The 1950s FUDGE Science Fiction

I am returning to this project today. It is a kind of circuitous route. I was reading Into The Odd at the weekend and it struck me as a great little system for making a compact little science fiction game. Where characters can manipulate their Arcanum to create unique effects, the same could be done with tech.

What I saw in my mind’s eye was a Into The Odd plus Gamma World mashup. Arcanum replaced by tech that may not work properly or even be fully understood.

So that was one project, or idea.

That piqued my conscience about my desire to create a 1950s FUDGE game. This is now called, in my head at least, Astounding Heroics.

I have barely touched this since June. You can read what I wrote half a year about in Simple FUDGE.

What I haven’t written about is some of the other influences I am considering, or more rightly, would like to include.

In that June article, I explained how simple a FUDGE character could be. Writing “Joe is a Superb cat burglar” is a perfectly viable character. I want to go with that level simplicity but building in some more characterisation. Who is Joe? Where does Joe come from? What made Joe become a burglar.

Players and GMs would still have the option of breaking that Superb into a pair of Greats, and further breaking them down, but that will be a table choice.

The next influence is from Index Card RPG.

Imagine that the game came with a deck of cards that featured images like these.

The ‘cards’ would provided as templates to be printed at home on sticky labels. You print them, stick them on flashcards and you are ready to deal.

The GM would deal out a number of cards to inspire the opening scene, how that escalates, several optional encounters and then the final showdown encounter.

I think I have enough classic science fiction images harvested from public domain sources to create a pair of 256 card decks. The GM could create a small deck to start play, and after each adventure, retire cards that have been used and add in new cards just by printing one more sheet of labels.

One of my concerns doing this was a lack of positive female imagery. It appears that, although there is definitely a bias towards male heroes, there are enough images to build the decks with either no heroic figure, such as an exploding battleship or strange machine, or a reasonably balance.

Another influence is Hero Kids. Hero Kids has a very nice way of handling injuries, wounds and even grievous injuries. In these science fiction classics very few heroes ever died. A bloody combat system is not really that appropriate.

What I am looking at here is a big melting pot of ideas, each with the aim of making for a fun, fast and lightweight system. FUDGE, out of the box has the tools to layer on additional detail and rules crunch.

So, this is where I am at now. Lots of disparate parts. They need shaping to make them all work together.

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