Fudge (role-playing game system)

Infobox RPG

designer=Steffan O'Sullivan
publisher=Grey Ghost Press

"Fudge" is a generic role-playing game system for use in freeform role-playing games. The name "FUDGE" was once an acronym for "Freeform Universal Donated" (later, "Do-it-yourself") "Gaming Engine" [citation| author=J. Andrew Kitkowski|url=http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_3576.html|title=FUDGE Expanded edition (Review)|accessdate=2007-09-24|publisher=RPGnet] and, though the acronym has since been dropped, that phrase remains a good summation of the game's design goals. "Fudge" has been nominated for an Origins Award for "Best Role-Playing Game System" for the "Deryni Role-Playing Game".cite press release| title =Academy announces Origins Award Nominations| publisher =Game Manufacturers Association| date =2006-03-15| url =http://gama.org/news-articles/academy-announces-origins-award-nominations#OX4-IMw6yIaqKiqvrHst1Q| accessdate =2007-09-24 ] Citation| title =FUDGE Deryni Adventure Game| date =2006-03-17| year =2000| url =http://derynirealms.com/| accessdate = 2007-09-24 ]

Rather than being a rigidly pre-defined set of rules like "d20 System" or "GURPS", "Fudge" offers a customizable toolkit for building the users' own specialized role-playing game system. Such things as what attributes and skills will define characters are left to be determined by the Game Master and players, and several different optional systems for resolving actions and conflicts are offered. "Fudge" is not tied to any particular genre or setting and world builders are encouraged to invent appropriate attributes and rules tailored to the campaign.Citation| last =Kitkowski| first =Andrew| title =FUDGE Expanded Edition: Playtest Review| date =2000-11-14| year =2000| url =http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_3576.html| accessdate = 2007-09-24 ]


The project that would lead to "Fudge" was first proposed by Steffan O'Sullivan on 17 November 1992 on the rec.games.design newsgroup, [ [http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.design/msg/4dc266facabc766f net.rpg.freeform 1 of 2] ] and over the following months that online community would contribute to the directed project. [ [http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.design/msg/03ec8dc478bdc253 net.rpg.freeform 2 of 2] ] One of the earliest stipulations of O'Sullivan was that the basic system would always remain free to the public over the internet, and the PDF of the 1995 version still is. [http://www.panix.com/~sos/rpg/fud-des.html Fudge Designer's notes] ] The 1995 version of "Fudge" is available under a non-commercial Open Content licence. Grey Ghost Press, with the endorsement of Steffan O'Sullivan, publishes an expanded form of the "Fudge" system. There have been three Grey Ghost editions, the most current being the "Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition", which includes several suggested rules systems for common RPG elements and an example basic fantasy "build" of the game.

In March 2004, Grey Ghost acquired the copyright of "Fudge", and in April 6, 2005, they released a version of "Fudge" under Open Gaming License. The OGL license has allowed the "FATE role-playing game" to use "Fudge" as its underlying mechanic.

In 1999 "Pyramid" magazine named "Fudge" as one of "The Millennium's Most Underrated Games". Editor Scott Haring stated that "Fudge" is an extremely flexible, rules-light system. It works great, and everybody who plays it, loves it. Why isn't it more popular? I dunno." [cite journal| title=Second Sight: The Millennium's Most Influential Company and The Millennium's Most Underrated Game|journal=Pyramid (online)|last=Haring| first=Scott D.| url= http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/login/article.html?id=1240| date=1999-11-25| accessdate=2008-02-16]


At the time "Fudge" was conceived, it was stylish to give role-playing games acronyms for names (for instance, "GURPS", "TWERPS", "QAGS") and originally the usenet design project referred to the game as "SLUG", for "Simple Laid-back Universal Game". However, this was soon changed to "FUDGE" for "Free-form Universal Donated Gaming Engine", but also because the word invoked connotations of an easy to make source of fun. This again was changed when Grey Ghost Press released their 1995 hardcopy version of the game, to "Free-form Universal Do-it-yourself Gaming Engine". With the publication of the Expanded Edition in 2000, the fad for acronym-based names had long since faded, and the writer and the publisher both felt that the forced acronym had become irrelevant. The game has been referred to officially as just "Fudge" ever since, though fans often still refer to it in the old manner as "FUDGE".

Game mechanics

In "Fudge", character Traits such as Attributes and Skills, are rated on a seven-level, ascending adjective scale: "Terrible, Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good, Great," and "Superb."

"Fudge" characters can also have Gifts and Faults, which are positive and negative traits that do not fit into the adjective scale.

"Fudge" uses customized "Fudge" dice" on which the traditional pips or numbers have been replaced by plus, minus and blank sides, one third of each. A number of these dice are rolled, usually four at a time ("4dF" in Fudge dice notation), and for every plus side that comes up the result of using the Trait is considered one step higher (e.g. from "Fair" to "Good") and for every minus side that comes up the result is considered one step lower. The goal is to match or surpass the difficulty level, also on the adjective scale, of the test. Thus, a "Good" attribute is considered to be "Great" if you were to roll two plus sides, one minus side, and one blank—the minus side cancel out one of the plus sides and the remaining plus side raises the result by one step. The same "Good" attribute would be considered "Poor" if you were to roll three minus sides and one blank.

There are also several alternative dice systems available that use regular six-sided or ten-sided dice, coins, or playing cards.


The rules of "Fudge" are highly customizable and can be adjusted for the level of simplicity or complexity desired by the Game Master and Players. Overall, the system is designed to encourage role-playing over strict adherence to an arbitrary set of rules. In fact, the main "Fudge" documents encourage players to "Just Fudge It"; that is, to focus on the story being created rather than on the game rules. For example, one character creation method encourages players to first write prose descriptions of their characters then translate those into "Fudge" Traits.


External links

* Grey Ghost Press' [http://www.fudgerpg.com/fudge.html "Fudge" webpage]
* Seraphim Guard's [http://www.seraphim-guard.com webpage] . Seraphim Guard publishes "HeartQuest", the first commercially published "Fudge"-based role-playing game, in addition to other Fudge games, and support for other gaming systems as well.
* The Unofficial "Fudge" RPG Forum, used by many of the authors of "Fudge" products. [http://www.fudgeforum.com/ "Fudge Forum" webpage]
* The Fudge Guide [http://www.fudgerpg.info home Wiki webpage]

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