Fudge Free for All

This is a generic blog for any authors who'd care to submit their musings on Fudge.

Alternative Histories

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In recent months, I have been asked on more than one occasion for some "help" in coming up with adventure ideas for another GM. I very much respect the equivalent of "writer's block" for GMs, I have expeienced it myself a time or two.  Endless self-help books have been published on how to kickstart or reinvigorate the creative juices.

I personally find my inspiration on the Internet these days. Through Facebook, I have liked a number of pages that present interesting factoids of history, science, technology, and other topics that help provide me with ideas for adventures, gadgets, and more. Most require some creative effort to really fit into whatever setting or scenario I may be working on. Occasionally, some stories just seem like they must have been written by a closet gamer and are ideally suited for inspiring adventures or even an entire campaign.

This morning, an article of what-if historical scenarios that almost happened caught my attention. Each of these moments in history could have led to a very different world of today. My personal favorite to consider how history would have changed is the possible division of Japan between the US and Soviet Union. How much more would that have shifted the theater of cold war spying from Europe to Asia?

See the whole article at

Thanks for the Memories: Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition

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Thanks for the Memories:
Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition (GTSC)

A FUDGE examination of Hypermemory

by Douglas (Vermonster) Bickford, 02/06/2011
Egged on and collaborated by Paul Dupuis


Dr. Carl Fairchild is in Chicago for the annual Biological Engineering and Science Societe Internationale (BESSI) convention. While eating his breakfast in his booth at a local diner, the person in the next booth says "Talar du svenska? Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Puhutko suomea? Czy znasz polski?" (Do you speak xxx, in Swedish, German, Finnish, and Polish) to the waitress. She is bewildered. Carl, up until that moment was unaware that he has any "memory" of any of those languages, but now he finds he understands most of what the multilingual speaker said. He tells the waitress that the foreigner asked if she spoke Swedish, German, or Polish (and some other language he did not recognize). To the stranger, he says "Hej. Kan jag hjälpa dig?" (Hello, May I help you?, in Swedish). Carl assists the Swede to place his order.

But what really baffles people is, when Dr. Fairchild returns at noon to the same diner, (in the absence of a Swedish speaker to trigger his "memory") Carl no longer can speak a word of Swedish when the waitress he assisted earlier (and her co-workers) asks to hear some.

Where did Carl Fairchild "learn" Swedish, German, and Polish and why did he forget them all four hours later? The answer is he never did learn these languages. He has "hypermemory", the ability to access the memories of other people. While there might be multiple explanations and mechanisms for this phenomenon (such as clairvoyance, reading the minds of persons nearby), Carl's particular form of Hypermemory comes from his affliction of Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition.

What is Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition?

  • Genetic. GTSC is a rare, genetically based, physiological disorder. Due to the complex biochemistry effect of the combination of multiple gene sites with very uncommon mutated alleles, it is estimated that only about one person per 100,000,000 is born with the full complement of necessary genes. It is unknown for parent and child both to have GTSC and it is extremely rarely seen for any but monozygotic twin siblings. The carriers of partial gene sets (such as both parents of a GTSC child) show no GTSC effect (there is room for theory here on what different side effects they might have, lacking the bridge into the GTSC neural network which defines the source, mechanism, and product of GTSC).
  • Transtemporal. The sources of the memories are all GTSC-afflicted persons across all time. This includes persons from pre-historic (estimated about 10,000 BP (before present)) to the distant future eras. But knowing a memory from a far distant timeframe (or cultural setting) does not necessarily mean that memory is useful (or even understood) to the present-day GTSC character. Memory from distant time may be so strange that the mind will convince itself that the "memory" is something imagined – a "daydream" perhaps. In fact, such memories may be more of a hinderance than a help.
  • Synchronous. The memories available are those of all GTSC-linked persons of the exact same age as the GTSC character. A 10-year-old GTSC character only shares the memories with other GTSC-afflicted persons who are 10 years old in their own timeframe; he does not have access to their adult memories, because they do not have those yet themselves. And, the shared memories are stored organically in the living brains of those persons in their times; their memories die with them.
  • Cognition. GTSC is a modification of the brain chemistry involved in memory recall, but does not affect the normal mental activities related to perception, reasoning, nor bodily control. Under the theoretical mechanism proposed here, there is some overlap with the brain function of memory storage through the similarity of the processes of associative learning and associative retrieval.

Terminology and Theoretical Model (The Brain)

While it might be satisfying to discover that the following terms and theory align with modern 21st century neuroscience (or 35th century), this description is provided here to aid discussion and acceptance by GMs and players on the limitations and consequences to a GTSC-endowed/afflicted character. Any resemblance to the truth (as they say) is purely coincidental. The authors wish to acknowledge Wikipedia and its generous (albeit anonymous) contributors for seeds from which to grow this section. Any distortions and misinterpretations, intentional or accidental, of that real-world hypermemory is the Fault of the authors of this article,

The brain is a complex organ. Without knowing how it performs its many functions, we still can analyze and inventory them. There are many autonomic functions operating without conscious effort (muscular balance, perception, hormonal control) and even the functions where we conceive of having some control are abetted by structures and chemistry beyond our need to understand in order to use these "higher functions" of the brain. For the purpose of this article, the general term "cognition" will be used to refer to these higher functions and discussion will be limited to only three areas: ideation, memory, and reasoning.

  • Ideation. The "unit of operation" for cognitive processes is the "idea" (thought, concept, image). Skill sets and knowledge areas are bundles of many related ideas, but there is a fundamental level at which an idea is created and manipulated in the brain as a discrete entity. The primary (first) source of ideas is the conversion of stimuli from our autonomic perceptions (senses: sight, sound, taste, scent, feel) into an awareness and labeling at a conscious level. We "recognize" the stimuli with our attention amongst the myriad of simultaneously incoming stimuli which we ignore. Think parliamentary procedures. Most stimuli delivered by our autonomically controlled senses are washed away biochemically nearly as quickly as they arrive in the brain, but some form preserved (for the moment) patterns that our cognitive processes go to work on. Think of an idea as a rough-surfaced marble – a small discrete chunk of information – that can connect with other marbles like puzzle pieces.
  • Memory. Ideas are associated with other ideas in biochemical crosslinkages to form memories. While the patterning of memories in the brain is relatively permanent, it is also very passively present until called upon. A recently conceived idea (such as the conversion/selection from perceived stimuli) initiates a brain process that looks for similarities in preserved memory (places where the "idea marble" can hook on like a puzzle piece). Copies of component ideas of the tagged memories found in this associative search process are brought forward into working memory as they are tagged and probed. An associative search takes time to accumulate and leapfrog through memories, and it does not wait until the end to start delivering remembered ideas to working memory. Previously stored memories often will be reinforced (refreshed) back into longterm storage along with a copy of the new idea and its crosslinkages. A new idea may link to more than one existing memory and thus its storage with links may expand the interconnectivity amongst memories. Apparently, recently tagged memories tend to be the amongst the first ones tagged again if appropriate to a later associative search (and sometimes even if it is not obvious that they are appropriate). In computer terminology, such recently used memories are said to be "cached" and are where searches are begun (on the theory that you are most likely to next do what you just did (or something very similar)). Caching is an use of working memory and, as such, there is a limit to the capacity and retention times of what remains in cache.
  • Reasoning. Reasoning works with working memory. Until a stored memory (idea component) is copied into working memory, the brain processes of deduction, intuition, extrapolation, guessing, etc cannot act upon it. However, reasoning can derive new ideas (a secondary form of ideation) that act like other new ideas to trigger associative searches through preserved memories (which similar to other new ideas may become stored through this associative learning process). Reasoning might also form "an idea of greater priority" that interrupts (aborts, supplants) a previously ongoing associative search. Similarly, urgent incoming ideation from external stimuli into such a more important idea might also change what is the trigger for the brain's current associative searching function (oh, look, a tiger). Distraction is a likely term for primary ideation changing the focus, whereas reasoned redirection might be a Conclusion or Decision.

To bridge to a discussion of GTSC Hypermemory mechanics and impacts on an individual, these concepts about ideas and memories are distinguished in two groups affected by GTSC: Shortterm memory (STM) and Longterm memory (LTM) The third term (introduced above) related to these concepts is Working memory which is not affected (directly) by GTSC. Working memory and its relation to STM and LTM, however, is a crucial component in describing the latter two.

  • Shortterm memory (STM). New ideas triggering associative searches. As discussed above, this is not all stimuli that the individual perceives. It is only those important ideas recognized (or thought up) and being held for the associative processes to locate (tag) preserved memory for similarities. These STM triggers have the brain's attention, i.e. a section of working memory (a task) is devoted to processing the ideas remembered from its search.

    STM ideas/triggers will decay and disappear unless some portion of them is stored as longterm memory or they are restimulated (or rethought) into the holding area. There is a limited capacity in the brain to hold STM triggers, but more than one can be in the works simultaneously. Holding a dozen would be an exceptional talent, but multitasking searches off of more than one trigger at the same time is commonplace. Most of us can whistle a remembered tune while walking to a determined destination (on a planned route) and still speculate about what's for dinner tonight; each of these requires ongoing feedback and streaming of ideas into working memory from STM triggers. We have no conscious awareness of the brain mechanisms invoked as we process the delivered data in our working memories. Generally, working memory tasks listen for the appropriate memory recall addressed to them. But there are misdeliveries (causing us to switch from whistling "I'll be Home for Christmas" to "Momma's Little Baby Loves Shortbread" when our "what's for dinner" task idea lands in the inbox of the "whistling" task). Such occasional crosstalk between memory recall streams is an evolutionarily preferred adaption, enhancing intellectual traits such as insight, creativity, and intuition.

  • Longterm memory (LTM). Preserved memory patterns of collective and crosslinked ideas. Conceptually, these are multiple-entry nets of crosslinked idea patterns (think clusters of interlocked idea marbles). A triggered search might catch hold of a similarity to one component idea and go deeper into the other attached ideas in the same LTM. Playfully, this probing into attached ideas has been called "leapfrogging" in this article and the initial contact has been called "tagging". Longterm memory is effectively unlimited, but the processing speed of associative searches is finite and thus will reduce the volume of tagged memories moved to working memory dependent on how long the search is given to perform. Generally, it is important to remember that "every connected idea" is not delivered to working memory together in a bundle; ideas are streamed one at time at a metabolically determined rate. That stream may backtrack and branch off in a new direction (or maybe reiterate the same path) from a previously delivered (remembered) idea; i.e. the brain's associative searching can (does) get stuck in a loop.

And the pun you have been waiting for: Loss of LTM through injury or senility is called "losing ones' marbles".

GTSC Mechanism and Effects (The Brain on GTSC)

Okay, let's get weird. GTSC does some mystic (metaphysical) crosswiring of the synchronized brains across the physical dimensions of time and space in the area of memories and associative searches. While GTSC individuals have their own independent autonomic systems and working memory/reasoning circuitry, the associative circuitry (STM) of all synchronous brains are linked, thereby effectively joining the organic storage of their memories (LTM) into a multi-volumed hypermemory. The associative search started in an individual GTSC brain can (will) coprocess STMs in other GTSC brains to tag their local LTMs (and leapfrog through them), potentially (but actually never that exhaustively) across the hypermemory of all the GTSC-linked persons (alive in their timeframes at that point in the synchronization) and deliver the remembered LTMs (specifically a memory recall stream of their component ideas) to the working memory of the requesting brain.

Although the LTMs of a GTSC partner are available to be recalled by all other synchronized partners, the storage of the LTM patternings of ideas and their crosslinkages remains the sole function of the local brain. LTM idea linkages cannot be constructed spanning the physically separated brains nor can a foreign brain write LTMs in another's LTM grey matter. Foreign ideas gathered into the local working memory might be attempted to be preserved in local LTM (via associative learning), but in reality the LTM context (associative similarities) in the foreign brain where the ideas were found does not exist in the local brain. This gives the local associative learning process nothing to supplement (reinforce, refresh) by "hooking on" the new idea. As a result, these recalled foreign memories are often forgotten as soon as the stimulus that recalled them is gone (but they might be remembered again under similar stimulus).

The good news of such an associative search of a hypermemory is the availability of the experiences of many lifetimes. But there are two bad news impacts to consider also: (1) memory recall stream may be (will be) cluttered by ideas unfamiliar and perhaps incomprehensible to the GTSC person and (2) the ideation of STM of GTSC partners may (will) cause crosstalk interfering with a GTSC-afflicted person's ability to distinguish STMs locally generated and STMs arising from what other GTSC individual are experiencing. This latter crosstalk is a side-effect of the use of same local associative circuitry to search the local brain for both local STM and coprocessing STM trigger-matches. Every GTSC/STM trigger does not pass through every GTSC brain, and usually the coprocessing brain correctly delivers the memory recall stream to the requesting foreign working memory task without conscious awareness in the local mind. But each day out of ten-thousands foreign STMs, hundreds cause delivery of remembered ideas to the local working memory. That local brain's reasoning circuitry is impacted by the out-of-context ideas and caused to react. It may initiate its own associative searches to evaluate the strange idea causing distraction and confusion. It may initiate bodily responses to these phantom ideas. Or, it might shrug the weird idea off.

For example, Carl Fairchild is strolling in Portage Park, enjoying the flowers, shrubbery, and fresh air. At that moment in the synchronous network, Maya, a GTSC partner living in 15th century India, is walking home from a visit to her parents. As she turns a corner on the path, she is startled to see a tiger sunning itself on a rock in front of her. Her mind scrambles for what to do; a STM of the image of the tiger arrives in Carl's brain where the associative search delve his LTMs for what he knows about napping tigers, waking up animals with big teeth, dietary habits of felines, Mr. Sniffles (his stuffed tiger that he slept with as a boy), the impending extinction of tigers documentary he saw yesterday on TV, whatever. Maya receives the LTM memory recall from Carl's brain, but Carl's working memory also receives an unanticipated download of ideas about tigers and tiger attacks. Surprised, Carl reacts to the "appearance" of tiger in Portage Park as if it had been one of his local STMs that triggered the memory recall. Several seconds later, from behind the park bench, he realizes that nobody else has reacted to the tiger; must be another of his hallucinations. He dusts himself off and resumes his walk.


    [Meanwhile, Maya is suffering from the overload of useless ideas from Carl's LTMs (a pet tiger? extinction?) slowing down her ability to arrive at an useful solution. Fortunately, standing still thinking in the middle of the path is not disturbing the tiger's nap. She tiptoes backwards and decides to take the longer route home.]

At birth, there are more synchronized brains with which the GTSC baby must interact than at any other time in that individual's life. The brain is less fully developed, less sophisticated, and sloppier. The impact of GTSC/STM crosstalk is quite severely disorienting to the child's mental development (sense of reality). Only one child in ten with GTSC will overcome the stress, confusion, and insanity and grow to adulthood; more than half die within a year. A GTSC child exhibits any number of odd behaviors such "seeing imaginary people and places", "having nightmares and daymares", "hallucinating", "speaking in tongues", and being so overloaded he may be diagnosed with symptoms of autism, multiple personality disorder, and many more disorders. To survive to adulthood, a GTSC-afflicted person must learn to cope with the negative impacts of foreign use of his associative circuitry and its many daily interferences. While the GTSC use of the cross-brain associative searching is beyond the conscious control of the individual, learning behaviors to avoid problems and perhaps even to benefit more from the delivered LTMs (intentional or not) is within the possible development of a growing GTSC child.

The GM and player should keep in mind that GTSC is a game construct to discuss how the character's hypermemory works, but such a concept and diagnosis is unknown to the character. The hypermemory and the crosstalk interference with reality are the character's normal mode of brain activity and it would be a discovery that other people do not think that way. Most adult GTSC survivors have come to that realization. The ideas remembered from across the hypermemory are also anonymous, e.g. remembering the fencing skill of a 15th century GTSC partner does not get delivered to the local working memory with a sense of the identity of the source. The character does not know (at the time) whether ideas in his working memory arose locally or from another brain, because his brain has performed this GTSC trick automatically and seamlessly. Again, it would be a discovery based on post-recall self-examination that might lead a character to suspect and theorize that he possesses a difference between memories he actually has experienced and experiences he recalls that he has actually never had. A sense of schizophrenia might be a common reaction amongst persons GTSC-afflicted. A sophisticated analysis might lead a GTSC individual to catalog groups of LTMs into personalities as sources of those LTMs, but such an inventory would be based on his own imagination. It is unlikely that such an imagined pantheon of GTSC partners would give a character any more control over directing his brain's autonomic use of the GTSC/STM cross-circuitry. Even a person who manages to catalog groups of memories to a series of personalities may more readily believe he is recalling "past lives" than discover the reality of GTSC.

Some coping strategies are:

  • Concentration or devotion of working memory to a very limited set of tasks; shutting down perception and primary ideation; ignoring distractions.
  • "Ground checking" of thoughts against other processed (primary ideation) STM; pausing to see if the stimuli is repeated.
  • Querying one's environment (such as, oneself or other people nearby) about the reality of working memory-formed thoughts; talking it out (a fully local process).
  • Stress-reduced acceptance of oddities and fright-or-fight stimuli; consciously learning to wait before reacting.

Using Carl Fairchild as an example, some typical side-effects of his coping strategies are:

  • He hates speed. While fear might not be the right term, it makes him physically sick (lowers his GTSC/STM resistance) to "go fast". This shows up both in his physical activity (you would never see him skiing) and in his general mental approach to life (a pause to reflect "let's think about this" behavior).
  • He appears often not to be paying attention to people around him. This rudeness is confusing to people who know him well enough to know that he is an extremely nice guy, but strangers can be quite put off by it. It takes work and tolerance to get to be a friend of Carl's.
  • He vocalizes frequently, from quiet mutterings to aloud conversation apparently with persons not present in the room. He agrees with things that have not been said. He asks odd questions like "Has anybody seen a tiger in the office today?"
  • He comes up with the strangest thoughts sometimes that then even he seems to be unable to explain (especially if you ask him about it several days, weeks, months later). Similarly, he might seem to have a talent (read Aramic) one day that a year later (or the next day) he no longer possesses.
  • Thus, for a guy with so much to remember, Carl is very forgetful. In suppressing the STM of the rest of the GTSC network, Carl largely flushes STM (his own and others) away much faster than a normal person.

FUDGE Character Description

In FUDGE terms, Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition (Hypermemory) entails:

  • GTSC affliction is a (involuntary, flawed) Superpower (an inherent supernormal ability)


  • Viewed as a Gift, it allows the possibility of accessing foreign skills (of randomly assigned level) beyond character's real-life experience and training (aka Hypermemory).


  • But the "constantly on" nature of GTSC-Hypermemory also has Fault behaviors (very) likely to occur:
    • Poor attention to reality; reaction to things not present to catatonic lack of reaction to anything
    • Forgetfulness; confusion about recent events; difficulty remembering (correctly) appointments, faces, names, etc.
    • Distractive overload; slow mental processing, inability to decide
    • Extreme startle response; overly cautious and slow moving in effort to avoid surprises


  • Successful integration of GTSC effects into the afflicted person's life requires Skills. These skills both help to mitigate Fault effects and to enhance Gift aspects.

    Skills might be defined broadly or narrowly, in GTSC terms or in more "normal" terms. While it might facilitiate GM/player discussion to use GTSC terms, the use of "normal" terms would probably improve the ability to "stay in character".

    • GTSC terms:
      • GTSC Control - generalized skill to oppose STM distraction and enhance the quality (utility) of recalled LTMs through developed control over one's working memory and thinking processes
      • GTSC/STM-Filtering: skill to overcome STM distractions A variety of consciously learned strategies may be employed to overcome associative search crosstalk and this is the ability to continue their use in the face of challenge.
      • GTSC/LTM-Invocation: skill to enhance the quality (utility) of recalled LTMs. Generally, it is an efficiency in evaluating (and rejecting or pursuing) ideas that arrive in one's working memory, not an ability to control the direction of the autonomic associative search.
      • GTSC/Cataloguing: skill to relocate previously recalled LTMs from foreign personalities (GM option, not an author recommendation) This is a conscious mind over autonomic system control ability that might be considered impossible. If the GM believes in Zen abilities to control one's body at the most fundamental level, she might allow a character to develop this extremely difficult skill.
      • GTSC/Localization: skill to memorize locally LTMs previously recalled from GTSC partners (generally these are not full skill sets, but bits and pieces that the individual actually used). This is a very difficult skill to learn with a default of Terrible. This is, in a GTSC mindframe, the ability to collect ideas for which there exists little or no context in the local LTMs stored.
    • Normal terms (in parallel to the skills above):
      • Intellectual control
      • Concentration/Willpower
      • Memory Recall/Intuition
      • Organization
      • Memorization/Learning - This may be a difficult "replacement" for GTSC/Localization, because we often speak of people having a Good Memory (ability to memorize). It might be assumed that a normal Memorization skill is naturally at a Fair level. In RPG, if the player has written down that a character has a skill, it is assumed that the memorization and recall of that skill is automatic (although failures to recall might be an interpretation of a "bad roll"). A character with GTSC and eidetic memory (or speed learning) gifts might be an overwhelming challenge for a GM that she might chose to disallow as an impossible combination. When applied to GTSC tasks, if normal Memorization skill (i.e. a normal person's skill defaulting to Fair) is used, it is suggested that only levels above Fair can affect/modify an Action resolution roll.

Note: The GM and player may opt to have the character use an attribute, such as Willpower or Reasoning (or both or other applicable attributes) to check for control over his GTSC instead of a skill or skills.

FUDGE GTSC Action Resolution

For the purpose of outlining a procedure to resolve actions involving the Hypermemory superpower, this discussion will use Normal/Narrow terms rather than GTSC terms in hopes of improving the sense of character reality and role-playing. Thus the controlling Skill is called "Memory Recall" in the following. The term "pathway" has been used as an alternative to "memory recall stream" used above.

The proposed FUDGE resolution procedure is:

  1. Memory recall is a normal function that everyone does routinely. A GTSC person just has potentially more through which to scan. The default difficulty to "think of something useful" is Mediocre. GM determines how rare related experiences (helpful or not) to the situation may be across all history of GTSC existence. Moderate frequency is better for success than either Very Frequent (too many bad pathways also) and Very Rare (too few good pathways for a likely link to be found (in time to use)). This determination opposes the character's Memory Recall skill.
      Modification options to a Memory Recall skill level:
    • Time available to consider. The roll for a useful recall might be further modified by the haste to thoroughness with which the character attempts to ponder the issue. Less than a second (immediate reaction required) should lower the Memory Recall by one level; up to 10 seconds leaves the skill unchanged, up to a minute adds one level, up to 10-60 minutes might raise the skill two level. Beyond five minutes, memory recall is probably equally likely to simply be rehashing earlier recalled LTMs. Alternatively, the GM could allow the character a re-roll for each 5-10 minutes spent pondering. {A Situational roll (next section) might be used to see if the character gets distracted away from the task.}
    • If the character has used the specific skill he is attempting to recall, the GM might allow him to use his Organization instead of the random selection Memory Recall skill for that specific skill set only.
    • If the character has used the specific skill he is attempting to recall, the Memorization skill could be used to add levels to Memory Recall. If the GM allows Memorization to apply to foreign LTMs, the suggestion is that each two levels above the default adds one level to the Memory Recall for that specific skill set only. Alternatively, the player could roll against Memorization to attempt to reuse the previously used bits of a LTM (but no more actions from that skill set than had been used previously (i.e. could repeat sentences previously heard or spoken in a foreign language, but would not recognize "new words" spoken to him)). Using Memorization to modify Memory Recall instead would allow the character potentially to have extra clues (STMs) to find the original source of the skill set from which the bits were previously collected,thereby perhaps gaining expanded knowledge from that skill set.


  2. An unsuccessful roll means "I got nothing" -- the normal untrained default skills' levels to perform apply. A successful roll means a skill was found with better than default skill level (default +1). For each two "relative success" levels above the difficulty, the applicable remembered skill of the character is raised an extra +1 to perform the task (and similar tasks within the same retraceable recall period, discussed below).

    What "skill" was found? Most situations have many suggestible responses and the process of associative searching of LTMs opens up to exploring the options. Unless the player/character specifically attempts to use Organization or Memorization to find a previously used skill, there should be some unpredictability to what the Memory Recall will bring to the character's mind. The player/character may provide some clues to possibilities he is considering and the GM should feel free to toss in some of her own. The GM should select one skill set, randomly, capriciously, or by whatever method her style dictates.


  3. Having established what skill was found and set the character's skill level (i.e. all skills at default if Memory Recall failed, one "foreign skill" above otherwise), the character can then roll for the task confronting him. As long as the character applies the skill continually within the retracing window, the same skill level will apply. Sleep and unconsciousness are also likely to break the retracing ability.

    Retracing LTM recall: While a memory recall pathway is fresh in one's working memory, it can be (will be) held open by an active refresh of the STMs to initiated it. The GM should allow 1-4 hours dependent on some factor (like Willpower, Concentration, Memory Refresh, GTSC/Retention) in the absence of a very distracting new task of very different nature (requiring a Situational roll, discussed in the next section).

Example: After dinner two blocks from his hotel, Carl is confronted by a knife-wielding mugger. He has no training in hand-to-hand/knife combat, negotiation with armed assailants, nor track star turn-and-flee. But he indicates "I wonder if I can think of some way to fight or talk my way out of this".

  1. The GM decides that similar confrontations are Fairly common (+0, and Carl's aversion to speed will rule out the turn-and-flee option, although the GM might add another option to keep things interesting) ==> Difficulty=Mediocre (Frequency scale/modifier: Rare -2, Uncommon -1, Fairly Common 0, Frequent -1, Very Frequent -2). Carl is a big guy and the mugger is a nervous fellow that is not backing off but is not rushing in either; Carl has some time (15 seconds) that he can stall and "think" about what to do. The GM decides that should give an extra +1 on his Memory Recall skill=Great+1=Superb.
  2. Carl rolls -1 ==> Superb -1 ==> Great; Great-Mediocre ==> +3 relative success. The GM tosses a coin and decides that what Carl has recalled is some hand-to-hand combat training at +1 +(3/2 round down) = +2 above the default level (Poor). So Carl has an "effective" skill level of Fair in hand-to-hand combat available at the moment.
  3. If the mugger attacks, Carl can counter with this combat skill. But that really isn't Carl's preferred outcome. So he attempts to intimidate with his size and offers the mugger two bucks to go away without the need to come to blows. His untrained (and non-Hypermemory-enhanced) default skill at Negotiation (+1 due his size on his side of the argument) is Mediocre+1=Fair. The mugger is nervous and half convinced already that this was a bad idea ==> a Fair difficulty to convince him. Carl rolls 0; the mugger takes the $2 donation and leaves. The point: it is still the character's decision whether to employ the remembered skill; he has other choices of action.
  4. Carl walks a block and is confronted again by two young (unarmed) teenagers (who might have seen the donation incident). Carl refuses their demand and one of them swings at him; Carl applies his hand-to-hand combat skill to dodge and flip the kid into the nearby piles of trash. The other one runs away rather than tangle with this obviously martial art trained person, while the one in the trash elects to act unconscious until the big guy leaves.
  5. After finally getting to the convention center and making his evening session presentation, Carl does not remember any fine points to performing the martial arts moves he used three hours earlier. Two years later, when similarly confronted, Carl recalls a memory of such eloquent skill at Negotiation that he convinces the mugger to give Carl the knife and come to the local church to confess and change his ways.

FUDGE GTSC Situation Checks

The need to combat GTSC memory recall crosstalk constantly will require the character to evidence some quirky behaviors (his Faults that will be with him all the time). However, there are times when his coping behaviors will be challenged more than the usual amount. In such case, the GM might require a Situation check to see if the crosstalk interference might overwhelm him momentarily (or even quite dramatically).

  • Stress - Times of high demands for action and production from the character (real or imagined) are going to tax his control. Combat may be such a time, but so might be sleep deprivation, hunger, or job pressure, for example.


  • Surprise - Whether occurring in the GTSC person's real world or transmitted from another GTSC partner grasping to deal with a sudden and urgent stimuli, the effects of surprise can break a person out of his tranquil habits.


  • Death of another GTSC person - Although separated across time and space, when a GTSC person dies (and access to his memories end), every other GTSC person of exactly the same age senses it as a shock. The Situation check is not so much about whether the GTSC character is momentarily stunned, but more about how long he will take to recover. If the GM deems that the character's mind was actively downloading LTMs from the dying partner's mind, that should unfavorably bias against a rapid recovery. The "sudden death" of a GTSC person may combine the effects of Surprise with the reaction to the Death.

This should not be a license for the "evil GM" to screw up the GTSC whenever the whim strikes. In adulthood, there are probably less than a thousand GTSC partners with their deaths ahead of them in the next 50 years; one death a month amongst 20-40-somethings would be a generous allowance for GM's considerations. Most GTSC adults are cautious people who avoid surprises and lead low stress lives. But an occasional reminder that GTSC is not all "peaches and cream" might help the player of a GTSC character.

Situational checks derive from memory recall crosstalk triggered by STMs. The controlling attribute/skill would be something like GTSC/STM-Filtering or Concentration/Willpower in a narrowly defined mechanism (Intellect or GTSC Control in a broad system).

Example: Arriving back at the hotel after dinner, Dr. Fairchild has plenty of time until his evening presentation. He returns to his room to go through his written notes again. As he steps through the notes, he is blinded mentally by an immense sense of emptiness fluctuating with turmoil. The GM asks for a roll against Willpower (Fair); Carl has a Poor roll. The GM informs Carl that he falls into an effectively catatonic state until his assistant comes pounding on his door when he failed to show up fifteen minutes before his presentation. Now, Carl needs to get the the lecture hall in five minutes. Even in haste, Carl is slow, but he makes it in time. The GM again checks whether Carl's stress might spoil his concentration during his speech; he has a Fair roll and all goes well.

About This Fudge Roleplaying Game Document:

The text content of this document is released under the terms of the Open Game License, which can be found at and is incorporated here by reference.

About Fudge:

Fudge is a roleplaying game written by Steffan O’Sullivan, with extensive input from the Usenet community of and other online forums. The core rules of Fudge are available free on the Internet at and other sites. Fudge was designed to be customized, and may be used with any gaming genre. Fudge gamemasters and game designers are encouraged to modify Fudge to suit their needs, and to share their modifications and additions with the Fudge community.

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 website for more information.”

The Fudge [or Fudge System] logo is a trademark of Grey Ghost Press, Inc., and is used under license. Logo design by Daniel M. Davis,

Open Game License Compliance:

In accordance with the Open Game License Section 6 “Notice of License Copyright” the following is the required and updated Section 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

"Thanks for the Memories: Genetic Transtemporal Synchronous Cognition (GTSC)" Copyright 2011, Douglas Bickford; Author[s] Douglas Bickford with contributions by Paul Dupuis.

In accordance with the Open Game License Section 8 “Identification” the following designate Open Game Content and Product Identity:


All of the contents of this document are released under the OGL.


No content is declared hereby as Product Identity.


FUDGE Scale applied to Skills, Gifts, and Faults

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In running adventures that take characters on far ranging jaunts, I have sometimes run into the question of the relative difference between two skills that are at the same trait level. In two of my favorite settings - the pulp era (Terra Incognita) from WWI to WW2 inclusive and a not-too-far future Space setting I have called "The Alliance" - with various adventures ranging over the whole world or worlds respectively, it comes into question. If John Doe is a Great Marksman and 'X' is a Great Marksmen, but John grew up on Earth in a normal setting and 'X' grew up on the Militaristic World where everyone mandatorily started learning marksmanship as soon as they could stand, are they in fact equally skilled?

There really are two approaches to take. The first, and obvious one, is that skill trait levels are absolute and that regardless of one's background a Great Marksmen is a Great Marksman and, luck aside, one would expect a competition between the two to be very very close.

The second, is that all skills (and potentially many gifts and faults as well) are modified by two scales. A geographic area scale and, if applicable, a temporal scale. These scales are defined by the characters background. A geographic scale may look something like:
Area Scale
Village -3
Town -2
City -1
State/Province 0
Country +1
Continent +2
Global +3
Of course, the base line can be adjusted to suit, for example, Global may be 0 for an interplanetary campaign. With this, a Markman who is considered Great in their own Province competing against a Marksman considered Great in National competitions is at a -1 due to the geographic scope scale. Of course, when the Provincial Marksmen wins the National, the GM can reward them by just adjusting the scale of the scope of their skill to the National level. This becomes an added way to both allow character skills to improve and yet still present challenging opponents who don't have to have Super level traits.

A temporal scale (or technology level scale) works the same way. If Jane Doe was an vehicle engineer on the backwater planet of "Earth" and only had a Superb master of internal combustion engine based vehicles, when arriving on the planet "Eco-9" her ability to fix the fully electric or hydrogen powered vehicles would be impaired (-1), although some aspects would still be very familiar. When arriving on the planet "Miraculous" where thought bubble transports are the norm, Jane may be several (or many) levels away (say -5), but an exceptional dice roll may allow her to fix, repair, or modify the simplest of problems of the bubble transports - after all the bubble transport probably still has something to steer with, some way to accelerate, and some way to brake and something that powers them. Conversely, for someone on the planet "Miraculous" to strip down and rebuild an antique internal combustion vehicle just unearthed at an archaeological dig, may be hard to do, but for Jane, it would be a piece of cake. Even Superb vehicle engineers of Miraculous have long lost the hands-on expertise for internal combustion vehicles (they would be at the -5), but for Jane, it is her native technology level.

Such scales can also readily be applied to Gifts (and Faults) such as Reputation, Authority, Wealth, and many others.

In a pulp setting in a global campaign set in WW1 or WW2 using a geographic scale can remind characters of how far afield the adventure has taken them, provide new challenges, and help bring the sweeping scope of involvement in a global conflict to the game.

On Gifts and Faults

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Following in the footsteps of the discussion on scale and mass in the Fudge system, I thought I would discuss something that had me confused and then cleared up after speaking with some of the great people on the Fudge Yahoogroups.

In the Fudge rulebook section 1.63, it says:

"If the GM has gifts in her game, she may allow player characters to start with one or two free gifts -- more for epic campaigns. Any further gifts taken must be balanced by taking on a fault, or by trading traits."

I originally found this confusing on why you would use Gifts and Faults in the first place. Only after I began running an online campaign did I realize that a good use of the Gifts is to cover something that Attributes don't cover and some Gifts may cover many situations. It makes your character more believable. A female PC with a "Beautiful" trait could use that to help persuade, con, or just get a better response from NPCs.

Faults work the opposite way by being something in the character's background that could crop up and mess with things. If you have a PC who has Greedy in his background, he may not be able to pass up that extra loot from the museum you're robbing and set off all the alarms.

Gifts and Faults are good things to use to give your characters more full rounded look. Nobody's perfect and this is a way to show it.

FUDGE Scale - More than Mass

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The Many Uses of FUDGE Scale


FUDGE Scale is a powerful game mechanic to handle creatures (or objects) of different sizes (or Mass) in game terms. When dealing with interactions between creatures of similar size, no size related modifiers apply. However, when dealing with creatures of different sizes, scale provides reasonable modified for combat and other opposed actions. FUDGE Scale need not apply just to size and can be used as a powerful game mechanic to cover a multitude of scaled abilities, such as speed, strength (unrelated to size), and more.

In FUDGE, scale is usually used to represent a mix of mass, size (height, width, depth or overall volume) and strength, but in a number of genres these characteristics need not be linked. A small creature from a heavy gravity planet may have substantial mass. A normal human in size and mass, may have supernatural strength. Consider a Cheetah. An adult cheetah weighs from 40 to 65 kg (88 to 140 lb). Its total body length is from 115 to 135 cm (45 to 53 in), while the tail can measure up to 84 cm (33 in) in length. From a mass perspective, this places it in the same class as a small human, yet for short bursts, it can reach speeds of 70-75 mph. If a Speed scale uses the same 1.5 multiplier, this puts a Cheetah at around +3 over the fastest humans. Or in a opposed action of the human to escape from the chasing Cheetah, the human would be at a -3 just for the speed difference.

FUDGE Scale can even be applied to non-physical traits in some settings. In a Lovecraftian setting a Thing-Man-Was-Not-Meant-To-Know could be scale +10 or more on an Intelligence scale making a Human investigator's ability to deduce it's evil unfathomable plans for destroying the human population of the planet very difficult to reason out. It adds a challange for the players that goes beyond what ever clues they have and their own intellect at figuring them out (and takes a burden off the GM to invent unfathomable plots!). It simply presents such monstrosities as the incomprehensible creatures they are.

These are just a few of the reasons why Scale is my favorite FUDGE game mechanic.

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