good ("Sharp as a Tack")
Body: Fair ("Tough Cookie")
Spirit: Great ("Sassy and Irrepressible")
Reflexes: Poor ("Klutzy")
Advantages: Patron: Editor of a Big Metropolitan Newspaper, Press Pass
Disadvantages: Obsessed with Dance (and Has Two Left Feet), Recklessly Brave
Complications: Her Prominent Family's Disapproval of Her Lifestyle
Motivations: To Show Up Her Family, To Get the Scoop of the Century

Oliver Rath, Police Detective (15 levels allocated)

Police Detective: Great
Boxer: Good
Poker Player: Good
Driver: Good
Mind: Great ("Like a Steel Trap")
Body: Good ("Tough as a Boot")
Spirit: Poor ("World Weary")
Reflexes: Good ("Agile When He Needs to Be")
Advantages: Photographic Memory, Law Enforcement Authority
Disadvantages: Lives in a Bad Neighborhood, Coffee Addiction
Complications: Is a Widower with Two Children
Motivations: To Provide for His Children, To Be the Best Damned Cop He Can Be

The descriptions are optional. Some trait/level combinations lend themselves easily to descriptions; some do not. The choice, as always, is yours.

[Edit: Upon re-examining the other sample characters, I noticed they, too, could benefit from this minor alteration (perhaps with the exception of Sam Turnstile).]

28 March 2021

E-Mail-Friendly Fudge Dice Roller

Sometimes I like to do a Google search for "FudgeRPG" and see if there is anything new (or anything at all written by me) in the results. Today, I discovered an online Fudge dice roller for use in online games (presumably play-by-e-mail). The PBE Games: Fudge Dice Roller enables one to set the base level, apply a modifier, and include a description for up to five rolls in one e-mail. I haven't played Fudge online (yet), but this seems to be a useful tool.

27 February 2021

Random Potion Description Generator

Sometimes it is expedient to use a random table to generate treasure that may be found by player characters in the course of their adventures. What these tables often lack, however, are descriptions, which are left to the GM to invent if he or she is so inclined. The following tables are designed to help GMs concoct spur-of-the-moment descriptions of one particular type of treasure: potions.

Roll on as many or few of the tables as desired to create a description for any magical potion. If, like me, you are not an advocate of the philosophy that all enchanted and/or cursed items are identical unless used, worn, or consumed, then you might find it useful to make a note of any descriptions generated. Then, whenever the item is encountered again, the player characters will be able to recognize what it is likely to be. Note that any description does not necessarily indicate what all potions of that variety are like, but what that particular recipe is like. Healing potions from different regions or different schools of healing craft may be very different from one another yet have the same curative properties. Potions with very different effects may also have have similar descriptions. Careful adventurers who catalogue the descriptions and effects of various potions should be rewarded for their efforts by a faithful consistency in representing previously encountered potion recipes.

These tables are not all-encompassing. Although it is possible to generate a wide variety of descriptions using them, the GM is advised to add extra details to complete the potion description. For instance, a randomly generated potion might be described as transparent, syrupy, sweet, and hot, with a hint of clover. Another potion could be opaque, syrupy, sweet, and cool, with a silvery blue color and tasting faintly of raspberries. Any two different potions may have one or more qualities in common (including extra details), but none will have all of them in common. If they do, then they are of the same recipe, and thus possess the same properties.

These tables are for use with Fudge dice, but a d6 [or, indeed, a d3 or d5 as appropriate] may be substituted.

Table A

Table B

Table C

Table D

Bonus potion: The potion of aquatic existence is translucent, effervescent, salty, cold, green in color, luminescent in the dark, and similar to broccoli in flavor. It grants the drinker the ability to exist comfortably underwater for seven days. The beneficiary of this enchantment is able to breathe underwater, survive the pressures of the greatest depths, and withstand the coldest waters with no harm whatsoever.

These tables are meant to generate descriptions for previously determined potions, but the potion above is an example of generating the description first and inventing a potion based on the results. The extra details were added once I decided on the nature of the potion.

[Originally posted in Fudgery.net/fudgerylog on 27 May 2011.]

30 January 2021

A Faulty Nomenclature Is No Gift

I am not the first to complain about the terms "gift" and "fault" as they are used in Fudge. How can virtues such as Honesty or Code of Honor be faults? They are limitations of a sort, to be sure. One could even call them disadvantages, which is certainly more accurate and descriptive, but they are in no way faults. If anything, they are strengths. I am aware that "advantage" and "disadvantage" were avoided because of their use in GURPS, but those terms are not trademarked, and let's face it, they are self-explanatory, which is really the ultimate test of rules clarity, especially for a game like Fudge. So, in my own games, I'll be trading "gift" and "fault" for "advantage" and "disadvantage" because I will take any measure necessary to reduce confusion and get to the role-playing as quickly as possible.

31 December 2020

Fudge Forward 2021

Let's make 2021 the year we play more Fudge and make (or revive) more Fudge-focused Web logs.

30 November 2020

Fudge Thought of the Day 2020-11-30

Sometimes I wonder if Fudge might benefit from "swingier" results than are typically afforded by 4dF. I know some consider heavily centered rolls to be preferable, but I consider it somewhat less than exciting. Using 3dF or 2dF increases the randomness, but also reduces the range of possible results. Still, if it smooths the curve a bit, it might be worth trying.

25 October 2020

In Memory of Fan Sites

One of the things I really miss about the 1990s and the early 2000s was the proliferation of dedicated RPG fan sites. Before the blogs, gaming hobbyists built their own sites through which they could share their house rules, settings, and variants, and they often reached their audience with the help of Web rings whereby sites could link with other sites of the same interest. Fudge was one of those games that benefited from the creativity and prolificacy of its fan-maintained sites, and my own Fudgery.net was my modest contribution (unfortunately close to the end of the Golden Age of RPG fan sites).

Fan sites were surpassed by Web logs, and link pages were rapidly made obsolete by broken links, just as Web logs were, in time, eclipsed by Google+. Now that Google+ has been relegated to the dustbin of bittersweet nostalgia, blogs are making a comeback. I recently started a fifth gaming blog (as if trying to post regularly to four of them were not difficult enough), and although I enjoy the medium (even as I acknowledge that I am really just whispering into the hurricane), I still find myself yearning for those oases of the Internet where hobbyists shared their lore, their expertise, and their passion with likeminded explorers. Most of those well-loved sites are gone, like the fanzines of yore, but they are not forgotten. Rest in peace, Fudge fan sites in particular. You were Superb.