Pyramid Review

Universe Primer (for Universe RPG)

Published by Tower Ravens

Designed by Mark Wilkinson, Michael Wilkinson, Kristen Redd Wilkinson, & William Pace

Illustrated by Andria Stark, Tracy Pace, Eric Wallis, Mike Sorenson, & David Matson

320-page b&w softcover; $29.95

Most contemporary RPGs tout a movement away from complicated sets of rules, toward fewer charts and tables, and toward less-detailed combat and action systems. Universe from Tower Ravens is something of a throwback, then, to involved games like TimeLords, Powers & Perils, and Space Opera.

The game is set in the Antwaris galaxy, in a 100-light-year cubed area that seems to overflow with humanity. There are no fewer than four species of humans, and perhaps more, all saddled with an uneasy alliance following centuries of war and cross-colonization efforts that have subverted, enslaved, freed, and politicized relations among the offshoots. Much of the Primer is set on Marrgen, a volleyball of a world that has been the most hotly contested of the five Terra-like planets in the Thuwasik System. The game includes an extensive and detailed history that sets the stage for the action.

Action is based on percentile dice rolls. Characters are made with a selection of attributes, rated from one to 100, paired up fairly intuitively so that points shifted back and forth won't make you super-tough and weak as a kitten. Strength and Stamina are matched, for example, as are Comeliness and Charisma. Shifting points from one paired . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: February 27, 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to