Polar Fudge Medieval Adventures

Introducing Polar Fudge Medieval Adventures, the fantasy adaptation of Polar Fudge Adventures. The pdf is free to download here:

The game is set during the Zombie Prince Duncan Rebellion, a fierce civil war between the forces of King Roderick “The Craven” and his elder, deceased brother brought back to life as a zombie by his supporters. From the common folks perspective only one thing is clear, whichever side wins, they lose.

The setting is very loosely based on medieval England, drawing more from Ivanoe, the Arthurian legends or even Robin Hood than Tolkien and Conan. Or you can just ignore the setting and use it for a different fantasy setting, the game is versatile that way.

Polar Fudge Medieval Adventures features the same fast-playing, flexible system found in all Polar Fudge games and comes with tools for GM who like to improvise content during play. Additionally, it also features:

  • A easy plug-and-play magic system for Fudge
  • A substem for creating unique, medieval themed monsters
  • Exploration Mode, for optional dungeon crawl style play
  • Three linked  mini adventures,

Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands – the Polar Fudge Adventures Edition

Bloodthirsty mutants, outlaw desperados and crazed cyborg warlords; the Atomic Wastelands is home to the toughest, meanest, downright dangerous varmints the world’s ever seen.
You should know, you’re the one who hunts them for a living.

Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands is a fast-playing action-packed, post-apocalyptic roleplaying game. It draws as much from classic westerns as from science fiction B-movies. It is available now, entirely free.

Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands – Fudge
In Bounty Hunter of the Atomic Wastelands you play bounty hunters (in the Atomic Wastelands). Inside you will find:

  • Fast and flexible character generation
  • A concise rules for powers that cover psionics, cybernetics and super-science gadgets
  • Labour-saving GM tools like The Minion Machine
  • A ready-to-go campaign with out-of-the-box bounties to collect

Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands – the Polar Fudge Adventures Edition – is an update on the 2014 release of the game, which was originally based on Fate. While the new edition is not substantially different from the original, adapting the game to Polar Fudge Adventures seemed a great opportunity to make the game leaner and punchier.

Polar Fudge Adventures Power Cards

Here’s a little add-on to make running Polar Fudge Adventures even easier. The PDF below contains all the Powers from Polar Fudge Adventures in card format, for easy reference. Just print and cut out. There is a reverse side image in the PDF you can use if your printer supports duplex printing.


You can get Polar Fudge Adventures is available as a free download from here: https://ukrpdc.files.wordpress.com/2022/10/polarfudgeadventures-02-2.pdf

…or you can use these cards with other versions of Fudge.

Polar Fudge Adventures

Polar Fudge Adventures is a simple, multi-genre variant of the Fudge roleplaying game, similar to that used by other Polar Blues Press games such as Cyberblues City and Lawmen v Outlaws.

download Polar Fudge Adventures

The tagline for Polar Fudge Adventures, “free, prefab Fudge Roleplaying Game for any occasion” says it all. Polar Fudge Adventures is:

  • Free.. because it’s free, no strings attached
  • Prefab… because it is a fully pre-configured, no-assembly required version of the Fudge rules 
  • Any Occasion… because the system is ideally suited for quick, spur of the moment games for any setting or genre.

In just under 40 pages, Polar Fudge Adventures provides:

  • Lighting-fast character generation rules
  • Fully worked out Gifts
  • A Powers system that can be used for magical spells or superhuman abilities
  • The Minion Machine, that helps create unique encounters on the fly
  • The wildy unpredicatble and thrilling combat system featured in previous Polar Blues Press games.

Also, did I mention, it’s free?

So grab a copy, have a go and if you like it you can always leave a message on this page!

Here is what our fans say about Polar Fudge Adventures!

“I really thought it was going to be about polar bears.” – Brenda M.

“It didn’t actually read it, but I looked at the pictures. They just used the same pictures from the cover.” – S. Botticelli

“All that talk about Fudge dice just made me hungry.” – Raul V.

The Critter Pool Machine is Back

Back when I first release Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands I wrote a little app to generate random encounters, the Critter Pool Machine. For technical reasons no one wants to hear about, it stopped working on various browsers. I’ve now moved the app to a new hosting site which we’re back in business. Enjoy.

The new link for the Critter Pool Machine is:


It looks somethig like this.

Best of Three Contests for Fudge

Best of Three Contests are a little mechanic I’ve been using in my Fudge games of late. The purpose of Best of Three Contests is to resolve dramatically important tasks where a single skill roll might feel a little underwhelming such as chases, interrogations or computer hacks. The concept can be transposed to other systems.

In a Best of Three Contest the task at hand is resolved over the course up to three tests. The player needs to succeed on at least two of the tests to accomplish the over task otherwise the task fails.

Additionally, during a Best of Three Contest:

  • Any time a player fails a test, the difficulty level of the test is raised by one.
  • Any time a player beats the difficulty level by a margin of two, the difficulty level of the task is reduced by one.

Best of Three Contests may also have a failure conditions. Depending on the situation, failing a Best of Three Contest could result in, for instance, an alarms being triggered, a piece of equipment breaking or a trap going off.

A character can avoid the failure condition by abandoning the contest before it is complete. Giving up on defusing a bomb does not stop the bomb from exploding but it may allow you to get out of its blast radius.

Best of Three Contests are a simplification of the Complex Test mechanic used in many of my games ( see https://ukrpdc.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/polar-blues-press-downloads/). Complex Tests are more versatile but, as their name suggests, they are a little more complex. Best of Three Contests are much easier to explain, set up and execute. For me, ease of use is one of the most important qualities in a game mechanic.

Town Creation for Lawmen v Outlaws

Here are some simple rules to create a town for Lawmen v Outlaws (or any other wild west roleplaying game) collaboratively. The advantage of creating the setting collaboratively is that you start off with a setting the players are already familiar with, interested in and connected by virtue of being co-creators. Also, it cuts down on the GM’s prep and that can’t be bad. The full, free rules for Lawmen v Outlaws can be downloaded here: https://ukrpdc.wordpress.com/2018/12/30/lawmen-v-outlaws/

The following Lawmen v Outlaws town, Badger’s Bluff, was created using a Google Jamboard with the group playing over the Internet, as one has to do these days, The virtual Post-Its work pretty well for this excercise from a practical point of view, though it’s not extactly pretty.

For reference, the light blue area is the town, the yellow circles locations outside town.


  1. Each person in turn picks a location (including the GM)
  2. Two locations should be in town, one location out of town
  3. For each location create a Tag – a short descriptor
  4. One of the Tags should be a personal connection (including working at, owning or being friends with the owner)

The end result is not a list of all the locations of the town, just some of the more important ones.

Badgers Bluff Map

For inspiration, some typical wild west locactions include:

Town Locations
Assay / Claims Office (implies mines)
Barber Shop / Bathhouse
Boarding House
Boot Hill
Church / School
Cigar Shop
County Courthouse (larger town)
Dance Hall / Theatre
Doctor / Dentist
General Store (or other)
Jeweller / Watchmaker
Livery / Stable
Opium Den
Photographic Studio
Post Office
Railroad Station (implies railway)
Saloon (often more than one)
Sheriff’s Office & Jail
Telegraph Office

Out of town locations
Ferry station
Lumber camp
Native encampment
Natural feature (mountain, river, etc…)
Open range
Roadhouse / Way station
Trapper cabin

More than just rules?

Some games just give you a cool world and rules to resolve actions within it. Like a large box of generic Lego, how exactly they are to be used is left to the GM and the players.  Other games are more structured. The game might  provide clear guidance regarding what the player characters are expected to do, instructions on how and when to transition between scenes, a default framework for how adventures unfold or even subsystems to manage and track longer term goals.  

Looking at the games released as Polar Blues Press, I can see I flip-flopped a fair bit on this issue.

Of these games, Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands clearly has the most complete structure of play of the lot. Bounty hunting, as a core activity, provides a clear role for the party and a built in framework for inserting adventure hooks. The gradual deterioration of players’ equipment, the vehicle upgrades and Mad Max roadwar encounters provide an additional framework with alternate goals and rewards for play. And the way these two frameworks interact is significant.

I was pleased with the design but from watching other GMs run Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wasteland and odd bits of feedback, these frameworks largely seemed to get ignored. Most GMs seemed happy with the action resolution rules, but in practice already had their own way of running games. They didn’t need or want the extra layer.

So when it came to Cyberblues City I changed my approach. Initially I just provided the bare bones action resolution rules. There were a few suggested concepts for the party, but no hard and fast instructions about what the characters do in the game. It was very much a box of Lego kind of game.

That might have been the end of the story, but a year or so later, I came up with a setting idea for Cyberblues City. It was a gonzo future London ruled by a cyborg queen Victoria. This could have been packaged as an expansion for Cyberblues City; making it clear it was a possible setting for the game rather than the setting. But, in a free PDF,  it seemed to make little sense to split the rulebook from the setting, so I bundled them together in Cyberblues City Deluxe. To this day, I still don’t know if that was the right call. It makes the product both better and worse at the same time. At least the illustrations are better in the new edition and it is still the funniest thing I’ve ever written.

The point being, Cyberblues City really has no inbuilt framework for play at all. That makes it bit harder to just pick up and play, even for me. To run it I need to sit back, come up with a fresh premise and some sort of adventure all by myself.

Which leads us to Lawmen v Outlaws. I wanted to do a Western. At first I found it a bit daunting because it is such a broad genre. The key for me was to narrow it down to stories of lawmen chasing outlaws and of outlaws evading lawmen.That instantly provided a clear answer to the question “What do the characters do in this game?”.

I still didn’t have much of a framework for how Lawmen v Outlaw adventures were meant to unfold. I tinkered with some town creation rules to support play, but that wasn’t going anywhere (though I may revisit it). 

In the end I landed a very ridiculously simple formula around which to structure lawmen style adventures. And it all hinged on these two  simple sentences.

“It was an ordinary day like any other when…” followed by  “Turns out that…”

What this captures is the simple universal truth of a lawman adventure – there is a status quo and then something happens to disrupt it. Thus the initial call to action is set.

The “Turns out that…” part is a reminder that what is introduced in the call to action, isn’t the whole story. There needs to be a twist or complication otherwise all one is left with is a very short and predictable adventure. 

There is more to Lawmen v Outlaws adventure framework of course. All this illustrates is that , flimsy as it is, this is still a functional framework which, for the time being at least, seems like a happy halfway house between the comprehensive structure of play in Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands and the absence of any such thing in Cyberblues City, especially in the context of rule light, pick up and play style of games.

Designing Extended Challenges: The Core Rules

In this link, or below the “read more” tag, are the rules for running 13th Age Extended Challenges

Which means I’m finally done!

Or, perhaps not.

These rules only really cover running the challenges – great if you have an adventure module in hand that uses them, but given as we haven’t released any of those yet not all that useful.

So the new goal is that next week I’ll provide a set of guidelines for building Extended Challenges suitable to your party’s level – along with some examples.

After you read the rules below let me know what you’d like to see in the encounter building guidelines: and what you think the rules have missed!

Continue reading

Designing 13th Age Extended Challenges 4 – Non-binary Stakes

First in sequence – Second – Third

First, a note: In discussion after last week’s post the feeling was mixed, but overall it seemed that the advice was to provide both versions – complexity with Aid Another actions and risky checks; alongside a slimmed-down version – which honestly isn’t actually more work in this case, because it saves me the difficult job of deciding which is superior!

So, item 4 on my original list of targets: non-binary stakes. I’m leaning a bit into step 5, fitting the game, too because ultimately I don’t think that the issue of non-binary stakes can be properly addressed outside of the mechanics of the game in which this Extended Challenge system is to be implemented.

Most, though not all, systems have resources that can be lost (such as hitpoints and spells) or penalties that can be gained (such as wounds and fatigue). These are fertile ground for costly successes.

With 13th Age there are three main internal resources that we can look at when it comes to the PCs: hitpoints and recoveries; daily abilities; and icon dice. I’m going to start at the end:

  • Icon Dice: These elements allow players to influence the narrative of the game. They generally aren’t given specific mechanical weight, but there’s a strong argument for the sort of narrative change they offer granting a success – our group often uses them in both combat and extended challenges for rerolls.
  • Limited-use Abilities: Spells, prayers, songs, whatever form they may take plenty of classes have abilities that can only be used once per full rest. Taking as a given that even a multi-day extended challenge won’t allow for full rests 1) expending these abilities also seems like the sort of thing that could bring about an automatic success – or potentially allow the opportunity for a double-success.
    Of course most such limited-use abilities are very combat-oriented – but encouraging players to use them creatively can be great fun. Rather than summoning his ancestors to help him battle a great foe, the Barbarian summons them to help dig a deep pit – and has to use a charisma roll to persuade them that this is a suitable task for them to give their all.
  • Hitpoints/Recoveries: A lot of extended challenges include a natural element of danger, risk to life and limb. Which means that a common consequence for failing at something risky, or for taking too long, should be the loss of health – represented in 13th Age by both Hitpoints and Recoveries.
    Which to use depends on the timescale of the challenge, and its nature. If short rests are going to be easy to obtain due to the timescale of the challenge, allowing the heroes to spend their recoveries to regain lost hitpoints, it’s generally best to just skip the middle step. But if they’re not, if the extended challenge is taking place on a timescale of minutes, or even seconds, rather than hours or days, attacking hitpoints can increase the urgency of the situation 2)Parties with a healer – which is to say, most parties – will be able to dodge this question most of the time by expending healing powers. That’s great, because it lets the healer do their thing. – and present a challenging choice of whether to spend an action on recovering hitpoints rather than progressing towards the goal, a choice that’s built into combat.

That’s a good number of factors that can make one victory feel pyrrhic while another feels glorious, but that’s only the start – only the internal factors.

External aspects that can vary between outcomes are also quite numerous, and vary in the level of mechanical weight they carry

  • Making Future Encounters Harder: Extended challenges are often found at the beginning or middle of an adventure, rather than at the end, and one easy way to provide consequences is to have combat encounters that follow be more difficult the longer they take to complete (and/or the more risky tasks they fail) – for instance an extended challenge to sneak into a castle vault might be followed by fighting your way out with your treasure.
    If you’ve taken too long and made too much noise you’ll be faced with extra guards on the way out, as the alert level has been raised.
  • Different Levels of Reward: Our Half-orc Artificier and his allies have finished at the ball, and they’ve garnered some support. But how much? It could be a few healing potions for the brave adventurers, a magical heirloom, or a whole detachment of elven scouts to aid the party (perhaps represented as a set of icon die to be spent at appropriate junctures)
    In that case I feel like it would be a round-limited extended challenge, with the reward value depending on the number of successes achieved within the duration of the ball – but in other cases you might need X successes, with each round taken reducing the reward.
  • Impacts on the Fiction: This one is a bit of a catch-all, and yet it’s easily forgotten. Yes I’m building a mechanical system here, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a mechanical outcome – the glory of RPGs comes from blending game elements with roleplaying and storytelling – instead the outcome could be something that only impacts the characters emotionally 3)Admittedly, some systems do give such impacts mechanical weight – but 13th age and the F20 family in general don’t.and/or affects the world as a whole; such as the loss of a village to the invading army before the Elven Courts can be persuaded to rally their defences; or the death of one of the hostages that the heroes were seeking to save.

So with all those options in hand, what stakes would you set for your challenges?

1) The abilities may be called “dailies” but extended challenges, and wilderness adventures in general, work a lot better if full rests are required to be more restful than what you’ll get while camping, and taking guard shifts, for 6-8 hours during a full march.
2) Parties with a healer – which is to say, most parties – will be able to dodge this question most of the time by expending healing powers. That’s great, because it lets the healer do their thing.
3) Admittedly, some systems do give such impacts mechanical weight – but 13th age and the F20 family in general don’t.