My experiences with Fudge

The Horror of Leatherbury House Last Friday I ran my first game of Fudge. An old friend visited me and asked me to run a roleplaying game since he hasn’t played in ages. At first he showed some interest in Esoterrorists, but then he told me that he would love to play the one-page dungeon I wrote for the 2009 One Page Dungeon Contest.

“The Horror Of Leatherbury House” is a short horror adventure set into the Victorian Age that was created with Call of Cthulhu in mind but basically works with every roleplaying game.

To keep things easy I decided each player should have three attributes (Body, Mind and Soul) and a set of broad skills. Initially I intended to let the players come up with skills for their characters, but then I just used some broad skill categories from the Fudge 10th Anniversary book. Each of the players was given 15 skill levels to distribute among the skills.

The whole character creation process took a couple of minutes and after picking some equipment, we were ready to go. The two characters were a Scotland Yard inspector who was on vacation in a small town in the English countryside and a mesmerist and occultist (played by my girlfriend) who had been asked by Lady Westmoreland to find out if there’s some truth to the claims that Leatherbury House is haunted.

Instead of creating detailed stats for each NPC, I just used one adjective to describe the abilities of NPCs. For example the zombies in room #6 were Mediocre. So whenever I had to roll for them, I assumed all their stats were Mediocre. This worked pretty well.

I also learned that combat can be quite deadly in Fudge. While no one was killed, at least one character was very hurt and the investigators had to retreat from the haunted mansion to tend their wounds and do some research.

But in the end they solved the mystery of Leatherbury House and buried the remains of the late Lord Winston. We all had a great time and Fudge worked like a charm. In my humble opinion it’s great for just eyeballing stuff. My style as a game master was always to improvise stuff instead of preparing everything, so that works great for me.

But I think next time I will try to at least prepare a proper skill list and some genre-appropriate gifts and faults. I also realized that for one-shot games using “Fudge in a Nutshell” is sufficient and it may be a great basis for longer games if you have access to the full rules so that you can add optional rules as needed.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “My experiences with Fudge”

  1. Seems like it would have been easier for you to adapt WRM to Fudge. That's pretty much what I'm doing (still working on it, had some real life issues get int the way).

    1) 3 Scales: Size, Mass, and Ability Level (ability sort of works like a replacement for overall character level from d20 … and also works as the replacement for TWERPS "Strength")
    2) 6 Attributes, cribbed from WRM/RAG: Warrior, Adept, Genius, Expert, Socialite
    3) no Fudge-like skills, instead low-cost Gifts that sort of grant a +1 to your roll if you've got it (sort of, because the relationship between "number of skills" and "value of bonus" is not linear)
    4) I'm planning on having a very light spell system, though you could easily adapt the spell systems from WRM or RAG.
    5) Fudge's Damage System, but with two different tracks: Wounds and Fatigue (with Fatigue being used for things like non-lethal damage, taking extra actions or putting extra effort into base actions, or for casting spells and using super-normal abilities)
    6) I'm also borrowing things from TWERPS, and using some of that material to help round-out the multi/meta-genre aspects of my rules.

    Anyway, tossing out what I'm saying about TWERPS-isms, you could easily have done it as "replace the WRM mechanics with Fudge mechanics, but keep the WRM structure". It probably would have worked quite well 🙂

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