Fudge Passions v0.2 (a extension for the Fudge RPG system)

Continuing on from Story Hooks, this is the second part of item 8 of the L___ H_____ system.

Update #1: Creative Commons LicenseFudge Passions by Mark Cunningham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Fudge Passions v2.0

Fudge Passions was originally conceived as a way to link a character’s emotional state to other parts of the system (like Gifts or Powers). It is built as an addition to the Fudge RPG system but also replaces Fudge Points (Passion Points replace Fudge Points). It was designed and tested in parallel with my Story Hooks system but both can be used independently.

What is a Passion Trait?

Characters have a minimum of two Passion Traits. A Passion Trait (or just Passion) is made up of rating, an Emotion (also called the Driving Emotion) and a Tie (also called the Emotional Tie).

A Driving Emotion is a single word describing the overall feel or emotional impact the Passion has on the character. It does not have to be positive, negative Driving Emotions are just as useful.

Example Driving Emotions
Joy (Happiness)
Love (Worship, Affection)
Lust (Jealousy, Envy)
Guilt (Regret)
Pride (Vanity)
Curiosity (Innocence)
Frustration (Powerlessness)
Hope (Faith)
Apathy (Indifference)
Anxiety (Dread)
Depression (Sadness)

The Emotional Tie describes what the Passion is about. It is only a short sentence describing the concept of the Passion. If you also use the Story Hooks system, Passions of a certain rank require a Story Hook and so allow the player to expand on the Passion.

Example Emotional Ties
Vengeance for the death of my family
Loss of my Lover
My Family

Based on the seven rank Fudge scale, Passion traits are rated thusly:

Numeric Value Passion Rating Normal Fudge Trait Equivalent
-4 - Terrible -1
-3 Interested (Temporary) Terrible
-2 Curious (Temporary) Poor
-1 Enthusiastic Mediocre
0 Passionate Fair
+1 Dedicated/Committed Good
+2 Addicted Great
+3 Obsessed Superb
+4 All-Consuming/Burning Legendary
+5 Madness Legendary +1

A Passion at Interested or Curious is only a Temporary Passion and must be brought up to at least Enthusiastic or Passionate before it is considered a Permanent Passion.

A Passion at Obsessed causes a -1 penalty to all the other character’s Passion Traits but Passion Points are earned at a higher rate for this Passion.

A Passion at All-Consuming blocks out all other Passions. Like Obsessed the character can earn Passion Points for this Passion at the higher rate but with loser restrictions. For certain tasks, the Passion can be used instead of the Attribute or Skill as long as it falls within the scope of the Passion. If the character is blocked from the subject of their passion, they start to lose points. However they can be temporarily pushed into Madness.

Madness has all the flaws and benefits of All-Consuming. However the character has gone mad and isn’t really in control of themselves. The only way to save such a character is to give up the Passion and take a new Fault (something in keeping with the theme of the character madness).

A Passion Trait should generally form a sentence:

My <Rating> <Driving Emotion> <at|of> <Emotional Tie>


My Enthusiastic Duty of my Priesthood

Some Example Passion Traits
Rating Emotion Tie
Obsessed Guilt Vengeance for the death of my family
Addicted Excitement Cars/Racing
Curious Sadness Loss of my Lover
Passionate Love My Family
Interested Happiness Companionship
Dedicated Duty Priesthood
Enthusiastic Frustration Oath

Passions can be loosely considered to be one of two types: Passive or Goal Oriented. Goal Oriented Passions have a specific purpose, a target that could be potentially completed, such as quest, an oath or some desire (like wanting to be the best sword fighter). Passive Passions do not have a goal, but just exist such as love or duty. A Passion can change between Passive and Goal Oriented during play.

What are Passion Points?

Each Passion Trait forms a pool of Passion Points. For each rank above Interested, a player has one Passion Point in that pool. Passion Points replace Fudge Points.

Numeric Value Passion Rating Number of available Passion Points
-4 - 0
-3 Interested (Temporary) 0
-2 Curious (Temporary) 1
-1 Enthusiastic 2
0 Passionate 3
+1 Dedicated/Committed 4
+2 Addicted 5
+3 Obsessed 6
+4 All-Consuming/Burning 7
+5 Madness 8

Passion Points can be spent in similar ways to Fudge Points but limited to the context of the Passion.

They can also be used during a live-or-die situation where the character is genuinely afraid for their life. This would mean a combat veteran would not be able to justify every combat situation as a live-or-die situation. It only really matters when the character has a fight-or-flight reaction to some threat.

Passion Points can be earned during play by interacting with some part of the Passion. Players start with half the number of points (round down) in that pool. After a downtime, pools will refill up to this point only (but points previously earned are not lost).

At Character Creation

Players must take at least two (normally three) Permanent Passions at character creation (but there is no upper limit). New Passions start at Interested and must be raised to at least Enthusiastic. Players have nine ranks/increases to allocate to Passions.

Players can take any Skills they like up to a ranking of Fair. However if they wish to start with a Skill greater than Fair, it must be “linked” with one of their Passions and cannot be a higher rank than that Passion. So if a player wants Martial Arts at Superb, then they must have a Passion at Obsessed. (This is also true later after Character Creation when players wish to increase Skills using Experience Points).

In Play

Passions do not dictate how a character should be played. This is always a player’s choice. Passions should not be taken literally and the player’s interpretation is the most important one. It is their story after all. For example, taking a genre classic, Bruce Wayne (alter-ego/secret identity of Batman) might have a Passion like this:

My Obsessed Guilt drives me to Vengeance of my Parents Death.

But this does not make Bruce an obsessed vengeance freak instead it makes him “the Batman” striving for justice.

The only exception is Passions of rank greater than or equal to Obsessed. At Obsessed, other Passions suffer. At All-Consuming the character cares about nothing else, they are on a self-destructive path. At Madness the character is driven insane by the emotion or tie and normally the player loses control of the character at this point (unless the player is doing an remarkable job of roleplaying a character on the utter edge of sanity).

When a player rolls well (Great or better) using a Skill or Attribute in some capacity related to one of their Passion Traits, and the Skill/Attribute is a ranking less than the Passion Trait, the player should put a mark beside that Skill/Attribute. The player will be able to spend Experience Points on this Skill to increase it.

Earning Passion Points

Passion Points are earned through actions in-play.

One Passion Point is earned for the first time interacting or using something connected with the Passion (such as the Driving Emotion or Emotional Tie) for that session or adventure (which ever is most applicable).

Two Passion Points are earned for achieving something with that Passion or completely submerging the character within the Passion such as for intensive roleplaying or the character is temporarily taken out of play to deal with the Passion.

Three Passion Points are earned for anything considered a major development of that Passion. For Goal Oriented Passions, this might mean making some significant progress towards the target. For Passive Passions, this might mean protecting or saving it from some threat or it being a major element of the session/game.

Passions at Obsessed or greater earn double the rate of Passion Points. At All-Consuming and Madness, players can earn a point each time (not just the first time) they interact or use something to do with the Passion.

During downtime, characters can passively regain passions if they are at rest i.e. relaxing which does not preclude hard work or effort. Rest means the character has reduced stress but can remain active. Characters regain one point per day, the player can chose which pool this goes into. They can only regain up to half of each pool (round down) this way.

Games Master can also offer from one to three Passion Points to the player to encourage the player to roleplay a Passion (often to the player’s disadvantage). However it is the player’s choice. But if the Passion is greater than Obsessed, the player must have a really good reason not to take the Points. At Madness, the player really doesn’t have a choice! But remember it is the player’s interpretation of the Passion that counts most, no-body else.

Spending Passion Points

Players can spend Passion Points in much the same way as Fudge Points except they are restricted to having to be connected with the Passion via the concept of the Passion, the Emotional Tie or the Driving Emotion.

In addition, if it is a live-or-die situation for the character, the player can spend points but the player take points from any pool at a cost of two for one (i.e. the player would pull two points from her pools to spend one point).

Passion Points can be used to affect a roll (related to the Passion or live-or-die). Before making a roll (for either Unopposed or Opposed actions), the player can spend a Passion Point to gain a +1 bonus modifier, up to a maximum of +3. If another roll is going to affect the player (such as an attack), the player can spend a Passion Point to add a -1 penalty modifier to the roll, to a maximum of -3.

If the player waits till after the roll, they can spend two points to alter the result by one level. They cannot do this if they spent points to give a modifier before the roll.

Gifts that require some activation cost or require focused attention of the character should also require at least one passion point (from the most relevant pool). Passion Points can also be used to power abilities that are fuelled by emotions (such as some martial arts, magics and other supernatural powers, etc.).

If a Games Master wishes to balance some of the more powerful Faults, she may allow the player to earn Passion Points when the Fault comes into play against the character. This is optional. Individual Groups and Games Masters are encouraged to find their own uses for Passion Points.

Passion Points must come from the relevant pool/Passion Trait. If the relevant pool is empty, the player can pull two points from other pools to gain one point in that pool to spend.

Temporary Passions and Temporary Increases

During play, characters can pick up Temporary Passions, which are Passion Traits at the low rankings of Interested or Curious. However they do not appear on the character sheet, nor can they be used for anything unless the player spends one Experience Point to buy a rank in the Passion, up to max ranking of Curious. They must explain to the Games Master why they think they have this Temporary Passion (in the context of the current session/adventure) and the Games Master must approve. Once they have the Temporary Passion, they can spend Passion Points from its pool or channel points from their other pools (at a cost of two for one). These Temporary Passions remain listed on the character but drop by one rank each session/adventure until they disappear, if the player does not make the Passion permanent by increasing it to a ranking above Curious. Another reason to buy Temporary Passions in-play is that they are cheaper way of acquiring new Passions (then paying full cost during downtime).

Existing Permanent Passions can be temporarily increased by one rank for session/adventure. This can occur when something to do with the Passion is a major part of the current adventure. The player can suggest to the Games Master that they believe they are due a temporary increase for a specific Passion. A Games Master may also award an unsought for temporary increase if she believes it is warranted by the in-play events. This can push a Passion from Dedicated to Obsessed (or worse). A player can spend a Passion Point to prevent this, if they desire. Once a Passion Trait has been temporarily increased for a session/adventure, it cannot be increased for at least one following session/adventure. Players can spend Experience Points at any time to turn a temporary increase into a real increase at a reduced cost, however the restriction on no temporary increases for that Passion for the following session/adventure are still in place.

As part of Character Development

Players should all earn the same amount of Experience Points each character development cycle (my recommendation is 5 EP).

Raising a Passion From
Normal Cost Reduced Cost
Interested Curious

2 EP

1 EP

Curious Enthusiastic

2 EP

1 EP

Enthusiastic Passionate

2 EP

1 EP

Passionate Dedicated

4 EP

2 EP

Dedicated Addicted

8 EP

4 EP

Addicted Obsessed

16 EP

8 EP

Obsessed All-Consuming

24 EP

12 EP

All-Consuming Madness

60 EP

30 EP

Madness Beyond Madness

100 EP

50 EP

Increasing a Passion Trait requires spending Experience Points. If a Temporary Increase is made permanent during play, it is done at the Reduced Cost otherwise the Normal Cost is used.

During character development periods (i.e. when players can spend Experience Points), players can buy as many increases for Passions as they like. If during the last session/adventure, a Passion Trait got a temporary increase which was converted into a permanent increase, no more increases can be made until the next character development period (i.e. after the next session or adventure depending on the style of your game).

However players can decrease a Passion and release any Experience Points used to buy that Passion. Increases bought at Reduced Cost, give the value that was spent to buy that increase. You can’t use this to use temporary increase to gain extra Experience Points. Players must always have at least two Permanent Passion Traits with at least one greater than or equal to Passionate. Players are encouraged to “store” Experience Points in Passion Traits.

Any Skills that were used really well in context of a Passion (Great or better) can be increased using Experience Points up to the max rating of the relevant Passion. If the player wishes to increase another Skill, they must reduce one Passion (even if they don’t need the Experience Points).

New Passions can only be added based on in-game events. The easiest way is to take a Temporary Passion during play and make it Permanent as soon as possible. Otherwise a new Passion can only be bought if the Game Master suggests it.

Destroying/Resolving Passions and Shadow Passions

Passion traits can be resolved and destroyed, but only based on in-game events.

If a Passion’s Emotional Tie is destroyed, the Passion can be permanently lost. If it’s less than Dedicated, it is automatically lost. No Experience Points can be regained. If it is equal to or greater than Dedicated, the player can transform the Passion (the Emotional Tie and/or Driving Emotion) but decreases the ranking by one level. If the player chooses not to transform the Passion the Passion becomes a Shadow Passion, again starting at one rank lower. Each session/adventure, the Shadow Passion reduces one level (no Experience Points can be regained from this decrease) until it is only a Temporary Passion (i.e. Curious) and then it disappears. During character development periods, the player can decrease the Shadow Passion like other Passions and regain Experience Points.

Some Passions, such as Goal Oriented Passions, can sometimes be resolved. The character reaches or satisfies the goal of the Emotional Tie, for example. If it’s less than Dedicated, it is removed instantly but all Experience Points (minus the last increase) are regained. If it is equal to or greater than Dedicated, the player can transform the Passion (the Emotional Tie and/or Driving Emotion) but decreases the ranking by one level (no EP). If the player chooses not to transform the Passion the Passion becomes a Shadow Passion, again starting at one rank lower (no EP). Each session/adventure, the Shadow Passion reduces one level (however Experience Points are regained from this decrease) until it is only a Temporary Passion (i.e. Curious) and then it disappears. During character development periods, the player can decrease the Shadow Passion like other Passions and regain Experience Points.

Transforming Passions

Passions can be changed during character development periods. There are two types of transformations: Subtle and Gross Transformations.

Subtle Transformations might be slight rewording of the Emotional Tie or a slightly different flavour of Driving Emotion. All that is required for Subtle Transformations is Games Master approval.

Gross Transformations might be a complete refocusing of the Emotional Tie or using a very different emotion for the Driving Emotion. Such Gross Transformations must either be based on in-game events or some event/dramatic element must be imported into the game to support the transformation (if using Story hooks, this would be importing a Story Hook). They require Games Master approval and support.

Integrating with the rest of your System

Passions can be just used as a replacement to Fudge Points, however the original intention is to link it with other parts of a system, which may be setting-specific, so there are no hard rules here.

Gifts that require some sort of activation should require one Passion Point. Certain Faults may siphon Passion Points from pools. Passion Points may be used to power supernatural effects. For example a martial art may use Passion Points for specific moves that are beyond the human norm.

Other elements of the system may be linked with specific Passions. For example a power that allows the character to invoke an emotion in others may require Passion Points to power it, but it might also be linked with one Passion trait. The Driving Emotion of that Passion is easier to invoke (possible not requiring an activation cost).

Another option is to limit the ranking of some traits based on a linked Passion. By default, Skill increases are limited by the Passion ranks. You can’t increase a Skill higher than a Passion. For example supernatural powers powered by passions would probably be limited by the ranking of the character’s passions.

Using Story Hook

Fudge Passions was original designed alongside the Story Hooks system and the two were integrated. If you use Story Hooks, Passions of Dedicated require a Linked Story Hook. If the player wishes to change the Passion using a Gross Transformation, this Story Hook can be imported to support the transformation.

L___ H_____ Implementation

Both Story Hooks and Fudge Passions were originally designed for a RPG codenamed L___ H_____. There are some additional changes to Fudge Passions for L___ H_____.

Characters can have an Aspect for a Passion. An Aspect works the same way as Passions except it is not split into Driving Emotion and Emotional Tie. An Aspect is a part of the world that the character represents such as Nature, Metal, Computers, Fire, etc. In all other respects it works like a Passion.

Many character types in L___ H_____ have been supernaturally transformed but then suffer “the pressures of the Veil”. This manifests in a Fault called Passion Bleed. This means that characters with Passions less than Obsessed will lose one Passion Point per day. Characters with at least one Passion greater than or equal to Obsessed lose two points per day. If the character has no points left, they suffer a wound, which cannot be healed until they have regained at least one Passion Point.

Characters can regain Passion Points more quickly by entering the Dream or Supernatural Lands specifically associated with their own Passions/Aspects or the character’s Patron. They can regain one point per hour up to half of each pool. After that it takes on day to gain a point, but their entire pools can be refreshed this way. Passion Bleed does not have any effect in these unnatural places.

Passions are inherently linked with Supernatural and Divine Gifts and Abilities. Most effects require at least one Passion Point (though magic users may use Mana instead but require much more time to prepare effects). When the character casts an effect, the linked Passion can manifest as ghostly images around the character.

A character that spends all of their Passion Points and at least half of those on Supernatural or Divine effects will fall into a Supernatural Coma which is a sort of supernatural sleep similar to a mundane coma. They can temporarily put off the Supernatural Coma by a Good result of Willpower but it cannot be put off permanently. While in the Supernatural Coma, characters passively regain points at twice the rate of Rest. Once they regain one point they can wake up but can choose not to and continue to regain points. In this state their bodies are in a form of hibernation and do not need to eat and are unaffected by changes in temperature or environment. To the non-magical eye they appear frozen. They can still be deliberately killed, hurt and destroyed in this state. Even after they have regain all their Passion Points, a character can choose to remain in this state for they do not age or change, though upon awakening from such a long sleep, their bodies are cold and hard to control for at least one third of the time they slept. This restriction can be overcome with the use of magics. They do not dream in this sleep and are not truly conscious either.

Mortals (humans with no supernatural links/ties) have a secret Passion, which describes how much they believe in their view of the world (which may not match actual reality regardless of the supernatural/divine element). Characters with a low ranking are often very detached and distant from their fellow humans. Characters with high rankings are stubborn and narrow-minded. This Passion is often used as an inherent defence against the supernatural and divine attacks).

The Veil can have Passion and Aspect ratings. These can influence the attempts and results of any supernatural or divine effect.

There is an additional rank in L___ H_____ above Madness. This is called “Transcendal” (+6). If a Passion hits Transcendal, it is transformed and becomes more abstract, similar to an Aspect. The character has “transcended” and discovers some fundamental truth or knowledge about the world (centred around the new Passion/Aspect). A character with a Transcendal Passion can no longer live under the Veil. The character becomes unplayable.

Because of the game-world-shattering nature of Transcendal, it is treated as two levels. The first is the transition from Madness to Transcendal. The character becomes calm yet disassociated with the entire world. Their Passion Bleed will increase substantially. Human characters will start to suffer Passion Bleed. However the character believes they are on the edge of complete understanding. Nothing can really stop their “ascension” even death has little real meaning. A character in this state is like a beacon to higher state beings. Avatars may walk with the character and try to guide them. Nymphs and Spirits will gather and follow them. Higher dimension beings may attempt to break through to commune and talk with them.

The second level is the complete transition to Transcendal. They must leave this world. Their mind, emotions, traits, etc. are as unknownable as the gods are to mankind. They are in a sense god-like. Such Transcendal Passions do not have to be positive or ethically/morally good, they just have to be. The final level makes the Passion broad and encompassing.

Characters that reach Madness may see the edge of the first level of Transcendal. They can consciously choose to reject it and their Passion is instantly reduced from Madness to a lower rating but they must take a Fault. However they do not have to lose the Passion. This must be roleplayed.

Related Posts: