Linking Skills to Attributes in Fudge

I started this post a while ago but it has been sitting in my editor for close to two weeks. Since then this topic has come up on the Fudge List in the form a user poll. I started to reply to the poll but decided to finish this instead.

I have been a Fudge fan on and off for close to eight years. Over that time I have experienced close to a hundred different systems to tie attributes to skills. This includes the Fudge "default" of not linking skills to attributes and dropping attributes altogether. I even considered dropping skills altogether. Recently the fudge List has had a thread on using the Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing style of skills. Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing using the attribute to set roll against and the skill list is a list of things for which the attribute can be used.

Many systems use an Attribute + Skill + Roll vs... target number system. This is a good model but it means that attributes are far more important than skills. A classic example of this is the climb skill in d20. Someone with a very high Dexterity score will have the equivalent of four ranks in the skill.

Rolemaster tries to mitigate this by making a role against an untrained skill start at a big penalty (-25%). This is a partial solution as it only means you have to develop a single rank in a skill to gain the full benefit of your attribute. Someone told me of a system that allows an attribute bonus to double the skill bonus. Any additional bonus from the attribute is lost. This is a better solution but still makes attributes far more powerful than skills. (There is nothing wrong with attributes being far more important than skills, the problem is that many people - myself included - want skills to be the focus.)

Results Beyond Legendary
This is a problem that I have struggled with in Fudge. How do you deal with a result of Legendary +3. In many cases I have dropped the adjectives and gone directly to the numbers. This is a very unsatisfactory solution in my opinion.

My Solution
[note: I have been told that this is how The Shadows of Yesterday works but I have never played the game so I am not sure ow accurate that statement is. If you have played the Shadows of Yesterday please leave a comment on how similar this is to the resolution in TSOY]

To fix the Attribute to Skill linking and results beyond the Fudge scale I am going to try a new resolution technique. I will use Attributes as dice pools this will be a combination of Aspects and dice pool. I have stolen um borrowed both of these concepts; one from FATE the other from Shadowrun. I will have three Attributes: Mind, Body, and Soul and each will be rated by the number of dice they have. Each character will have six (6) dice to split between the three attributes. These dice can be used for any roll that the player can justify their use. When attacking you could add a die from body because of you are putting your weight behind it, or a die from mind because you are going to go for the weak spot, or a die from soul because you a in the zone. The only limit I will put on the pools is you can only draw form two pools for any given action.

Pools will refresh fairly quickly and can be automatically refreshed by spending a fudge point.

To determine success for any given action:

  1. The task difficulty defaults to Fair
  2. To determine success:
    • start with four (4) dice
    • add any dice form your attribute pool(s)
    • add or subtract the number of dice from your skill rating
    • subtract dice for penalties (for opposed actions subtract dice based on results of the opposed roll - note that this could add dice if the opposition rolls particularly badly)
  3. roll the dice and use the best four (4)
  4. fair or better succeeds
If this works out the way I anticipate then attributes will be important but not as important as skills. A side effect will be that there can never be a result below Abysmal or above Legendary.

Raol is trying to pick a lock while being fired upon by the enemy forces.
difficulty: fair
penalty dice: 3

attribute pools
Mind: 2
Body: 3
Soul: 1

Locksmith: mediocre (-1)

Raol takes 4 dice, plus 2 dice from his mind pool, 1 die form his body pool, and drops three dice for the difficulty penalty, and drops 1 die for his skill rating. This leaves Raol with 3 dice (4+2+1-3-1=7-4=3). He rolls the dice and gets (-,-,+) a Mediocre result. This is a failure, but he can try again next round but he has exhausted his Mind attribute pool and has only 1 die left in his Body attribute pool.

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