At the core of FU are Descriptors. Descriptors are adjectives or short sentences that descibe one aspect of the character. Each character has four Descriptors: Body, Mind, Edge and Flaw. Examples for the Body Descriptor may be Nimble, Tough, Fragile. A character’s Edge may be “Use Bull Whip” or “Read Minds”.
In addition to that each character gets to pick two pieces of equipment that are described by an adjective and a noun like “Fancy Dress”, “Ancient Pocket Watch”, “Faithful Horse”.
The task resolution system is very elegant, easy and deeper than you would expect. Basically you roll a d6 and consult a chart (see image below).
When the circumstances, your descriptors or your equipment make the task at hand easier or harder, you get to roll more or less dice. If you are facing favourable conditions the highest die roll is kept as the result. If you are facing unfavourable conditions the lowest die result is kept.
The system also has a meta-game currency called FU points that you can spend to get rerolls or extra dice. You get back spent FU points by doing cool stuff and roleplaying your character.
The whole FU RPG fits into a 23-paged PDF, is free and there’s even a license that allows you to create your own games based on FU.
I haven’t played FU yet, but I think it could be perfect for one-shot games, especially when you don’t want to bog down things by a lot of rules. It might also be a great way to introduce people (including kids) into roleplaying. Character creation should be done in mere minutes and then the fun can begin!
The only drawback that I have seen so far is that the game has no rules for character advancement, but I think that can be easily remedied by adding additional Descriptors or acquiring additional Gear after each session.
The PDF contains a free pulp scenario called “Race to the Temple of Tot” and an appendix with example descriptors. The official website also has two variants available for download: “May the FU Be With You” (a Star Wars hack) and “I know Kung-FU” (a Matrix hack).
If you’re looking for a free and easy to learn game to run a one-shot game in any setting, look no further than FU!