Fringeworthy is a role playing game published by Tri Tac Games. It is about interdimentional travel and parallel worlds/realities. Its initial edition was published in 1982. It was a small print run and mostly sold via gaming conventions within reach of Tri Tac's Pontiac, Michigan offices.

The game is set in the year 2010. A portal to other dimensions was discovered in the Antarctic which allowed people to walk the "fringepaths". The fringepaths connected other realities. However, not all humans can gain access to fringespace. Only about 1 in 100,000 humans have some mysterious power or genetic make up to enter the fringe. Hence we get the name of the game. Fringespace is available only to the fringeworthy. Player characters are, of course, assumed to be fringeworthy or it would make for a pretty short and messy campaign.

Another limitation of traveling the fringepaths is not every inanimate object can pass. One cannot pop into an alternative reality full of primitives and take them out with a nuclear suitcase bomb, for example.

The game was written by Tri Tac's founder Rich Tucholka. He based it on a series of unpublished science fiction stories he wrote in the '70s. The game system uses Tri Tac's basic combat/rules model which is highly detailed. Fans of latter day "touchy feely" faster paced role playing systems that eschew tables, dice rolls, and rules would find Fringeworthy quite Byzantine. Gun nut1 gamers who believe a weapon's muzzle velocity/bullet caliber/bullet type (25 different types are listed) range/rate of fire, hit location, blood loss, shock, and the probability a bullet will pass through a body and hit another target should all be factored into a combat system typically loved Fringeworthy and all Tri Tac games based on its core rules.

Character creation, like combat, is highly granular. There are 15 basic attribute scores. Dexterity can't even be left well enough alone, being broken down into Dexterity, Agility, Accuracy, and Dodge. After that there's the generation of between 6 and 19 secondary abilities and skills, many of which have to be moderated by an Education Type attribute.

Level advancement in the game is problematic, heavily tilted towards a very, very slow progression after initial gains. The rules suggest after a character acquires 60,000 experience points, points should be awarded only once every 15 missions. This ends up meaning one would have to play the game every day for a year to gain enough experience to advance a level.

Tri Tac released a second edition in 1984 with a larger print run. Like the first edition, the second edition was a decidedly hobbyist effort. A third edition came out in 1992 and featured more professional binding, covers, and art work.

Many fans of Fringeworthy have noted a large number of similarities between the game and the TV show Stargate. For example, both game and TV show use a pyramid symbol key to unlock the portals, the size and appearance of the gates are similar, and possibly most damning is both game and TV series have a back story about shape changing aliens.

Tucholka thought the similarities were too great to be coincidence and contacted a lawyer about suing. Tucholka and his lawyer eventually concluded their case might not have merit as the similarities weren't great enough that Stargate's producers couldn't simply argue parallel development. Space/Time rifts are not an uncommon theme in sci fi (walking paths that lead to other dimensions one could argue was itself stolen from Roger "I'm the last legit sci fi author before the Star Wars/BattleTech/Alien vs Predator serial novel gutter" Zelazny and his Amber series). And pyramids are rather natural elements when you want to jazz up your story with talk of ancient temples. As well, with no evidence these Hollywood producers ever attended a role playing convention, Tri Tac would be unable to establish the likelihood they came across a rather obscure game published in Michigan and stole ideas from it.


1 The game system makes it easy to import real weapons into the game as long as basic stats are known about the weapon. The appeal is your subscription to Guns and Ammo magazine or Jane's Defense Weekly ends up doubling as a Tri Tac game supplement. In these rather paranoid times, where law enforcement officials aren't, to this day, entirely familiar with role playing games, web sites devoted to Tri Tac game rule expansions that feature pictures of real weapons and statistics seem to go out of their way to post very prominent disclaimers that the material contained within is part of a fantasy game, not part of some anti-government militia movement or a gun running organization. A wise move given both Tri Tac Games and Steve Jackson Games own experiences with the feds.

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