One of the greatest features of Fudge is also sometimes a drawback. The Trait Ladder often caps out around +4 or so (depending on your game), which means every attribute, which means even a +1 bonus from an item, skill, or spell makes a huge difference when you roll the dice.
In the recent post, “A Treasury of Magical Weapons,” the author presented some great alternatives to handing out simple +1 magical weapons. I’d like to propose another option which can be combined with those options to make for some even more flexible magic items.
Before I begin though, it’s important to point out this method isn’t just for generating magical effects. It can be used anywhere you might be tempted to offer a bonus or penalty to any roll.
The basic premise of the re-roll is simple: when a condition is met, the player re-rolls one or more of the dice they just rolled. The power and flexibility of this system has to do with how you determine what triggers a re-roll.
For example, in Psi-punk (a Fudge cyberpunk RPG), there are a few different ways re-rolls might be triggered. The first is through the use of Skill Specializations: if you have the Jump Specialization for the Athletics Skill, you may choose to re-roll one die any time your character jumps, but not for any other Athletics check.
The second method of gaining re-rolls is through the use of Luck Points (the game’s name for Fudge Points). When you spend an LP, you may re-roll a number of dice determined by your relevant Attribute. If you have Great (+2) Strength and are re-rolling a Jump check, you may re-roll 1 (the baseline) +2 (for Great Strength) = 3dF.
Certain conditions may also impose a re-roll penalty. If the floor is slippery and you’re trying to make a running jump, you may take a -1dF re-roll penalty, for example.
When re-rolling for a bonus, the player chooses which dice to re-roll. It’s never harmful to re-roll a – die since the result will always be the same or better, but the player may chose to gamble and re-roll a blank die if they want to push their luck. When re-rolling due to a penalty, they must always re-roll a + die. If no + die is present, they don’t re-roll at all; that’s because the penalty should never offer you the chance to improve your result.
Why This Works
The great thing about using re-rolls is that it improves the rolled result without breaking the character’s skill cap. Even if you re-roll all four dice and turn them all into + dice, the result is never greater than 4 + the character’s skill.
To put it another way: re-rolls improve your odds of achieving your best, but they never let you surpass your best.
Now that we know what the re-roll does and how it works, we can start imagining other ways to use it. Here are a few ideas:
- Make magic or technologically advanced items with bonuses that don’t break the game.
- Alter the luck of a spell or other special effect.
- Give the players a pool of re-roll dice to pull from at their convenience. In Survival of the Able, characters may pray for blessings and use a pool of 4dF toward any purpose related to their prayer. They may spread these dice out over any number of rolls until they are all used up.
- Create Faults or other hindrances which impose re-roll penalties for certain actions, which is the opposite of Specializations described above.
- Give the GM a pool of dice to use for her NPCs.
- Have a monster or character use curses to force re-roll penalties against their enemies.
Re-rolls offer a lot of flexibility without totally bloating the bonus economy for your games. They help characters achieve their potential, and players love rolling lots of dice and maxing out their results.
What do you think? Have you used a similar mechanic in your Fudge games? How well did it work for you? What other ideas can you come up with to use this mechanic?
15 COPYRIGHT NOTICE
Open Game License v 1.0 Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition Copyright 2005, Grey Ghost Press, Inc.; Authors Steffan O’Sullivan and Ann Dupuis, with additional material by Jonathan Benn, Peter Bonney, Deird’Re Brooks, Reimer Behrends, Don Bisdorf, Carl Cravens, Shawn Garbett, Steven Hammond, Ed Heil, Bernard Hsiung, J.M. “Thijs” Krijger, Sedge Lewis, Shawn Lockard, Gordon McCormick, Kent Matthewson, Peter Mikelsons, Robb Neumann, Anthony Roberson, Andy Skinner, William Stoddard, Stephan Szabo, John Ughrin, Alex Weldon, Duke York, Dmitri Zagidulin
This article Copyright 2019, Accessible Games
OPEN GAME CONTENT
The contents of this document are declared Open Game Content.