Simple Character Conversion Between FUDGE & Fantasy Realms RPG(TM)

Copyright (C) 1996 By Joseph W. Teller

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One of the recent popular ways of presenting character information, for NPCs and characters within 'generic' modules on the Internet and in some fanzine and professional publications is to use the terminology of Steffan O'Sullivan's FUDGE RPG Mechanics.

The reason is that the FUDGE mechanic is distributed on the Internet freely, and that its usage is encouraged by the author as a bridge to translate between many game systems.

I have written previously for FUDGE myself, having taken it and crafted from it the 'World of Wonders' superhero rpg. Although many FUDGE folks didn't like the outcome because it was not intended for 'free form' or 'near diceless' gaming, it gave me plenty of experience dealing with character conversions.

By presenting here a simple representation of translation, I hope to open more material to players and GMs of both Fantasy Realms and FUDGE. Expanding one's available gaming material is always important, from a GM's point of view, and having a organized way of doing this will make things easier if players want to bring their favorite character from another game system into Fantasy Realms or to use their Favorite Fantasy Realms Worldbase or characters with a different gaming mechanic (such as FUDGE).

This is not intended to be an absolute set of translation rules, these are suggested rules, and should be expanded by a GM to fit their own world bases. We are trying to deal purely with the basics of character translation.

Additionally, making the translation stay true to CONCEPT is more important then simple mathematics, and this must always be taken into mind when translating. A translated character or creature will NOT always fit within the parameters of basic construction in a particular Fantasy Realms worldbase. The important thing is that they remain true to their concept, not number-crunching.

Generally there are TWO value ratings of measurement used in FUDGE. The more well known is the 'standard' system, which uses eight word descriptions and adds the concept of 'Scale' to achieve ratings beyond this range in attributes and skill abilities. The second system is the one used in WOW FUDGE, labelled here as the 'Expanded' system, that uses ten word descriptions and then if necessary adds the concept of scale.

The differences between the two value ratings also reflects the differences in dice mechanics. Whereas the FUDGE system now uses a new system of dice mechanics that use special 'Fudge Dice', WOW FUDGE took the original method for FUDGE of using two ordinary six sided dice of different colors. The WOW FUDGE system is also designed with a larger scale to deal better with superhero concepts, which it we felt the standard system didn't handle as well.

When translating attributes from FUDGE to Fantasy Realms, first decide which attributes are equivalent to the standard one's used in Fantasy Realms, since FUDGE has no standard attributes. The following table gives the numeric equivalents to the verbal descriptions.

  STANDARD FUDGE         EXPANDED FUDGE     FANTASY REALMS VALUE
  --------------         --------------     --------------------
  Legendary+2             Legendary+1             10
  Legendary+1             Legendary                9
  Legendary               Incredible               8
  Superb                  Superb                   7
  Great                   Great                    6
  Good                    Good                     5
  Fair                    Fair                     4
  Mediocre                Mediocre                 3
  Poor                    Poor                     2
  Terrible                Terrible                 1
  Terrible-1              Awful                    0

When a FUDGE rating uses a SCALE modifier, it primarily does so for calculations based on Body/Mass. That is, those beings/creatures smaller or larger than normal humans get scale applied to their values.

The standard Scale chart used in FUDGE is as follows:

    Scale    Multiplier    Scale    Multiplier
   --------------------------------------------
     -11        0.01         5          7.5
     -10        0.02         6         10
     - 9        0.03         7         15
     - 8        0.04         8         25
     - 7        0.06         9         40
     - 6        0.1         10         60
     - 5        0.15        11         90
     - 4        0.2         12        130
     - 3        0.3         13        200
     - 2        0.5         14        300
     - 1        0.7         15        450
       0        1           16        650
       1        1.5         17       1000
       2        2.3         18       1500
       3        3.5         19       2500
       4        5           20       4000
   --------------------------------------------

In example, if a dragon is considered to be as large and powerful as twenty-five normal men, then on the FUDGE chart you would look up the Multiplier (25) and find the scale value (8). In Fantasy Realms this would be added to the creatures TOUGHNESS, LIFT and BODY (since Fantasy Realms is built with the concept that these three factors are very different and need seperate attributes). So a FAIR dragon, with a scale value of eight would get 4 base points in each of the attributes (for being FAIR) and would then add the scale value to this, ending with 12 in each of the three attributes.

If in translating scale your GM decides that a being/creature should be unevenly distributed, such as many creatures in the T'Phon Beastiary are, then the translation can be slightly different. For example, in Fantasy Realms a point of LIFT represents 25 lbs of unencumbered carrying capacity. A dragon with a 12 lift would only have 300 lbs worth of unencumbered lift ability, which would not be enough to carry two riders. It is suggested, if this sort of circumstance is important to the concept, that the GM take the total points that the dragon's scale in FUDGE represents, and split the points among the three attributes of Fantasy Realms as they see fit. Thus, in the example above, the base 4 points should remain in place, but the remaining 24 points can be moved around among the 3 attributes as fits the concept of the dragon.

Scale rarely actually comes into use in FUDGE, except when dealing with Super-powered characters, characters smaller than humans (like Dwarves or pixies), or larger than human races (Giants, Ogres, etc). If you are dealing with an animal or creature, it is highly recommended that you browse thru the Fantasy Realms RPG worldbook beastiary section for the world you are using or use the numbers from a close equivalent (ex: A riding horse in T'Phon should be about the same as a riding horse in most other worlds).

When translating a Fantasy Realms character into FUDGE, the concept of scale might be applied if the character race is particularly large or small. Points for scale should be deducted from TOUGHNESS, LIFT, and BODY before these attributes are translated to their FUDGE eqivalents. Again, to maintain concept, points can be drawn from the three Fantasy Realms attributes unevenly. And, if neccesary, in the final analysis concept is more important than perfectly crunched numbers. Note also that, to date, there are very few Fantasy Realms creatures or races that are extremely large or small. Most will have a scale of -2 to 2, at most.

Skills are a different matter in Fantasy Realms, as skills in Fantasy Realms are limited to a rating of 0 (non-existent) thru 8 ranks. The easiest way to to translate is to use the FUDGE terms to Fantasy Realms table up above. Note that in T'Phon a translation from a FUDGE skill should NEVER exceed a score of 8. This means that those built under STANDARD that exceed Legendary are dropped down to 8 (equivalent of Legendary). Those on the EXPANDED table that exceed Incredible are dropped down to 8 (Legendary Equivalent). This may upset a few folks who worked quite hard to get their character's highly specialized skills into these exceptional levels, but it is necessary, as rating beyond the scale in Fantasy Realms would violate the calculation system for skill usage and success.

Do not worry if a translated character ends up with more skills than a standard starting character, or less. This is not vital, since these values are only suggested for a worldbase, and are not a rule 'set in stone' (like the maximum value of 8 is).

Gifts and Flaws in FUDGE become Traits in Fantasy Realms, and it is best to ignore any point values involved here and simply carry over the concepts of these when translating. Point balance between the two systems is quite different and there is just no way of presenting a full way of translating between them. Concept, again, is the important thing that stays intact.

Remember that, as GM, one must consider a character fully before allowing it to be translated. If a character is considerably off balance compared to the rest in a campaign, then it will be a cause of friction within a game between players. An overpowering character quickly becomes too much in control of a game (ex: playing Superman(TM) with a party of normal humans), an underpowered character can become frustrating to the player running them (ex: playing a country peasant with agricultural skills in a party of mages and swashbucklers).

This same caution should be applied when using a scenario/adventure or setting that someone else has written for a particular worldbase and adapting it into your own. Make sure the culture, economics, religions and concepts fit into your worldbase effectively and that the characters won't find themselves overly crippled, overly limited or too easily able to overpower the locals. An adventure should usually have elements of mystery, excitement, danger (though it does not have to be physical), romance and a motive for the player characters to be involved.

Thus, above all, be sure that what you translate will help to make a game both interesting and fun for all players and GM involved. If its not, then why bother?

***********************************************************************
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Original FUDGE materials Copyright (c) 1992-1995 by Steffan O'Sullivan (sos@oz.plymouth.edu)
WOW FUDGE is copyright 1994, 1995 by Joseph Teller
Fantasy Realms RPG : World of T'Phon is copyright 1995 by Joseph Teller

Superman (TM) is a trademark of DC Comics, and use of the name in this product does not challenge the trademark status in any way.

Fantasy Realms (TM) is a trademark of Joseph Teller.
Fantasy Realms : World of T'Phon (TM) is a trademark of Joseph Teller.
World of T'Phon (TM) is a trademark of Joseph Teller


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