FUDGE

From Academic Kids

Fudge, the Freeform Universal Do-it-Yourself Gaming Engine, is a generic role-playing game. Aptly described as a gaming engine, Fudge comes with neither a preset world nor a preset list of attributes for characters. Game masters, players, and world builders are free to invent appropriate attributes tailored to the campaign.

Fudge was written by Steffan O'Sullivan with extensive help from the rec.games.design community and is available for free on the Internet on a variety of sites, most notably FudgeRPG.com (http://www.fudgerpg.com/), the home of Grey Ghost Press. Grey Ghost Press also publishes a printed version of the game, "Fudge Expanded Edition," which includes a basic fantasy setting, along with other support material for the game.

"Traits" in Fudge, which consist of Attributes, Skills, Gifts, and Faults, are rated on an ascending verbal scale: Terrible, Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good, Great, Superb, and Legendary. Fudge uses customized six-sided dice with two plus signs, two minus signs, and two blank sides. 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. There are also several alternative dice systems available that use regular six-sided dice.

Many Fudge resources--from alternative rules to campaign information to world books--are available online. The Grey Ghost Games site links to many of them.

Fudge rules are highly simplified and the main Fudge documents encourages players to "Just Fudge It", a philosophy deeply opposed to rules lawyering and roll playing (focusing on die rolls and stats). It encourages players to first write a prose description of their characters then translate it into Fudge Traits.

One of the keys to the success of Fudge is that the author released it under a license that made it essentially "open" for non-commercial use. In March 2004, Grey Ghost acquired the copyright of Fudge. Grey Ghost is planning to release Fudge under a different "open" license, but the details are not yet known. The "open" license has allowed the FATE role-playing game to use Fudge as its underlying mechanic.

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