This is an outline for a set of house rules for the Fudge RPG for use in games inspired by My Little Pony (and particularly the animated series Friendship Is Magic). The system should be easy to adapt for use with other light adventure games, as well.
Instead of numbers, a scale of eight adjectives is used to define traits and the results of actions. From worst to best, the levels are: terrible, poor, mediocre, fair, good, great, superb, legendary.
Attributes represent the core being of a character. They are common to all characters. Attributes default to fair. The three attributes are:
- Body: This attribute describes a character's physical prowess and is used for feats of strength and agility.
- Brains: This attribute describes a character's mental prowess and is used for solving puzzles, research, etc.
- Bravery: This attribute describes a character's emotional strength and ability to act in the face of danger, as well as social skills.
Skills represent learned abilities. They can be pretty much anything. Skills default to poor.
Gifts and faults are traits that don't have a level, but describe the nature and personality of a character in more generic terms.
In specific circumstances, the GM may allow a character with a helpful gift to add a +1 bonus (or more) to a roll, or may call for a penalty to rolls affected by a fault.
New characters receive a number of points (maybe around 10-20) to purchase skill and attribute levels with. The costs are as follows:
- Raising a skill above poor: 1 point/level
- Raising an attribute above fair: 4 points/level
- Lowering an attribute below fair: -4 points/level
- Taking a gift: 2 points
- Taking a fault: -2 points
Note: Costs for raising traits above great are doubled.
Additional experience points may be awarded during play. Traits may be improved using the same costs. New gifts and faults can only be taken with the GM's approval and when they are in line with the events of the game. Attributes and skills cannot be lowered after creation.
There are three basic types of ponies:
- Earth ponies: 'Regular' ponies, with no special powers, but generally good at all kinds of things.
- Unicorn ponies: Ponies with a (you guessed it) horn, skilled in magic.
- Pegasus ponies: Winged ponies who can (surprise!) fly.
Each pony has a unique symbol on its flanks, known as the 'cutie mark', which appears during adolescence when the pony discovers their unique talent. This symbol can be almost anything, but should in some way reflect a character's talents.
Four Fudge dice (4dF) are used for all rolls, yielding a result between -4 and +4. This result is used to modify an appropriate trait in accordance with the scale. In most situations a minimum result of fair is required for success, but higher results should be required for more demanding actions.
With the exception of opposed rolls, results higher than legendary are treated simply as legendary, and are usually always successful, if success is conceivable in the first place. A result of terrible or less, or an unmodified roll of four minuses, may be treated as a botch, which may lead to unexpected consequences or cause status conditions (see below).
Attribute vs Skill
Rules of thumb for determining the right trait to use:
- If most characters have a basic ability to attempt the action, use an attribute.
- If training is necessary for satisfactory results, use a skill (or the default value poor).
- If both an attribute and a skill are applicable, use the higher value of the two. (For instance, for simple brawling you might use the body attribute, but if a character has a high level in, say, karate, that may be used instead.)
Fights and other conflict situations are generally solved with opposed rolls using an appropriate trait.
If there is significant risk involved, the loser may suffer a status condition (see below).
Characters may suffer physical and mental hardships during their adventures. These are represented by status conditions.
Status conditions are usually caused by failing a crucial roll (the GM must determine which rolls qualify, generally there should be a reasonable element of risk involved) by three levels or more, or by botching an important roll. The method of removing the conditions depends on the condition in question.
Each condition confers a -1 penalty to dice rolls. As a rule, all rolls are affected, although in specific circumstances the GM can determine that a particular roll is not affected by a particular condition. The penalties are cumulative, multiple conditions increase the total penalty.
Suffering a second similar condition when one is already in effect causes the character to become temporarily incapacitated.
There are three status conditions:
- Hurt: Physical injury or illness. Can be caused by failed rolls related to physical activities. May be removed with a few days of rest and care. Successful use of healing skills may expedite recovery. A double hurt condition causes the character to pass out.
- Nuts: A nervous breakdown caused by, for example, extreme stress. This is the most subjective of the conditions, and it is up to the GM what circumstances may cause it. Magical afflictions, lack of sleep, or obsessive behaviour may be among possible causes. The cure also depends on the cause. Rest is often sufficient, sometimes a magical cure may be required. A double nuts condition causes the character to become a gibbering mess incapable of acting.
- Scared: A condition usually resulting from failing a bravery roll at a crucial time. The GM may allow the character to repeat the bravery roll after a suitable period of time. Successful bravery rolls by friends attempting to calm down or encourage the character can give a bonus to the roll. A double scared condition causes the character to freeze in fear.
Creatively roleplaying the effects of a status condition naturally adds to the fun.
Unicorn and pegasus ponies each have a special skill. Characters of these types should spend a portion of their points on this skill, although it is not compulsory. In addition, these characters should take 'unicorn' or 'pegasus' as a gift, in order to balance their powers with the less magical earth ponies.
Unicorn ponies have the ability to use magic. Most unicorns are able to levitate small objects at will. In addition, they can attempt to cast spells. Spellcasting has certain restrictions:
- Access to a good library is necessary to learn spells. The GM may require a brains (or appropriate skill) roll in order to find a suitable spell. Casting a particular spell for the first time has a -2 penalty to the magic skill roll.
- Spells that have been successfully cast previously may be cast without access to a library, but with a -1 penalty to the magic skill roll.
- Spellcasting is demanding. Each time a character casts a spell, their effective body attribute level drops by one for a period of about 30 minutes (or the duration of one major encounter or scene). The effect is cumulative. If the effective level is terrible, the character can no longer cast spells. For particularly demanding spells the GM may require multiple body levels to be expended.
If a magic skill roll is failed, nothing usually happens. However, if the roll is botched, the spell may work in an unexpected and often harmful way. The details are up to the GM.
Pegasus ponies have the ability to fly. The flight skill is used when performing particularly demanding stunts.
Pegasus ponies also treat clouds as solid, physical objects and are able to stand and walk on them without effort. Further interaction with clouds (moving or shaping them, or causing rain or lightning) requires a successful flight skill roll.
A draft character sheet (A4, pdf) can be found here. The file contains variants with different artwork (for different pony types).
A generic version of the sheet (with no pony art, and suitable for non-pony characters as well) is also available here.
I have also been working on an original town, called Finfilly, to set potential future games in. More information here.
This is a non-commercial fan work. I do not claim copyrights to the My Little Pony brand or related artwork. They are used here with a fair use rationale.
Artwork used in title graphic is by Elosande of deviantART, used here without permission. My apologies.
About Fudge: The Fudge game system is copyrighted ©2000, 2005 by Grey Ghost Press, Inc. and is available for use under the Open Game License. See the fudgerpg.com website for more information.