Fudge & Labyrinth Lord
This is an organization of my thoughts on using Fudge Dice, and the Fudge resolution mechanic, to provide an easy way to make snap rulings based on PC ability scores and Levels using the Labyrinth Lord rule-system (and within the game systems it attempts to emulate). Fudge and Labyrinth Lord are both released under the OGL, as is this article if anybody finds use for it. These rules are also written with some notes about fudge as I won’t assume everyone has played it before, and it also assumes you enjoy tossing all manner of dice around the table.
In labyrinth Lord, ability scores provide bonuses to any roles relevant to them that run from +3 to -3 [pg. 6-7]. While the actual ability scores give the Labyrinth Lord, and the Players, a rough estimate of the characters abilities relative to other characters, they are not used mechanically much at all, except to determine the relevant bonuses (and occasionally as a minimum level for some task in a published module).
Fudge uses a very simple mechanic for determining the success or failure of an action called the Ladder:
Your PC has an ability score rated on this ladder, and when an action that needs randomized resolution is encountered the game Master rates the difficulty of that action on ladder as well, then 4 dice marked -, 0, +, twice are rolled, and the actual performance of the Character represents their starting ability moved up the ladder once for each + and moved down the ladder once for each -. So if I have an Aim of good, and I want to shoot at a moving target the Game Master might rate that as requiring a Superb shot, if I roll at least +2 then I’ve made the shot, if not then I’ve missed it since Superb is two steps higher than Good. In the past I’d say I’ve probably played fudge more often then any other system simply because the Ladder makes it easy to run a game entirely by the seat of your pants, once you’ve described a scene you can use those words to make an instant inference of the game rules necessary.
When using fudge as an action resolution mechanic in Labyrinth Lord several assumptions are made, first your only using Fudge for those tasks not covered by an existing mechanic (such as to hit or detect hidden doors), and that you only resort to it when the players description and the environment don’t seem to dictate a logical result. Each Labyrinth Lord character, for the purposes of these rules, has at least three things marked on their character sheet. Their ability score, their bonus for that ability score (+3 for an 18, +2 for a 16-17, +1 for a 13-15, 0 for a 9-12, -1 for a 6-8, -2 for a 4-5, and -3 for a 3), and their fudge descriptive word for that bonus (Superb for a +3, Great for a +2, good for a +1, Fair for a 0, Mediocre for a -1, poor for a -2, and terrible for a -3). In order for these rules to work it is imperative that PC’s are rolled with 3d6 six times, since any bonuses would break the ladder if every fighter has a Superb strength and every Magic-User has a Superb Intellect, although this is how I game anyways so it really doesn’t change anything for me.
A PC gets an Automatic +1 to any task with which he should reasonably have experience (such as something relating to his background or his class, the background should be limited to a single trade), and an additional +1 for every three levels in their class should the task be class relevant (such as a Fighting man trying to slap together armor from found bits, or a Magic user trying to deal with the politics of the local school of magic). At higher levels The level based bonus does mean that failing a fumble (—-) the PC can succeed at almost any class related task, but keep in mind the scale of higher level play, where PC’s have to command entire domains, or are off fighting Immortal gods, in these cases the characters ability can be scaled down by a reasonable number of rungs. Bonuses can also be bled off if you allow players to lower their effective fudge ability descriptor by one rung for one session in order to automatically succeed at some reasonable task (for example a “good” strength could be reduced to a “fair” strength until the end of the session (or some in-game time span) in return for being able to automatically lift a boulder off a comrade, or some similar task). Another way to maintain the ladder in the face of higher level PC’s would be to use the Game Designers own house-rule for “very good fudge” sacrificing one of the negative rungs for another rung just above good.
If you are the sort of Gamer who detests multiple special use dice you could forgo the Fudge dice altogether and use two differently colored D6’s subtracting one from the other, or two D4’s in the same way, though this gives different results.