I love Dungeons and Dragons. But I also know that it isn’t the ‘forever TTRPG’ for everyone – some people are just looking for something different. You could jury-rig 5th edition to either complicate or streamline things further. Or you can check out alternative systems!
If what you want is a less rules-intensive, more roleplay-heavy game, with an emphasis on the storytelling and collaborative aspects of the game, one of the simplest and most accessible options is a game using the Fudge system.
What is the Fudge system?
The Fudge system is a generic roleplaying system that uses 4 six-sided dice. These dice are intended to be specific FUDGE dice (with 2 plus signs, 2 minus signs, and 2 blank sides), but can also be substituted with standard d6s, treating 1-2 as a minus, 3-4 as a blank, and 5-6 as a plus. Some editions also provide alternate options for using the system with a deck or cards, coins, or d10s.
Characters, in turn, have abilities described on a scale of 7 adjectives: Terrible, Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good, Great, and Superb. When you attempt to use on of your abilities, you have a result determined and described by the adjective associated with the skill, modified by a dice roll, with each plus increasing the adjective scale by a single level and each minus similarly decreasing it.
There are also Gifts and Faults, which generally alter your abilities, what you can roll for, and how you are meant to play your character. And various versions might complicate or simplify the scale further.
Overall, it’s a simple system, wherein you’re mostly meant to ‘fudge’ things as you play. No rules-lawyering allowed!
Specific Fate/Fudge Systems
Luckily, there are plenty of options for Fudge. The core system (as well as games under the Fate system, which is built from the Fudge ruleset, and is used as a relative synonym in this article) are both designed to be used across genres, so simply perusing the starter manuals for either will get you started on a Fantasy or Sci-Fi adventure pretty quickly.
Or, if you want something more specific, you can try one of the following:
Monster of the Week
Inspired by so-called ‘monster of the week’ television shows like X-files. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Supernatural, in which each episode is spent fighting and new and interesting threat, Monster of the Week is one of the most popular Fate-system games. It includes a character-class system alongside Fudge’s Gifts and Traits, from the god-touched Divine, to the not-human anymore Monstrous, to the too-old-for-this Professional.
There are plenty of resources for this game online, making it a great starting point for players who are new to the system.
Another Fine Mess
Animal and magic lovers alike are likely to enjoy Another Fine Mess – a one-shot campaign to be played with the Fudge system. In it, you play as the animal familiars of a powerful wizard, trying to get him out of one of his little spots of trouble.
Don’t worry, you won’t need to get ahold of the whole rulebook, it includes everything that you need to play! Several characters are already created for you to use, with a variety of animals and class specializations, so set up is a breeze.
The Princess Bride Roleplaying Game
If you’re looking to brave the Fire Swamp, venture into the Pit of Despair, and maybe even do battle with the Dread Pirate Roberts, you’ll probably enjoy the Princess Bride Roleplaying Game.
This game was developed by one of the creators of the original Fudge system and makes good use of it. There are dozens of options to build a character perfectly suited to the world of the cult classic movie, all while maintaining that distinct self-aware literary flair that it’s so known for. You can play as Wesley and his Friends, the evil Prince Humperdinck and his cronies, or make entirely new characters to play and explore.
The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
If your type of fantasy is a little more urban, you might prefer the Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. Set in the world popularized by the novel (and then television) series of the same name, this game takes place in a world much like our own. In fact, it is our own, except that magic is real – a fact known to a vanishing few, with all the rules and regulations that you’d expect from the fae and the arcane. It takes a talented mage with a tough mind to deal with the trouble it’s factions cause, and that’s where you come in.
This is a much-decorated game, and fully compatible with the lore and worldbuilding of the Dresden Files novels. If you’re a fan of the books, definitely give this game a try!
Maybe The Princess Bride or Dresden Files just aren’t the specific series for you. That’s alright! Now Playing, created by a Fudge system publisher, gives you all the information you’ll need to adapt whatever show you like into the Fudge game style.
It includes character creation, GMing advice, and even plot-writing outlines for a variety of genres from sit-com to buddy-cop. The idea here is that you can essentially re-write the disappointing moments in your favorite shows and play them out as they really ought to have gone. It also includes a couple of modules to get you started!
Have you played any of the games we’ve listed above? Which was your favorite? Do you have a Fate or a Fudge game that you prefer to our choices? Let us know in the comments below!