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Subjective Character Creation

An easy way to create a character in Fudge is simply to write down everything about the character that you feel is important. Any attribute or skill should be rated using one of the levels Terrible through Superb (see Section 1.2, Fudge Trait Levels).

It may be easiest, though, if the GM supplies a template of attributes she’ll be using. See Section 6.3, Character Examples, for template ideas.

The GM may also tell the player in advance that his character can be Superb in a certain number of attributes, Great in so many others, and Good in yet another group.

For example, in an epic-style game with eight attributes, the GM allows one Superb attribute, two Greats, and three Goods. In a more realistic game, this is one Superb, one Great, and two Goods.

This can apply to skills, too: one Superb skill, two Great skills, and six Good skills is a respectable number for a realistic campaign, while two Superbs, three Greats, and ten Goods is quite generous, even in a highly cinematic game.

The GM may also simply limit the number of skills a character can take at character creation: 10, 15, or 20 are possible choices.

Gifts and faults can be restricted this way, also. For example, a GM allows a character to have two gifts, but he must take at least three faults. Taking another fault allows another gift, or another skill at Great, and so on.

These limitations help the player define the focus of the character a bit better: what is his best trait (what can he do best)?

A simple “two lower for one higher” trait-conversion mechanic can also be used. If the GM allows one Superb attribute, for example, the player may forgo that and take two attributes at Great, instead. The converse may also be allowed: a player may swap two skills at Good to get one at Great.

Example: A player wants a Jack-of-all-trades character, and the GM has limits of one Superb skill, two Great skills and six Good skills. The player trades the one Superb skill limit for two Great skills: he can now take four skills at Great. However, he trades all four Great skills in order to have eight more Good skills. His character can now have 14 skills at Good, but none at any higher levels.

In the Subjective Character Creation system, it is easy to use both broad and narrow skill groups, as appropriate for the character. In these cases, a broad skill group is assumed to contain the phrase, “except as listed otherwise.”

For example, a player wishes to play the science officer of a starship. He decides this character has spent so much time studying the sciences, that he’s weak in most physical skills. So on his character sheet he could simply write:

Physical Skills: Poor

He also decides that his character’s profession would take him out of the ship in vacuum quite a bit, to examine things. So he’d have to be somewhat skilled at zero-G maneuvering. So he then adds:

Zero-G Maneuvering: Good

Even though this is a physical skill, it is not at Poor because he specifically listed it as an exception to the broad category.

When the character write-up is done, the player and GM meet and discuss the character. If the GM feels the character is too potent for the campaign she has in mind, she may ask the player to reduce the character’s power (see Section 1.9, Minimizing Abuse.)

The GM may also need to suggest areas that she sees as being too weak perhaps she has a game situation in mind that will test a trait the player didn’t think of.

Gentle hints, such as “Does he have any social skills?” can help the player through the weak spots. Of course, if there are multiple players, other PCs can compensate for an individual PC’s weaknesses. In this case, the question to the whole group is then, “Does anyone have any social skills?”

Instead of the player writing up the character in terms of traits and levels, he can simply write out a prose description of his character. This requires the GM to translate everything into traits and appropriate levels, but that’s not hard to do if the description is well written. This method actually produces some of the best characters.

An example:

GM: “I see you rate Captain Wallop’s blaster skill highly, and also his piloting and gunnery, but I’m only allowing one Superb skill which is he best at?”

Player: “Blaster!”

GM: “Okay, Superb Blaster. That would then be Great Piloting and Great Gunnery, all right? That leaves you with two more skills to be at Great, since I allow four to start out. Hmmm… I notice he successfully penetrated the main Khothi hive and rescued the kidnapped ambassador that sounds like a Great Ability to Move Quietly to me is that accurate, or would you describe it as some other ability?”

Player: “Uh, no sorry, I didn’t write that clearly enough. He disguised himself and pretended to be a Khothi worker!”

GM: “Ah, I see! How about Great Disguise skill and Great Acting ability, then? And he must be Good at the Khothi language, right?”

And so on.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Psi-punk Copyright 2012, Accessible Games; Author Jacob Wood