Fudge Scale Examples

These comments copyright 2000 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated February 20, 2000

The following table is based on an idea by Peter Mikelsons. Though it assigns different scales to various creatures than his table, the idea is still the same.

Peter suggested that since the Strength Scale is used for mass, that we simply assign a Scale to a given species or item based on mass. This is quite logical, but does have some problems, discussed after the table.

Regardless of flaws, the system has a lot of advantages. For example, say you wish to introduce a new race into your Fudge game, and you know it's of a different Scale than humans, but you're not sure exactly what Scale it should be. It now becomes easy: find the species in the example column below that most closely matches the mass of the race you wish to introduce. Voila - you have your Scale!

It's important to remember to categorize an entire species by Scale, not just individuals. Figure what you consider to be the mass of an average adult member of the species, male and female included. Then look that figure up on the table. Individuals within a race then will vary in Strength using the Terrible ... Fair ... Superb levels, but all be of the same Scale.

Note, however, that there are other ways to do this: in some species, males and females are actually of different Scales. In other species, such as the water vole listed below ("Ratty," of Wind in the Willows fame), there can be a seasonal variation.

The table can also be used for quick relative lifting ability. If you feel the average human can lift 100 pounds (45 kg) without straining oneself, then a member of a humanoid fantasy race of Scale -10 could probably lift 1.7 lbs (0.8 kg) without straining oneself. Of course, this won't necessarily be true for species with different musculature: lifting capacity is heavily influenced by physical structure.

[And, in fact, the square-cube law assures us that physical structure will be different for differently Scaled creatures. Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians must have very different bone structures from normal humans, for example. But you can ignore all that unless you're a stickler for scientific accuracy even in a fantasy game ... in which case Fudge is probably too freeform for your tastes, anyway.]

If you find something of a weight somewhere in between two of the listed weights, assign it to the closest Scale that meets your needs. If something weighs 900 pounds (410 kg) for example, is that Scale 4 or Scale 5? It depends on the GM's needs: if you need something the PCs can overcome without too much effort, then it's Scale 4. If you need something a little tougher, then it's Scale 5. And so on.

Note: measurements are approximate, as suits a game called Fudge.
(Oz = ounce, lb = pound, tn = ton, g = gram, kg = kilogram, t = metric ton.)

    Scale     Mass        Mass
              (US)      (Metric)
    -19       1 oz        30 g
    -18     1.5 oz        45 g
    -17     2.4 oz        70 g
    -16     3.6 oz       100 g
    -15     5.5 oz       150 g
    -14       8 oz       230 g
    -13      12 oz       350 g
    -12       1 lb      0.5 kg
    -11     1.7 lb      0.8 kg
    -10       3 lb      1.2 kg
     -9       4 lb        2 kg
     -8       6 lb        3 kg
     -7       9 lb        4 kg
     -6      13 lb        6 kg
     -5      20 lb        9 kg
     -4      30 lb       13 kg
     -3      45 lb       20 kg
     -2      68 lb       30 kg
     -1     100 lb       45 kg
      0     150 lb       68 kg
     +1     225 lb      100 kg
     +2     333 lb      150 kg
     +3     500 lb      225 kg
     +4     750 lb      333 kg
     +5    1125 lb      500 kg
     +6    1687 lb      750 kg
     +7    1.25 tn       1.1 t
     +8       2 tn       1.7 t
     +9       3 tn       2.6 t
    +10     4.5 tn         4 t
    +11     6.5 tn         6 t
    +12      10 tn         9 t
    +13      15 tn      13.5 t
    +14      22 tn        20 t
    +15      33 tn        30 t
    +16      50 tn        45 t
    +17      75 tn        67 t
    +18     112 tn       100 t
    +19     165 tn       150 t
    ...     ...          ...
    +24    1300 tn      1200 t

    Scale  Species Example               Item Example
    -19    mouse                         walnut, politician's brain
    -18    field vole
    -17    garden mole
    -16    chipmunk, hamster
    -15    pika, water vole (winter)     apple, baseball, billiard ball
    -14    weasel, water vole (summer)
    -13    common rat                    pliers
    -12    gray squirrel                 soccer ball, pint of water
    -11    ferret
    -10    marten                        human brain, cabbage, liter of water
     -9    skunk
     -8    rabbit
     -7    house cat                     gallon of water
     -6    fisher, tasmanian devil
     -5    fox, jackal
     -4    badger, otter                 ripe watermelon
     -3    coyote
     -2    medium dog
     -1    large dog, cheetah
      0    human, hyena, deinonychus
     +1    leopard, puma
     +2    black bear
     +3    lion, tiger, utahraptor
     +4    grizzly bear
     +5    alligator, horse
     +6    bison                         a blue whale's heart
     +7    great white shark             compact car
     +8    killer whale, stegosaurus     passenger van
     +9    mastodon, allosaurus
    +10    tyranosaurus rex              small truck, comanche helicopter
    +11    African elephant              a blue whale's tongue, armored car
    +12    titanosaurus
    +13    bruhathkayosaurus             Greyhound bus
    +14    gray whale, alamosaurus       18-wheeler truck
    +15    apatosaurus (brontosaurus)    small modern tank
    +16    brachiosaurus
    +17    right whale                   main battle tank
    +18    blue whale, 2000 AD
    +19    blue whale before overhunting Boeing 747
    +20                                  Statue of Liberty
    ...    ...                           ...
    +24    Giant Sequoia (2,200+ yrs)    large 17th-century galleon, small
                                         WWII destroyer

For additional levels above +19, simply multiply mass by 1.5 for each level. Likewise, for levels below -19, divide mass by 1.5. Although this table is humano-centric, humans are actually very large creatures. A mouse is more likely to be Scale 0 when you take all living creatures into consideration (which is left as an exercise for the reader to pursue if desired ...).

Flaws of this system: Scale doesn't take combat specialization into account. As an example, a weasel is Scale -6 relative to a rabbit, but in a one-on-one fight, a weasel will win more often than a rabbit. This is because a weasel is an extremely efficient killer, and most rabbits go into shock when attacked by a carnivore. As another example, the author of Fudge was once walking down a country road in New Hampshire (USA) when he startled a fisher (Martes pennanti) by the side of the road. The fisher angrily charged him, and it was the human that beat a hasty retreat, despite the +6 Scale advantage. At the time, it sure did look as if those teeth and claws belonged to a much larger creature ... While it's true a fisher probably wouldn't be able to kill a human the way a weasel can kill a rabbit, this is largely because a human is a much more effective fighter than a rabbit, overall.

At any rate, if you remember to take fighting efficiency into account, you will know when not to subtract Scale from damage (or subtract only some of it) when a creature of smaller Scale attacks a larger creature.

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