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Rolling the Dice

There is no need to roll the dice when a character performs an action that is so easy as to be automatic. Likewise, an action so difficult that it has no chance to succeed requires no roll, either it simply can’t be done.

Dice are used solely in the middle ground, where the outcome of an action is uncertain.

The GM is encouraged to keep die-rolling to a minimum.

Do not make the players roll the dice when their characters do mundane things. There is no need to make a roll to see if someone can cook lunch properly, or pick an item from a shelf, or climb a ladder, etc. Don’t even make them roll to climb a cliff unless it’s a difficult cliff or the situation is stressful, such as a chase. (And possibly a Superb climber wouldn’t need a roll for a difficult cliff. He should get up it automatically unless it’s a very difficult cliff.) For any action the player character wishes to perform, the Gamemaster must determine which trait is tested. (This will usually be a skill or an attribute.) If the action is Unopposed, the GM also determines the Difficulty Level usually Fair. (See Opposed Actions.) For running Fudge Diceless, see the Addenda, Section 7.42.

Reading the Dice

Fudge Dice

Of the four dice techniques presented in Fudge, this one is recommended. It gives results from -4 to +4 quickly and easily, without intruding into role-playing or requiring complex math or a table.

Fudge dice are six-sided dice with two sides marked +1, two sides marked -1, and two sides marked 0.

You can make your own Fudge dice easily enough. Simply get four normal white d6s. Using a permanent marker, color two sides of each die green, two sides red, and leave the other two sides white. When the ink has dried, spray the dice lightly with clear matte finish to prevent the ink from staining your hands. You now have 4dF: the green sides = +1, the red sides = -1, and the white sides = 0. (While you can try to play with normal d6s reading:

1, 2 = -1; 3, 4 = 0; 5, 6 = +1 this is not recommended.

It takes too much effort, and intrudes into role-playing.

4dF is functionally equivalent to 4d3-8, but this is also not recommended for the same reason, even if you have d6s labeled 1-3 twice.)

To use Fudge dice, simply roll four of them, and total the amount. Since a +1 and a -1 cancel each other, remove a +1 and -1 from the table, and the remaining two dice are easy to read no matter what they are. (Example: if you roll +1, +1, 0, -1, remove the -1 and one of the +1s, as together they equal 0. The remaining two dice, +1 and 0, are easily added to +1.) If there is no opposing pair of +1 and -1 dice, remove any zeros and the remaining dice are again easy to read.

The result of a die roll is a number between -4 and +4.

At the top of the character sheet, there should be a simple chart of the attribute levels, such as:

  • Superb
  • Great
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Mediocre
  • Poor
  • Terrible

To determine the result of an action, simply put your finger on your trait level, then move it up (for plus results) or down (for minus results).

Example: Nathaniel, who has a Good Bow Skill, is shooting in an archery contest. The player rolls 4dF, using the procedure described above. If he rolls a 0, he gets a result equal to Nathaniel’s skill: Good, in this case.

If he rolls a +1, however, he gets a Great result, since Great is one level higher than his Good Archery skill. If he rolls a -3, unlucky Nathaniel has just made a Poor shot.

It is not always necessary to figure the exact rolled degree.

If you only need to know whether or not a character succeeded at something, it is usually sufficient for the player simply to announce the appropriate trait level and the die roll result. The game goes much faster this way. For example, a player wants his character, Captain Wallop of the Space Patrol, to fly between two asteroids that are fairly close together. The GM says this requires a Great Difficulty Level Piloting roll and asks the player to roll the dice. The player looks up Captain Wallop’s Piloting skill, which is Great, and rolls a +2 result. He simply announces “Great +2” as the result. This answer is sufficient the GM knows that Captain Wallop not only succeeded at the task, but didn’t even come close to damaging his craft.

Of course, there are many times when you want to know exactly how well the character did, even if it’s not a matter of being close. If the character is composing a poem, for example, and his Poetry skill is Fair, you will want to figure out what “Fair+2” means: he just wrote a Great poem! There are many other instances where degrees of success is more important than merely knowing success/failure.

Other Dice Techniques

For those who don’t want to make or buy Fudge dice, three different options are available:

4d6

This method requires 2d6 of one color (or size) and 2d6 of another color or size. First declare which two dice are the positive dice, and which two the negative, then roll all four dice. Do not add the dice in this system.

Instead, remove from the table all but the lowest die (or dice, if more than one has the same lowest number showing). If the only dice left on the table are the same color, that is the result: a positive die with a “1” showing is a +1, for example. If there are still dice of both colors showing, the result is “0”.

Examples (p = positive die, n = negative die): you roll p4, p3, n3, n3. The lowest number is a 3, so the p4 is removed, leaving p3, n3 and n3. Since there are both positive and negative dice remaining, the result is 0.

On another roll, you get p1, p1, n2, n4. Remove the highest numbers, n2 and n4. This leaves only positive dice, so the result is +1, since a “1” is showing on a positive die, and there are no negative dice on the table.

3d6

Roll 3 six-sided dice. Add the numbers and look up the results on the table below. The table is so small that it could easily fit on a character sheet. Example: a roll of 3, 3, 6 is a sum of 12. Looking up 12 on the table yields a result of +1.

Rolled: 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10-11

Result: -4 -3 -2 -1 +0

Rolled: 12-13 14-15 16 17-18

Result: +1 +2 +3 +4

d%

Roll two ten-sided dice, having first declared which will be the “tens” digit. Read the tens die and the ones die as a number from 1 to 100 (01 = 1, but 00 = 100), and consult the table below, which should be printed on the character sheet:

Rolled: 1 2-6 7-18 19-38 39-62

Result: -4 -3 -2 -1 +0

Rolled: 63-82 83-94 95-99 00

Result: +1 +2 +3 +4

Of course, the GM may customize this table as she wishes. These numbers were chosen to match 4dF, which the author feels is an ideal spread for Fudge.

Success Rates

The following table is provided so that players can better evaluate their chances of success.

Chance 4dF of achieving or d% 3d6 4d6

+5 or better: – – 0.2%

+4 or better: 1% 2% 2%

+3 or better: 6% 5% 7%

+2 or better: 18% 16% 18%

+1 or better: 38% 38% 39%

0 or better: 62% 62% 61%

-1 or better: 82% 84% 82%

-2 or better: 94% 95% 93%

-3 or better: 99% 98% 98%

-4 or better: 100% 100% 99.8%

-5 or better: – – 100%

Thus, if your trait is Fair, and the GM says you need a Good result or better to succeed, you need to roll +1 or better. You’ll do this about two times out of five, on the average.

You’ll notice that using 3d6 or 4d6 the results, while slightly different, are close enough for a game called Fudge. The 4d6 results do allow +/-5, however, but this shouldn’t be a problem since they occur so rarely. In fact, you could use 5dF to allow +/-5 if you wanted. . . .