Fu Options is an occasional feature where I share hacks, mods and optional rules for you to try out in your games of FU. They have not been tried or tested in any way, so use them at your own risk!
Following are two alternate ways of using descriptors in your games of FU. Both will significantly change the way they are used in play.
Descriptors as Aspects
This option makes a character’s descriptors more like Aspects from Fate. Each descriptor should be both good and bad (advantageous and disadvantageous) for the character.* This might require them to be more like statements or catch phrases. Instead of “Handsome” you might be a “Professional model”; instead of “Strong” you might have “Bodybuilder’s physique” or “World’s strongest man”.
You can still use Body/Mind/Edge/Flaw as a guideline for your descriptors, but that isn’t necessary.
The Descriptors work as normal but when they cause you trouble you earn a FU point. “Trouble” might be a penalty die, or might be more narrative. Players or game masters can declare when descriptors are causing trouble.
Note, this will not replicate the “fate point economy” of Fate games, as you are not “paying” to use your descriptors. What it does do is give a specific way to earn FU points, beyond however the setting, game mode or game master might already reward players.
*Many descriptors already are “double edged” but this option really requires you to ensure this is the case.
Like the Aspect option above, this mod would work best if the descriptors could be both positive and negative. The descriptors require “charging” before they can be used to benefit the character. GM’s can choose whether descriptors begin charged or not (I recommend they do!). When you use a descriptor for a significant advantage (such as to gain a bonus die) the charge is spent. The descriptor cannot be used for advantage until it is recharged. A descriptor is recharged when it causes you obvious and significant disadvantage (which may or may not be a penalty die to an action).
A FU point can be spent to automatically recharge a descriptor.
This will limit the use of descriptors significantly. You will also want to ensure that each descriptor has an obvious disadvantage that will allow you to recharge it.
There you are – two alternative ways to use Descriptors.
Thank you for the advice on how to use descriptors. I was contemplating doing this for awhile, as I am inspired by the Wordplay rpg. I was also thinking about making a career trait as well to give extra oomph to the character’s traits…and how he uses them in the world. It will give an extra advantage die when the character can apply the skills he acquired through his career(s) to a situation.
No worries, Ben! Let me know how it goes.