My quest to run a Fudge game

Fudge I’ve been flirting with the Fudge RPG for quite a while now. It was in April 2009 when I wrote about my plans to run an urban fantasy/horror game for my girlfriend using FUDGE. Alas this game never left the early planning phase. Recently I have thought about a SF game using that system and again, I had huge problems getting started. What is it that makes it so hard to get a Fudge game up and running?

One of the advantages of Fudge is it’s toolbox nature. Especially in it’s 10th Anniversary edition it contains a plethora of rules options that GMs can incorporate into their game. While this may be great if you already have a firm grasp of what you want do do, it’s pretty much overwhelming for a new Fudge GM. It’s like drinking from the proverbial firehose. Albeit of the fact that each basic rule in Fudge is pretty easy compared to some other games I’ve played and run, the sheer amount of options make it extremely hard to get started.

So, what can you do to cope with that issue? I asked around on Twitter and got some excellent feedback. My thanks go to @shaneknysh, @sinisterforces, @thedeadone and @dorkland for showing me several ways to getting started. Aside from that I talked to a friend of mine from Germany who used Fudge to run several campaigns.

He picked up Fudge to solve some issues he had with the game he has been running up to that point. One of these games was Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) which has a pretty silly task resolution mechanic. So he used the Fudge rules to build his version of DSA. I can see why this approach makes it much easier to get started with Fudge than mine. If you already have a game in mind you want to replace by Fudge you already have some solid foundations to build upon.

But I am trying to use Fudge out of other reasons. I just like the basic task resolution mechanic using Fudge days and that everything is ranked by adjectives and not plain numbers. This makes eyeballing difficulty levels etc. and designing monsters/vehicles/etc. much easier. But because I am starting from scratch things get more complicated. The advice I got from a lot of people was to pick a foundation to start from.

This foundation could be Five Point Fudge by Fudge’s author Steven O’Sullivan which basically is a pre-selection of rules, skills, etc. that a GM can use to get started quickly. Another approach is to rely only on the rules from “Fudge in a Nutshell” and let the players come up with their skills, gifts and faults during character creation. Of course I could come up with a list of skills of my own, but why not let the players do that for you. The positive side effect is that you get a better understanding of what your players want out of the game that way. And that’s exactly the approach I want to take. “Fudge in a Nutshell” contains all the basic rules needed to run the game, the rest can easily be improvised. If I think the game is missing anything I can always check the 10th Anniversary Edition for some fitting rules and add them to my game.

So, what do you think about my approach? Have you run Fudge before and if so, what helped you to get into the game? As always any comment is highly appreciated!