There's nothing terrible about it!
These comments copyright 2011 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated August 1, 2011
2011 I made a change to how I'm running Fudge. This
is a little traumatic, as it's the first big change for me in
Fudge gaming since 1995. This is an explanation of
the change, and I'm answering some potential questions.
I call this implementation VG Fudge where "VG" stands
for "Very Good." There's nothing terrible about it! I will add
"VG Fudge" to any character sheets I post to the web using the new
system, so you don't accidentally use the wrong characters. I will
leave up the old characters on the web for those players playing
standard Fudge who might need to download some characters
in a hurry to play a game starting right now.
It's easy to state the change - it's very minor in appearance, though
fairly major in application. To put it briefly, in my GMing, I've changed the
standard Fudge word ladder to:
That's it. No other major changes. Still seven levels, still easy
to remember, still easy to know which is better or worse than any
That's really all the announcement there is. I'll now answer some
hypothetical questions, and then a note about translating
Savage Worlds to VG Fudge.
Questions and Answers
- Q: Is this an official change to Fudge?
- A: No. I no longer own the copyright to
Fudge and therefore have no authority to make official
- Q: Would it be an official change if you had that
- A: Only if I could get somebody else to do the massive
amount of work required to change all existing published characters
to the new system!
- Q: Why did you do this?
- A: Because I felt the need for a little more distance
between Fair and Superb - and even between Good and Superb. I was
uncomfortable how often a Good swordsman could beat a Superb
swordsman. YMMV. And it's not hard to notice that players like
their characters to have more positive skills than negative ones,
so it's good to have more variety in the positive levels. The
biggest problem with the new system is that now a Superb swordsman
rolls, at worst, a Fair result. However, this is actually covered
by the concept of Critical Failure: a -4 result is always a negative
result (a botch, a fumble - whatever you want to call it), no matter
what your skill level. With such a roll, even a Mediocre swordsman will
beat you with a simple +1 result.
- Q: So why not leave in Terrible and make it eight levels?
- A: Because I don't think it's really necessary to have
three negative levels. And long ago I read an interesting journal
article on lists and memory. The percentage of people who can
remember six items is very close to those who can remember seven.
But there's a much larger gap in trying to remember eight items.
Seven seems to be the maximum list size for the general population
to be comfortable handling. Seven is a magic number.
- Q: May I see a character sheet to see what it looks like?
- A: Yes! In August 2011 I started posting files in the
VG Fudge format to the top of the Fudge Characters
page on my website, starting with the Bunny characters. (If you
notice any typos or other errors in the characters, please let me
know!) I hope to convert other characters to this version of
Fudge later this year, but it'll be a while because
I'm taking the opportunity to revise and balance the characters,
based on player reactions over the past few years. That's a lengthy
process, and a lot of work.
- Q: Should I be doing this too?
- A: My answer
to questions like this has never changed since Fudge
was first conceived: you should run Fudge the way
you enjoy it, whatever that may be. That's what it's all about.
I want to stress this. The only reason I've even given this
variant a "name" is so I can put it on the character sheets so you
won't accidently try to use them and get confused. The only reason
I'm making this big a deal out of it is because people get nervous
when a designer doesn't play his own game as it is written. I want
to reassure you that if you're playing standard Fudge,
I think that's Great - Superb, even! It makes my day. So this
variant is not something you need to do at all, honest.
- Q: Will you never again play Fudge with the old
- A: I will happily be a player in a game where
the GM is using the old word ladder (or one of her own customization),
no worries! But in games I GM, I'll use the new word ladder from
now on. The only exceptions I can see are quickly organized games
where I don't have character sheets in the VG system, but do in
the standard system, such as those in Another
Fine Mess (an excellent adventure, BTW).
- Q: Well, then, why not convert the characters in
Another Fine Mess to the VG system?
- A: I
hope to someday, but I can't really post them without permission
since I don't own the copyright. And I'm hampered
in that I don't have them in electronic format. And, as I said
above, it's a lot of work. I'm not the kind of person who can just
use global replacements for this sort of thing - I have to tinker
with the characters as I translate.
Savage Worlds to VG Fudge
Savage Worlds is a popular game whose system feels
a bit clunky to me, always having break the mood to determine which
dice to use, and whose mechanics sometimes return a result where
it's better to have lower skill. Still, it has a lot of fans and
a lot of support material, and a certain cinematic style I admire.
There are even a number of free adventures on the publisher's
website. So I've been happy to discover that it's very easy to
convert to VG Fudge!
First, "Edges" are simply Gifts and "Hinderances" Faults.
You can use "Exploding dice" simply by rolling again if you get +4,
and add any more plus results to the score, ignoring any minus or
If you wanted the "Wild card" and Joker effects (you could
just ignore them), you could play with different colored Fudge dice
and require certain colors to be plus results to trigger a Wild
Card Edge, for example. Or, more simply, just treat Wild Card
Edges as a Supernormal Power, costing two Gifts.
Then, simply use the following table, and anything else can be imported
pretty much unchanged:
d4 = Mediocre
d6 = Fair
d8 = Good
d10 = Very Good
d12 = Great
d12+X = Superb
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