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Cepheus Universal

·480 words·3 mins

So I took a long break from RPGs in the last months. I had started a game of ACKS II, but the rules were not as “finished” as I had expected1, and things kept changing. Since it’s about 1500 pages of rules, I decided to wait until it’s in its final form until doing a complete read over.

In the mean time I did a lot of programming, but now I’m taking a break from that2 and I am now looking into the Cepheus Universal RPG from Zozer Games.

Cepheus Universal uses the Cepheus Engine and is derived from the Traveller System Reference Document and other Open Gaming Content made available by the Open Gaming License. It uses the traditional 8+ on 2d6 system and is compatible with a huge amount of material published over decades (almost 50 years). The “Universal” in the name is there because its goal is to let you use this system to build any type of sci-fi game you want. For example, there are rules for various types of faster than light drives, depending on what you want your game to be. Jump drives (like Traveller or Star Wars), Warp Drives (like Star Trek) or Blink Drives (like in the Dark Matter TV series, not the RPG which I personally don’t know). Do travellers need to be in cryoberths while in multidimensional space (like in Mothership)? Each of these choices is detailed, with rules (like fuel requirements) and other details. As a GM you decide what you want your Sci-Fi universe to be (there is a checklist) and all the rules click into place in a coherent whole. Quite remarkable!

While reading Cepheus Universal, I get so many ideas of settings and adventures I want to do with these rules. For years, I wanted to play a particular game because I liked a part of it (either the setting, the type of adventures, or some game mechanic that I found cool) but I disliked some other aspect of it (same list essentially). Now I can mix and match ideas from all of these games and settings.

So I am reading that huge Cepheus Universal book (443 pages, including a very good index!) and I am building my own setting and I am having a lot of fun.

More on this later!

  1. ACKS Imperial Imprint was kickstarted last fall (2023) and the official release will be next fall (2024), so the rules were not finalized and that was clear from the start, but I thought it was ok to start a game and adapt to changes as they came. It turned out more difficult (for me) than I expected. Totally a ‘me’ problem, not anyone else’s fault. ↩︎

  2. I have a problem with concurrency in that code and Swift 6 is coming out soon, along with new tools and tutorials which will hopefully help me fix them. ↩︎