[Freebies] FU: the Free, Universal Roleplaying Game

FU logo Recently I discovered FU, the free, universal roleplaying game by Nathan Russel.

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).

Task Resolution

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!

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.

One thought on “[Freebies] FU: the Free, Universal Roleplaying Game”

  1. I just discovered FU myself thanks to the recent review of it posted on RPGnet. I must say, I’m quite taken. I think it has a lot of potential and I like how the “Descriptors” are reminiscent of FATE’s “Aspects” but tackled in a system that is overall simpler and more friendly to introduce to new players. I will definately be trying my hardest to give FU a test run in the near future!

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